ANYONE looking to protect their data or online browsing history should look to make use of a virtual private network (VPN) service.
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.
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It’s important to note that VPNs can be used to get around geo-restrictions that stop you from watching videos in certain countries.
While this is not illegal per se, it is generally against streaming platforms’ terms and conditions, so companies like Netflix reserve the right to cut you off. At the time of writing, however, there have been no reports of streaming companies ever enforcing these terms.
Additionally, VPNs can also be used to help protect your personal data from snoopers.
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.
And if you’ve got streaming in your sights, head to our pick of the best VPNs for Netflix.
We tested ExpressVPN in early 2022 and found it to a be hugely reliable service that offers a particularly high number of servers across the world.
Yes, it’s that bit more expensive than other leading services, but it offers a range of professional features including split tunnelling, which enables VPN use just for specific programs, and a kill switch, should the VPN get accidentally disconnected.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Our tech expert Alessandro Mascellino put the Netherlands-based Surfshark to the test for a couple of days and found 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 be installed on an unlimited number of devices using a single subscription.
Read our full Surfshark review.
Our writers tested NordVPN in January 2022, and as you can read in our full, hands-on review (see below), it turned out to be ‘among the best they’ve tried’ – which is no small praise.
It has a slightly unusual interface – you can pick locations from a list as well as a map – and it offers above-par security features.
NordVPN’s privacy policies are among the most transparent in the market, and our reviewer found it did a sterling job of unblocking streaming sites like Netflix, Prime and Disney+.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Merging a robust network with a wonderfully pleasant interface, CyberGhost is a solid choice for anyone looking for a VPN working properly on a variety of different devices.
- CyberGhost VPN (£10.28/month, £68.58/year) – Get it here
Read our full CyberGhost VPN review.
Private Internet Access VPN
The perfect balance between performance and price, the Private Internet Access app features a great list of options, including port forwarding support, proxy support and custom encryption and handshaking methods.
Our tech expert tried out PIA in March 2022, and found it to be a solid VPN that offers substantial value for money.
Read our full PIA VPN review.
- Private Internet Access VPN (£8.99/month, £34/year) – 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.
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.
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
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) is essentially an encrypted connection over the Internet from a device to a network.
Because of this encryption, your device’s IP address, the websites you visit, and your location become undetectable to your internet service provider (ISP) as well as to other people connected to the same network as you, thus helping you achieve a higher level of privacy.
Why do I need a VPN?
VPNs can be used, for example, to secure your traffic when connecting to public networks (think about the TfL internet network or your local Starbucks) to guard against hackers and snoopers.
However, these tools have many others uses. For instance, they can effectively unblock geo-restricted content on Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming services.
Additionally, VPNs can help help you reclaim your privacy not only from your ISP, but also from apps and services you use, and even the government.
When is the best time to buy a VPN?
Generally speaking, Black Friday remains the best time of the year to get a VPN subscription at a record-low price.
However, virtually all VPN service providers offer substantial savings on one and two-year plans.
Additionally, most of them also offer a 30-day period in which you can rescind your contract and get your money back.
Do I need to pay for a VPN?
There are free VPN services out there, but they either employ questionable data practices (e.g. Betternet) or they come with substantial limitations, like the 500MB monthly data cap on TunnelBear.
Still, we strongly believe that investing in a good VPN is worth it if you value your privacy.
And if you’re not sure about which service is right for you, the 30-day money-back guarantee of many VPNs is a handy tool to help you choose without breaking the bank.
Enjoyed our pick of the best VPN services in 2022? Then why not have a look at our list of the best VPNs for Netflix.
We have also rounded up the best broadband deals you can get right now.
For additional tech recommendations, head over to our dedicated Sun Selects Tech page.
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