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Best VPN for USA in 2021

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Illustration of the Statue of Liberty Holding a VPN
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN
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Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

The NSA continues to monitor the online activity of millions of Americans. US ISPs are legally allowed to sell your personal browsing data. And censorship is on the rise.

The best US VPNs will protect your constitutional right to privacy and free speech. They will also bypass US sports blackouts and unblock websites. Moreover, you can stream US content from abroad on platforms like HBO Max, US Netflix, and Peacock. Or you can stream shows from other countries, like UK TV.

By obtaining an anonymous IP address, you can hide your activity from ISPs and prevent unwarranted snooping. We’ve tested all the established VPNs and can recommend the top five for the US. This is based on US connection speeds, the number and spread of US servers, reliable access to sports and streaming, and strong security credentials.

These are the best US VPNs in April 2021:
  1. ExpressVPN: The #1 VPN for the US with 14 US cities across 10 states. Read Summary
  2. Private Internet Access: Budget alternative with 14,000 servers across the US. Read Summary
  3. NordVPN: No logs VPN with 15 US cities available. Read Summary
  4. HideMyAss: Servers in 48 US states and a good free trial. Read Summary
  5. IPVanish: Best US VPN for Fire TV Stick. Read Summary

These recommendations work for those in the US. But they work just as well for Americans abroad wanting a US IP address as well.

Best VPNs for US in April 2021

  1. 1. ExpressVPN: Best Overall USA VPN

    Strong security, reliable streaming access, 14 cities in 10 US states.

    Ranked #1 out of 69 VPNs for the US
    ExpressVPN's new app on mobile devices
     96% 
    (1,758 user reviews)
    Visit ExpressVPN
    1. Audited zero-logs VPN & Lightway proprietary protocol
    2. 81Mbps local New York download speeds
    3. Servers spread across 10 states, incl. Southern states
    4. Access to US Netflix and other 18 other libraries
    5. Bypasses national and regional sports blackouts
    6. Unrestricted torrenting on US servers & no leaks
    1. Most expensive VPN for the US
    2. Kill switch absent on iOS apps
    3. Fire TV Stick app needs updating
    4. Issues accessing British TV
    5. Unknown number of individual US servers

    ExpressVPN is the best VPN for the US thanks to its impressive security and server list. There are servers on the East and West coast as well as the Southern states.

    It’s a no logs VPN, proven by audit, that comes packaged with an in-house protocol called Lightway. It picks up fast local speeds and unblocks multiple streaming services. We wish it was cheaper, but it’s still worth the price.

    US States10
    US Cities14
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    88Mbps
    Cheapest Price$6.67/mo over 15 Months See all plans
    US NetflixYes
    JurisdictionBritish Virgin Islands (Privacy Haven)
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    TorrentingUnlimited
    Compatible with
    Data LeaksNo
    Support24/7 Live Chat

    Impressive privacy package evades US surveillance

    ExpressVPN is #1 for the US as it’s the most reliable and secure VPN on the market. It’s easy to use, too.

    It comes with a proven no-logs privacy policy, which means that it doesn’t store your data. The company is also based in Panama, where there are no intrusive data-retention laws. US intelligence and its partners in the Five Eyes have no jurisdiction here.

    ExpressVPN uses the highest standard of security encryption and has no IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks. It has Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), which generates a new encryption key every 60 minutes. This means that if someone did encrypt your data transfer, they’d only ever be able to get 60 minutes of data.

    Even more impressive is ExpressVPN’s zero-knowledge DNS servers. In other words, ExpressVPN handles all the DNS requests you make (the websites you visit), and never a third party.

    There’s also TrustedServer, ExpressVPN’s in-house technology that ensures your web data is stored on RAM only and never on a hard drive. Therefore, data cannot be physically seized by US authorities such as the FBI.

    The one concern we have is the lack of kill switch on ExpressVPN’s iOS apps. If you’re using ExpressVPN on an iPhone or iPad and it disconnects, your real IP will be visible. This is a flaw in otherwise watertight security.

    Servers across the USA

    ExpressVPN has servers available in 14 cities across 10 states. This includes California and Washington on the West coast and New York and New Jersey in the East.

    There are also plenty of Southern options, including servers in Texas and Georgia. It’s evenly spread, meaning all American VPN users can access fast speeds.

    The full list of ExpressVPN US servers is:

    • California
    • Colorado
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Illinois
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Texas
    • Utah
    • Washington

    ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers in 160 cities across the globe. This is one of the largest server networks available. If you want to connect out of the US and get an international IP address, you’ll have plenty to choose.

    None of ExpressVPN’s US servers are virtual. Instead, they are physical. This means that, for example, a Texas server really is in Texas, and the servers can offer better performance.

    Reliable access to US streaming, torrenting, and sports blackouts

    ExpressVPN gets around blocked websites with ease, including georestrictions on streaming services. It’s just as impressive as an entertainment package as a security one. You’ll be able to watch Hulu or HBO Max outside the US, which means you can watch titles like Zack Snyder’s Justice League wherever you are.

    It unblocks 18 extra Netflix libraries across the globe, too. It’s also optimized for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, DAZN, Now TV, Peacock, and more. Torrenting is also permitted on all of ExpressVPN’s servers without restriction or data-storing.

    It’s a simple solution for getting around national and regional sports blackouts. Fans of MLB, NHL, and NFL can bypass the private agreements between broadcasters and the sports leagues that prevent you from watching based on your location. ExpressVPN lets you connect to an IP where you are allowed to watch instead.

    ExpressVPN has been less reliable accessing BBC iPlayer, though. You can still bypass British restrictions by using the less secure PPTP protocol, or the browser add-on. But this compromises security. If you want to watch British TV, we suggest NordVPN.

    Lightway protocol for fast US speeds

    ExpressVPN is very fast. Connecting to our server in New York, we recorded local download speeds of 81Mbps. This is an 8% speed loss from our normal internet connection, which is very good for any VPN. You can see up-to-date speeds from ExpressVPN for yourself with our speed test tool.

    ExpressVPN is consistently one of the top three fastest VPNs, and has been for years. It picks up impressive speeds on OpenVPN protocol, but you can also use ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol. This exclusive protocol actually drains less battery on your device because it has fewer lines of code.

  2. 2. Private Internet Access: Fastest VPN in America

    Cheap alternative with super fast speeds and a record 14,000 servers in 10 US states.

    Private Internet Access
     92% 
    (25 user reviews)
    Visit PIA VPN
    1. 14,000+ servers in 14 US cities
    2. 91Mbps local speeds – the fastest
    3. Budget choice without compromising on quality
    4. Impressive privacy credentials
    5. Reliable access to BBC iPlayer & US Netflix
    6. Very good for torrenting
    1. Based in Denver, Colorado
    2. Fire TV Stick app could be improved

    Private Internet Access is impressive for its server quantity (the most US servers of any VPN on this list), security package, and cheap price. It’s another zero-logs VPN equipped with top encryption. But it’s incorporated in the States, which can pose a potential privacy risk. That said, we still recommend PIA over ExpressVPN if you’re looking for a budget alternative.

    US States10
    US Cities14
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    89Mbps
    Cheapest Price$2.69/mo over 26 months See all plans
    US NetflixYes
    JurisdictionUS (Five-Eyes Member)
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    TorrentingUnlimited
    Compatible with
    Data LeaksNo
    Support24/7 Live Chat

    Fast speeds across enormous US server network

    For server quantity, Private Internet Access is the best VPN for the US. It comes with an unparalleled 14,000 US servers, spread from New York to California. It has a slightly smaller selection of states compared to NordVPN, but there are more individual servers.

    These servers are located in:

    • California
    • Colorado
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Illinois
    • New Jersey
    • Nevada
    • New York
    • Texas
    • Washington

    This is a similar selection to ExpressVPN, and the same number – 10 states. So it’s just as good as our #1 choice for server diversity and reach. Whether you’re in the East, West, or South, PIA has you covered.

    But globally, it’s not as expansive as ExpressVPN. PIA offers 77 countries compared to ExpressVPN’s 94. But it’s still one of the better VPN networks on the market.

    And we picked up 91Mbps download speeds when testing PIA’s local New York speeds. This is only a 6% speed loss when connected to an encrypted PIA server. Simply put, there’s barely a difference between normal internet speeds and using PIA.

    US jurisdiction isn’t ideal, but no-logs policy makes PIA safe

    The perfect US VPN would not be based in the US. Because PIA is based in Denver, Colorado, it is subject to data requests from US authorities, often justified by laws like the Patriot Act. This has actually happened before: in 2016 the FBI subpoenaed Private Internet Access.

    However, this gave PIA the chance to prove its “no-logs” claims. It passed this test with flying colors; there was simply no information to be given. In the same year, Russian authorities seized PIA servers. Once again, no information was retrieved. Even more impressive, PIA responded by removing all of its servers from Russia.

    For these reasons, we’re not too concerned about PIA’s US corporate headquarters. Particularly as PIA does the job of hiding your IP and securing your connection better than most.

    It has the same top encryption and protocol options as ExpressVPN, as well as the innovative WireGuard protocol. Using our leak test tool, we confirmed that PIA’s in-built DNS, IP address, and WebRTC leak protection work, too.

    As with ExpressVPN, PIA runs its own private DNS servers, so your website visits are handled in accordance with its own privacy-conscious practices and not your untrustworthy ISP.

    Unblocks Netflix & British TV, excellent for torrenting

    Private Internet Access unblocks Netflix libraries from Canada, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, and the US. It’s nowhere near as many as ExpressVPN, or the leader Windscribe. But it does allow you to continue watching US shows abroad.

    At the moment, PIA is more reliable than ExpressVPN when it comes to BBC iPlayer. US fans of The Great British Bake Off, for example, can use PIA to stream the latest series through the ‘UK-London Streaming’ server.

    PIA also works with Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and Hulu. Its Amazon Fire TV Stick app is superior to that offered by ExpressVPN.

    PIA excels as a torrenting VPN. A no-logs policy, fast upload speeds, and robust security makes for risk-free and quick P2P activity, which is permitted on all US servers. More so, it has port forwarding and there’s a built-in ad-blocker.

    Budget alternative for USA

    PIA is competing for the top spot, which makes it a strong budget option. Those put-off by the ExpressVPN price tag should consider PIA. It only costs $2.69 per month on its best deal.

    For that small cost, you can use PIA on 10 devices at the same time. It’s compatible with all major devices and platforms and its apps are sleek and easy to use. There’s also 24/7 live-chat support and other helpful resources, in case you do need help.

  3. 3. NordVPN: Best VPN for US East Coast

    1,600 servers in 15 US cities, NordLynx protocol for fast US speeds, and the best VPN for BBC iPlayer.

    NordVPN Mobile App Screenshot
     94% 
    (246 user reviews)
    Visit NordVPN
    1. Connect to 14 US states
    2. Fast US download speeds
    3. NordLynx protocol improves speed & security
    4. Panama-based zero-logs service with robust security suite
    5. Easy access to streaming & good for P2P activity
    6. Best US VPN for fans of BBC iPlayer
    1. Fewer US servers than PIA
    2. No PayPal payments
    3. Limited protocols on Windows & Android

    NordVPN is a great all-rounder for US users. It covers more US states than both ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, and comes with over 1,600 coast-to-coast servers. It’s one of the fastest VPNs for the US and boasts an extensive security package. It’s our #1 choice for BBC iPlayer and it will hide your IP from NSA surveillance.

    US States14
    US Cities15
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    93Mbps
    Cheapest Price$3.71/mo over 24 Months See all plans
    US NetflixYes
    JurisdictionPanama (Privacy Haven)
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    TorrentingPermitted
    Compatible with
    Data LeaksNo
    Support24/7 Live Chat

    Server network for Americans on the East Coast

    NordVPN is fast and has an impressive 1,600 servers in 14 US states.

    State options include:

    • Arizona
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Illinois
    • New Jersey
    • Missouri
    • North Carolina
    • New York
    • Texas
    • Utah
    • Virgina
    • Washington

    This is a diverse US network. But the presence of North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia state servers tilts NordVPN in favor of those on the East Coast. If you live here, you’re likely to get the best NordVPN performance.

    NordVPN will deliver fast speeds across the country – for example if you’re in New York can expect local speeds of 87Mbps if you’re on a 100Mbps connection. This amounts to a 13% speed loss, which is small enough that you should hardly notice a difference.

    Private jurisdiction & secure technology

    NordVPN is based in Panama, which is a privacy haven. The region is not subjected to intrusive US jurisdiction or the surveillance threat of US partners in the Five Eyes. This means that it’s harder for US authorities to spy on you.

    NordVPN is a zero logs VPN, meaning that it records no data whatsoever about its customers. This privacy status has been verified by an independent auditor twice, in case you doubt the company’s claims.

    NordVPN comes with one of the best online security suites on the market. It has the best protocols, including WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, and its own bespoke NordLynx. NordVPN’s in-house protocol is faster than OpenVPN and more secure than WireGuard. It is the best of both worlds.

    Its VPN apps are encrypted via AES-256 and come with Perfect Forward Secrecy. On top of that, NordVPN has a double VPN feature, split tunneling, leak protection and Onion over VPN for use on the Onion network. And you won’t find any leaks.

    NordVPN did suffer a security breach in 2018, but it has since introduced special security measures and initiatives. This includes RAM-only servers, co-located servers, and a bug bounty program that rewards those who spot vulnerabilities in NordVPN’s code. You can read more about NordVPN’s security innovations here.

    The best US VPN for British TV

    NordVPN is the most reliable way to watch British TV from the UK. It always works to unblock the BBC iPlayer service from the States. All of its UK servers work, so you don’t have to trial a bunch of UK connections either.

    It’s US to UK speeds are very fast, registering 75Mbps from New York to London on the OpenVPN protocol. Connecting to the UK from the US on the NordLynx protocol, we picked up an astonishing 85Mbps international connection speed. This is an incredibly fast result for such a large geographical distance. You’ll have no problem with buffering.

    NordVPN is also well equipped to unblock other popular streaming sites. All of its 100 US servers work with US Netflix. You can stream 15 other Netflix libraries across popular devices, including your Smart TV and Firestick TV. It works with HBO Max and Disney Plus.

    One hiccup is NordVPN’s inability to unblock Hulu through its apps. However, you can get around this by using the Smart DNS feature.

    Affordable and compatible across devices

    It’s not as cheap as PIA, but NordVPN is still an affordable service. It only costs $3.71. This is great value when considering the package on offer, including 24/7 live chat support should you need assistance.

    And NordVPN is compatible with a large number of devices and platforms. It’s available across the Mac, iOS, Windows and Android, as well as fully-featured Amazon Fire TV stick and Android TV apps. NordVPN is great for your Smart TV. You can also install it at router level.

  4. 4. HideMyAss: Best for Streaming US Sports

    IP addresses in 48 US states makes HMA VPN ideal for sports streaming.

    Screenshot of HideMyAss' Mobile App
     80% 
    (5 user reviews)
    Visit HideMyAss
    1. Servers available in 48 of 50 US states
    2. No logs privacy policy
    3. Very fast local US speeds
    4. Reliable streaming access
    5. Good free trial
    6. User-friendly & good for beginners
    1. Only 240 US servers overall
    2. History of cooperation with the FBI
    3. Not safe for torrenting
    4. Based in privacy-unfriendly England
    5. Expensive short-term plans

    HideMyAss isn’t the most private VPN on this list, but it covers the most US states. This makes it ideal for sports fans interested in a VPN for NFL and MLB. It’s also very fast on US connections and unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer. HMA offers a beginner-friendly and sleek entertainment solution, but it’s got a controversial history.

    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    96Mbps
    Cheapest Price$2.99/mo over 3 years See all plans
    US NetflixYes
    JurisdictionUK (Five-Eyes Member)
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    TorrentingUnlimited
    Compatible with
    Data LeaksNo
    SupportLive Chat

    Connect to almost every US state, and almost every country

    HideMyAss has servers in nearly every state of the Union. The only locations not included are New Jersey and New Mexico. This is highly impressive, and good news for nearly every American VPN user looking for top performance. For this reason alone, it makes the list.

    Servers in all those states means it’s great at getting around sports blackouts. HMA offers an easy way to watch your favorite sports by acquiring an anonymous IP address in a region that hasn’t been blocked.

    You can connect to up to 65 American cities. This is by far the most we’ve encountered.

    HMA uses virtual servers to achieve this reach. This means that while you can acquire an IP address in say, Michigan, there may not be any server infrastructure there. This is not uncommon and it is beneficial for speed, but there are some minor security risks too. You can read more about the differences between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ servers in our guide.

    HMA actually has the largest server network of any VPN. You can connect to 189 other countries (nearly all the countries on the planet). This is ideal if you’re looking to connect out of the US, or if you’re in a remote region looking to connect back home.

    Good streaming capabilities

    HideMyAss is a strong contender when it comes to streaming. It has dedicated servers for the most popular services, and these servers are very reliable. If you’re abroad, the ‘Liberty Island’ server provides instant access to US Netflix.

    If you’re a fan of UK TV, the ‘Donkey Town’ servers grant quick access to BBC iPlayer. However, If you’re in a country without Disney+, HMA won’t be able to help as it is still unable to unblock that service.

    HMA has very impressive US speed results. We recorded 91Mbps on a local New York network. This is just as good as PIA’s speeds. With these results, content streams seamlessly and speeds are indistinguishable from a normal internet connection.

    Safe but some privacy concerns

    Although HMA has an extensive server network, it’s let down by some privacy issues.

    HMA is still based in the privacy-unfriendly UK and has a history of cooperating with US authorities.

    For example, a member of the hacker-activist community, Anonymous, was arrested based on connection logs given to the FBI by HMA following a UK court order. In another instance, someone was arrested for harassment based on identifying connection timestamps provided by HMA.

    We don’t condone the use of VPNs for nefarious or illegal purposes. Our problem is that this contradicted HMA’s claims of “no logs.” Consumers should be able to trust their VPN provider to live up to its privacy promises.

    HMA has sought to explain its actions and it has since revamped its logging policy. But this history places HMA behind other top providers when it comes to trustworthiness and reputation.

    For this reason, we don’t recommend using HMA to torrent. Although it now has a no-logs policy, users of the VPN have reported their accounts being suspended for alleged violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and its attitude towards torrenting is muddled.

    And while HMA is safe, and comes with all the security measures you’d expect of a premium VPN (it’s leak free and comes with OpenVPN), it’s not pushing the envelope in VPN security like other top providers are. In fact, it’s often slow to stay on top of the latest and greatest in VPN innovation.

    Good free-trial and user-friendly apps

    HMA is very suitable for beginners. Those who value a well-designed service will appreciate HideMyAss’s consumer-friendly and intuitive apps.

    It’s got a free seven-day trial, too. This grants unrestricted access to the full HMA experience. This way you don’t have to commit before trying it.

    This is especially useful as HMA is very expensive on short-term plans. To get your money’s worth, it’s best to invest in the three-year deal, which comes to a nicely affordable $2.99 per month.

  5. 5. IPVanish: Best for Fire TV Stick, Kodi & Android

    Zero-logs VPN with 900 fast US servers across 19 cities

    IPVanish VPN
     96% 
    (175 user reviews)
    Visit IPVanish
    1. Records no user data
    2. Very fast local US speeds
    3. Best VPN for Android, Fire TV Stick & Kodi
    4. 900+ servers in the US
    5. Torrenting permitted on all US servers
    6. Works with US Netflix
    1. Doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, or Hulu
    2. US jurisdiction
    3. History of cooperating with FBI
    4. No Smart DNS for games consoles and Apple TV

    You should consider IPVanish if you’re a US user of Fire Stick TV, Kodi, and Android. This VPN is tailor-made for these devices and platforms. It’s fast, private, and comes with a very good number of US city servers. It’s a disappointment when it comes to streaming, but great for torrenting.

    US States14
    US Cities19
    Top Download Speedi

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

    84Mbps
    Cheapest Price$2.62/mo for 12 months See all plans
    US NetflixYes
    JurisdictionUS (Five-Eyes Member)
    Logging PolicyNo Logs
    TorrentingUnlimited
    Compatible with
    Data LeaksNo
    SupportLive Chat

    Top VPN for Fire Stick TV, Kodi & Android

    IPVanish is the best VPN if you’re a Fire Stick TV user. It’s one of the few VPNs that has designed and built a custom app. This app is functional and a pleasure to use. We can’t always say the same for other VPNs on Firestick.

    It’s also a highlight for Kodi users. IPVanish protects your IP from copyright trolls when using the video service. It’s also leak-free. We did the tests and can confirm that it doesn’t accidentally expose your real IP, or DNS data.

    However, unless you’re using Firestick or Kodi, IPVanish is an inferior VPN for streaming. It’s only useful if you want to unblock US Netflix and there’s no Smart DNS. If you want to watch Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, or Hulu you should use another VPN.

    Owns 800 US servers across 14 states

    IPVanish has an extensive US server network. It comes with over 900 servers in 19 cities, spread across 14 states. The list of states covers each US coast and the Southern states, too.

    All these servers deliver fast US speeds. Testing IPVanish on our local New York server, we picked up speeds of 89Mbps. It’s not the absolute fastest VPN for the US, but it’s not far behind.

    Globally, you can connect to 76 other countries. All of these servers are owned and managed by IPVanish with no virtual servers used or rented. This is great for security reasons.

    Robust security, great for torrenting

    IPVanish will hide your IP and encrypt your data well. It’s an effective tool against ISP monitoring and privacy threats from the US government.

    It uses AES-256 encryption and comes with protocols OpenVPN and IKEv2. There’s a kill switch (although not on iOS) and we’ve never seen a compromising IP, DNS, IPV4, or WebRTC leak.

    All of this makes it a great VPN for torrenting. It’s fast and safe for P2P activity and has SOCKS5 proxy – a favorite for torrenters.

    And there are additional features like split tunneling and obfuscation technology, which is useful should censorship increase in the US.

    USA jurisdiction & FBI involvement

    Like PIA, IPVanish is based in the US. This is bad as US authorities have legal power over IPVanish as a company. Any data that the VPN has on its users is subject to invasive data requests.

    And like HMA, IPVanish was forced to deal with the consequences of a privacy-unfriendly jurisdiction. In 2016, the FBI identified a suspect due to IPVanish logging data.

    Criminal activity cannot be condoned. What concerns us is the “no logs” claims that IPVanish made at the time. We go into the details of this case in our full IPVanish review.

    But since then, IPVanish has been taken over by a company with a good reputation. The current logging policy is zero-logs. The only information it collects is your email address and payment method. As long as these claims are true a US jurisdiction is little to worry about.

USA VPN Comparison

We’ve put together a table that directly compares the top VPNs for the US. You can see how many US cities are available, what US speeds you can expect, whether it works with US Netflix, and more information that US users will find helpful.

How We Test & Review VPNs for the US

When it comes to finding the best VPNs for the US, we look for:

  1. A large quantity and diversity of US servers for optimal performance all over the country.
  2. Fast US speeds with barely any speed loss compared to your normal internet connection.
  3. Security practices that protect your right to privacy and free speech, and keep away the FBI, CIA, and NSA. This includes no-logs privacy policies, robust VPN technology, top encryption ciphers, and additional protections like double VPN.
  4. Reliable access to blocked websites and geo-restricted streaming services, including sports blackouts.
  5. Value for money, user-friendly apps, and ease of use for VPN beginners.

We put every VPN we review through a 10-step process. This standardized method ensures a fair evaluation and allows us to compare between VPNs effectively.

Why Do I Need a VPN in the US?

Surveillance & Data Gathering: What’s the NSA?

The National Security Agency (NSA) is one big reason to get a US VPN. It is the largest US intelligence agency (bigger than the CIA), and it monitors, collects, and processes data on large swathes of the population, indiscriminately. This is called mass-data collection.

The details of this were top secret until 2013, when Edward Snowden revealed the scale of the surveillance.

Although the NSA has had to deal with the fallout of the Snowdon revelations (it’s been declared illegal and unconstitutional), it is still spying on US citizens. It can still access your phone records; it forces big tech companies to part with your data; it can hack and track at will.

Not even foreigners are free from its sphere. The NSA is known to spy on the citizens and leaders of other countries, even if they’re considered a political ally.

On top of that, the US shares data between governments. The Five Eyes is the name of a surveillance alliance between US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand governments. It is arranged so that these countries can exchange information on each other’s citizens.

If you want to learn more about the Five Eyes, and how a VPN protects you against it, you can read our guide.

Net Neutrality & Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

In July 2018, the US government repealed the 2015 Open Internet Order, also known as ‘Net Neutrality’. This rescinded on the principle that ISPs must not discriminate or behave differently based on what content people were accessing, or which platform they were using, or who was doing it.

This regulated against US ISPs from doing whatever it wanted, like throttling customer speeds. Following the repeal, it came as no surprise that American ISPs were reported to be slowing down Netflix and YouTube streaming speeds.

A VPN gives you back power over your internet connection. Unable to monitor your internet activity, your ISP won’t be able to discriminate against your behaviour or slow down your internet speed.

American ISPs don’t even require permission to share your personal data with third-parties. With a VPN you can decide what your ISP knows about you and what it doesn’t.

Unblock Websites & Deter Cybercriminals

Many US institutions block access to websites like YouTube and Instagram, such as schools, libraries, and work offices. A VPN will bypass those restrictions.

More so, the internet can be a bit like the Wild West. A VPN protects you from annoying ads, trackers, malware, and viruses. If you’re a torrenter, they can even avoid the copyright trolls.

A good VPN shields your sensitive information from hackers and cyber-criminals who often exploit public wifi to steal information. As our research shows, your entire identity can be stolen and sold on the Dark Web for as little as $1,200.

Major US companies use VPNs to protect their sensitive data and deter hackers, so why shouldn’t individual citizens?

Privacy Alert:

Since 2010, the United States’ Freedom House score has declined considerably. In a 10-year period, the country has gone from a global freedom score of 94 to 83. Its internet freedom score is even worse – only 76/100.

In its 2021 report, Freedom House refers to this downward trend as “the eclipse of US leadership.” In short: the US is no longer as free or open as it once was. A US VPN is more necessary than ever before.

Which US VPN Should I Get Where I Live?

We’ve put together an extensive table that tells you exactly which VPNs cover which US state. For good connections, simply check to see whether your VPN includes your state, or nearby ones.

East Coast

The Eastern Seaboard of the US is made up of the states Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

If you live on the US East Coast, or want to connect to a VPN server there, we recommend NordVPN. It has city-level servers in North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Georgia, and Virginia.

West Coast

The West Coast states are made up of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.

For those on the West Coast, or looking to connect to it, we recommend Private Internet Access, which has 14,000 fast servers, most spread across California and Washington.

Southern States

Other websites often discuss the balance between East and West coast VPN servers but fail to mention the Southern states.

The US federal government defines the South as Alabama, Arkansa, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

From this list of states, these are the top VPNs that provide servers to them:

  • Astrill VPN: Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia (5)
  • ExpressVPN: Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia (5)
  • CyberGhost: Florida, Georgia, Texas (3)
  • Hide.me: Florida, Texas (2)
  • HideMyAss: Every Southern state (16)
  • Hotspot Shield: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas (6)
  • IPVanish: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia (6)
  • Mullvad: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas (4)
  • NordVPN: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas (4)
  • PIA: Florida, Georgia, Texas (3)
  • PrivateVPN: Florida, Georgia, Texas (3)
  • ProtonVPN: Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia (4)
  • Surfshark VPN: Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia (4)
  • TunnelBear: None
  • VyprVPN: Florida, Texas (2)
  • Windscribe: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas (5)

Based on this, we think that ExpressVPN, Hotspot Shield, IPVanish, and Windscribe are all great VPNs for the South specifically.

It’s a shame that states like Alabama and Mississippi go ignored, but almost all these VPNs cater to Florida, Georgia, and Texas. ExpressVPN also includes Oklohama, as does Hotspot Shield.

Windscribe Pro has Kentucky and Louisiana servers, unlike every other VPN with the exception of HMA. On Windscribe Free you can still use free servers in Atlanta, Dallas, and Miami.

ExpressVPN is our #1 choice for the Southern states because it has a good selection of Southern states and is also the best VPN for the US overall.

How Do I Use a VPN to Get Around US Sport Blackouts?

Illustration of a VPN Getting Around US Sports BlackoutsUS sports blackouts are common and frustrating. It affects the big sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA) and means you often won’t be able to watch your team play, either on cable or online.

National blackouts happen because of private agreements between the sports leagues and broadcasters. For example, if a national broadcaster like ABC or CBS acquires the rights to a game, viewers in the home team’s locality won’t be able to watch the game on other channels.

There are also regional blackouts, so only viewers in a specific area will be able to watch the game.

NFL fans are often subject to device-based blackouts, too. Some blackouts affect specific devices, like Roku, Chromecast, and mobile devices.

To get around these blackouts, you need a VPN with a large number of US IP addresses. We recommend HMA because it has IPs in almost every state. However, VPNs like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and PIA will also work. Through an extensive server network you can connect to a US region that is not subject to blackout restrictions.

There’s also advantages to obtaining an international IP address. For example, you can use a VPN to watch NFL Games live on DAZN and through NFL Game Pass International.

You can test your IP address location by using our IP checker tool.

 

Additional research by David Hughes

Are VPNs Legal in the US?

Yes, VPNs are legal in the US. There are no anti-VPN laws. It’s perfectly legal to protect your personal data.

In the US, like in the European democracies, you have total freedom to download and use a VPN. However, this doesn’t mean that illegal things conducted using a VPN are legal. Using a VPN doesn’t exempt you from any US law.

If you’re interested in VPN legal questions, you can read our in-depth piece on VPNs and the law.

Best Cheap US VPN?

If cost is an issue but you don’t want to compromise on quality or suffer restrictions, it’s worth looking at the best cheap VPNs.

PIA is the cheapest premium VPN on this list, and well worth the money. It costs as little as $2.69 per month on its best price deal (paid as $79.00 every three years).

NordVPN is still affordable at $3.71 per month ($89.00 every two years). But we recommend PIA over NordVPN for the US, anyway.

If you want to compare more cheap VPNs, you can take a look at our page of the best overall cheap VPNs.

VPN Free Trials

There’s also the option to sign up for free VPN trials. For example, Windscribe Free is a lifetime free trial. But there are also those that permit unrestricted access for a certain amount of time.

HideMyAss has a good free trial. You can use it for seven days completely free and with all the premium advantages, like streaming-optimized servers. You do have to remember to cancel within the week, though. Otherwise you will be charged.

The best overall free trial belongs to PrivateVPN. For seven days you are given unrestricted access to the VPN. This allows you to connect to servers in Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, New York and more (nine US cities in total). It also requires no payment details to sign up and expires automatically. So you have nothing to lose by trying it.

Or you can take advantage of a VPNs refund policy. ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and PIA all offer 30-day money-back guarantees with no questions asked. This means you can sign up for the service but get your money back within a month. You don’t even need to justify the refund.

Not all VPNs are this generous, though. Make sure to check the conditions of a refund if you’ve got your eye on another provider. Astrill doesn’t offer refunds, for example. Nor does TunnelBear.

You can read more about VPNs that do offer refunds and those that don’t on our page for the best VPN free trials.

What is the Fastest US VPN?

The fastest US VPN is Private Internet Access, followed closely by HideMyAss. Both VPNs consistently register over 90Mbps local download speeds on our New York speed tests.

ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Hotspot Shield register fast speeds reliably, too. With the exception of Windscribe Free, which doesn’t perform as well as its paid version, all the VPNs on this list are fast VPNs for the US.

Some slower US VPNs include PrivateVPN, ProtonVPN, and VyprVPN.

How Do I Watch British TV from the US?

Watching British TV from the US isn’t as simple as getting a UK IP address.

That’s because the BBC actively clamps down on VPN use. So to stream from BBC iPlayer you need a VPN with a proven track record accessing the service. This usually means a VPN with specially optimized streaming servers.

For BBC iPlayer, we recommend NordVPN. This is actually our #1 suggestion for BBC iPlayer overall. It unblocks BBC iPlayer consistently, on all platforms, and offers fast speeds. You can see which of NordVPN’s servers are currently working with BBC iPlayer by heading to our page.

With NordVPN you’ll be able to stream from other British streaming services like BritBox, All 4, and ITVPlayer, too. You’ll never have to wait for UK content to come to the States or miss an episode of your favorite British series.

Should I Avoid VPNs Based in the US?

It’s not necessarily the case that you should avoid all VPNs based in the US. But US jurisdiction can pose a privacy threat. The US has unprecedented surveillance reach and the legal powers to crack down on citizen privacy.

For example, while Private Internet Access is based in Colorado, we’re comfortable recommending it thanks to its proven privacy practices. It logs zero data on its users, so even if US authorities did ask for information, PIA has none to give.

But this does mean that if a VPN is based in the US, you need to be extra careful and ensure that it’s logging practices are as reputable as a VPN like PIA. If it’s not, the US courts can make legal requests and the VPN company will be obligated to cooperate. This has happened with HideMyAss.

While we caution against VPNs based in the US, we consider the unique circumstances of every VPN provider. The safest places to incorporate a VPN business are privacy-havens like the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Panama, or Seychelles. ExpressVPN is based in the BVI for this reason, and NordVPN in Panama.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio