VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. As the name suggests a VPN’s main function is to protect your privacy. This is done through complex encryption and hiding your IP address. By hiding your IP address you can sort of make your device think you are in another location. You could be sitting in India and use a VPN to give you a US IP address. This makes things especially easy for multiple situations. Perhaps you are travelling and are currently in Germany but you want access to the shows available on Netflix in the US. What do you do? You connect to a VPN and choose a server in the US as this will allow you to gain access to the American selection of Netflix shows and movies. Additionally perhaps you have travelled to China or Cuba where certain applications are banned. In that case you could use a VPN to access those applications during your visit.
VPNs are also an excellent software to use to protect personal or sensitive information that you might be sending across the internet. For example many activists or whistleblowers need to communicate sensitive information over the internet. However, they may face threats or be tracked down online for the information they possess. This is why in order to enhance their safety, figures such as activists etc. make use of VPNs to maintain their anonymity online.
There’s a wide range of VPNs available out there, but you definitely want to make sure you sign up for a reliable one. That is why we are here to help you out by giving you a list of some of the top VPNs you should consider using:
1. Hotspot Shield
One of the most popular VPNs around, Hotspot Shield makes for an excellent choice as it does not affect internet speeds too adversely. For example for Mac the download speed fell by about 30% while the upload speed fell by a mere 0.2%. On the other hand for Windows the download speed fell by 18% while the upload speed fell by 26%. Overall, however the internet speeds did not fall too drastically which allows for one to still perform their regular activities online. Nor should this be too big an issue if you have subscribed to CenturyLink deals for high-speed internet. So you can still enjoy your Netflix watch parties without a care in the world
Another bonus to Hotspot Shield is that it even offers a free version, albeit with ads, for Android. However there is a catch in that there is a data limit of 500 MB per day. While this limit won’t allow you to stream anonymously for long it can be handy for sending documents or browsing. In order to get around this you can sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription. Furthermore you can be rest assured that Hotspot Shield does not sell your data and has denied access to users’ data when requested to do so multiple times in 2019.
Perhaps the biggest advantage to this VPN is that it is based in Romania and Romania, if you didn’t know, is an ideal choice since the country practically has no laws regarding data retention and is also not part of the Five Eyes, 14 Eyes and Nine Eyes international intelligence surveillance agreements. To make things even better there are great discounts available which can bring down the monthly price as low as $3.69 or $2.75 depending on whether you sign up for the 2 or 3 year plans. CyberGhost also makes use of AES-256 which ensures the secured encryption of your data.
Another noteworthy point is the excellent customer support. Most ISPs do not invest in maintaining a good customer support system but CyberGhost clearly cares about its customers. The live chat feature means there is always someone available to answer your questions not to mention there is a detailed FAQ section you can also check out to troubleshoot any issues you might be facing.
This VPN works very well with Mac but can be a bit slow on Windows and don’t worry because it works on all the good stuff: Hulu, Netflix, YouTube TV, Prime Video etc.
Probably the best option overall, Express VPN works well on both Windows and Mac without significantly reducing speeds. It works well on the iPhone too and allows you to easily and conveniently switch between public and private networks with the help of a split tunnel which makes things more hassle-free for you. In addition to this one of the biggest advantages of this VPN is the “kill switch” which automatically disconnects you from the internet if your VPN gets disconnected. This ensures that there is no break in your online privacy. If your VPN does not have a kill switch then you might continue your activities online unprotected.
Another bonus of this app is its lack of data retention. While we assume that VPNs will protect our privacy, ExpressVPN makes sure to not save any extra data unnecessarily. With an Express VPN subscription you are also entitled to up to 5 connections at the same time.
This VPN has some serious benefits in that it is based in the Virgin Islands which has no data retention laws of its own and is also not part of any international surveillance alliances such as the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes. Furthermore Surfsharkputs no limits on the number of devices that can be connected to this VPN. Another added benefit of this VPN is that you will be given a different IP address every time you connect, though you can also choose the same IP address if you would like to. Perhaps the main disadvantage to this VPN is that you have to set up the kill switch manually on Windows.
There are many great VPNs out there and they’re always a great investment for you. You can even find some free VPNs though their performance might not be as good or there may be data caps. However, nothing beats the importance of security so use the list above to help you out.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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