A good VPN for streaming is invaluable when it comes to getting around geo-restricted (blocked) content and provides true streaming anonymity. When using public WiFi networks, a reliable VPN can also shield and protect you from man-in-the-middle attacks. In the following guide, you will learn everything you need to know about VPNs and how to choose the best VPN for you.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
What Is A VPN?
In 1996, Gurdeep Singh-Pall, a Microsoft employee, began developing the Peer-to-Peer Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). In 1999 the specifications were published. This was the ancestor of the modern VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network.
It is a network that connects remote devices over the Internet, retaining LAN features such as file sharing and local IPs. It is important to note that this connection is made with highly secure data encryption, which is practically impossible to breach.
In other words, a VPN is a virtual network, as it creates a virtual bridge between you and a server -anywhere on earth. Finally, this network is private; to access it, you need to have an account with a username and password. So, you connect to a server and then that server connects to the internet for you.
The most common protocols, available today are:
- PPTP: one of the first protocols (roughly from Windows 95).
- L2TP / IPsec: one of the most secure tunnel protocols.
- OpenVPN SSL: the most flexible and popular open-source protocol.
How We Rate The Best VPNs?
Before choosing a VPN, you should determine what is most important to you; anonymous browsing the Internet or sensitive personal data that can be stolen on a public WiFi?
A good VPN can help you meet all of these needs. Of course, nowadays there are hundreds of VPN services available so how can you be sure you’re choosing the best one?
When rating the best VPNs, we look at 10 key aspects:
- Price – not all VPNs are created equal and so what you’re willing to pay is important.
- Speed – some VPNs (especially free VPNs) will throttle your connection speed.
- Logging Policy – how the VPN stores your data.
- Streaming and Torrenting – a way to download content.
- Encryption and Security – perhaps one of the most important aspects.
- Censorship – the ability of the VPN to unlock geo-restricted content.
- Number of Servers – how many servers are located in the countries you need.
- Number of Simultaneous Connections – how many concurrent connections does the VPN provide.
- Setup and Guarantees – how easy is the VPN to setup, what guarantees/trials do they offer.
Let’s look at each of these important features a little more closely.
The cost of using a good and reliable VPN is not negligible. However, there are plenty of options, depending on your needs and purchasing power. Of course, you can always choose a free VPN, although we would recommend you avoid it.
If you want fast and anonymous navigation, you should choose a server with low latency. Of course, for video streaming and file downloading, the “download speed” should be as high as possible.
The speed of a computer will be partially reduced by using a VPN, but not significantly. Some of them can download data fairly quickly. Therefore market research will inform you about which is the right choice for your own operational needs.
Secure access to any network remotely
Professionals who travel frequently can use the VPN set up in their business to access all local resources (e.g. shares on the corporate server). If you set up a VPN in your home, you can access services such as “Remote Desktop”, local shares, or even play games over the Internet from anywhere, as if you were on the same LAN.
Secure connection to any WiFi
Whether you use a shared WiFi connection, at an airport, a cafeteria, or a neighbor’s unlocked WiFi, whichever page you enter is non-HTTPS, all your activity is obvious to anyone interested. However, if you connect to a VPN, all that will be seen is the secure connection to the VPN, and all other data will remain hidden due to the strong encryption.
Not even your ISP will know your moves. Of course, the degree of anonymity depends on the respective VPN, but also on the pages that you will use through the VPN.
Streaming and Torrenting
Many people use a VPN connection to download files via BitTorrent. Something useful even for legitimate files, if a particular ISP intentionally reduces traffic through BitTorrent. The same goes for any other restrictions the ISP has on a particular type of data traffic – unless the ISP has generally restricted the VPN.
However, such cases are found mainly in countries such as China and Russia. A VPN connection can also be extremely useful for downloading torrents in countries that charge heavy fines for downloading movies.
As in Germany, where the fine can exceed one thousand euros per film. In any case, it is good to remember that the distance between you and the VPN server is one of the main factors that reduce the speed.
Therefore, if you are connecting to a remote VPN server, for example from Japan or the USA, your speed is more likely to be lower than if you were entering sites other than a VPN normally. In any case, it is good to prefer servers as close to you as possible.
Encryption and Security
A good VPN should use an advanced encryption standard, such as AES-256, which is virtually impossible to crack. Some services allow you to choose the type of encryption when using the VPN. However, the stronger the encryption, the more it will affect the speed of your connection.
Weak encryption can allow higher speeds but offers little to no protection from intruders. Another feature that characterizes a VPN as trustworthy or less trustworthy is the connection protocol.
VPNs can operate using various protocols; L2TP and PPTP are some of the most popular. However, they have serious flaws that make them bad choices for your privacy. OpenVPN is the best and most secure protocol, as it is open source and offers the strongest encryption. The most modern and powerful protocol used by most premium VPNs is the WireGuard Protocol.
Removal of geographical restrictions
On the modern Internet, you will find many restrictions based on your geographical location. It has already been mentioned the example with YouTube videos that are “locked” only for users in specific countries. Or that may exclude users from specific countries, for any reason, often for copyright reasons.
Also, many other services impose similar restrictions. While Netflix is available for subscription in almost every country in the world, the movies and series it offers are not the same in all countries. For example, if you live in Canada, you will not have the same selection of movies and TV shows you would if you lived in the USA.
Connecting to a VPN server located in the USA will get around this issue.
Bypass local censorship
It is not uncommon to have access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other blocked social networks. Also, relatively recently you had a move of state censorship in your country when ordered the ISPs to block popular websites with streaming video and subtitles. In both cases, a VPN connection will allow you to bypass the relevant restrictions and navigate to any page you want.
Servers in your country
You need to know from the beginning which server locations are the most important to you.
Many shared IPs
A VPN connection should give you access to many shared IPs. Being among many anonymous users increases the level of privacy in your browsing. As the same IP address is shared by such a large group of users, it, in turn, offers greater anonymity to the end-user, and it is almost impossible to detect this IP activity.
Allow simultaneous access to multiple devices
Nowadays, smartphones, tablets, and TV Boxes are everywhere. Therefore, you should make sure that you have chosen a VPN that offers simultaneous protection for all your devices, with a single subscription.
As far as TV Boxes are concerned, most VPN services do not fully support these devices and you remain exposed to any pirated movie streaming.
Exceptions are NordVPN and a few more services.
Friendly and easy environment
Some VPNs require complicated setups and have confusing interfaces. Therefore, if you are not tech-savvy and do not want to get lost in trying to configure a VPN, it is important to find one that offers simple procedures and a user-friendly platform.
Money-back Guarantees and free trials
Nowadays, VPNs offer free trials without giving your card details. However, some allow you to withdraw and refund the amount you paid, in case you did not like something. So, you have to make sure that they mention something related to a “money-back guarantee”.
If you stick to the VPNs recommended by us, you will not have an issue if you decide that it is not right for you.
When Do You Need A VPN?
Undoubtedly the Internet is an integral part of our daily life. However, your data and privacy on the internet are exposed to serious risks. If you wish for extra protection, the best solution is Virtual Private Network.
The main use for a free VPN is to hide your real IP address and browse the Internet with another one, provided by the VPN. The most common reason for wanting to change IP is if you want to access a service that is not supported in your country.
With the right VPN, you can have an American IP, and listen to music from Pandora, watch YouTube videos with country restrictions, or watch BBC iPlayer series with IP from the UK. At the same time, anonymous VPN browsing allows you to bypass online censorship issues.
In countries such as Germany or Japan, where downloading movies illegally can result in fines of 1000+ euros, downloading via a VPN your activity can theoretically remain hidden.
Of course, we do not recommend in any way the use of VPNs for illegal activities of any kind, nor are we responsible if you get caught. Even with every online web browsing, with a VPN no website can record your IP or other personal information.
Free VPNs vs Paid VPNs
Some companies offer free VPNs, while most require a subscription. All their networks are different and each has specific characteristics: speed, simultaneous connections, firewall, cost, and server location.
If you do not use the VPN often enough or do not have high demands on speed or volume of data traffic, some services deserve your attention. However, it is good to remember that all free VPN services tend to be insecure.
The reason is that they share all our information and your internet traffic, and most likely they are marketing your data. Always keep in mind that nothing is free in this world.
Rogue companies might collect your data and your browsing habits. Worse, they can even sell your bandwidth, or use it for malware. Using a free VPN will cause a lot of problems.
Set data limits
Naturally, in paid services, you get an unlimited usage limit. The restriction only exists on free services. Of course, these can also be useful, but apart from the very small data limits, they have minimal servers that are usually overloaded and slow.
The main problem is that these services have to pay for the servers and the bandwidth somehow. If users pay nothing, then they have to generate revenue in another way. In short, your privacy goes for a walk.
When choosing a VPN you need to know who you trust to secure your valuable data and your activity. Some free VPNs, in exchange for their free services, record your traffic, and sell your information. This is why you should avoid the use of free VPNs, as is the cliché, if you do not pay for the product, you become the product.
With a paid service, you have access to multiple servers, which you share with far fewer users. At the same time, you can connect to servers that are geographically closer to you or in a country of your choosing.
Both of these factors contribute to a more stable and faster VPN. If securing your data, along with the modern need for the highest possible speeds, is your immediate priority, then investing in a VPN is the only way to go.
When it comes to technology software, especially VPNs, paid VPNs are far better than free ones. They combine all the advantages of a reliable VPN with the security of your data. Therefore there is no dilemma. If you want to be safe just buy a VPN from the ones described below.
What Is The Best VPN?
More and more people are using personal VPNs, as more and more interactions (purchases and sales.) appear on the internet. This is why there are so many options when it comes to VPN providers.
Below you can find the 5 best VPNs for most uses. They have reliable servers, proven security, free software, and unparalleled speed and convenience.
ExpressVPN is one of the oldest and most famous VPNs on the market. And no wonder you will find it at the top of our list. Indeed, it offers many advantages: compatibility with many local Netflix versions, high download speeds, and a large number of servers spread all over the world.
ExpressVPN provides a fast and reliable private network. Its servers cover most countries of the world: with VPN servers in 145 countries, including France, Quebec, Belgium, and Switzerland.
- Simultaneous Connections; 5 simultaneous connections
- Covered countries; More than 94 countries
- Protocols; Lightway, OpenVPN (UDP / TCP), L2TP-IPsec, SSTP, PPTP
- High speed.
- The number of countries it covers.
- Native applications for iPhone and Android.
- No logs (except consumption).
- P2P and BitTorrent are allowed.
- User friendly.
- It is not the cheapest VPN on our list.
IPVanish has been on the market for over 15 years and if you are a gamer, you have probably already heard of its reputation. It is famous for its excellent security (including the NAT firewall), the speed of its servers -most Gamers choose this VPN to play comfortably-, and its ease of use. So this might be the right VPN for you.
While IPVanish is recommended for gamers, it is suitable for all Internet users. And the fact that online players are using their services simply shows that it offers the best VPN speeds. Indeed, when playing online games every millisecond counts.
Therefore, you need the best connection to secure a win. With a leading network and over 750 servers worldwide, IPVanish is fast and reliable. Therefore, you can protect your data, unblock geographically restricted content, and watch streaming files in high definition perfectly.
- Multiple connections Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Coverage of countries; More than 75 countries
- Protocols; Catapult Hydra
- The speed of the servers, ideal for gaming.
- NAT firewall included.
- Excellent coverage of the USA and Europe.
- No log files, perfect for P2P and BitTorrent.
- There are not enough options.
NordVPN is new to the world of VPNs, but do not be fooled by its young age, as it has been growing rapidly since 2012. The company is located in Panama where there are no data protection laws and offers full loading services.
NordVPN combines zero-logging with high speed and maximum security. Therefore, it is one of the best solutions against internet censorship and government control.
Its goal is to circumvent censorship, content control, and government surveillance. Therefore, VPN services provide all the basic functions to protect your privacy and security. But not only that, having a wide network (over 900 servers worldwide) is the fastest possible.
This way, you can unblock streaming content and watch US Netflix without buffering. In addition, if you enjoy torrenting, you can trust NordVPN to protect your anonymity. Indeed, their service is torrent-friendly and does not stop.
- Simultaneous Connections; 6 simultaneous connections
- Covered countries; More than 59 countries.
- Protocols; WireGuard, OpenVPN (UDP / TCP), IKEv2 / IPsec protocols.
- Servers for OnionBrowsing.
- The HTTP proxy is included.
- NAT firewall included.
- DoubleVPN (multi-hop) connection.
- Non-logging policy and torrent-friendly.
- Native applications for iPhone and Android.
- 6 simultaneous connections.
- Manual setup required to use PPTP / L2TP.
PureVPN is a Hong Kong-based company that has been on the market for 10 years. Its motto: “Offer the cheapest VPN without cutting corners”. And this is why it is so popular among VPN users.
While most of you are always enjoying a good deal, you know that protecting your privacy comes at a cost. PureVPN is one of the best VPNs you can choose, with a wide and fast network of servers (located in more than 140 countries), while it comes at the lowest price.
- Simultaneous Connections; 10 simultaneous connections
- Covered countries; More than 140 countries
- Protocols; PPTP, IPSec, L2TP / IPSec, IKEv2 / IPSec, OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP, SSTP, WireGuard.
- High competitive price.
- 5 multiple connections.
- Tunnel division.
- Torrent friendly and non-log files.
- Few countries covered in Africa.
CyberGhost is a large VPN run by a Romanian company, which launched its service in 2011. They are making a real commitment to privacy. And their location allows users to circumvent EU data protection or government espionage laws.
One of the best VPNs on the market, with a special offer for you. The company is based in Romania and Germany, where it is quite famous. Indeed, CyberGhost started offering cash directly from stores there, because they support and promote civil rights, a free society, and a culture of Internet censorship.
Its main headquarters in Romania helps. Indeed, it is one of the few European countries that has succeeded in repealing national data protection laws under the 2006 European Data Protection Directive. So, your privacy is guaranteed.
- Simultaneous Connections; 7 simultaneous connections
- Covered countries; More than 90 countries
- Protocols; OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec, and PPTP.
- High speed.
- Native applications for iPhone yes Android.
- P2P and BitTorrent are allowed, without logs.
- User friendly.
- There is no IPv6 leakage protection.
- There is no built-in firewall (NAT firewall).
- No IP connection Value for money.
Well there you have it, our guide and review of the 5 best VPNs available on the market today. We hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we’ve enjoyed writing it. If you are in the market for a VPN, then we highly recommend you stick to the VPNs listed here.
Of course our top pick goes to ExpressVPN, however, we’ve tested all the VPNs in this list and they all perform extremely well.