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5 Best VPNs for San Francisco in 2023 (Fast Speeds and Privacy)

Best San Francisco VPN

Key Points

  • You can use a VPN in San Francisco to protect your identity and get extra security. It is also a great tool for unblocking geo-restricted content and accessing different regions.
  • Some SF VPNs are more capable and reliable than others. This is why you should pick a service that suits you best.
  • Prioritize VPNs with fast and reliable servers in San Francisco, but you can also use a VPN that doesn’t offer servers in the city.

We used more than 20 VPNs. Our testing has shown, that NordVPN is the best VPN for San Francisco.

Are you planning to visit San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Silicon Valley, and other landmarks in the city? Perhaps you’re already living in SF and use Wi-Fi in public locations. Or, maybe you just want to access foreign sites from San Francisco, and you’ll often find that they’re geo-restricted and unavailable.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to act on all of these topics, and that’s to use a reliable VPN service for San Francisco. With a VPN, you can easily change your IP address to access any website and protect your online identity by keeping your actual IP address secret.

That said, choosing the right VPN for all of these tasks can be difficult. That’s why I’ve created this detailed article that covers everything you need to know about picking the right Bay area VPN and other important factors. But, before going any further, here’s a quick table covering my top five SF VPN picks:

Best VPNs for San Francisco – our shortlist:

  1. NordVPN – The best VPN for San Francisco overall.
  2. Surfshark – Top VPN for San Francisco with unlimited connections.
  3. AtlasVPN – Great VPN with a free version.
  4. PrivateVPN – Simple to use and great for torrenting.
  5. ExpressVPN – A fast and premium SF VPN.

A Quick San Francisco VPN Comparison

RankVPN ServiceOur ScoreAvailable ServersSimultaneous
1.NordVPN4.8/55200+6Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Routers
2.Surfshark4.6/53200+UnlimitedAndroid, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Routers
3.AtlasVPN4.5/5750+UnlimitedAndroid, iOS, Windows, macOS
4.PrivateVPN4.3/5200+10Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Routers
5.ExpressVPN4.3/53000+5Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Routers

Why Use a VPN for San Francisco

VPN usage has grown significantly over the past few years, as more and more online users are realizing the importance and usefulness of having such a tool by their side. Nevertheless, if you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should use a VPN for San Francisco, I want to highlight some of the most significant reasons why you should consider doing so. Here are the top three arguments for using a VPN for San Francisco:

  • Stay Private Online – The primary reason to use a VPN for San Francisco is to preserve your online anonymity from hackers and other snoopers. But, these people aren’t the only ones you should consider when using the Internet. Even Internet Service Providers and the government could be spying on your activity without you knowing it. With a VPN, you can deny all of them access to your browsing history and Internet traffic.
  • Avoid Geo-blocking – If you want to access streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or the BBC iPlayer in other countries and regions from SF, a VPN is the most effective way to do so. Moreover, it’s also the best tool to use when traveling abroad, as you can keep in touch with local SF sites by connecting to servers based in San Francisco.
  • Improve Your Internet  – Apart from the two major reasons above, not many users know that a VPN connection can actually be faster than your regular network. This can happen if your ISP is throttling your bandwidth. In that case, switching to a fast server can improve your ping and result in a faster Internet connection with less lag.

5 Best VPN Services for San Francisco

1. NordVPN

1. NordVPN

With over 5,500 servers globally, including servers in SF, NordVPN has one of the most impressive server networks in the industry. But, numbers aside, NordVPN’s servers are all top-quality. 

Servers are RAM-based and support the service’s NordLynx protocol. You can even opt for a dedicated IP address if you want to make sure no other NordVPN is on the same IP address as you.

Moreover, NordVPN’s servers come with a handful of outstanding features. These include P2P support, a Double VPN feature, and server obfuscation. Some of NordVPN’s most impressive features include split tunneling, a kill switch, Threat Protection, and SmartDNS.

In addition to being one of the best-performing VPNs in the industry, NordVPN is also one of the safest and most reputable ones. It’s based in privacy-friendly Panama and doesn’t keep any user activity logs

Considering all of these features, NordVPN is the best VPN for San Francisco. Of course, this comes as no surprise, as it’s also my first choice as the best VPN for the USA.

NordVPN Speed Test for San Francisco

Speed TestNordVPN
Average Speed – North America (United States)100 Mbps
Average Speed – Europe (United Kingdom)89 Mbps
Average Speed – Asia (Singapore)71 Mbps
Best deal63% OFF + Gift
  • Thousands of lightning-fast and well-optimized servers
  • Unblocks all the major streaming sites
  • Fully supports Torrenting and P2P
  • Strict no-logs policy and RAM-disk servers
  • Ad blocker and malware protection features
  • Robust security features and military-grade encryption to protect you from DDoS attacks and other online threats
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Only 6 simultaneous connections
  • No free trial

2. Surfshark

If you’re searching for a VPN that delivers the perfect balance between sophisticated features and affordable pricing plans, Surfshark is definitely worth considering. At just a couple of bucks per month with one of their longer plans, you’re getting a blazing-fast VPN with tons of advanced features.

It allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices and comes with in-house created features like CleanWeb, Camouflage Mode, and NoBorders Mode. There are also a handful of standard features, like a kill switch and private DNS leak protection.

Surfshark also doesn’t lack in the slightest in terms of server support. It offers over 3,200 servers in 100 countries. This includes servers in San Francisco and nearby San Jose, as well as in over 20 other US cities. In this regard, it’s one of the best VPNs for those looking for a service with great US coverage.

Overall, while I didn’t place Surfshark as the best VPN for San Francisco, I’ve found that it’s arguably the best budget VPN you can get. Packed with features and with inexpensive long-term plans, it delivers superb value.

Surfshark Speed Test for San Francisco

Speed TestSurfshark
Average Speed – North America (United States)85 Mbps
Average Speed – Europe (United Kingdom)78 Mbps
Average Speed – Asia (Singapore)71 Mbps
Best dealSave 81%
  • A very affordable VPN provider
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Ad-blocking feature
  • Unblocks streaming platforms
  • A fast and light WireGuard protocol
  • Allows split-tunneling and has a multi-hop VPN feature
  • No-log policy and robust security features
  • GPS spoofing on Android devices
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • No free version
  • Does not allow P2P seeding

3. AtlasVPN

If you’re looking for a solid all-around VPN in San Francisco, Atlas VPN is undoubtedly one of the most impressive VPNs on the market. It comes with fantastic features and is suitable for all of your online needs. 

Atlas VPN comes with split tunneling, a kill switch, and a MultiHop+ feature. It also has an all-in-one safety feature called SafeBrowse. This tool protects you from malicious websites and helps defeat tracking.

Although this VPN doesn’t offer servers in SF, it does have server locations across the US, including in cities close to SF. In total, AtlasVPN delivers a very solid VPN network of over 750 servers worldwide.

But, apart from its server base, this VPN performs excellently on all other fronts. It’s optimized for streaming and allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices per subscription. This enables convenient access to Netflix, the BBC iPlayer, or any other streaming service you want to access.

Moreover, with data leak protection and military-grade encryption, you can rest assured your data is far from anyone’s reach. And, if you do encounter some problems with Atlas VPN’s service, you can rely on 24/7 live chat support.

AtlasVPN Speed Test for San Francisco

Speed TestAtlasVPN
Average Speed – North America (United States)80 Mbps
Average Speed – Europe (United Kingdom)68 Mbps
Average Speed – Asia (Singapore)61 Mbps
Best deal83% OFF
  • Very affordable plans and it has a free version
  • Fast Speeds
  • Helpful against an ISP throttling your connection
  • Unlimited device support
  • WireGuard protocol, DNS leak protection, and strong security features
  • Torrenting-friendly
  • Unblocks streaming services
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Limited Linux app
  • Based in the US
  • Not so many servers

4. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN is a very safe and private service, as its name implies. It uses virtually uncrackable AES 256-bit encryption and offers you a variety of VPN protocols to meet your specific needs. It also has a strict no-logs policy.

It doesn’t keep any user activity logs and delivers above-average speeds with unlimited bandwidth. From a user experience perspective, it’s also good to know that this VPN is compatible with all major operating systems.

PrivateVPN offers a fairly small server network of around 200 servers. And, even though it supports a dozen US cities, it doesn’t actually have a VPN server in San Francisco. The nearest VPN servers are in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

While it lacks more sophisticated features, PrivateVPN is a great VPN for casual online users. It’s one of the best VPNs for streaming, as it offers an outstanding 99.98% uptime.

PrivateVPN Speed Test for San Francisco

Speed TestPrivateVPN
Average Speed – North America (United States)87 Mbps
Average Speed – Europe (United Kingdom)90 Mbps
Average Speed – Asia (Singapore)80 Mbps
Best dealSave 85%
  • Supports P2P traffic and allows port forwarding
  • Unlimited bandwidth and great speeds
  • Unblocks most streaming platforms
  • Zero-logging policy
  • Free Static IP servers
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Not as many servers as other VPN providers
  • No split-tunneling

5. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN offers a VPN network covering over 160 locations in 94 countries worldwide. More important in the context of this page, it also provides servers in San Francisco. Like all top-quality VPNs, ExpressVPN offers unlimited bandwidth with all of its plans.

The service applies TrustedServer technology and has private DNS on every server. It also comes with great features like split tunneling and a kill switch. You can use it for any operating system of your choice. You can also set it up on Android TV, consoles, and other smart systems, or add a browser extension.

ExpressVPN is also a top pick if you’re looking for a VPN with outstanding geo-unblocking capabilities. This VPN service can access and operate in any region, no matter how restrictive it is. 

It can even work in authoritarian countries like Russia and China, which generally have a very high level of censorship. It keeps absolutely no logs and is based in the British Virgin Islands.

Thanks to all of these security and privacy features, ExpressVPN deserves a spot as one of the best San Francisco VPN providers. Unfortunately, it is slightly more expensive than its competition and allows only five devices simultaneously connected per plan. Still, you can try the service risk-free with its 30-day money-back policy.

ExpressVPN Speed Test for San Francisco

Speed TestExpressVPN
Average Speed – North America (United States)84 Mbps
Average Speed – Europe (United Kingdom)82 Mbps
Average Speed – Asia (Singapore)78 Mbps
Best deal+3 months FREE
  • Works with streaming
  • Supports torrenting
  • No-logs policy
  • TrustedServer technology with RAM-only servers
  • Premium security features
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Expensive subscription plans
  • Only 5 simultaneous connections

How to Choose a VPN for San Francisco

There’s no shortage of VPN services to choose from, and even this top-five list can leave you uncertain of which VPN for San Francisco is the best pick for you. So, how do you know what to look for and which VPN to choose? Here are the biggest determinants you have to factor in when picking a VPN for San Francisco:

  • Quality and Quantity of Servers – A top VPN for San Francisco should offer a great selection of servers. Preferably, this should include servers in SF or one of the nearby cities and in many other regions worldwide. This allows you to conveniently pick a nearby server or VPN servers in a specific country when you want to do so.
  • Online Security and Privacy – Most users use VPN services primarily to ensure online privacy. That said, to make sure you obtain online privacy, the VPN for SF of your choice should have strong encryption, features like an automatic kill switch and server obfuscation, and, if possible, a few additional advanced settings.
  • Connection Speeds – Even the most secure and private VPN isn’t of much use if it delivers slow connection speeds. For this reason, if you want an SF VPN mainly for streaming or online gaming, fast speeds are a must. Additionally, pay attention to connection speeds on long-distance server connections.
  • Unblocking Power – If you wish to frequently access different regions and foreign sites or travel often and need to access US-based websites, the VPN you pick should have impeccable unblocking capabilities. This will ensure you can always unblock geo-restricted content, no matter where you are or in which region you want to use the VPN.
  • VPN App Compatibility and Support Quality – These are arguably two of the most important factors that impact your user experience, apart from the main criteria above. Ensure the VPN offers compatibility with the device you want to use, regardless if you want to use it for desktop and mobile or even smart TVs. Additionally, the VPN should ideally offer around-the-clock support. That way, you’re always covered if you encounter an issue with its service.
  • Payment Plans and Money-back – A good SF VPN should offer at least a couple of payment plans. This would provide a variety of choices. It should also offer a money-back option if you change your mind after purchasing a subscription. For this reason, all of the VPNs I’ve featured in this article offer excellent value for money and also offer some form of a money-back guarantee.

How to get a San Francisco IP address?

If you want to get an SF IP address, you need to sign up with a VPN that offers SF servers. Here’s how to get a San Fransisco IP address:

  1. Sign up with a trusted San Francisco VPN service (I recommend NordVPN)
  2. Download the appropriate app.
NordVPN Website Homepage With All devices
  1. Choose a server and connect to an SF server.
NordVPN San Francisco Servers
  1. You’ve successfully switched your IP address to SF!
San Francisco location on MYLocation website

VPN San Francisco FAQs

Is a VPN needed in San Francisco? 

Yes, a VPN for San Francisco is one of the best and most useful tools you can use when on the Internet. Whether you’re physically in SF or just want an SF IP address to mask your Internet traffic, a VPN is your best pick. Moreover, if you want to stay private online and prevent anyone from snooping, an SF VPN is the way to go.

Is a VPN legal in San Francisco? 

Yes, you can legally use a VPN in San Francisco, as you can in all other US cities. That said, if you plan on connecting to SF VPN servers from other regions, you might want to research the legality of VPN use in your location. This is because VPN usage is not legal in some, more restrictive countries around the world.

Can I use a free VPN for San Francisco?

While there are many free VPNs you can choose from, I strongly advise you to avoid using these services. Free VPNs are generally not as safe nor powerful as premium VPNs. If you truly want to keep your valuable data to yourself, you should only use a paid VPN service.

If you’re looking to use a San Francisco VPN free of charge, the best way to do it is to exercise a money-back option. Each VPN I’ve featured in this article offers one, allowing you to try out their services without having to spend any money. 

Moreover, Atlas VPN is the best VPN for San Francisco that offers a free plan you can use without any time or bandwidth limitations. I also included its premium plan as the third-best VPN for San Fran, as it provides excellent value for money overall.

Can you use a VPN in other states?

Yes, you can use a VPN in any other state in the US. You can use a VPN to get an IP address in states like New Jersey, Hawaii, Atlanta, and many more. Some popular cities to use a VPN are Phoenix, Charlotte, Dallas, and Seattle.

Does NordVPN have a San Francisco VPN server?

Yes, NordVPN does have SF servers. It has nearly 2,000 USA servers in over a dozen cities. This includes a San Francisco VPN server. What’s more, you can get San Francisco dedicated IP addresses, if you don’t want to share your IP with other NordVPN users.

Which San Francisco VPN provider is the fastest?

I’ve found that NordVPN and Surfshark are the two fastest VPN providers that offer San Francisco servers. If your primary need is to have a blazing-fast connection while using a VPN in San Francisco these two secure VPN services are your best picks.


After thoroughly testing all of the best VPN services in the industry, I believe that the five VPNs we’ve included on this list are the best services for San Francisco. Each VPN I’ve shared with you above is great for San Francisco. So, choosing the most suitable San Francisco VPN primarily depends on what tasks you’ll need it for.

If you can’t decide which service is the best VPN pick for you, I recommend NordVPN. It’s my top VPN for San Francisco overall and my go-to pick when I need a VPN connection for this city. This is because it’s super-fast, has powerful unblocking abilities, and is arguably the best VPN in the industry in terms of overall safety.

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