ANYONE looking to protect their data or online browsing history should look to make use of a virtual private network (VPN) app.
To help, lend a hand we’ve rounded up some of the best free and paid-for VPNs out there on a host of devices, so read on for our recommendations.
It’s important to note that VPNs can be used to get around geo-restrictions that stop you watching videos in certain countries. This is illegal, so it’s important not to use them for this purpose. VPNs should only be used to help protect your personal data from snoopers.
More recently, the backlash over Snapchat’s app redesign had some utilising a VPN to get around the update – although the company’s official Twitter account warns against it, and so do we.
There are plenty of VPN programs popping up online all the time, so we’ve taken the liberty of finding the best paid and free ones to keep you secure.
The best VPN apps for PC
Our tech expert Alessandro Mascellino put the Netherlands-based Surfshark to the test for a couple of days, and found it it to be a service that’s excellent value for money, comes with an ‘extremely user-friendly interface’ and delivers reliable speeds all round. On top of that, it offers great customer support and can support an unlimited number of devices.
Read our full Surfshark review.
NordVPN offers clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux – plus a Chrome plug-in and Firefox add-on. It’s an easy-to-use tool that boasts double encryption to ensure the most secure solution around. The search bar offers quick access to global servers, and there’s extra privacy through connection to the Tor onion network (an anonymous web browsing software used by major sites like The New York Times and Facebook).
One of the best VPNs across both mobile and desktop platforms, ExpressVPN has a vast network of 160 locations in 94 countries. Most of its servers provide excellent speed and client support is known to be one of the best. With several security features and support for torrents and Netflix, ExpressVPN is certainly at the top of this list.
- ExpressVPN (£10.18/month, £78.6/15 months) – Get it here
Like most free VPNs, TunnelBear boasts a premium version that ditches the download limit restrictions. But, if you’re okay with a data cap of 500MB of traffic each month, this is a solid free VPN. We’d recommend using it intermittently to get around the constraints, and you’ll probably enjoy the cutesy design while you’re at it.
The best VPN apps for Mac
A lightning-fast VPN for Mac, this Switzerland-based provider owns and operates all of its servers. Auto-selection of the fastest servers is just one of the paid perks, along with auto-encryption of untrusted WiFi networks, and unrestricted connections by IP address.
Betternet’s free-forever service doesn’t come with a data limit. But be warned, it’s considered one of the worst for intercepting malware and you won’t be able to choose the server you connect to.
Mullvad’s strong suit is privacy. Most VPN providers try to make their users as anonymous as possible, but Mullvad takes things one step further. The company runs its own VPN network, and users don’t need to provide names or email addresses when they register for the service. They can even pay cash if they wish to remain completely anonymous.
The best VPN apps for iPhone
You may have heard of the Opera web browser, well the company behind it also boasts a VPN app. Its free and unlimited, and also blocks ads and trackers. So what’s the catch? It can be slow and unresponsive at times. But you get what you pay for (or in this case, what you don’t pay for).
- CyberGhost VPN (£10.28/month, £68.58/year) – Get it here
Balancing a very good speed with flexible pricing options, KeepSolid VPN allows users to pick monthly and yearly plans, as well as a lifetime licence they can get for £171.61. It also has interesting extra features such as BitTorrent support, browser clients and specific streaming services.
- KeepSolid VPN Unlimited (£8.57/month, £51.48/year) – Get it here
The best VPN apps for Android
Building on the success and features of the PC version, ExpressVPN for Android is super-fast and extremely safe (touting an SSL secured network with 256-bit encryption, for all the privacy buffs). Everyone else can rest assured knowing that it should always have a connection available near you.
One of the few truly free VPN apps out there, OpenVPN is open-source (which means other, more privacy-minded folk can dig through its code and see if it measures up). It requires much more legwork than the paid apps on this list, and there’s plenty of advanced settings that need fine-tuning before you can fire it up. It should be noted that you’ll need to create and set up an OpenVPN server in order to use the app.
Private Internet Access VPN
- Private Internet Access VPN(£8.99/month, £34/year) – Get it here
The best VPN apps for unlimited device coverage
If you own multiple devices with different Operating Systems (think an iPhone running iOS, a Windows PC and a Mac-book Pro), or if you’re looking for a solution for the whole family, it may be difficult to find a VPN service ticking all those boxes.
Below are some of the best multi-platform VPN solutions offering unlimited device coverage.
One of the fastest VPNs in this list, Surfshark offers unlimited device cover and it is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, as well as iOS and Android – we’ve already picked it out as one of the best VPNs for PC
As we’ve already said, Surfshark offers most of the features you could ask of a VPN service, including AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN UDP and TCP, IKEv2 security protocols.
With more than 400 servers in 110 locations, Windscribe has a big-enough network for you not to worry about being left out of a secure connection.
This VPN has clients available for most devices, including Mac and Windows PCs, iPhone and Linux devices, and even browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
- Windscribe (£3.31/month, £39.70/year) – Get it here
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Source: The Sun