Your guide to choosing a Virtual Private Network (VPN)


Compare VPN services now

VPN ServiceMin. Monthly PriceAnnual PaymentServer locationsSign Up
Dish Network$49.9942 Metro Areas
fuboTV$9.99Not available
GameFly$15.95Not available
Hulu Plus$7.99
Pure Flix
PureVPN$9.95$49.95 ($4.16/month)450+ servers across 6 continentsSign up
TunnelBear$4.99Grizzly: $49.99 ($4.16/month)Servers in 13 countries Sign up
Blockless$4.95$49.95 ($4.16/month)18 across the globe
EarthVPN$3.99$39.99 ($3.33/month)31 locations worldwideSign up
Getflix$3.95$33.18 ($2.75/month)20+ regionsSign up
Hide My Ass$9.99$59.88 ($4.99/month)848 servers worldwideSign up
Overplay$4.95$99.95 ($8.32/month)48 servers worldwide
Iron Socket$6.99$49.95 ($4.16/month)Over 50 servers (High concentration in US and UK)Sign up
NordVPN$8.00$48.00 ($4.00/month)80 servers worldwideSign up
Hide.MeFree - $9.99$119.95 for Premium33 servers located across the globeStart now
Safer VPN
  • Single: $7.99
  • Multi: $16.90
  • Business: $29.99
  • Single: $5.99
  • Multi: $10.99
  • Business: $22.49
100+ dedicated servers in over 24 locationsSign up
IP Vanish$10.00$77.99 ($6.49/month)165+ servers in over 60 countries
Unblock-Us$4.99$49.90 ($8.32/month)Not specifiedSign up
TorGuard$5.99 – $9.99Not available1000+ servers in over 42 countriesSign up
  • Basic: $9.99
  • Pro: $14.99
  • Premier: $19.99
  • Basic: $6.67
  • Pro: $8.33
  • Premier: $10.00
700+ servers in over 3 continents
Express VPN$12.95$99.84($8.32/month)97+ VPN locations in 78 countries
PIA$6.95$39.95($3.32/month)3034+ servers in 15 countries
  • Ultimate: $10.95
  • Standard, Torrent or IBDNS/SmartDNS: $4.95
  • Ultimate: $4.84
  • Standard, Torrent or ibDNS/SmartDNS: $3.08
100+ servers in 47 countriesSign up
Strong VPN$4.85 – $16.95Not available~21 countries
VPN ServiceEncryptionMobile Support?
Dish Network
Hulu Plus
Pure Flix
Roku TV
PureVPNPPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, OpenVPN and IKEv2Yes 
TunnelBearOpenVPN, IPSecYes 
BlocklessPTTP, SmartDNSYes 
GetflixPTTP, L2TP, SSTP and OpenVPN UDPYes 
Hide My AssOpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSecYes 
OverplayL2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP, SmartDNS, SSL and SSTPYes 
Iron SocketOpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, HTTP, Socks5 and DNS ProxyYes 
NordVPNIPSec, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP and SSLiOS, Android and Windows Mobile
Hide.MeSupports PTTP, L2TP, IPSec (IKEv1 and IKEv2), OpenVPN, SoftEther and SSTP.Yes 
Safer VPNSafer VPN supports state-of-the-art protocols like  OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, and proprietary protocols.Yes 
IP VanishIP Vanish offers PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN.Yes 
Unblock-UsSmart DNS.Yes 
TorGuardOpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP as well as SOCKS5 torrent proxy services.Yes 
VyperVPNSupports PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN and Chameleon.Yes 
Express VPNExpress VPN apps are configured with OpenVPN UDP by default. Otherwise they provide OpenVPN TCP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and PPTP.Yes 
PIAPIA provides OpenVPN, IPSec/L3TP and SOCKS5 Proxy.Yes 
IBVPNOpen VPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, IPSec/IKEv2 are all supported by IB VPN.Yes 
Strong VPNPPTP, L2TP and SSTP, but all are priced differently.Yes 
VPN ServiceProsCons
PureVPN24/7 live chat: Fantastic support from a helpful Technical Support Executive around the clock.Short period for money back guarantee: It’s great that there’s a money-back guarantee at all, but three days isn’t enough to make up your mind.
TunnelBearOutstanding website: TunnelBear’s website is not only endlessly entertaining but also incredibly helpful and user-friendly.Not any advanced features. Other than that, there’s not much to complain about TunnelBear is one of the most impressive VPNs we’ve seen.
BlocklessGreat value and handy support servicesBlurry position on data logging
EarthVPNStrict no-log policy, offers multiple devicesUnreliable speeds and server connections
GetflixInternet TV focused, informative website…website is a little overwhelming
Hide My Ass30-day money back guarantee, no limitations on bandwidth, AVG integration and amazing customer serviceNo IPv6, Only 128 bit encryption
OverplayServers in 48 countries, Simultaneous use on multiple devicesUS-based, more expensive than other SmartDNS providers
Iron SocketStrict no-log policyLimited server distribution
NordVPNWide range of compatibility for devices and operating systems…though only allows for 2 simultaneous streams
Hide.meAbsolutely no log files.Limited countries and servers.
Safer VPNCustom Windows client.Lacking in features that others within the same price range offer.
IP VanishWidespread servers and Windows Phone support.No 24/7 support.
Unblock-UsHelpful set up guides for most devices……except Linux.
TorGuardUnlimited data transfer and great connection speeds.Personal information being stored for promotional reasons is a bit of a concern.
VyperVPNOnline storage and NAT firewall add-on are both neat additions.Vypr will only allow for one device to be connected on the basic plan.
Express VPNComes with 30-day no-risk money back guarantee and good discounts for annual memberships……but the base fee is a little pricey.
PIAEasy-to-use and boasts great extra features at a reasonable price. Comes with a seven day no risk money back guarantee.Many users report very poor tech-support from the company.
IBVPNFree 24-hour trial and low prices.Only works for one device at a time, unless you purchase the Ultimate plan.
Strong VPNOne of the best available for use within China.Many report being banned for torrent downloads with no option for a credit refund.
VPN ServiceDoes it log usage data?Payment methods Recommended EncryptionKillswitch?
PureVPNNoVisa, American Express, Bitcoin and Paypal256-bit AES encryptionData N/A
TunnelBearNo  Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal, Bitcoin and Jars of HoneyOpenVPN and AES 256 in CBC mode on Windows, Android and OS X and IPSec with 256-bit AES encryption for iOS.No
BlocklessYesMastercard, Visa and PayPal through a third-party payment system.Smart DNS service and Mobile VPN, with a fully fledged VPN on the way.No.
EarthVPNNo Data not yet available Data not yet availableData N/A
Hide My AssNo Data not yet available Data not yet availableData N/A
OverplayNo Data not yet availableData not yet availableData N/A
Iron SocketYesCash, major credit cards via PayPal, Bitcoins and gift cards via PayGarden.The OpenVPN-based Ironsocket VPN network with AES-256 encryption, SHA256 Message Authentication and a 4096-bit key.No
NordVPNNoMajor credit cards, Paypal, Bitcoin, Banklink and Webmoney.Double VPN with two layers of AES-256-CBC encryption. Yes
Hide.MeNoOver 200 payments options including credit card, Paypal, Bitcoin, bank transfer and UKash.Recommended connections are IKEv2, OpenVPN with AES-256 encryption/ Yes 
Safer VPNNo Data not yet available Data not yet availableData N/A
IP VanishNo. Major credit cards, Paypal and Bitcoin.An OpenVPN connection with 256 bit AES encryption.Yes 
Unblock-UsNo. Data not yet availableData not yet availableData N/A
TorGuardNo. Over 200 different payment options, including PayPal, credit card, Bitcoin, Cash U, Gift Cards.An OpenVPN connection with AES256 with 2048bit RSA encryption.Yes.
VyperVPNYes.  Data not yet available Data not yet availableData N/A
Express VPNNo. Major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin and alternative web payments and international credit cards An OpenVPN connection with DNS leak protection.No.
PIANo.Paypal, Amazon, Google, Bitcoin, Stripe, Stellar, CashU, Ripple, PIA Gift Card.PIA recommends a combination of AES-256, RSA 4096 and SHA1 (or 256-bit)Yes.
IBVPNNoAvangate, PayPro, Payza, WebMoney, AstroPay, Western Union, Perfect Money and BitCoinData not yet availableYes
Strong VPNNo.  Data not yet available Data not yet availableData N/A

Do you wish to protect the data you transmit online using a VPN? Here’s what you need to know before you start comparing your options.

What is a VPN?

When you use a Virtual Private Network, also known as a VPN, you’re essentially relying on a network technology to establish a secure connection to the Internet. A VPN comes with the functionality and security of a private wide area network (WAN), but at a noticeably lower cost, which is why it finds favor with businesses, organizations, and individuals alike.

To achieve this level of security, encryption protocols are used. Below are some protocols that VPN providers commonly use.

  • IP security (IPSec). This protocol relies on transport mode or tunneling to provide secure communication. Many in the industry refer to it as ‘security overlay’ because it commonly provides an additional layer of security for other protocols.
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). Both these protocols make use of a ‘handshake’ authentication method. The client end and server end store certificates and cryptographic keys.
  • Point-To-Point Tunnelling Protocol (PPTP). This protocol’s easy configuration and low maintenance have made it a popular choice with As a remote client, you can use this protocol to connect to a private server via the Internet.
  • Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP). You might end up using this protocol if you wish to tunnel communications data between two sites over the Internet. The use of L2TP along with IPSec is common, in which case you can expect the involvement of shared keys or certificates.

Explaining VPN software

The online world comes with its share of hackers, viruses, and eavesdroppers so protecting transmission of online data is of utmost importance, especially if you’re dealing with any kind of sensitive information. Common online activities that require you to handle personal and sensitive information include shopping, banking, social networking, and running your business. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers high levels of security while performing these kinds of activiities. Just what you should look for in a VPN provider, though, depends on your specific needs.

Is using a VPN to access geoblocked content legal or illegal in the US?

In a Northern District of California Court case (Craigslist Inc. v. 3Taps Inc.), the court held that using a VPN to get past an IP blocking mechanism is in violation of the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFFA), but keep in mind that this does not constitute copyright legislation. Besides, when you sign up with a VPN provider there is a possibility that the terms and conditions of the contract would absolve the provider of all responsibility if you end up accessing geoblocked content.

If you wish to access American websites when outside the country, laws of the country you’re in would apply. When it comes to accessing US Netflix outside the country, while it is possible using a VPN, Netflix’s official line is that doing so is in violation of its policies.

Will a VPN mask my identity while torrenting?

The simple answer to this is yes, a VPN does mask your IP address when you use torrents, but there’s more to it than that. For instance, some VPN service providers give their customers access to torrents in various countries, but not in the US or UK. Not all VPNs offer peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing capabilities and some service providers would reduce your speed if they detect you uploading or downloading a torrent.

The main reason behind the crackdown on torrent websites surrounds the legality of content, where while much of the content is perfectly legal to download and upload, there is much that falls under the purview of copyright infringement.

Frequently asked questions

It’s a possibility but most likely you won’t notice a difference. Not to mention, if your ISP is throttling certain kinds of traffic, a VPN can actually increase your connection speed.

The speed test allows you to see how fast your VPN server connections are working. Ideally, you would want a server that has the highest speed index, the lowest latency, the highest download speed.

VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a means of securely connecting individual users at home or while traveling. VNC, or Virtual Network Computing, allows you to connect and control a different computer from a remote connection.

You should being using the VPN with the departmental login group and delete the entry for the departmental VPN in your software.

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