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5 Best VPNs for San Francisco in 2024 (Fast Speeds and Privacy)

Best San Francisco VPN
  • 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.

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A Quick San Francisco VPN Comparison

RankVPN ServiceOur ScoreAvailable ServersSimultaneous
Connections
Supported
Platforms
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.

Best San Francisco VPNs in 2024 – our detailed list:

1. NordVPN

🌐 Website:nordvpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:Panama
📍Servers/Countries:5800+ servers in 60 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & CouponsGet 68% off + 3 months extra

Security and Privacy Features:

NordVPN takes user privacy and security very seriously, making it a top pick for users in the US. It is based in privacy-friendly Panama, safely outside the ‘Fourteen eyes’ jurisdiction, and maintains a strict ‘No Logging Policy’ for absolute user anonymity. Moreover, the platform has undergone three independent audits to further strengthen its credibility.

Key security features include AES-256 encryption, an impenetrable security standard, and RAM servers that prevent data storage. There’s also a kill switch feature that protects your data if the VPN connection drops suddenly.

Speaking of remarkable features, the platform offers advanced options like Threat Protection and the CyberSec feature to block malicious sites. Dedicated, obfuscated, and double VPN servers are also available to provide an extra layer of security. You can count on NordVPN for protection from WebRTC leaks and even Dark Web monitoring with an ioXt certification to boot.

Here’s more information on Dedicated IPs.

Performance Metrics:

NordVPN offers impressive performances throughout the US, with download speeds averaging 248.7 Mbps and upload speeds at 126.7 Mbps. It is one of the top recommendations for those who is residing or visiting any city or state in the US, including San Francisco.

Pricing:

Plan1-year plan1-month plan2-year plan
Standard Plan$4.99/month$12.99/month
Plus Plan$5.99/month$13.99/month
Complete Plan$6.99/month$14.99/month$5.49/month

NordVPN’s pricing is quite competitive with options to suit different budgets. The standard plan is available for $4.99/month (billed annually) or $12.99 monthly. The ‘Plus’ plan is $5.99/month for yearly subscriptions or $13.99/month. The ‘Complete’ plan is $6.99/month (annually), $14.99 monthly, or $5.49 if billed biannually. For privacy-oriented users, NordVPN provides the added advantage of cryptocurrency payment options.

Find more about best VPNs for the USA.

Speed TestNordVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.com
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

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Only 6 simultaneous connections
  • No free trial

2. Surfshark

🌐 Website:surfshark.com
🏢 Headquarters:The British Virgin Islands
📍Servers/Countries:3,200+ servers in 100 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & CouponsSave 84% Now!

Looking for the perfect blend of premium features and value-driven pricing plans in a VPN? Finding the balance could be a challenge, but not with Surfshark. This superb service offers a compelling suite of features without burning a hole in your pocket.

Security and Privacy Features:

Surfshark’s foundation is built on high-grade security and user privacy. Its intricate blend of AES-256-GCM encryption with secure protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, and WireGuard ensures your online data stays secure. It also boasts a no-logs policy, private DNS on each server, and IP masking to safeguard your online privacy.

Further strengthening your privacy are features like CleanWeb, shielding you from ads, trackers, and malware. Additionally, the Camouflage Mode and NoBorders Mode are idyllic for users in heavily censored areas like San Francisco, making internet usage restriction-free and invisible.

Performance Metrics:

Performance-wise, you can’t go wrong with Surfshark. With its robust server grid boasting over 3,200 servers in 100 countries, you can enjoy lightning-fast connections worldwide. This includes servers in San Francisco, ensuring optimal speed for users in or visiting the city.

During personal trials, the service scored high with a 235 Mbps download speed and 219 Mbps upload speed.

Pricing:

Surfshark Plans2-year price1-year price1-month price
Starter$2.30/month$3.99/month$12.95/month
Surfshark One$3.22/month$4.49/month$17.95/month
Surfshark One+$5.99/month$8.29/month$22.95/month

Arguably, its pricing is where Surfshark shines brightest. Their most affordable plan, the Surfshark Starter, costs just $2.30/month for a 2-year subscription. The mid-tier Surfshark One costs $3.22/month, and the premium Surfshark One+ is priced at $5.99/month.

All pricing plans offer remarkable value and are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, ensuring complete peace of mind.

I can confidently recommend Surfshark for its solid feature set, impressive performance, and competitive pricing plans. Comparatively, it offers more value for residents or visitors in San Francisco than several other VPN services.

Speed TestSurfshark
WebsiteSurfshark.com
Average Speed – North America (United States)85 Mbps
Average Speed – Europe (United Kingdom)78 Mbps
Average Speed – Asia (Singapore)71 Mbps
Best dealSave 81%

Pros

  • A very affordable VPN provider
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Ad-blocking feature
  • Unblocks streaming platforms
  • Ad blocker and malware protection features
  • 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

Cons

  • No free version
  • Does not allow P2P seeding

3. AtlasVPN

🌐 Website:atlasvpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:United States
📍Servers/Countries:1000 servers in 49 locations
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & Coupons85% OFF + 3 Months FREE!

Security and Privacy Features:

Living in or visiting a city in the United States such as San Francisco, Atlas VPN can be your assured partner for privacy and digital security. This versatile VPN service offers excellent privacy features including a No-logs policy, IP Rotator (SafeSwap), and Data Hack Detection.

It also comes with a powerful shield against malware and ad-free browsing. From a safety standpoint, the impressive lineup includes AES-256 encryption, System-Wide Kill Switch, and Built-in 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication for Windows).

  • No-logs policy to ensure your online activities remain private
  • An IP Rotator feature that changes your IP address every 10 minutes
  • The ability to detect and alert on data breaches
  • Strong AES-256 encryption for maximum data security
  • A System-Wide Kill Switch to protect your information if the VPN connection drops

Performance Metrics:

Atlas VPN demonstrates admirable speed and performance. It offers a download speed of 183 Mbps and an upload speed of 309 Mbps in the United States, ensuring smooth browsing, streaming, and gaming experience.

Compatibility-wise, Atlas VPN is available across multiple platforms such as Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Linux and allows unlimited device connections (premium).

Pricing:

AtlasVPN PlansPricing Additional Benefits
Free Version0.00$/month5 GB data limit
Access to 3 locations
1-Month Plan11.99$/month30-day money-back guarantee
1-Year Plan3.29$/month
Billed $39.48 annually
30-day money-back guarantee
2-Year Plan1.82$/month
Billed $43.68 biennially
30-day money-back guarantee

Atlas VPN offers a freemium service that allows you to test its capabilities before going for the premium plans which are fairly affordable. Subscriptions start at $11.99/month for a 1-month plan and reduce to $3.29/month for a 1-year plan and $1.82/month for a 2-year plan.

Additionally, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to ensure user satisfaction. For those on a budget or unsure about committing to a premium plan, Atlas VPN offers a free version with a 5GB data limit, affording access to three locations.

Speed TestAtlasVPN
WebsiteAtlasVPN.com
Average Speed – North America (United States)80 Mbps
Average Speed – Europe (United Kingdom)68 Mbps
Average Speed – Asia (Singapore)61 Mbps
Best deal83% OFF

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Limited Linux app
  • Based in the US
  • Not so many servers

4. PrivateVPN

🌐 Website:privatevpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:Sweden
📍Servers/Countries:200 servers in 60 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & CouponsSave 85% Now!

Security and Privacy Features:

PrivateVPN is established upon robust security and privacy features, designed to ensure the utmost protection for users. Its signature security feature is the AES 256-bit encryption. Known for being virtually uncrackable, the advanced encryption system offers a fortified wall of security for users.

Also, PrivateVPN provides flexible options in VPN protocols catering to various specific needs of its users. PrivateVPN additionally adheres to a strict no-logs policy to maintain your absolute privacy.

  • Virtually uncrackable AES 256-bit encryption.
  • A variety of VPN protocols to match user-specific needs.
  • A stringent no-logs policy ensuring utmost privacy.

Performance Metrics:

The performance of PrivateVPN stands out with its high-speed connectivity and unlimited bandwidth. From a user’s perspective, compatibility with all major operating systems just adds to its appeal. Notably, it supports substantial server capacity, amounting to around 200 servers.

For US users or visitors, even though it lacks a server in San Francisco, it offers nearby servers in Los Angeles and Las Vegas ensuring consistent connectivity!

Pricing:

PrivateVPN PlansPrice per Month
1-Month Plan$9.90
3-Month Plan$6.00
36-Month Plan$2.00

PrivateVPN offers versatile pricing plans to accommodate the diverse budget range of users. The monthly plan is priced at $9.90, while a 3-month plan will cost you $6.00 per month. The best value-for-money option is undeniably the 36-month plan, available at a nominal rate of $2.00 per month.

Each plan allows up to 10 simultaneous connections, making it a cost-effective choice for multiple devices.

In a nutshell, PrivateVPN carves out an ideal niche for those seeking casual online use. It bears its strength in streaming and exhibits an impressive uptime of 99.98%, thus making it a strong contender in the realm of VPN services.

Speed TestPrivateVPN
WebsitePrivateVPN.com
Average Speed – North America (United States)87 Mbps
Average Speed – Europe (United Kingdom)90 Mbps
Average Speed – Asia (Singapore)80 Mbps
Best dealSave 85%

Pros

  • Supports P2P traffic and allows port forwarding
  • Unlimited bandwidth and great speeds
  • Unblocks most streaming platforms
  • Zero-logging policy
  • Free Static IP servers
  • A fast and light WireGuard protocol
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Not as many servers as other VPN providers
  • No split-tunneling

5. ExpressVPN

🌐 Website:expressvpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:The British Virgin Islands
📍Servers/Countries:3000+ servers in 94 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & Coupons+3 months FREE!

Security and Privacy Features:

Located in the privacy-friendly region of the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN prides itself on its strict No-logs policy, reassuring users that their online activities remain private and secure. It undergoes regular independent audits for transparency, bolstering its reputation for strong security.

Key features include AES 256-bit encryption, the highest level of encryption standard, providing optimal data protection. This includes the use of TrustedServer technology. In simpler terms, this means every server runs on RAM, ensuring that no data logs are stored to hard drives. This is a critical part of ExpressVPN’s strong no-log policy.

Additional features for ultimate privacy include:

  • Private DNS on every server: prevents third parties from viewing your online activities.
  • Split tunneling: allows you to decide which apps use the VPN and which do not.
  • Network Lock (kill switch): blocks traffic if the VPN connection drops, ensuring data stays secure.

Performance Metrics:

When it comes to performance, ExpressVPN boasts impressive metrics. With a download speed of 137 Mbps and an upload speed of 162 Mbps specifically in the United States, ExpressVPN guarantees fast, uninterrupted browsing or streaming.

Pricing:

ExpressVPN PlansPrice per MonthSimultaneous Connections
1-Month Plan$12.955
6-Month Plan$9.99Up to 8
1-Year Plan$6.67Up to 8

While ExpressVPN comes at a slightly higher cost than its competitors, it provides value for money with its robust security and privacy features and swift speeds. Its plans start at $12.95/month for a single month, scaling down to $9.99/month for a 6-month plan and even further to $6.67/month for a year’s commitment.

Plus, a reassuring 30-day money-back guarantee policy ensures users can easily opt out if unsatisfied.

Speed TestExpressVPN
WebsiteExpressVPN.com
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

Pros

  • Works with streaming
  • Supports torrenting
  • No-logs policy
  • TrustedServer technology with RAM-only servers
  • Premium security features
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • 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.

Conclusion

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.

🌐 Website:nordvpn.com
🏢 Headquarters:Panama
📍Servers/Countries:5800+ servers in 60 countries
₿ Accepts CryptocurrencyYes
💸 Deals & CouponsGet 68% off + 3 months extra
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