Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are among the most useful and flexible tools available to Internet users. They improve your security by helping protect against hackers, increase your privacy by hiding what you get online and allow you to locate your site in order to access services that are only available in other countries .
The best VPN services 2017
Using a VPN service is probably the most effective measure you can take to improve your privacy and security online. In addition to choosing the best VPN 2017 services, this article explains why you need a VPN.
It also aims to give you a clear idea of the limits of use of a VPN. Virtual private networks are powerful and important tools, but there is no one-stop shop to protect your privacy and remain secure when using the Internet. VPNs should therefore be considered as an essential tool in your Internet toolbox.
What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
A virtual private network is a technology that connects two computers over the Internet using a secure connection. This secure connection is sometimes called a VPN tunnel. VPNs were originally developed to allow remote workers to securely connect to corporate networks to gain access to enterprise resources when they are away from the office.
Although VPNs are still used in this way, the term generally refers to commercial VPN services, which allow customers to access the Internet privately through their servers. This is the use of VPN that we discuss here.
Commercial VPN services operate VPN servers, usually located in different parts of the world. When you subscribe to a VPN service, you can securely connect to one of its VPN servers with one or more of your Internet-enabled devices. These include desktop PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets. You are usually free to choose which servers from VPN providers you want to connect to and change the server whenever you want.
All data moving between your device and the VPN server is encrypted, making this data secure against anyone attempting to intercept it in transit. This includes your Internet service provider (ISP). The VPN server also acts as an intermediary between your device and the Internet (that is, it serves as a proxy server). This means that your ISP can only see that you have connected to a VPN server. It can not see what websites you visit after that.
The use of a VPN hides all the Internet activities of your ISP. It also hides your IP address (your unique Internet address assigned by the ISP that can be used to identify you) from all websites you visit. If your VPN connection is configured correctly, a Web site can see only the IP address of the VPN server, not your home address.
How does a VPN work?
As discussed above, a VPN is simply a way to connect two computer devices together through a secure VPN tunnel. What makes this VPN tunnel secure is encryption. The idea behind a VPN is therefore deceptively simple, but this configuration allows you to do things very cool. A VPN can:
Help protect yourself from the overall surveillance of the NSA.
Geo-spoof your site in order to watch streaming services such as Netflix that block access based on your location.
Protect yourself from hackers when you use public WiFi hotspots.
Go beyond censorship (by government, your workplace or school).
Allow you to download torrent or distribute Popcorn Time and Kodi safely (if your VPN service allows it).
To use a VPN, you must first register for a VPN service. These usually cost between $ 5 and $ 10 per month, with purchasing reductions of six months or more at a time. A VPN service contract is required to use a VPN.
Many VPN providers offer customized software known as VPN client (or VPN application on mobile devices). These make setting up and using a VPN very simple: download, install and run! It is also possible to manually configure third-party VPN software, including integrated VPN clients on all major operating system (OS) platforms. Your VPN provider will provide guides on how to do this.
Are VPNs safe to use?
In asking this question, the first thing to do is evaluate what you mean by “safe”. Secure of what and who? This is called the evaluation of your threat model. If you’re primarily concerned about being caught off guard in the torrent of pirated movies, your threat model is very different from Edward Snowden’s.
VPNs are legal?
Yes. VPNs are perfectly legal almost everywhere (except the UAE and maybe one or two other places). Moreover, since VPN companies also regularly use secure communications networks between offices and remote workers, their use is not considered suspicious.
Will VPNs be protected when regulating or distributing pirated content?
Yes, as long as your VPN provider allows P2P (torrent). See below for more details.
Will VPNs prevent my ISP from spying on me?
Yes. Your ISP can not view your Internet data because it is fully encrypted. It also can not see what you get on the Internet, as this is hidden by the VPN server.
Will VPNs stop general coverage, non-targeted government surveillance?
Yes, for the same reasons as above. Most governments get their surveillance data directly from ISPs anyway. With VPNs, the responsibility for confidentiality changes from your ISP to your VPN provider. This means that your government could rather require your VPN provider to sell its logs. If government monitoring is part of your threat model, you should use a connectionless VPN based on jurisdiction as far away as possible from your country. You should also avoid all countries Five Eyes.
Will the VPNs cease to cover, targeted government surveillance?
Probably not. If you are doing something interesting for the police or intelligence services in your country, using a VPN can provide limited protection. But this should not be invoked. No VPN provider staff will go to jail for you, and even a good no log VPN will start keeping newspapers if legally required to do so.
Can I trust my VPN provider?
Yes probably). Most business models of VPN companies rely on offering confidentiality. Failure to protect the privacy of their customers would be a commercial disaster. So it’s a matter of trust: do you trust your ISP (lol hysterically!) Or a reputable VPN company that is in the privacy business?
Can I use a VPN for Netflix Streaming?
While VPNs are perfect for privacy and security, our research shows that by far the most popular use is to broadcast television programs from countries that restrict access to content based on where you live (Usually due to license restrictions).
The US version of Netflix, for example, offers a much larger and more up-to-date catalog than that offered to international customers. This is despite the fact that international customers pay almost exactly the same price as US customers!
I live in the UK, but thanks to the miracle of VPN technology, I can access the complete US Netflix catalog!
BBC iPlayer is also very popular, thanks to the global quality of its programming. That all iPlayer content is available for free for VPN users can not harm either! Many expatriates use VPN services to take advantage of a slice of houses by broadcasting national networks when they live abroad.
In theory, to access these services, you simply need to connect to a VPN server located in the appropriate country. So an American server for the best Netflix experience or a UK server for iPlayer. Unfortunately, US Netflix and BBC iPlayer attempt to block VPN users. Implementation of these blocks is uneven, and many vendors have found ways to defeat them. But it’s a cat and mouse game.
We test to see if US Netflix and BBC iPlayer are available at the time of writing writing in all the new reviews . However, as this situation can change rapidly, we always advise to take full advantage of free trials and money guarantees on offer. In this way, you can test whether your chosen VPN works with the streaming service you want to access.
Is a VPN good for Torrenting?
All hidden Internet data to your ISP + your IP address is hidden to someone on the internet = win torrenting!
Please note that not all VPN providers allow P2P (torrent). You should therefore carefully check that P2P is authorized before you register for a service. Testing with a VPN service that does not allow this can cause your subscription to be canceled, and some VPN services are known to deliver client data to the copyright holders at The receipt of a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) warning.
So, do not hesitate to use a VPN service that allows it. These can be used to protect your privacy.
QBittorrent is a lightweight but remarkably complete open source BitTorrent client.
For a list of the best VPNs for the torrent, plus a discussion on related issues, check out 5 best VPNs for Torrents, P2P and File Sharing.
Can I use a VPN with my mobile phone?
Yes indeed! VPNs work well on Android devices, iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) and Windows Phones. The support for BlackBerry phones is much more limited. As with VPNs on desktop devices, they encrypt your data and hide your IP address for all Internet connections. When you access websites via your browser for P2P download, you are fully protected when using a VPN.
But (and it’s a big, but) … although all data goes through the VPN, individual mobile applications can send highly personal data to their publishers. This may include the unique International Mobile Equipment (IMEI) number on your phone, Global Positioning System (GPS) location data, your contact lists, your Google Play / iTunes ID, and more again.
To take full advantage of using a VPN on a mobile device, you should avoid using custom applications as much as possible. The most private and secure way to access online services using a VPN on your mobile device is through their web page or web interface using your mobile browser.
How to configure a VPN
The easiest way to configure a VPN is to download and install the custom software provided by your VPN provider. See our comprehensive VPN vendor reviews for a detailed overview of the custom software available from each VPN service.
In addition to being easy to configure, custom VPN software often includes bells and whistles not available from third-party solutions. The most useful is real-time DNS and Web leakage protection (WebRTC) and destruction switches. Please see my full IP leakage guide for information on these features.
Some VPN providers do not have their own customized software, and no VPN provider has custom software for each VPN platform and protocol they support. Instead, they will provide installation guides that explain how to manually configure your device for service. The quality of these guides may vary a little, but they are generally perfectly clear and easy to follow.
Paid VPN vs Free VPN – What’s the Difference?
Running a VPN service costs money. A lot. Computer technicians must design, maintain, update and modify the systems used to meet the demands of their users. Technical support must be provided when things go wrong. Expensive servers must be hired or purchased and then housed, cooled and maintained. Marketing staff must be paid and advertising purchased to attract customers. And so on.
In other words, no one, and I mean no one, will run a VPN service for free. If you do not pay for a hard currency service, you are making money in some other way. “There is no free meal,” and “if you do not pay for a product, then you are the product”, both are appropriate adages here.
Despite this, VPN services claiming to be free exist. These can be divided into two kinds:
Free and reputable VPN services
Some providers offer a very limited free service in the hope that you will accept high-end service once you have tested the service and are frustrated by the limitations imposed on it. These limitations include bandwidth (typically severe) and connection speed restrictions. No free reputable VPN service allows the torrent.
Some people claim that these “free services” are not really royalties – they are just tests. This may or may not be a fair criticism, but at least these services are transparent on how they can afford to offer a free service in the first place.
Almost all the services listed in 5 Best Free VPNs fall into this category.
Cowboy Free VPN Services
Providers who offer unlimited “free” VPN services must monetize these services in any way. Hola steals your bandwidth and sells it. Others record everything you do online and sell that data to advertisers. I also mentioned the malicious swamps occupied by free mobile applications several times now.
The bottom line is that free VPNs assume or are excluded to defraud you. Given that you can buy a paid VPN service for the price of a beer or two per month, is the risk of a cowboy really helpful?
If you want to access geo-restricted content, you want to use a VPN. If you care about privacy or security on the Internet, then you should really use a VPN (no logs). If you want to download P2P without looking over your shoulder, you absolutely must use a VPN.
For the price of a beer or two a month, you know it makes sense!