Millions of internet users around the world have been turning to the potential of virtual private networks over the past decade, and with a whole host of unique features and functions that make browsing much more confidential and secure; it’s no wonder why.
In the battle for the best VPN service, providers are striving to enhance their services, improve usability and lower prices. As of 2017, the premium grade services boast some of the most advanced features imaginable – many of which currently feature discounts and promotions.
Here are just a few of our favorite service providers:
Considered the most reliable market leader, ExpressVPN offers a user-friendly interface with a very helpful customer service team and an impressive network, boasting high speeds with a variety of locations.
It’s enhanced encryption enables users worldwide to enjoy content and privacy with record breaking speeds and location options.
With easy setup and a wide variety of servers, NordVPN offers 6 simultaneous connections, a trusted, reliable service, and excellent support.
The software is compatible with most operating systems and mobile devices, which offers flexibility and security for all of your day-to-day needs. Overall this is a great choice for casual web-browsing purposes.
Offering users no fewer than 98 servers around the world, Pure provides leading security features and a platform that is more than versatile to cater to new and inexperienced users. Plans and prices vary and are competitive.
Hide My Ass!
Overlooking the name, HMA offers great compatibility for both Mac and PC users, as well as an advanced network setup that makes browsing quick, easy and affordable – currently with 57% off for a limited time only.
IPVanish’s virtual private network is one of the best available, and the service also offers users one of the most streamlined and efficient experiences around. Users can log in from around the world at a very low price, with options to personalize IP locations and secure your Wi-Fi from hackers.
Often considered an entry-level provider, Vypr is still considered to be a leading client. Although there are a variety of bugs and issues relating to the service (using a MAC OS), such as slow loading times and limited connectivity in certain parts of the world. That being said, the client is very affordable, but can be a little frustrating from time to time – especially during peak hours.
This provider is fairly limited beyond anything but basic usage, although the cost is low enough to be enjoyed by casual users, students and small families. There are 40 servers worldwide to promote faster experiences, and the addition of the SmartDNS feature definitely helps with connecting to global networks quickly.
What is VPN and Why You Should Care
If you’re new to the concept of digital networks, then you’ll probably want to get to know what they are, how they work and what they can offer. In this day and age, internet browsing has become a staple activity within most households. With just over 3 billion people now using the internet, it’s never been more important to keep your browsing habits confidential, protect the privacy of your home network and gain access to content and programs that may be limited in your country of residence.
The latter benefit is one of the main reasons that lead people to invest in virtual networks. As we use the internet, our computers, laptops and mobile devices will possess their very own unique IP address. If this address attempts to access content or multi-media that is restricted to particular countries (as is the case with certain shows on HBO for example), then they may soon find their efforts thwarted.
That’s where virtual private networks come into the fray. As their name might suggest, they work by creating a virtual, or digital, network that users can log in to. Once accessed, these networks will typically possess their own national IP address. Any interactions that then take place once connected, will operate via this single IP address.
In the case of international browsers, a virtual network can help by masking the real IP address and then providing a brand new one – lifting any restrictions that may be in place as far as country codes are concerned. Whenever a user logs in to a digital network, they’ll be able to define a digital location for their browsing, making it easy to tune into channels and programs from around the world.
VPN and Content Restriction
When you spend a lot of time online, you are likely to run across the occasional error message relating to geofencing and content restrictions. Typically, these involve sites that are only accessible when you are seen as being located in specific areas in the world. These geolocation-oriented restrictions can be frustrating to encounter, but that aren’t unbeatable. In fact, VPN services are an ideal way for accessing content that is normally unavailable in your country. Here’s how it works.
Since you are using a connection through another country, you can access sites that are reachable based on that country regardless of where you are physically located. This means you can bypass geo-fencing restrictions and enjoy the content instead!
Torrenting With Virtual Private Networks
Torrents are one of the most popular methods for peer-to-peer content sharing available on the internet today; they can make the downloading of large files quicker, providing an efficient method for sharing content like videos. The technology in itself is completely legal, but the nature of the content being shared can infringe on copyrights. When that is the case, the users involved can be at risk for legal action. Additionally, peer-to-peer sites can present security issues, putting users at risk of downloading malicious files.
Virtual Private Networks provides benefits by allowing you to access torrent content anonymously, lowering the risk associated with accessing content that may be under certain legal protections. Additionally, the connections are generally well encrypted, making it more difficult for others to gain access to your system based on your connection to the torrent system.
VPN’s and Your Privacy
Often, the most coveted benefit of using VPN is increased privacy while using the internet. The best VPN services hide your actual IP address while substituting the IP from your selected VPN service in its place. This means that tracking your actual location is significantly more complex, and may even be impossible depending on the variable involved. In fact, since you can select the location of the VPN server your traffic routes through, your connection can even appear to be coming from an entirely different country than its true.
Additionally, other services are unable to see the origin of your traffic while you are accessing various sites or services online. This includes your ISP as well as various government agencies. Instead, they see the information associated with the server which provides no direct connection to you.
Depending on the service you select, even the VPN provider may have limited if any information on you. For example, some VPN services don’t require an email address, a bank-associated method of payment, or even your name. You may have the option of only using a login ID and chosen password, and the chance to use fairly anonymous payment methods like BitCoin. Additionally, most of the best VPN services don’t store any information about your activities while your connection is live, ensuring that no one is keeping a record of the sites you visit or the activities in which you participate.
However, it is important to review all of the information listed in a VPN service provider’s privacy policies and other use oriented policies. Each company will have different operating standards, making it critical to review them in detail before signing up.
The above software represent our top picks for the year. Be sure to check out the free VPN service each one has to offer before purchasing a full license, trials are a good way to ensure you are satisfied with the provider.
Other Advantages of Private Networks
Another great bonus when using a private network is that your browsing habits will remain confidential. In simple terms, this means that if you want to visit websites without having your IP address logged, or if you’re keen to avoid your details being harvested by pesky spam bots, advertisers and other irritating databases – a private network will keep all of the above instances at bay.
So, what sort of things should you look for when trying to find the top VPN software online? Well, in this day and age there’s really no reason why internet users should settle with having all of their data tracked. Analytics tools are one of the biggest offenders, and they’ll aim to harvest information relating to your gender, age, location and even your IP address. Take a look at this FTC warning and recommendation on using a virtual private network while traveling.
Certain companies will even invest thousands of dollars in advanced tracking equipment that monitors your behavior, collates information and then provides them with data for market research and more. This is how spam emails are able to make their way into our inboxes, and how we end up finding our email addresses signed up to online mailing lists that we’ve never even heard of.
With this in mind, one of the first things that you’ll want your provider to offer is an entirely hidden IP address. This is something that all of the above services offer; and if you’re keen for the most efficient masking techniques, then you won’t go wrong with Hide My Ass and Express. These two brands boast some of the most advanced technologies when compared to their competition, and wherever you sign in from around the world – you’ll have access to a variety of digital IP addresses to mask your online activities.
Unique Features of The Best VPN Services
With so many activities to take part in online; from visiting your favorite websites, sharing your opinions within comments boxes and forums, and keeping in touch with your family – as well as watching movies and streaming videos – the last thing on your mind may be your privacy. As mentioned above, companies, organizations, and data harvesting tools will be desperate to obtain your information.
They’ll use this info to sell products, promote services and target ads. Virtual clients will eliminate this by tricking these establishments into thinking that you are someone else entirely; and in a completely different location. Most modern providers offer unique packages that can be customized to suit your needs; and this in itself is a great way to minimize your spending habits whilst enjoying the unique benefits that you’re looking for.
If you’re fed up of being spammed, then you can sign up to a service that masks your IP. If you want to watch programs or videos from other countries like the UK, USA, or Australia, using services like Netflix or youtube, you can register for a digital IP address instead. There’s no limit on the services that you can use either, although most people will find a provider that suits their needs specifically and then stick with them.
That’s not to say that you can’t flick between different clients; especially as prices drop and discounts are offered. The most beneficial feature of using online virtual platforms is that they are always available. You can enjoy regular browsing by day, before logging in to your network provider at night to catch up on your favorite shows.
This can also help to reduce your monthly bill, especially if you’re paying for a bandwidth package. The more that you use, the more than you’ll need to pay. Before deciding on your service, pay careful attention to the following features:
- Ease of use, including a user-friendly interface and device compatibility
- An affordable rate that doesn’t introduce any hidden fees
- An extensive amount of servers to rely on, to guarantee uninterrupted browsing
- A friendly customer support team to assist you should you ever come up against difficulties
If you’re keen to learn more or still looking for the best VPN service to suit your needs, take a look at our extensive reviews and recent blog posts.