We love our Internet. With a few button clicks you can find just any information you need, order millions of different products, get in touch with friends, and accomplish pretty much anything. The Internet entered the mainstream just 20 years ago and in the course of just a few decades it was able to completely revolutionize human civilization.
Yet the recent rash of security breaches, data leaks, fake news, government crackdowns, and various other developments have people rightly worried about their online safety. It gets even worse once you start traveling. So many scammers target travelers, some governments go to great lengths to censor the web, and many streaming service providers are country-specific.
There’s no one-size fits all solution for ensuring Internet convenience and accessibility while traveling, except perhaps setting up your own personal satellite. A more realistic and nearly as effective option is signing up for a virtual private network (VPN).
With a VPN, the data sent from your router is encrypted and then routed through a server. This means Internet Service Provider, hackers, oppressive governments, and other parties won’t be able to hack your in-transmission data. With a VPN you can also route your traffic through the United States and other countries, allowing you to access streaming services.
If you’re looking to use streaming services such as HBO while traveling abroad, you’re often SOL. A VPN, however, can help you gain access to these services. Streaming services are great but don’t underestimate the need for security while on the road. Many of us travelers rely on wifi hotspots at coffee shops or other facilities. Yet using such public wifi hotspots leaves you more vulnerable to hackers. Public wifi simply isn’t very secure. That is, unless you’re using a virtual private network.
Furthermore, many governments are starting to spy on their own citizens and even tourists. We’re not just talking about countries like Iran and North Korea. Countries like the United Kingdom are enacting draconian policies to snoop on their citizens. VPNs make it very difficult for snoopers to do their thing.
No, VPNs are not panaceas for all of our online security woes. However, they are among the best tools in the cybersecurity tool box. Want a VPN but can’t decide which one’s best? Let’s dig into the top 5 VPNs for 2018.
1. SaferVPN: Top performance at crazy cheap price
SaferVPN claims to be the fastest and easiest to use VPN available. There are a lot of excellent VPN services out there, but nothing suggests that SaferVPN is falling short on its lofty claims. Speeds generally are fantastic and the VPN is very easy to set up.
When you’re traveling, you probably don’t want to dig through your Internet connection settings, terminals, and other advanced systems. You just want something that works so you can focus on your travels. SaferVPN delivers on that front.
Speeds are also well-above average and among the fastest I’ve seen. Travelers from North America, Europe, Japan, S. Korea, and other areas well-known for their fast Internet are often shocked to realize how slow parts of the World Wide Web are. A subpar VPN, meanwhile, can slow speeds down even more.
SaferVPN runs 700 servers in 34 countries, including most advanced economies, meaning you can stream what you want. Some of the servers have actually been set up specifically for streaming.
Annual plans start at just $65.88, but the best VPN deal is the 2 year plan at just $78.96. It’s rare to find a so highly regarded VPN at such a cheap price.
2. IPVanish- Feature rich but moderately priced
IPVanish is a good choice for those who are especially paranoid about being watched. IPVanish goes above and beyond to ensure that there are no traffic or activity logs. Speeds are good and the connection is generally reliable, although some users report occasional drops. Overall, the computer-side clients are solid and easy to use.
IPVanish is a bit on the pricier side, costing $77.99 per year. This makes IPVanish among the more expensive VPNs out there. Also, there’s no free trial period. That gets you access to servers in 60 different countries, however.
3. ExpressVPN- Great All Rounder at a High Price
ExpressVPN offers a feature rich and easy to use VPN service. The provider has servers on every continent minus Antarctica and in roughly 150 different locations. The VPN client is easy to use, stable, and the service itself is reliable. Speeds are fast, although lag behind some other providers. Express VPN also features no activity or connection logs.
None of these features are particularly distinguishing. Every good VPN offers a similar level of service. Still, ExpressVPN does offer the complete practice, albeit at a high price. Express VPN annual plans weigh in at $99.99 per year. The first time you sign up, you will get 3 months extra for free but even then, this is among the priciest VPN plans out there.