Using laptop at the airportIt may have once been the case that the only reason why someone would legitimately want to have a virtual private network was so that they could “dial in” to the office intranet from a remote location. Certain files or programs could only be accessed while in the office and a VPN provided the necessary workaround when you weren’t at your desk. These days, VPN services have become invaluable for a far greater range of users for a far greater range of reasons.

Maybe you are hidden behind the “Great Firewall of China” and you need access to your Google Docs and Facebook account. Perhaps you want to keep your connection as safe and secure as possible, far away from possible prying eyes. Or you want to maintain your privacy lest your ISP sell your browsing history without your permission. Whatever the case, it can be daunting to decide which of the countless VPN services is for you. Here are six of the best.

PureVPN

VPN services for people who need faster speeds

VPN services for people who need faster speeds

Do you work with rich media, like 4K video, and require the fastest Internet connection possible? While you may encounter slower speeds with other VPN services, PureVPN boasts some of the fastest connections around. Trusted by over one million satisfied users, PureVPN encrypts all your data and runs AES-256 security. Over 500 optimized servers are strategically located around the globe “to give you the best and fastest streaming speed on all devices all the time.” Pricing starts as low as $2.95 a month when you pre-pay for two years at a time.

TunnelBear

Smarter than the average bear

Smarter than the average bear

If you’ve been listening to any podcasts or watching YouTube videos lately, then chances are that you’ve been hit by one of the promos for TunnelBear. They’re aggressively marketing the service to grant “simple, private, free access to the open Internet.” Not everyone is going to be the most technically adept person in the world, so you may be relieved to hear that TunnelBear is one of the easiest VPN programs to use with an elegant and attractive user interface, including on mobile. The free plan gives you 500MB of data every month. Beyond that, you can pay $9.99 per month or $49.99 a year for unlimited data.

VPN Unlimited

When security is your primary concern

When security is your primary concern

For users who primary concern is with privacy and security, VPN Unlimited by KeepSolid could be a very solid option. The first two of the key benefits listed on the site are “total security” (via data encryption) and “absolute privacy” (with changing your IP address and no tracking). Power users will appreciate the ability to use multiple devices at once, as well as handy browser extensions. Gain access to over 1000 high speed servers in over 70 countries with the OpenVPN protocol and IPsec IKEv1. Choose to pay $6.99 a month, $39.99 a year, or $149.99 for a lifetime subscription.

NordVPN

More robust features for technical users

More robust features for technical users

Offering support for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iPhone, NordVPN prides itself as the world’s most advanced VPN. If you still have legacy devices that work best with PPTP and L2TP protocols, NordVPN can do that. Never devices can leverage the IKEv2 protocol with AES-256-GCM encryption and SHA-384 hashing. Power users will also appreciate the ability to connect up to six devices at the same time as well as the ability to get a specific, dedicated IP address in select locations for a nominal fee. Get double data encryption through a click-and-go interface. Pricing ranges from $5.75 to $11.95 per month.

Private Internet Access

Access over 3,000 global servers

Access over 3,000 global servers

Looking for a no nonsense solution that’ll add an extra layer of protection on top? Private Internet Access has one of the most minimalist interfaces of the VPN services listed here, but it’s perfectly functional and adds in ad blocking for good measure. For an extra layer of security, you can even pay for your subscription via Bitcoin or with major brand gift cards. Perhaps most impressively, Private Internet Access boasts over 3,000 servers, though they are “only” in 25 countries. Pay $6.95 a month, $35.95 for six months, or $39.95 for one year.

Image credit: Kars Alfrink / Flickr

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