These days,are urging Americans to increase their online protection. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reportedly extended to the internet, with Russian hackers buying and selling private data from Ukrainian institutions in a move that experts say could be a precursor to a wider cyberattack.
It’s smart time to shore up your own personal online defenses with a VPN.
Top products in this article:
Most popular VPN: NordVPN, $3.99/month and up
Best budget VPN deal: Surfshark VPN, $2.49/month and up
Best-rated VPN: ExpressVPN, $6.67/month and up
Maybe you’re worried about someone hacking your personal data. Or maybe you just want to browse the internet without worrying about being tracked by cookies. That’s where a VPN comes in.
When it comes to a virtual private network, the most popular option out there is NordVPN. That’s partially because of its connection speeds and wide array of servers that give users peace of mind. If you’re ready to take a look at NordVPN, we’ve got your introduction below. And if you’re looking for a more budget friendly alternative — after all, the most popular services often aren’t the cheapest — we have some solid alternatives to recommend.
Wait a second — what’s a VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) is designed to cloak your devices — everything from your TV to your tablet to your phone to your laptop — from prying eyes. NordVPN hides IP addresses and encrypt your internet traffic, making it all but impossible for snoops to know what sites you’ve been visiting and what data you’ve been transmitting.
With an increase in U.S. employees working from home, plenty of Americans have grown familiar with VPNs via work; many businesses require remote employees to use them. But many individuals also like VPNs. Think about browsing the internet when using a public hotspot, for example. Public Wi-Fi networks are hunting grounds for cyber criminals — a VPN such as NordVPN offers you much-needed protection when using one.
So is NordVPN worth it? What about alternatives?
There are many virtual private network services available, but right now, NordVPN dominates the market. Here’s why — plus some alternatives if you’re concerned with user ratings, or if you’re on a budget.
NordVPN: $3.99/month and up
NordVPN is the most popular VPN service in terms of market share. In part, that’s because of the service’s speed and reliability. Along with an advanced encryption standard, NordVPN offers connection speeds of up to 6,730 Mbps, plus 24/7 live chat support and more than 5,100 servers in 60 countries. NordVPN has extra features like a password manager, cloud file encryption and 10 GB of private cloud storage that you can add to your plan. You can connect up to six devices simultaneously.
NordVPN is offering up to 70% off its two-year plan right now, bringing the entry price down to $3.99 a month. Sign up for two years of service and you’ll get a free gift — either one free month, one free year or two free years of extra subscription time (determined by random chance).
NordVPN comes with a 30-day, money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk to try it out.
NordVPN, $3.49/month and up
ExpressVPN: $6.67/month and up
When it comes to user trust, here’s an alternative you should consider: ExpressVPN. It’s hailed by many reviewers as the best VPN provider, garnering a lot of commendation for its quality of service and coverage. Some reviewers also report faster server speeds; ExpressVPN has a network of high-speed servers in 160 locations across 94 countries, giving users reliable connectivity from most areas in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Some reviews also have praised ExpressVPN’s easy-to-navigate interface, making it a great choice for VPN newbies.
With service plans that currently start at $6.67 monthly, ExpressVPN offers the same encryption standard used by security experts and the U.S government, plus IP address masking, support for up to five simultaneous connections, and 24/7 responsive live chat support. It comes with a 30-day, risk-free trial.
Service plans currently start at $8.32 per month. Right now, subscribers can get that rate when opting for the 12-month plan. That’s a savings of 35%.
ExpressVPN, $8.32/month and up
Surfshark VPN: $2.49/month and up
With the same advanced encryption standard as its pricier rivals above, Surfshark VPN is among the best value on this list — ideal for budget-conscious users who want to keep the cost down. While other services limit your VPN usage to only five or six devices, Surfshark VPN protects an unlimited number. That said: It has only 3,200 servers, fewer than NordVPN, but they are spread across more than 65 countries. Starting at $2.49 a month, this service also allows specific apps, website and and streaming services to bypass the VPN for your convenience.
Surfshark is offering an 81% discount on its two-year plan, or a 69% discount if you opt for a one-year commitment.
Surfshark VPN, $2.49/month and up