Everyone is at risk of a data breach while working on the internet. Do you constantly have a feeling that someone is spying on you through the internet? You're not alone in that.
Technology has so developed that nothing is virtually impossible with the internet. No wonder people get paranoid and want to protect themselves online.
2020 recorded about 142 million VPN users in the United States alone not to mention the whole world. This number keeps increasing daily.
So, to keep your information secure from being leaked online, you may want to use a VPN service on your home internet connection or mobile.
But there are many VPN service providers, all claiming to be the best in the industry. This makes it difficult to choose the best out of them.
To help you choose the best VPN services provider, I have compiled and compared some of the best VPNs in terms of features, benefits, price and security.
Let's get started.
What is a VPN?
VPN is a virtual private network that enables a secure connection when using a public network or the internet. It ensures privacy as it encrypts all your traffic and routes it through a server in another country, making it difficult for people to track your internet activity or monitor what you do online.
A VPN can also be used to access region-restricted content, such as BBC iPlayer from outside the UK, or Hulu from outside the US. It can also be used to protect personal privacy and security by protecting data transmissions with strong encryption.
It is an excellent choice for accessing region-restricted content because it hides your IP address, which is what your internet service provider sees when you're browsing online.
Why is VPN in Demand?
More Security When Using A Public Wi-Fi
At one point or another, we all have been guilty of connecting to a coffee shop or a mall's wi-fi to reply to emails or do other things online. What we don't know is somebody somewhere maybe keeping a log of our activities. This is why tech-gurus always advise not to access your bank or input any password when using public wi-fi. To protect your data, you need a VPN.
Protects Your Data From Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Let's assume you know about how not secured a public wi-fi is and you decide to use the one installed in your home. You are least likely to be breached by strangers. But what about your internet service provider? This is what happens when you browse.
When you turn on your internet access to browse, your ISP assigns an IP (internet protocol) address to you to establish a connection. With this address, they can keep track of your activities online, see the sites you visit and what you do there from their end. VPN masks your IP address or assigns a new one to 'blind' your ISP.
Protects Your Data From The Apps And Websites You Visit
Your ISP is not the only snooper clinging to you. The cookies used by websites are not exactly genuine. When you accept them, you not only get annoying notifications from them, they also keep track of your browsing history.
Provides Security When Working
VPN encrypts data and obscures it from spies. If you want to maintain confidentiality especially in a business, you should use a VPN to enable you to go through sensitive data in the office without fear of cyber attacks.
How to Select the Best VPN?
What do you want the VPN for?
The same way you cannot stroll into a store and blindly buy the first thing you see, the same way you cannot blindly use a VPN. The reason for its use determines the provider to choose. Is it for the household, a router, or an organization? This is the first thing to consider.
Another thing to consider is your internet activity. Do you mainly go online to stream videos? You need a high-speed VPN with reliable connections. But if you are online mainly for emails and other sensitive activities, you need a high-security VPN.
What Features Does It Offer?
Each VPN is known for something either speed, maximum encryption, or excellent anonymity. Some features to check for are the kill switch that takes you offline when the connection gets interrupted, the authentication, protocol, and no log history. Choose the VPN with the best features.
Is Your Device Compatible With The VPN?
While some VPN may work on all operating systems (Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, iOS), some may not.
For example, if you pick a VPN that works only on Windows and Linux, and you have an iPhone, you will not able to use the VPN on your phone. Select a VPN that works on all operating systems and is compatible with your mobile device.
The Location Covered By The VPN
The number of places covered by a VPN also influences your choice, especially if you travel a lot. Also, the number of servers present in each location should be reviewed. There are some places where there is limited internet service. If you find yourself in such a place you need to ensure that service will be provided by the said VPN.
Is It Paid Or Free VPN?
Tempting as it may be, free VPN is not always the best option because one way or the other, you will have to pay either through ads, unreliable protection, or poor internet connection.
5 Top VPN Service Providers of 2022
Based on the criteria highlighted above, we have made a compilation of the best VPN service providers that offers the best VPN services and other add-ons. Below are 5 of them.
1. Express VPN
ExpressVPN is one of the world’s fastest VPN service provider with the most stylish interface. It accepts 5 simultaneous connections and offers unlimited bandwidth and fast speeds, making it the best choice for streaming, gaming, browsing and downloading.
It is more focused on providing the best possible private network. It has well-distributed servers and strong privacy policies.
You can use ExpressVPN to hide your IP address, and browse anonymously and privately without being tracked or monitored by anyone. You can also access geo-restricted content from around the world, including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and more.
It also provides 24/7 customer support and has a 30 day money-back guarantee on its paid plans.
It has a large in-built power button to quickly turn on or off the VPN connection. When connected, it shows shortcuts for accessing apps and websites. It has an option for editing or turning off the shortcut.
The kill switch hinders all online activities when the connection to the server gets disrupted. It also provides an option to manually select another protocol when a particular one gets disrupted.
ExpressVPN creates connections with OpenVPN and its protocol, the lightway. Both OpenVPN and light way is open-source protocols and are supported on express VPN app for Mac, Windows, Android, and Linux.
Split tunneling is a flexible tool that gives 3 options
- Require that all apps use the VPN connection
- Select the apps excluded from the VPN connection
- Add apps for VPN connection
ExpressVPN is the most geographically diversified VPN provider. It boasts a total of 160 servers in 94 countries, including countries with internet repressive laws. Each of these servers is RAM only (does not store data) and key encrypted, meaning that each time it gets attacks, rather than crack, new layers of keys are assigned, making it more difficult to decrypt.
ExpressVPN does not offer paid plan over 1 year. Currently, the paid plans are - 1 Month ($12.95/month), 6 Months ($9.99/month) and 12 Months ($6.67/month).
CyberGhost VPN is one of the leading VPN providers in the market. It protects your online activities by routing your web traffic through an encrypted tunnel to their remote server, masking your data and making it difficult for someone to track your activities.
It also has a strict no logs policy, which means that they do not store any information about your online activity, so you are free to use it without worrying about privacy.
The best part about CyberGhost is that it doesn’t track your browsing history, so you can use it without fear of third-party access to your information.
The company offers some of the fastest speeds on the market, and it’s also one of the most affordable. Its 3 year plan would cost you just $2.29/month.
CyberGhost uses three types of protocol to establish connections - WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2.
The wireguard ensures speed when browsing and it is supported by platforms and operating systems (iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, Android). OpenVPN is supported on all CyberGhost platforms except Mac operating system. IKEv2 is supported by Amazon Fire TV, Android, Mac, Windows, and iOS.
Server and location
CyberGhost has approximately 7000 servers in 91 countries, especially the United States and the UK. It also has servers in some parts of Africa, South America, and other places with limited internet connections.
Speed and performance
Originally, using a VPN slows down your browsing speed, since it takes time to encrypt all your data in packets and reroute your IP address. You cannot blame it for doing its job. But CyberGhost has a way of balancing encryption and performance speed. Although the browsing will not be as fast as without a VPN, it is still faster than the average VPN speed.
Trust is the starting point of using security software. You just need to have confidence in them. Just as your ISP sees your data without a VPN, your VPN providers see all your activities too. CyberGhost does a good job of protecting you through their policies.
CyberGhost does not keep a log history, it blocks ads and malware from your device. It encrypts IP addresses without keeping a record of who owns which address. It has other add-on features like:
- ID guard that monitors your email for a compromise
- Password manager
- CyberGhost security suite for windows operating system
CyberGhostVPN offers monthly as well as annual paid plans. A monthly plan would cost you $12.99 per month.
Subscribing to annual plans will give you the best savings - 1 year ($4.20/month), 2 years ($3.25/month) and 3 years+3 months ($2.29/month).
3. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access VPN offers a very good private network with advanced settings. It is easy to understand with its simple interface and allows up to 10 simultaneous connections to be made.
Apart from that, it also extends the private network to every device that you connect through your hotspot. It is the best VPN service provider for routers and organizations.
Dedicated IP Address
This feature lets you keep a unique IP address assigned to you by the VPN service provider. For instance, when you turn on your VPN, and a new IP address is assigned to you. You can decide to save that address and use it for subsequent browsing. It will be unique to you alone unless you turn off this feature.
Private Internet Access uses an open-source protocol (OpenVPN and Wire guard) for connections, each of which is supported on all their platforms whether Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux. Another protocol it uses is the IKEv2 protocol. This protocol is supported on the iOS apps.
Server And Its Location
Private internet access has servers in 78 countries, including places where VPN services are not widely accepted. Private internet access has servers in different countries, but the total number of servers is not accurately known. While some of the servers are virtual, some are not. It only uses virtual servers in places where the security law frowns at VPN
Although their policy statement, terms of the agreement are not clear enough and says little about their client's data, it assures users that it does not keep logs of their internet activities or sell their data for profit. Private Internet Access only collects the client's username, IP address, and data usage (for a survey) only when the client is logged in. These data are deleted immediately after the user disconnects from the network.
This feature allows you to select which app is allowed to send data using a VPN. This is advantageous when streaming videos. For example, with this feature, you can stay protected while at the same time stream videos on Netflix because it was not listed on the VPN for protection.
MACE is another interesting feature private internet access has to offer. It comes in handy for blocking ads, cookies, and trackers. It also has an email breach monitoring device that alerts you when your email address gets compromised.
private internet access pricing
Private Internet Access monthly plan would cost you $9.95 per month. For one year it would cost $3.33 every month.
To get the cheapest deal, you can subscribe to 3 year plan which will cost you just $2.03 per month. You also get extra 3 months free with this plan.
Virtual Network Protocol
IPVanish uses OpenVPN so that potential vulnerabilities can be detected. The OpenVPN protocol it uses is TCP or UDP. It also uses the IKEv2 protocol in addition to the Open VPN.
It does not use OpenVPN on iOS due to too much scrutiny from Apple. Instead, it uses the IKEv2 for its iOS app. Other protocols it has are L2TP and SSTP which are not recommended for use because they are susceptible to attack and easily blocked by firewalls.
The geographical diversity of servers gives assurance of a nearby server and a faster, reliable connection. IPVanish provides VPN services to 55 countries, excluding countries with internet restrictions.
The number of servers it has is proportional to the number of users it has. The good news is, several virtual servers can exist in a single physical one but they appear like they are located in different parts of the country.
IPVanish is among the top fastest VPN service provider. Its uploads and download speeds are higher than the average VPN provider. Not only does it offer fast browsing, but the app also has a snappy response.
The interface is built around a chart/ graph that shows your browsing speed. It also has a connect button that gets you to connect to their server very quickly. It has an option to let you select your country of choice, even city.
The app has an intuitive kill switch that disconnects all internet activity (gets you offline quickly) when their server is down. For each time you make a connection, IPVanish changes your IP address, it does not assign a dedicated IP address to a particular user, unlike other VPN service providers. Each new address is displayed on the interface.
Although it is lengthy (as with privacy policies), it is very understandable. IPVanish will not intentionally log the IP address of a user and it will remove it anywhere it may show.
They do not also keep track of activities regarding connection traffic.
IPVanish also uses two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access to their network. For transparency, they have listed their third-party partners on their site.
IPVanish offers three pricing plans - Monthly Plan ($10.99/month), Quarterly Plan ($5/month) and Yearly Plan ($3.75/month)
One of the best VPN service providers to also consider is Surfshark. It is a worthy private network provider with unlimited simultaneous connections that makes it ideal for offices. It has split tunneling as well as other features hardly seen on other service providers, like the well-designed app and well-defined policy statement.
The whitelister is the split tunneling featured in the app that helps you decide the apps and websites to use with VPN. It had its merit in filtering out those websites that block VPN connections
This feature bounces your VPN connection from server to server, making it difficult to track. The only downside is that multihop connections are limited to only the ones premade by the provider.
While other VPN providers offer dedicated IP addresses, surf shark offers free access to static servers. When you connect to a static server, you get to share the same IP address with other users connected to the server. It's like looking for a particular coin in a bag of identical coins.
- Smart DNS is a custom service that blocks ads
- Surfshark Alert notifies you when your account or email address is compromised
- Surfshark Search is a search tool that also integrates privacy while searching. Meaning that the third party will be blind to your search
Surfshark establishes connections using OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2. OpenVPN is available on Android, Windows, iOS, and Linuxx apps. IKEv2 is available on all of its apps, including Mac, but not Linux.
WireGuard protocol is available on Android, iOS, Windows app, and also Mac operating system.
Surfshark has the following paid plans for its users - Monthly ($11.85/month), 1 Year ($3.65/month) and 2 Year ($2.28/month).
VPN is the safest meaning of putting a hedge between you and snoopers to ensure your safety online.
I hope this article will help you select the best VPN services provider for your need.
Which VPN Service you like the most and why? Please offer your comments below.
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