Virtual Private Networks or VPN for short is a type of software that helps make your browsing more secure and anonymous through encrypting your connection to the web. VPNs effectively allow you to trick your device and services you use that you’re in an entirely different location, whether that’s through your laptop, desktop, smartphone, or smart tv.
VPN usage has grown during the Covid-19 pandemic with government imposed lockdowns, and workers having to work from home. People want access to certain things that they aren’t able to access from their country’s location which is where a VPN comes in as a useful piece of software and service you can purchase.
Critically, VPNs also change your IP address, so if a service is blocked in a certain country, then you’re able to circumvent that block. For example, the Chinese government blocks and regulates internet traffic between China and the rest of the world, and popular social networks and searches on search engines are subsequently banned and are blocked. A VPN can be used to circumvent these types of restrictions. They can also be used to surf streaming sites like Netflix which typically are licensed to only show certain programs and shows in certain countries. You can use a VPN to gain access to additional programs shown on streaming websites in other countries that would otherwise be blocked.
Before we dig further into VPNs, here’s a list of the best VPN services available:
This is a list of 5 best VPN services. They have all performed well in the last 12-months.
|Provider||Overall score||Starting from||Av. download speed||Number of servers||Direct link|
#1 Reason WhyLeader in the market
|9.8||$3.71/mo||118 Mbit/s||5,400||Visit NordVPN Visit|
#1 Reason WhyGreat lowcost solution
|9.7||$2.21/mo||41 Mbit/s||1,700||Visit Surfshark Visit|
#1 Reason WhyEmphasis on security
|9.2||$1.66/mo||70 Mbit/s||700||Visit VyprVPN Visit|
#1 Reason WhyIt's superfast.
|9||$8.32/mo||128 Mbit/s||3,000||Visit ExpressVPN Visit|
#1 Reason WhyPerfect for streaming
|9||$2.2/mo||6 Mbit/s||6,400||Visit CyberGhost Visit|
Number of country locations, speed, customer service, and dedicated IP addresses.
It’s important to note that one of the most important features for reliable VPN connections is a dedicated IP address. Without it you’ll get CAPTCHA notifications and potentially those IP addresses will be blocked due to overuse and clever anti-VPN tactics deployed by the third party services you’re using to circumvent the lack of access.
VPNs, generally, have become cheaper and cheaper as more and more people take up subscriptions and as the competition grows between all of the VPN providers.
On average they cost around $10 per month when aggregating all of the top VPN providers. However, if we go back in time, we can see that ExpressVPN used to charge $12.95 (USD) per month in 2009 and now they charge $8.35 per month (though this is paying for the 12 months upfront) as of June 2021 - a 35.5% decrease.
Whilst free VPNs exist, they are generally unreliable, overused and not really worth your time. We’ve tested some browser extensions which work quite well, but at the end of the day, you’ll always run into issues with free VPNs due to how overused they are and how easier it is for third party vendors to detect such usage and effectively block this type of traffic.