Boasting 80 million subscribers and counting, Amazon Prime is available in many countries. But its Prime Video service is only accessible to users in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Still, the best of Amazon Prime’s uber-popular video streaming service mostly remains a privilege of U.S.-based subscribers.
The problem with Amazon Prime is its U.S. repositories are different from its libraries available from elsewhere due to copyright regulations. Copyright laws are country-specific, you see. Even if you subscribe to Amazon Prime in the U.S., you lose the right to stream Prime’s videos when you are on a foreign soil.
Prime’s geo-blocked libraries are a real turn-off to many U.S. expats and tourists because, being honest paying subscribers, they get locked out of their service.
Your goal here is to trick Amazon into thinking you are in the U.S. and here is where a Virtual Private Network comes in.
A VPN routes your Internet traffic through its server – in this case a U.S.-based one – granting you a U.S. IP address. That way, you appear as if coming from the U.S. to Amazon and can stream your favorite videos.
Using a VPN is completely legal. It is not going to get you in trouble with authorities or Amazon. In the worst case scenario Amazon recognizes your VPN and kicks you out displaying Error 4601 or Error 1042. It’s no big deal since your account doesn’t get suspended.
In the past, pretty much any VPN with servers in the U.S. could unblock Amazon Prime. Those days are gone. Today, Amazon Prime is cracking down on VPNs, following in the Netflix footsteps. Since Amazon keeps blacklisting VPN after VPN, providers that unblocked Prime last year may not be working today.
So when you research VPNs that unblock Amazon Prime, your results will be changing from time to time. As of this writing, a handful of VPNs are known to unblock Amazon Prime Video on a consistent basis. Others are lesser-known providers that manage to navigate below Amazon’s radar.
To give you some guidance on how to choose a VPN, though, I’ve made a short list of VPN features you want to scrutinize:
Since Prime’s crackdown on VPNs is an evolving story, you may want to test a VPN before subscribing to a long-term plan. If you lack the skills to set up a VPN or tweak the DNS service, you need a company providing timely tech support. Therefore, check:
Without further ado, below are the best VPNs for Amazon Prime.
ExpressVPN is one of the big players with select U.S. servers working great for streaming Amazon Prime Video. These servers occasionally change, so I would recommend pinging ExpressVPN’s support for a list of servers that work with Amazon Prime.
Other highlights include consistently good speeds, robust security, intuitive cross-platform client, and 24/7 support. You can have up to three simultaneous connections per license while the company’s generous 30-day money-back guarantee lets you test its service risk-free.
Its monthly subscription is on the expensive side priced at $12.95 but its yearly plan is more wallet-friendly at $99.95, and you can pay with Bitcoin.
BulletVPN may not be a big player, but this Estonian VPN unblocks Amazon Primer Video with ease. The company offers an ample selection of servers in 22 countries, multiple VPN protocols, Smart DNS, as well as a cross-platform client supporting a laundry list of devices.
The broad selection of U.S. servers is what you need to unblock Amazon Prime, and BulletVPN delivers. Better yet, you can stream and torrent via its VPN, but its performance varies greatly for servers located in the same country. Even though it doesn’t unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime is one of the numerous streaming services it unblocks successfully.
Priced at $10.98 a month, $54.98 per six months, or $89.98 a year, BulletVPN protects first-time subscribers with a generous 30-day money-back guarantee. On the side note, BulletVPN might not be an ideal option if you are looking for a zero-logs privacy-minded provider.
Keenow is an Israeli Smart DNS and VPN service provider slated to unblock geo-restricted streaming services, including Amazon Prime. It may not be the best in terms of privacy, but when it comes to streaming, Keenow gets the job done.
Available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV, Keenow lets you configure its Smart DNS on an even larger number of devices. The company provides a sleek desktop app that combines the SmartDNS and VPN so you don’t have to mingle with the manual setup.
P2P is allowed while Keenow’s Virtual Router lets you share your VPN connection with all your devices.
Keenow has a Lite free plan with SmartDNS only, 512MB bandwidth per day, and a handful of US servers. Its Premium bundles a fully-fledged VPN on top of the Smart DNS, unlimited bandwidth, and P2P-optimized servers.
Its $9.95-worth monthly plan comes with a 7-day refund protection but it goes down to $69.5 in a yearly plan covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Support is ticket-based but prompt and professional.
CyberGhost VPN primarily focuses on privacy and security. But as of late, this Romania-based company has ramped up its unblocking capabilities adding a slew of popular streaming giants to the roster of geo-blocks it can bypass, Amazon Prime Video included.
The good news is CyberGhost VPN’s app tags servers that unblock Amazon Prime, so you don’t need to contact their support or do the guesswork. The company runs 1,250 servers across 60 countries and counting while its no-logs policy and robust security specs make it an overall excellent VPN for all your streaming, browsing, and secure communication needs.
One month kicks in at $11.99 while the annual subscription is priced at $71.88, allowing up to five simultaneous connections. There is a generous 30-day refund policy, too.
Nord VPN is a big fish whose whopping 3350 servers are difficult to ignore, and it just happens to unblock Amazon Prime. There is always a handful of servers at Nord VPN that are geared toward unblocking streaming giants. If you are having difficulty, just check the knowledge base for an update on servers that work with Amazon Prime, or contact their support directly.
Aside from unblocking your streaming sites, this Panama-based provider also bundles watertight security and zero-logs privacy complete with fast speeds apt for HD streaming and P2P. You can connect up to six devices simultaneously while apps are available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.
Their monthly subscription will set you off $11.95, which goes down to $69 if you buy a yearly plan, and $79 if you buy two years. All first-time purchases are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Strong VPN is a US-based provider popular among expats because it consistently unblocks popular U.S. streaming services. Running servers across 47 locations in 26 countries, Strong VPN offers multiple VPN protocols, cross-platform software, zero-logs policy, and five simultaneous connections per license.
Its downside is in over-complicated setup, but there is a 24/7 live chat support that can set up Strong VPN on your device remotely via TeamViewer at no extra cost.
Strong VPN provides great speeds apt for streaming. Even though I wasn’t overly happy with its usability, when it comes to geo-blocked streaming, Strong VPN delivers.
One month of Strong VPN costs $10; three months are priced at $24 while a year will set you off $70. All plans are backed by a 7-day money-back guarantee.
TorGuard is a solid US-based VPN geared toward streaming and P2P file-sharing, offering a slew of speedy U.S. servers. Since TorGuard is a U.S. provider, you may not be using it for leaking state secrets, but streaming, torrenting and gaming activities go well with its super-speedy servers and five simultaneous connections allowed.
TorGuard works as advertised unblocking Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and many other streaming services. If you want a VPN for streaming only, you need to subscribe to TorGuard’s VPN and buy an add-on IP in one of the countries to which you wish to spoof (for example, a U.S. Streaming IP).
One streaming IP adds $4/mo to your bill. TorGuard’s monthly plan is priced at $9.99, quarterly at $19.99, semi-annual at $29.99, and annual at $59.99. Do note that torrenting is not allowed on Streaming IPs.
I feel it’s unfair to make a roundup of the top-of-the-crop companies leaving out lesser-known mid-sized or small providers that score equally high in streaming. Below are my bonus picks of lesser-known – and sometimes significantly cheaper – VPNs that work just fine with Amazon Prime:
When zeroing in on VPNs that bypass Prime’s firewall, you may end up with a choice between quality and consistency of streaming on the one hand, and privacy and security on the other. Sometimes, you can have both and not necessarily in a high-end subscription.
If privacy and security are important to you, consider choosing a VPN that bundles OpenVPN with strong encryption for cases when you need security, and weaker protocols or SmartDNS for streaming.
Always read providers’ privacy policies and terms of service scrutinizing their logging and data sharing policies. For a more in-depth guidance on VPN privacy and security specs, read this brief VPN Guide.
Also, I wouldn’t recommend free VPNs for unblocking Amazon Prime. The majority of free VPNs don’t offer consistent speed or performance and log your activity top to bottom.
It’s not rocket science. If you already have a Prime subscription, you need to choose a VPN provider first and get a free trial or a subscription. I wouldn’t recommend starting out with a long-term subscription without verifying if the service unblocks Amazon Prime.
Once you have your subscription details and login information for the VPN, you need to install VPN software on your device. Setup instructions always differ, so you may need to check with your provider’s support or knowledge base.
When your VPN is installed and a connection to its US server is enabled, you can launch your Amazon Prime.
Perhaps, your chances of succeeding are higher on a desktop computer than on a mobile platform. On mobile, Amazon Prime Video comes as a standalone app that tends to override VPN settings and expose your DNS.
Amazon Prime Video is a part of Amazon Prime subscription and an unlimited streaming service with the coveted U.S. libraries that are chock-full of movies and TV shows.
Amazon Instant Video is a pay-per-view service that doesn’t require a Prime subscription. Here, you can simply rent or buy videos and you don’t need a VPN to use it.
All you need is a VPN to stream Amazon Prime Videos from outside the U.S. Don’t feel intimidated by a seemingly complex setup because there are now VPNs for everyone, advanced users and noobs alike. The best part is you can find a VPN for nearly any operating system without breaking the bank.
I hope this roundup of best VPNs for Amazon Prime helps you choose an ideal provider that not only unblocks your favorite streaming services when you are abroad but also protects your online privacy.
Feel free to chime in if you have more VPN suggestions or would like to share your experience with any of the providers mentioned in this roundup.
If you think Fargo’s season 3 ended with a terrible cliffhanger, can’t wait to see what happens to Elizabeth Moss’ character in the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale, or have been wondering if there was anyone on the set of Future Man who wasn’t high 24/7, you must be an avid fan of Hulu. But if you're outside of the U.S., chances are you’re also an angry fan locked out of your favorite shows.
The American streaming giant has been steadily filling its libraries with thousands of new titles and old classics you’ve been wanting to binge again. The service has recently discontinued its free content, alas, but it hasn’t become any less attractive for millions of its subscribers.
Unfortunately, Hulu is only available from the U.S., U.S. military bases, and Japan. That means you’re out of luck if you’re on a foreign soil.
The catch with Hulu is it doesn’t own distribution of its shows. Instead, the company acquires a distribution license for each show for different countries. As of now, Hulu only has the right to stream in the U.S. and Japan.
To stream Hulu when you are outside of the U.S. you need a VPN.
A Virtual Private Network is a digital service that helps you spoof into the U.S., or, in layman terms, fake your location. To stream Hulu, you are going to need an American IP address. And with the right provider, you can also boost your online privacy and security.
It’s tempting to rely on VPN reviews or Reddit and pick a company whose name pops up in suggestions more often than others. But the problem is Reddit and many VPN reviews are infested with paid comments and sponsored recommendations.
Couple that with the common tendency of many providers to use click baits to lure you into subscribing without providing the advertised feature. Such is the case with unblocking Hulu. Some providers claim to unblock Hulu; a handful of VPNs actually unblock it.
The best way to choose a VPN for Hulu is to pick a handful of recommended VPNs and test them. Trustworthy providers tend to offer either a free trial or a money-back guarantee so your risks should be minimized.
Other important criteria you may want to study include:
Last but not least, you may want to go through providers’ Terms of Service and Privacy Policies to have a clear idea of how each company treats your data.
For a detailed breakdown of crucial VPN features, you’re welcome to give my VPN Guide for Beginners a quick read.
TorGuard is a U.S. company with a particularly strong emphasis on streaming and file-sharing. The provider runs streaming – and torrenting-optimized servers that offer excellent speeds apt for streaming HD video. TorGuard allows up to five simultaneous connections per license and bundles an impressive wealth of 3000+ servers worldwide, live chat support, strong security, and a no-logs policy.
To unblock Hulu with TorGuard, you need a U.S. Streaming IP, which is an extra feature available for additional $4 on top of your VPN subscription. The location-specific Streaming IP (the U.S. in this case) grants you access to streaming-optimized U.S. servers that work best for unblocking Hulu and other streaming sites.
At $9.99/month, $19.99/four months, $29.99/six months, and $59.99/year, plus the $4/mo per Streaming IP, TorGuard may be on the expensive side. But each plan bundles a bandwagon of goodies, such as a stealth proxy, anonymous email, forward secrecy, Man-in-the-Middle attack protection, and a 7-day refund policy.
ExpressVPN is traditionally one of the high-profile VPNs that comes on top of many “best VPNs” lists. The company's hefty marketing budget aside, some of its U.S. servers do unblock Hulu. Since Hulu blocks them from time to time, ExpressVPN regularly updates the list of servers that bypass the streaming giant's geo-block.
On the downside, whenever one of their streaming-optimized servers gets blacklisted by Hulu, you have to contact the provider's customer service to ask which servers unblock Hulu now.
ExpressVPN offers good speeds, robust security, easy-to-use software, up to three simultaneous connections per account, and 24/7 support. It's somewhat expensive at $12.95 per month, but its long-term subscription goes down to $99.95 a year. Bitcoin is accepted and a generous 30-day money-back guarantee covers your first purchase.
BulletVPN is an Estonia-based provider with a great track record of unblocking popular streaming services, including Hulu. The company boasts enough U.S. based servers to bypass Hulu's firewall on a consistent basis. It also supports torrenting, although you might have to check multiple servers to find the one providing speeds apt for HD streaming.
BulletVPN supports multiple protocols, including OpenVPN, and comes complete with Smart DNS and a sleek client supporting a wealth of devices. On the downside, the company keeps session logs.
A monthly plan with BulletVPN will set you off $10.98 while their biannual and annual subscriptions are priced at $54.98 and $89.98 respectively. All first-time purchases are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Unblock.us VPN is a U.S. company that focuses on unblocking popular streaming services, including Hulu and Netflix. It’s not a VPN in its entirety, but a SmartDNS and SmartVPN service. What this means is you won’t be leaking government secrets via this VPN. But when it comes to streaming, Unblock.us truly shines.
Their 24/7 customer service is always ready to help you during setup while their plans are some of the most wallet-friendly on the market. Unblock.us offers a 7-day free trial without requiring your payment details. You get a fully-fledged service complete with 24/7 support during your trial.
Their monthly plan offers no refunds and costs $5 while their annual plan is priced at $50 and comes complete with a 30-day refund guarantee.
VyprVPN has had its streaming ups and downs, but it is back in the game as of this writing. VyprVPN offers an ample selection of U.S. servers and you will easily find those that work with Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
The company runs and operates its servers, which has a positive effect on the network performance and speeds if compared to providers that lease their hardware. You get ample bandwidth and good speeds for HD streaming and up to five simultaneous connections per account.
VyprVPN is also robust on the security front, bundling strong encryption. On the downside, the company logs your IP, so you may want to look elsewhere if you want to torrent or max out your online privacy.
No refunds are offered, but they have a 3-day free trial. Their Basic plan costs $60 a year if billed annually and $120 if billed monthly while Premium will set you off $80 a year if billed annually and $155.4 if billed monthly.
Nord VPN bundles SmartPlay DNS and ultra-fast streaming servers in its VPN packages, so you can unblock a broad spectrum of content providers – Hulu, HBO, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, you name it. The set of U.S. servers that bypass Hulu's blocks occasionally changes, so you need to inquire with the provider's customer service once in a while to know which servers work with Hulu. But that is a minor drawback in an overall fine VPN service.
Nord VPN offers watertight security with strong encryption and a zero-logs policy, anti-DDoS-optimized servers, double VPN, and Tor over VPN. P2P is allowed and you can connect up to six devices simultaneously.
$11.95 buys you a month of Nord VPN but you can have their yearly subscription for $69 only. All plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost VPN is a Romanian service you may want to check out if you want Hulu streaming complete with high-end security, zero-logs privacy, and five simultaneous connections. CyberGhost's VPN client automatically updates the list of streaming-optimized servers that work with Hulu, so you don't need to search for them manually.
CyberGhost VPN runs an impressive network of 1.250 servers in 60+ countries, so you can access not only U.S. streaming services but also European and Australian ones. Backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 7-day free trial, their monthly plan is priced at $11.99 but their $71.88-worth yearly subscription offers a generous discount.
I am not fond of roundups that end up saying that some particular VPN is the absolute best for your needs since everyone is looking for a different set of features. Below are some bonus picks of lesser-known VPNs you may want to check out because they, too, do a great job of unblocking Hulu:
Without going into a jargon-heavy explanation of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, I would recommend that you check your VPN for IPv6 leaks, among other things. You might also want to inquire with your VPN tech support if IPv6 leak protection is a part of their configuration.
The point is most VPNs hide your IPv4 address, but not IPv6 since it is not as widely adopted as IPv4, yet. If your Internet Service Provider supports IPv6, though, you run the risk of getting busted by Hulu due to IPv6 leak. So your best bet would be to disable IPv6 altogether.
Introduce the following changes while your VPN is disabled:
As you probably know, Hulu is cracking down on VPNs. Once its firewall identifies a certain range of IP addresses as coming from a VPN, it blocks the entire range. A provider then configures another U.S. server to bypass Hulu’s firewall. Otherwise, a VPN company risks losing many users.
Some providers aren’t that agile as to always have a spare roster of servers to replace those blocked by Hulu. So don’t be surprised if a VPN that’s been highly recommended last year does not unblock the streaming service now.
With that in mind, you are strongly advised to test any VPN before subscribing to a long-term plan. Some providers offer a free trial, others – a money-back guarantee, so you can run your tests without throwing around your money.
VPNs on my list have been tested to unblock Hulu. Each VPN comes with a link to its detailed review, and I encourage you to give them a read. But because the streaming giant keeps blacklisting VPNs, you may need to invest a few hours into getting your personal hands-on experience with a few select providers.
Below is a brief roundup of VPNs that do not unblock Hulu as of this writing:
Hopefully, this roundup helps you make an informed decision or at least narrow down your options to several VPNs you can test. While most of them provide exhaustive cross-platform support, Express VPN and NordVPN are better suited if you intend to stream Hulu on a mobile device.
Feel free to chime in if you have more VPN suggestions or updates to this list!
Newcomers to gaming sub-culture may think using a VPN for online gaming is unnecessary or even redundant. Yes, a Virtual Private Network tends to slow down your connection speed and increase your ping time. But seasoned gamers will tell you – a VPN for XBox is not a luxury but a necessary means of protection. Also, a VPN takes your gaming to a whole new level.
Any online activity has its hidden security risks, and gaming is no exception. Once you hone your gaming skills and climb the leaderboards, you are bound to enter the world of team games. Nothing compares to teaming up with a bunch of like-minded gamers from around the world and take out your opponents in well-coordinated attacks.
To coordinate your onslaught more efficiently, swap tips and goad opponents you might use voice chats. Unfortunately, voice chat systems aren’t secure. A new friend can easily turn out to be your opponent using the conversation to discover your IP address. Many obsessive and cheat-happy gamers attack the Internet connections of their opponents (DDoS) to get them locked out of games in crucial moments.
A DDoS attack can cost you a match, so you need to protect your real IP address, and a VPN is the most efficient, easy-to-use and affordable means of protecting your IP.
A VPN service masks your real IP address and mitigates the DDoS attacks by absorbing the flood of messages trying to lock you out of the game.
Some particularly vicious players go the extra mile to launch DDoS attacks against game servers. When that happens, game companies block the range of IPs they believe are involved in the attack, unfairly locking out innocent gamers as a collateral damage. With a VPN, you can easily get out of the banned IP range and keep playing.
You’d be surprised how many nasty tricks can be unleashed on unsuspecting gamers by their obsessive opponents. If your mentally unstable opponent knows your IP address, and therefore your physical address, they can then make an anonymous call to your local police department and say they heard shooting in your house or something along those lines. Your police department then sends a SWAT team to your place, wrecking havoc for your family and your neighborhood.
Swatting causes serious grief. Besides damaged property, you may face suspicion or even get ostracized by your neighbors as a result. So if you are an avid gamer, you need to hide your identity and location behind a VPN.
Sometimes game developers roll out new games for various countries gradually. Be it for testing, or some other monetary preference, many companies choose to release their games in the U.S., the U.K, or Japan first. The time it takes for some games to make it to other local markets can be anything from a week to more than a year.
Likewise, XBox Live content and many game servers are geo-locked, too. With a VPN, you can easily bypass this nuisance and access new games ahead of your local market or play XBox Live exclusives unavailable in your nation.
Finally, most XBox users use their systems to stream Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, you name it. With a VPN, you are not restricted to content available in your region but can access the newest and most popular shows that tend to be available in a few select locations only.
You can’t set up a VPN on your XBox console directly. Instead, you need to set up a VPN on your WiFi router. Setup instructions differ based on your router type and VPN provider, but most companies on this list provide detailed instructions. If you get stuck or lack technical background, most VPNs offer free live chat support or even remote installation via TeamViewer.
Alternatively, you can install your VPN on your desktop computer, create a virtual router on it and have your XBox connect to it. Some VPNs come with the virtual router feature baked into their desktop apps. Otherwise, setting up a virtual router on your Windows or Mac shouldn’t be too difficult even for a non-techie.
Since you can’t install a VPN on XBox directly, not every VPN is suitable for the gaming console. When choosing a VPN for XBox, look out for the following features:
Your best bet would be to pick two or three providers and run your own tests to make sure a VPN works as advertised and gets you where you want to be online. Therefore, check if the provider offers a free trial or a money-back guarantee.
Finally, pay close attention to VPN’s security specs and privacy policies. More so if you intend to torrent through a VPN. For a full breakdown of important VPN features, please refer to my VPN Guide for Beginners.
Express VPN supports a broad range of routers, so you can route all your Internet traffic through its VPN, XBox included. Express VPN bundles an installation wizard that helps you install its firmware on your router, which makes it one of the most hassle-free solutions for the not-so-tech-savvy. Top it off with a 24/7 live chat tech support, and you can have it up and running in a matter of minutes.
Running a network of VPN servers across 94 countries, Express VPN should get you in any gaming server you want. They don’t have a DDoS protection per se, but in most cases, IP cloaking should be enough to protect you from DDoS attacks, swatting, and the like.
Up to three simultaneous connections are allowed per license, which will set you off $12.95 a month or $99.95 a year, backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Vypr VPN owns its servers, which certainly helps achieve excellent performance. Featuring high-speed servers, Vypr VPN can even increase your speed, which is a rare thing among VPNs.
Vypr VPN bundles a few perks the gamer in you will appreciate, such as a NAT Firewall, which lets you block unwanted inbound traffic. Its proprietary Chameleon protocol aims to improve your speeds and bypass ISP-imposed bandwidth throttling.
Vypr VPN offers a three-day trial and two subscription tiers – Basic at $9.95/mo and $45/year, and Premium at $ $12.95/mo or $60/year.
Bullet VPN is a relatively young Estonian provider offering great speeds, easy-to-follow installation guides for routers and a Virtual Router feature baked into its PC/Mac desktop app. Bullet VPN also supports HD streaming and P2P file-sharing, successfully bypassing VPN firewalls of most streaming giants.
Bullet VPN features multiple protocols, Smart DNS, and allows up to three simultaneous connections per license, which will set you off $10.98 a month or $89.98 a year. First-time purchases are covered by their 30-day money-back guarantee. Note, however, that the provider logs session data.
Nord VPN is a great VPN for XBox because it supports a broad range of routers, complete with detailed setup instructions. A router-based VPN protects the entirety of your Internet traffic and counts as just one connection. With Nord VPN, you can have six simultaneous connections, which is ideal for families.
More than 1,000 servers across 61 countries are enough to get you into any gaming server you please, while the nifty ping test baked into its VPN app helps you identify the speediest server at any given moment.
Nord VPN bundles DDoS protection and an optional dedicated IP address so you can run your own gaming server. It’s also watertight on the security front, with double VPN, Tor over VPN and strong encryption. P2P is allowed and streaming sites are easily accessible with Nord VPN’s streaming servers.
Its monthly license is priced at $11.95 while its yearly plan costs $69 complete with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish stands out for its unparalleled speed, which is critical for online gaming. IPVanish offers a nifty list of servers in its VPN app, and you can sort your servers by ping, cherry-picking the speediest for the moment.
Covering 60 countries, IPVanish boasts of more than 400 servers in the U.S. alone. Five simultaneous connections are allowed per license, which is priced at $10/mo or $77.88/year. There is a 7-day money-back guarantee, which should be just enough to run your tests. IPVanish is headquartered in the U.S., so you may want to refrain from illegal activities while using this VPN.
Pure VPN is a well-established Hong Kong-based VPN service featuring 750+ self-managed servers in 141 countries. You can run its VPN on up to five devices simultaneously and set it up on your mobile and desktop devices, and routers, so your XBox is covered alongside 20 other platforms.
Pure VPN is almost zero-logs (bandwidth and connection timestamps are logged), allowing P2P. Although its monthly subscription is along the lines of other providers, at $10.95, you can have its 2-year plan for $78, complete with a 7-day money-back guarantee. The provider also offers a 3-day subscription for $2.5, which is a fair deal if you want to test its premium features without restrictions.
CyberGhost VPN offers consistently good speeds on gaming-optimized servers and you can sort them in your VPN app based on location and ping. The desktop app is extremely intuitive geared toward non-techies, and it supports a wealth of platforms, including routers, so your XBox is covered.
CyberGhost VPN operates a decent network of 1.250 servers across 60+ countries, including all your gaming Meccas. The provider allows up to 5 simultaneous connections per account, bundling a laundry list of privacy-protecting features.
This Romanian company is also quite generous offering a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its plans. Their monthly subscription costs $11.99 while their annual plan is conveniently priced at $71.88.
Fortunately, gamers have a wide selection of VPNs to choose from since many providers offer router support or virtual routers. Below are more suggestions of fine VPNs that offer affordable subscriptions, gaming-optimized servers, speeds suitable for online gaming, and good security specs:
As tempting as free VPNs appear, most of them don’t provide the protection you need for online gaming. On top of that, free VPNs offer neither performance and speeds nor unlimited bandwidth and data you need for online gaming. You run the risk of getting disconnected and losing your progress or a match that way.
But the main concern with free VPNs is they tend to monetize your data more often than not. Running a VPN service is an expensive endeavor no provider can afford to do at no cost whatsoever. So when you are offered free VPN, you don’t pay with your money – you pay with your personal and browsing information free VPNs sell to data brokers or ad agencies.
The XBox gaming console suits a gamer’s lifestyle perfectly, taking gaming and streaming to a whole new level with a large hard drive, multiplayer gaming experience, and wireless media streaming. But to unleash its true potential without jeopardizing your privacy and security, you are well-advised to use a VPN for XBox.
A lot of thought went into compiling this list of the best VPNs for XBox, and hopefully, it helps you zero in on a couple of providers you can try before committing to a long-term subscription.
If you tried one of these VPNs with XBox and would like to share your experience, or have more suggestions for the list, join the discussion in the comments section below.
Many schools and college campuses have strict policies regulating access to online content. They block access to certain websites in an effort to keep their students – and faculty – focused on studies and work. You can’t blame your school for trying to help you focus. But the collateral damage from these restrictions can be frustrating to someone who is used to unrestricted access to information.
Keeping faculty and students behind institutionalized firewalls often blocks them from accessing content they actually need for research. Why, being locked out of your streaming sites and gaming servers is bad enough because you can’t get a moment of peace during short breaks between classes.
A Virtual Private Network helps you bypass your school’s blocks and browse the Internet freely.
Schools and universities restrict access to parts of the Internet having the best of intentions while all students are subject to their Acceptable Use restrictions.
School firewalls aren’t perfect, however. Sometimes, legitimate resources end up within a range of blacklisted addresses. As a result, students end up with a laundry list of websites they can’t access from school premises.
Anything from social media platforms to YouTube, Netflix, and eBay can end up on the block list. Let alone torrenting communities and sometimes even email servers. Entertainment aside, many of those blocked platforms contain a wealth of educational content.
Too often, draconian restrictions end up causing more harm than good. Besides, schools are supposed to be environments that foster free access to information instead of censoring it. So a VPN is an essential tool that helps you protect your right to online freedom, privacy, and security.
Colleges and schools typically monitor and log all your activity. This means school admins know what you’re up to online.
A VPN keeps your browsing private, so nobody – neither your school’s IT admins nor ISP – can track and monitor your online activities.
Although your school’s WiFi is most likely password protected, it is far from being secure. The password is an open secret in most cases while anyone from young hackers honing their skills to malicious outsiders can launch a honeypot or Man-in-the-Middle attack to steal your identity, or hack your webcam and snoop on you. In targeted attacks, evil pranksters can delete your term papers, research notes, or block your computer and demand ransom (ransomware).
The same dangers are looming from any public WiFi network, be it at school, in a shopping mall, park, or in restaurants.
A VPN encrypts your traffic, so those malicious intruders are unable to decrypt it and cause any damage.
Unfortunately, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, most gaming sites and servers as well as Facebook and Twitter are blocked by many schools. While the reasons for the ban are understandable (streaming and gaming eat up a lot of bandwidth), paying for a Netflix subscription and being unable to use it for months on end is unfair either.
With a VPN, you bypass your school’s firewall and can stream and play freely.
Most schools explicitly ban P2P file-sharing, levying harsh punishment for copyright infringement. You can torrent behind a VPN and your school will never know you access a torrenting website.
Many schools not only block VPN providers’ websites to prevent students from downloading VPN software but also block VPNs as such. To use a VPN on your college network, you need to be sure your college firewall won’t block it. From here, it gets a little technical but you need to know which VPN features are important to bypass school firewalls.
Schools can block VPNs using two methods:
Port Blocking is easier and cheaper to implement. In this case, schools block all ports except for HTTPS port 443 used for encrypted traffic, and HTTP port 80 used for unencrypted traffic. All applications using other ports get effectively blocked.
As far as VPNs are concerned, only SSTP protocol works on port 443. Neither OpenVPN nor IPSec/L2TP or PPTP use ports 443 or 80.
The good news is SSTP provides significantly better security than PPTP. The bad news is it only works on Windows.
A workaround is possible if your VPN supports port forwarding. That way, you can set up OpenVPN via port 443. The bad news is not all VPNs support port forwarding. Another bad news is port forwarding is only possible on desktop computers, and not on mobile devices.
Hence, your best bet would be to choose a VPN that:
DPI is a more advanced – and more expensive – technique. It enables school firewalls to detect encryption tools, distinguish OpenVPN traffic from regular HTTPS traffic, and block VPN traffic selectively.
If your college is that Orwellian, your best bet would be to choose a VPN that provides masking capabilities to hide your VPN traffic and make it look like regular HTTPS traffic. In layman terms, look for protection against Deep Packet Inspection.
Depending on what you intend to do through your VPN, you may need to look for other features, such as server coverage in a particular region, unblocking streaming sites or gaming servers. For a full breakdown of key VPN features, give my VPN Guide for Beginners a brief look.
Nord VPN is one of the top options on this list because it provides double data encryption, zero logs, and solid security. Nord VPN is based in Panama, which is also good for privacy protection. Their custom desktop app includes a kill switch and DNS leak protection.
A single license grants you six simultaneous connections, and you can order a few extra goodies, such as Dedicated, Shared Static and Dynamic IP. P2P is allowed and streaming is seamless with most sites.
Their 30-day money-back guarantee covers all first-time purchases. A month of Nord VPN will set you off $11.95 while their yearly subscription is conveniently priced at $69.
Hide.me accepts Bitcoin and 100+ other payment options, and provides excellent speeds. There is a free plan with limited bandwidth while their Plus plan is dirt-cheap at $4.99 per month. It buys you 75GB data, unlimited bandwidth and 30 server locations. Hide.me’s Premium kicks in at $9.99 a month bundling comprehensive features, including port forwarding. It also supports SSTP protocol and utilizes SoftEther custom encryption protocol designed to mask VPN traffic.
Pure VPN is a Hong Kong-based company with over 11 years on the market. With 750+ self-managed servers in 180 locations, Pure VPN comes as one of the most robust solutions for college students. It supports a wealth of protocols, including SSTP, and a wide range of platforms.
Its intuitive cross-platform client features a kill switch, NAT firewall, and split tunneling. So you get protection from unexpected VPN connection drops and unencrypted data leaks while being able to decide which apps get to send their traffic through the VPN, and which can go through the unencrypted school channel.
Its monthly price is just about even with most other providers – you can have their monthly subscription for $9.95, but a two-year license is a true bargain at $59.
VyprVPN owns and manages an impressive fleet of 700 ultra fast servers across the globe. It is also emphatically zero-logs and successfully bypasses most firewall thanks to numerous leak protections baked into its custom software.
VyprVPN features streaming and gaming optimized servers, as well as a wealth of security perks such as NAT Firewall and a proprietary Chameleon protocol that bypasses your college firewall and ISP-imposed throttling.
Vypr VPN has a 3-day free trial and two paid plans. Basic kicks in at $9.95 per month or $45 a year while Premium is available for $12.95 a month of $60 a year
Strong VPN has been around for 20 years, consistently providing high-end privacy and security features in wallet-friendly packages. Highlights include a wide selection of protocols, complete with OpenVPN obfuscation tools that let you bypass firewalls like that of China. So it works just fine for bypassing college blocks.
Strong VPN features more than 500 servers across 26 countries and offers impeccable speeds for gaming, streaming, and torrenting.
Priced at $10 in a month-to-month subscription, Strong VPN will set you off $69.95 if you commit to a yearly plan.
TorGuard VPN offers servers in 51 countries, solid encryption, P2P-optimized servers, extremely fast speeds in the U.S., and plenty of security features. Its custom SSL-based VPN client is blazing fast while you can also leverage its inbuilt proxy and embedded Man-in-the-Middle attack prevention.
TorGuard VPN allows five simultaneous connections per license while its Stealth feature helps you bypass college firewalls with ease. Desktop apps feature a kill switch, ad blocker, and malware blocker. It also integrates well with mainstream BitTorrent applications.
Available at $10 in its monthly subscription, TorGuard offers a significant discount on its yearly plan priced at $60.
Express VPN runs a well-oiled machine of hundreds of servers across 94 countries. It’s great for gaming, streaming, torrenting, and bypassing school firewalls. Express VPN features a zero-logs policy, which is great if privacy is top of mind for you. It also accepts Bitcoin and allows up to three simultaneous connections.
Express VPN runs a 24/7 live chat support, which is one of the best in the industry, so you can always count on timely assistance. It also works with most streaming websites and provides excellent speeds apt for streaming and gaming.
Its monthly and yearly license costs $12.95 and $99.95 respectively, backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Below are some more suggestions in case the above providers don’t make the cut for some reason:
Many schools and universities block access to VPN websites, which means you can’t subscribe to a service and install a VPN while being connected to your school network.
If that is the case, use your mobile connection to access a VPN provider’s website. Likewise, consider using public Wi-Fi hotspot in any of the nearby parks or cafes. You are strongly advised against online shopping via public Wi-Fi without a VPN, though.
Alternatively, you can share your mobile connection with your laptop by turning your phone into a mobile hotspot (here’s how to do it on iOS and Android).
Although there is a gazillion of free VPNs, especially on mobile app stores, many of them are downright malware. But most of them log your usage, so you end up submitting your browsing behavior to your school and VPN provider.
Also, it might be a bad idea to download terabytes of data while torrenting through your college network. Play nice and respect other users. It won’t do you good if college admins start investigating who is clogging the bandwidth.
One final word about torrenting – U.S. colleges are legally bound to comply with the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). So think twice if you need to get yourself into a DMCA dispute. Don’t try torrenting without a VPN, and always torrent with a kill switch enabled.
The more schools and colleges crack down on Internet freedom, the more VPNs are becoming popular among unlikely audiences. These days, tech-savvy students – and faculty – are well-familiar with numerous advantages of VPNs. The good news is you don’t need to have a technical background to use a VPN and enjoy its privacy benefits while bypassing your college firewall.How to Access VPN Websites
If you have more VPN suggestions for the list or would like to share your experience bypassing your school’s firewall, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
ExpressVPN is simple and speedy. It’s also one of the higher-end providers. Ease of use and its awesome features justify the price though. It’s reliable and lag-free with a staggering network of servers in 94 countries. You’ll get access to the American Netflix, and if you run into any issues, their support is fast and efficient.
The software comes with AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN support, SmartDNS, auto-connect and a kill switch. You can torrent and play online, sans traffic or bandwidth caps, but you can only install it on three devices, which is a tad disappointing if you ask me. That said, the client is sleek and intuitive.
They offer a 30-day refund, and while the $13 monthly plan is expensive, the bi-annual subscription is $60, and the annual is justly set at $100.
ExpressVPN keeps no logs or DNS queries, and even though it’s beyond the 14 Eyes, its headquarters in the British Virgin Islands is somewhat of a gray zone.
Note: ExpressVPN is now offering a reader exclusive: save 49% on my top recommended VPN.
NordVPN is hands down the best VPN if you’re after maximum privacy at all times. It sports a nicely designed interface, which is intuitive, and comes with a nifty search feature that makes things as simple as they can be. I like how they sorted their servers into Ultra-fast and Ultra-secure, which is ultra-convenient.
NordVPN is rock-solid on privacy with headquarters in Panama, which is well beyond the 14 Eyes. So, you can count on zero logs policy, and software packed with all the bells and whistles that make a VPN robust – OpenVPN, 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, double encryption, VPN into Tor – you get the idea.
It’s also fast with impressive 830+ server locations, which makes it an excellent choice for P2P file-sharing, online gaming, and HD streaming. There are no annoying bandwidth caps here, and you can connect to Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, or France’s Canal+ if you wish – there’s a server for every need. The double encryption will understandably slow things down.
They offer apps for all popular platforms, and you can use it on up to six devices for $12 a month, $42 per six months, or $70 per year, which is the best value for the money topped with a generous 30-day money-back guarantee.
PureVPN has a huge choice of 750 servers in 141 countries and counting. The sheer volume of features, toggles, and tools they provide makes it a top contender for the advanced users. There is a stealth browsing mode, online banking security, secure FTP access, multiple protocols and more. They have server lists optimized for P2P and video streaming, so switching is easy.
PureVPN allows up to five simultaneous connections, supports a staggering amount of platforms from routers and smart TVs to ROKU and Boxee, and unblocks streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Note that speeds might drop during peak hours though.
As far as pricing goes, it’s one of the most affordable VPNs on the list. They offer a three-day free trial and three plans - $12 monthly, $9 per month on bi-annual plan and $3 per month for a two-year subscription. Each comes standard with a 7-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish is great for beginners, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in features. It’s robust yet simple to install and even has a Simple Mode. IPVanish doesn't log your data or connection details, and its client comes complete with a kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, Open VPN and SOCKS5 web proxy.
They have hundreds of servers across the world, so the performance is lag-free most of the time. Some US servers won't unblock Netflix US, but some do – all it takes is a brief chat with the tech support.
It works great for HD streaming, P2P torrenting and online gaming as the bandwidth is not capped. You can have up to five simultaneous connections for $10 per month, or $6.49 per month if you commit to an annual plan. All subscriptions come with a seven-day money-back guarantee.
The drawback is that they’re US-based, so the whole bundle of data retention and surveillance laws apply. On the bright side, they keep no logs.
Buffered VPN is a Hungary-based provider, which means no data retention laws or excessively intrusive surveillance. Top that off with the zero-logs policy, P2P support, sleek apps for Windows, Mac, Linux and iOS that ship with the DNS leak protection, OpenVPN, and 256-bit encryption, and you’re in for the real deal.
The server coverage isn’t overly impressive, but the speeds are decent because the servers are located in useful places. I love their Port Discovery Mode, which lets you connect safely to public Wi-Fi hotspots without a password. You can use up to five simultaneous connections, and you can install Buffered apps on as many devices as you have.
They allow a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans, and the one-month subscription kicks in at $12.50, the bi-annual at $57, and the annual at $93.
VyprVPN is a powerful contender if you’re after performance and security. It boasts great speeds due to a staggering network of 700+ serves and more than 200K IP addresses. They own and manage their servers, which translates into reliable uptime, lag-free performance, top-notch support and great speeds. Add in unlimited bandwidth and P2P support, successful handling of Netflix and Steam geo blocks, and you can check all your VPN must-have features right off the bat.
VyprVPN comes with a sleek cross-platform client, Open VPN, AES-256 encryption, a proprietary Chameleon technology, VyprDNS and zero-logs policy, which is a rather impressive list. They’re also based in Switzerland, which means pro-privacy laws.
Unlike many other providers, VyprVPN offers no money-back guarantee, but you can test their service for free for three days. They have two plans that you can have billed on a monthly or annual basis. Basic allows up to three simultaneous connections and kicks in at $60/year if billed annually, and $120/year if billed monthly.
Premium allows up to five simultaneous connections and costs $80/year if billed annually or $155.4/year if billed monthly. It also ships with Chameleon technology for throttling and defeating geo blockades, a kill switch, and other advanced features.
Private Internet Access, or PIA, is a top performer overall, and one of the cheapest for that matter. It’s also one of the most fully-fledged VPNs out there, with 3K+ servers worldwide and a reliable, no-lag performance.
They deploy the solid 256-bit AES encryption and support OpenVPN protocol. You can count on ad and malware blocking while the client is intuitive and packed with customizable settings. They enforce no restrictions on P2P or bandwidth and allow up to five simultaneous connections.
You can stream and play to your heart’s content, but you won’t be able to unblock Netflix US. They’re based in the US, which may be a turn-off if you’re privacy-paranoid, but they keep no logs and let you pay anonymously.
All plans are backed by a 7-day money-back guarantee and are wallet-friendly at $7 in the monthly, $37 in the bi-annual, and $40 in the annual subscription.
In layman’s terms, a VPN hides your real IP address by assigning you a different IP address as you connect to one of the provider’s servers. That way, you can pretend you’re someplace else, or spoof. Your traffic is encrypted between your device and the VPN server, so that your real ISP can’t peek into your online activities.
If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, you need a VPN. Hackers, state surveillance, censorship, copyright laws, geo-blocks - a myriad of hazards can be avoided if you use a VPN.
Think of every time you shop online, the passwords you’re typing, the credit card details you’re throwing into the digital vortex – all that data is vulnerable to cyber crooks preying on the unencrypted pieces of your life.
VPNs are also essential for anyone living, working or traveling to countries with severe censorship, copyright and surveillance laws like Germany, France, the UK, China, Russia or Arab Emirates.
You don’t have to be a political dissident or torrenter to need a VPN. You just need to face the unjust geo blocks imposed by streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, or realize you’re locked out of your favorite shows just because you’re outside of the US.
VPNs keep you safe, open your digital boundaries and give you granular control over how you appear online. In a perfect world, privacy online should be the default for every program we use, but in the real world, the Internet is the wild west.
So, with a VPN:
Keep in mind that if you download malicious files while using a VPN, you only have yourself to blame. You still need to use common sense, even if your browsing is protected by a VPN.
The top of the crop providers must meet several key criteria to make it on my list:
There's a reason why all these VPNs are paid. Providing encryption and VPN services to millions of users is a resource-intensive work that requires servers across the world. A free VPN might be enough for something minor like checking foreign news occasionally. If you need a VPN on a regular basis, however, you’re better off with a reliable paid service.
Free VPNs are more likely to leak your data, provide weak encryption, or worse, collect and trade your personal details. Some trustworthy providers offer free but limited service as a way to attract more customers, and I’ve compiled a list of these, too.
When choosing your VPN, do your research and mind the legal aspects. Countries like Germany, France or Japan are cracking down on copyright infringement, while the members of the 14 Eyes treaty have draconian data retention laws and extensive surveillance. So, if you’re looking to maximize your privacy, you might want to avoid connecting to servers in those countries.
See if the plan you want to invest in offers ample server coverage in the region of your interest. Don’t just buy because a plan offers 300 servers. Sometimes, fewer servers in meaningful locations ensure far better performance.
In most cases, VPNs offer 3-6 simultaneous connections per user so you can use it from both desktop and mobile. Most providers can tell if you’re hogging resources by allowing your entire family to stream and torrent at the same time, which can get you in trouble.
Whereas most providers say they log nothing, that’s not always the case. Some record very little data like the day you subscribed, the amount of data you’ve consumed, and delete those logs when you end the session. Other providers log your IP address, the servers you used, and store those logs. If they’re based in the US, UK or any other country with data retention laws, they can be compelled to hand over that data to law enforcement.
Also, study the pricing structure carefully. Some very cheap deals might not include taxes, or be cheap only during the first month. Also, a refund policy may have prohibitive restrictions, so a deal that appears wallet-friendly upon the first look may not always be a good bargain.