Privacy is a big deal. Many people are looking for ways to tighten their online privacy because ISPs can snoop on their internet activity. ISPs can even legally sell private information, especially in countries like the US. The best solution to secure your internet browsing is a VPN.
There a many VPNs to choose from, but not all of them are a good fit for privacy. Unclear logging policies, bad reputation, and lack of security features can make you even more vulnerable. However, there some amazing VPNs that are effective for online privacy and security.
Short on time?
Here are the best VPNs for privacy:
- NordVPN – the best choice for privacy with audited no-log policy and RAM-disk servers
- ExpressVPN – privacy-focused and reputable VPN service with amazing speeds
- Surfshark – a great choice for online security and RAM-disk server infrastructure
- Private Internet Access – suitable for secure torrenting and private browsing
- CyberGhost – an alternative choice with a no-logs policy
How Does a VPN Protect Your Privacy?
A VPN creates a private tunnel from your device to a server you connect. It encrypts your data so you have a private and secure connection to the internet. No one can intercept, see or tell what you do online. A VPN masks your IP address, therefore it hides your location and identity from some websites.
How it works
The VPN software on your device encrypts your data and sends it to a VPN server. From that point, the data is decrypted and then sent to the internet. A VPN server uses its IP address on your behalf so the website can not tell if it was you. The VPN server also encrypts data coming from the internet before reaching your device. Then your VPN app decrypts the data so that you can read it.
What Features Should You Look for in a VPN for Privacy?
When looking for a VPN for privacy there are few features to consider. One of the most critical features is a no-logs policy. Other features include strong security, encryption, RAM-disk servers, and Internet Kill Switch.
Here’s what to look for in a VPN for privacy:
- Strict no-log policy: when you use a VPN, you simply give the VPN the same authority your ISP had. This means the VPN has access to your data and can track all your internet activities. The best VPN for privacy will never log or collect any user information. It is the most essential feature for a VPN to have.
- Independent audit: some VPNs claim to provide online security and privacy when in fact they do not. Independent auditing helps to prove the claims of no-logging policies and server security. Only a few VPNs have done the independent audit to stand out of the crowd and provide evidence of a strict no-log policy.
- Security: a good VPN has AES encryption to guard against hacking attempts. Strong encryption ensures you don’t have to worry about your data falling into the wrong hands. Encryption protects hackers and ISPs from accessing your data and online activities.
- No IP or DNS leaks: IP or DNS leaks happen when your real IP leaks while using a VPN. When this happens, you can no longer bypass geo-blocking, and your location can be easily traced. The best services have zero IP or DNS leaks and ensure your privacy at all times.
- Kill switch: VPN kill switch is a feature designed to prevent your connection from accidental IP exposure. Sometimes your VPN connection might drop, leaving you exposed. Internet Kill Switch will protect you from accidental disconnects at all times.
- RAM-disk servers: RAM-disk servers cannot store any data. As soon as they are restarted, all information stored on the servers is completely wiped off. This prevents from any data being collected in case a server is seized, as all information will be gone.
- Jurisdiction: a country where a VPN operates may have an impact on your privacy. If a VPN company is located in a country that has mandatory data retention laws, then the VPN provider may be forced to keep logs. A jurisdiction without data retention laws might be more user-friendly, but it does not have a huge impact. For those who care the most about privacy could something to consider.
Best VPNs for Privacy
NordVPN is a well-rounded service that is an excellent choice for privacy. It operates in Panama, a country with no mandatory detention laws. It has AES 256-bit encryption, strong security, and a strict no-log policy.
For utmost VPN privacy, NordVPN has done a second audit by PWC. The auditors confirmed the no-logging claims and server security. NordVPN also started to upgrade its infrastructure to run on RAM-disk and colocating servers. Colocation means that NordVPN fully owns the servers and no third parties or data centers are involved.
Security features include an internet kill switch, DNS and IP leak protection, and automatic DDoS protection. This VPN has launched NordLynx, a WireGuard-based protocol for strong encryption and high performance. It’s extremely fast and uses modern cryptographic algorithms for security.
NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee and works with Netflix.
ExpressVPN is a popular privacy-focused service that operates under the British Virgin Islands jurisdiction, meaning there are no data retention laws. It has strong encryption and no IP or DNS leaks. The service has a strict no-logs policy and has a kill switch feature for utmost security and privacy.
ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that has been verified and proven no logging claims. It underwent a third-party audit from PricewaterhouseCoopers, which verified the VPN’s TrustedServer (RAM-Disk servers) feature and no-logging policy.
The service has fast speeds and over 180+ locations worldwide. It supports P2P traffic and allows secure torrenting. This VPN has apps for every platform and allows up to 5 devices to be connected at once.
ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its plans.
Surfshark is a VPN that has proven to be reliable and effective for online security and privacy. Like ExpressVPN, it has its headquarters in the British Virgin Islands.
This provider has strong security policies and privacy features like VPN obfuscation, no-log policy, and secure network operating on RAM-disk servers.
Surfshark covers all major operating systems and allows unlimited simultaneous connections. It supports WireGuard, has no IP and DNS leaks, and has passed an independent security audit for its browser extensions.
Sufshark is excellent for those who want to stream on Netflix, Disney+, or other platforms. It unblocks almost all Netflix libraries and due to fast speeds, you can watch it in HD.
Surfhsark has a 30-day guarantee on all its affordable plans.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is another popular VPN with over 19,000 servers in 76 countries. PIA has its headquarters in Denver, Colorado, USA, a country that makes up the 14 Eyes Alliance. Regardless of where it is based, PIA is very clear about its no-log policy and is considered one of the most private services.
The VPN allows users to customize encryption algorithms and protocols for utmost security. Users also have the option of switching to WireGuard for increased security and speed. There is the automatic kill switch to disable your internet access if the VPN drops. It also has malware and ad-tracking protection.
Private Internet Access has leak protection features and allows simultaneous connection for up to 10 devices. Besides, it’s one of the best choices for torrent users due to fast speeds and port-forwarding.
PIA has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its plans.
- Block ads, trackers, and malware
- Can be used with 10 devices simultaneously
- Unlimited Bandwidth
- 3200+ Servers in 29 Countries
- No Traffic or Request logs
- 7-day money-back guarantee
CyberGhost is fast, cheap, and a good VPN for privacy. It is based in Romania, a country outside the 14 Eyes alliance. This means with the VPN, your data is safe from scrutiny and being shared with other countries.
CyberGhost has a no-logging policy, strong encryption, and a kill switch. The VPN has a no-logging policy and IP leak protection. Over the years it has proven to be one of the most reliable VPNs for online privacy.
This provider supports OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2 protocols. It’s a good choice for those who want to unblock Netflix or use torrents. CyberGhost has one of the longest money-back guarantees of 45 days.
VPNs You Should Avoid for Privacy
Not all VPNs are good for privacy. There are some you would want to avoid. Here are some that are not a great fit if you’re looking for secure online browsing.
- Free VPNs: Free VPNs are never a good option for online privacy. Since such service providers have to make money somehow, many of them resort to selling their users’ data. Many free VPNs also come with weak security features that leave you vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
- VPNs that are proxies: some lesser-known services call themselves a VPN than in reality they are just a proxy. These types of services mislead users into thinking that their connections are private. A proxy does not ensure any privacy and may do more harm than using a regular connection.
Out of hundreds of VPNs there a few that stand out. Services like NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN are the best for your privacy and security online. They have the essential features that protect your online activities from ISP and eavesdroppers.
Here are some of the best VPNs for privacy: