Best VPNs for Privacy

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Contributor, Benzinga
November 16, 2022

Virtual private networks (VPNs) offer increased privacy and security when searching the web. The software provides an added layer of defense against data thieves. VPNs protect sensitive information such as an individual’s internet protocol (IP) address and location. 

When comparing the best VPNs for privacy, examine features such as price point, ability to hide your IP address and location and effectiveness of safeguarding your personal information. In an increasingly public world, some details are better left securely out of sight. 

Best VPN for Privacy

When using public internet connections at airports or coffee shops, a VPN can guard your information against hackers by creating a private network. A VPN serves as a priceless privacy feature that prevents advertisers and thieves from accessing your data.

NordVPN

For over a decade, NordVPN has offered customers a safer and more secure internet experience. The company offers a bounty on potential bugs to continuously update the software while incentivizing the public to notify creators about possible network vulnerabilities. 

In terms of privacy, NordVPN has extensive security features intended to proactively safeguard a user from threats. For example, the software includes a wide selection of security features ranging from simplified one-click encryption for mobile devices to a standard no-log policy. NordVPN does not collect or share user data when it comes to internet activity. This step creates an intensified amount of privacy and helps prevent details of your internet usage from falling into the wrong hands.  

The pricing for NordVPN remains comprehensive thanks to three package levels. Coverage ranges from standard to complete. The complete package includes useful features such as a data breach scanner and a password manager. A monthly subscription to the standard package costs less than $12. All plans are backed by a 30-day money-back policy. 

Surfshark

Since its inception in 2018, Surfshark has created a team with over 300 employees. Surfshark offers a wide range of products from VPN to antivirus and data-breach detection technology.

Because Surfshark focuses on both online privacy and security, the privacy features are numerous. The company’s VPN assists in preventing third-party trackers, shielding IP addresses and stopping possible hackers from tracking an individual’s whereabouts. The VPN uses strong encryption and functions using a no-log policy. Customers can use the software on an unlimited amount of devices, which can prove useful for people with multiple phones or laptops. 

In terms of price, you can choose from a one-month up to a two-year subscription. It’s possible to receive coverage on a monthly plan for less than $13. The company offers a money-back guarantee for a set initial period. 

Private Internet Access VPN

Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN has over a decade of experience in the industry. The company uses open-source software. Open-source software allows all curious individuals to check the source code, which promotes transparency with customers. 

The company touts features specifically designed with privacy in mind. For example, Private Internet Access VPN has a no-log policy, uses an ad blocker to prevent trackers, offers advanced split-tunneling features and provides a kill switch. 

The company allows users to access a static IP address, which better shields an individual’s actual IP address from prying eyes. A split-tunnel feature allows a user to select specific sites such as financial websites that have the option to bypass the VPN. A kill switch prevents data leaks in the case of sudden drops in internet or VPN connection. 

The features accommodate individuals in terms of both safety and privacy by hiding a user’s personal identity, internet activity and geographic location. Customers are able to connect up to 10 devices. 

Prices vary, depending on the selected subscription level. Monthly fees typically begin at less than $12. The subscriptions can extend over three years, depending on the selected package. 

IPVanish

IPVanish focuses on providing a VPN with advanced security and a high-speed internet connection. The company has features such as a no-log policy to avoid keeping track of customer internet usage. Encrypted network connection promotes safer internet use and makes it difficult for hackers to see your internet activity. 

The VPN software also hides a user’s actual IP address by showing a different one when searching the web. The provided IP addresses are shared among IPVanish customers to make it difficult to trace activity back to a specific user. The company works to prevent advertisers from tracking personal internet use details. Individuals are able to place the VPN software on multiple devices. 

Subscription prices start as low as $11 per month. IPVanish offers a yearly package that includes antivirus protection. 

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN offers services to customers in over 150 countries. The company was founded in 2009 and has since expanded to serve over 3 million subscribers.

The VPN features include split tunneling, a kill switch, encryption and a private domain name system (DNS). A DNS is used to identify computers by translating certain information into IP addresses. ExpressVPN guards user privacy by running on a personal and encrypted DNS. 

The company follows a no-log policy which means no record of activity logs or connection logs are available. The VPN is also tested by independent auditors to oversee both the company’s technology and privacy policies.

Users can select between three main payment plans, typically ranging from one month to one year. A one-month subscription can cost less than $13. 

Why Do You Need a VPN When Using the Internet?

A VPN offers several key benefits designed to promote user safety and privacy. Virtual private networks add an extra layer of protection often by hiding a user’s IP address, shielding sensitive data, blocking advertisers from obtaining sensitive information and concealing your location. When examining the best VPN for security and privacy, be sure to compare the extent to which each software offers both heightened security and privacy. 

Hide IP address: When using the internet, it’s often a good idea to hide your IP address. Each internet-using device has an IP address. The uniqueness of an IP address can make it easier to track users across the web. Hiding the IP address promotes safety by shielding information that can be linked to a specific device. 

Help prevent tracking by advertisers: Some VPNs block advertisers from showing ads and prevent trackers. Although it’s not a common feature, certain VPNs offer tracker prevention for an extra charge or increased package purchase. 

Shield location: It’s common for a VPN to hide a user’s location. Shielding an individual’s location remains an excellent way to prevent curious individuals from pinpointing your position. 

Protect sensitive data: VPNs protect sensitive data by creating a secure and private connection to the internet. Such privacy can prove useful when deciding to access sensitive emails or when searching the internet. 

Considerations With VPNs

Before selecting a VPN, examine the various privacy policies offered by each company. It’s important to know exactly what information is collected.

VPN privacy policy: Each VPN includes a privacy policy. Read the privacy policy before obtaining a VPN to understand just how much personal information will likely be collected or shared with third parties. Look for companies that have no-log policies. Read about the details of each company’s policy for a deeper understanding of how your sensitive data will likely be handled. 

Internet speed: VPNs have the ability to hinder internet speed. Search for software that offers improved speeds and increased connectivity to avoid unnecessary slowdowns. 

Customer satisfaction:  Read reviews placed on third-party websites such as Trustpilot to obtain a better perspective on the quality of a specific VPN. When reading reviews, examine both the newer reviews in combination with the highest- and lowest-ranked comments. Reading a variety of customer reviews can craft a more informed understanding of a company. 

Not virus-proof: Keep in mind that it’s still possible to get a virus when using a VPN. The VPN often improves privacy and security, but that does not mean that a device is safe from all malicious internet content.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Do VPNs actually protect your privacy?

A

A VPN safeguards privacy by shielding your online actions, hiding sensitive personal data, cloaking your IP address and safeguarding your actual location. The exact degree that a user maintains privacy online depends on the specific VPN choice. Check the extent of privacy that a VPN offers you within the indicated guarantee timeline. Tools such as reputable leak tests reveal the actual degree to which a specific VPN is providing you with privacy.

Q

What does a VPN not hide?

A

A VPN does not hide information posted or linked to your social accounts. For example, it’s possible to view posts and interactions made on social websites such as likes or reshares made while using a VPN. Be sure to clear your cookies to have more privacy when searching online. A VPN does not make a device impervious to cyber attacks or viruses.