Best VPN In 2020

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Internet security is one of the most critical aspects of browsing. However, many users aren’t aware of the many ways to protect themselves while online, aside from the obvious sophisticated password methods. This is where a VPN comes in.

What is a VPN? Only one of the best ways to protect yourself while browsing online.

In this article:

What is a VPN?

VPN stands for a virtual private network.

When browsing the web, information is sent across devices via a public network, meaning that anyone with the know-how can take a look. This could be your internet provider or someone piggybacking off of a public wifi network, for instance. In today’s privacy-focused world, public information isn’t exactly an ideal route for many. This is why VPNs are necessary.

A VPN essentially runs a private channel alongside the public network, ensuring that nobody outside of that connection can see anything sent across it. It piggybacks off of the public network. In doing so, the VPN sends a private key from the user’s device to whichever device they’re looking to connect with. When they’re authenticated, the VPN is established, and information is (usually) encrypted.

cryptography privacy

VPNs do this via encapsulation. If you know how networking works, you’d know that information is broken into packets, which are then sent across the internet to the various devices looking for access.

With a private network, these packets are stored in another packet, which is called tunneling. That outer packet protects the inner packet – the one with your information – from any peering eyes. It then moves this packet through what is called a virtual tunnel, also known as the private connection between devices.

Once the packet arrives, the latter computer can open it to view the information.

Businesses use VPNs so their employees can all work on the same encrypted network, sharing information back and forth without worrying about hackers or bad actors. This is especially useful nowadays, with so many remote employees. It’s the best way to keep data safe at scale.

Why do we need a VPN?

Information is the new currency. With everyone from social networks to criminals to your workout app looking to profit off of your personal data, privacy and security are more important than ever.

A VPN ensures that your information will remain private. It can be utilized on your mobile device, computer, laptop, and more. If you torrent, travel, work with sensitive data, or care about your privacy, you should use a VPN.

online privacy

Remember, a VPN connects privately to another device. Depending on that device’s location, you can access Netflix shows, music, or other limited entertainment only available in that country.

Are you working from home? It’s pretty essential to utilize a VPN if so. That way, your vital business information will remain private, both on your device and the one it’s being sent to.

If you head to coffee shops or places with public wifi to work, a VPN is even more essential. Those public networks mean others with the know-how can take a look at whatever you’re doing. They can steal log-in info or emails or your social media details, and more. It doesn’t take that much knowledge to understand how to nab this data.

Can you be tracked if you use a VPN?

For the most part, yes. A VPN doesn’t necessarily make you completely anonymous. It encrypts the packets you’re sending, yes, but not always from where. Whatever you’re browsing will read the IP address of the VPN instead of your device, which certainly helps.

But depending on the VPN you’re using, some might end up selling your data in its own way. Others may track your usage, as well.

Keep in mind that people run VPNs. If a VPN service is hacked or taken over, that hacker can view the information it tracks and move on from there.

That said, some VPNs don’t store any information, so they’d have nothing to offer if someone did take it over.

VPNs are, again, for the most part, legal. The thing is, while some might use a VPN for malicious activity, it is entirely within your rights to use one for privacy reasons. That said, keep in mind that law enforcement can request information from a VPN that keeps logs. So if you are doing something questionable, you’ll want more layers of security.

Also, VPNs are banned in some countries around the world, so it’s best to be sure of the laws in your specific region. Some countries where a VPN is illegal are North Korea and Iraq, for instance.

bitcoin patent

That said, even if you live in a country where VPNs are legal, be sure to read the terms of service and double-check all of these requirements. You never know what sort of weird rules are in there. Some services are the same way. Using a VPN to access Netflix in other countries is technically against its terms of service.

With so many VPN services out there, it’s time to break down which are the best. But before doing so, it’s important to know what’s good to look for when using one of these services.

Connection Speeds

Arguably VPN’s most vital feature is its connection speed. You’re using it to browse the internet, after all. Whether its for downloads, streaming media, or for pure privacy, you don’t need a service that will throttle your speeds.

This is done in part by having servers in ideal locations around the world. The more servers, the more connections you can make, and the more speed you can enjoy.

Security & Privacy

This one should be a no brainer, but in reality, many VPNs fail on the security and privacy fronts. Some log your information and even sell it to government entities to make a quick buck. It’s especially important to read the terms and services here and ensure this isn’t the case for whichever VPN you pick.
This one should be a no brainer, but in reality, many VPNs fail on the security and privacy fronts. Some log your information and even sell it to government entities to make a quick buck. It’s especially important to read the terms and services here and ensure this isn’t the case for whichever VPN you pick.
Internet vpn

Customer Support

VPNs can be confusing, primarily if you’ve never used one before.
Where is it located? What sort of security protocols does it offer? Are there download limits? What happens if my VPN crashes?
The company’s tech support should quickly answer all of these questions and more. They should be reasonably accessible and offer multiple forms of communication from email to phone to text chat.

Security Protocol

VPNs offer various security protocols. Most offer something like OpenVPN, SSL, PPTP, and others. Each one is relatively secure, though if you’re a business, you might want to look more into IPSec or SSL, according to LifeHacker.

Price

Free or subscription-based? Both VPNs have their pros and cons, though it’s worth mentioning most free VPNs will log and sell your information. Private ones are more likely to keep that information private or not log it at all.

Best VPN Services

Now it’s time to get into the best VPNs.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPNs out there, and for good reason. For starters, the software offers apps on every operating system from Linux to Windows to Mac, as well as mobile devices, all with one subscription – no additional fees for extra devices. It also houses servers in 160 locations across 94 countries and doesn’t throttle your speed during any of it.

This software utilizes an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-256), which is the same encryption methods used by the United States government. It prevents against brute force attacks, and not only hides your IP address by mixing traffic with other ExpressVPN users, but it also prevents even your internet service provider from seeing what you do.

ExpressVPN-logo

ExpressVPN offers the OpenVPN protocol, though it can switch between IPsec and IKEv2 for those interested. It also doesn’t log your information, instead opting to wipe your data ever single time you reboot the server.

This is possible as its servers only run on RAM, which temporarily stores information on the server. This software even provides a kill switch called Network Lock. This means that if you lose connection to your VPN, your information will remain safe.

Finally, you can even choose which devices or applications run on the VPN via split tunneling. Some software can run through it while you can select other programs to run traditionally. That and ExpressVPN offers 24/7 support via chat and email, as well as a 30-day refund period after trying it out. Just note that this software is a little more expensive than its competitors.

Pros
  • Tons of devices with one subscription.
  • Advanced encryption methods.
  • Split tunneling.
  • Fantastic support.
Cons
  • More expensive than competitors.

NordVPN

NordVPN is similar to ExpressVPN in that it’s available on nearly any device you can think of, though this software only supports up to six devices at one time. It provides protection via 5,400 servers across 59 countries around the world as well.

Like many of the paid VPN services, NordVPN refuses to log or track your data. It encrypts said data with AES-256, just like ExpressVPN. However, this offering goes even further with a feature called Double VPN. This “advanced VPN security feature routes your traffic through two VPN servers instead of one, encrypting your data twice.”

This means your information is being mixed between multiple security protocols, ensuring that nobody can see where you’re heading on the web. Not hackers. Not the government. Not your ISP.

Those extra worried about security can utilize Nord’s Onion Over VPN as well, which routes your information through the Onion Tor network.

Nord VPN

If your internet connection drops, NordVPN prevents all connections to your device until everything is restored. This ensures your information stays private, even if you’re not there to monitor it. It also offers peer-to-peer network sharing, allowing you to share files with groups of people around the world, all without worrying about security directly.

The software’s support team is 24/7, featuring email support, live chat, and even a help center to try and solve the problem without involving anyone else. NordVPN is reasonably priced, too, and it even accepts cryptocurrencies as payment, which is a big plus for security. Just keep in mind that the mobile application is a little awkward to use.

Pros
  • Priced well.
  • Onion Over VPN and Double VPN offer enhanced security.
  • Absolutely no data logging.
  • Accepts crypto payments.
Cons
  • Doesn’t support as many devices as ExpressVPN.
  • Mobile application could use a redesign.

CyberGhost

CyberGhost is an excellent VPN for users newer to utilizing such a service. While it doesn’t offer the most varied set of features, the ones on tap are ideal for getting used to taking advantage of a VPN.

For example, CyberGhost will automatically connect you to the fastest available server every time you turn it on. It doesn’t log your information and encrypts your browsing with the industry-standard 256-AES method. There’s an automatic kill switch in case your connection drops, and it provides access to 6421 servers around the world in over 90 countries.

CyberGhost VPN

Also, CyberGhost protects up to seven devices with your subscription – one more than NordVPN does – and for a reasonable price at that.

CyberGhost supports OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec, and PPTP security protocols, and provides 24/7 support via email or chat. That, and the VPN even offers servers optimized for streaming media, so Netflix and Hulu users can enjoy an uninterrupted experience.

Pros
  • Great for new users.
  • Industry-standard encryption levels.
  • Supports up to seven devices.
  • Ideal for streaming.
Cons
  • Fairly limited featureset.

Best VPN for Crypto Traders

The best VPN for crypto traders is easily NordVPN. Not only does it support payments in the form of cryptocurrency, but its Onion Over VPN and Double VPN features ensure the ultimate level of security while buying and selling cryptocurrency.

Of course, you can choose which applications to connect via VPN and which to not, which keeps the rest of your browsing from getting affected. That’s not to mention the software’s reasonable monthly subscription and a reliable kill switch to keep your private keys as secure as possible.

Best VPN for Media Consumption

Considering CyberGhost has servers dedicated to streaming media, it’s definitely the fastest VPN for media consumption. Connecting to its specialized servers ensures users the ideal experience. They can connect to other countries and view Netflix there, or buy games in different areas for the best prices, among other benefits.

Netflix vpn

Plus, considering most newer users take advantage of a VPN to consume media, CyberGhost’s noob-friendly UI makes it the fastest one to set up and start browsing – no matter your level of technical prowess.

Best Free VPN

Note that most free VPNs are only free because they sell your information on the side. Keep that in mind, even if the lack of a subscription is appealing.

Hotspot Shield Free VPN

Hotspot Shield Free VPN is one of the best available VPNs that doesn’t require a subscription. Sure, other software offers free plans, but many of them are quite limited. Hotspot Shield Free isn’t perfect, but it provides a great set of features without requiring extra funds.

For example, the free plan provides military-grade 256-AES encryption the other VPNs do. That, and it utilizes a patented Hydra protocol for gaming and streaming without any buffering to worry about. Plus, the software doesn’t log your information like most free offerings do, thanks to its premium plan. This allows Hotspot Shield Free VPN to keep running without requiring everyone to pay.

Grin MimbleWimble

The software doesn’t support every device on the market, but it does provide a VPN for iOS devices, Android, Mac, Windows, and others. And if you like its free plan, you can upgrade to the paid one to support multiple devices and not see any more ads. Just keep in mind the free plan doesn’t have 24/7 support, nor does it offer unlimited bandwidth.

Pros
  • Doesn’t log your data.
  • Military-grade encryption.
  • Patented protocol for gaming.
Cons
  • Limited device support.
  • No 24/7 support.
  • Limited bandwidth.

Best Gaming VPN

Gamers usually have multiple devices to connect with, owning PCs, consoles, mobile phones, and more to protect. That’s why Surfshark is the best VPN for gaming because it offers unlimited device support – more than any software on this list.

Not only this, but the software features 24/7 support for users and even an ad blocker for use during browsing. It’s also a great way to view Netflix when you’re not gaming, and, like all good VPNs, refuses to log your information.

gaming vpn

Surfshark does a great job of keeping your information private without significantly affecting your internet speeds – ensuring the most ideal gaming experience on the market. It’s also a great price, just keep in mind that it doesn’t have the widest network in the world. Depending on your area, you might receive less than ideal speeds at times.

Pros
  • Supports unlimited devices.
  • Adblocker is excellent for browsing.
  • Fantastic price.
Cons
  • Not the broadest range of servers.

Disclaimer

All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk. At Learn, our priority is to provide high quality information. We take our time to identify, research and create educative content that is useful to our readers. To maintain this standard and to continue creating awesome content, our partners might reward us with a commission for placements in our articles. However, these commissions don't affect our processes for creating unbiased, honest and helpful content.
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Max is a cryptocurrency journalist with an affinity for games and emerging technology. After leaving school to start a writing career, he wrote his first article on blockchain and fell down the rabbit hole. Since starting in 2017, Max has worked with multiple blockchain startups and crypto enthusiast spaces, doing his best to educate the world on the nascent technology. Max has been published in various blockchain and crypto related magazines before settling down at BeInCrypto to focus on long-form content.

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