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The Worst VPNs and Scams of 2019

vpn hall of shame

An increasing popularity of VPN technology gave rise to an avalanche of scams, which come in all sizes, flavors, and different degrees of audacity.

Experienced VPN users and privacy wonks know a thing or two about how to research a VPN provider. If you're just beginning your search, however, brace yourself, for it won’t be easy. The VPN market is a toxic mix of paid reviews, click baits, vague legalese, and nefarious surveillance. At the same time, a Virtual Private Network is a mandatory tool for online privacy and security.

Among hundreds of VPNs, how does one choose the right one? Reading reviews is one route, but you still need to test a few select VPNs to ensure at least one of them meets your requirements. And even if the tech specs look good and performance is okay, a VPN can still leak your IP address, log your online activities top to bottom, or infect your devices with malware, sell your data to ad agencies, NSA, or some sinister entity on the dark web.

What Makes a Bad VPN

Most VPNs’ selling points are privacy, security, unblocked streaming services, and ability to bypass a firewall, that of your school, office, or the great firewall of China.

The bad news is 99.9% of VPNs promise privacy, security, Netflix, and no-stress firewall evasion. To single out trustworthy providers from scammers, pay your due diligence before subscribing. Below are some red flags that should help you identify a bad provider.

A Bad VPN Keeps Logs

Whereas double-checking if a VPN can unblock Netflix is quite simple, providers’ claims of privacy and security aren’t so easy to verify. You need to scrutinize the fine print of company Terms of Service and Privacy Policies, paying special attention to logging policies.

Why is logging so important? Ask Cody Kretsinger how he landed a jail term thanks to HideMyAss, aka HMA, logging. Since HMA is under a UK jurisdiction and logs users’ IP addresses and connection timestamps, a UK court was able to obtain user-specific logs on the said individual and connect him to a number of crimes.

The rule of thumb – choose a provider that keeps no logs. This is not to say only criminals need a zero-logs provider. If a VPN company advertises privacy and security while violating your trust and logging your connection and activity data, or filtering your content, then their claims are nothing but a click bait.

A Bad VPN Discloses Your Data

This one stems directly from a VPN’s logging policies. Providers that log your activities most likely cooperate with patent trolls and surveillance agencies. Pay close attention to a company’s jurisdiction. If it is headquartered in the Five Eyes or the Fourteen Eyes countries, it’s subject to data retention laws. That is why the U.S. and U.K.-based VPNs are generally not recommended by privacy-protection organizations and security experts.

Trustworthy VPNs go out of their way to be transparent in their legal pages and to not log any data that could identify their customers. Reliable VPNs delete your connection logs every few hours or only log non-personally identifiable details that can not point to a specific user.

Likewise, to protect their users’ identities, trustworthy VPNs accept a variety of anonymous or semi-anonymous payment options, including cash, gift cards, and Bitcoin.

A Bad VPN Infects Your Devices with Malware

Some providers offer free VPN services in exchange for displaying ads. What they won’t tell you is their apps and the ads they display come chock-full of tracking capabilities that enable monitoring and logging of your browsing activities.

At the same time, some malicious providers take it a step further by infecting your devices with malware sending critical information about your device, identity, and usage to its servers.

The catch with most free VPNs is they thrive on trading your data to data brokers, ad agencies, NSA, you name it. If you use a malware-infested VPN, your traffic gets logged, filtered, censored, and reported. You are served with affiliate content instead of the content you really need. Finally, your devices become more vulnerable to opportunist and targeted hacker attacks.

A Bad VPN Doesn’t Work

VPN scam schemes are numerous. Hijacking a website of a discontinued service and harvesting first-time subscriptions from new users only to ignore their refund requests is one of them.

To avoid this type of VPN fraud, you need to research a provider’s social accounts and contact their customer service before paying your first invoice.

A Bad VPN Doesn’t Respect Its Refund Policy

Some providers forge their subscription tiers to make short-term plans overpriced, making their long-term subscriptions look like a bargain. That is a cringe-worthy practice in itself, but some VPNs take it a step further. They advertise a money-back guarantee, but when requested for a refund, they take their time answering user requests, asking stupid questions, not terminating your account and then saying your 7-day money-back window is over. Others just ignore PayPal dispute emails.

The good news is I did the legwork for you by testing a wealth of VPNs and compiled a list of companies that are either scams or just bad at what they do. Avoid these like the plague.


1. ExpatSurfer

ExpatSurfer is the epitome of a VPN scam. It acts like it is hijacked, and it’d better be. Because if it’s not, the grotesque incompetence it displayed in my time with it lands it in a very bad spot.

ExpatSurfer takes your money and then forgets all about you. It doesn’t provide the server address you need to set up its PPTP connection, and it doesn’t bother to respond to your emails.

Considering it’s not cheap at $10.26 per month for a mere PPTP connection that doesn’t work, you are strongly advised to black-list the provider.


2. Earth VPN

Earth VPN is a Cyprus-based provider that used to be popular. While advertising all the bells and whistles you might be looking in a VPN – OpenVPN, P2P, unlimited data, affordable plans – it just doesn’t work.

The service has been dropped, but here is the funny thing – you can still subscribe. Although I was lucky enough to not proceed to the checkout, six months later I keep receiving notifications of my outstanding invoices with EarthVPN. They keep renewing each month all by themselves. No human ever responded to my inquiries, but someone at EarthVPN took the trouble to close my tickets without responding.

Unless you entertain the idea of receiving spam in your inbox for months on end from EarthVPN’s automatic system, steer well clear of this ghost company. Let it sink into oblivion.


3. Betternet VPN

Betternet VPN is the classic of VPN scams. Offering free VPN services, it spreads malware. Considering it’s been downloaded millions of times, quite a few people feed their browsing activity to shady data brokers.

RevoUninstaller found a gazillion of leftover files after Betternet’s Windows app, while Virus Total AV rated it 13, with 1 being virus-free. The company is super-shady about the technical specs of its VPN. It also claims to keep zero logs while, in reality, they do store connection logs.

A crowd of third parties accesses your data and Betternet won’t cover your back if law enforcement or a patent troll comes knocking on their door.


4. Onavo Protect

Onavo Protect, aka Protect Free VPN+Data Manager, is a free VPN by Facebook itself. It’s a mobile app available for iOS and Android, and it requires extensive permissions to run. Instead of acting like your typical VPN, Onavo Protect accesses and logs your app activity. You heard it right – Facebook wants to know which apps you use and how often, and route them through its UK servers.

It runs in the background, sifting through all your traffic, so good luck finding that online privacy because if you use Facebook’s VPN, privacy is dead.


5. Cryptostorm VPN

Cryptostorm VPN could actually be a provider I’d recommend because it has some pretty strong features. It anonymizes your purchase by generating a user token, so you never use your email or username to access its VPN. It has a decent network, top-notch security specs, a flexible pricing structure, pretty good performance, and good usability.

Except for it’s most likely an FBI honeypot. Case in point – Douglas Spink, Cryptostorm’s owner and a convicted zoophile, who got busted smuggling $34 million worth of cocaine and released after having served only three years out of a 17-year sentence. The security community believes the grace has befallen on Spink after he agreed to give the FBI a backdoor to Cryptostorm VPN servers.

In the meantime, Cryptostorm refuses to comment on the Spink matter, or shed some light onto how the company complies with the Canadian data retention laws. The tale of a decentralized company with anonymous people running it just doesn’t make the cut.


6. Faceless.me

Faceless.me has been around for more than five years, generating a steady flow of downloads on Google Play, which makes it look like something that works. In reality, it’s a dysfunctional VPN backed by a non-existent support. Its social pages haven’ t been updated in years.

For some reason, Google doesn’t remove the long-dropped app with numerous poor reviews from its app store. Hey Google, don’t be evil, remember?


7. Liberty VPN

Liberty VPN might look like something thanks to its ability to unblock streaming services, but its surprisingly shady origins (most likely American) and ungodly Terms of Service make me wonder how they manage to stay in the business this long. Their refund policy is incredibly limited since you can’t consume more than 50MB while their plans are above-average at $15 a month or $108 a year.

Its VPN is convoluted and difficult to use, and the server locations are few. No P2P, no bypassing firewalls, no using Skype from Cuba, no simultaneous connections, no Bitcoin. But you may get filtered, censored, and turned in to law enforcement. Moreover, if you violate their ToS, the company will charge you at a rate of $250/hour for deleting your account. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you make money.


Honorable Mentions

Unfortunately, the hall of shame for the worst VPNs is significantly longer than my typical honorable mentions for the best providers:

  • VPN Reactor is a well-established American provider that logs your online activities and has the nerve to charge you $77.88 a year for it.
  • ZPN.im is yet another mobile VPN claiming to be the best free VPN, but in reality, it’s dysfunctional, shady, and mute. It is unclear who or what is behind it, and its ToS make it clear they can enable activity monitoring if compelled. It won’t even let you register a free account, which is for the best.
  • Hotspot Shield VPN is another free VPN monetizing on customer data. It logs your activities, plants tracking libraries in your devices, and ads JavaScript injection into your web pages. It shares your data with third parties, sells it to data brokers, and complies with the U.S. data retention laws.
  • Rocket VPN is a free mobile VPN powered by the above HotSpot Shield. It is no wonder then that Rocket VPN comes packed with abhorrent logging policies, adware, and shady ToS.
  • UnoTelly is an unreasonably expensive Canadian DNS and VPN service with poor performance, 5 VPN locations only, no P2P, and weak encryption. It logs your connection and usage data. Being a Canadian provider, it complies with laws of every country where its servers are located. Even if it’s not a scam, it’s really bad at being a VPN.
  • Defence VPN is a young Canadian provider that can’t pull itself out of long-lasting outages. It’s been repeatedly down in 2017 while in 2018 it popped up for a short while saying things were back to normal. I wonder what normal is in their terms because when I paid for a plan and received no login details, their support issued a refund in response to my request for... login details. That’s the kind of normal I call bizarre.
  • Dot VPN might be based in Hong Kong and offer 4096-bit encryption, but its poor performance, roots in Germany, the Five Eyes watchdog, connection and usage logs, and the fact that they keep those logs for two years make it a proposition you are better off skipping.
  • HideMyAss from AVG is a UK-based provider that logs your connection metadata and hands it right over to Scotland Yard. Some people are already serving their jail terms thanks to HMA.
  • SuperVPN for iOS and Android is a free and pretty functional mobile VPN, except for it has all the red flags of an MI5 honeypot. Having extensive access to your sensitive information, it stores your session logs in the UK and the USA and will disclose it to law enforcement if compelled.
  • Proxy Server Pro has all the markings of a honeypot. Located in the US, it logs your usage data, name, address, and shares it with third parties.
  • BTGuard logs your personal information and connection metadata, has vague privacy policies and doesn’t like to draw much attention to its US jurisdiction while catering to torrenters primarily.
  • OneVPN does not honor its money-back guarantee flat out ignoring users requesting a refund. In the meantime, it unabashedly claims to be the fastest VPN with zero logs and top-notch privacy. In reality, they do keep your connection logs but prefer to keep the fact under wraps.
  • Cargo VPN is a pretentious VPN that makes many false claims. Its free trial is unavailable while its ungodly support is that of KeepSolid, a different provider. It’s also Mac and iOS-exclusive, overpriced, and lackluster.

Considerations

This list is by far not complete. New VPNs pop up nearly every day, while old ones get dropped or discontinued, with opportunist scammers hijacking their websites. Some popular VPNs with pretty high ratings have dysfunctional features or treat their customers like garbage.

Don’t get too excited if you don’t find your VPN on this list. Do your research first. Contact your provider’s support, ask your tech community, or leave a comment in the section below if you suspect you might be a victim of a VPN fraud scheme.

Finally, don’t rely too much on a VPN to protect you from law enforcement. Even though it’s best if law enforcement has no business looking you up at all, in some situations you can’t help it. Investigative journalists, human rights activists and anyone out of sync with the mainstream ideology of many civilized countries can be targeted by surveillance entities.

If that’s the case, don’t hop on a free VPN bandwagon, but take your time to find a trustworthy and reliable provider. Providers like ProtonVPN, Mullvad or NordVPN accept Bitcoin and even cash payments, which means you can protect your identity when subscribing, and keep no logs whatsoever.

For a complete breakdown of important VPN features of trustworthy providers, please read my VPN Guide for Beginners.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve read this far, you probably know by now why no VPN is better than a bad VPN. Steer clear of shady companies and always test VPN services before subscribing to anything that’s longer than a month.

Best VPNs for Digital Nomads in 2019

best vpns for digital nomads

Top 3 VPNs

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    Fastest and most reliable VPN
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    User-friendly
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    148 server locations
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    24/7 customer support
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    Good speeds
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    Intuitive software
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    Accepts Bitcoin
pure vpn desktop
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    Awesome add-ons
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    Easy to use
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    Affordable

Why Use a VPN When Traveling

Digital nomads and travelers are a prime audience for VPN providers. Too many factors make the Internet an unfriendly and even dangerous place when you browse it from an unfamiliar location.

Safety

You are most likely using public WiFi hotspots and co-working or even co-living spaces for digital nomads. Most of those networks are shared by hundreds, if not thousands of users, which is not the security standard you want to tolerate.

Public hotspots are a hotbed for hackers and nosy ISPs. Man-in-the-Middle attacks, ransomware and identity theft are common on open networks. The bad news is you only know you’ve been hacked when it’s too late.

Prevention is crucial, so a Virtual Private Network is indispensable for a traveler or a digital nomad. A VPN encrypts your traffic, so it appears as unintelligible jumbo to snooping ISPs and hackers on public WiFi networks.

Entertainment

Have you subscribed to Amazon Prime for the sake of Prime Video before leaving to France only to find the service unavailable from your travel destination? Is the Netflix library in the LatAm region too trimmed as compared to what you’re used to in the U.S.? Can’t access BBC iPlayer from China?

Most of the streaming giants make their content accessible based on your physical location instead of your nationality or the location from which you registered your account.

A VPN solves your woe in a matter of seconds. Connect to a US server and stream your Prime, Netflix, or access Steam games. Or connect to a UK server, and watch itv, BBC iPlayer and many more.

Censorship

Each nation has its policies concerning Internet access and content. Some countries restrict certain topics or even entire websites and social platforms. These countries don’t advertise their Orwellian free speech regulations, but when you’re there you can discover these restrictions affect your life and work directly.

Whether it’s to access dissident blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or to discuss human rights freely, you need to bypass local firewalls.

With a VPN, you can appear as if coming from any pro-privacy country and access websites restricted in your current region. Likewise, your local ISP won’t be able to spy on your online activity.

Did you know ISPs in some countries can enable key loggers on your computer remotely (without a warrant) if your online behavior seems suspicious to them? I’m looking at you, France.

Location-Based Content

You may find that your favorite news sites display different content to different nations, too. Some websites are flat out unavailable in some countries due to ISP-level firewalls.

VPNs encrypt your traffic and hide it from your ISP, allowing you to break through their firewall and access any website without compromising your identity.

VoIP

Skype and the likes of it are blocked in some countries. With a VPN, you can use your favorite VoIP service without having to subscribe to a local service.

Another concern with VoIP calls is they are often prime targets for mass surveillance in totalitarian countries. Since VPNs encrypt your communications, your VoIP conversations are safe from local snoopers.

Online Banking

Some banks and digital payment processors restrict account access from abroad, or from specific locations. Nothing can be more debilitating than being unable to manage your funds when you need it.

With a VPN, you can pick a US IP address and manage your account, check your balance, and make transfers.

How to Choose a VPN for Travelers and Digital Nomads

Choosing the right VPN for your nomad needs means sifting through a ton of features and comparing providers. Your best bet would be to pick a handful of VPNs that match your needs and test them. Below is a brief list of features you might want to scrutinize:

  • Server locations – sometimes you don’t need a VPN with a thousand of servers across 200 countries. Maybe you only need to spoof into one country. So it doesn’t make much sense to pay prime fees for a subscription that grants you access to a grandiose network. On the contrary, if you need access to international websites, make sure your VPN lets you spoof into all countries of interest.
  • Speeds – be it for streaming, VoIP, gaming, or research, you need reliable speeds. More so if you browse form a location with inherently poor speeds.
    Unlimited bandwidth – some providers cap your usage in lower-tier plans.
  • Zero logs and encryption – always read your provider’s legal pages. Reputable providers don’t log your connection and online activity while providing robust encryption.
  • Uncensored web access – some VPN providers monitor and filter your content, locking you out of some sites or preventing you from downloading certain file types. When reading providers’ ToS, pay close attention to content filtering.
  • Streaming – with Netflix and Amazon Prime cracking down on VPNs, not every provider can boast of unblocking the streaming service you need.

Assuming that most digital nomads share values similar to those of a VPN provider – freedom, privacy, efficiency – I picked the following VPNs I believe meet these criteria. I encourage you to read the full reviews for a comprehensive insight into their features and pricing.


1. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is ideal for privacy wonks. If you’re one of them, you should be familiar with ProtonMail. Based in Switzerland, Proton is airtight in terms of security and privacy. Its VPN is also one of the most efficient, solid, and easy-to-use products on the market.

It supports a wealth of platforms, including DD-WRT routers and has a neat config files generator. Its native desktop app is a VPN on steroids, hitting the sweet spot between the ease of use for beginners and advanced customization for nerds bundling a kill switch, DNS leak protection, streaming and torrenting optimized profiles, and ability to create custom profiles, as well as Secure Core for extra protection (tunnels your VPN connection through additional layer of VPN servers in Switzerland and Iceland). P2P is allowed; there are Tor-optimized servers while streaming is a bliss (except for Netflix).

ProtonVPN is pricey, but a free plan is available (with low-speed servers in three countries but no bandwidth quota). Basic, priced at $5/month or $48/year, buys you high-speed in 14 countries and 2 simultaneous connections. Plus, $10/month or $98/year, tops that off with 5 simultaneous connections, Secure Core, and Tor-optimized servers. Visionary, set at $30/month or $288/year, bundles 10 simultaneous connections and a ProtonMail Visionary package. All plans are backed by an impressive 60-day money-back guarantee. You can pay with Bitcoin and cash.

Pros:

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    2-10 simultaneous connections
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    60-day refund
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    Free plan​​​​
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    Great performance and speeds
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    Excellent for newbies and techies alike
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    Sleek Windows client
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    Top-notch privacy and security specs
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    Based in Switzerland, exempt from Swiss data retention law
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    Kill switch, DNS leak protection, Secure Core
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    P2P, Tor-optimized servers
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    Bitcoin and cash accepted
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    Unblocks most streaming services

Cons:

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    Expensive
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    Mac and mobile devices need manual setup

2. IPVanish

IPVanish offers just the right balance of privacy and performance. With lightning fast servers and watertight security, IPVanish appeals to streaming wonks and privacy gurus alike. With 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, a DNS leak protection and a zero-logs policy, it offers an impressive network of 850 servers across 60 countries. Notably, it runs over 70 servers in the Oceania region.

Allowing 5 simultaneous connections, it supports a wide range of platforms, including the unlikely Windows Phone. You can’t have more than two logins from different IP addresses, though.

Priced at $10 per month or $78 per year, IPvanish covers your first-time purchase with a 7-day money-back guarantee, even if you pay with Bitcoin (which is rare).

Pros:

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    Broad server coverage, especially fine for British and Australias expats
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    Accepts Bitcoin
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    Zero-logs
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    Solid security specs
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    24/7 customer service

Cons:

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    No free trial
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    UK-based
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    No go with Netflix

3. Black VPN

Black VPN is a well-established Netherlands-founded but Hong Kong-based provider. Black VPN is impressive on all fronts – from the robust 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN to 7 simultaneous connections, a native cross-platform client, and a 9-5 live chat support.

Black VPN has a native Android app and a custom version of OpenVPN GUI for other platforms, so you can use it on all your devices. There are streaming – and torrenting-optimized servers whereas port forwarding is supported. You can configure your email to work through the VPN, or contact their support and request to white-list a certain connection, which is the level of flexibility seldom found with VPNs.

It’s a strict no-logs provider while the pricing scheme allows for a granular control of what you pay for - €9.50/month or €99/year buys you Global (P2P, servers in the USA + 17 countries). €5/month or €49/year get you a US-only or UK-only plan. Alternatively, you can buy a UK+US plan for €7.50/month or €75/year. All plans are backed by a 14-day money-back guarantee, but the cherry on top is a 3-day free trial of Global.

Pros:

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    3-day free trial
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    14-day refund
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    Flexible plans
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    Top-notch support
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    Sleek app
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    Excellent speeds
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    Watertight security
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    No logs
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    Based in Hong Kong

Cons:

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    Not ideal for unblocking Netflix

4. Express VPN

Express VPN is great if you need top speeds for file transfer and torrenting. Boasting a network of hundreds of servers in 94 countries, Express VPN always has a bunch of speedy servers anywhere you need. Built-in speed tests help you pick a server while its cross-platform client is easy-to-use for novice users and advanced enough for techies.

Its security specs are solid, with a 256-bit AES encryption, zero-logs policy, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch.

Express VPN bundles Smart DNS, too, so you can stream your favorite shows without experiencing speed drops inherent in encrypted connections. Watching Netflix or BBC iPlayer is a breeze.

Priced at $13 per month, $60 per six months, or $100 a year, Express VPN is on the expensive side, but it’s worth it. Bitcoin is accepted while a 30-day money-back guarantee covers your first-time purchase.

Pros:

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    Fast
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    Easy to use
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    Solid security
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    No logs
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    SmartDNS, unblocks streaming sites
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    30-day refund
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    3 simultaneous connections

Cons:

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    UK-based
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    Costly

5. Vypr VPN

Vypr VPN is popular among nomads roaming to some particularly exotic places like China and Iran because it lets you bypass some of the strictest firewalls in the world.

Offering a proprietary Chameleon protocol, Vypr VPN hides the very fact that you’re using a VPN, making your traffic appear as regular traffic. It unblocks your social networks, YouTube, and streaming services.

VyprVPN offers a 3-day free trial, and a fine selection of paid plans that come complete with simultaneous connections, protection from Deep Packet Inspection, and SmartDNS for streaming Netflix et al.

Pros:

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    Chameleon protocol
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    SmartDNS
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    Protection against DPI
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    Bypasses firewalls (China, Iran)
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    3-day free trial

Cons:

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    No Bitcoin

6. Nord VPN

Nord VPN runs more than 700 servers in 58 countries, and lets you have up to 6 simultaneous connections. Located in off-shore Panama, Nord VPN might just be the right provider if you need to evade data retention laws of some snooping governments.

Its VPN app bundles double-hop serves that pass your data through two countries, not one. They also apply two layers of encryption. Sure, speeds are affected, so you need a good connection in the first place. But security is top-notch, so you can leak the next batch of Panama papers quite safely.

If your connection is sub-par, and let’s face it, digital nomads know a thing or two about slow connections, a built-in kill switch prevents all sorts of leaks. Top it off with zero-logs, P2P, streaming, and gaming, and you get an all-around fine service.

Priced at $12 per month, $42 per six months, $69 per year, or $79 per 2 years, Nord VPN is accessible in its long-term subscriptions, each covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

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    Broad server coverage
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    Easy to use
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    Great customer service
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    Airtight security and privacy 
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    Multi-platform
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    Great price per value ratio

Cons:

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    Not the fastest VPN

7. Pure VPN

Pure VPN runs a network of 760+ self-managed servers across 141 countries. Based in Hong Kong, Pure VPN is free from data retention laws, while including a kit and caboodle of security perks, supported platforms and protocols, pre-configured browsing modes (streaming, P2P, privacy, anti-censorship etc.) and 5 simultaneous connections.

There’s a kill switch, an IPv6 leak protection toggle, split tunneling, port forwarding and another slew of perks on top of VPN, such as antivirus, content filtering through DNS, malware shielding, and app blocking. Each of these features is fully customizable while the program’s interface is intuitive.

Top that off with zero-logs, 256-bit AES encryption, and DNS leak protection, and you get an excellent package in wallet-friendly subscriptions. Its monthly plan is priced at $11, which goes down to $54.7 in bi-annual and $78 in a 2-year subscription. Bitcoin is accepted and a 7-day refund policy is on offer. Also, their 3-day subscription costs $2.5.

Pros:

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    Top-notch feature set
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    Excellent VPN app with modes for streaming, P2P, privacy
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    Kill switch​​​​
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    Multiple protocols, including OpenVPN
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    Intuitive, yet advanced
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    Broad server coverage
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    Excellent speeds
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    24/7 customer service
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    Bitcoin
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    Cheap 3-day subscription

Cons:

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    7-day refund is limited
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    Not ideal for streaming Netflix or BBC iPlayer

Honorable Mentions

If you would like to compare a broader range of providers ideal for digital nomads, below are some more suggestions for you. Although these providers aren’t as famous as some of the above companies, they offer quality services:

  • Invisible Browsing VPN, aka ibVPN, is based in Romania (good in terms of privacy laws). 100+ serves in 47 countries, cross-platform app, SmartDNS, zero logs, robust encryption, and low-cost plans make it a perfect VPN for privacy wonks. And it unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
  • Strong VPN is perfect if you are in China. A zero-logs policy, good security and platform support are complemented by 5 simultaneous connections and SmartDNS, which unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
  • Panda Pow, Hong Kong, allows 3 simultaneous connections, offers an excellent cross-platform app, fast speeds, and an ability to pause subscription. It’s also cheap but allows no P2P.
  • Cactus VPN, Moldova, features a modest network of 20 servers in 9 countries, but their offering is well-rounded, affordable, and efficient. Watertight security, zero logs, SmartDNS, robust encryption, and packages specifically for the US or UK expats make it ideal if you only need to spoof into your home country. It has a free trial, too.

Considerations

Some situations require a VPN more than others. If you’re a digital nomad, chances are you are using multiple devices for personal and work tasks. You are also most likely to rely on numerous online services. Your security perimeter is, therefore, significantly broader than that of an average web user. Below is a brief roundup of scenarios when you are strongly advised to use a VPN to protect your critical assets.

  • Cloud storage – services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Spideroak are indispensable for digital nomads. While it’s always wise to encrypt your files stored in the cloud, you might want to use a VPN to encrypt them in transit and prevent MITM attacks.
  • Browser data – your browser knows everything about you, from the history of videos to medications you’ve checked online and work spreadsheets. Protecting your browser traffic is paramount, and a good VPN helps you keep it private and secure.
  • Torrenting – P2P file-sharing is ideal for transferring large files, but P2P is less anonymous than a regular browser download. A VPN is indispensable while torrenting also because patent trolls might want to hunt you down.
  • Shopping, banking – you are strongly advised to never shop online from a public Wi-Fi. It’s easier said than done if you’re a digital nomad, though. So using a reliable VPN to encrypt your traffic while shopping and online banking form a public WiFi is important.

Final Thoughts

The lifestyle of a digital nomad is exciting, no doubt. A security breach is not. For a digital nomad, having a reliable VPN is just as important as installing security patches religiously. Since you rely on your connectivity for work, a VPN is by far the most efficient protection against snooping ISPs and governments, hackers, and geo blocks.

Hopefully, this roundup helps you choose your VPN or at least zero in on a couple of providers. If you have more VPN suggestions for the list, or would like to share your experience with one of the above providers, feel free to chime in and leave a comment.

6 Best VPNs for Kodi in 2019

best vpns for kodi

Top 3 VPNs

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    Fastest and most reliable VPN
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    User-friendly
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    148 server locations
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    24/7 customer support
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    Good speeds
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    Intuitive software
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    Accepts Bitcoin
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    Awesome add-ons
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    Easy to use
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    Affordable

Kodi, the mega-popular open-source software, is one of the best home theater options loaded with advanced customization options and a wealth of add-ons. It takes streaming and media management to the next level by allowing a tailored entertainment experience. By overlaying your device, it provides you with a sleek and streamlined interface you can manage through pretty much anything from keyboards to gamepads and remote controls.

But the real gist of Kodi is the ability to extend its capabilities through numerous third-party add-ons. Video add-ons are particularly popular among avid streamers who like to have all their movies and shows in one place. With Kodi’s add-ons, you can have your favorite BBC iPlayer and Hulu shows accessible from one app.

Along with Kodi’s advanced streaming capabilities comes the issue of piracy. Some add-ons are legal, others not really, landing Kodi a nickname of “plug-and-play piracy”:

For the record, Bestvpn.org does not condone piracy and other illegal activities using VPNs or the Internet. The ultimate reason to use a VPN is to ensure your online privacy and security. Play nice, steer well clear of illegal activities and use a trustworthy VPN to boost your digital defenses.

Legal Issues with Kodi

Some countries are cracking down on Kodi users for streaming geo-blocked and pirated content. The UK government threatens with up to 10-years prison sentence to streamers who use Kodi for Premier League games broadcasting. Piracy lawsuits against some of the most popular Kodi add-ons SALTS and Phoenix make a clear statement – copyright sharks intend to put an end to piracy or die trying.

Adding more fuel to the fire are some UK Internet Service Providers that already report Kodi users to law enforcement for copyright infringement. Not helping is the fact that the European Union court has ruled that streaming on Kodi box is equally illegal as streaming or downloading pirated content.

So, Is Kodi Legal?

The quick answer is yes. Kodi in and of itself is perfectly legal open-source software. But if you use it for illegal streaming, it’s not. This creates a big gray area around Kodi boxes.

If you are in the U.S. or EU, streaming copyrighted material through Kodi could land you a hefty fine. Moreover, since many Kodi apps and streams are geo-blocked due to copyright restrictions, streaming geo-blocked Netflix, YouTube or BBC iPlayer through Kodi add-ons could make you liable for copyright violation.

Why You Need a VPN for Kodi

Kodi is not perfect and bundles a load of privacy and security issues.

Security

Kodi can make your devices highly susceptible to Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks whereas outdated add-ons are ripe with security holes. Some add-ons are flat out malware. A Virtual Private Network encrypts your Kodi traffic, making it impossible for malicious parties to intercept it and unleash a MITM attack.

Snooping ISPs

Another real danger of using Kodi without a VPN is your snooping ISP. Since you now know your ISP could report you for using Kodi, you need to encrypt and hide your Kodi traffic with a VPN.

Additionally, since Kodi boxes are somewhat technical, novice users increasingly prefer to buy them pre-loaded, which are deemed illegal. So it’s best to set up your own box.

As you can see, encrypting your traffic is a privacy pre-requisite in today’s complicated legal landscape. Copyright trolls are hunting down Kodi users and ISPs gladly cooperate with them. With a VPN, you can protect yourself from unjustified DMCA notices and lawsuits for using Kodi.

Censorship

Many ISPs impose specific firewalls to block access to many websites, Kodi add-ons, and streams. There is no way around these blocks without a VPN.

Advantages of Using a VPN with Kodi

With all of the above in mind, a VPN is a mandatory security tool for Kodi users. A trustworthy VPN will provide the following benefits:

  • Online safety – given the numerous security vulnerabilities in Kodi add-ons and some settings, a VPN is an easy and affordable solution to many of them. Going online without a VPN becomes more dangerous, and since using Kodi puts you in the spotlight for hackers and ISPs, you are better off with an encrypted traffic.
  • Encrypted traffic – a VPN encrypts your traffic adding a layer of anonymity to it. Your ISP, hackers, or advertisers won’t be able to monitor your online activity due to VPN encryption. Of course, you need a reliable VPN provider that’s not logging your activities and handing them over to law enforcement.
  • Access to Kodi add-ons – a VPN helps you bypass ISP-imposed firewalls blocking your access to many Kodi add-ons. By assigning you a different IP address, a VPN helps you spoof into countries where access to Kodi add-ons is not restricted. That way, you can build your box using the latest and the best extensions.

How to Choose a VPN for Kodi

Below is a brief roundup of features that make a good VPN for Kodi:

Server Coverage

Depending on which countries you would like to spoof into, your VPN for Kodi should provide an ample server coverage in the region. One or two servers are not enough, so niche and small providers are typically out of the game when it comes to competing for Kodi users.

Speeds and Protocols

You want a speedy connection for streaming and torrenting. In a VPN, high speed depends on several factors – your native speeds, VPN servers’ performance and load, and VPN protocols.

Protocols establish the level of security inherent in your connection by using – or not using – encryption. Strong encryption understandably translates into slower speeds, but grants you the best level of protection against snooping hackers and ISPs. Poor or no encryption protocols offer high speeds but come with security flaws. Without going into jargon-heavy technicalities, here’s a brief explainer on protocols:

  • SSTP bypasses firewalls and provides great speeds, but Microsoft and NSA have a backdoor into it.
  • L2TP is very secure and relatively easy to set up, but speeds can be slow and it doesn’t always bypass firewalls.
  • OpenVPN is highly secure and efficient in evading firewalls, but it’s quite technical and not all mobile platforms support it.
  • IKEv2 is secure and supported by many platforms. It’s also easy to set up and provides great speeds, but some ISPs easily block it.
  • PPTP is super fast because it’s unencrypted, so provides zero protection, but facilitates streaming.

Your best bet would be to resort to OpenVPN for your Kodi VPN. It’s a bit technical, but if I could do it so can you. It provides the best level of privacy and security you need for your Kodi traffic.

Supported Devices and VPN Client

Most well-established VPNs offer native VPN software, which is typically easier to use than OpenVPN GUI. Do pay attention, however, that native software may be available on certain operating systems only. So you can end up with a grand VPN allowing up to six simultaneous connections, but not knowing how to set it up on half of your devices because the setup is manual.

No Logs

Since Kodi users are under the magnifying glass of ISPs, you want to rest assured your VPN is not snooping on you on their behalf. Read providers’ privacy policies and terms of service, paying close attention to activity and connection logs.

It all boils down to due diligence in researching providers. You want to scrutinize their refund policies and ping their customer service before subscribing to get a better idea of the level of service you can expect.

The best VPNs for Kodi on my list are mostly well-established big fish since we want a broad server coverage, OpenVPN, great speeds, and non-technical setup.


1. IPVanish

IPVanish is easy to recommend for Kodi since it provides excellent download speeds, a huge network of more than 1000 serves in 60+ locations, and up to 5 simultaneous connections.

IPVanish is also emphatically zero-logs while offering consistent performance and a native VPN client for Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac complete with manual setup instructions for other platforms. If you are after the ease of use and minimum manual tweaks, consider giving it a try.

No free trial is on offer, but its paid plans come with a 7-day money-back guarantee. One month of IPVanish will set you off $10 while their annual subscription cost $78. Bitcoin is accepted.

Pros:

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    Great speeds
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    5 simultaneous connections
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    Ease of use
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    Broad server coverage (self-owned)
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    Cross-platform
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    7-day refund
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    Zero logs
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    Bitcoin
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    Solid security specs
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    Great customer service

Cons:

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    No free or short-term paid trial
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    US-based (but no logs)

2. VyprVPN

VyprVPN might just make the cut if HD streaming is on your agenda. Providing excellent downloads speeds, it boasts of 700+ servers across 70 locations.

Various VyprVPN plans allow 3-5 simultaneous connections. Top if off with an easy-to-use VPN client for most operating systems and devices and strong security, and you’re in for a good deal. Moreover, its proprietary Chameleon protocol hides the very fact you are using a VPN, so you can bypass Deep Packet Inspection and most firewalls. VyprVPN also comes complete with a kill switch, NAT firewall, and SmartDNS.

There is a 3-day free trial, which means no refunds are issued. VyprVPN Basic will set you off $9.95 in monthly and $60 in annual subscriptions while their Premium is priced at $13 a month or $80 a year.

Pros:

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    Swiss privacy laws
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    Excellent security specs
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    Chameleon protocol
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    5 simultaneous connections
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    Unlimited data
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    Great speeds
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    Free trial

Cons:

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    No Bitcoin
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    No refunds
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    Logs your connection timestamps and IP address

3. NordVPN

NordVPN comes loaded with more than 2800 servers across 59 locations and allows up to six simultaneous connections. Most of its servers are speedy, although you might need to switch a few times to find the best-performing one.

NordVPN features intuitive VPN apps for major operating systems. Its feature-rich client bundles Double VPN for better privacy, Onion over VPN, and even ad- and malware blocking, and a kill switch.

It’s almost a no logs provider since it might log your session metadata. Nord VPN offers a 3-day free trial whereas its monthly, biannual and annual plans are priced at $12, $42 and $69 respectively

Pros:

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    Intuitive​​​​
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    Great customer service
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    Watertight security
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    Cross-platform
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    Broad server coverage
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    6 simultaneous connections
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    Free trial
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    Panama-based
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    30-day refund

Cons:

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    Speeds vary
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    Logs connection metadata

4. Express VPN

Express VPN is a reliable provider supporting a roster of operating systems and routers. Its Linux version comes complete with a command-line interface while a Fire-TV version is also available. Android-based Kodi devices can download an APK, but if you don’t have Google Play on your device you need to sideload it. You can also set it up manually on your NVIDIA Shield.

You may want to consider Express VPN if unblocking Hulu, Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services is an important feature for you. It’s also solid in terms of security, with Perfect Forward Secrecy and 256-bit AES encryption.

Its monthly plan is pricey at $13, but its yearly subscription is fairly convenient at $100.

Pros:

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    Bypasses firewalls
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    Access to geo-blocked content
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    30-day money-back guarantee
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    Broad server coverage
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    24/7 live chat support
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    SmartDNS
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    Solid security

Cons:

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    Speeds vary​​​
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    British Virgin Islands jurisdiction

5. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN is a feasible option for Kodi since it offers impressive speeds ideal for HD streaming. Its cross-platform software is incredibly intuitive while a single license grants you 5 simultaneous connections.

CyberGhost VPN is based in Romania, which is a big plus due to its pro-privacy laws. It is a zero-logs provider claiming to not log even your connection metadata. It’s solid on the security front, too, with 256-bit AES encryption, ad- and malware blocker, and DNS and IPv6 leak protection.

Priced at $12, $72 and $84 in its monthly, annual and 2-year subscriptions, CyberGhost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and accepts Bitcoin.

Pros:

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    5 simultaneous connections
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    Impressive speeds for Kodi streaming
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    30-day money-back guarantee
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    Top-notch customer service 
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    Based in Romania, good privacy laws
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    Streaming and torrent-optimized servers
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    Has a free trial
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    Bitcoin

Cons:

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    No live chat support 
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    Some plans don’t allow simultaneous connections

6. Hide.me

Hide.me might land among your top picks if you are new to VPNs. It may not boast the broadest server coverage with 35 locations, but its download speeds are superb while its cross-platform VPN comes complete with native apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS and manual setup instructions for more platforms.

Hide.me’s VPN client is intuitive while the provider adheres to a strict no-logs policy backed by robust security specs. Their free plan is enough to clear your doubts as far as performance goes. It’s limited to 2GB per month, but if you need unlimited data, their Premium is priced at $9.99/mo. There’s also a Plus plan at $5/mo that comes with a 75GB data cap.

Pros:

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    Zero logs
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    5 simultaneous connections
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    Lightning-fast speeds
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    Easy to use
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    2GB/mo free plan
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    Port forwarding
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    Cross-platform with native apps
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    24/7 support

Cons:

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    Not the broadest server coverage

Honorable Mentions

Below are some pretty good VPNs that work their magic for Kodi:

  • Goose VPN is an all-around great Dutch VPN with airtight privacy and security features and great speeds. It unblocks the streaming services and geo-blocked add-ons and allows multiple simultaneous connections.
  • Private VPN is a well-established Swedish provider running 80+ servers in 55 countries and boasting reliable speeds. It allows P2P and bypasses streaming geo-blocks with grace. It’s also wallet-friendly at $54 a year.
  • Ivacy provides consistently high speeds and allows up to 5 simultaneous connections. Its long-term plan is a bargain while its 280+ servers are well-optimized for streaming. It’s not the best solution for mobile platforms, though, and the refund policy is limited.

Considerations: VPNs to Avoid Using with Kodi

Below VPNs consistently make it to the lists of best VPNs for Kodi on other sites, but I suggest that you think twice before using the following providers:

  • Pur​eVPN is a fine provider, but it may not be a fit for Kodi users since it was found logging user data and handing it over to the FBI. If you’re streaming with unofficial Kodi add-ons, you’re better off with another company.
  • HideMyAss is incorporated in the UK, which is unfortunate enough for a Kodi VPN. But the worst part is it logs user data and turns it over to authorities.

Of course, there are more VPNs to avoid for various reasons. But these two might pop up as viable solutions, which they are not.

Final Thoughts

The global trends in streaming freedom and online privacy look grim. Privacy-infringing laws are getting worse by the day in many countries while copyright sharks have turned the Internet into their personal sharknado playground. Unfortunately, using Kodi also puts you at risk of a serious security breach since it has its security flaws. With a reliable VPN for Kodi, you can protect your privacy, security, and freedom online.

Hopefully, this list helps you make an informed decision and choose the right VPN for Kodi. Please, leave a comment in the section below if you have any questions or suggestions for the list.

Best VPNs for Sports Streaming in 2019

best vpns for streaming sports

Top 3 VPNs

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    Fastest and most reliable VPN
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    User-friendly
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    148 server locations
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    24/7 customer support
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    Good speeds
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    Intuitive software
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    Accepts Bitcoin
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    Awesome add-ons
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    Easy to use
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    Affordable

If you are a sports fan, few things can compare to spending an evening in front of your HD TV watching your favorite game munching on bagels. Likewise, you know how frustrating it is to get locked out of your sports streaming subscriptions just because you’re traveling. Why, you don’t have to be an Englishman to have a crush on Premier League, or French to fancy Tour de France. The love of sports knows no borders.

Why You Need a VPN for Sports

But borders keep interfering with your love of sports, nonetheless. Irrespective of your preferences, be it Formula 1, the Olympics, NFL, WWE, or College Basketball, you most likely want an international mix of sports in your streaming package. The problem is sports is a highly-regulated industry subject to copyright restrictions.

If some tournament is unavailable in your country, the copyright holder hasn’t made a deal with any of your local broadcasters. That’s when you need a Virtual Private Network to bypass the restriction.

Likewise, you can be in your home country and get locked out of your local sports events. Blackouts occur when a local broadcaster has exclusive rights to live stream a particular game in your region. That way, your sports streaming channel can not broadcast the game and you can’t live stream an event featuring your favorite local teams.

A VPN helps you bypass international and local blackouts by assigning you an IP address of a country or region where streaming of your favorite sports events is not blocked.

For the record, BestVPN.org does not condone illegal streaming or piracy disguised by VPNs. A VPN is primarily a means of privacy and security protection. Use it wisely and keep out of trouble.

How a VPN Unblocks Sports Streaming

Online cable TV subscriptions allow you to access an impressive mix of the US, Middle East, European, and international sports streams.

Sling TV is a go-to option if you want to access the US TV channels with just one subscription. It comes packed with over 30 channels, including all flavors of ESPN, Fox Sports, TNT, NFL Network, Golf Channel, BeIN US, and whatnot. Speaking of BeIN Sports, its Middle East repositories offer an amazing assortment of sports packages, including Bundesliga and the English Premiership. Sky Sports buys you as many sports channels as money can buy while Eurosport is a must-have for many European residents.

The bad news is you can’t access your sports streaming subscription being outside of the country where you bought it. So you get locked out of your Sling TV the moment you leave the U.S. soil.

A VPN allows you to pretend like you are in the country where streaming a particular game is allowed. By using a VPN, you can access these and many other sports streaming services, get yourself a subscription and stream as much as you want privately.

Is VPN for Sports Legal?

A VPN in itself is perfectly legal in most countries. Streaming official sports events locked in your region is something you shouldn’t be boasting on your Facebook page, however. Of course, spoofing into the U.S. and buying a Sling TV subscription is not as bad as streaming sports on piracy sites. You are paying the copyright holder after all.

Nonetheless, unblocking geo-blocked sports streams is still a breach of copyright, which can land you a hefty fine in most EU countries and in the U.S.

With that in mind, you need a trustworthy and secure VPN for sports streaming because you want to keep your online activity private.

How to Choose a VPN for Sports

The catch with a VPN is it routes your traffic through its servers. It means two things for your privacy. First, your traffic is encrypted and hidden from your snooping Internet Service Provider. Second, your VPN could potentially monitor your browsing activity and share that data with law enforcement if compelled.

That is why you want a VPN that doesn’t monitor your online activities. So the first thing to look out for in a VPN is its privacy policies, namely logging.

Logs

Trustworthy VPNs stick to a zero-logs policy, which means they do not monitor your browsing activities or store connection metadata.

Some decent providers log aggregate connection metadata for troubleshooting purposes, or when your subscription is metered or has caps on simultaneous connections. But being decent, such VPNs religiously delete these logs every few hours or days.

Disclosure

Connection logs can potentially be used against you if copyright sharks compel your VPN to hand over your account data. Which brings us to the next critical criterion – how a VPN provider protects its users from court orders, copyright trolls, and all that jazz.

Many companies change their jurisdictions to privacy-friendly locations like Romania, Hungary, Seychelles, Hong Kong, or Panama, where they can’t be compelled to disclose customers’ data.

Some companies don’t keep any logs whatsoever. That way, if a zero-logs provider is incorporated in the U.S. and can be compelled to cooperate with law enforcement, it has nothing it could share with authorities in the first place.

Security

Next in line is watertight security to ensure your VPN is not leaking your private data. You want to be looking for a provider that offers OpenVPN protocol with military-grade encryption, typically 256-bit AES complete with DNS leak protection and a kill switch since it’s the optimal configuration that ensures your privacy.

Speed

You need consistently high speeds for streaming live sports events. Otherwise, awkward buffering pauses turn the whole experience into a torture.

Established companies with a broad server coverage tend to offer superior speeds. Look for the feature called streaming-optimized servers. With servers tagged for streaming, you don’t need to look for a server manually, testing speeds for a dozen of locations. Instead, you just pick a streaming-optimized server in a location that’s closest to where you are physically and stream in HD without buffering.

Server Locations

Look for a VPN offering ample server coverage in the region into which you want to spoof. You don’t want a VPN with only two servers in Oceania if your goal is to stream Australian sports channels.

For a complete breakdown of important VPN features (cross-platform client, ease of use, mobile apps and more), please read my brief VPN Guide for Beginners.

Without further ado, below is a list of top-notch VPNs that help you stream sports privately.


1. VyprVPN

VyprVPN is an established provider operating in more than 60 countries, including 9 locations in the U.S. alone. Deploying robust security with 256-bit AES encryption and OpenVPN protocol, VyprVPN successfully bypasses the toughest of firewalls, including that of China. Perhaps, the reason for this superior efficiency in bypassing firewalls is its proprietary Chameleon protocol, which protects your traffic from Deep Packet Inspection (a technique used by firewalls to distinguish VPN traffic and selectively block it).

Another advantage of VyprVPN is it owns its servers instead of renting them, so the provider has the full control over the hardware and privacy of the data flowing through its network. It also enjoys Swiss jurisdiction with its pro-privacy laws.

Complete with apps for all major desktop and mobile platforms, VyprVPN can cover all your devices and allows up to 5 simultaneous connections. A 3-day free trial is available.

Pros:

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    5 simultaneous connections
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    3-day free trial
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    Swiss jurisdiction
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    Great speeds
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    Unlimited data
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    Protection against DPI
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    Solid security specs
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    SmartDNS

Cons:

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    No Bitcoin
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    No P2P
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    Connection logs kept for 3 months

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is a VPN worth trying if you are a streaming buff looking to use a VPN on multiple devices simultaneously. Allowing 6 simultaneous connections, NordVPN runs one of the largest networks of 3350 servers across 60+ countries.

Providing consistently high speeds, NordVPN allows you to stream sports in HD quality while protecting your privacy with military-grade encryption, OpenVPN, Double VPN, and a kill switch. It is also based in off-shore Panama, adhering to a strict no-log policy.

Offering a generous 30-day money-back guarantee, NordVPN kicks in at $12 per month, $69 per year and $79 for two years.

Pros:

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    Huge network
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    Intuitive apps
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    Great customer service
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    Zero logs
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    Airtight security
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    Priced competitively
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    30-day money-back guarantee
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    Panama-based
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    P2P
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    6 simultaneous connections
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    Bitcoin

Cons:

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    Speeds vary by server

3. Buffered VPN

Buffered VPN is a Hungarian VPN offering quality service and flawless streaming, especially for Windows devotees. Boasting a laundry list of features, Buffered VPN comes pre-loaded with a nifty Port Discovery Mode, which scans WiFi networks for open ports so that you can hitchhike without a password while enjoying a secure, encrypted connection.

Buffered VPN works with the OpenVPN protocol, providing a solid security and decent speeds. Its subscriptions are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee but are somewhat pricey at $13 and $99 per month and year respectively.

Pros:

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    Good speeds
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    Intuitive VPN client
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    30-day money-back guarantee
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    Hungary-based
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    Sleek app

Cons:

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    Connection logs
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    Expensive

4. IPVanish

IPVanish could easily become your instant crush since it runs a humongous network of 1000 servers in 60 locations, and allows 5 simultaneous connections. It’s also a zero-logs provider that accepts Bitcoin, so its U.S. jurisdiction doesn’t hurt its popularity.

IPVanish is a great VPN for sports due to its high download speeds and easy-to-use native client for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android and manual setup guides for a wealth of other platforms. If you are new to VPNs, IPVanish could just make the cut because it’s usability is top-notch.

IPVanish costs $10 per month or $78 a year and backs your first-time purchase with a 7-day refund policy. Bitcoin is accepted.

Pros:

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    Fast servers
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    Zero logs
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    Solid security
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    Broad network of servers
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    7-day refund policy
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    5 simultaneous connections
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    Bitcoin
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    Intuitive client

Cons:

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    Ticket-based support 
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    US-based

5. Express VPN

Express VPN is a solid option for streaming sports, with an impressive network of streaming-optimized servers in 94 countries and great speeds ideal for HD streaming. With sleek VPN clients for most platforms including mobile, Express VPN allows three simultaneous connections.

Its customer service is one of the best in the industry, so if you need help setting up a specific sports streaming service, ping them via live chat.

With a 30-day money-back guarantee, Express VPN comes at $13 in monthly and $100 in its yearly subscription. Bitcoin is accepted.

Pros:

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    Broad server coverage
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    No activity logs
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    Robust security
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    3 simultaneous connections
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    Bitcoin
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    High speeds
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    24/7 live chat support

Cons:

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    Expensive
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    Based in the British Virgin Islands

6. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost has a decent network spanning 1.000 servers speedy enough for flawless HD sports streaming while its cross-platform VPN software is easy-to-use. Based in Romania, CyberGhost VPN enjoys a great pro-privacy climate and keeps no logs, not even connection metadata.

Despite its ease of use, CyberGhost is rock-solid in terms of security, with OpenVPN, 256-bit AES encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch, malware and ad blocker.

A single license grants you 5 simultaneous connections while offering one of the most wallet-friendly pricing tiers on the market - $12/mo, $72/year, and $84/2 years.

Pros:

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    5 concurrent connections
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    Great speeds​​​​
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    30-day money-back guarantee
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    Romania-based​​​​
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    Streaming and P2P-optimized servers
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    Free trial
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    Bitcoin

Cons:

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    No live chat (but excellent support overall)
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    Some subscriptions don’t allow concurrent connections

7. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN is an excellent Swedish VPN for sports live streaming. It features 80 servers in 55 countries, solid security, a zero-log privacy policy, unlimited bandwidth, and allows P2P and torrenting on all its servers.

PrivateVPN offers particularly high speeds in short-distance connections, while long-distance streaming might experience buffering delays occasionally. It’s solid on the security front, with OpenVPN, AES-256, kill switch, NAT firewall, and port forwarding.

Allowing 6 simultaneous connections, it is competitively priced at $8.21 per month, $16.88 per trimester, and $54 per year, complete with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

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    6 simultaneous connections
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    30-day refund policy
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    Kill switch, port forwarding, NAT firewall 
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    Zero logs
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    Intuitive cross-platform VPN
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    Good speeds
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    Bitcoin
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    P2P
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    Unlimited bandwidth
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    Cheap 3-day subscription

Cons:

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    Sweden is part of the 14 Eyes
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    9-to-5 support 
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    No free trial

Honorable Mentions

If you don’t appreciate being limited by a selection of 7 big-name providers (I certainly don’t), below are some more VPNs for sports streaming totally worth a mention:

  1. Ivacy allows 5 simultaneous connections and provides excellent speeds for HD streaming thanks to optimized servers and a decent network. It may not be the best option for mobile platforms, though.
  2. Le VPN could just make the cut because it offers servers in as many as 114 countries, which means you can stream sports from virtually any country. Providing HybridVPN and good speeds for streaming, it’s dirt-cheap at $4.95 per month. It’s also French, so you want to steer clear of spoofing into France because its laws are strict on copyright infringement.
  3. Bullet VPN is based in Estonia, which is good for your privacy. Offering great speeds, a plug-and-play Virtual Router, P2P, SmartDNS, and 3 simultaneous connections, it’s cheap and efficient.
  4. TorGuard might be another self-evident contender for sports streaming due to its great selection of servers, high-end security, DDoS protection, advanced customizations, OpenVPN, 5 simultaneous connections, and a dedicated IP service.
  5. Invisible Browsing VPN provides blazing-fast speeds and supports a wealth of platforms, including routers. P2P is allowed, and they offer a 24-hour free trial.
  6. Trust.zone features 130 servers optimized specifically for streaming, gaming, or P2P torrenting while successfully unblocking all your sports channels. It also has a free trial.
  7. Unblock.us is a fine VPN for sports offering some of the most wallet-friendly subscriptions for its SmartDNS and SmartVPN servers that bypass any geo-block you throw at them.
  8. Safer VPN might just be an ideal VPN for sports streaming with 700+ servers in 34 countries. Its intuitive software comes complete with a kill switch and robust security. A free trial is available.

Considerations

To steer clear of legal complications, you need to monitor news about your VPN provider religiously. If something changes about its privacy policies and it enables logging, or changes jurisdiction, or makes it to the headlines for cooperating with authorities, you need to switch providers quickly.

The market is changing rapidly while copyright trolls and surveillance agencies are looking to turn all VPNs into their honeypots. PureVPN, for instance, has been recently caught logging user data and sharing it with the FBI. Likewise, HideMyAss was found providing user logs to the US authorities consequently helping them put Cody Kretsinger behind bars.

Unblocking geo-restricted sports streams in the UK can land you a 10-year prison sentence, especially if you stream with Kodi. In the U.S. and across the E.U., a DMCA notice can lead to a hefty fine, so it only makes sense to stay abreast of the industry news.

Finally, test your VPN regularly for DNS, IPv6 and WebRTC leaks to make sure it’s not leaking your private data, exposing your identity.

Final Thoughts

Don’t feel intimidated by the wealth of VPN criteria, technical specs, and features if you are new to VPNs. Your best bet would be to pick a handful of VPNs from the list, read through their full reviews, and test one or two before subscribing to a long-term plan. Fortunately, reputable providers on the list honor their refund policies, so you are able to run your tests without breaking the bank.

I hope this roundup helps you pick an ideal VPN for sports streaming, but if you have more VPN suggestions, or would like to share your experience unblocking sports channels, feel free to leave your comment below.

7 Best VPNs for Windows Phone in 2019

Top 3 VPNs

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    Fastest and most reliable VPN
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    User-friendly
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    148 server locations
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    24/7 customer support
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    Good speeds
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    Intuitive software
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    Accepts Bitcoin
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    Awesome add-ons
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    Easy to use
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    Affordable

Windows might be the world’s most used operating system on desktop but it never made it to the list of the best mobile platforms. Never mind that Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile are fine and capable editions. The problem is Microsoft got stuck in a catch-22 situation. Being late entrants to the mobile market, Windows-powered mobile devices aren’t popular among consumers because there aren’t all too many apps developed for them. At the same time, developers don’t make apps for Windows Mobile because it’s not popular among consumers.

Today, Windows 10 Mobile and Windows Phone combined account for 0.61% of the mobile market share. As if that’s not bad enough, Microsoft shoots itself in the leg by ending support for Windows Phone push notifications. So unless Cupertino does something to turn the tide, we may see that share shrink to zero in the near future.

Nonetheless, 0.61% is still a whole lot of people who rely on Windows-powered mobile devices in their everyday lives. And when they want privacy and enhanced security for their Internet activities, they turn to VPNs.

The overall deficit of apps inevitably affects the availability of VPNs for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile. Unfortunately, VPN providers are more likely to make a Linux app than invest in an app for the Microsoft’s unpopular mobile OS.

Not helping Windows Mobile users is the fact that most VPN providers now focus on the open-source OpenVPN protocol, striving to provide the best of security features. But the OpenVPN foundation never got to porting its uber-popular app to Windows Phone while third-party apps for OpenVPN protocol are scarce.

How to Choose a VPN for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile

With all the above in mind, how do you choose the best VPN for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile if the majority of VPN providers flat out ignore the declining OS?

The answer is simple – begin with compatibility. When you’ve picked the VPNs that support the platform, it is easier to zero in on providers that offer a feasible package. That’s how I compiled my list.

Among crucial VPN features, you may want to scrutinize the following criteria:

  • Privacy Policy, especially logging
  • Speed, performance, ease of use
  • Customer service
  • Price
  • Windows Phone supported VPN protocols – L2TP, IKEv2
  • Windows 10 Mobile supported VPN protocols – L2TP, IKEv2, and SSTP

If you want a deeper insight into these criteria, take a few minutes to read my VPN Frequently Asked Questions.

Without further ado, here are my top picks of VPNs for Windows Phone.


1. PureVPN

PureVPN is a Hong Kong-based company offering an impressive network of 750+ self-managed servers across 141 countries and 180 locations. It is also emphatically zero-logs while it supports just the right protocols you need for your Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile device – L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, PPTP, and IKEv2.

If you choose to run it on multiple devices – because you can have up to five simultaneous connections – you can enjoy its OpenVPN on your desktop, too. Notably, PureVPN supports BlackBerry, Roku, Xbox, PS, and whatnot – more than 20 operating systems.

Its speed and performance are superb while P2P is allowed. On the downside, unblocking Netflix US libraries may be a problem, but more importantly, PureVPN is transparent about its logging policies. The provider records the connection timestamps and the total bandwidth consumed. That’s it.

Its monthly plan is expensive at $10.95, but its two-year subscription is ridiculously cheap at $78. Considering the provider has been around since 2007, and your purchase is covered by a 7-day money-back guarantee, it’s a good deal. Better yet, you can buy a 3-day subscription for $2.5 to try it out.

Pros:

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    Advanced features
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    Streaming, P2P allowed
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    Great privacy
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    Wide range of protocols
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    Great for newbies
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    Broad server coverage
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    24/7 support
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    Accepts Bitcoin

Cons:

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    No free trial
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    Limited 7-day refund policy
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    No Netflix
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    Somewhat technical when troubleshooting is required

2. Nord VPN

Nord VPN is a steady presence on numerous top VPN lists for many reasons. It bundles hundreds of servers across the world; it allows P2P; it enables gaming and video streaming. It’s great on the security front, too. Supporting SSTP, L2TP, and IKEv2 protocols, it is a hassle-free setup on Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile.

Nord VPN is a Panama-based provider with explicit zero-logs policy and strong encryption. It’s also loaded with advanced features, such as a kill switch, Tor over VPN, anti-DDoS, and double encryption. Of course, not all of the perks are available under protocols supported by Windows Phone, but since you can use it across platforms, you are sure to protect all your devices with this robust VPN.

Nord VPN kicks in at $11.95 a month, but its biannual plan is more affordable at $42 while its annual subscription is a bargain at $69. All plans come complete with a generous 30-day money-back guarantee and offer a 24/7 live chat support.

Pros:

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    Easy to set up and use
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    Great customer service
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    Excellent security specs
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    Multi-platform
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    30-day money-back guarantee
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    Based in Panama

Cons:

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    Mediocre speeds

3. Liquid VPN

Liquid VPN is a US-based company offering some of the best technical specs and a decent 40+ server network covering 20 locations in 11 countries. You can run up to four simultaneous connections, depending on your subscription, and P2P is allowed. Other highlights include shared, dynamic, and modulating IP addresses you can switch while the speed and performance are top-notch.

Liquid VPN supports SSTP, PPTP, L2TP and IPSec and setting up its VPN on Windows-powered mobile devices is easy since the knowledge base is chock-full of guides.

On the privacy front, Liquid VPN is a US company, but it’s transparent about its logging policies - don’t do anything criminal while connected to its VPN.

The provider accepts a variety of payment options, including crypto, while its subscriptions provide a good deal of flexibility. Its monthly plans start at $7 and go down to $4.75/mo in yearly subscriptions, which are covered by a 7-day money-back guarantee. You can also count on a 24/7 support and unlimited bandwidth.

Pros:

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    7-day money-back guarantee
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    Affordable
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    Great speeds and performance
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    Excellent security specs
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    Easy to set up on Windows Phone
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    Comprehensive knowledge base
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    Live chat support
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    Accepts cryptocurrencies

Cons:

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    Based in the US
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    Above-average logging
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    Issues with Netflix US

4. IPVanish

IPVanish supports L2TP/IPSec, PPTP and IKEv2 you need to set it up on Windows Phone or Windows 10 Mobile devices. OpenVPN is supported, too. It bundles a huge number of servers (850 servers across 60 countries), which are fast enough for online gaming and streaming HD video. P2P is allowed while the provider offers strong encryption.

IPVanish is a Phoenix-based company, but its strict no-log policy makes it a safe bet for most of your typical consumer VPN needs, with the exception of leaking state secrets.

24/7/365 support is top-notch while it is also on the affordable side priced at $10 in its monthly subscription and $77.99 in yearly. A 7-day money-back guarantee is reasonable and you can pay with Bitcoin.

Pros:

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    Zero-logs
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    Accepts Bitcoin
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    850+ servers in 60+ countries
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    Solid encryption
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    Easy to use
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    Excellent customer support

Cons:

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    No free trial
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    US-based

5. Ivacy

Ivacy is a Singapore provider bundling a whopping load of 200 servers across 50 countries. Thanks to a wide range of supported protocols and strong security specs, you can use it on your Windows Phone. It has a kill switch and supports an impressive array of operating systems, including Linux, Smart TVs, Kodi, Roku, PS4, Xbox, and even BlackBerry.

P2P, streaming, and gaming is a breeze thanks to Ivacy’s speedy servers. You might also appreciate five simultaneous connections it allows, which makes it an excellent choice for families. The company maintains a stringent no-logs policy, too.

It’s also affordable at $6.57 in a monthly, $34.5 in a biannual and $48.96 in a two-year subscription. Their 7-day money-back guarantee is reasonably fair – don’t consume more than 7 GB if you intend to opt out. The company also supports Bitcoin and Paymentwall aside from the traditional credit cards and PayPal payments.

Pros:

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    Excellent server coverage
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    Easy to use
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    Great customer support via email, Skype, and tickets
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    5 simultaneous connections
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    7-day money back guarantee
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    Singapore-based

Cons:

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    No free plan
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    Connection speeds vary

6. VyprVPN

VyprVPN supports L2TP, which means you can take advantage of its many perks on your Windows Phone. The company owns and operates all of its equipment, which eliminates third parties mingling with your data. It also means the performance and speeds are superior with VyprVPN.

The provider doesn’t log usage but does store connection data, such as your source IP address. Even though the lack of a setup tutorial may hold you off, VyprVPN has a 24/7 live chat support and a generous 3-day free trial.

VyprVPN unblocks Netflix US and BBC iPlayer seamlessly, displaying a minor drop in speeds for encrypted connections.

The VPN is property of Golden Frog, a US company incorporated in Switzerland, which is good for your privacy, but you won’t be able to pay with Bitcoin.

Pros:

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    Swiss jurisdiction is good news for your privacy
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    Top-tier plans provide extra security
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    5 simultaneous connections
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    Unlimited data

Cons:

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    Not the best solution for gamers
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    No love for Bitcoin

7. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is understandably one of the top picks for Windows Phone users since it supports SSTP and L2TP protocols and offers some of the speediest servers on the market scattered across 87 countries. It also ranks high due to its robust security specs and a fair no-logs policy (they do log timestamps and bandwidth, though). The best part is ExpressVPN is chock-full of setup guides for all imaginable protocols and operating systems, so you will have no problems setting up its VPN on your Windows Phone.

ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat support and a 30-day money-back guarantee on its subscriptions and accepts Bitcoin. Its monthly plan kicks in at $12.95, biannual at $59.95, and annual at $99.95.

The company is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is not the ideal pick for a whistle-blower, but if you are a regular consumer you might find it a great option for gaming, streaming, and hiding your online activity from snooping ISPs.

Pros:

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    Unblocks streaming services
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    Great security specs
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    Excellent speed and performance
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    24/7 support

Cons:

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    UK-based
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    Not the cheapest VPN out there

Honorable Mentions

It would be unfair to focus on the big players only since a slew of lesser-known providers support protocols compatible with Windows Phone while offering great privacy and performance. Below is my list of bonus picks you might want to check out:

  • Perfect Privacy is a Switzerland company operating since 2008. Offering support for a variety of protocols, Perfect Privacy doesn’t limit your bandwidth, doesn’t log your activity, allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections while offering top-notch security and fast speeds.
  • Hide.me is an excellent zero-logs VPN based in Malaysia, featuring 115+ servers across 23 countries, support for P2P while seamlessly unblocking all your streaming services.
  • VPN4All is a well-established Dutch company incorporated in Seychelles, featuring SSTP, IPSec, PPTP and OpenVPN protocols, solid security, no logs, and 30-day money-back guarantee. P2P is allowed while Windows Phone has its own setup guide.
  • Panda Pow is a Hong Kong company supporting a large number of platforms, and bundling servers in 15 countries with support for online gaming and streaming (but not P2P). PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, and OpenVPN are complemented by flawless performance, affordable rates, and great speeds.
  • Keep Solid VPN is a U.S. provider supporting a laundry list of platforms, including Windows Mobile. If 1000 servers in 54 countries are not enough, Keep Solid has other advantages – you can pay with Bitcoin, play online, extend your subscription to up to 15 devices, and torrent.
  • Proxy.sh is a Seychelles-based company operating more than 300 servers across 57 countries and offering up to 3 simultaneous connections, a $2-worth trial plan, and a long list of perks. The latter include DNS leak protection, SOCKS, Tor, zero logs, and support for Windows Mobile.

Considerations

It might be tempting to go all-in with OpenVPN due to improved security it provides. But even though you can set it up on most of your devices, your Windows-powered mobile devices will be left behind.

You are well-advised against using PPTP protocol since it is highly insecure. Perhaps, video streaming is the only scenario when it would be viable to resort to PPTP.

For Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, it’s best to stick to L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2 or SSTP protocols.

How to Set Up a VPN on Windows Phone

All Windows Phone devices come with built-in settings you can customize to set up a VPN connection without any additional downloads.

Setting up a VPN on Windows Phone is no rocket science. While most providers offer step-by-step guides, others only list server addresses. In the latter case, knowing your setup path will help you get your VPN running in a matter of minutes.

  • In Windows Phone, go to the apps list → Settings → Network and Wireless → VPN
  • Toggle the status to On → tap Add a VPN Connection → name the profile in the Connection Name box
  • In IP address box/Server name, type the VPN server address provided by your VPN company
  • Choose the type of your connection based on protocol supported by your VPN provider
  • Enter your username and password → Save
  • When you need to edit the settings, go to VPN Connection → Properties
  • To connect your VPN, go to start menu → apps list → Settings → Network and Wireless → VPN Connection → Connect

Why Use a VPN on Windows Phone

A Virtual Private Network is hands down one of the simplest solutions to protect your Internet activities from snooping ISPs and opportunist hackers preying on easy targets on public Wi-Fi. Additionally, VPNs allow you to:

  • Unblock popular streaming services, such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, iTV, and more
  • Unblock US libraries on Steam, iTunes, Google Play and other popular gaming stores.
  • Access discounts restricted to specific regions
  • Bypass local censorship and get unrestricted access to information and services (Skype, social networks, YouTube)
  • Bypass school or office restrictions
  • Torrent and communicate safely
  • Protect your location and identity

Conclusion

Hopefully, this roundup of VPNs for Windows Phone helps you make an informed buying decision and get a reliable and robust VPN to cover your mobile and desktop devices top to bottom.

We’ve yet to see a decent port of OpenVPN for Windows Mobile, unfortunately. Until then, consider VPNs that offer OpenVPN for your desktop computers and Android or iOS devices, and L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2 or SSTP for Windows Phone.

If you have more VPN suggestions for the list, feel free to chime in and leave a comment.

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