4 Best VPN Services (2021): For Routers, PCs, iPhones, Android, and More
How We Choose
VPN providers ask they don’t have hidden logs, which means they don’t know about what you do to use their services. There are various reasons not to be skeptical about this claim, as they must have a unique ID used to be used by a payment method, which means there is a potential to link the number to your credit. card (and thus your identity) of your browsing activity.
For that reason, I limit my testing to providers who have been subpoenaed for data on US or European users and failed to produce logs or were subjected to a third-party security audit. While this standard does not guarantee providers will not store log data, this selection method gives us a starting point for filtering through hundreds of VPN providers.
Using these criteria, I chose the field of the most popular, respected VPN providers and started testing them on different networks (4G, cable, FiOS, and many disease -slowing networks in coffee shops) in the last nine months. I tested the network speed and ease of use (how you connect), and I also considered the available payment methods, how many dropped connections, and any slows I encountered.
What Happened to ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN, which was previously one of our top picks, was purchased by Coffee Technologies earlier this year. Selling any VPN service causes some concern, but in this case more concern than usual. Coffee Technologies, formerly known as Crossrider, has been accused of distributing malware and fraud. It also owns the previously trusted Private Internet Access (better known as PIA), which we also do not recommend, and a number of VPN monitoring sites.
Due to Coffee’s background and its board, which have affiliations with both British and Israeli government agencies, we no longer recommend the use of ExpressVPN or PIA. If you want more details on the company’s background, check out this article on Restore Privacy.
Why you don’t need a VPN
It’s important to understand not only what a VPN can do, but also what it can’t do. As mentioned above, VPNs act like a secure tunnel. A VPN protects you from people trying to snoop your traffic as it travels between your computer and the website you’re browsing or the service you’re using.
Public networks that anyone can join-even if they need to use a password to connect-can easily be hunted down by attackers who want to see your network data. If your data is sent unencrypted-such as if the website you’re connecting to doesn’t use the secure HTTPS method-much of the information an attacker can get from you can be harmful. Make it easy for web browsers to tell if your connection is secure. Just look for a green lock icon at the top of your screen next to the web address. Nowadays, most websites connect using HTTPS, so you’re just fine. But if the green lock icon isn’t there, because it’s not always on school, library, and small business websites, anyone can see any data you send. Unless you are using a VPN, which hides all your activity, even on unencrypted websites.