5 Best VPNs For Comcast Xfinity 2017 - Stop ISPs Snooping - BestVPN.com
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5 Best VPNs For Comcast Xfinity in 2017

Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper

July 10, 2016

Xfinity is a marketing entity owned by Comcast. It offers combined internet, telephone, and TV packages in the United States. The company is the largest provider of cable-delivered internet services in the US, with 40% market share. Xfinity has a large range of internet service plans. The slowest of these gives download speeds of 10 Mbps. The top of the range plan gives speeds of 2Gbps for downloads.

Quick Links to our 5 best VPNs for Xfinity

  1. Buffered
  2. IPVanish
  3. NordVPN
  4. ExpressVPN Special Deal: Save 49% Today!
  5. VPNArea

These speeds are great. Even the cheapest package gives speeds fast enough for streaming video from services such as Netflix. If you like to download files with peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, all of the Xfinity service plans will (in theory) allow your torrent downloads to run quickly.

When you signed up for Xfinity, were you excited about the possibilities such great speeds opened up? Unfortunately, many Xfinity customers find that the service they get isn’t actually good enough for streaming. They find that their torrent downloads just hang.

There are some great websites that enable you to test the speed of your internet connection. These services will show that Xfinity is delivering the speeds it promised.

The reason that you get reports of high speeds from internet testing services, yet don’t get good enough speeds while streaming and downloading is because Xfinity practices “throttling.” Throttling slows down traffic to specific sites, or that use particular protocols. It leaves all other connections at the agreed speed. Thus your Netflix connection will be slow, while the connection to the speed test site is unrestricted. You can read more about Comcast’s record on throttling later on in this review.

If you are an Xfinity customer and stuck in a minimum contract period, you probably want to stop it throttling your connections. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are the answer.

A VPN protects your connections from detection during transmission. A VPN means Xfinity can’t tell where you are connecting to, or what type of protocol is in use. Thus it can’t throttle your streaming and downloading activities. Before you start searching for VPNs, take a look at BestVPN.com’s five best VPNs for Xfinity.

Best VPNs for Xfinity: Summary

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
Buffered Homepage
PROS:
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Allowance of five simultaneous connections
  • Great for P2P
  • Doesn't keep activity logs
  • Based outside the US
CONS:
  • Can't get into Netflix

Buffered is really enthusiastic about torrenting on its website. This a good sign, because the lengths that the company goes to when it explains how you can use the system for P2P downloads means that it won't be able to back out and change its policy after you sign up. The statements made on the website can be included in the conditions of contract. Now that Netflix has defeated Xfinity throttling, the main risk of getting poor service from the ISP is over P2P systems.

Another issue you need to cover if you like to use torrents is that your VPN should protect you against prosecution. You have to choose a VPN that keeps no logs and thus can't pass on information about your activities. Buffered fits the bill. Additionally, its offshore location makes it a lot harder for US copyright lawyers to put legal pressure on it.

Check out the best VPN for Xfinity

Visit Buffered »30-day money-back guarantee

#2 Best VPN for Xfinity: IPVanish

IPVanish Homepage
PROS:
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • P2P allowed
  • Allowance of five simultaneous connections
  • Gets into Netflix
  • Fast speeds
CONS:
  • Based in the US

IPVanish has great speeds, which is ideal for downloading and video streaming. IPVanish vows that it keeps no activity logs, which is an essential requirement for this company, because it is based in the US. IPVanish states that it is fine with P2P downloading. However, it also points out that all of the legal responsibilities for your activities lie with you.

Despite the current truce between Xfinity and Netflix, the fact that this VPN can get you into Netflix is another benefit of subscribing to IPVanish. Netflix has some of the strictest controls that block VPN traffic, so the fact that IPVanish can defeat those detection measures means it should be able to get into just about any streaming service in the world. The protection of this VPN will sneak you through Xfinity's attempts at throttling, too.

#3 Best VPN for Xfinity: NordVPN

NordVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Good for P2P
  • No logs
  • Allowance of six simultaneous connections
  • Gets into Netflix
CONS:
  • Customer support can be slow

NordVPN can evade detection by the Netflix server, so it will be able to get into just about any streaming server that you want to access. The stealth procedures of NordVPN will easily sneak all of your traffic by the Xfinity server. This VPN is also a good choice for P2P downloading. Both NordVPN and VPNArea (see below) give an allowance of six simultaneous connections, so you can bring the cost of running the VPN down by sharing an account with friends. NordVPN is based in Panama and keeps no activity logs.

#4 Best VPN for Xfinity: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Deal: Save 49% Today!
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Good for P2P
  • Great speeds
  • Uses stealth technology
CONS:
  • Expensive

ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, where there are no data retention laws. It keeps no logs of the activities of its customers. You will get very fast speeds from this VPN, which is great for downloading and streaming videos. This is another VPN that proves its capabilities by foiling the blocks practiced by Netflix. The customer support team is available 24/7 via live chat on the ExpressVPN website. The staff is fine about P2P downloading, so if you need advice on how to set up the VPN on your torrent client, you don't have to worry about asking. ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries around the world, so you'll be able to sample TV from foreign parts. Xfinity would stand no chance if it tried to snoop on your protected traffic - even the Chinese government can't crack ExpressVPN's encryption.

Special Deal: Save 49% Today!

Visit ExpressVPN »

#5 Best VPN for Xfinity: VPNArea

VPNArea Homepage
PROS:
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • No logs
  • Specialized servers for P2P downloading
  • Allowance of six simultaneous connections
  • Gets into Netflix
CONS:
  • Live chat for support not available 24/7

VPNArea also manages to get through the Great Firewall of China by evading detection and inspection, so it is guaranteed to get through the Xfinity servers unscathed. This VPN has two world-class detection-beating methods for you to try: OpenVPN and a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) tunnel. Like all the other winners on our list of the best VPNs for Xfinity, VPNArea keeps no logs. The company is headquartered in Switzerland, where downloading copyrighted material without paying is legal for personal viewing. The operation center of VPNArea is in Bulgaria, where there is no requirement for VPNs to retain activity data - so it doesn't.

Best Xfinity VPNs: Considerations

Comcast’s BitTorrent Throttling

Comcast has been caught practicing throttling. In 2007, a TorrentFreak blog post accused it of throttling BitTorrent traffic. In fact, not only did Comcast reduce speeds available to torrent connections, it actually forced peers to disconnect. Comcast’s servers used a program called Sandvine to trace back P2P connections to the seeder and inject a reset command. That forced the seeding computer to disconnect. This made it impossible for Comcast customers to download BitTorrent files.

Comcast’s response to this allegation was to lie: “Comcast does not, has not, and will not block any Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services,” said Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen. However, when more proof emerged, Comcast admitted that it slowed BitTorrent traffic. It did so to make high speeds available to other applications. This is the very definition of throttling.

Having admitted its dirty deed, the company got into trouble with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The FCC fined Comcast for implementing throttling, which is illegal. Rather than admit defeat, Comcast then sued the FCC and got the judgment overturned, on the basis that such issues were outside the remit of the FCC. Interestingly, Comcast didn’t deny implementing throttling, and the sanction wasn’t cancelled because throttling was legal. Unfortunately, this case created a gap in law enforcement. It enabled Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to implement the illegal practice of throttling without fear of prosecution.

The gap in enforcement of network service quality was closed in 2014. However, the difficulty of proving throttling encourages ISPs to continue the practice.

Comcast’s Streaming Throttling

Evidence of Comcast’s unabashed throttling comes from the realms of video streaming. In this dirty deed, Comcast is not alone. Verizon has also been caught throttling streaming traffic. Both companies particularly target connections to Netflix. Comcast’s Xfinity division and Verizon are both part of media conglomerates that also include TV delivery services and entertainment production companies.

Netflix shook the cage in the digital entertainment industry when it launched its pay TV service. Rivals were upset. Verizon and Comcast were in a position to fight back because both companies are dominant in the field of internet service provision. They began to make connections to Netflix unbearably slow. They then fielded Netflix customers to encourage them to sign up for their own movie and premium packages. The ISPs blamed underinvestment by Netflix for the terrible performance of the connections.

Realizing that proving the lie would be difficult, Netflix hit back in a very mature way. One of the justifications that Verizon and Xfinity gave in order to throttle Netflix was that the extra volume of traffic that such applications generated made it impossible to stick to their price and performance agreements with their customers. Netflix guessed that the true reason for the behavior of these two key ISPs was that they wanted Netflix’s customers to watch their own premium channels instead.

The Netflix Subsidy

In early 2014, Netflix reached an agreement with the two combative ISPs. It agreed to pay them a subsidy to compensate them for the extra cost of carrying Netflix traffic. Xfinity showed its true colors by signing an agreement and accepting Netflix’s money, then continuing to throttle its traffic.

Netflix had to prove that Xfinity was throttling its traffic. Thankfully, it found a way to garner its customers to help gather evidence. Netflix created an internet speed test website, Fast.com. This worked with messages sent from the Netflix server. The speed test transmissions would be caught by the ISP as coming from Netflix. Thus they would be automatically switched to a slower line. Netflix provided a link to a standard speed test site, Speedtest.net, to show a comparison to the service offered to regular traffic. It thus identified the throttling.

The Fast.com strategy encouraged Verizon and Xfinity customers to complain that they were not getting the speeds promised in their service contracts. This created financial pressure and gained allies for Netflix within the ISPs’ customer base. Fast.com was launched with a burst of publicity. This called the bluff of Xfinity, because it was impossible for the ISP to distinguish between video streams and test transmissions issued by the Netflix server. Xfinity could either continue to throttle Netflix traffic and get caught, or drop its control of Netflix transmissions, thus ending its efforts to kill off its rival.

The Fast.com strategy has probably saved Netflix from throttling by Xfinity for now. The speed test comparison evidence would enable all of the ISP’s customers to claim full refunds. Netflix would also be able to get all of its subsidies back, plus punitive damages. Such actions would likely bankrupt Comcast. Sadly, Xfinity is still probably throttling other streaming services and torrent traffic.

Best VPNs for Xfinity: Conclusions

When accused of throttling, Xfinity first lied, then found a legal loophole so that it could continue the illegal practice. When bribed to stop throttling video streams, the company continued the practice, despite the legal risks of contravening a contractual agreement. Xfinity’s determination to continue illegal practices is based on the belief that its actions cannot be traced. Netflix showed that, ultimately, it is only evidence of duplicitous activity that will stop Xfinity from throttling.

Keep your torrent downloads and video streaming flowing at a bearable pace by hiding your activities from Xfinity. Get the service you paid for by using a VPN.

Best VPNs for Xfinity: Side-by-Side Comparison

Image Credit: Brand logo for Xfinity, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain