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Best VPN Services (Paid and Free) for Computer / Smartphone

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Introduction​

The modern reality is that people are spending more and more time on the Internet. Social networks, training sites, government services and other portals require the provision of personal and often payment data. Leaking this information can be bad for the user. If the data falls into the hands of fraudsters, a person can take out a loan, use his identity for a scam, or even be accused of a crime. The best VPN is designed to protect you from collecting sensitive data while surfing the net.
As an additional useful feature, it can be noted that changing the IP address allows you to launch sites that are blocked by Roskomnadzor for a number of reasons. Usually, such portals do not carry a federal threat and are simply not registered in the register of approved ones. The ban includes casinos, bookmakers, portals expressing an antagonistic position in relation to power and the like.


What is VPN and why is it needed​

VPN - an abbreviation of V irtual P rivate N etwork, which means a virtual private network. Simply put, the best VPN creates an individual network connection that a customer can access from their computer, laptop, or mobile device. As the name suggests, they make Internet access more private, which makes the exchange of information on the network safe.
A VPN connection consists of a network of servers anywhere in the world, which are operated by a service provider. When a VPN connection is established, all traffic to and from the client's device is encrypted and then passes through an intermediate server at a user-selected location. The best VPN works by connecting a PC to a set of servers in a process known as "tunneling." These servers act as a “virtual home” on the network, in a sense diverting traffic to a more secure online network.
When surfing from a secure online space, the data that the end user sends and receives is encrypted, which provides greater security and anonymity on the network. Every time a customer clicks on a link or enters an address into their browser, the PC sends a batch of messages through multiple data centers. The data travels through the local local area network, several computers on the network, and through even more computers on the website's servers, before returning along the same route to return the information to the user.

There are two types of VPN. The first is corporate, which is often used by companies to secure the transfer of information between two office LANs.

The second is a consumer VPN that only protects one endpoint. The same type is used when logging into public Wi-Fi to protect information. Consumer VPNs help keep messages secure in applications such as social media, email, online shopping, and banking.

The best VPN service encrypts all device data, redirects it through a separate server, and hides many different types of personal information on the network. When surfing through a VPN, neither the provider nor third parties will know:

  • Client's IP address. VPN anonymizes activities, preventing ISPs, marketers, hackers and search engines from tracking online movements.
  • Personality features. The best free VPN hides social media identities as well as online shopping habits, making it difficult for marketing campaigns to target while keeping sensitive information secure.
  • Where is a specific person. The best VPNs hide geographic location. Since the data is redirected through proxy servers and the user's IP address is hidden, it is not possible to directly track the location when using VPN.
Security is the main reason for using a VPN as the data will be encrypted, making it difficult for others to access the client's online activity. This is especially important when entering personal information or billing information such as credit card numbers. The encryption provided by the best VPNs means that something that a person searches, speaks in comments or forums, and looks at streaming platforms remains private.

It is important to remember that a VPN protects data, but does not necessarily prevent information being tracked by cookies or other web trackers. The VPN makes sure that communication cannot be intercepted or accessed, but it does not affect application features such as cookies.
The best VPN is the one that provides a fast and secure connection at a good price. There is always debate about which plugin is the best, below is a list of the top contenders for the title of Best VPN Service.

Basic VPN encryption types​

Besides masking the IP address, a VPN also protects user data by encrypting it. In layman's terms, encryption is the transformation of data from plain text that anyone can read to a cipher that only authorized users can read. Encryption does not prevent hackers from intercepting information. Instead, it makes the intercepted information unreadable.
VPN uses protocols to encrypt traffic - PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, SSTP and IKEv2. Although they are technical in nature, you should be aware that:
  • OpenVPN is the current gold standard for anyone concerned with privacy issues.
  • PPTP is not recommended due to its high level of vulnerability.
  • L2TP should not be used on mobile devices.
The more protocols a VPN supports, the better the quality of its service, but the price can rise as well.

What to look for when choosing a VPN service?​

Choosing a reliable service provider with a good work ethic is hard work in itself. Due diligence is imperative. There are a lot of criteria for choosing a decent VPN. Some users need fast access to Netflix US, and this requirement will determine their choice. The factors mentioned in the article are just a short list of nuances that should be considered before subscribing to anything. Do not forget about such factors as the cost of the software product, the presence of an emergency button and advanced tools. Everyone can choose the best VPN specifically for themselves if they test several services personally. So, let's look at the main characteristics that you should pay attention to:

Confidentiality and preservation of logs​

All VPNs promise privacy and anonymity. The presence of the log assumes the preservation of connection metadata, for example, time, frequency of connection to the network with VPN, connection duration and total traffic. Usage logs store information about online activity, sites visited, and personal information entered into fields. Some providers keep connection logs for a limited time (from a few hours to three days), which is a good practice for troubleshooting, and some keep the logs for months or years and happily share them with anyone they want.

Security​

The service should explain the technology used to provide secure VPN access. Some providers use their own software, which is proprietary and has not been properly audited. It would be wise to check in advance if already tested technologies such as OpenVPN or WireGuard are supported.

Cross-platform​

If you plan to use VPN on various devices, a personal computer, mobile phone, router, browser, etc., then you need to inquire in advance about the availability of a suitable application from the supplier for those devices on which you plan to use the VPN service. If the VPN provider does not have such applications, then does it allow you to use its services using open software that uses standard protocols, such as OpenVPN or WireGuard.

Number of concurrent connections​

Need to estimate the number of devices you plan to connect to the VPN at the same time? Does your ISP allow multiple simultaneous connections, and if so, how many? If you run the VPN client on your computer and phone, then these are already 2 simultaneous connections. And if another of your relatives will use a VPN connection, then this is already 3+. Therefore, you need to check in advance the number of allowed simultaneous connections with the planned VPN provider, so as not to get into an unpleasant situation later.

Speed​

VPN speeds vary greatly and depend on many factors. These include the speed of your tariff with your provider, the location of remote servers, ping servers, paid or free VPN services, and more. In the case where the supplier has a large number of customers, there may be problems with the speed of Internet access during the busiest hours of operation.

Is there a free trial​

Sometimes it's enough to use a free trial to make sure the VPN doesn't meet your needs. Many providers offer free trial periods (from several hours to several weeks). The demo will allow you to try out the functions of this service and determine if it is personally suitable for you to use.

Money back guarantee​

Many services have a no questions asked money back guarantee; others apply draconian restrictions to their return policies. Therefore, you should always read the reviews of previous clients. defrauded users may report no refunds or compensation.

Having a VPN emergency switch​

The VPN connection can sometimes get interrupted even with a reliable provider. When the connection is lost, there is a risk of disclosing the real IP address. To prevent accidental disconnections that could expose data, many VPN providers build a kill switch into their software. It cuts off all internet connection whenever your VPN connection goes down and until the VPN connection is reestablished.

Which VPN to Choose: Free or Paid?​

Free VPNs are fairly easy to find, but they don't always offer completely free services. Many of them will have significant restrictions or will only be free for a short period of time. If a customer wants to use a VPN only occasionally and doesn't need a lot of bandwidth or features, there are plenty of cheap or free VPNs to choose from. Many resources set a fairly low limit and require the user to upgrade to a paid premium subscription in order to get more.

The methods that organizations using free VPNs use to profit from their customers range from moderately secure, such as displaying ads when opening a program, to incredibly intrusive, such as collecting and transmitting data without the customer's consent.
A free VPN can be useless or malicious. A recent report released by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research, the administrative office of logical research in Australia, analyzed 283 freeVPN apps from the Google Play store. The investigation found that 84% of the applications were transferring client IP addresses, 66% were moving clients across the network, and 18% were not suppressing activity in any way. The investigation further found that 38% of failed VPN applications contained malicious code such as adware and spyware. Many ISPs claim to keep no logs when in fact they track and profile their users. The often lengthy Privacy Policies and Terms of Service (ToS) create a complex web of questionable legal regulations that really explain the scale of the logging they use. In this case, providers hope that users will never read them.

How reliable are VPN service reviews?​

You should understand that VPNs are developments that operate in an unregulated online space. Some use questionable marketing strategies where the flow of money through sponsored reviews and affiliate programs for bloggers and major websites inflates their ratings. Competition in this business is not healthy at all. So, you want to be critical of the reviews and charts of the major news outlets. Therefore, one reasonable and credible review is not enough. It is worth looking for user reviews on Reddit or GitHub, as well as asking the opinion of tech-savvy people in the topic community.

Best FREE VPN Services​

TunnelBear (Free)​

TunnelBear is one of the best known free VPN services available and is also visually cute (with an animated bear mascot that literally tunnels to other countries when a client connects in the app). The free version of TunnelBear is easy to use with user-friendly mobile apps that are perfect for less tech-savvy users.

Official website: https://www.tunnelbear.com/




  • There are clients for most platforms, including mobile devices on Android and IOS, as well as personal computers running on Windows and MacOS
  • Ease of use for the client


  • Quite low monthly data volume - only 500 MB


Hotspot Shield (Free)​

Hotspot Shield - Offers a free version of its premium service that includes many of the paid features. The economy version of Hotspot includes 700MB per day - enough for everyday browsing and a little streaming from YouTube. Hotspot Shield apps are easy to install and configure, making it one of the easiest and best available VPN services out there.

Official website: https://www.hotspotshield.com




  • Large amount of data for every day compared to other free solutions
  • Focus on maximum safety
  • Ease of use


  • Not ideal for streaming high quality video and performance may degrade from time to time


ProtonVPN (Free)​

ProtonVPN is one of the best free VPN services and has no bandwidth limits, which means you can use it as much as you like and even stream video content without running out of data.

Official website: https://protonvpn.com




  • Native software for Windows PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Excellent privacy metrics


  • Connecting only 1 device
  • There are only 3 different locations to choose from for the user to choose
  • Users of the free version have the lowest priority and therefore there may be strong drops in speed during peak hours


Best PAID VPN Services​

NordVPN (paid)​

NordVPN is one of the best paid VPN services out there. Perhaps this is the most recognizable brand. NordVPN is extremely popular due to its low monthly cost. Like a number of other services, NordVPN enforces a true zero logging policy, which means there is no logging of user sessions, traffic, or timestamps.

Official website: https://nordvpn.com




  • Low monthly cost
  • A large number of payment methods, including cryptocurrencies
  • Providing a sufficiently high anonymity
  • A huge number of available servers in all locations
  • Connects up to six devices simultaneously
  • Can be used with popular streaming sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video


  • Not detected


ExpressVPN (Paid)​

ExpressVPN is a popular choice as it is one of the fastest venues available. Its high speed makes it ideal for streaming Netflix and other channels overseas. It uses TrustedServer technology to power its network, providing the highest levels of privacy and security.

Official website: https://www.expressvpn.com




  • Quick access to blocked sites
  • A large number of payment methods, including cryptocurrencies
  • Providing a sufficiently high anonymity


  • Not detected


HideMy.name (Paid)​

HideMy.name - offers a package connection for several days or months. The functions of the packages are basically the same and cover 89 servers in 40 countries (66 cities) around the world, all new servers are free. Additionally, there is OpenVPN, L2TP and PPTP, unlimited bandwidth. VPN is suitable for Windows, Mac, Linux, there is compatibility with iOS, Premium to site-tools. Private IP is included as an add-on and comes with a money-back guarantee.

Official website: https://hidemy.name/




  • Web proxy that allows you to change the IP address and unblock websites blocked due to location
  • Ads are removed from all sites, which protects against the actions of marketers and fraudsters
  • The user has access to support regarding the VPN website and the services provided


  • Price


Conclusion​

If the user really violates the legislation of the Russian Federation by his actions on the network, no even the best VPN for iOS or PC will save him from liability. For single use, it is enough to connect paid resources with demo versions or trial periods. If permanent encryption is required, for example, the client often uses Wi-Fi in public networks, it is recommended to subscribe to a high-quality paid service. You may have to test a few sentences yourself before finding your ideal.
 
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