• November 13, 2022

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NordVPN: Best VPN service. Online security starts with a click.

Get 72% off and 3 months for free. That’s only $3. 30/monthLimited time: 72% off 2-year planGet NordVPN30-day money-back guaranteeGet secure and private access to the InternetA good VPN service provides you a secure, encrypted tunnel for online traffic to flow. Nobody can see through the tunnel and get their hands on your internet data. NordVPN is the best VPN if you’re looking for peace of mind when on public Wi-Fi. Securely access personal information or work files, encrypt your internet connection, and keep your browsing history private. Buy a VPN to get online privacy and otect all your devicesDo you use Windows at work, macOS at home, and Linux for your special projects? You’ll enjoy online privacy and security on every platform. There’s a NordVPN application for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Linux. Oh, and also encrypted proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Best of all, with one NordVPN account, you can secure up to 6 devices at the same time. It’s the top VPN provider for all your a fast and stable connection anywhereBuffering is the ultimate buzzkill, so sitting back and relaxing with a slow internet connection is not an option. No worries — what makes NordVPN stand out from other VPN services is its unbeatable combination of bulletproof security, fast connection speed, and no bandwidth limits. You need NordVPN. Choose from over 5200 NordVPN servers in 60 countries and enjoy the fastest VPN experience. Thousands of VPN servers will make sure your internet connection doesn’t suffer. So turn on the VPN, browse without a worry and enjoy a speedy internet don’t just take our word for itFind out what other people have to say about wDiePie110M subscribers“Browse the internet safely, but most importantly, freely. A VPN is one of those things that are just good to have. I recommend NordVPN. ”CaseyNeistat12M subscribers“NordVPN is a very good VPN, they’re very highly regarded in the industry. I’ve been using it for 3 years, it’s not problematic, I use it on my iPhone, my Android, my Mac laptop. ”Philip DeFranco6M subscribers“I’ve been a NordVPN customer for years, and if you still haven’t checked it out you’re missing out on the peace of mind one gets when securing your personal data and internet activity. ”“As VPN services go, it’s hard to beat NordVPN. It has a large and diverse collection of servers, an excellent collection of advanced features, strong privacy and security practices, and approachable clients for every major platform. ”Max EddySoftware analyst, PCMag“The bottom line here is: When you’re online, you don’t have to worry about being secure or about your information getting out there if you have a VPN. NordVPN makes it simple. ”Tech of TomorrowTech reviewer, YouTubeBest OverallProPrivacy Awards 2019Best Customer ServiceProPrivacy Awards 2019Best PrivacyProPrivacy Awards 2019Best ValueProPrivacy Awards 2019Choose a plan that’s right for you30-day money-back logsNo hidden fees30-day money-back guaranteeNordVPN cybersecurity blogGet the latest security news, VPN service updates, expert insights, and useful tips.
Is Using a VPN Legal in 2021? - Security.org

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Is Using a VPN Legal in 2021? – Security.org

Are VPNs Legal?
Video Breakdown
How Do VPNs Work?
Are They Necessary?
Recap
Disclaimer: The information herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining advice from an attorney. Each case is different, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.
NordVPN connected
Is Using a VPN Legal?
In the U. S., it’s legal to use VPNs; even the FBI recommends them for more online privacy. 1
The Right to Browse Privately
That being said, the right to browse the internet privately doesn’t exist, at least in the U. S. Without VPNs, internet service providers, governments and corporations can see your data; that is, if you don’t use a VPN first. 2
Mozilla VPN iOS App Connected
Countries Where VPNs Are Illegal
The countries that have banned VPNs include:
Belarus
China
Iran
Iraq
Oman
Russia
Turkey
Uganda
United Arab Emirates (to get a VPN there, read our list of the best UAE VPNs)
Venezuela
There are also several countries with strict internet censorship laws; while they don’t ban VPNs outright, anyone who uses them will be at risk of hostility from the government:
North Korea (see our list of the best VPNs for Korea)
Cuba
Egypt
Vietnam
Bahrain
Turkmenistan
Myanmar
Syria
Libya3
While VPNs may be illegal or discouraged in certain countries, you can still connect to servers in these countries with the right VPN. However, VPN usage in restricted areas comes with its own set of risks, depending on which country you’re in and which VPN you choose.
VPNSecure Dashboard
Are VPNs Safe to Use?
Not all VPNs are safe to use. To minimize your risk, look for the following in your VPN search:
Strict logging policy: Most VPNs claim that they do not keep logs of any kind, but what they’re referring to specifically is logs of web activity. While most VPNs won’t log any of the websites you visit, some will log your devices’ IP addresses or personal information like your name and email. Make sure that you use a VPN that doesn’t log any of your personal information; ideally, it logs only an email address and anonymized payment information.
Pro Tip: For the most privacy, use a throwaway email address to register for a VPN that’s not linked to any of your PII (personally identifiable information).
Five Eyes nonmember: Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes is an international surveillance alliance whose member countries can legally spy on their citizens. Make sure that the VPN you choose is headquartered in a nonmember country like the Seychelles so that the company can’t be legally forced to hand customer data over to the government.
Strong encryption methods: The VPN should also use an encryption method such as AES-256; the U. military and government trust it, so it’s good enough for you as well.
The best way to protect yourself from jail, fines and other forms of punishment is simply not to use a VPN in countries where they’re illegal. But if you must, adhering to the above practices is the safest way to do it. So, what happens if you get caught using a VPN in a country where it’s illegal? Well, depending on the country, you could receive punishments of fines, jail time and more. Here are some recent punishments that the Chinese government gave to users for using VPNs:
2020: Just last year, a man in China was given an unspecified “administrative penalty” for bypassing the country’s Great Firewall.
Did You Know: In China, the Great Firewall only allows citizens to access government-approved websites, greatly restricting what people can do online.
2019: Someone who sold VPN services was sentenced to five and a half years in prison and fined $76, 000 USD.
2017: A man was fined a little over $155 USD for using a VPN. 4
We don’t intend to scare you by listing these punishments; rather, these are worst-case scenarios. Still, these types of punishments make choosing the right VPN for travel more important than ever before.
HMA VPN on on Mac
Using VPNs for Illegal Activities
There’s a misconception that if you use a VPN, then the illegal activity you’re doing will suddenly become legal. Wrong! Illegal online activities, like violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act or downloading child pornography, are still illegal even with a VPN. That’s why we only recommend using VPNs to torrent non-copyrighted content. 5 While a VPN may be able to hide activity, it doesn’t change the legal status of the acts.
Why People Use VPNs Legally
There are multiple legally sound reasons why people use VPNs, according to our VPN usage study. That includes:
General privacy
General security
Protection from public Wi-Fi networks
Increased security during online shopping
Hiding information from ISPs and Google
Streaming content from other countries’ servers.
Can You Be Fined or Prosecuted for Using a VPN?
Essentially, if you’re using a VPN in a country where they’re legal for legal activities, then you have nothing to worry about. However, if you’re in a country where VPNs are illegal and you’re found out, then yes, you could be fined or prosecuted.
Gabe Turner, an attorney and ’s Chief Editor, discusses the legality of VPNs in this video.
VPNs work by sending a user’s device IP address and web traffic through an encrypted tunnel before it reaches the internet. This prevents ISPs and hackers from tracing their online activity. Some VPNs even encrypt this information twice or more times, a process called multi-hop encryption. Once the user connects to a VPN, it will replace the device’s IP address with another one to hide their location, which is why it may seem to websites that the user is in a different country. To learn more, read our VPN guide.
IVPN No Leaks
Is Using a VPN Necessary?
Depending on where you are and what you want to do online, a VPN may or may not be necessary. For example, if you are on your secure home network and simply want to watch your country’s Netflix library, then a VPN won’t be of much use. However, if you are on a public Wi-Fi network, want to watch another country’s Netflix library, or simply don’t want your ISP to know your online activity, then yes, VPNs are necessary. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice; if you want privacy online, a VPN is the simplest and most straightforward method.
Unless you’re doing anything illegal, using a VPN in the U. is perfectly legally sound. However, if you’re using a VPN in a country where it’s not legal, it’s important to download one of the best VPNs in terms of privacy. While we can’t condone any illegal activity, there are ways to get around government restrictions to access a more free and open internet, and VPNs are at the forefront.
TunnelBear VPN Kill Switch
Frequently Asked Questions
Not so fast. Here is some more information about the legality behind VPNs.
Can I get in trouble for using a VPN?
Whether or not you can get in trouble for using a VPN depends on what country you’re in. If you’re in the U. S., VPNs are legal, so no, you can’t get into trouble for using them. However, if you’re in a country that bans VPNs, like China, then yes, you can get into trouble for using them.
Is using a VPN legal in Australia?
Using a VPN is legal in Australia.
Is using a VPN to watch Netflix illegal?
In the U. S., using a VPN to watch Netflix is legal; however, Netflix does block many VPNs, so you may or may not be able to get access.
Is it legal to use a VPN in the U. K.?
It is legal to use a VPN in the U. K.
10 Best VPN Services of 2021: How They Stack Up | Reviews.org

10 Best VPN Services of 2021: How They Stack Up | Reviews.org

Recent Updates: 1 month ago
We’ve updated the details on our top ten VPNs and refreshed our list. Find out why we chose ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, and Hotspot Shield as our top five.
A VPN (virtual private network) encrypts your internet connection on the fly so that your information is kept private whether you’re on your laptop, phone, or iPad.
This said, not every VPN is made equal. Some work better with Netflix or Zoom, while others offer perks like ad blockers that help you stay safe while browsing. Features like a high number of servers and countries can also make one VPN better than another, depending on what you want to do with it.
We researched and tested more than 40 VPN companies and settled on ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, and Hotspot Shield as our top picks.
But are they right for you? Let’s dig in and find out.
ExpressVPN: Best VPN for most people
NordVPN: Best security
CyberGhost: Best value
Private Internet Access: Best web browsing features
Hotspot Shield: Best for Netflix
Surfshark: Best for beginners
IPVanish: Best for unlimited devices
PureVPN: Best for BBC iPlayer
TunnelBear: Best free ad blocker
ProtonVPN: Best for torrenting
Best VPN services comparisonMonthly priceServers and countriesMax number of devicesDetailsExpressVPN$12. 95/mo. 3, 000+945View PlansNordVPN$11. 5, 200+606View PlansCyberGhost$12. 99/mo. 7, 400+907View PlansPrivate Internet Access$11. 33, 000+7810View PlansHotspot Shield$12. 3, 200+80+5View PlansSurfshark$12. 3, 200+65UnlimitedView PlansIPVanish$10. 1, 900+52UnlimitedView PlansPureVPN$10. 6, 500+140+10View PlansTunnelBear$9. 1, 800415View PlansProtonVPN$10. 00/mo. 1, 200+5510View Plans
Data effective 8/26/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
What’s the best free VPN? Not ready to put down cold, hard cash on a VPN? We recommend giving a free trial a go instead of grabbing a free VPN. Some free VPNs have been known to leak your data. Not cool. And we’ve also got several recommendations for low-cost VPN services you can try.
There are so many VPN providers to choose from, deciding on one might be difficult. Mostly it comes down to what you’re using a VPN for. And it’s important to look for a few key features when shopping for a VPN.
Look for these features when choosing a VPN service to get the best level of online protection as well as the best streaming and gaming quality while your VPN is turned on.
10 features to look for in a VPN service
Price: Most VPN subscriptions don’t cost much, and you could save money by signing up for an annual plan. Just make sure the up-front cost won’t send your budget spiraling.
Free trials and money-back guarantees: If you’re not sure a VPN is right for you, look for a free trial or a money-back guarantee.
Number of servers and countries: More servers equals more options for VPN connections.
Devices: Make sure your specific devices are supported. Don’t forget about browser extensions and ad-blocking software.
Max number of devices/simultaneous connections: Most VPNs let you connect 5 devices at a time, but some VPNs offer unlimited connections.
24/7 live support: Things break, problems arise. 24/7 live support is your lifeline.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, there are a few additional features you should consider.
When you look for a VPN provider, choose one that keeps “no logs. ” That means the VPN provider doesn’t keep any records of who you are or your online activity.
If your VPN provider does keep logs, then there’s a record of you somewhere in the world. That means information about your online shopping habits, your friends’ or family’s contact information, or your personal data could be stolen.
What are Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes? Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes are terms commonly seen when reading about VPNs. Each one represents an alliance between different countries and an agreement between those countries to share surveillance data of online activity.
If your VPN is located in a country that’s part of these alliances, its no logs policy could be a false promise because it might be required to share your data with allied countries.
Five Eyes: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, and the US
Nine Eyes: Five Eyes countries plus Denmark, France, Holland, and Norway
Fourteen Eyes: Nine Eyes countries plus Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden
AES-256 encryption is the gold-standard way to keep hackers’ hands off your data. (It’s approved by the National Security Agency. ) Most VPNs use AES-256 encryption, but some allow you to choose a less-secure encryption method. So always double-check that AES-256 is the standard—or at least that you can swap to it.
AES-256 encryption, by the numbersWe hope you’re sitting down: 2^256 equals … (deep breath):
115, 792, 089, 237, 316, 195, 423, 570, 985, 008, 687, 907, 853, 269, 984, 665, 640, 564, … (deep breath) … 039, 457, 584, 007, 913, 129, 639, 936
Uhh, yeah. That’s a huge number of combinations. And to crack into your data, a hacker needs to have the exact 256-bit key that was used to encrypt your info. AES-256 is almost impenetrable against brute-force hacking attacks, and a hacker would need a quantum computer to even attempt it. (A quantum computer is a step up from a supercomputer. )
9. OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, or WireGuard protocol
OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and the newer WireGuard VPN protocols are some of the most secureVPN protocols. We recommend avoiding PPTP and IKEv2, since these two protocols are less secure.
Also, while SSTP is very secure, it works with Windows computers only.
VPN protocol security levelsProtocolSecurity levelWireGuardMost secureOpenVPNMost secureSSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol)Extremely secure (Windows only)IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange, version 2)More secureL2TP/IPsec (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol with IPsec)SecurePPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)Least secure
10. Advanced VPN features
Split tunneling: If you’d like to choose which apps and websites are covered by your VPN and which ones aren’t, choose a VPN with split tunneling options. For example, you may be content streaming Netflix in your home country without a VPN, but you’d like extra security while you check your online bank account.
DNS leak protection: A VPN that prevents DNS (domain name system) leaks ensures that any DNS queries your device makes are securely routed through your VPN. If your DNS queries are leaked, that means third parties, including your ISP, could see which websites you visit, apps you use, and more.
Dynamic IP address: Your IP address is assigned to the device you’re using to get online, so it makes sense that a dynamic, or changing, IP address is more secure than a static one. Static IPs are easier to hack and can even allow third parties to find out where you and your device are physically located.
ExpressVPN: Best for most people
ExpressVPN’s easy-to-use interface and powerful features make it one of the best VPNs out there
ExpressVPN featuresVPN serviceLowest priceServers and countriesWorks with NetflixLearn more$8. 32/mo. for 1 yr. (billed $99. 95 annually)3, 000+94YesView Plans
Express VPN’s biggest standout is its interface, which is clean and user-friendly. Simply open up ExpressVPN, and tap the power button to instantly connect.
To select a different server, tap the three dots next to the name of the server you’re currently connected to.
Pros
High number of countries and serversHandy video guidesZero traffic logs
Cons
Only five simultaneous connectionsComparatively pricey
ExpressVPN featuresFeatureExpressVPNPrice$12. $59. 95/6 mos. $99. 95/rvers3, 000+Countries94Simultaneous connections5Logs policyNo logsNetflix supportYesTorrenting supportYesAd blockerNoneEncryptionAES-256VPN protocolOpenVPNCustomer support24/7 live chat and emailFree trial30-day free trialLearn moreView Plans
ExpressVPN standout features
Considerable number of countries and servers
Apps for streaming devices and gaming consoles
Clean, easy-to-use interface
ExpressVPN is a top pick because of its interface and powerful features, plus a large number of servers and countries to choose from. ExpressVPN’s customer service and user guides also contributed to its reputation as one of the top VPNs available.
It also offers split tunneling in case you’d rather not use your VPN for a game of Clash of Clans on your phone, but absolutely need it when you check your banking app.
As for ExpressVPN’s privacy policy, it doesn’t collect your browser history, website content, or DNS queries. It also doesn’t collect your IP address, connection timestamp, or session duration.
But it does collect the minimum amount of data to keep its VPN service up and running: your account info, app diagnostics, and user-registered IP addresses for those that use MediaStreamer.
The biggest drawback to ExpressVPN is its price. It’s not as affordable as some of its competitors: NordVPN and Private Internet Access cost $11. 95 a month. On top of that, ExpressVPN restricts you to five devices, unlike IPVanish and Surfshark.
View Plans | Read Full ExpressVPN Review
NordVPN’s colocated RAM servers offer maximum security for your data
NordVPN featuresVPN serviceLowest priceServers and countriesWorks with NetflixLearn more$3. 67/mo. for 2 yrs (billed $99. 00 annually)5, 200+60YesView Plans
We rated NordVPN highly because of the user-friendly interface (most features are very easy to find), its exceptional security measures including RAM servers, a reliable and consistent connection to a wide assortment of servers, and a reasonable price for the value and quality.
Intuitive interfaceZero traffic logsExcellent encryption and security
Targeted by streaming servicesCostly one-month plan
NordVPN featuresFeatureNordVPNPrice$11. 00/yr. 00/2 rvers5, 200+Countries60Simultaneous connections6Logs policyNo logsNetflix supportYesTorrenting supportYesAd blockerYesEncryptionAES-256VPN protocolOpenVPNCustomer support24/7 live chatFree trial30-day free trialLearn moreView Plans
NordVPN standout features
Operates RAM servers
CyberSec feature blocks malware websites
Zero traffic logs
NordVPN is a top-notch VPN because of its straightforward interface, no logs policy, and exceptional security features.
You won’t have any trouble finding features while using its friendly looking app. Added features like CyberSec, which blocks malware, ensure your data stays safe. Plus, like many VPNs, NordVPN has a zero logs policy.
But unlike some VPNs, NordVPN began upgrading to diskless RAM servers in 2019, which means its servers can’t store any data. Zip, zilch, nada.
And now, NordVPN is rolling out colocated servers that are fully owned and maintained solely by NordVPN, so no third parties get close to its servers. 1
As for speed, we found slowdowns to be few and far between and all but unnoticeable during our testing.
View Plans | Read Full NordVPN Review
CyberGhost offers a massive number of servers and a low-cost two-year plan
CyberGhost featuresVPN serviceLowest priceServers and countriesWorks with NetflixLearn more$2. 25/mo. for 2 yrs. (billed $58. 50 for first 2 yrs. )7, 400+90YesView Plans
CyberGhost is technically superior when it comes to specs alone. This VPN can connect seven of your devices to over 6, 000 servers in 90 countries. There’s a server available for almost any purpose. It’s also one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, making it great for gamers.
On top of exceptional specs, CyberGhost offers a low monthly price if you pony up for its two-year plan. And its 45-day money-back guarantee is also generous—most VPNs offer only 30 days.
Connect up to seven devicesLarge number of serversGreat speedsLow-cost two-year plan
Pricey monthly planSometimes overloaded servers24- to 48-hour free trial
CyberGhost VPN featuresFeatureCyberGhostPrice$12. $38. 34/6 mos. $58. 50/2 rvers7, 400+Countries90Simultaneous connections7Logs policySome data collection (IP address, country, etc. )Netflix supportYesTorrenting supportYesAd blockerYesEncryptionAES-256VPN protocolOpenVPN, WireGuard on some devicesCustomer support24/7 live chatFree trial24- or 48-hour free trialLearn moreView Plans
CyberGhost VPN standout features
Access on up to seven devices
Massive number of servers
Has a low-cost 2-year payment option
To get the most value out of CyberGhost, sign up for its two-year plan. That brings your monthly cost down to a nearly unbeatable price of $2. 25 a month.
But if you choose to pay month by month, CyberGhost can be costly. It charges you $13 a month if you don’t pick its six-month or two-year plan, which is high compared to month-to-month prices you’ll see from other VPNs.
That whopping 7, 400+ server count is another excellent feature. Plus, CyberGhost lets you connect up to seven gadgets, a (small) step up from NordVPN’s and ExpressVPN’s limit of five each.
If you’d rather not commit to a full six months or two years of CyberGhost service, you can sign up for its free trial. But be aware that your free trial lasts only 24 or 48 hours, depending on whether you sign up for the trial on desktop or your cell phone. You can also connect only one device while on the trial.
As for logs, CyberGhost says it doesn’t store traffic logs, but it does collect various bits of personal data that includes your IP address, country location, billing methods, and a few other items.
View Plans | Read Full CyberGhost VPN Review
With more servers than any VPN we’ve seen plus ad and malware blocking, Private Internet Access takes privacy to the next level
Private Internet Access VPN featuresVPN serviceLowest priceServers and countriesWorks with NetflixLearn more$2. 08/mo. for 3 yrs. (billed $79. 00 every 3 yrs. )33, 000+78US Netflix onlyView Plans
Private Internet Access (PIA) tops the charts with 33, 000+ servers across 78 countries, which is stunningly high. Most VPNs offer 3, 000-5, 000 servers. Coming in at nearly ten times that number of servers, PIA ensures there is a connection readily available no matter where you go.
PIA also includes adware and malware blockers to keep you safe online. When you visit a site that could compromise your data, this VPN won’t let you through, thus protecting your connection and personal information.
Heaps of serversAnonymous payment options including gift cards10 connected devices at a time
No ability to choose serversKnown for so-so speeds
Private Internet Access VPN featuresFeaturePrivate Internet AccessPrice$11. $39. 95/yr. $79. 00/3 rvers33, 000+Countries78Simultaneous connections10Logs policyNo logsNetflix supportUS Netflix onlyTorrenting supportHit or missAd blockerYesEncryptionAES-128 default, but can select AES-256VPN protocolWireGuard, OpenVPNCustomer support24/7 live chat and emailFree trialNoneLearn moreView Plans
Private Internet Access standout features
Top-notch web privacy features
Accepts gift cards from Starbucks, Walmart, Best Buy, etc. as payment
Though its price recently jumped up to $12 a month, Private Internet Access lets you connect to one of over 33, 000 servers. That’s an exceptional value—though we don’t like that you can’t manually select one of those thousands of servers.
Private Internet Access also has an unusual feature that lets you pay with a gift card from Walmart, Starbucks, Best Buy, and other locations. That means you don’t have to reveal your identity or share a credit card number.
We’re also happy with PIA’s no logs policy. Personal data collected is intended to maintain your user account and manage your payments. Your state or zip code may also be collected, but only to make sure PIA charges you the right amount of tax.
Netflix lovers may want to look elsewhere though, since PIA only works with the US Netflix library. And while Private Internet Access defaults to a fairly secure AES-128 encryption, we recommend bumping that up to AES-256 for maximum security.
View Plans | Read Full Private Internet Access VPN Review
Hotspot Shield earned the title of Fastest VPN from, making it great for streaming Netflix
Hotspot Shield featuresVPN serviceLowest priceServers and countriesWorks with NetflixLearn more$2. (billed $107. 64 every 3 yrs. )3, 200+80+Yes, paid plan onlyView Plans
While every VPN tends to cause some internet slowdowns, HotSpot Shield remains speedy. Even took notice and named Hotspot Shield the fastest VPN in 2019. 2
True to this claim to fame, Hotspot Shield maintained steady speeds when our Australia team put it to the test. They noted a download speed difference of less than 1% when connecting to an Australian server, and only a 3% download speed difference when connecting to a US server.
Those speeds make Hotspot Shield a no-brainer if you’re hoping to stream Netflix or do some gaming.
Sneak into Netflix at your own riskIf you plan to binge-watch another country’s Netflix library with help from a VPN, keep in mind that’s against the Netflix Terms of Service. (See section 4. 6. ) If you’re caught, your account might be terminated or restricted.
Named fastest VPN by free planFree 1Password subscription
Personal data is collectedFree plan lacks 24/7 support
Hotspot Shield featuresFeatureHotspot ShieldPrice$12. $95. 88/yr. $107. 64/3 rvers3, 200+Countries80+Simultaneous connections5Logs policyCollects data on domains visited, device identities, IP address, etc. 3Netflix supportYes, paid plan onlyTorrenting supportYesAd blockerNoneEncryptionAES-256VPN protocolProprietary Hydra protocolCustomer supportFree: FAQ onlyPaid: 24/7 live chat and emailFree trial7-day free trialLearn moreView Plans
Hotspot Shield standout features
Fastest VPN speeds
Free password management through 1Password
Free basic version available
Hotspot Shield’s encryption is also well-known for being robust. Hotspot Shield claims its VPN blocks 57 million malware and phishing scam sites. (Those sites trick you into thinking you’re on a legit site, then proceed to steal your credit card info and other personal data. ) That’s a big plus.
Another point in favor of Hotspot Shield: It created its own VPN protocol called Hydra. The Hotspot Shield team noticed that most VPN protocols suffer from high latency, so they optimized Hydra to reduce latency, or shorten the delay between the time you send data (for example, click a link) and the time your device receives data (the link you clicked on loads).
One important detail to note with Hotspot Shield is that its parent company, Aura, does collect your personal information. This goes against a no logs policy, and since Hotspot Shield is based in the US, it could also mean your data is shared with third parties.
View Plans | Read Full Hotspot Shield Review
Other VPN services to try
These VPNs also stood out, but not quite enough to make our top five. Still, each one has something to offer when it comes to protecting your online privacy.
Surfshark sports a fun vibe with the interface and some technical features like the ability to choose which sites don’t use the VPN.
There’s a laundry list of extra features, like the Surfshark One ad blocker, split tunneling, kill switch, and private DNS on every server. And you can use as many devices as you want with Surfshark. Most VPN apps have a set limit of about 5 devices.
The biggest drawbacks with Surfshark are that it uses a static IP address, which is easier to track than the preferred dynamic IP. Plus, we’ve heard Windows users complain that Surfshark’s speeds are noticeably slow.
View Plans | Read Full Surfshark Review
IPVanish is a solid VPN app that may meet your needs, although it is a little light on features. You might like the price of $10 a month, though, which is a bit cheaper than most of the top VPN clients out there, such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN. And IPVanish comes with unlimited simultaneous devices
But if you’re hoping to watch Netflix, you’re limited to the US Netflix library.
View Plans | Read Full IPVanish Review
If you’re keen on British classics such as EastEnders or home reno dramas like Flat Out Fabulous, PureVPN is a great bet. We tested the BBC iPlayer with PureVPN and binge-watched Wallander (on the BBC) along with Young Wallander (on Netflix).
PureVPN servers call a mind-boggling 140+ countries home, which gives you a lot of options when it comes to tweaking your VPN connection. That and a fairly low monthly price of about $11 along with 10 simultaneous devices might also tickle your fancy.
Advanced VPN users might feel left out in the rain with PureVPN though. You’ll need to pay extra for a dedicated IP or port-forwarding. Granted, the cost is low ($1. 75 for both features at the time we’re writing this), but we prefer a VPN that offers all features without holding out its hand for more money.
View Plans | Read Full PureVPN Review
TunnelBear is the quirky, fun VPN of the pack. Their website features a bear as a mascot and we kept finding jokes and puns about the product (like “the bear essentials”). The interface is remarkably clear, professional, and intuitive.
One super helpful feature is called GhostBear, which can trick websites into thinking you are not even using a VPN. This VPN includes a free ad blocker as well—and you can download it without even signing up for an account.
The kicker is that TunnelBear offers servers in only 41 countries, few of which are lenient toward P2P torrenting. On top of that, you won’t be able to access Netflix, only Hulu and YouTube.
View Plans | Read Full TunnelBear Review
If torrenting is your aim, we found that ProtonVPN is your best bet. (Though it has to be said that we don’t condone illegal downloads. )
This VPN offers four different plans: Free, Basic, Plus, and Visionary. The Plus plan offers the most VPN features, while the Visionary plan is the Plus plan combined with the ProtonMail encrypted email service. You’ll want the Basic or Plus plan for torrenting, and the Plus plan if you prefer to stream Netflix, Disney+, or other services.
The downside? ProtonVPN isn’t cheap unless you go with the (limited) Free plan. Its Basic and Plus plans cost $5 or $10 a month—and the Visionary plan costs a whopping $30 a month.
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Recap: The 10 best VPNs 2021
The best VPN out there right now is ExpressVPN. But there are a ton of other options to choose from if you’re looking for a specific VPN feature or have a unique need like location, video calls, gaming, or streaming.
We recommend using a VPN any time you’re online, but especially if you use public Wi-Fi at the airport, Starbucks, library, or elsewhere.
VPNs like ExpressVPN stand between you and the websites you visit so your data isn’t as vulnerable to leaks and theft. And if you’re at home, it’s a good idea to install your VPN service directly on your router so it protects your entire private network.
We dove into hands-on testing of each VPN service we recommend here by streaming shows, downloading files, connecting to several servers in multiple countries, and noting any speed slowdowns. We also took a look at the following features:
Prices and how they compare to similar VPNs
Ease-of-use and user-friendliness in the interface
Guides and support documentation
Logs policies
Encryption and VPN protocol
Whether you can use the VPN to access Netflix or torrent files
Additional features, such as ad blockers, malware security, kill switches, etc.
In the end, we asked ourselves: “Is this a VPN worth recommending? ” to be sure that each one of these top 10 VPN services has something to offer.
What is a VPN? Why do you need one
VPNs, or virtual private networks, are affordable, legal, and a great way to keep your internet activity (mostly) away from prying eyes.
Even if you don’t use the public Wi-Fi at Starbucks or the library, you’re probably already aware that almost everything you do online is tracked.
Yup, your internet service provider (ISP) or any company that makes money by marketing ads to you is probably logging everything you do online right now. 4 And possibly hackers too.
We don’t mean to freak you out. But we want to stress that it’s always a good idea to protect your online privacy. Even if you’re not using public Wi-Fi.
The good news is, a virtual private network (VPN) is an easy—and often cheap—way to add an extra layer of security so you can surf the web in peace.
It’s always a good idea to protect your online privacy, even if you’re not on public Wi-Fi. And having a VPN is an easy way to add an extra layer of security so you can surf the web in peace.
What is a VPN?
In a nutshell, a VPN is software that builds an encrypted connection from your computer to a VPN server, and then to your ISP, which sends you to the website you want to visit. This is sometimes called the VPN tunnel, and it creates a secure connection to the website. Now prying eyes can’t watch what you do online—even if you’re shopping for creepy green vegetables that shout yodel-ay-ee-hoo!. (We assume it’s a white elephant gift, right? )
You can think of a VPN like a goalie protecting its turf—in this case, your computer and private data.
When another player tries to track your internet activity or gain access to your info, the VPN blocks it. The only ones who get to know what you’re doing online are the VPN and whatever website you’re visiting.
Your IP address tells websites a lot of information about you. That includes your location, what kind of device you’re browsing the internet on, and your internet provider.
A VPN can hide your IP address. But if you’re not using a VPN to hide your IP address, you’ll see all the information that’s shared with websites in our widget here. If you’re creeped out by this, you’re not alone. We are too.
That’s why we recommend using a VPN to keep your information safe online. We’ve tested dozens of VPN services to find the best and most affordable ones, and you can see which VPNs made our list by clicking the link below.
What is encryption?
Encryption protocols convert all your information into a secret code so that only the person (or computer) with the key to the code can read it.
VPN software can also mask your IP address to give you even more privacy online. Your IP address is assigned to you by your internet provider and is a unique series of numbers that attaches to everything you do online.
That means every online place you visit knows exactly where you’re located thanks to your IP address. But a VPN hides your personal IP address. Instead, the IP address of the VPN server you connect to is what shows up online.
What is a VPN server?
Servers are essentially storehouses of data—every website in existence is stored on a server (or servers), and VPN servers are no exception.
VPN servers are set up to host users and connect them to the internet, but they’re also configured to encrypt and decrypt the data you send and receive from websites online. (The data needs to be decrypted so your computer or mobile device can read it. )
Another way VPN servers are unique is that they’re often located in different US cities—or even different countries, like the UK, Sweden, or Germany. By hosting servers in different cities and countries, a VPN protects you from ads targeting certain geographical regions.
What’s more, if a VPN connection can make it look like you’re surfing the web from a flat in England, it’s also possible for you to get around region restrictions on certain websites or apps.
Why is the number of servers so important?
More VPN servers means more value. When there are thousands of servers, as you’ll find with apps like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost, you can almost always find a reliable and secure connection that’s also fast enough for the purposes at hand.
What VPNs can’t do
VPNs may seem like a miracle when it comes to securing your online privacy. But there are a few things they can’t do, such as fully prevent companies from tracking your information or speed up your internet.
Cookies can still track your information online
Even if you use a VPN, there are still ways for ad companies to track your path across the internet even after you’ve left their sites.
One example is cookies. You can think of cookies like a sort of digital ID card that you show to websites you visit online. That ID card includes information about you, like what pages on a website you visit, what’s in your shopping cart when you shop online, and any personal information you’ve volunteered, like your name.
With ad companies, the cookies you create can contain information about multiple sites you’ve visited if those sites all contain ads that are managed by one advertising company.
There is good news, though. Cookies don’t give these ad companies or websites access to your computer or any personal information you haven’t purposefully shared online. And cookies can’t infect your computer or device with viruses or malware.
Also, you can easily delete cookies whenever you want.
VPNs won’t make your internet faster
You should also know that a VPN can’t speed up your internet. Actually, a VPN will probably do the opposite and slow down your connection. That’s because you need to connect to both your ISP’s server and the VPN server to encrypt your online identity and traffic.
And if you choose a server that’s located far away from your current location, it takes more time for your internet connection to travel there and back.
It’s likely you won’t notice much of a change if you’re on DSL, cable, or fiber internet. But this is the main reason we don’t recommend using a VPN with satellite internet—because your internet connection already needs to travel thousands of miles above the Earth and back.
Using a VPN with satellite internet isn’t recommendedBecause a VPN requires your internet to connect to an extra server, it can cause a satellite internet connection to slow down even more.
This is because of latency, or the time it takes for your data to travel from your computer to the VPN server, then to the satellite, and on to the website you’re visiting. We’ve got more information on how latency works in our satellite internet guide.
VPNs still have to follow laws in the countries they’re based in
You should also know that a VPN still has to follow laws and restrictions imposed by the country it’s based in. That potentially includes subpoenas and warrants, which means a VPN may have to comply if asked to hand over your internet history.
Short answer: yes, a VPN is legal to use… but not everywhere. VPNs are legal in the US, Canada, and most other Western countries.
But there are some countries where VPNs are totally banned—mostly countries with super-restrictive governments like Iraq, China, and Russia.
It’s also important to know that, while a VPN is legal, it doesn’t make illegal acts okay. This includes illegal activity like downloading copyrighted information, such as songs or movies, cyberstalking, and hacking computers or networks.
Also, using a VPN to get around geo-restrictions, like streaming a TV show that’s not available in the US, is still likely a violation of the streaming app’s Terms of Service and could result in your account getting banned.
Where are VPNs banned?
The legality of your VPN depends on where you are at any given moment, not where you’re from. You can’t hop on your VPN during a vacation to Shanghai just because it’s legal in your home country.
Here’s a current list of countries where VPNs are illegal5:
Belarus
China
Iran
Iraq
North Korea
Oman
Russia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
United Arab Emirates
We also mentioned that VPN providers have to follow the laws of the countries they’re located in.
For example, if your VPN provider is located in a country where the government could legally make VPNs hand over information, then your VPN could potentially hand over your personal information to a foreign government.
Even if you personally don’t live in the same country as your VPN provider, your info could still be compromised.
Still have questions about VPNs? We can help.
After testing, we found that the best VPNs are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, Private Internet Access (PIA), Hotspot Shield, Surfshark, IPVanish, PureVPN, TunnelBear, and ProtonVPN.
What is the most secure VPN service?
The most secure VPN services right now are the following:
ExpressVPN
NordVPN
Surfshark
TunnelBear
PureVPN
ProtonVPN
Each of these features AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN or WireGuard VPN protocol, and an independently audited no logs policy.
How much does a VPN service cost?
Most VPN services cost between $10 and $13 a month, but you can pay less each month if you subscribe for a longer amount of time. For example

Frequently Asked Questions about buy vpn

Is buying VPN legal?

Unless you’re doing anything illegal, using a VPN in the U.S. is perfectly legally sound. However, if you’re using a VPN in a country where it’s not legal, it’s important to download one of the best VPNs in terms of privacy.Sep 13, 2021

How much does a VPN cost?

10 Best VPN Services 2021ServiceMonthly priceMax number of devicesExpressVPN$12.95/mo.5NordVPN$11.95/mo.6CyberGhost$12.99/mo.7Private Internet Access$11.95/mo.106 more rows

How do I purchase VPN?

Figure out what you need a VPN for.Look at each VPN’s qualities.Check which devices are compatible.Find a VPN with a user-friendly interface.Ensure your important locations are covered.Decide what payment plan you prefer.Look for a VPN with reliable customer service.Make sure it includes a money-back guarantee.

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