ExpressVPN

5 Best VPNs for OpenVPN (November 2015 Update)

Today, OpenVPN is recognized by most VPN providers as the best and most secure protocol on the market. That’s a big deal, but it deserves it, outstripping PPTP and L2TP/IPsec by a mile thanks to some impressive features.

Despite not being the easiest protocol to set up, its excellent security and fast speeds have gained it widespread acceptance. So far so good, but with so many providers supporting it, how do you decide which subscription is the best? Never fear – we’ve done the hard work for you! Just read on to see what we think are the 5 best VPNs for OpenVPN.

5 Best VPNs for OpenVPN Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

NordVPN Logo
Read Review9.2/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

3

AirVPN Logo
Read Review8.6/10
$4.82 / monthVisit Site

4

VPNArea Logo
Read Review7.8/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

5

CyberGhost Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$5.83 / monthVisit Site

Winner

ExpressVPN

5/5

ExpressVPN

  • PROS
  • As fast as it gets
    Simple to use
    Excellent customer service
    No logs retained
    Pay with Bitcoin
  • CONS
  • High price

Are you looking for seriously high speeds, user-friendly software and great security? If the answer’s yes, then ExpressVPN is the provider for you. With high-quality apps for all platforms, it excels not just on Windows but on Mac, iOS and Android too. Downloads run at top speed thanks to a growing network that currently comprises hundreds of servers in more than 75 countries around the world, and customer support staff are available to contact 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And that’s not all. With no cap on bandwidth, no user logs or session data retained, and mobile devices supported for free, it’s hard to find anything to complain about. One small downside is the price which, starting at $12.95, is definitely at the top end of the market. If you’re willing to pay the extra, however, there are plenty of rewards in store.

To find out for yourself what ExpressVPN has to offer, click below to sign up today!

Visit ExpressVPN »

30-day money back guarantee

2nd place

NordVPN

4.6/5

NordVPN

  • PROS
  • No logs
    Pay with Bitcoin
    6 simultaneous connections
    30-day money back guarantee
  • CONS
  • A few software issues to fix

NordVPN is one of the most secure VPN providers in the business. Being based in Panama allows them to take advantage of the country’s lack of mandatory data retention laws, which means that when they say they keep no usage and connection logs, they mean it. Other privacy highlights include accepting Bitcoin as payment, support for Tor over VPN, and multi-hop connections.

NordVPN has more to offer than stellar security features. The Panamanian provider offers up to six simultaneous connections, which users can use to access the over 550 servers NordVPN has in 47 countries across the globe.

Fancy giving NordVPN a spin? Sign up today via the blue button below – it’s risk free thanks to their 30-day money back guarantee!

Visit NordVPN »


3rd place

AirVPN

4.3/5

AirVPN

  • PROS
  • No logs
    256-bit AES encryption
    Pay with Bitcoin
    Support for Tor over VPN and VPN through SSL and SSH tunnels
    3-day free trial
  • CONS
  • Not the most user-friendly software

If keeping your online activity private is top of your priority list then AirVPN might just be the provider for you, thanks to some rigorous privacy measures and excellent security.

As well as using 256-bit AES encryption, AirVPN gives users the option to operate using the anonymous Tor network. Combined with SSL and SSH encrypted tunnels for file transfers, this should leave you able to browse and communicate in the confidence that no outside eyes will even be aware that you’re using a VPN. You can also pay anonymously with Bitcoin, sign up with a disposable email address and, of course, AirVPN keeps no logs whatsoever. Foolproof.

Less tech-savvy users might struggle as their software is not always quite so accessible, with ease of use occasionally sacrificed for high-spec security features. However, if privacy is your main priority, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any better options out there.

All it takes is a click – visit and sign up to AirVPN by following the link below.

Visit AirVPN »


4th place

VPNArea

3.9/5

VPNArea

  • PROS
  • No logs
    Pay with Bitcoin
    5 simultaneous connections
    7-day money back guarantee
  • CONS
  • High price

VPNArea offers up a slick and well-designed service that ticks all the boxes. Privacy? Check. No logs, shared IPs, 256-bit AES encryption and bitcoin payments keep your identity under wraps. Flexibility? Check. Up to five simultaneous connections (well over the standard allowance of one or three) mean that you can spread the love. There’s even a 7-day money back guarantee that means that you can get your first impressions for free.

On the downside, the monthly price is on the higher end of average, although if you’re interested in signing up for a year, you’ll get a considerable discount. Given the strength of VPNArea’s overall performance, then, this minor compromise is nothing when compared to everything it’s got to offer.

Want to take a closer look? Hit the button to sign up.

Visit VPNArea »


5th place

CyberGhost

3.7/5

CyberGhost

  • PROS
  • No logs
    Impressive speeds
    Simple to use
    30-day free trial
    Pay with Bitcoin
  • CONS
  • Nothing much

CyberGhost is undeniably one of the most generous VPN providers on the market, offering not just a 30-day trial but also an impressively well-rounded free subscription.

Going all-out to give users something for nothing, CyberGhost’s free plan lets you access an extensive range of features, although you will have to compromise when it comes to torrenting (banned), and server access (limited). Paid plans are good too, offering unrestricted access and excellent privacy settings (no logs here!) for a very low price.

On the whole, the high-level performance and impressive ease of use of CyberGhost make it a very respectable contender in the race for Best VPN for OpenVPN.

Visit CyberGhost »


A bit of background…

OpenVPN is a type of VPN protocol; a series of instructions which is used to create a secure, encrypted connection between computers communicating online. There are several different types of protocols available, including PPTP, SSTP, and L2TP/IPSec, all of which work slightly differently to establish a secure VPN network. For more information on other protocols, take a look at our PPTP vs. L2TP vs. OpenVPN vs. SSTP vs. IKEv2 article.

So why is OpenVPN so successful?

Amongst the revelations about the reach of the NSA’s power was the discovery that the organization is able to compromise VPN protocols. This influence appears to reach to every protocol except one. You’ve guessed it – OpenVPN. And why’s that?

Well…

  • OpenVPN is an open source technology, not a proprietary one. This means that its source code can be altered by any provider to build their own VPN client, incorporating their chosen ciphers, encryption keys, other security features and added bonuses. This flexibility not only means that it’s endlessly adaptable, but also that all of its features are open to review by third parties, giving users ample opportunity to check for any unwanted surprises.
  • OpenVPN makes use of SSL, a widely-used method of encrypting the link between your computer and the server it’s connected to. More specifically, it uses SSLv3/TLSv1 protocols and the OpenSSL library. What does this mean? Essentially, that you can use OpenVPN to get around firewalls. This can be achieved by configuring the program so that it runs on any port, including TCP port 443, which is the same port used by regular SSL traffic. Once using this port, you can access secure https:// sites at the same time as making it very hard for any prying eyes to tell that you’re using a VPN.

That’s not all!

Another important component of VPN protocols is the cipher; the algorithm used to encrypt your data. Which cipher a VPN protocol uses determines the security of the network that it creates; so it’s a pretty vital part of the process. The main ciphers used by VPN providers are AES and Blowfish, although others (including Camellia and 3DES) are commonly used elsewhere on the internet. So what’s the difference between the two?

  • Blowfish has been around for a while now (since 1993, in fact), and is still going strong, although its popularity has waned in recent years. It’s still widely regarded as secure, but is known to use weak encryption keys, and to struggle with encrypting larger files.This means that, although no conclusive evidence has yet been produced to suggest that it is not secure, Blowfish is still considered to be the riskier option. Successors Twofish and Threefish have been developed to sidestep some of the original’s downsides, although unfortunately neither are currently compatible with OpenVPN.
  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the newer kid on the block and has grown in popularity over time, largely thanks to its use by the US federal government. Today, it is mostly favored over Blowfish, partly due to its ability to process larger files, and partly due to its high-level security features, which have been regularly updated to address any weaknesses discovered.

Either cipher can be integrated into OpenVPN, and the encryption key used can also be selected independently. If a strong cipher and a strong key are combined with OpenVPN’s own features, you end up with a product that’s as close as anything gets to NSA-proof.

Installing OpenVPN

OpenVPN isn’t natively supported by any specific platform, which means that your VPN provider can choose one of two options:

An open-source OpenVPN client

Using an open-source OpenVPN client is an effective way to create a basic VPN service, although it can be tricky to set up, with lots of different steps to follow. It is by far the cheapest option, and it does work very well, although anyone setting it up will require some technological knowhow. OpenVPN clients used as standard across different operating systems are as follows:

…although there are other options available as well.

A custom OpenVPN client

Custom VPN clients are, unsurprisingly, more expensive, but there are plenty of advantages. Primary amongst them is the sheer convenience as custom clients come with settings pre-configured, making setups a walk in the park. Opting for a custom build also means that additional features can be added, including helpful extras such as kill switches and DNS leak protection.

Conclusion

With OpenVPN currently leading the field of VPN protocols, it’s no surprise that it is supported by the majority of VPN providers. However, some stand out above the rest thanks to exceptional features.

The best amongst them have watertight privacy, great speeds, and software that runs like a dream and isn’t too tricky to get your head around. While it’s true that not every provider is perfect, the five listed above all have a lot to recommend them, and are well worth considering if you’ve got your sights set on the benefits of using OpenVPN.

Best VPNs for OpenVPN Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review10/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

NordVPN Logo
Read Review9.2/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

3

AirVPN Logo
Read Review8.6/10
$4.82 / monthVisit Site

4

VPNArea Logo
Read Review7.8/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

5

CyberGhost Logo
Read Review7.4/10
$5.83 / monthVisit Site


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4 responses to “5 Best VPNs for OpenVPN (November 2015 Update)

  1. I looked at AirVPN and wondered how it could possibly get any more opaque and difficult to use.

    I thought I’d try the 1 Euro option and get it working on my Mac. After an hour of trying to unravel their instructions, working out which OpenVPN configuration to use, trying to read their help or FAQ, I realised that my 1 Euro was money well spent, in that I would never recommend AirVPN to anybody I liked.

    I cannot work out how you think that AirVPN have a reasonable product, its almost impossible to setup and get going. I’m pretty technical (I used to write C compilers and UNIX kernels) but I started laughing at how rubbish AirVPN’s instructions are.

    Sorry but AirVPN is a pile of rubbish and should be ignored.

  2. Hi everyone,

    I’m a newbie when it comes to all things VPN so please forgive my ignorance in advance!

    I’ve seen your articles on LifeHacker and think they’re really good and wanted to try and replicate what you’ve done. My needs are a little different so wanted to ask you directly as I can’t find the answers through google.

    What I’m looking to do is to secure my home internet connection but I want to create my own personal cloud storage for me and my wife and access files from anywhere in the world. This also include a secure VPN wherever we are in the world to secure the cloud. We have a new baby and need to be able to store precious photos regardless of where we are. The amount of photos we have already is crazy! I don’t want people being able to see them through public internet.

    I understand you have things like dropbox for cloud storage but I was keen on keeping our storage local to use so we can control disk space and security.

    I’ve been looking at either buying a VPN router that is running DD-WRT and to plug an external hard drive to the router in order to create the NAS. However, I’m not sure how easy it is to access files outside of my home network with this option.

    The other idea I had was buying something like a Synology NAS that has a built in VPN server. This way I can access the files through the web and have built in apps to help with synchronisation. I’m leaning towards the Synology for now but wanted to make sure of the finer details!

    I wasn’t then sure if you have to use a VPN provider with these options or if I can just create my own VPN server with the NAS and use something like Tunnelblick to access the VPN from my Mac.

    I also need to access the VPN from any Apple device which I know is tricky as they don’t allow OpenVPM protocol by default.

    If I had to choose a VPN provider I would go with NordVPN but want to make sure I have the right set up for my needs.

    Could you please help and advise? I don’t know if I need a NAS, VPN router and VPN provider, or just a VPN provider and NAS etc.

    Any help is much appreciated!

    Kind regards,

    Jacob

    1. Hi jacob,

      This is BestVPN not LifeHacker :). Attaching a NSA drive to your router so that you can access it from the internet is possible, but is difficult to get right, is very dependent on the router, and is almost always very insecure. We therefore do not recommend it. Something like the Synology DiskStation 2-Bay Diskless Private Cloud NAS looks just the ticket, although I believe iOS support (while it exists) not to great.

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