A VPN is essential for anyone in the United States, whether you live there or are just visiting. The US has some of the most invasive privacy laws in the world and is a privacy nightmare for citizens.
A VPN service is also necessary if you’re trying to access blocked US websites from abroad.
These apps below are the best VPNs we’ve tested for those looking for fast, private internet access in, or connecting to, the US.
Here are the Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN
- Has city-level choice of servers in the US
- Works with Netflix
- Reliable and fast speeds
- Useful privacy features
- Transparent, fair and privacy-focused logging policies
- Well-designed and easy to use apps
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Read More Information on the Top 5 Best VPN Services for the US
How We Picked the Best VPN for US
Our top VPN choices for the US offer many city-level servers and fantastic performance on both local and international connections.
They also work with popular streaming services like Netflix, so that your online privacy is never compromised while connected to a VPN.
We look for privacy-friendly, minimal logging policies as well as advanced features such as DNS and IPv6 leak protection to ensure you’re protected against unwanted online surveillance.
Do I Need a VPN in the US?
If you want to protect your personal information from prying eyes, using a VPN in the US is absolutely essential.
The US is one of the least privacy-friendly jurisdictions on the planet, so you want to be sure that your browsing history stays private.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) no longer need your explicit permission to share your personal data with any third party, and are free to sell it to advertisers so they can target you with tracked ads – with a VPN you can avoid this completely as your online activity isn’t visible to anyone other than yourself.
The US government is also known to monitor web traffic for national security reasons, so just searching for one suspicious word could put you under scrutiny.
Are VPNs Legal in the US?
Using a VPN service in the US to protect your personal data and hide your true IP address is completely legal. In fact, a lot of major companies use VPN software to protect sensitive data from prying eyes, and also to allow their employees to access company files when they’re working remotely.
There are absolutely no laws that prohibit US citizens from connecting to a VPN server. The main purpose of a VPN is to keep your keep your online activity private, and there are no laws that state you cannot use one in the US.
However you need to remember that using a VPN doesn’t mean you’re exempt from other state or national laws, especially those regarding copyright. We wouldn’t recommend doing anything while using a VPN that you wouldn’t do without one.
How to Choose a VPN for the US: 7 Tips
Most popular VPN providers will offer a good choice of US servers covering the length and breadth of the country, with some of our top picks leaving you spoilt for choice.
The nearer a VPN server to your physical location, the faster speeds you’re going to get, so you should opt for a provider that offers lots of city-level servers so you can determine which are closest to you.
More servers tends to mean less congestion and therefore improved speeds, however this isn’t always the case.
Check out our independent speed test results to get the best idea of what performance is like in specific locations.
Enjoy watching Netflix or BBC iPlayer? Not every provider will work with these apps, especially since the recent VPN crackdowns.
We’re constantly testing whether each provider is working with Netflix and other popular sites, and we share these results with you in our VPN reviews.
Nearly all VPN providers will claim to be ‘zero logs’, however unfortunately this is rarely the case. In order to maintain a high level of performance across a global server network, most providers will need to collect at least some basic connection metadata from their customers, such as the amount of bandwidth used.
Ideally you want a VPN provider that collects a minimal amount of logs, and nothing that could be used to personally identify you. Better still, a provider that doesn’t collect or store any logs is the best option, however these are few and far between.
We look through all the privacy policies so you don’t have to, and summarize them in plain English in the logging policy section of our VPN reviews.
Almost all VPN software will work on Windows, MacOS and Linux machines, along with iOS and Android mobile devices. However, some VPN services are also compatible with other internet-connected items, such as routers, games consoles and streaming devices, such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Do you want to protect your family’s devices as well as your own? Look for as many connections as you are likely to use at the same time (most providers will allow around three to five simultaneously).
No-one likes a clunky, confusing app. Look for a VPN with software that’s well-designed, simple and powerful and you will be much more likely to use it all the time.
We share the results of our hands-on testing of each VPN app in the the Ease of Use part of its review. We spend all day testing VPN apps, so hopefully we know a thing or two.