Do you know what a VPN is? VPN is an acronym for Virtual Private Network, which extends a private connection across a public one. Users who utilize a VPN can send or receive encrypted data across public networks securely as if they were connected directly to their own private hotspot. A VPN conceals your IP address and makes sure your connection and identity are secure, even on public Wi-Fi. The best VPN services have critical features such as multiple server locations, a no-log policy, and the flexibility of mobile options.
Many of us think that we’re secure behind the so-called safety of our screens and keyboards, but the average person knows very little about cybersecurity and how to protect themselves from risk. A recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of AT&T showed that out of 2,000 U.S. adults, 70 percent feel knowledgeable about cybersecurity, but the average person still stumbles upon a suspicious online site or social media account 6.5 times a day. Only 39 percent know that suspicious sites can spread malware and viruses in their computer. More than half (54%) are unaware of the difference between active and passive cybersecurity threats.
Learning how to protect yourself and your family online is important! Cybersecurity safeguards against the theft of sensitive data. That’s why becoming more familiar with services like VPN connections can be beneficial to keeping your precious data secure.
That being said, StudyFinds has compiled a list of the best VPN services on the market, so you can protect yourself no matter what you encounter. Our list is made up of the most frequently recommended products across 10 expert websites. If we missed one, let us know in the comments below. Happy surfing!
The List: Best VPN Services, According to Tech Experts
NordVPN is one of the most solid and well-known recommendations on the web, with 5,000 servers across the globe and well-constructed desktop and mobile apps. “NordVPN is a fast and secure VPN service with a range of unique features. It’s one of the most secure VPNs out there, combining AES-256 encryption with an ad and malware blocker, as well as double VPN services, aka multi-hop connections. If you want to bury your online presence, NordVPN provides the tools,” writes Forbes.
Users get access to a wide array of features and secure encryption on an easy-to-use platform. “NordVPN differentiates itself from the competition with its Double VPN feature. This process encrypts the information twice by routing traffic through two different VPN servers simultaneously,” adds U.S. News. “NordVPN has nearly 5,000 servers worldwide, far more than most of the other VPN providers in our rating.”
ZDNet names it the best option for travel: “It’s secure, good for streaming, and has all the bells and whistles you’ll likely need. We’ve found it to be one of the fastest VPNs with the most consistent speeds.”
IPVanish offers 2,000+ server locations across 75+ countries, along with unlimited simultaneous connections and unmetered data caps, making it a great choice for high-volume users and larger local networks. “IPVanish’s user interface has some excellent performance graphics and an extensive selection of servers to choose from, with useful status information. As far as protocols go, there is a wide range of options. Its app also has an extensive array of configuration options,” writes ZDNet.
If you’d like to get more specific on exactly how and where you’re connecting through your VPN, IPVanish also has an extensive array of configuration options. “IPVanish also makes it simpler to avoid Deep Packet Inspection — a method used by ISPs to limit your internet speed at times,” says Digital Trends. “The VPN offers unmetered data transfer caps and there’s no limit on how many devices you can use it with so it’s incredibly flexible for high-volume users and larger local networks.”
U.S. News calls this service the least expensive for a monthly plan: “IPVanish is relatively fast and uses the very secure WireGuard encryption protocol. In addition to unlimited devices, users also get unlimited, unmetered data. IPVanish offers 24/7 live chat for users in need of assistance.”
SurfShark is the perfect budget VPN for those who want great, no-frills security with minimal extra features at a great price. “If you’re looking for a cheap VPN that outperforms products twice its price, look no further than Surfshark. The services in this guide are ranked by quality, not price, so to see a VPN that costs well under $2.50 a month at #3 is seriously impressive,” writes Tom’s Guide.
SurfShark still offers easily accessible mobile apps and all the privacy and security essentials such as AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, split tunneling, and the superfast WireGuard protocol. “Head to the Surfshark website, and the very first thing you’ll notice is its market-busting headline price. There really is a spectacular deal here, but don’t focus just on the dollars and cents… Surfshark has so much more to offer,” adds TechRadar.
According to U.S. News, “With the cheapest annual plan of all the VPNs in our 2023 rating, Private Internet Access still provides an array of features like email breach monitoring, a one-year cloud storage subscription for your encrypted files, good speeds, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a malware blocking add-on.”
4. Express VPN
Express VPN is priced affordably, but still offers a large, diversely distributed fleet of servers, secure connection, and fast connection speeds. “ExpressVPN recently redesigned its app, but it’s not just a pretty thing to look at. ExpressVPN has a very large presence that stretches across 94 countries, and uses very few virtual servers in the process,” writes PC Mag.
The service also features support across multiple devices with a user-friendly app, as well as a smart DNS feature for set-top boxes, consoles, and more. “ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, and it has a very easy-to-use app. Its servers are all diskless, running everything in RAM—a welcome practice that’s become fairly standard these days,” adds PC World.
U.S. News also mentions: “Moreover, because ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, you don’t have to worry about intelligence sharing by the Five Eyes alliance, which includes the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. It also follows a strict no-logs policy.”
PureVPN is a great choice for those looking to unblock geographically restricted content such as TV shows on streaming services, but also has all the basic functions and security needed for browsing. “If security is your main reason for investing in a VPN, PureVPN may catch your eye. Not only does it offer comprehensive security features, it’s also the first VPN on the market that has the always-on audit,” says CyberNews.
As far as pricing and commitment, PureVPN plans start at $1.49 a month, and they offer a 31-day money-back guarantee. “PureVPN uses about 750 servers worldwide, and it can access each server from all the package plans. One of the greatest attractions is the availability of unlimited bandwidth. Anyone can stream and download whatever they like at no additional charges or data restrictions,” adds Advertising Review.
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.