1. Computing

The Best VPN Service Providers, 2014

Private Encryption to Cloak Your Online Data Activity


April, 2014

(Continued from 10 Reasons You Want to Use a VPN Connection)

If you are looking to privately browse the web, share files, and access streaming media, then these are the VPN providers you will want to consider. These services will cipher your downloads, uploads, emails, messages, and also manipulate your IP address so that you are effectively untraceable.

This list of VPN providers is in random order. This list is populated in part by About.com users who submit their suggestions and offer their personal reviews. If you wish to add to this list, you may submit a recommendation for a VPN service here.

Note on VPN speeds: expect your internet speed to be reduced by up to 75% while you are using your VPN. VPN speeds of 2 to 4 Mbps are common for cheaper VPN's. Speeds of 5 Mbps per second are good. VPN speeds over 15 Mbps are excellent.

Note on VPN encryption protocols: there are 3 common ciphering options for VPN's: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP. For most desktop users, OpenVPN is the strongest encryption and fastest data transfer. However, L2TP may be an even better option than OpenVPN in two special circumstances: you want to use multiple mobile devices on your VPN; or if you live in a country with oppressive government rules on internet use (e.g. China, Egypt). While not as fast as OpenVPN, L2TP is difficult for authorities to block, and it generally offers more support for mobile devices.

1. PureVPN

Cost: $10.00/month; $50/year. Supports OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP protocols. PureVPN also supports IKEvs2 protocol for BlackBerry. The servers are in 19 different countries, with no bandwidth limitations for premium subscribers. The price point is very compelling, and is much more affordable than most of its competitors.

PureVPN has won the affection of many users because of its very friendly software client and very economical price. You can split the tunneling, which is helpful for having encryption on specific parts of your web habits, while still using your regular network connection for others (gamers and downloaders will like this splitting feature). PureVPN does log bandwidth usage and your login durations, but deletes that information every 5 days. Speeds on Pure are in the 4 Mbps to 21 Mbps range, which averages faster than most other VPN's.

Visit their site: http://www.purevpn.com

2. VyprVPN by Goldenfrog

Cost: $10/month; $100/year. Supports OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP protocols. Good support for mobile devices like iPhones and Android tablets.

VyprVPN is a quality VPN service, recently grown by several new servers in Europe and Asia, and totalling over 700 servers around the world. Users with iPads and Android devices will definitely appreciate the Vypr mobile VPN apps. Additionally, being an offshore company incorporated in the Bahamas, there is less likelihood of the Vypr server logs being examined under the US PATRIOT Act.

Visit their site: http://www.goldenfrog.com/vyprvpn/buy-vpn?plan=annual

3. Private Internet Access

Cost: $7.00/month; $40/year. Private Internet Access is a very fast service that will cloak your identity and data transferring. PIA price is also amongst the best-priced services you can get for VPN access. With near-perfect anonymity services, PIA has some very beneficial features, like auto-disconnecting you when the VPN cloaking goes offline, and concealing DNS leaks from hackers and authorities.

One particularly interesting privacy feature of PIA is their 'shared IP addresses'. Because multiple subscribers will be assigned the same IP addresses while they are logged onto PIA, it makes it impossible for authorities to match individual file transfers to any individual on the service.

Overall, Private Internet Access is a highly recommended service for torrent downloaders. Give them a try and let us know how you like the transfer speeds and ease of setup.

Visit their site: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com


4. Witopia

Cost: $6/ month; $50/year. Supports OpenVPN, L2TP and PPTP.

Witopia is a respected name in the VPN arena, although users do say that the software can be frustrating to install and configure. Speeds that you can expect on Witopia are similar to other VPN's: in the range of 2 Mbps to 9 Mbps (anything above 5 Mbps is good), depending on your proximity to the Witopia servers. As added reassurances for those of you seeking to cloak your browsing and file sharing habits: Witopia promises to never record, scan, disclose, or sell logs of your information. Witopia comes recommended by several readers who do serious file sharing, so if you're tech savvy enough to install and configure some sophisticated software, Witopia can be an excellent VPN choice.

Visit their site: https://www.witopia.net/

5. Overplay

Cost: $5.00/month; $60/year. Supports OpenVPN and PPTP protocols, highspeed servers, and access points in 12 countries.

This UK-based service is definitely worth looking at. While Overplay does not have the server pool size of Witopia or HideMyAss, the performance is strong, and readers comment that they average over 6 megabits-per-second speeds. The basic service is very reasonably priced at $5.00/month. Premium service is $10/month.

Visit their site: https://www.overplay.net/

6. BoxPN

Cost: $6.00/month; $45.00/year. Servers are available in 10 countries, including Singapore, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the USA, Canada, Israel, and Egypt. Supports L2TP and PPTP protocols.

Box Private Network yields some very fast speeds, especially when compared to other VPN's. Readers report getting over 7 megabits per second, which is very fast for a personal VPN. The parent company of BoxPN is in Turkey, which helps keep it away from the reach of the US PATRIOT Act. The company also pledges not to log any client activities, which is particularly comforting to people who participate in P2P file sharing.

Visit their site: https://www.boxpn.com/

7. HideMyAss

Cost: $11.52/month or $78.66/year. HMA has a tremendous server pool of over 260 servers in over 50 countries, which opens up access to geographically-restricted content in many countries. Supports PPTP, L2TP, IPSec and OpenVPN protocols.

HMA is a UK-based VPN service that is considered the easiest and most user-friendly VPN by some. While their reputation was somewhat marred by the 2011 FBI investigation of a Sony hacker (HMA disclosed logs of suspect Cody Kretsinger's online timeframes), thousands of users still continue to use HMA for their private browsing.

HideMyAss does provides some very slick extra features like: supporting multiple simultaneous computers on the same connection, rotating IP addresses, speed guides, and an extremely convenient client tool. HMA is very easy for beginners to setup, which is another plus. At 12 dollars per month/79 per year, the price point for HidemyAss.com is in the middle of the pack.

NOTE: If you are a file sharer, HMA might not be for you. Readers report that HMA frowns upon its members participating in torrent sharing, and it will pressure its members whenever they receive P2P complaints from authorities.

Visit their site: http://www.hidemyass.com

8. Strong VPN

Cost: $8/month; $55/year. Good support for users in Asia. Offers L2TP and PPTP protocols.

Strong VPN is one of the more-expensive choices out there, but readers in Asia and the Pacific Rim say that Strong performs very well for them when compared to its competitors. The price point varies with your part of the world, but expect in the range of $20USD per month. The Strong VPN owners promise that there is no logging or scanning of their customers' data, and many readers recommend Strong. Try it for a month and let us know if Strong VPN works for you.

Visit their site: http://www.strongvpn.com/

9. AirVPN

Cost: $9.50/month; $20 for 3 months. Supports OpenVPN protocol. Servers in 10 countries.

AirVPN is very recommended by About.com readers. While the software install and setup isn't as straightforward and simple as most would like, AirVPN performance is solid, and there are no bandwidth limits on the users. Sophisticated users will appreciate that remote port forwarding is possible, and AirVPN promises to never log data usage and customer habits. The leadership of the company are very pro-privacy and claim to support Net Neutrality is a company ethic. For philosophical reasons alone, AirVPN is a service worth looking at if you are seeking online privacy for your browsing and file downloading habits.

Visit their site: https://airvpn.org/

10. ProXPN

Cost: free option with limited features; $6.25/month for premium. Supports PPTP and L2TP.

This Dutch service gets mixed reviews. The free option is the perfect price, but it is very slow for most users at 100 kilobits-per-second, and 'nagware' will pester you to upgrade. The premium version has been reported to have moderate speeds over 2 Mbps/. The system is easy to setup, so definitely give it a try and see if you get decent free speeds at your geographical location.

Visit their site: http://proxpn.com/

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