Do you want to watch movies and TV shows such as Game of Thrones on services like Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon, or HBO Go from abroad? Do you want to torrent without fear of getting caught? Is staying safe from hackers while using public WiFi hotspots important to you?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you need a VPN! And that’s where we can help…
The Perfect Fit
The Perfect Fit
Which is the Best VPN Service for 2017?
Here at BestVPN.com, our team of experts has assessed factors such as speed performance, encryption strength, privacy policies, price, free trials, any money-back guarantees on offer, and much more in order to bring you our top picks for the best VPN services in 2017.
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- Servers in over 61+ countries
- Excellent for privacy and security
- Fast connection speeds for streaming
- Easy to use and reliable
- Great customer care
- Perhaps slower than some
Our NordVPN review has consistently rated these guys as a top VPN provider year after year. The reason being that it is a highly secure service that is packed with security features such as DNS leak protection, stealth mode, a killswitch, double encryption and VPN into Tor.
Add to that a zero-logs policy and well implemented OpenVPN encryption (military grade) and you start to understand why. In the past, NordVPN had at times suffered from erratic connection speed issues. However, more recently this superb VPN appears to have managed to really iron those issues out. The result is a reliable and trustworthy VPN that is good enough to do even the most data intensive of tasks (such as streaming in HD). With NordVPN you get freedom and digital privacy, and users are free to do anything they wish (including torrenting). Admittedly, ExpressVPN is slightly faster and does have more servers, but for the added price the difference is negligible.
Finally, this VPN has a 30-day money back guarantee, so that you can test it without risking your hard earned cash, win!
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- Super fast – great for streaming!
- Super secure – 256-bit encryption
- Unlimited downloading
- 5* customer support and 24/7 live chat
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- A bit pricey - but worth it!
ExpressVPN hits our number two spot thanks to its feature-filled service that is easy to use for both technical and non-technical users. Its headline act is its ridiculously fast performance, but fantastic 24/7 customer support and a generous 30-day, no-quibble, money-back guarantee certainly sweeten the deal! For those concerned with privacy, robust encryption keeps hackers at bay and no usage logs means the company can’t share your personal browsing data. Servers located in a whopping 94 countries around the world are also a big draw if you’re seeking speed, privacy, and access to geographically restricted content. Users in China will appreciate ExpressVPN’s special “stealth” servers located in Hong Kong, and users everywhere will appreciate the new free Smart Domain Name System (DNS) service (included with all accounts) that keeps streaming media like Netflix running smoothly on a VPN. Top it all off with an easy-to- use desktop software for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (command line only), simple apps for Android and iOS plus custom router firmware, and you can see why ExpressVPN impressed our experts and remain one of our most popular providers. Additional features: three simultaneous connections, peer-to- peer (P2P) permitted. Try the best VPN service today with a 30-day, no-quibble, money-back guarantee.
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- High speed for ultra-fast streaming
- More than 800 servers & global coverage
- Multiple usage on up to 5 devices
- No Logs Policy, guaranteed security and encryption
- No longer offering a free version (but does offer 30 day money-back guarantee)
Subscribing to CyberGhost is a superb way to introduce yourself to the world of VPNs. There is no bandwidth limit, encryption is similar to that on a premium VPN, and setting up the service is easy. CyberGhost’s user-friendly desktop app makes connecting to the VPN nice and simple.
CyberGhost has more than 800 servers & global coverage. The CyberGhost app is really funky and will appeal to a fashion-conscious, young crowd. CyberGhost are based both in Romania and in Germany, the latter being responsible for most of the software development. With both teams united by a common credo for internet anonymity, CyberGhost is a major supporter and promoter of civil rights, a free society and an uncensored internet culture.
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- Protects your data - no logs at all
- Protects your privacy - VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection
- Supports multiple devices – up to five simultaneous connections
- Smooth streaming - smart DNS included
- Accepts bitcoin
- Based in US
- So-so support
Our next pick for best VPN of 2017 is IPVanish—a high-profile company known for its excellent privacy credentials. IPVanish keeps no logs (at all), which means that even if the government comes knocking they can’t get your data, and accepts payment in bitcoin, allowing you to buy and browse anonymously. The service also permits torrenting and throws in a free Smart DNS service for all customers. The biggest downside is that it’s based in the US—not an ideal location since the NSA is notorious for its intensive and often illegal surveillance. To combat this, IPVanish doesn’t keep logs and does provide DNS leak protection. Despite being a little stripped-down, works very well. Additional features: P2P allowed, mobile apps for all operating systems, seven-day money-back guarantee.
- Fast Speeds
- Good privacy - no usage logs
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- peer-2- peer sharing allowed
- Based in Hungary
- A bit pricey
- Some connection logs
This Hungarian VPN provider may be small, but it packs a serious privacy punch. Being based in Hungary places it outside the direct reach of the National Security Agency (NSA) and UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). In addition to running servers in 16 countries, Buffered offers a unique port discovery feature that lets you bypass login requirements when using Wi-Fi at airports, hotels, and other public spaces by searching for open ports in the local area network (LAN) neighborhood. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available, but do read the terms of service, as important conditions apply. Additional features: three simultaneous connections.
What Is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
VPNs are the Swiss army knife of internet privacy and security. Check out What is a VPN? to find out more!
Using a VPN service is arguably the single most effective measure you can take to improve your online privacy and security.
- It connects your computer (and this includes devices such as smartphones and tablets) to a “VPN server” run by a commercial VPN provider. It then connects to the internet via this VPN server.
- All data passing between your computer and the VPN server is encrypted. This is sometimes referred to as an “encrypted tunnel.” It means that your data is hidden from your ISP, so that it cannot spy on what you do online.
Not sure what “encryption” means ? Then check out the intro to VPN Encryption: The Complete Guide.
- VPN providers usually run VPN servers in different locations around the world. This is great for avoiding censorship, as you can simply connect to a server located in a country where there is no such censorship. This feature allows you to access services that are geo-restricted as well. A good example of this is BBC iPlayer, which is only available to UK residents.
- When you connect to the internet via a VPN server, anyone on the internet will see the IP address of the VPN server, not your real IP address.
Why Do I Need a VPN?
A VPN provides the following benefits:
Privacy from Your ISP or Government
A VPN will hide your internet activity from your ISP. This makes it very effective at preventing blanket surveillance of the kind carried out by the NSA and GCHQ.
Privacy When Visiting Websites
When you visit a website, that site will see the IP address of the VPN server you are connected to, not your real IP address. This provides privacy when visiting websites, and can help prevent you being tracked as you surf the internet.
You Can Watch Netflix
A side-effect of this is that you can use VPNs to access services such as US Netflix and BBC iPlayer, which are usually blocked to overseas viewers. You can do this by connecting to a VPN server in the relevant country.
It is worth noting that both Netflix and iPlayer attempt to block VPN users. These blocks are often ineffective, and many providers have found ways around them, but not all have (and the problem is becoming worse).
As such, please take advantage of any free trials or money-back guarantees to ensure your chosen VPN works with the services you want to watch.
You Can Evade Censorship
Using a VPN you can connect to a server in a country which does not censor internet content. This allows you to access content blocked by your ISP or government on political, social, religious, or copyright grounds.
Security When Using WiFi Hotspots
A VPN encrypts your data as it travels between your device and the VPN server. This means that you can use public WiFi networks and hotspots safely. Even if these have been compromised in some way, your data remains securely encrypted.
You Can Peer-to-peer (P2P) Download in Safety
As a VPN hides your real IP address and ensures that your ISP can’t see what you get up to on the internet, it makes it possible to P2P torrent download safely. Just be sure to use a VPN service that permits this (not all of them do).
The open source qBitTorrent client can be bound to your VPN interface so you are protected if your VPN connection fails.
To learn more about VPNs – what they are, what they can do, and what they can’t do, please check out my VPNs for Beginners – What You Need to Know guide.
Are VPNs Safe to Use?
The answer to this question depends somewhat on what you mean by “safe.”
- VPNs are legal almost everywhere, so they are safe in that sense. They are also routinely used by businesses in order to secure internal communications. This means that there is nothing suspicious about using a VPN.
- Can you trust your VPN service? VPN providers rely on their reputation in order to do business. If they are shown to be untrustworthy, they would likely go out of business. If you are very concerned about privacy, please check out 5 Best No Logs VPNs for a detailed discussion on this issue.
- VPN apps from reputable commercial providers are safe to use. Many free VPN services are run by cowboys, however. They install viruses, steal your information or bandwidth, and track what you do on the web before selling this valuable data to the highest bidder. The best way to avoid this problem is to avoid free VPN services.
How Do I Set up a VPN?
Most VPN services these days offer custom apps for the major platforms. Simply download and install the app, enter your account details, and ta-da!
If your platform isn’t supported, your VPN service will provide detailed manual setup guides for configuring your devices, using their inbuilt VPN client or third-party software. Some providers offer better guides than others, but all get the job done.
Can I Use a VPN on My Phone or Tablet?
Every VPN service in existence provides support for Android and iOS devices (iPhones and iPads). Windows Phones are also well supported. Older Blackberry devices are much less so, but it possible to use a VPN with them.
Please do be aware, however, of a major caveat when using a VPN on a mobile device.
The NordVPN Android app
When using your mobile browser, the VPN will do everything a VPN does on a desktop system. Mobile apps, however, can and do send a great deal of personal information directly to both the platform provider (for example, Google or Apple), and to the app developer.
This information can include your phone’s unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, Global Positioning System (GPS) location data, your contact lists, your Google Play/iTunes ID, and much more.
A VPN cannot prevent an app sending this information, so to benefit fully from the VPN you should avoid apps. Access services via their web portals using your mobile browser instead.
A VPN protocol is the set of instructions used to negotiate a secure encrypted connection between two computers. A number of such VPN protocols are commonly supported by commercial VPN services. The most notable of these are PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, and IKEv2.
PPTP – This is an old VPN protocol that has not been considered secure for years. It is widely supported, but only use if absolutely necessary for compatibility with older devices.
L2TP – This is usually implemented with the IPsec authentication suite (L2TP/IPsec). It is most certainly not secure against the NSA, but for most purposes is generally regarded as being secure if openly published pre-shared keys are not used. Its built-in compatibility with a great many devices can make it a very good choice.
IKEv2 – A new standard that is increasingly popular because it is both fast and secure. How secure it is against the likes of the NSA is unknown, however. Mobile users may even prefer it to OpenVPN thanks to its improved ability to reconnect when an internet connection is interrupted.
OpenVPN – This open source and now fully audited protocol is widely regarded as the most secure and versatile VPN protocol available (if well implemented). My general recommendation is to use OpenVPN whenever possible.
For more information on this subject, please check out VPN Encryption: The Complete Guide.
As you can see, VPNs are a very versatile tool! For many, they are just a convenient way to watch Netflix from abroad. However, they are also a valuable privacy and security tool. Given that a good VPN service can cost only a few bucks per month, it’s madness not to use one!
Summary: Best VPN Services 2017
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