A Virtual Private Network or ‘VPN‘ gives you online privacy by masking your Internet Protocol (IP) address. Essentially, your internet zip code is privatized and encrypted so that no one can take your personal information or determine your exact location.
Anytime you’re on a public Wi-Fi or operating under low-level encryption, your data transmissions are vulnerable to ‘eavesdroppers’, scammers or hackers. Not to mention various social media websites and certain search-engines consistently mining your data to advertise to you. Some do not mind this, however select companies have been caught selling user data and many fear this happens all the time.
A VPN hides your browsing history, your location, your personal data as well as provides a way to visit versions of sites or streaming services not available in your region. Here we will compare different VPN services and their strengths, so you can decide which service is the best to protect your privacy.
NordVPN considers themselves to have military-grade encryption capable of protecting your most vulnerable data. They tout their data is unreadable even if intercepted, leaving no browsing history to speak of.
Another feature NordVPN mentions is a ‘VPN Kill Switch’; meaning if your VPN connection drops, your device is automatically disconnected and blocked from the internet (unless turned off or until network is restored) to prevent accidental exposure as a last resort.
NordVPN currently offers monthly, one, two or three year plans, decreasing in price the longer you sign up. A year’s worth is $6.99/month ($83.88). PC Mag gives NordVPN a 4 out of 5, or “excellent” rating.
2. CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost is a Romanian and German-based company that provides services to over 10 million users, with over 4,800 servers across 58 countries.
They boast secure banking transactions, have a no-logging policy and provide the ability to access blocked websites by circumventing geo-restrictions. With a very high rating from TechRadar (4.5/5), the ability to bypass Netflix’s regional block is specifically mentioned by reviewers, as is their reliable kill switch.
However, some servers are said to suffer from poor speeds, with poor website support. For what it’s worth, CyberGhost ranks well and comes at a price of $5.99/month ($71.88) for a one-year plan.
The product that sports its name, OVPN.com prides itself on not wanting to know anything about you. Just a username and password, not even an email address; you can use one however, for password recovery should you so choose.
Based in Stockholm, users are presented with a list ranked by best-performing servers across 12 countries. Another key feature is that OVPN does not connect any drives to it’s servers, it’s operating in real-time on RAM.
This should give users and added sense of security, and garnered OVPN a 4 out of 5 rating on MacWorld.com. It’s priced currently at $7/month ($84) for one year.
With over 2 million users and a whopping 70+ server locations, VyprVPN like others, says they will not log any of your data. As well, high speeds and upwards of five connections on any devices are their key features.
While VyprVPN sports good reviews, they suffer from slower speeds and noted issues with their ‘kill switch’ on Windows. VyprVPN’s main selling points focus on all the streaming services that can be opened up by masking your location.
However, their ability to connect on any device adds good protection when browsing on public Wi-Fi networks and they also note that no third parties own any of their servers or hardware; a unique selling point in this review.
A just $3.75 per year ($45), this is a very reasonable price and the cheapest on this list, which is of course subject to change however.
5. ZenMate VPN
ZenMate VPN out of Germany has an incredibly large user base at 45 million, and also has a free browser-extension for Internet Explorer or Firefox, aside from their paid services.
ZenMate VPN is also marketed as a VPN for the non-technical user, which is likely why it garners such a huge user base. This includes the popular kill switch feature, Domain Name System (DNS) protection and servers optimized for different streaming platforms like Netflix or Hulu.
At $3.99/month for a year subscription, ZenMate VPN falls right into the sweet spot for VPN prices. However, some reviews questioned the speed and simplicity of the service. With some reviewers giving lower ratings of 3.3/5, 3.5/5, and a ranking of 64th out of 78 VPN services.
Choosing a VPN should focused on the features most important to you. While most float in the same price range with similar features, some specialize in server locations, server speed, or the ability to circumvent geo-blocks. Take your time and consider getting a service that you can use across multiple devices.
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