(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. Tunnel Bear
Cost: Free to $5/month; $50/year. Supports PPTP. Servers are located in UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, and the USA.
Tunnelbear is an interesting Canadian VPN service for a couple of philosophical reasons: they believe that 'user logging is evil', and they believe that setup and daily use should be as easy and automated as possible. To deliver on their first belief, Tunnelbear employs a policy of no-logging for all their users, free or paid. To deliver on their second belief, Tunnelbear employs very simple interfaces and automated settings (decorated with cute bears, of course) that make installing and using their VPN software very easy and non-intimidating to the average user.
Tunnelbear also offers 3 interesting tech features that users will find helpful for additional privacy protection: 'Intellibear' lets you selectively VPN which websites you want private, while browsing with no-VPN on other sites. 'Vigilant' is a safeguard against those small windows of exposure when you wi-fi or VPN connection drop; Vigilant will block transmissions until the wi-fi or VPN connection is restored. And 'Maul Trackers' offers ongoing blacklisting of known trackers from ever seeing your signal.
Tunnelbear prices are very good, and Tunnelbear speed performance is in the range of 6 to 9 megabits-per-second down speed (which is quite good for a VPN).
Definitely try Tunnelbear for your privacy and downloading needs. Tunnelbear is available for both desktop and mobile devices.
Visit their site: https://www.tunnelbear.com/about/
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
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
At this time, About.com was unable to confirm if UnoTelly does do logging. But our preliminary tests on the streaming and download speeds yielded very positive results. If you are not file sharing, and instead are looking to use a VPN for Netflix and other media player streaming purposes, then definitely consider UnoTelly. Outstanding speeds and extremely reasonable prices make this a strong choice for watching and listening to streaming media.
Visit their site: http://www.unotelly.com/
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
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/
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/
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/
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
10. Strong VPN
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/