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A VPN is a virtual private network that allows you to browse the Internet securely. It makes a private network for you that is encrypted (scrambled) so that all the data coming to or leaving your computer is unreadable to anyone trying to peek at your browsing habits. But if you have nothing to hide, why would you want to use a VPN?
The reality is that there are plenty of people in the world who would love to access your private information such as passwords and bank account numbers. For example, a hacker might want to steal your password as you submit it from your computer to your email provider to log in. There are also people who want to know what you're looking for on the Internet. Marketers want to see your exposed data about what you like to shop for. Governments desire to know at every moment what their citizens are discussing, searching, and browsing.
Friday, March 24th
NordVPN is a VPN service that goes the extra mile and offers double encryption for your internet connection. In other words, they encrypt your information by sending it through two different servers that change your IP address and scramble your data so that others cannot trace it back to you or read what you're sending and receiving.
Three Simple Pricing Plans
You have three plan options with NordVPN, each adding more features as you upgrade.
Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee in case NordVPN turns out to not be what you need. Be aware that if you buy NordVPN from any of the app stores and later wish for a refund, you may need to obtain the refund from the app store rather than NordVPN.
Comprehensive VPN Features
With all NordVPN plans, you get a secure, high-speed VPN, malware protection, and a tracker and ad blocker. Upgrading to the Plus and Complete plans gives you access to a cross-platform password manager and a data breach scanner. Though, if you already use a major brand-name password manager, you already have these features. With the Complete plan, you also get 1 terabyte (TB) of cloud storage for files that need to be stored securely.
Your Privacy Is Their Top Concern
NordVPN does not log your activity as you browse, so you can be more sure of anonymity. Your IP address is anonymized. If there's a problem with your VPN connection, your traffic will still be protected by the kill switch feature which will turn off your connection until the VPN can be fixed.
Another way that NordVPN protects your connection is using an "onion" router system. Like the layers of an actual onion, an onion network changes, via layers, where traffic enters and exits the various networks on the internet. Data never takes the same route twice so it's impossible to trace you.
Plenty of Room for Multiple Devices
A total of six devices can use NordVPN at the same time. You can use it with Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android operating systems as well as Chrome, Edge, and Firefox browser extensions, proxy services, and network-attached storage systems. You can even set it up on your router so that, if you have more than six devices, all of your devices can be connected using just one NordVPN device "slot" on your router.
A Word of Advice
Something to remember with all VPNs is to never allow your browser permission to know or share your location when it asks. If you do permit this, there is no way for NordVPN to shield your connection information from the wider internet.
Getting support with NordVPN is very simply done through the Help link on every page of the website or in the app. You can search for troubleshooting information or connect with a representative through live chat or email.
NordVPN doesn't have a Better Business Bureau rating because it's owned by a Lithuania-based company called Tesonet. However, there are numerous user reviews found online. NordVPN is a very popular and well-liked option. Those who like it say that they appreciate the customer service, low-cost and powerful features, the fact that NordVPN is based outside of the US for better accountability, and the speed of connections. The small handful of users who didn't like NordVPN had problems with upgrades, customer service, problems with refund amounts, and servers being shut down that people had come to have a preference for.
#1 VPN on the Market
Despite any issues, NordVPN is a very popular, capable, and trustworthy VPN service that we can highly recommend. The price is in the right range for almost everyone to afford it if they need it.
Express VPN is a very popular and highly-rated VPN service headquartered in the British Virgin Islands. It has a higher price tag than most other VPNs, but the features and reliability it offers are worth the cost. With a large and well-distributed network of servers, strong security practices, split tunneling, and a user-friendly interface, Express VPN is an excellent choice for a VPN service.
Pricing Is High, But So Is Quality
As noted, pricing for Express VPN is higher at $12.95 per month billed monthly, $9.99 per month billed semi-annually, or $8.32 per month billed annually. Like most service plans that VPN companies offer, the monthly price decreases the more time you commit to the subscription. Unlike many other VPN services, with Express VPN you can use Bitcoin to subscribe. If you are truly concerned about the pricing, Express VPN offers a generous 30-day money-back guarantee.
Good Mix of Hardware and Virtual Servers Worldwide
Express VPN has servers in 94 countries, split tunneling, and private DNS. They use TrustedServer technology to avoid any writing of data to disk storage so that your level of not being tracked is improved. They provide an internet kill switch in case the VPN is disabled. Express VPN doesn't have ad blockers or malware blockers, but they do have Threat Manager, which is an anti-tracking feature. If you regularly need to check your speed, you can find that information in the app rather than going to third-party websites for speed tests.
Support for Dozens of Devices and Operating Systems
If you want to install Express VPN on your router, you can. It also is supported on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Chromebook, and Kindle Fire as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. You can install it on smart TVs, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, Nvidia Shield, and Android TV. You can even have it activated on game consoles like Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. There are easy instructions to follow for each device and situation.
Carefully Chosen Focus on Proprietary Technology
There is no multi-hop or Tor routing, but it does have split tunneling for traffic that needs to be routed separately through the VPN. Instead of WireGuard, Express VPN offers its own tunneling protocol called Lightway. This is all part of their strategy to focus on what matters most to their customers rather than throwing in everything and the kitchen sink.
Reviews of Express VPN are very positive. Everyone likes the ease of use, speed, features, and customer support. A few people are disgruntled, however. They don't like how it sometimes disconnects, long support chat queues, trouble with configuration on certain devices, and lack of support for Linux. There is not a Better Business Bureau rating for Express VPN.
Worth the Money
Given its strong popularity among its user base, the positive reviews given by prominent IT-centric publications, and being one of the more prominent and recognizable brands , Express VPN is an excellent choice for a VPN service (if you don't mind the high price).
Private Internet Access is a VPN company with servers in 78 countries providing lightning-fast connectivity and 24/7 customer support. With 10 years of experience serving 15 million users worldwide, they have a solid and stable network with which to serve you.
Lowest Cost VPN Service
The cost to you for Private Internet Access is $11.95 per month if paying monthly. If you opt-in for a full year, you only pay $3.33 per month. And for 3 full years, your cost is $2.03 per month plus 3 free months. This is a really great price compared to other VPN company offerings. Plus, you get a 30 day money-back guarantee.
Open Source Software
Private Internet Access has made its software 100% open source. That means that anyone who doubts whether their connection is fully secure, and who has the understanding of the source code necessary to do so, can inspect all the software and know for sure that they're protected.
In addition to open-source code, Private Internet Access doesn't keep usage logs, gives you unlimited bandwidth, has a high-speed global server network, and dedicated apps for Windows, iOS, Linux, and Android. It even runs on Android TV, gaming consoles, smart TVs, and routers. They also have powerful encryption and ad blocking software.
Private Internet Access has a variety of advanced features. These include a kill switch, automation rules, IP-based split tunneling, firewall-based leak protection, and other advanced technical settings. Plus, you can connect up to ten devices simultaneously, or even more if you install it on your router.
Tokenized Dedicated IP Address Available for an Extra Fee
One of the problems of using a VPN is the fact that websites can sometimes see any foreign or regularly changing IP address as a reason for a security warning or a problem for filling out forms. Private Internet Access helps solve this problem with an optional tokenized dedicated IP address that only you can access and which will keep from triggering "captcha" challenges when filling out forms. This option will cost you an extra $5 per month on top of your subscription.
Helpful and Available Support
If you need support for Private Internet Access, they have live chat, email, and a knowledge base you can search. If it turns out that you don't like Private Internet Access, you can get a refund within 30 days of your purchase. There is also a free trial period of 7 days for the iOS and Android apps.
Some Possible Privacy Concerns
Normally, a company being headquartered in the United States is a benefit. In the case of Private Internet Access, and VPNs in general, it can be a problem given that the U.S. has gained an unfortunate reputation for being heavy on surveillance against the world and its own citizens. Their site does state that they don't log usage of their service and that they can even prove it using court records. But, if you're still concerned about privacy, you'll want to read the fine print to see what exposure you may have with the company possibly revealing your identity through legal action.
The Majority of Users are Happy
Private Internet Access has been reviewed as trusted and recommended by Forbes, The New York Times, Gizmodo, PCMag, Wired, and LifeHacker. The majority of customers reviewing the service find it to be excellent. They like the price, reliability, customer service, and ease of use. Those with negative reviews said they were upset about customer service, issues connecting to geo-restricted sites, problems with it not running correctly on Mac devices, and not getting refunds. At the time of this review, the Better Business Bureau had Private Internet Access rated this VPN service with an "F" grade, with almost 30 complaints closed in the last three years. That's not good, but the company does seem to respond quickly to negative feedback.
Best Budget-Friendly VPN Service
With the low price, and in spite of the U.S. location, you can likely get good value from Private Internet Access. We recommend taking advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee if you have any problems within your first few weeks of service.
Cyber Ghost is a VPN service backed by 15 years of expertise in protecting your internet connection from hackers, governments, and marketers. They advertise a fast, reliable, and secure encryption system that is activated with the click of a button.
You don't have to take their word for it, though. You can start with a no-obligation free trial with no credit card required. Simply download and install their app, sign up for an account, log in, and start using it. The free trial lasts 14 days. When the trial ends, you are asked for credit card information to sign up for the service for further use.
14 day money-back guarantee
If you skip the trial and buy a subscription, Cyber Ghost offers a 14-day money-back guarantee for its monthly plans and a 45-day money-back guarantee for its 1-3 year plans. Refunds are only available directly from Cyber Ghost if you purchase directly from them. If you buy the app anywhere else, you'll have to go to that reseller for a refund, if offered.
Pricing for Cyber Ghost is $12.99 per month billed monthly, $4.29 per month billed annually, $3.25 per month billed every 2 years, or $2.29 per month billed every 3 years. With the free trial, you can fully determine if it meets your needs before paying out for 1, 2, or 3 years.
Fully Featured VPN
Some of Cyber Ghost's features include one-click connect, nearly 8,000 servers with IP addresses in 91 countries, 256 AES encryption, connection on up to 7 devices simultaneously, torrenting with no bandwidth limit, IP-swapping to access geo-restricted content, ad blocking, a kill switch, Wi-Fi protection, and smart rules. They do not log any user's activities in any way, so your activity can never be traced back to you.
Technologies and Support
Cyber Ghost works on dozens of devices and operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android, as well as through extensions for browsers like Chrome and Firefox. It's available also for Fire Stick, Android TV, Smart TV, routers, Xbox One/360, PS4, Apple TV, Samsung TV, Roku, and Wii U. Support for Cyber Ghost is available 24/7/365 via chat and online form to submit a support request. There is no phone number to call.
Slower VPN Connection Abroad
We had the opportunity to try Cyber Ghost on iOS in another country with slower Wi-Fi connections. When the Wi-Fi connection was slow, the VPN on the phone seemed slower and the connection dropped frequently. When we turned off Cyber Ghost, the connection was somewhat more consistent and stable.
What Reviewers Say
Cyber Ghost is not rated by the Better Business Bureau, so there is no score to report there. Other reviews for Cyber Ghost are overwhelmingly positive with only a tiny fraction of reviewers having bad things to say about the service. Those who like Cyber Ghost say that they appreciate the ease of use, speed and reliability, ability to use it on many types of devices, and helpful customer service. Those who didn't like Cyber Ghost said they had problems with denied refunds, leaking IP addresses, discounts not being honored, and problems with payment not being accepted online.
Risk-Free to Give This VPN a Go
We really liked the ability to check out the service via the free trial with no credit card required. They seem to be the only major VPN service that has such a free trial available at this time. Therefore, we can recommend them simply because you don't have anything to lose by giving them a try to see for yourself if they meet your needs. However, watch out for slower Wi-Fi connections making it difficult to browse efficiently with Cyber Ghost.
Atlas VPN creates an encrypted split tunnel for routing your traffic through the internet. It also allows you to "multihop" between rotating VPN locations and block malware, ads, and marketers from tracking you as you browse.
Self-configuring Installation for Mac, Windows, and Other Devices
You can install Atlas VPN on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV devices. Just download and install the Atlas VPN software corresponding to your device and it will take care of configuring itself to protect the device and its connection properly.
Global Access to Content
Like other VPNs we've reviewed, Atlas VPN provides the ability to get content from anywhere in the world, even if it's restricted to IP addresses within a specific geographical region.
Advanced IP Address Capabilities
Given that your IP address is the quickest way for others to track you online or access your computer, it's important to have a way to change that IP address quickly and easily. Atlas VPN offers a way to do this via its SafeSwap IP address switching. It also has split tunneling and "MultiHop" technology to make it very difficult to associate you with the websites and content you access.
Protection from Marketers Following You Online
Atlas VPN's Tracker Blocker feature disables third-party tracking software and files as you browse. Whenever it runs into tracking software, it lists the tracker's information so you can be informed as to who is tracking you. And, if you're about to unknowingly enter a website that has malicious software, Tracker Blocker stops you from accessing it. Additionally, ad blocking software intercepts and suppresses annoying, bandwidth-sucking ads that also try to follow you from site to site online.
Very Low Cost
The monthly cost for Atlas VPN is extremely low at $1.83 per month if you decide to commit to a full three years of service. A year of service is billed annually at a rate of $3.29 per month. If you decide to go with monthly billing only, you'll pay $10.99 per month. There's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind.
Customer Feedback Has Improved
Things have improved since our last review of Atlas VPN. It now has an "A+" Better Business Bureau accredited rating with no customer complaints (but also no customer reviews). Other review sites favorably rated Atlas VPN with users of the service saying they liked the competent and helpful support representatives, ease of installation, stable connections with fast speeds, lots of features, and affordability.
There are still, however, some complaints about the service like difficulty installing, problems canceling and getting refunds, problems with the software messing up computer configurations, and unresponsive support representatives.
Great price, improved service
Since Atlas VPN has made improvements over our last review of their service, we're now recommending them as a company to look at for great features and good customer service. The price is still really great as well if you're looking for affordability as a major factor.
Surfshark provides VPN service on an unlimited number of devices. They have a policy of not logging any of your browsing, strong encryption protection of your connection, Wi-Fi connection privacy, IP masking, and private DNS. With "No Borders" mode, you can get content in a region your IP address would normally be blocked from accessing.
Two Free Months with a Two-Year Plan
Surfshark costs $12.95 per month billed monthly, $3.99 per month billed yearly, or $2.30 per month billed every 2 years. With the 2-year plan, you also get 2 free months. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you don't find the service to your liking.
Support for Several Operating Systems and Devices
To use Surfshark, you aren't limited to just a few types of devices. Surfshark is supported on Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android. You can also set it up on LG TV, Apple TV, Smart TV, Android TV, Nvidia Shield, and your network router. Even though it's not advertised prominently on their website, Surfshark has browser extensions for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.
More Servers and Countries
Since our last review, Surfshark has increased its server count to over 3,200 servers in 95 countries for faster connection speeds and more availability. In almost all of those countries, they offer private DNS to bypass your local DNS and any blocks, camouflage mode to hide the fact that you're using a VPN, support for OpenVPN, WireGuard/IPSec/IKEv2 protocols, and browser extension support.
Lack of Better Business Bureau Representation
Since Surfshark doesn't have a listing with the Better Business Bureau, we were unable to evaluate them on that set of more independent standards. This is something of a concern for any company wishing to manage its reputation in the US and Canada.
People who use Surfshark are generally happy, citing patient and professional support representatives, fast connections, and useful features. But there are complaints to make note of. Some customers were unhappy with the refund process not being in their favor when the software was not working properly for them, not being able to connect in India, being overcharged for the service compared to an advertised special, slow or non-existent support responses, and lack of privacy protection.
Problems with ending the subscription
Another common complaint was from people not being able to find or access a way to end their subscription's auto-renewal at the end of a 7-day trial or when trying to end their subscription after having trouble with the service. Support answered one customer by saying that how a subscription can be ended depends on the payment method, but that seemed like a non-starter given the many companies that offer subscription services that don't have such problems.
Good But Not Great
You might still want to try Surfshark and your experience may be a good one. But with the customer support issues noted above, we recommend you look for alternatives to Surfshark first.
VyprVPN is a service that has a presence in over 70 countries with 300,000 IP addresses. It includes a private DNS network and a technology called Chameleon™ that cloaks your use of a VPN from curious network administrators. They have a no logs policy and a kill switch in case the connection closes or is disabled.
Hide with Chameleon
VyprVPN uses their proprietary VPN protocol they appropriately call Chameleon™ to hide the fact that you're using a VPN. This helps shield you from governments or corporations that are actively watching for VPN usage and punishing users for it. You just install the VyprVPN app and then follow detailed setup instructions on the VyprVPN website to enable it. In our prior review, Chameleon wasn't supported for iOS devices.
Get Exclusive DNS Protection
Even when using a VPN, your activities can be logged or blocked at the DNS level (where domain names are translated into IP addresses for browsers). VyprDNS is the way VyprVPN solves this problem by owning and operating their own DNS service that is exclusive to their VPN service.
Connections Now Limited
VyprVPN has now limited the number of connections you can use to 30 simultaneous connections (down from unlimited connections per our last review). There is now also no information on their website about the number of servers or whether there are limitations on bandwidth.
Pricing and Devices and Support, Oh My!
The free trial has recently been replaced with a 30-day money-back guarantee. An annual account costs $8.33/month while a monthly subscription costs $15. VyprVPN can be installed and is supported on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, QNAP, BlackPhone, Anonabox, and Roku. It can also be installed on your home or business routers such as DD-WRT, AsusWRT, Synology NAS, OpenWRT, Boxee, and Blackberry using their guides for various devices. However, the link to the guide for Boxee seems to be missing.
VyprVPN support is via email, forum, live chat, and a searchable knowledge base of information, tutorials, and FAQs. No phone support is available.
Hunt for their BBB listing
VyprVPN is another VPN company that doesn't have a Better Business Bureau listing, at least not under the name of the main product. It's actually listed cryptically under its holding company name, Golden Frog. That's a problem for many people searching for a redress of any grievance and who don't make the connection. The Golden Frog listing shows a "C" non-accredited rating and only a few complaints.
Lackluster Reviews and Reputation
However, other review sites we combed through revealed that many VyprVPN customers are unhappy with the purchase process, support, the service not letting them log in after having paid, not working properly with major video streaming services or mobile device hotspots, inconsistent performance and error messages, and not being able to recover their previous accounts after not having used them for a while.
People who had good experiences with VyprVPN said they liked its fast connections and customer support. But most of the higher ratings were very non-specific.
Choose a Different VPN Service
It seems VyprVPN is having trouble keeping its customers happy and its technology working correctly. They also seem to be taking away previously valuable features such as unlimited connections. We recommend avoiding VyprVPN.
To manage your internet connection with secure VPN tunneling, you can turn to IP Vanish VPN. With IP Vanish, your physical location and IP address are hidden. That stops search engines from knowing who you are and governments, companies, and hackers from knowing your profile via what you access. IP Vanish offers unlimited devices and no speed limits on browsing and downloading. Setup guides are available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Linux, and a Chrome browser extension.
No More DDoS Attacks While Gaming
With IP Vanish, you can keep from getting hit by a DDoS attack while gaming online, prevent your ISP from throttling your connection, see content your government or corporations don't want you to see, and be secure while using public Wi-Fi connections. IP Vanish doesn't log your activities, so law enforcement agencies won't be able to tie your activities to you, whether justly or not.
Difficult to Select the Right Plan
The home page lists the pricing at $10.99 per month billed monthly, $5.32 per month billed quarterly, $3.99 per month billed yearly. However, when clicking the main Subscribe button in the top navigation area, when you arrive on the signup page there is no quarterly option. You can only select between a monthly plan at $10.99 per month or a yearly plan for $47.89 for the first year ($3.99 per month), followed by $89.99 per year thereafter ($7.49). The missing quarterly option is confusingly only available if you click on a separate button for it on the home page rather than the main Subscribe button at the top. And compared to other VPN vendors, the yearly plan isn't such a great deal since you're being billed more in subsequent years.
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee on Some Plans
IP Vanish has a 30-day money-back guarantee should you decide it's not worth your trouble. But that only applies to yearly plans, not monthly or quarterly.
24/7 Online Support
Support is available 24/7 via live chat. There is also email support, web-based form support, and a knowledge base of information.
Will the Real IP Vanish Please Stand Up?
The Better Business Bureau website bizarrely has dozens of listings for IP Vanish. It was impossible to find which one was the real one. Other trusted review sites show lots of positive reviews where people say they like the convenience of the software, the protection it offers, and helpful customer service. Those who did not like IP Vanish complained about mysteriously deleted accounts, lots of packet loss, constant nagging popups, the need to have purchased a 1-year account to qualify for the money-back guarantee, and overcharges. Other trusted review websites pin an average rating on IP Vanish, citing pricing, a dated interface, lack of competitively additional privacy features, no publicly released privacy audits, and no dedicated IP addresses for those who need them.
Not being able to find the real IP Vanish in the multiplicity of Better Business Bureau listings, as well as not being able to make sense of both the pricing and the incongruence between reviewers leads us to stop short of recommending IP Vanish this time around.
Fastest VPN is a VPN service that offers protection for your connection with servers in 40+ countries and 52+ locations. It has an internet kill switch to halt your activity when the VPN is disabled or the connection drops. However, the kill switch can only be turned off with Windows and Android devices. All other devices have it enabled always. Even though that's an optimal situation for protection, there might be situations where you don't want the VPN in the way, and then you'd just have to uninstall it altogether.
Likewise, the split tunneling feature is only available for Windows and Android users. Even though on the iOS app you can use a feature that mimics split tunneling, it's only per URL, not across all your activities.
Support for Lots of Devices
Fastest VPN has a ton of connectivity for various devices and operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Firestick, Android Box, Kodi, Roku, PS4, Apple TV, Xbox, and more.
Ad Blocking and Anti-Malware
For purposes of protection of your browsing habits, Fastest VPN includes an ad blocker. And to keep your devices clear of malware, they have an anti-malware feature that runs by default every time you connect to a server.
Fastest VPN pricing
Fastest VPN costs $10 per month billed monthly, $2.49 per month billed yearly, or $1.11 per month billed every 3 years. You also get a 15 day money-back guarantee if you don't find the service to your liking -but that's less time than many other companies we've reviewed.
Lack of Attention to Core Mission
In one testing environment, Fastest VPN fell short on two key protection measures: not leaking DNS information and not revealing your IP address. In both cases, Fastest VPN was showing where the user went online and who they were based on their IP address. Not good at all - and pretty much defeats the purpose of using a VPN.
User reviews of Fastest VPN showed that even though many people like it, there is an unhealthy percentage of people who would rather have not tried it. They cite bad customer service, poor connection reliability and speed, lack of WireGuard protocol, and having their information sold to advertisers: a huge problem at odds with a company that claims to be protecting users from advertisers. Also, there was no Better Business Bureau listing available for Fastest VPN that could balance out those negative reviews.
Choose a Different VPN Service
Due to the IP and DNS leaks, mixed reviewer sentiment, and other numerous technical issues we discovered that would be too detailed to go into here, we're not recommending that you use Fastest VPN at this time.
Pure VPN is a Pakistani company that recently moved its operations from Hong Kong to the British Virgin Islands. They claim to provide all the primary features of popular VPN services, protecting your devices and you from people and governments attempting to view your online activity.
Affordable, But Beware Digital Wallets for Refunds
Pure VPN costs $10.95 per month billed monthly, $3.24 per month billed annually, or $1.99 per month billed every 2 years + 3 months free. There is a 31-day money-back guarantee in case you decide to cancel. Be careful if you pay for it via digital wallets like Google Play Store or Apple App Store because there is no support for refunds through those payment methods.
Lots of Servers, Connections, and Features
Pure VPN now has over 6,500 servers globally in over 95 locations with 300,000 IP addresses. They have unlimited bandwidth with split tunneling and access for up to 10 users. The operating systems supported include Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, and Android. Extensions for Chrome, Brave, Firefox, and Edge browsers are available. Pure VPN supports devices such as Android TV, Firestick TV, Huawei, Chromebook, and routers. You can switch servers as much as you want.
Other key features
More key features of Pure VPN include 256-bit encryption, port forwarding (as a paid add-on), an internet kill switch, dedicated IP address (also a paid add-on), DDoS attack protection, DNS leak protection, IPv6 leak protection, Web RTC leak protection, P2P VPN, anti-throttling of bandwidth by your ISP, and iOS VPN on Demand. Support includes live chat.
Too Many Glaring Problems to Mention
After reading the overwhelmingly positive feedback from Pure VPN customers on prominent review sites, we also compared what was being said by IT experts who dug deeper into the VPN software. There was a stark difference between what everyday users said and the cautionary warnings by IT experts. Alarmingly, the experts noted that Pure VPN was caught logging user data and sending it to the FBI. Given that the service was, at the time, based in Hong Kong, it was outside of United States jurisdiction and was under no legal obligation to provide log files to the FBI.
Trouble with the basics
Beyond that major and glaring issue, experts had trouble with Netflix access, general connectivity stability problems, slow speeds compared to other VPN services we've reviewed, and DNS leaks. They also reported that the apps were awkward and difficult to use.
Avoid This VPN Service
Pure VPN is not a VPN service we can recommend due to their having breached their no logs policy and because of the connectivity, privacy leaks, and usability problems. You've got much better options among our higher-ranked providers.
TorGuard, an Orlando, FL company, is a VPN service that is marketed to users who have a better grasp of the technical aspects of using a VPN connection. It is quite a bit more expensive than the other offerings we have reviewed. It has 3,000 gigabit servers with unlimited bandwidth in 68 locations across 50 countries. The service has three main offerings: Anonymous VPN, Business VPN, and Anonymous Email.
On the home page, the cost appears to be different from other VPNs, which typically bill you less per month when paying over a long period of time. With this service, you pay monthly and that's it. It's $9.99 per month for Standard, $12.99 per month for Pro, $32.99 per month for Business VPN, and $3.58 per month for Anonymous Email. That may seem simple but also is unappealing to people who want to save money over longer terms.
Monthly or annual billing
However, after clicking to see the details of one of the plans, we were presented with an alternative that did include monthly or annual billing. Also, the pricing columns on the home page are different from this plan page. TorGuard isn't exactly helping their potential or current users by presenting the information in this confusing manner. At this point, maybe the 7-day money-back guarantee doesn't matter or cannot be trusted.
Lots of Features
With TorGuard's Anonymous VPN Standard package, you get unlimited speeds, unlimited bandwidth, port forwarding, 8 simultaneous connections, OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2, and internal encrypted DNS. You also get 24/7/365 support, and no logging or DNS leaks.
With TorGuard's Anonymous VPN Pro package, you get everything in Standard plus a free dedicated IP address, streaming, and 12 simultaneous connections. That doesn't seem like a lot more for the additional cost.
Business cost triples
If you're using a VPN for a business, the cost triples from Standard. The Business VPN includes everything in Pro plus IP management, dedicated VPN instances, a dedicated account manager, secure remote work VPN, an isolated secure network, and private email.
Inexpensive anonymous email
The Anonymous Email offering is considerably cheaper than the other plans, but it is also only geared towards email and not general connectivity. You get 5 email aliases, up to 5,000 emails per day, email scheduling, YubiKey strong two-factor authentication, secure document sharing, secure video streaming, secure OpenPGP encryption, and encrypted mail file storage.
Additional features that appear to apply to all plans include ad and malware blocking, bypass throttling, Shadowsocks, internal encrypted DNS, and SSL VPN via OpenVPN, WireGuard, OpenConnect, or browser extensions. All of TorGuard's software runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Not supported are Android TV or Amazon TV.
Payment Options and Support
If you prefer a payment source other than the typical credit card options, you can pay with cryptocurrency, Paymentwall, or PayGarden. TorGuard support is 24/7 and available via knowledgebase, community forum, or email. There is no phone or live chat support.
The Better Business Bureau listing for TorGuard has remained at a non-accredited "F" rating since the last time we reviewed them. There are lots of positive comments on other popular review websites. However, when we read the negative reviews, we were shocked at the level of "sass" with which TorGuard responded to individual complaints. They regularly called out users who complained about payment problems or issues with the service by boldly lecturing them on their misunderstandings of the technology or by accusing them of not having created support tickets and instead damaging the reputation of the company. This was quite shocking to see and antithetical to best practices in customer service. It smacked of a "tech bro" attitude of superiority.
No Good Reason to Choose TorGuard
Because of the confusion over pricing and payment periods, limited support, and the level of rudeness seen on the public review sites, we are not recommending TorGuard to anyone other than those who can stomach these inconsistencies and discourteousness.
After looking at user reviews for TunnelBear, we can quickly conclude that it is not a service that you want to try at all. The reviews are dismally tilted toward the negative. In fact, TunnelBear has the lowest aggregate rating of all the services we've researched. Definitely skip this one and save yourself time and money.
But, if you do decide to try TunnelBear, how much will you pay for TunnelBear's VPN service? That depends on where you look at the pricing and which timeframe you select.
In one place, we found that with a traditional month-to-month plan, you'll pay $9.99. Pay for a full year upfront and you'll spend just $59.88, which works out to $4.99/month. For the best savings, choose the TunnelBear two-year plan at $99.99 (averaging $4.17/month).
But on the Plans page of the website, we found a free plan (limited to 500 MB of data), an unlimited plan starting from $3.33 per month over three years, and a teams plan starting at $5.75 per user per month.
Lack of Detail About Features
Other VPN services usually have a list of features prominently displayed on the home page or a features page. TunnelBear takes a different approach in "dumbing it down" for non-technical users. That's laudable, but it leaves us - and more savvy potential customers - without much to go on. If you want the most current feedback from TunnelBear, don't rely on their Facebook or Instagram channels. Those went pretty quiet in the fall of 2021. On the other hand, the company maintains a fairly active presence on Twitter if you'd like to see some of their more recent interactions.
Worst Reviews Of All
TunnelBear had a "C-" rating with the Better Business Bureau at the time of this review. That's often a warning sign, but in this case, it was from a failure to respond to one complaint - and because the BBB hadn't received enough inquiries about TunnelBear "to warrant the development of a report" . We thought that was a little strange, considering that supposedly "millions of people trust TunnelBear" , but maybe the company being headquartered in Canada makes for fewer interactions with the BBB.
Users of TunnelBear complain about slow connections, not being able to set it up on their routers, limitations to the free version, inconsistencies with the app functionality, not being able to use it to stream content from another country, random disconnects, unhelpful online help documentation, not being able to log in, being flagged by websites that don't allow use of VPNs, and even overt controversial political messaging on the TunnelBear website.
Way Too Much Room for Improvement
We're going to have to take a pass on recommending TunnelBear to anyone until their user reviews drastically improve and their pricing plans make more sense to the average first-time visitor to their site.
Your credit card information is particularly important to protect. Most websites these days have end-to-end encryption to protect sensitive purchase information. But for the ones that don't, or for when that technology fails, a VPN adds a layer of protection to keep hackers from "sniffing" out your credit card information.
Another bonus? If you want access to streaming media that is only available in certain countries, a VPN can make it look to the streaming services in those countries as if you're a resident, and therefore you'll have no restrictions on accessing your favorite TV shows and movies.
Do you browse the Internet from public Wi-Fi connections in places such as airports, coffee shops, or shopping malls? If you do this without a VPN, your data is openly exposed to hackers who make a habit of monitoring unsecured Wi-Fi signals for data to steal.
You can't even trust your own internet service provider (ISP) with sensitive information about your browsing habits. They are often looking for additional revenue streams, including selling information about which websites your IP address has been accessing. A VPN hides that information from your ISP.
For people living in countries where the government has little or no respect for the right to privacy, a VPN is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, government bureaus, agencies, and leaders could have full access to everything you say or do online, including planning protests, criticizing laws and policies, or donating money to political organizations.
Therefore, it's critically important that you research the features, reputation, security, performance, customer service, and cost of various VPN services before you decide which one to subscribe to. Here are some factors to consider.
TopConsumerReviews.com has compiled a report of the best VPN services available and ranked them in the order of quality and reliability. We hope these reviews will help you find the right VPN service to make browsing the Web 100% secure!
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