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The Best VPN Service in 2020

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best vpn service 2020

 

Even if you think you’re doing your best to maintain your online privacy, it’s still very likely that your internet service provider (ISP) is keeping track of everything that you do. Now that most of us are still working from home, having a VPN service, short for ‘virtual private network’, to maximize our privacy has become more important now more than ever.

 

What is a VPN?

A virtual private network can be used to add privacy and security to a private and/or public network. A VPN secures your internet protocol (IP) address by changing your location to make your online activities anonymous. According to Norton, the encryption and anonymity that a VPN provides helps protect your online identity when sending emails, shopping online, and/or paying bills. It also keeps your browsing behavior private.

 

How do VPNs work?

A VPN’s main function is to disguise your IP address and location whenever you’re connected to the internet. When using a VPN service, your data is encrypted and sent through a “private tunnel” to the location/website you requested. For instance, whenever you pay bills online using a VPN, your login credentials are encrypted and sent to your financial institution through a private network. This makes it difficult for websites and hackers to snoop and record sensitive information.

 

AT&T Cybersecurity came up with a more technical explanation for how VPNs work:

“The VPN point encrypts your data and sends it through the internet. Another point in your VPN network decrypts your data and sends it to the appropriate internet resource, such as a web server, an email server, or your company's intranet. Then the internet resource sends data back to a point in your VPN network, where it gets encrypted. That encrypted data is sent through the internet to another point in your VPN network, which decrypts the data and sends it back to your client machine. Easy peasy!”

 

The Best VPN Service Right Now

When choosing a VPN service, it’s important to identify what you will use it for as each one excels at different things.

 

Best for speed and reliability: ExpressVPN

  • Quite possibly the fastest VPN service out there, ExpressVPN also has great security practices that finds a way around content restrictions and censorship so users can access unlimited video, music, and social media from just about anywhere in the world.
  •  
  • Best for bypassing geoblocks: NordVPN

  • One of NordVPN’s greatest features is its ability to access almost everything. NordVPN helps you bypass various online restrictions applied by certain countries, companies, and/or institutions with the click of a button.
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  • Best bang for your buck: Surfshark

  • Surfshark currently has a promo that allows customers to pay just $2.49 a month for the first 24 months. This is an especially great deal for a VPN that’s been featured in various online publications such as PCMag, CNET, and TechRadar. Aside from being wallet-friendly, Surfshark also offers state-of-the-art cybersecurity features that keep your data safe and secure.

 

What is the best VPN in 2020?

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine which VPN is the best as there are a plethora of factors that differentiate one VPN from another. The good news is that our experts here at ETech 7 did the legwork for you and tested out the most popular VPNs out in the market based on speed, cybersecurity features, and accessibility.

 

Disclaimer: We’d also like to point out that this list is written in no particular order. 

 

NordVPN

It’s easy to see why NordVPN has become so popular in the past couple of years. Trusted by over 12 million users worldwide, NordVPN boasts cutting edge encryption with advanced privacy solutions to ensure the utmost anonymity for anything you do online. NordVPN also has a strict no-logs policy which means your data will never be tracked, collected, or shared. NordVPN is also known for having a plethora of servers worldwide. This means that users can bypass any geoblocked feature and access websites from anywhere in the world. 

 

What we like:

  • No-logs policy
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • No IP or DNS leaks on our tests
  • One account allows you to connect up to 6 devices
  • Infrastructure that’s available worldwide

What we don’t like:

  • Connections can be spotty at times
  • Customer support has room for improvement

 

ExpressVPN

As one of the most reputable VPN service providers in the world, ExpressVPN’s network allows fast and secure connections through 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries. The way ExpressVPN works is that it protects everything you do online through their own servers. Rest easy knowing that your data is encrypted and prevents anyone from snooping on your online activities. Upon testing, ExpressVPN was able to access content that’s otherwise restricted depending on the region. The best part? ExpressVPN maintained decent speeds while browsing for various content online. 

 

What we like:

  • 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries
  • Optimized for speed
  • No IP or DNS leaks on our tests
  • Strong leak-proofing protection
  • Intuitive user interface

What we don’t like:

  • Not the cheapest VPN service

 

Surfshark

While considered as one of the best low-cost VPN services out on the market, don’t let Surfshark’s $2.49/month price tag fool you - this VPN service can go toe to toe with the biggest names in the cybersecurity industry. In a glowing review Bitcatcha, Surfshark’s excellent protocol selection and strong encryption measures offer consumers a leg-up in privacy and security. However, one feature that caught our eye is Surfshark’s MultiHop™ feature that allows customers to route their traffic through several servers - taking online privacy to a whole new level. For instance, you can route your connection from a select number of services ranging from the United Kingdom to France to Singapore to Germany. This allows you to mask your online activities while your data goes through multiple private servers. 

 

What we like:

  • Connect unlimited devices simultaneously for $2.49 a month
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • No IP or DNS leaks on our tests
  • A kill switch that serves as a safety net in case the VPN connection disconnects
  • Camouflage mode that makes sure that even your ISP can’t tell that you’re using a VPN

What we don’t like:

  • Weak online presence
  • Not the best customer support

 

IPVanish

IPVanish boasts a robust suite of privacy tools across its lineup of software available for desktop and mobile. Compatibility wouldn’t be a problem as IPVanish supports Windows, Apple, Google, and Amazon devices. Like the other VPNs we’ve tested, IPVanish did well in concealing our web browsing, video streaming, messaging, and file-sharing activities. IPVanish also provides an active service that changes your visible location and replaces it with a decoy that prevents online marketers, search engines, and websites from analyzing and using your IP address or location information. 

 

What we like:

  • IPVanish has 40,000+ shared IPs, 1,500+ VPN servers in 75+ locations
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Compatibility with most devices
  • Competitive prices
  • No IP or DNS leaks on our tests

 

What we don’t like:

  • Connection can be spotty at times
  • Not the best user interface
  • Not the best customer support

 

CyberGhost

Like most VPNs, CyberGhost features standard services such as IP spoofing, military-grade encryption, strict no-logs policy, and compatibility with multiple devices. According to its official website, CyberGhost VPN can protect your Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux devices all at the same time. It’s also important to highlight that CyberGhost has over 6,800 servers worldwide which ensure reliable speeds and a smooth VPN experience. However, after much research, we found that CyberGhost relies on too many third-party providers on their website such as Google Analytics, Hotjar, Omniconvert, and ZenDesk just to name a few. Bitcatcha, in a review published on November 1, 2020, even posted a screenshot from the CyberGhost website that says some of these third-party services collect personal and anonymous information. 

 

What we like:

  • Military-grade encryption
  • A kill switch that serves as a safety net in case the VPN connection disconnects
  • Competitive prices
  • No IP or DNS leaks on our tests
  • Allows simultaneous connections

 

What we don’t like:

  • Sketchy data collection practices by third-party services
  • Payment options can be limited

 

TunnelBear

For those looking to try out services first before actually taking out their wallets, TunnelBear offers a free plan that offers 500mb worth of secure browsing services. However, at $3.33 a month you can already avail of TunnelBear’s unlimited package that features unlimited secure browsing, up to 5 connected devices, and priority customer service. What we like best about TunnelBear is its ease of use. The design for the software is relatively simple and intuitive that even new users wouldn’t have a difficult time figuring out how to use the service. Like other VPN services, TunnelBear’s speeds are fast enough if you connect to servers near you. When testing, our experts found that TunnelBear’s killswitch feature works so well that your browsing and other online activities are practically non-existent.

 

What we like:

  • Reliable speeds in nearby servers and decent speeds in faraway ones
  • GhostBear feature that defeats VPN blocking
  • Secure up to 5 devices simultaneously
  • Servers in 23+ countries on TunnelBear’s virtual private network
  • No IP or DNS leaks on our tests

 

What we don’t like:

  • While they say paying customers have priority customer service, we found after sifting through customer reviews that customer support can be pretty unreliable

 

HotSpot Shield

HotSpot Shield is one of the most popular VPN service providers in the world. And for good reason! With servers across 80+ countries and 35+ cities, HotSpot Shield ensures speed, reliability, and secure connections for gaming, downloading, P2P, among other things. Compared to other VPN services, HotSpot Shield can also simultaneously secure up to 5 devices from laptops to TVs. However, what sets HotSpot Shield apart from its competitors is its patented Hydra protocol feature which maximizes the user’s speed without compromising any of its security attributes. With HotSpot Shield, you can forget latency issues that often occur in VPN connections.

 

What we like:

  • 3,200 servers in 80+ countries
  • Patented Hydra protocol feature focuses on speed and connectivity
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Excellent lineup of privacy and security features
  • No IP or DNS leaks on our tests

 

What we don’t like:

  • Not the best customer service

 

So is there really a “best” VPN service out there?

What “picking the best VPN service” really means is picking the right VPN service for you. There are a few things you may want to consider when purchasing a new VPN subscription. Factors such as your budget, what you’re going to use the VPN for, and the availability of servers near your location should affect your decision-making process. While it can be overwhelming to sift through hundreds of VPN services out there, shopping around and equipping yourself with enough knowledge about the best one that fits your needs is always important. 

 

As a managed IT services provider, we here at ETech 7 recommend that you use all available means to be able to protect your data. A VPN service, paired with other security measures, helps keep you and your data secure. If you want to read more about the different security measures available out there, check out this blog post!

Andro Yuson

Business Growth & Automation

Welcome to ETech 7's blog. Here you can find the latest news, advice, and tips on scaling and automating a business by leveraging the power of information technology.

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