Author Archives: Alex Grant
Author Archives: Alex Grant
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are the best anonymity tools that can help you secure the privacy of your communication, browse anonymously as well as help you access your business data remotely. A VPN is a network technology that provides a secure tunnel for the transmission of your data over private and public networks.
A VPN hides your true IP address by allowing you to connect to the internet through a server run by the VPN service. The entire data passing between your device and the VPN server is encrypted. Thus, a VPN will:
It's natural that we love free stuff. However, any free service has a hidden monetizing angle, and free VPN services are no different. Since running a VPN has costs, some free VPNs might sell your information to third parties, insert scripts to your computer device for advertising purposes, use insecure protocols, or provide lower speeds and unstable connections.
But not all free VPN services are risky to use. A few are operated by reputable companies. Though they can’t match the service offered by paid VPNs, using a free VPN service is better than using none -- however, you should remember to take the following into consideration:
TunnelBear is a Canadian based multiplatform VPN provider that offers an excellent service with a sense of humor. It is easy to set up and works on Windows, Mac, OS, Android, and iOS.
TunnelBear’s free plan “little” provides you with 500 Megabytes of free data every month. The plan is a competitive edge as many other VPNs offer instead a 30-day money back guarantee or a limited trial period. Before we forget, tweeting about TunnelBear will earn you an extra GB.
To access their premium services, you need to upgrade to their “Giant” plan for $9.99/month or their ‘Grizzly’ plan for as little as $ 4.99/month paid yearly.
Security wise, TunnelBear does great with OpenVPN protocol, strong AES-256 bit encryption for data retention and SHA256 for data authentication.
The VPN service has servers spread across 20 different countries, including the UK, the US, Canada, Sweden, France, Brazil, Singapore, and Japan. The Australian based server is a preserve for the paid users.
Other great features are the VigilantBear (Kill Switch) that stops any unencrypted data from leaking should the VPN connection drop and the GhostBear (Stealth mode) that is invaluable for bypassing firewalls.
On the downside, TunnelBear’s base in Canada is something to worry about as Canada has strict data retention laws.
CyberGhost is a great anonymizing tool that’s based in Romania. The VPNs popular free service is available on Windows, Mac, and Android. CyberGhost also supports Raspberry Pi, Linux, and Chrome OS but they require manual configuration. It’s easy to set up and has a user-friendly client.
CyberGhost is fast, reliable and offers protection against privacy invasion. The VPN can help you to browse the internet anonymously, and also spoof your location to unblock restricted websites. They have a strictly no logs policy and their base in Romania, a country with strict privacy protection laws plays well for your privacy.
With CyberGhost, you get access to over 830 servers across 29 countries. The VPN uses OpenVPN protocol, a strong 256-bit encryption for your data protection coupled with a 2048-bit RSA key for authentication. They also allow peer-to-peer file sharing.
You can easily upgrade to their premium plan for only $5.83/month billed annually. The plan is five times faster compared to the free service and gives you more than 600 servers in 30 countries. They also have a premium plus service that goes for $9.16 and offers simultaneous usage on up to 5 devices.
On the downside, the free plan has limited locations and in-app advertisements. We are still wondering why their most popular premium plan allows for only one connection.
Another disturbing issue is the acquisition of CyberGhost by the Israel-based Crossrider. Israel is known to practice extreme surveillance.
Express VPN is a leading premium VPN service with a proven track record of providing high-quality service. Though not entirely a free service, they offer a 30-day money back guarantee which means that if you’re not satisfied with their service, you get your money back in seconds.
Express VPN features an elaborate, well-designed website and a user-friendly dedicated VPN client with impressive features. The VPN has blazing fast speeds and is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Routers, Linux, and gaming consoles. Their plans begin at $8.32 per month and all come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Express VPN features an elaborate, well-designed website and a user-friendly dedicated VPN client with impressive features. The VPN has blazing fast speeds and is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Routers, Linux, and gaming consoles. Their plans begin at $8.32 per month and all come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Express VPNs unlimited Bandwidth and ultra-fast speeds will enable you to stream your favorite TV shows and movies in high definition devoid of the annoying buffering. The VPN avails to you the option to choose from 145 VPN locations in 94 countries, which is perfect for unblocking geo-restricted content. Express VPN works with Netflix and is among the few VPNs that can bypass the Great Firewall of China.
Express VPN protects your data using AES-256 military grade encryption. They provide UDP-OpenVPN, TCP/UDP, SSTP, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP protocols. What’s amazing is that the VPN can choose the VPN protocol automatically for you or you can do it manually. Express VPN run their own private encrypted DNS on every server which makes your connections faster and safer.
Express VPN never logs your traffic data, accepts Bitcoin and allows you to use Tor to browse Express VPNs hidden .Onion site. Above all, Express VPN has a highly acclaimed 5 – star customer support.
Hide.me is an impressive VPN with good performance and strong privacy protection. The VPN is a subsidiary of the Malaysian-based Eventure Limited. It's easy to install, configure and use. They have an active community that can prove valuable in solving any problems you encounter. Support is also fast and efficient.
The free plan offers 2GB of data which seems reasonable compared to CyberGhost’s 500MB. You are not required to add a credit card or even signup to access the free plan. It comes with limited protocol support and one simultaneous connection.
You can get more than 30 locations with unlimited bandwidth by upgrading to their Plus service at $4.99/month or the Premium plan at $9.99/month for unlimited data transfer, five simultaneous connections, and port forwarding.
It is a free log VPN so that even if they are requested to disclose your online activities, they won’t have any to give. It works with BitTorrent client, and you can get best results if you enable port-forwarding and bind your VPN client with their SOCKS proxy to the VPN connection.
On the downside, free users bandwidth is limited from time to time to give priority to paid customers, what they call “best effort” bandwidth.
SurfEasy is a free Canadian based VPN service that’s associated with the Opera software company. The VPN will help you to browse anonymously, access blocked streaming services, and bypass firewalls. The free plan (starter) offers 500MB of data transfer, but you can get more data by recommending them to your family and friends. They also allow up to five devices on their free plan and locations in 16 countries.
SurfEasy supports Windows, Mac, OSX, Android, iPhone, iPad, Amazon, Opera, and Chrome. They provide you with more than 1000 servers in 28 different countries. SurfEasy has built-in Add Tracker Blocker Algorithm that prevents annoying advertisers from following you online.
The VPN protects torrenting on their Ultra plan by hiding your information without compromising your downloading speeds. The premium plans “Total” and “Ultra” include a seven-day money back guarantee.
“We may collect and disclose personal information, including your usage data, to governmental authorities or agencies, including law enforcement agencies, at their request or pursuant to a court order, subpoena or other legal process, if there is a good faith belief that such collection or disclosure is required by law.”
The statement could as well mean that law enforcement agencies need not get a court order to get hold of your data...
They also lack a good number of locations which might result in congestion and slow speeds.
Hotspot Shield is a VPN service developed by AnchorFree. The VPN provides carefree web browsing, online security, and privacy. Hotspot Shield is an entry level VPN service that offers an unlimited free VPN service for everyone.
However, free users are bombarded with adverts and content restrictions. You can get rid of the annoying ads by upgrading to their Elite plan. The plan has a unique lifetime offer of $109.99, one year plan for $5.99/month, six months at $8.99/month and a one month plan for $12.99/month.
Hotspot Shield will provide you with servers in more than 80 countries around the world. However, USA is the default location, and so you will need an Elite account to switch to other servers.
Hotspot Shield impressively uses the OpenVPN protocol with AES-256 encryption for data protection and SHA1 authentication as well as RSA-2048.
AnchorFree, the owner of Hotspot Shield, is based in California – USA which raises some concerns considering that the USA is a member of the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance, has strict data retention laws and the presence of the NSA.
It’s no secret that using a Virtual Private Network can greatly enhance your Internet security and protect your anonymity while online. A good VPN will hide your IP, encrypt incoming and outgoing data, and delete all logs of your activity. With all of the VPN products out there, it can be hard to choose the right one – fortunately, I’ve done a lot of testing and can help you narrow down your options.
To start, you need to make sure the VPN you are looking at is compatible with the operating systems and devices you plan to use it on. For Linux users, a lot of the big names are ruled out right off the bat – but there is still a veritable buffet of quality VPNs to pick from. This is great news, since Linux is the most secure desktop operating system, and use of a VPN can elevate your privacy to even higher levels.
Here, I have picked seven of my favorite VPNs for use with your Linux on your desktop or laptop. While not every feature of these VPNs is supported on Linux – and I’ll make note of what’s missing – they will all work without any hassle, and have customer support to help you navigate anything more complicated.
Not only have I tested each of these out to make sure they install easily and run smoothly on Linux, but I've also broken down the different features of each VPN to help you pick the one that best fits your needs. Some are better for international use (by virtue of thousands of servers worldwide), others have blazing fast connections, and others have top-tier privacy policies that put any doubts to rest.
With so many options, finding a Linux-compatible VPN is easy. With so many quality products, the hard part is narrowing it down to just one. Still, a good place to start is to make sure you are looking at reputable VPNs that have Linux support. I have tested all of the VPNs on this list, and think that each one has its place – it just comes down to what kind of features you want, your budget, and your specific needs. With the wide variety of options, the right Linux-compatible VPN is out there just waiting for you to find it.
It shouldn’t be surprising that ExpressVPN makes this list – it is one of the longest-standing and most reputable VPNs out there. On Linux, it has DNS Leak protection and SmartDNS, which will help unblock region-restricted content. Express also has servers in 87 countries, which is great if you like to travel a lot while still keeping your VPN consistently fast and connected.
That being said, ExpressVPN is not as fast as some of the newer services out there, although it should work just fine for normal Internet activity. Aside from that, everything else about ExpressVPN is well above average. Customer support is helpful and responsive, the Linux client is basic but serviceable, and no usage logs are kept. Security is also state of the art, and uses AES-256 encryption.
ExpressVPN is a little bit pricey – $8.32/month for a year of service – but leaves you wanting for nothing. Everything that has helped Express stay at the top of the VPN food chain for so long works just as well on Linux, so this one is easy to recommend.
In the same way that ExpressVPN has been the leader among flashy and costly VPNs, Private Internet Access has dominated the niche of stripped-down and affordable services. The company recently updated its Linux client to work just like its Windows OS version, so you now have access to a VPN service with over 3,000 servers worldwide for as little as $3.33 per month (if purchased annually).
Private Internet Access – as its name implies – has one of the best policies for maintaining anonymity. The company keeps absolutely no usage logs nor connection logs, which is as private as you can get. Three different security protocols are also available, as is simultaneous connection on up to five devices.
Private Internet Access doesn’t have the sleekest interface or the fastest performance, but does provide the full suite of VPN options at a very low cost.
AirVPN is best in class when it comes to added features and options. While this can make it difficult to navigate and configure, its Linux GUI does a serviceable job of making it easy to use. If the ability to tunnel OpenVPN through SSH or SSL protocols, a firewall-based kill switch, and port selection mean anything to you – you fall in AirVPN’s target market.
All of these features, plus the company’s no-log policy, make the company an industry leader when it comes to both privacy and security. It will require some work to really take advantage of everything that AirVPN has to offer, but the payoff may be worth it if you are that serious about privacy.
AirVPN also allows for up to 3 simultaneous connections, and comes with a 3-day money back guarantee if it proves to be too overwhelming to use. While certainly not the easiest to install or navigate, AirVPN is certainly a high-quality product, and comes with a friendly price tag of $5.19/month for 12 months.
Despite only being around for a couple years, IPVanish is already a well-liked VPN with servers in over 60 countries. It’s supported on numerous platforms, including Linux, with useful tutorials for setting up either an OpenVPN or PPTP connection. IPVanish also has some neat features, like built-in IP cycling for added security, as well as a kill switch and DNS leak protection.
IPVanish also has great speed and performs well on most speed tests. The company maintains a no log policy as well, but be wary of its server locations – almost all of them are in countries with privacy-unfriendly regulations that put you at the mercy of government agencies.
While IPVanish does not have a dedicated Linux UI, all options can be accessed via your Network Manager. While the website is packed full of guides and a lot of other helpful information, customer service can be on the slow side. IPVanish is a good product, but really shines if you already feel confident in using a VPN to the fullest.
VPN Unlimited has been around for a while, and has continued to improve its service across all platforms, including Windows, MacOS, iOS, Windows phone, Android and Linux. VPN Unlimited currently comes with OpenVPN protocol, anti-malware, stop tracking, and ad blocking.
VPN Unlimited also has dedicated servers for torrenting, and is above average for accessing content that is usually blocked if you’re connected to a VPN. Servers are located in over 50 countries, and the service has consistently performed well on all of my speed tests.
Buffered is a newer VPN that is quickly building a reputation for being a secure VPN that is easy to set up on a Linux OS. Servers are currently located in 16 countries – and are a bit on the slow side – but the company is continually adding more. Right now, only an OpenVPN protocol is available, so it might not work on some mobile devices.
Buffered is great for streaming, and on sites like BBC iPlayer and Netflix, you can bypass the usual proxy restrictions by easily connecting to the appropriate server. Buffered is so popular for streaming there there’s actually a page on the website dedicated to Netflix use to help you troubleshoot common issues that VPNs usually have. Add in Buffered’s compatibility with Smart TVs, and you have the best Linux-friendly VPN for streaming content.
While more expensive than the majority of other VPNs, Buffered fills this niche as a fast VPN that is great for streaming.
Mullvad is a Swedish VPN that has a heavy focus on privacy and security. In addition to the company’s no log policy, features like DNS leak protection, a firewall-based kill switch, and port forwarding are definitely appealing. What makes Mullvad truly stand out, despite all of the configuration options, is a great Linux UI that puts you comfortably in control of its more nuanced features.
The company’s dedication to privacy knows almost no bounds. In addition to accepting Bitcoin, you can also mail in payments anonymously. This might sound ridiculous, but if you are going to be paying for privacy, the cost of a postage stamp is actually a pretty good investment. With AES-256 encryption and Ipv6 routing, this is one of the most secure VPNs from a technology standpoint.
That being said, it would be wise to take advantage of their 3-day trial. Performance on speed tests is mediocre, and with a limited server selection (mostly in Europe and North America), your Internet speed may become uncomfortably slow. If you are happy with the results, though, this is a great VPN product with Linux support.
Today, more and more Internet users are turning to VPN services to provide online security and protect their privacy. With the wide range of VPN products that are emerging to meet this demand, the consumer faces a dizzying variety of choices in choosing the best service. The choice becomes more complex when some basic research shows that each different VPN will vary based on subscription plans, bottom line performance, best regions of access, and security features.
The best way to narrow down your choices is to first determine what types of security and performance needs you require, based on your most common Internet activities. For the user looking to use a VPN while torrenting to download programs and files, some VPNs rise above the others as the best options.
Torrenting brings some specific requirements of a VPN. The shared nature of the activity means that security is of high importance. At the same time, speed is a concern – use of any VPN service will compromise download speed, so the torrenting user should shop for a product that maintains performance.
The good news is that, even though there are a dizzying number of options, the user looking to purchase a VPN will be able to find the best service to suit there needs. Here, we will go over some of the factors to take into account while shopping around, and then recommend some of the best VPNs for torrenting specifically.
Torrenting enables very fast download speeds for large files by connecting with several other users. An obvious downside of torrenting, then, is the privacy and security concerns that come with the territory of connecting to several other Internet users at once, allowing all of them to share pieces of files and see your IP address. This makes it imperative to choose a VPN with great security features for the user looking to download torrented files.
The first factor when determining the privacy of user information over a VPN is where the service is based. Each country comes with its own set of regulations, some requiring user data to be stored for a certain number of days. A VPN based in a country like Switzerland, with great privacy laws and no invasive government agencies, will provide some advantages on this front.
Additionally, most VPNs will explain what types of logs they store and for how long. Very few keep any user logs past 30 days (typically for three days or less), but it pays to make sure and read the fine print. Also, different types of logs may be kept. Usually, these logs only consist of some small portion of your activity, however.
Aside from these privacy considerations, VPNs provide security in the form of data encryption and authentication systems. This aspect of a VPN is extremely important, especially for torrenting. For each product listed below, we will review and evaluate security system strength.
Since the aim of torrenting is to quickly download large media files, it is also important to choose a VPN that doesn’t create a drastic decrease in speed and performance. While any test of download speed will be high variance, general observation shows a decrease in speed anywhere from 15% to 40%, or even more.
It is also important to note that a further distance from the VPN server location will decrease performance. All of the major VPNs now have dozens or even hundreds of server locations to allow users around the world to access the best possible connection.
The best way to evaluate VPNs along this axis is through user tests, as well as making note of server locations.
Security and performance are the two main pillars that are used to evaluate the strength of a VPN service, but there are other factors that may be more or less important to different users. These include ease of use and crispness of the UI, quality of customer service, browser extensions, and more. Additionally, the cost of a VPN subscription can vary from one provider to the next, often with discounts for longer contracts. These other considerations should play a part in weighing the different VPN options.
Torrenting media files creates several demands on the VPN being used. Due to large file sizes, maintaining speed is very important. At the same time, however, the nature of file sharing means that there are more security concerns than with casual Internet use, as well. It can be tough to balance these needs with other factors such as price, customer support, and access to deeper features. These 7 VPNs are all great products that will give you a great torrenting experience – the challenge is finding the one that suits your specific needs.
Express VPN is positioned as a safe bet for the torrenting Internet user. Being based in the Virgin Islands, and having been in business since 2009, the company has great policies on privacy and has a track record that highlights its devotion to online privacy. They store no user logs that track online activity back to a specific IP; however, they do say that they “may collect” information on total daily data usage, times connected to their service, and choice of server location.
According to user reviews, Express VPN also has great performance qualities. Downloads will be fast, and connectivity to the service has 99.9% uptime. The established company also has server locations in over 90 countries, making it great for traveling as well as for international users who are limited on nearby VPN servers.
Coming in at $12.95/month, or $8.50/month purchased annually, ExpressVPN is one of the more costly options. While it doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles of other VPN providers (only 2 devices may be connected simultaneously, for example), it is a proven service with a great reputation for privacy, security, and speed.
IPVanish differs in the types of users that will appreciate it the most. It has a lot of special features, like IP address cycling and a Kill Switch, but these come at the expense of a clunky and unattractive user interface. This makes it less friendly for beginners or users who want something simple and effective, but can provide more options and configurations for the truly technical user. It also allows connection from up to 5 devices simultaneously, adding to its appeal as a robust product.
For torrenting purposes, Private Internet Access is an established competitor that provides a great balance between security, performance, and price. It also has additional features like DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and multiple device support. For subscription plans of a year or more, Private Internet Access comes in at an impressive $3.33/month.
The downside is a noticeable drop in performance compared to the more expensive options. Depending on how much you plan to torrent, this may not justify the lower price point. At the same time, consistency and uptime remain high – while there are not as many international server locations (only being in about 30 countries right now), in these regions there are thousands of servers to choose from.
Because of the regional variance in performance, it is recommended to take advantage of the 7-day money back guarantee to see how it works for you.
NordVPN is a trustworthy company that comes in at a reasonable price point, which gets better the longer you sign up for. It is widely regarded as the most secure VPN available – not only do they have a no-log policy, but also feature automatic double-encryption. Since security is a major concern when it comes to the world of torrenting, Nord is a popular choice among users who anticipate downloading a lot of media and files.
As far as performance, NordVPN is above average as well. With ample international server locations, it is a reliable and consistent service for uninterrupted torrenting. While it doesn’t blow away all the competition on speed tests, it is definitely no slouch in that department.
The product is well rounded, with an attractive client and a choice of different security protocols. Users are able to connect multiple devices, but can only one for each security protocol, which can be prohibitive.
AirVPN is one of the smaller VPN providers, but has great credentials and has built a loyal following. The company has a genuine focus on user privacy, delivers excellent performance, and is well priced.
For torrenting, Air VPN delivers some of the fastest and most consistent results on different speed tests. Additionally, they have no monitoring in place and keep no users logs, so you can rest assured that your privacy is being protected. The technical pedigree of its founding group also means that you can rely on great security and encryption.
Since the company is smaller than some of the other ones on this list, it does not have as geographically diverse servers, which are located in only 16 countries right now. It also caters more to power users, and the less technically savvy or less patient may want to look elsewhere.
Buffered is a newer player on the VPN scene, and its strengths play well to the Internet user that regularly torrents. On top of their secure and high-speed network, they already have servers in almost 40 countries, support 5 simultaneous devices, and have a responsive customer service system.
Right now, their cheapest plan is an annual subscription that comes out to around $8/month. This puts it firmly on the high end of VPN prices. In exchange, the user gets custom clients for different operating systems and great configuration guides for mobile devices. This places Buffered as more of a niche product for customers who want to get a lot of mileage out of deeper VPN features, but would like to do so with the aid of tutorial videos and documentation.
The last product on our list, VPNArea is known for its fast and easy setup, appealing UI, and support for multiple devices – all at an appealing price point.
While not the fastest-performing VPN, it has more than ample speed for the casual or occasional torrent user. Remember, this list is the best of the best, so VPNArea is not truly a ‘slow’ VPN service. Additionally, VPNArea has all of the best security features and total privacy with a no-log system. The company’s headquarters being in Bulgaria adds an extra layer of comfort due to the country’s privacy-friendly legal system.
VPNArea currently has servers in over 60 countries. Some users report occasional loss of connection or performance drop, so it would help to research how many servers are available in your region.
The use of VPNs as a means of providing Internet security and protecting users’ privacy is becoming more and more prevalent. There are a wide variety of VPN products that each have strengths and weaknesses, each having features that cater to a specific niche of users. While it is nice to have so many options available, it also makes it difficult to narrow down the choices and pick the best VPN for your purposes.
Now, there are many great VPNs on the market that offer free trials and money back guarantees. For the Internet user who wants to use a VPN to use the Internet with greater anonymity and privacy, signing up for a free trial with one of these VPNs can help make an informed decision.
It is important to not only understand the technical aspects of your VPN choice – what types of activity logs are kept, what encryption methods are being used, and so on – but to also get a feel for the user interface and customer support system. Additionally, all VPNs will slightly hinder online performance and speed, and it can be hard to predict how one VPN will have an effect on one user’s online experience. Performance can vary widely based on your router and distance from the VPN server (as well as many other factors), and this will be different for each user.
Different VPN products may also include some extra features like multiple-device support, a high level of configuration for the power user, and live customer support. And, although VPNs are generally affordable, the most expensive VPNs are about twice the cost of the budget options; because of this, it is important to look at the different subscription plans and how much they will cost.
To get started, we have put together a list of some of the best VPNs with free trials. Any of these would be a great way to get your toes wet with a VPN, and hopefully find one that delivers great performance in a package that is easy and intuitive to use.
With so many VPNs now available, there is bound to be a good fit for everyone. While seeing a list of features can be helpful, there is no better way to see how well a certain software works for you than to actually starts using it. This is especially true with VPNs, because beyond the interface and aesthetic, there are performance considerations based on region and hardware that can be hard to anticipate.
The VPNs on this list are all proven products, and any one of them can drastically increase your online security and protect your privacy. By taking advantage of some free trials, you can also find the one that gives you the best experience, BEFORE committing to a 2-year plan.
ExpressVPN is one of the premier VPN services available. The Virgin-Islands based company has been in business since 2009, and has forged a reputation for performance, consistency, and a dedication to user privacy. While it is one of the most expensive VPNs on the market today, ExpressVPN provides a secure and robust VPN service, packaged in an easy-to-use and attractive client.
With servers in over 90 countries, ExpressVPN is among the best option for optimizing connectivity no matter where you are. Although it does not have the depth of features and configurations as some other VPNs, Express is perfect for the user who doesn’t mind paying a little extra for a well-rounded VPN with worldwide access and great usability.
ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so you will be able to access all features and use unlimited data during this time. If you decide to go another route, you will have no problem ending your subscription and getting a refund, thanks to their world-class customer support. After the 30-day trial, Express will cost $12.95/month, or $8.32/month for a yearly subscription.
Note: ExpressVPN is now offering a reader exclusive: save 49% on my top recommended VPN.
VyprVPN is an established competitor with a free trial that will provide 1GB of data usage. Exactly how long this will last depends on your activity and usage, but should be more than enough to get a feel for its slick desktop app and determine if this is the VPN for you.
Vypr is a fast VPN, with most tests showing little loss of speed and few latency issues. The Swiss company also has a worldwide network of servers, in over 50 countries, which means that performance and speed should remain excellent no matter where you are. On top of this, Vypr boasts great security features, allowing use of different encryption protocols, including the proprietary Chameleon system that further masks user data.
VyprVPN has a sleek client that is supported across different operating systems and mobile devices. For basic use, the interface is easy and intuitive; for more advanced purposes, VyprVPN has a 24/7 live chat customer support system. Although Vypr is a little more expensive than other VPNs, it provides a well-rounded VPN product with great ease-of-use.
NordVPN is a long-standing leader in the VPN space that is not only known for its friendly interface, as well as its budget-friendly discounts for longer subscriptions. While not as fast as the more expensive VPNs, its huge server network in over 60 countries gives a reliable and consistent connection.
The company is based in Panama, which is great for ensuring privacy. Additionally, NordVPN supports five different encryption protocols, giving users more knobs to tune when setting up their online security. That being said, NordVPN’s customer service has received mixed reviews, so users looking to get into more advanced features should not be relying on outside help. Free access to NordVPN comes by way of either a free 3-day trial, or a 30-day money back guarantee. If you like your experience with NordVPN, the best deal available is a 2-year subscription that currently comes in at less than $4/month.
Cactus is a newer competitor on the VPN scene, but has already established itself as a great company that delivers high performance and a great user experience. Like many of the newer VPNs on the market, Cactus has an emphasis on a clean UI and intuitive setup, as well.
While Cactus delivers a well-rounded package of performance, security, and usability, potential buyers should note that Cactus currently has server locations in just 3 countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Since VPN performance can vary widely based on the user’s distance from the server, this could be a deal breaker. Taking advantage of their free trial and running some speed tests can help you determine what kind of performance you can expect – although the free trial only last 24 hours, so use it wisely.
HideMyAss is a long-standing competitor on the VPN market that has a unique set of pros and cons. Its target user is someone who is mostly concerned with a great interface, ease of use, and responsive customer support. Basically, if researching and comparing VPNs is getting tedious and you aren’t concerned with rarely used bells and whistles, this might be the VPN for you.
What HideMyAss users will miss out on includes speciality servers, connectivity for more than 2 devices, the ability to change VPN protocols, and ad blocking. If you know that you won’t need those features, then Hidemyass provides good performance with all of the standard security features, and is one of the most user friendly packages on the market.
Note that the HideMyAss free trial comes by way of a 30-day money back guarantee. Their great website and customer support makes it easy to cancel if you decide to go a different direction.
PureVPN has been a highly regarded VPN product for over a decade, and now users can try it out with a 7-day money back guarantee. Not only does PureVPN provide great performance, features, and encryption protocols, their 80,000 IP addresses in 141 countries gives users the best available options for bypassing geo-restrictions, as well as privacy while traveling or in remote parts of the world.
PureVPN is also a very flexible product, having an easy installation and simple interface for the hassle-free user, while also providing deeper configuration options. It’s robust set of options can deliver a great experience for any user. With access to almost every security protocol, compatibility with several devices and every major OS, and many customer support channels – tickets, live chat, forums, and email – PureVPN checks off more boxes than possibly any other VPN out there.
PureVPN is expensive purchased month-to-month ($10.95) and in 6 month plans ($8.95/month), but offers steep discounts for longer plans. Currently, a 2-year subscription comes out to only $2.95/month, so be sure to use your free trial to explore all of PureVPN’s features before making a longer commitment.
Israel-based SaferVPN has not been around as long as some of the other VPNs on this list, but has already built a great reputation for flexibility and customer support. SaferVPN is very easy to set up, has an extremely responsive live chat feature, and has excellent performance in supported regions.
SaferVPN now has servers in over 30 countries, including some parts of the world that have less VPN access – if you are located in Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa, SaferVPN should be a serious consideration. Their 14-day money back guarantee can help determine if this is the best VPN for you.
A reliable VPN is one of the key components of a small business’ security perimeter. Gone are the days when small businesses could neglect cybersecurity, thinking cyber crooks go after the big fish only. Reality check says otherwise. More than 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses.
Large businesses launched full ahead into the Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0, Internet-of-Things and all that RFID-based gizmo. Small businesses are somewhat slower to transform due to the limited resources (in regards to anything from marketing to cybersecurity). However, forward-thinking entrepreneurs and a large population of agile and highly-flexible startups see the wisdom in taking cybersecurity and privacy seriously. And VPN is an integral part of your corporate security.
Phishing, identity theft, ransomware are just the tip of the iceberg. Sadly, some of the most frequent attacks on small businesses are not even targeted but opportunistic. Opportunistic cyber attacks exploit unwise user behavior, such as connecting to a public Wi-Fi in a hotel, park, Starbucks, or even while using Gogo Inflight Internet. This type of attack also leverages vulnerabilities in popular apps, games, and users’ overall latency to install OS updates and patches or enable basic privacy and security features available on their devices.
So, a small business needs to keep the company network, Internet connection, and digital assets secure when working on-premise, or enabling secure access for traveling or remote employees. And VPN is at the top of security tools list alongside end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, and a strong password. VPN is an affordable, robust and efficient solution for small business security needs.
I dare say it’s not a question of if a small business needs a VPN, but rather how to choose a good one.
Small businesses comprise a large stratum of entrepreneurs, from not so tech-savvy brick-and-mortar shops to digital start-ups whose staff is made of freelancers working from remote locations in other countries. They are flexible, mobile and almost always limited in resources when it comes to cybersecurity (unless they are in cybersecurity).
IT departments in small companies tend to be an orchestra of 1-2 men with too much work on their plates. The fleet of devices they need to administrate is a mixed bag of BYOD and corporate-owned ones. The level of security awareness among non-tech employees is insufficient to leave them to their own devices when it comes to data security.
Considering common challenges faced by small businesses, here is a brief roundup of the features you might need in a VPN service:
Each VPN provider has great features and brings something unique to the table. While some offer custom plans so that you can scale your subscription as your needs change, others are ideal if you are a small party with telecommuters or remote freelancers onboard.
When choosing, you will certainly focus on what matters most to you – provider’s location and its privacy laws, speed, price or robust encryption. Luckily, most providers on the list offer a reasonable combination of these. If you are still on the fence about what features are paramount in your particular case, read my Guide to Internet Privacy. It will give you a better understanding of how VPNs protect your privacy and bypass location-based connection restrictions.
The bottom line is cybersecurity does not have to be a large-scale investment on your part. With due diligence, attention to detail, and expert advice from my modest persona, you can make the right choice.
Switzerland-based VyprVPN combines solid security, great speed, smooth performance and support for almost every platform there is. They deploy a unique Chameleon protocol to scramble metadata and prevent Deep Packet Inspection and offer OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP protocols.
VyperVPN also offers a kit a caboodle of additional security features such as NAT Firewall, VPN blocking and throttling, and a 24/7 live chat support. Some business plans offer encryption for all employee connections including file transfers, email, and network resources. However, you will have to request a free trial and get in touch with customer support to discover the pricing of these plans, as the two currently listed do not offer many details on the features and perks. However, business customers have the ability to set up a private VPN server.
Panama-based NordVPN has two business plans, with the one-year subscription at $4.5 per month per account. It offers a three-day free trial (no payment details required) and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The feature set is quite impressive – double data encryption, automatic kill switch, Tor over VPN, double VPN, Smart DNS (geo-spoofing), P2P, Socks5 proxies, DNS leak protection, DNS servers and an ample choice of security protocols including IKEv2 and OpenVPN. The provider does not require company details when you purchase the plan.
Nord supports the major platforms, is polished and intuitive, so if you are more on the privacy-paranoid side, you might as well go for NordVPN.
CyberGhost is a Romania-based VPN provider offering affordable long-term Pro subscriptions with up to 5 devices per each, a generous 30-day money-back guarantee, and conveniently accepts Bitcoin. The service is user-friendly and intuitive; their support is fast, professional and helpful.
They have a slew of additional features such as a P2P, Kill Switch, DNS leak protection, Wi-Fi and App Protection, which allows you to specify which apps get to be VPN-protected, and setup a custom Connection Profile.
It uses HMAC MD5 for hash authentication, which is weak, but the provider is planning to upgrade to SHA-2. Of note is the fact that in 2016, an Android CyberGhost app was found installing a root certificate on client devices. The developer since then released a new version, which does not involve in such dubious activity.
On the bright side, Romania has a pro-privacy stance, is exempt from data retention laws enforced in other EU countries, or mass-surveillance of the Five Eyes. It uses AES-256 encryption and Perfect Forward Secrecy; offers automatic data compression and HTTPS redirect as optional features. The provider claims to keep zero usage logs.
If affordability is your primary goal, you may want to check PureVPN since yearly plans start at just $5 per month. It’s a solid Hong Kong-based service offering a wide range of plans, including customized subscriptions. So you can get a good deal, a dedicated management portal, and an account manager.
PureVPN has many perks such as a stealth browsing mode, two-factor authentication, DDoS protection, online banking security, secure FTP access and more.
PureVPN offers multiple protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, PPTP, and IKEv2. My gripe with them has always been the fact that they don’t use Perfect Forward Secrecy, even though AES-256 encryption, SHA-1 (HMAC) authentication, and RSA-256 handshake look solid.
Regarding session logs, PureVPN keeps session – not activity – logs, for troubleshooting purposes and to track user clicks on certain software buttons to track the popularity of features. If you are okay with that, a three-day free trial will help you get a better feel of the UI, speed, and performance, which were rather good in our tests. Also, PureVPN has a seven-day money-back guarantee. Give them a try using the link below!
Israeli-based provider SaferVPN offers excellent customer service, intuitive and good-looking desktop client, mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows Mobile OS and Blackberry.
The service maintains a no-logging policy, but it records ample session data. SaferVPN offers above-average speeds and supports OpenVPN, L2TP, IKEv2 and PPTP security protocols.
SaferVPN might be a great option if you are looking to provide your employees with a smooth experience when they are working across multiple devices (desktop and mobile). SaferVPN offers a one-day free trial, and then a 14-day money-back guarantee, so you have ample time to make an informed decision before committing to a long-term subscription.
Even though individual users might lack flexibility in Hotspot Shield VPN pricing plans, business users may find that the longer-term business subscriptions are very affordable. For example, a monthly business plan with Hotspot Shield starts at $55 for 60 devices. That’s less than $1 per device. A 30-day money-back guarantee certainly adds confidence while testing the ins and outs for the first time.
It offers a free limited version, which comes with ads and a paywall when it comes to accessing BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and the like services. You may want to try the free version to get the hang of the service before trying a business plan. On a side note, it is a US-based provider with GoldmanSachs as one of their investors. So bear in mind the US data laws, and the fact that it’s a privately-owned provider before committing.
That said, Hotspot Shield uses robust encryption but no Perfect Forward Secrecy and offers an intuitive interface. On the other hand, it has no Linux support, and its Terms of Service are evasive regarding logging. However, the lower-end business plan is ridiculously cheap so small businesses on a tight budget might find it a feasible proposition.