Forget what you think you know about VPN because odds are you’ve been misinformed. There’s a lot of misconceptions about how VPN works, what it can do and how it can benefit your daily digital life. Can you tell the differences between a quality VPN service or one that will leave you at risk?
Table of Contents
If you’re looking to find a quality VPN service, then you’ve come to the right place. On this site, you’ll find expert advice on top VPN services. You’ll learn exactly how a VPN works, why it is important to use a VPN and how we review each service. We will teach you how to find the best VPN service for you and give you recommendations for the best cheap VPN services.
With this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision when choosing the best VPN service for your needs.
- Allows 3+ Simultaneous Connections
- 500+ Servers
- Geographically Diverse Servers
- Torrent / P2P
- Advanced Features
- Anonymous connection
- Blocks Ads
- 1 Month Plan
How a VPN Works
VPN is short for Virtual Private Network. This private network allows external connection from your personal computer or mobile device and then takes over and effectively serves as your ISP.
Start by installing the VPN app onto your computer or mobile device. Using the client, you’ll select a VPN server and connect. This will establish an encrypted tunnel to the VPN server.
Once a VPN connection is established, your computer is then assigned a new IP address from the VPN network. From this point forward, anyone monitoring sites you connect to will see the IP address assigned by the VPN server and not your physical IP.
In addition, all data both ways is encrypted using the encryption algorithm of the network. The only people that will be able to decipher the data are you and the intended recipient of the data. Anyone else will simply see noise if anything at all.
From this point, all internet activity is routed through the secure VPN server. The server acts as your internet proxy and controls the routing of the data as well as the speed of which you are surfing the web, streaming or downloading files. This continues until you disconnect from the VPN service.
There are numerous benefits to using a VPN online. It masks your identity from anyone wishing to track your online activities. It also helps you get around various geo-restrictions and content blocks place by companies, schools or businesses. For those that use internet over mobile devices, it can also help protect you over public Wi-Fi.
Seven Reasons You Need a VPN
As internet technology has grown, so has the need to use VPN to ensure unrestricted access to the web. Below are several reasons why you may need a VPN.
Some websites will geo-restrict content, meaning only those in the same region as the content are allowed access. Streaming sites such as US Netflix and Hulu use geo-restrictions to prevent access to content from outside the United States. The best VPN providers will allow you to bypass these restrictions and allow unrestricted access to streaming content. Other sites that might use geo-restrictions include gaming sites, streaming music, and online sports channels. Using a VPN, you can connect to a server in the country the content is located and unblock the content.
Access Blocked Websites School & Work
Those of you with internet access at school or work will encounter restricted access to websites. This is because local IT has installed content filtering on their systems or network to prevent access to sites they feel will either harm their networks or that are productivity killers. Examples of such sites include social media sites, dating sites, porn sites, websites that match a set of “banned keywords,” streaming sites and more. VPN establishes a tunnel that bypasses the content blockers of the local network and allows you to surf the internet as you desire.
Access Blocked Websites: Country Bans
If you regularly travel on business, then you will run into content blocks established by local governments. These blocks are often used to censor the citizens of a country, often from content deemed “harmful” to a government. Social media sites are almost always a target of this form of censorship as are news sites, blog sites or any site that doesn’t conform to local regulations. By using a reliable VPN you’ll bypass these restrictions and enjoy uncensored access to the internet.
Surf on Unsecured Networks
Public Wi-Fi is one of the greatest threats to your privacy. The majority of Wi-Fi is unsecured, meaning that anyone with the right technology can intercept your data, steal your identity and even infect your devices with malware. When using a safe VPN over Wi-Fi, you establish an impenetrable secure tunnel that’s used to transmit your data. Your data cannot be sniffed or intercepted and your privacy remains secure.
Prevent ISP Throttling
Some ISPs will slow your internet connection if they feel you’re using too much data or using it too fast. Gamers often have this problem because their games are constantly streaming data over a live connection. Torrent users also have this problem due to the size of downloaded files. If you game or torrent over a fast VPN server, your internet speed is controlled by the VPN server and not your ISP, meaning that your ISP cannot slow your connection.
You may not know this, but what you pay for an item online can be determined by your physical location. If you live in an area of the world where a company feels you can afford to pay more, you’ll often be charged more for flights, hotel rooms, or most anything you shop for online. If you shop online while using a popular VPN, you can choose a server in a less-affluent country or area of your own country and enjoy the discounts associated with that area. It’s one way that buying a VPN subscription can actually save you money.
Stop Identity Theft
In addition to providing a secure tunnel for your internet, VPN also encrypts all of your data both ways. Anyone trying to intercept your data will be unable to decipher it. Top VPN providers use military-grade encryption. This means that you can shop online, pay bills, and check banking statements and more without worrying about someone stealing your identity.
Why You Should Trust Us
What makes us different from the thousands of sites offering VPN reviews? We don’t just say we are experts…we actually are. Our tech experts range from PC technicians to network administrators and IT security professionals.
Every person on our staff knows what to look for when reviewing a VPN and are not simply trying to sell you a product. They thoroughly test each program and provide a knowledgeable review to help you decide which VPN to use.
What’s the best VPN to use? Find out with our list of the best-rated VPN services. We’ve tested the majority of services on the market and the services on our list can handle anything that you’ll need to do while online.
How We Test Each VPN
Our reviewers extensively test each recommended VPN service to ensure it will provide you with the service and features you need. Below is a quick checklist on what we test on each service reviewed.
- Installation – How difficult is it to install?
- Ease of Use – Is the client simple to use or do you need to be a computer geek to use the software?
- Speed – On a fast VPN, you’ll have no problems surfing, streaming or downloading files.
- Number of Countries and Servers – How many servers are available and what parts of the world are covered?
- Log Policy – Does the VPN have a no-log policy? If a VPN does collect logs, which logs?
- Unlimited Bandwidth and Data Transfer – Will you have to worry about throttling when streaming, gaming or torrenting? We’ll tell you.
- Multiple OS Support – Find out which platforms and devices are supported by the client.
- Multiple Connections Available – Can you connect your computer, smartphone, and other devices at the same time for one fee?
- P2P Capabilities – Find out whether this service allows P2P and torrenting.
- Available for Streaming Platforms – Does this service allow access to Netflix, Hulu, or any streaming content?
- Other Useful Features – Other helpful features offered by some VPN services include an internet kill switch, auto Wi-Fi protection, and IP leak testing.
- Pricing – How much is a VPN subscription? Find out how much service costs and whether a cheap VPN is a good value compared to other services.
- Customer Support – If you have problems, what support options are available. Is the support “do it yourself” or can you actually speak or chat with a support agent?
- Free Trials and Money Back Guarantees – We’ll let you know if you can “try it before you buy it,” and also whether a service offers a money back guarantee.
VPNs to Avoid
Contrary to popular belief, VPNs are not all the same. In fact, there are many that should be avoided. The easiest way to determine whether a VPN should be avoided is by checking to see if it fails to provide any of the basic requirements for modern internet users.
For example, if a service cannot consistently get around geo-blocks, it’s probably not going to be good for streaming Netflix or other sites. If you’re a torrent user and the service blocks P2P ports, then you’re simply wasting your money on the product.
For many, security is a top concern. If your service falls short in ANY area of security, move on. The biggest offenders are VPNs that keep logs of any type. If they are keeping logs, then they will probably turn you in if law enforcement contacts them.
- Other red flags include:
- Bandwidth limitations
- Anything less than 256-bit AES encryption
- Slow speeds
- Very few server locations in popular countries (like the US and UK)
- You’ll also notice several “free VPNs” on the market. While a free VPN sounds like a good option, we want to warn you first. Free VPN services have limitations compared to paid VPN services. These limitations include:
- Slow connection speeds
- Data caps
- Ad popups
- Fewer server options
- Limited customer support
- PPTP connection only (limited encryption)
- Inability to access certain streaming sites
Worse yet, for free VPNs to make money off customers using their free service, they will often sell your browsing data to third-party companies. This means that your data is not 100% private. Do you really want your online history sold off to the highest bidder? Probably not.
While it is always good to “try before you buy,” we highly recommend sticking with a premium VPN service.
Why We Don’t Mention all VPN Brands
You’ll notice that the number of services we recommend is limited despite the fact that there are hundreds of available services on the market. That’s because they have fallen short in one or more major areas and aren’t worth your time.
- If a VPN exhibits any of the following, we cross them off our list:
- Inconsistent Speeds – Common symptoms include users having to switch servers to improve speeds, fluctuating download speeds and the inability to stream high-quality video.
- Small Network – VPNs with small networks will make it difficult to get around some geo-blocks. They also often have speed issues due to capacity issues.
- P2P Not Allowed – Some VPNs actively block ports necessary for P2P.
- Security Issues – If we find evidence of logging, IP leaks, or any type of security problem, we drop them.
- Usability Issues – If there are consistent usability issues with a service, such as an inability to stream on major services, we will drop them. Other usability issues include the inability to get around certain geo-blocks, regular downtime and limited device or OS compatibility.
Wrapping it Up
The internet is not safe, nor is it as free as we all like to think. Every time you log in, your privacy and personal identity are at risk. Furthermore, the web is becoming increasingly restrictive to the point to where a VPN is no longer a luxury but a requirement for everyday web usage.
We can help you find the best VPN to use. By using one of our recommended VPN providers you’ll enjoy enhanced data security, consistent speeds without throttling, the ability to bypass geo-restrictions and the ability to surf public Wi-Fi securely. However, it is important that you pick the right VPN service. That’s why we’ve assembled a team of computer experts to thoroughly test each VPN service to ensure that each service lives up to their claims.
When you use one of our recommended services you can rest assured that you stay safe and secure and that you will be able to use the web as you see fit from anywhere in the world.