Hackernoon logo5 Best VPN Services and How to Choose Between Them by@jtruong

5 Best VPN Services and How to Choose Between Them

A virtual private network (VPN) “allows you to create a private connection over a less-private network (i.e. public WiFi) by creating an encrypted tunnel between your computer and the internet” VPNs mask your IP address so that your online activities, browsing history, location, and devices are hidden and untraceable. VPNs can be beneficial to bypass censorship in certain countries. This article will discuss the five best VPN services and how to choose a VPN for your specific use case.
image
Jessica Truong Hacker Noon profile picture

Jessica Truong

Interested in security? Follow along for content within Cybersecurity

A virtual private network (VPN) “allows you to create a private connection over a less-private network (i.e. public WiFi) by creating an encrypted tunnel between your computer and the internet” (cnet). VPNs mask your IP address so that your online activities, browsing history, location, and devices are hidden and untraceable. 

The most important feature of VPN services is that they establish secure and encrypted connections to provide more privacy. VPNs can be beneficial to bypass censorship in certain countries. This article will discuss the five best VPN services and how to choose a VPN for your specific use case.

VPN Services:

  1. Private Internet Access (PIA)
  2. ExpressVPN
  3. NordVPN
  4. ProtonVPN
  5. TunnelBear VPN

1. Private Internet Access (PIA)

image

According to pcmag, the Private Internet Access VPN is best for power users.

With PIA VPN, you can “connect up to 10 devices simultaneously with a single Private Internet Access subscription” (pcmag) and they have an app that you can download for Android, iPhone, Linux, macOS, and Windows devices. 

PIA does not keep “logs of user activity and does not profit from user data” (pcmag). Their private policy also states that users' personal data would not be sold or rented, which is good!

Why Choose PIA?

  • Strict No-Logs policy
  • 100% open source
  • Easy configuration
  • Built-In Ad Blocking
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Advanced Features

Subscription Plans

PIA VPN monthly: $9.95/month

PIA VPN 1 year: $3.33/month ($39.96/year)

PIA VPN 3 years: $2.19/month ($79 per 3 years)

2. ExpressVPN 

“The outright best VPN service for speed, privacy and unblocking”
image

ExpressVPN is built to “ensure that there are never any logs of users’ online activities” (cnet). 

This VPN offers a “kill-switch feature that prevents network data from leaking outside of its secure VPN tunnel in the event the VPN connection fails” (cnet). 

You can use ExpressVPN on macOS, Android, Windows, Linux, routers, and more; it also supports a maximum of 5 devices.

Subscription Plans

ExpressVPN 1 month: $12.95/month 

ExpressVPN 6 months: $9.99/month

ExpressVPN 12 months: $6.67/month

3. NordVPN

“The largest VPN server network in the world”
image

NordVPN makes your online activities unreadable to others and once connected, you can browse the internet in private. 

It supports a maximum of 6 devices and you can get NordVPN on Android, Windows, macOS, linux, chrome extension, firefox extension, and Android TV.

Why Choose NordVPN?

  • Strict no-logs policy
  • IP protection
  • Private access
  • Automatic kill switch
  • Secure connection 
  • Quick connect
  • Fast and safe P2P

Subscription Plans

NordVPN 1 month: $11.95/month

NordVPN 1 year: $4.92/month

NordVPN 2 years: $3.30/month

4. ProtonVPN

image

ProtonVPN’s mission is to “provide private and secure Internet access to all” (ProtonVPN).

ProtonVPN is a VPN service that is based in Switzerland and they are one of the VPN services that offers the “best free subscription tiers” according to a review on pcmag. They offer a free plan and is the only free VPN that:

  • Has no data or speed limits
  • Has no advertisements
  • Does not log your online activity
  • Is protected by Swiss privacy laws

Subscription Plans

Free

  • 23 servers in 3 countries
  • 1 VPN connection 
  • Medium speed
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Access blocked content

Basic 

  • $4/month ($48/year)
  • 350+ servers in 40+ countries
  • High speed
  • Access blocked content 
  • P2P/BitTorrent support
  • Adblocker

Plus

  • 1200+ servers in 55 countries
  • 10 VPN connections
  • Highest speed 
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Access blocked content
  • P2P/BitTorrent support
  • Adblocker
  • Streaming service support
  • Secure Core VPN
  • TOR over VPN

Visionary

  • $24/month ($288/year)
  • All Plus plan features and a ProtonMail Visionary account

5. TunnelBear VPN

image

TunnelBear VPN is a public VPN service that is based in Canada and was acquired by McAfee in 2018. TunnelBear VPN is available on Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android and these are a few reasons why people use TunnelBear:

  • Bypass local censorship
  • Protect your online privacy
  • Prevent IP tracking

TunnelBear VPN does not monitor, log, or sell any of their user’s browsing activity. 

Subscription Plans

Free

  • 500 MB of secure browsing 

Unlimited

  • Unlimited secure browsing
  • Supports 5 devices
  • Priority customer service 

Teams

This plan is designed for businesses

  • Unlimited secure browsing
  • Supports maximum of 5 devices per user
  • Dedicated account manager
  • Centralized team billing and management 

How to Choose a VPN

There are so many VPN services to choose from, so how do you know which one you should choose? Because each one can say that they are the best VPN service! 

These are the following questions that you should take into consideration when deciding on which VPN service you want to use. 

Make sure to do your homework to find the best VPN suitable for you and your situation. At the end of the day, whatever VPN you decide on it will provide you with security, privacy, and anonymity while you’re surfing the web. 

  1. Does the VPN respect your privacy?

    When researching for VPNs, pay close attention to whether or not the VPN service has a strict no-log policy and that they do not monitor, log, or sell your web activity 
  2. Do they run on the most current protocol?

    OpenVPN is an open-source software that provides stronger security than other protocols and supports all major operating systems.
  3. OpenVPN is the protocol that you want to make sure that your VPN is using; most VPN already use this protocol by default.

  4. Do they set data limits?

    Depending on your internet usage, then bandwidth may be a huge part of your deciding factor
  5. Therefore, make sure that the VPN service matches what you need and that you get bandwidth without data limits.

  6. Where are the servers located? 

    Deciding on which server location you want to use is important.
  7. If you want to appear that you are browsing the web from a certain country, for example, Sweden, then you should make sure that there is a server in Sweden.

  8. Are you able to set up VPN access on multiple devices?

    Depending on how many devices you have, you may want to have VPN access to all of them so make sure that the VPN can support all of your devices.
  9. How much does it cost? 

    If the price is important to you then you might want to consider the free VPN options.
  10. At the same time, if you care about the features that you will receive, then you should compare the different plans that each VPN service has to offer.

Final Thoughts

By now, I hope you have a better understanding of the five best VPN services and what each has to offer. In my opinion, VPNs are great to have and I personally have been using the PIA VPN for quite some time now. 

I feel safer when I am connected to VPN in public and even when I am at home. If you are connected to a public network and aren’t connected to a VPN, then you are at risk of others eavesdropping on your web surfing and may be able to collect personal information. 

There are so many VPNs to choose from so make sure you find one that is suitable for what you need and remember, VPNs establish a secure and encrypted connection that keeps your identity anonymous. 

Tags

Join Hacker Noon

Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.