Virtual private networks (or VPNs) are a kind of software that helps protect your privacy when you browse the web. These VPNs encrypt your traffic, preventing third parties from spying on your traffic, and allow your laptop or mobile device to “think” that it’s actually connecting from a different location than the one you’re in.
VPNs offer big benefits for people who want to have a little extra privacy while on the internet.
These are the X top VPN services available right now — their pros, cons and which one you should pick based on your needs and budget.
Along with the also-popular ExpressVPN, NordVPN is probably the best-known VPN for general users. The network advertises on TV, podcasts and radio — even if you’re not the most tech-savvy, you probably know a little bit about what the tool can offer.
For general users, NordVPN is one of the easiest VPNs to set up and use. While it won’t provide the fastest connections or most robust security features available, it’s a very good option for general users who want to keep their browsing private.
The service offers up to six simultaneous connections for your devices, more than most comparable services.
Prices vary depending on how long of a subscription to the service you want to commit to. For one month of the VPN, prices will be around $11.95 per month. The monthly cost can go as low as $3 to $4 if you’re willing to commit to a year or two.
However, NordVPN’s record is not without its black marks — in 2018, then again in 2019, NordVPN suffered a breach of its servers that would have allowed a hacker to monitor encrypted traffic. Both times, the company restated its commitment to security — and no breach has happened since the one in 2019. However, users should be aware of the security challenges that NordVPN has faced.
ExpressVPN is the other highly regarded, user-friendly option. It provides speed and security features that are comparable to NordVPN’s.
The service also offers a number of global servers, allowing you to connect to the web from more locations.
However, ExpressVPN is not the budget option in comparison. If you don’t need a lightning-fast connection or wide array of global servers, the price tag may not be worth it. If you want a VPN that balances accessibility and ease of use with top-tier features, however, ExpressVPN is probably one of the best options available.
Unlike other services, ExpressVPN also offers a bitcoin option at checkout. If you want to make your purchase anonymous as well, this can make your use of the service even more private.
SurfShark is another user-friendly VPN option. While a little less powerful and speedy than more popular services, SurfShark still provides all the features you need to keep your browsing secure.
The biggest difference between SurfShark and other VPNs is likely the service’s support for unlimited devices. With most VPNs, you’ll only be able to use the tool on a set number of devices — if you have more, you’ll need to purchase an additional subscription or license.
SurfShark’s prices are generally comparable to the others on this list, but the service also offers frequent and steep discounts. Buying a two-year subscription can bring the price as low as $2.49 a month.
ProtonVPN is definitely not a budget pick — at least, not if you want the most advanced version of the software. The service’s speeds are fast and bandwidth is unlimited. The service doesn’t keep logs on traffic, and it routes every connection through multiple servers, all of which are owned by ProtonVPN themselves.
Typically, you won’t need that kind of protection — but if you want the extra security, and are willing to pay for it, ProtonVPN is likely the option for you.
ProtonVPN offers a free service, with just one connection, few servers and average speed. For €24 a month (a little over $28 monthly), you’ll get the highest speeds and full range of security features.
The Best VPN to Protect Your Online Privacy
If you want a VPN that will let you connect securely to the web, you have options. ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the best-known, and generally both good options for most users. SurfShark is another great option for general-purpose users.
For those wanting maximum security, investing in a more powerful VPN, like ProtonVPN, might be worth the high price you’ll have to pay.
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