Remember, if everyone is out to get you, and they are, a little paranoia is a good thing to have. A VPN helps but is not a complete panacea for online paranoia. VPNs are everywhere these days and finding a good one that meets your requirements takes effort.
Google VPN or best VPN or recommended VPNs and your browser will display lists of VPN reviews, too many of which are bogus. Yeah, I know. The internet works that way and news isn’t the only thing that’s fake these days.
Here’s what I did to narrow down my VPN search. Reviews. Ratings. No, not the ones on website reviews, but I did use some of those– especially from reputable websites that probably are not getting a commission from their top picks– to verify my results and resulting choices.
Check out the iOS App Store. Search for VPN. What you’ll get is a list which you might think could be filtered better, but Apple doesn’t seem to want to give users that much control. My criteria is simple. No logging, large number of servers and IP addresses, large list of available countries, unlimited data usage, and a competitive price.
Here’s my list of those I tried. I use the top two, used #5, and keep an account on #4.
ExpressVPN – This one has been around awhile as VPNs go and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. ExpressVPN claims to have more than 2,000 VPN servers scattered over nearly 100 countries. It uses AES 256-bit encryption and has apps for macOS, iOS, Windows, Linux, and Android. Pricing varies, but the latest is $8.32 for 12 months.
NordVPN – This is a close second place. NordVPN has similar features and checks everything off my check list. There is an option for a Double VPN connection if you are more paranoid than most. Otherwise, you get high encryption, no logging, an option to change your real IP address, DNS leak protection, apps for everything, plus a three-year-plan which gets the monthly price tag down to under $3 (a special as of this writing; check back to each site because I noticed that prices change regularly).
PureVPN – If price is an issue, PureVPN can help with the lowest price of those I tested, but with fewer options (servers, IP addresses, countries, etc.). It has a seven day money back policy, 140 countries and 750 VPN servers (some in China), ad blockers, encryption, and apps for everything. I found connections and usage to be a bit slower than #1 and #2 on my list.
TunnelBear – One of the first VPNs I used doesn’t say it’s a VPN. TunnelBear is about as friendly as a VPN can be, and has a free package of 500MB a month so I keep the account, so it’s free to try. You get the basics and a bit more. AES 2560bit encryption, apps for all devices, no logging, but availability in the smallest number of countries. That said, I’ve never had a connection problem, but speed is modest compared to others.
Everyone’s privacy and security requirements vary, but I’m online much of the day and night, travel frequently, and prefer a VPN with the basic features plus plenty of servers, IP addresses, and countries. All of these get very good reviews on the App Store, and that’s where I started the hunt. Many of the better VPN services get tens of thousands of reviews, four and five stars. Start there. Some of these, HotspotShield is an example, have been around awhile and have tens of thousands of reviews, but as their customer base grows, the servers and connections get crowded and performance drops.
There you go. Four good ones, in order of preference, and one that should be good based on the volume of reviews, but needs to have an easily accessible website (if you find the VPN’s home page, let me know).
Your requirements may vary, of course, and there are others that are worthy. What I would like to see is an Apple-branded VPN tied into my iTunes account. Then we’re talking privacy and security, Apple.