Privacy has been a hot topic for years, and the news only seems to get worse.
The NSA sees your Facebook posts, Google is reading your emails, and thanks to new legislation, your internet service provider can now sell your browsing history to the highest bidder.
How can you protect yourself?
You’ve probably heard that using a VPN is the only real way to safeguard your privacy online.
If you have questions about VPNs, like…
- What exactly is a VPN? How does it work?
- Do I really need to use a VPN for regular browsing?
- Does it take a lot of technical skill to set up?
- Are VPNs expensive?
- What are the best VPN services?
…then you’re in luck – we’ve answered those questions for you and more right here.
Plus, you’ll find a list of our top recommended VPN services below. (Click here to skip to the best VPNs list.)
What Is a VPN? And How Does It Work?
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network that lets you browse the internet anonymously, without your activity being tracked or recorded by anyone.
Normally, when you connect to the internet, your computer connects to websites by going through the servers of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Your ISP’s servers keep a log of everything you do online: the websites you visit, your online searches, etc.
When you use a VPN service, your ISP, Google (and others) can’t track you anymore.
Here’s how it works…
Your VPN service reroutes your computer to connect to their own servers, using an encrypted connection. The VPN server then connects to the website you want to view.
Because your data is encrypted, no one can see what you’re up to – only you and the VPN server. To the websites you visit, it just looks like they’re getting traffic from the VPN server, not from your computer.
This is why it’s extremely important that you use a VPN service that you can trust.
We have hand-picked the best VPN services that keep zero logs of their own server activity. This means that even if someone was able to access the VPN service’s records, there would still be no trace of your data.
Do You Really Need a VPN?
Browsing the web in your home might seem like a private activity, but the truth is you leave a digital footprint everywhere you go.
Your device has a fingerprint: it can easily be identified by the unique combination of the software you use, including your operating system, browser, location, and even the fonts installed on your computer.
These identifying characteristics can be used to track you, even if you’re careful enough to never share your personal information online.
We believe that everyone needs a VPN to protect their security and their right to privacy. Here are three big reasons why.
1. VPNs Keep Your Sensitive Data Safe From Hackers
Hackers are always coming up with new ways to access your personal data.
By hijacking your internet connection, they can access any data including your bank login information, email passwords, credit cards, browsing history, personal files, and more. They can also install malware to track your future activity.
If you ever use public WiFi at Starbucks, local airport, or another public place, then it’s crucial that you use a VPN to protect yourself.
2. VPNs Protect Your Right to Privacy
You might wonder why protecting your browsing history matters. You’re not doing anything wrong – who cares if your ISP records all your Google searches and website visits?
Even if you have nothing to hide, your privacy is still an important right.
Do you want your internet search history available to be sold to your neighbors or prospective employers?
Would you want your boss or coworkers to be able to read all your private emails, or browse through all your photos?
Believe it or not, these scenarios aren’t that far-fetched.
Due to new legislation in the United States, your internet service provider, cable company, and cellphone service provider can now sell your data without your consent.
The ACLU has said that these laws “sacrifice the privacy rights of Americans in the interest of protecting the profits of major internet companies, including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon,” and the Electronic Frontier Foundation said they’re “a crushing loss for online privacy.”
And the US isn’t the only country where all your activity is being recorded:
- Australian service providers are required by law to collect and retain their customers’ Internet usage metadata.
- Russian laws require logging of all web traffic and data that passes through Russian territories or is created by Russian citizens.
- Though many countries have recently passed data privacy laws, they’re often not enforced.
Take a moment to think about just the websites you’ve visited and searches you’ve performed in the past week. Do you want others to be able to buy that data?
If not, you need a VPN.
3. VPNs Allow You to Bypass Censorship and Restrictions
Sometimes major films and television shows are restricted for specific locations. For example, you can’t watch a BBC show if you’re living in Pakistan. Or you may not be able to watch Netflix while traveling to China or another country.
If you’re limited in what you can access online based on your location, a VPN can help you bypass that.
That’s because when you use a VPN, the websites you visit won’t be able to detect your location. They see the location of the VPN servers instead.
Yes, in other words:
- You can use a VPN to watch Netflix
- You can use VPN to watch BBC shows
- You can use VPN to watch YouTube videos
- You can even use VPN for torrenting (we don’t encourage that)
Now you might be thinking, are VPNs legal?
Yes, VPNs are absolutely 100% legal. A lot of corporate employees are required to use VPNs when traveling for business reasons.
You can use VPNs on your laptops, desktops, iPads, iPhones, Android phones, Windows phones, Blackberry, your routers, and basically anything you can think of.
Now that you know the importance of a VPN service, let’s take a look how to choose the best VPN service that fits your needs and budget.
How to Choose the Best VPN
When looking at VPN services, there are a few important factors you should consider:
- Price: Most VPN services cost between $5-10 per month.
- Security: You’re trusting the VPN service you choose to not record your browsing history, so it’s important to go with a reputable provider.
- Speed: Because you’re connecting to the web through another server, using a VPN can slow down your internet browsing speeds. That’s why it’s important to find a fast VPN service.
- Setup: Most VPN services provide software to help you easily set up your VPN. Make sure that your VPN service offers software that works for your devices (multiple platforms).
- Customer Service: Especially if you’re new to using a VPN, a knowledgeable and friendly customer support team is important to have access to.
These are the criteria’s that we used when evaluating the best VPN services.
Best VPN Services
There are a tons of VPN services out there, and due to high demand more and more are poping up every day. This makes choosing the best VPN service even harder.
Below you’ll find our hand-picked list of the best VPN services that will keep you safe without breaking the bank.
Which VPN Service Is Right for You?
After reading our list of the 5 best VPN services, you might be wondering which VPN should you use.
Our top choice is IPVanish, since they offer fast speeds, competitive pricing, and the best security. Their apps are easy to use and set up, even for complete beginners. The best of all is that their service works on all platforms.
If you’re ready to start protecting your personal data from prying eyes, click here to try IPVanish today.