Top VPN Services

A VPN can safeguard your information by ensuring your connections are secure and private. But while sweeping claims of military-grade encryption or complete digital obscurity could be tempting, Consumer Reports’ Yael Grauer recommends that you look for more concrete signs that a service is legitimate before you sign a contract.

The best place to start is compatibility – search for a service that can support at a minimum the most popular operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. Then you want to check the number of devices the service is compatible with, and how many simultaneous connections it allows. It is also important to know the number of servers available and their locations around world. This can help you pick one that is close to your home or offers speedy speeds when you travel abroad.

Certain services offer specific features, like dedicated ‘Netflix servers that allow geo-restricted platforms or add security measures, such as RAM-only servers (which erase data each time the service reboots), dark web monitoring and threat protection. It is also important to verify the structure of ownership of the company and whether there have been any previously reported privacy breaches or data breach scandals.

The best overall service we tested was NordVPN with its thousands of servers spread across 94 countries AES-256 encryption and ChaCha20, an effective kill switch with split tunneling, as well as obfuscated servers. It’s also one of the few providers to publish its detailed no-logs policy and engages PricewaterhouseCoopers for annual audits. Its prices aren’t cheap however you get a lot of features and a long-term, comprehensive plan that includes a full 30 days money-back guarantee.

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