The Best VPN Services of 2018

VPNs Keep You Safe Online

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IP addresses are distributed based on location, so you can estimate someone's location simply by looking at their IP address. After all, perhaps you live on top of a VPN server, or just happen to have a super-high bandwidth connection. The short answer is that everyone does. Media distribution and rights are messy and complicated. It's packed with features sure to appeal to security wonks, and it has the best speed test scores yet, though its client is clunky. The connection could be insecure and any usernames or passwords that you send could be eavesdropped upon.

What Is a VPN?

Most Secure VPN Service September 2018

Any information that then goes on and out to the Internet at large is no longer protected and could still be eavesdropped upon unless it is otherwise secured. In fact, once you setup your email program i. Otherwise, SSL-enabled connections provide as good security and protect against forgetfulness.

This means that, unless you take steps to change your account security settings, all connections by yourself or your users are required to use SSL — there is no option of connecting insecurely. The connection could be insecure and any usernames or passwords that you send could be eavesdropped upon. This is notable, especially since it is common to be checking your email in an untrusted wireless hotspot where use of SSL or a VPN is essential.

So, one must take care that messages are sent securely and received securely. To protect my mail and other means of communication, I always use this vpn, I like very much, and I advise you to use it too.

This is especially dangerous if you are connecting from a wireless hotspot or other location where you do not trust everyone who may be using the local […]. This has the best of both worlds, easy connection, and very very secure data. Hide My Ass is one of the best VPN services around for the average internet user who wants to boost their online security or access geo-restricted media wherever they are.

The software is attractive and straightforward to use, the selection of servers is unrivalled, and the extras are genuinely useful. When you surf the internet all of your data — including your sensitive financial and personal information — is vulnerable to interception and surveillance. When you log in to a VPN all of the data your computer sends and receives online is encrypted for complete security, and your personal IP address is hidden so that you remain totally anonymous online. So, you really should be using a VPN.

Here are some of the key considerations to take into account when deciding which of our recommended VPN security providers to choose:. Choice of Protocols - A VPN protocol is simply the method used to package and encrypt the data travelling between you and the VPN server to which you are connected. All of these offer slightly different combinations of security, speed and compatibility. Data Logging - While VPNs will keep your data and activities secure and private, your VPN service will generally have access to your connection records, home IP address and whatever details you gave when signing up.

If anonymity is your main concern then you will want to choose a VPN service that categorically states that it does not keep your activity logs or session data. With a shared IP, you will be using the same IP address as hundreds of other users at the same time, which makes it near impossible to single out you or any other user. Advertiser Disclosure This website is an independent comparison site that aims to help consumers find the most suitable product for their needs.

We are able to maintain a free, high-quality service by charging an advertising fee to featured brands whenever a user completes a purchase. These advertising fees might impact the placement of the brands on this page and combined with the conversion rates might impact the scoring as well which are further based on a combination of review findings, user experience and product popularity. There's no magic bullet or magic armor when it comes to security. A determined adversary can almost always breach your defenses in one way or another.

Using a VPN can't help if you unwisely download ransomware on a visit to the Dark Web , or if you foolishly give up your data to a phishing attack. What a VPN can do is to protect you against mass data collection and the casual criminal vacuuming up user data for later use.

It can also protect your privacy by making it harder for advertisers to figure out who and where you are. First and foremost, using a VPN prevents anyone on the same network access point or anywhere else from intercepting your web traffic in a man-in-the-middle attack. This is especially handy for travelers and for those using public Wi-Fi networks, such as web surfers at hotels, airports, and coffee shops.

Someone on the same network, or the person in control of the network you're using, could conceivably intercept your information while you're connected. IP addresses are distributed based on location, so you can estimate someone's location simply by looking at their IP address.

And while IP addresses may change, it's possible to track someone across the internet by watching where the same IP address appears. Using a VPN makes it harder for advertisers or spies, or hackers to track you online. Savvy snoops can monitor DNS requests and track your movements online. Greedy attackers can also use DNS poisoning to direct you to bogus phishing pages designed to steal your data.

VPNs are necessary for improving individual privacy, but there are also people for whom a VPN is essential for personal and professional safety. Some journalists and political activists rely on VPN services to circumvent government censorship and safely communicate with the outside world. Check the local laws before using a VPN in China , Russia, Turkey, or any country with with repressive internet policies.

Others restrict such activity to specific servers. Learn the company's terms of service—and the local laws on the subject. That way you can't complain if you run into trouble. It is also possible emphasis on "possible" that VPNs may be able to save net neutrality repeal. For those who are unaware, net neutrality is the much-discussed concept that ISPs treat web services and apps equally, and not create fast lanes for companies that pay more, or require consumers to sign up for specific plans in order to access services like Netflix or Twitter.

That said, an obvious response would be to block or throttle all VPN traffic. We'll have to see how this plays out. The VPN services market has exploded in the past few years, and a small competition has turned into an all-out melee. Many providers are capitalizing on the general population's growing concerns about surveillance and cybercrime, which means it's getting hard to tell when a company is actually providing a secure service and when it's throwing out a lot of fancy words while selling snake oil.

It's important to keep a few things in mind when evaluating which VPN service is right for you: Don't just focus on price or speed, though those are important factors. In fact, not all VPN services require that you pay. Several services we've listed here also have free VPN offerings. You tend to get what you pay for, as far as features and server locations go, but if your needs are basic, a free service can still keep you safe.

Some VPN services provide a free trial, so take advantage of it. Make sure you are happy with what you signed up for, and take advantage of money-back guarantees if you're not.

This is actually why we also recommend starting out with a short-term subscription—a week or a month—to really make sure you are happy. Yes, you may get a discount by signing up for a year, but that's more money at stake should you realize the service doesn't meet your performance needs.

Most users want a full graphical user interface for managing their VPN connection and settings, though a few would rather download a configuration file and import it into the OpenVPN client. Most VPN companies we have reviewed support all levels of technological savvy, and the best have robust customer support for when things go sideways.

If you're using a service to route all your internet traffic through its servers, you have to be able to trust the provider. It's easier to trust companies that have been around a little longer, simply because their reputation is likely to be known.

But companies and products can change quickly. Today's slow VPN service that won't let you cancel your subscription could be tomorrow's poster child for excellence. We're not cryptography experts, so we can't verify all of the encryption claims providers make. Instead, we focus on the features provided. Bonus features like ad blocking, firewalls, and kill switches that disconnect you from the web if your VPN connection drops, go a long way toward keeping you safe.

We also prefer providers that support OpenVPN, since it's a standard that's known for its speed and reliability. It's also, as the name implies, open source, meaning it benefits from many developers' eyes looking for potential problems. Since we last tested VPNs, we've given special attention to the privacy practices of VPN companies and not just the technology they provide.

In our testing, we read through the privacy policies and discuss company practices with VPN service representatives. What we look for is a commitment to protect user information, and to take a hands-off approach to gathering user data. As part of our research, we also make sure to find out where the company is based and under what legal framework it operates.

Some countries don't have data-retention laws, making it easier to keep a promise of "We don't keep any logs. The best VPN services have a privacy policy that clearly spells out what the service does, what information it collects, and what it does to protect that information.

Some companies explain that they collect some information, but don't inform you about how they intend to use that information. Others are more transparent. While a VPN can protect your privacy online, you might still want to take the additional step of avoiding paying for one using a credit card, for moral or security reasons.

Several VPN services now accept anonymous payment methods such Bitcoin, and some even accept retailer gift cards. Both of these transactions is about as close as you can get to paying with cash for something online. That Starbucks gift card may be better spent on secure web browsing than a mediocre-at-best latte. A tool is only useful when it's used correctly, after all. For that, you'll want to access the Tor network , which will almost certainly slow down your connection.

While a VPN tunnels your web traffic to a VPN server, Tor bounces around your traffic through several volunteer nodes making it much, much harder to track. Using a VPN will prevent most kinds of DNS attacks that would redirect you to a phishing page, but a regular old page made to look like a legit one in order to trick you into entering your data can still work. Some VPNs, and most browsers, are pretty good about blocking phishing pages, but this attack still claims too many victims to be ignored.

In addition to blocking malicious sites and ads, some VPNs also claim to block malware. We don't test the efficacy of these network-based protections, but most appear to be blacklists of sites known to host malicious software. That's great, but don't assume it's anywhere near as good as standalone antivirus. Use this feature to complement, not replace, your antivirus. Lastly, keep in mind that some security conscious companies like banks may be confused by your VPN.

If your bank sees you logging in from what appears to be another US state or even another country, it can raise red flags. Some important things to look for when shopping for a VPN are the number of licenses for simultaneous connections that come with your fee, the number of servers available, and the number of locations in which the company has servers.

It all comes down to numbers. Most VPN services allow you to connect up to five devices with a single account. Any service that offers fewer connections is outside the mainstream. Keep in mind that you'll need to connect every device in your home individually to the VPN service, so just two or three licenses won't be enough for the average nested pair. Note that many VPN services offer native apps for both Android and iOS, but that such devices count toward your total number of connections.

Of course, there are more than just phones and computers in a home. Game systems, tablets, and smart home devices such as light bulbs and fridges all need to connect to the internet. Many of these things can't run VPN software on their own, nor can they be configured to connect to a VPN through their individual settings. In these cases, you may be better off configuring your router to connect with the VPN of your choice. By adding VPN protection to your router, you secure the traffic of every gadget connected to that router.

And the router—and everything protected by it—uses just one of your licenses. Nearly all of the companies we have reviewed offer software for most consumer routers and even routers with preinstalled VPN software, making it even easier to add this level of protection.

When it comes to servers, more is always better. More servers mean that you're less likely to be shunted into a VPN server that is already filled to the brim with other users. But the competition is beginning to heat up. Last year, only a handful of companies offered more than servers, now it's becoming unusual to find a company offering fewer than 1, servers. The number and distribution of those servers is also important.

The more places a VPN has to offer, the more options you have to spoof your location! More importantly, having numerous servers in diverse locales means that no matter where you go on Earth you'll be able to find a nearby VPN server.

The closer the VPN server, the better the speed and reliability of the connection it can offer you.


A virtual private network creates a secure tunnel between your computer and the location of the network, which is typically your office or a VPN-service provider or LuxSci. . 12 rows · Most Secure VPN Service September A secure, private VPN service . The Most Secure VPN Services in The Most Secure VPN Services in Douglas Crawford. August 21, Trust and integrity – our two core values. For the past 5 years our experts & users have reviewed hundreds of VPNs. I had some connection issues to start which were quickly solved by a polite email to support. .