If you’re a US resident, the government is collecting information about you – whether you like it or not. Do you enjoy living under such invasive laws, and the constant threat of copyright infringement every time you stream a video? If not, we have good news for you. There are many ways to protect your privacy and prevent Big Brother from snooping through your data. One of the best is a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Quick Links to our best 5 VPNs for the United States
There are plenty of blurry lines and ambiguities in the laws that govern electronic privacy and telecommunications. For instance, the Patriot Act is packed with vaguely worded legalese. It essentially gives the government the power to make judgment calls at its own discretion. Now there’s a scary thought.
Even the bombshell revelations and sacrifices made by Edward Snowden failed to stop governmental surveillance. Thankfully, they did at least open the eyes of the average citizen. The documents Snowden shared meant that Americans finally had evidence of ‘ridiculous’ claims of surveillance. Those claims had previously sounded like something out of a political novel. The hard evidence turned mass surveillance conspiracy theories into real invasions of privacy.
A large portion of the domestic wiretapping activities hinged on the US Federal Government’s ability to coerce domestic companies and telecommunications services to forfeit customer data, or to provide spying methods and tools. That’s why those using US-based VPNs should be aware that the providers could keep usage logs or other data regarding their internet activity. We highlight these specific issues later on in this article.
Want to reclaim your privacy with a quality VPN for the United States? Go straight to our number one pick, Buffered, or check out our top recommendations to ensure privacy in the land of Uncle Sam.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Based in Hungary
- P2P and BitTorrent allowed
- Five simultaneous connections
- Some anonymous connection logs
The best VPN for the United States is Buffered. This
service is loaded with features, though the size of its network of servers
is relatively average. Buffered VPN hosts servers in 37 countries, which is enough to provide flexibility when looking
for a geographically close server. It hosts servers in
Canada and Mexico, though I would caution you to remember that Canada is
part of the FiveEyes surveillance sharing program.
Buffered VPN isn't the cheapest provider, but it's far from being the most expensive. I would place it somewhere between the mid and high end of the market for price. You can get the service for as little as $7.25 per month. I really like providers that allow a high number of simultaneous connections. Buffered allows up to five concurrent VPN connections, and it's a favorite of those looking to download and torrent since peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic is allowed.
Furthermore, Buffered is based in Hungary, far outside the US and the reaches of the NSA. It is a risk free provider, since it offers a generous 30-day money-back guarantee. The only thing I don't like about this service is that it keeps some anonymous connection logs. However, it does not log any user activities.
The best USA VPN service!Visit Buffered »30-day money back guarantee
- Six simultaneous connections
- Great pricing
- No logs
- Servers in over 50 countries
- Not the fastest server speeds
The next best US VPN is NordVPN, which is based in Panama. NordVPN is
great for US citizens who don't want their VPN provider forced into
forfeiting customer information. That's because it's based outside the US, and it
doesn't log your activities. Plus, it's a fairly cheap provider. The average VPN provider costs somewhere between $5 and $7
per month with an annual subscription. NordVPN only costs $5.75 per
month with a one year subscription. You can even get it for $3.29 per month with a two-year promotion.
Our NordVPN review found that they allow more simultaneous connections than any other paid plan I've seen. You can connect up to six devices at the same time with NordVPN, and it has a decent number of servers to choose from. Currently, it hosts servers in over 50 countries. It seems to be constantly expanding and adding servers as dictated by user demand, too.
US residents looking for servers outside the US will be happy to know that NordVPN has servers hosted in Mexico and Canada. These aren't my favorite two countries to connect to, but they do offer geographically close connections, which minimizes latency for smoother streaming. The only thing I don't care for regarding NordVPN is that it doesn't have the fastest server speeds in the industry.
- IPv6 and DNS leak protection
- Kill switch
- Five simultaneous connections per account
- VPN subscribers get web proxy service for free
- Based in the US
Another great VPN for the US is IPVanish, which is another industry leader.
This provider has a network size that's larger than
the average competitor. New servers are always coming online and old
servers being decommissioned. At present, IPVanish has over 40,000 shared IP
addresses hosted on 700+ servers in 60+ countries.
Furthermore, note that our IPVanish review lists tons of extra security features that competitors don't always include in their services. For instance, IPVanish includes Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) leak and Domain Name System (DNS) leak prevention mechanisms in the software client. Also, it includes a kill switch, which will halt internet activity for desired applications in the event of a VPN disconnect.
The kill switch makes IPVanish ideal for torrenting, and it does allows P2P traffic. The largest issue I have with IPVanish is that it is based in the US, though it is a zero logs provider. You can try it risk free by taking advantage of the seven-day money-back guarantee.
- Premium 10Gbit network available in US
- Based in Panama
- Five simultaneous connections
- WebRTC, DNS leak, and IPv6 leak protection
- Monthly plan is a little expensive ($9.99)
TorGuard is based in Panama, far outside the clutches
of the NSA's domestic wiretapping scandals. It has some special features for US residents that aren't offered by
other providers. If you're happy pay a premium for high speeds, you'll be pleased
to know that TorGuard offers exclusive access to a 10Gbit network in the
US, though it does cost $19.99 per month.
In addition, TorGuard includes a ton of add-ons to help customize your subscription. For instance, you can add extra simultaneous connections for $1 each per month, though you are already allowed five simultaneous connections. This provider has a ton of extra security features. In addition to DNS leak and IPv6 leak protection, it also includes Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) protection and a feature that prevents Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) by firewalls and network appliances.
Naturally, all these extra features and goodies come at cost. The largest drawback to this provider is its price. The add-ons can really add up, and significantly hike the price. The monthly plan is a little expensive too, at $9.99. Still, if you want a high quality VPN service, tons of customizable add-ons and a service based outside the US, TorGuard is a fantastic option.
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- Servers in 94+ countries
- Three simultaneous connections per account
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Based in the British Virgin Islands
- Pricer than most other competitors
rises to the top of the industry for a variety of reasons. It hosts servers in just about every major country you
can think of. Right now, it hosts servers in 94 countries, including the US, Mexico and Canada. Those who don't
like domestic US companies because the NSA can keep them under its thumb,
will be pleased to hear the ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin
Additionally, in the last year and half or so, ExpressVPN recently upped the number of simultaneous connections it allows its users. It now allows up to three simultaneous connections per account. I do really wish ExpressVPN had a free service or a free trial. Instead, it makes do with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is still a lengthy risk free period.
ExpressVPN accepts anonymous crypto-currencies like Bitcoin. I also like that it allows P2P and torrenting. Plus, ExpressVPN is unlike the majority of other providers because it has a special router setup application that simplifies the process of configuring a VPN on supported router models. There is really only one thing I don't like about this service: the price. I don't recommend the monthly plan. Rather, I recommend the annual plan, which is much more reasonable at $8.32 per month.
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VPNs for the US: Considerations
If I Live in the US Do I Even Need a VPN?
Anyone who grew up in the US knows how much Americans pride themselves on freedom. Liberty and rule by the people are two pillars upon which the country was founded. That’s why the preamble to the US Constitution begins with three powerful words: We the people. The idea of a government controlling, subjugating, and monitoring its citizens is utterly at odds with this. However, things have changed drastically in the Federal Government, especially concerning the NSA.
Americans were horrified when they discovered that the government had implemented domestic surveillance programs, such as PRISM. Edward Snowden played a huge role in awakening the American people by loudly blowing the whistle. Thanks to his efforts, Americans are now aware that the government has intruded into their personal lives through questionable practices.
If privacy as a main concern for you, we recommend checking out our top 5 VPNs that claim to keep zero logs.
Ironically, programs like PRISM were set in motion in the name of combating terrorism. The idea (allegedly) was to collect bulk data from popular digital companies in the US, such as Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Apple, and others. Then, the government would search the data for keywords and red flags related to terrorist terminology, threats, and other key markers.
The net effect, however, was that the government invaded US citizens’ privacy. PRISM didn’t bear any fruits in combating global terrorist activities.
Does governmental surveillance and invasion of privacy send chills down your spine and make your blood boil? It should! Thankfully, a VPN will give you increased anonymity on the internet, encrypting all communication between your device and the outside world. If you want to know more about how a VPN works, check our excellent Beginner’s Guide to VPNs.
VPNs and iPhones: Dangers in the US
Freedom of speech and privacy are a big concern around the world. In fact, the very first amendment to the US Constitution protects free speech. Unfortunately, the fourth amendment, which protects individuals from unlawful searches and seizures, only protects persons, houses, papers, and effects – not complex data and telecommunications information.
The US was founded on the premise of freedom and liberty. However, recent years have shown the government’s agenda to be quite the contrary. The FBI’s involvement with Apple is a prime example. Apple’s iPhone only has a relatively small portion of the mobile market as compared to Android. Despite that, there are millions of iPhones in use in the US.
Whenever each new version of the iPhone is released, there are security flaws that need to be patched. Hackers and governmental agencies can easily take advantage of flaws in new code. Apple has had a long and tense relationship with the NSA and the FBI. The FBI tried to coerce Apple into intentionally designing backdoors into its mobile devices. This was to provide law enforcement with access to encrypted data in the event of criminal or terrorist activity.
Paying the Price
While some people might consider this a small price to pay for the quality of life in the US, residents should be alarmed at the government’s conduct. The government used the Patriot Act and other legislation to deceive the American public.
Whether the FBI can tap into your iPhone is currently unknown. The operating system only protects your data when it is sitting on your phone. Once you access a website or cloud server, you data is vulnerable as it is transmitted through the public internet… unless you’ve encrypted it, that is. That’s why you need a VPN tunnel on iOS devices.
A VPN for iPhone encrypts all data that the device sends and receives. This is not entirely secure when living in the US, as domestic services like Google may still forfeit your data. However, using a VPN on an iPhone is easy and quick to set up. You will be free from unwanted spying and from tracking methods such as a Stingray or Typhoon devices.
Copyright Infringement: A Big Deal
Copyright infringement has become a big issue in the US. The emergence of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing sites has resulted in copyright holders pursuing strict punishments for offenders. In the past, services like Kazaa and Limewire met fierce opposition from the government. Many individuals who used these services became the object of lawsuits. As such, VPNs for torrenting have become commonplace.
BestVPN.com & the VPN services that we feature are not intended to be used as a means of copyright circumvention. Please ensure you read the terms of service and any terms and conditions of any service you sign up to for more details.
The launch of the Copyright Alert System in 2013 aimed to curb copyright infringement. This system employs a six step warning process. This eventually results in an Internet Service Provider (ISP) handing over an individual’s browsing history to copyright holders and legal agencies.
ISPs and copyright holders are increasingly prepared to go through the legal hurdles of protecting copyrighted material. This mainly results in DMCA notices being served to try and scare the average torrent user. However, courtroom cases are becoming more common. Prosecution for copyright infringement can result in a fine of between $200 and $150,000, or even jail time.
As such, it’s advisable to make sure you adequately research whether the file you want to download is copyrighted. Furthermore, you’ll need to research the copyright laws in your state, since state laws do vary.
VPNs for Streaming Content
The US boasts a wealth of media content that can be streamed online. Shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead mesmerize millions around the world. Popular streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu are all based in the US (along with much copyright-restricted material).
Access to these services is mostly unblocked in the US, but some networks (like a school campus or hotel) may block these sites to conserve bandwidth. A VPN tunnel will easily unblock them. You might run into some lag if you try and stream high-quality videos while using a VPN, however. We don’t recommend using a US VPN for streaming services, but if you prefer total privacy over speed, try using a fast VPN like ExpressVPN or Buffered.
If you choose a VPN service with servers in other countries (such as the UK), you have the option of connecting to a server there and accessing foreign streaming services, such as BBC iPlayer.
Best US VPNs: Conclusion
Whether you’re a temporary resident, citizen or tourist in the US, you’ll have access to an internet infrastructure that’s freer than those of most other countries. The US ranks 43rd on Reporters Without Borders’ 2017 World Press Freedom Index. However, in recent times, the US has become a dangerous place to browse the internet (with respect to your privacy). Make sure you’re properly protected against any unwanted snooping with one of the VPNs we’ve mentioned above.
If you have any questions or comments regarding a US VPN, let us know below!