Many times, we connect to public Wi-Fi to gain internet access. But, are you aware that your online internet activity is checked or tracked by anyone else? Yes, when you don’t have a virtual private network (VPN) on your device, someone else can keep watch on your online activities. You can avoid exposing your data to others using a virtual private network.
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. This network allows individuals to connect to the public Wi-Fi or any other internet source, ensuring privacy through an encrypted tunnel. A virtual private network can protect and secure any individual’s sensitive and personal information stored on his or her device connected to any source of the internet.
When you operate a virtual private network, you can connect to any public Wi-Fi network, control your online activities, hide your IP address, and browse securely and safely. A virtual private network can mask your IP address and ensure you are browsing safely and privately. Many online sites restrict access, depending on the location. When you use a VPN, you get access to restricted sites as well.
How does a VPN work?
The working of a VPN is quite exciting and incredible. There are two points in the VPN network, one is the encryption point, and the other is the decryption point. These two points play a vital role in protecting your devices’ sensitive data while connected to any public Wi-Fi network.
Whenever you request data on the internet, it is first sent to your virtual private network (VPN). Here, VPN’s encryption point encrypts your requested data and transmits it to the internet point. As there is another point, called decryption in your virtual private network, it decrypts data and transfers it to any internet resources. These internet resources send data back to your virtual private network (VPN), and it again encrypts the data. This encrypted data is sent to the decryption point of the VPN to decrypt it. Finally, you receive the decoded data from your VPN.
Types of Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Generally, the VPN is categorized into two groups, as follows:
- Remote Access VPN
- Site to Site VPN
Let us know each of these types of VPNs in detail.
- Remote Access VPN:
Remote Access VPN allows users to connect to any public Wi-Fi or any other internet resource and carry out all activities accessing the internet remotely. These types of VPNs are usually best suited for personal and commercial use.
For example, an employee of a particular organization from home or any other place can access any file and information using the organization’s private network. This is the best example of the remote access VPN for commercial and business purposes.
For home purposes, people use the remote access VPN to access restricted web pages or websites.
- A Site to Site VPN:
A Site to Site VPN is specially developed for large-scale and medium-scale businesses. It is also referred to as Router to Router VPN. Several organizations have their offices in different areas of the country. The Site to Site VPN is used to interconnect all branches of a single organization located at various locations over a single network. The Site to Site VPN acts as an interface between every office of an organization located remotely. It ensures effective and secure communication over the internet between all branches of an organization.
The primary idea to Site VPN is one VPN is a client, and the other is the server. The Site to Site VPN is further categorized into two types:
- Intranet-based VPN:
An Intranet-based VPN is used to connect the different branches of the same organization.
- Extranet based VPN:
Extranet based VPN is used to connect to any branch of the other organizations.
Some Factors to consider while selecting a VPN
You might have understood what the VPN is, the need for VPN, and its types form the above section of this article. Before selecting your virtual private network, you should take into account some crucial elements of the VPN. Let us know what important factor you must consider while choosing a virtual private network for your devices.
- The extremely crucial component to consider is the speed of the VPN. It is apparent that you wish for a fast and secure internet connection. So, make sure that the speed for your selected VPN is fast.
- We have seen why there is a need to use a virtual private network. And the answer is clearly the security. So, before choosing your VPN, ensure that it provides enough protection with fewer threats or risks.
- The primary function of any VPN network is encryption and decryption of clients’ and internet resources’ data. Your virtual private network should offer reliable and stable encryption methodologies.
- Do not forget about the user-friendly factor. Your virtual private network should provide the best user experience, and it should be easy to handle.
- The VPN location plays a crucial role. There is a concept called fourteen eyes accord, which implies fourteen countries. You must ensure that your VPN location does not fall under any of these fourteen countries because these countries do not offer privacy from government surveillance.
- Several VPNs offer all fundamental features in their free versions. So, you need to check whether your virtual private network provides every primary quality in its free version. Even if you opt for a paid version, make sure that the cost is inexpensive.
Keeping all these factors in mind, choose the best VPN that protects your confidential information stored on your device from spying or tracking. You can select VPNs from the below list. We have listed some of the popularly used VPNs, along with their characteristics for you.
Top Best VPN for 2020
You might have got the precise idea of selecting the best free VPN. But, we would like to list down three top-rated and leading VPNs that are not free. The following are the top best three premium VPNs, along with their peculiarities:
ExpressVPN is one of the most notable and commonly used virtual private networks across the globe. It is packed with more advanced and outstanding security features. The ExpressVPN is considered as one of the more trusted and reliable virtual private networks.
- The ExpressVPN covers more than 160 VPN servers across 94 countries of the world. It is one of the best networks that cover a large number of servers.
- It allows users to access any content from censored and blocked websites from any location.
- You can mask your IP address using ExpressVPN. The masking of IP addresses does not reveal your original identity. ExpressVPN enables you to change your IP address using any of its servers.
- Anonymity is maintained while you browse the internet. You can even access the hidden .onion site using the Tor.
- It is compatible to work with Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS devices.
- When you use ExpressVPN, you can install it simultaneously on five different devices.
- Another advanced feature is it provides unlimited bandwidth and avoids ISP throttling.
- The other advanced features include VPN split tunneling, TrustedServer technology, high-quality encryption methodology, and private DNS.
Price: The ExpressVPN charges $6.67 per month if you subscribe to a plan of 15 months. You get the first three months free, and for another 12 months, you need to pay $6.67. For the monthly subscription plan, it charges $12.95. If you choose a plan for six months, you need to pay $9.99 per month.
Another highly preferred virtual private network is the Surf Shark VPN. It also incorporates more advanced features. The Surf Shark VPN is more accessible to use and has a user-friendly interface. One of the primary advantages of using Surf Shark VPN is it offers the best features at an affordable price.
- The Surf Shark VPN supports all major platforms, like Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Android, etc. devices.
- When you use the Surf Shark VPN, you can surf in a clean cuber ocean, i.e., you don’t get advertisements while browsing the internet.
- Also, it protects you from malware, spyware, and trackers.
- The most significant Surf Shark VPN’s benefit over the ExpressVPN is it can be installed on unlimited devices.
- It incorporates a Camouflage mode. This mode allows you to hide from the outside world that you are not using any VPN.
- You can use internet services using the Surf Shark VPN in restricted regions as well.
- The Surf Shark VPN uses the advanced AES-256-GCM encryption method.
Price: The Surf Shark VPN is available at an affordable price. If you select the plan for 12 months, it charges $183.12 per month. For the six months plan, it requires $477.28 per month. Lastly, if you need a monthly plan, pay $952 per month.
One of the top-listed and highly-rated VPNs across the world is NordVPN. NordVPN can protect your devices and provides advanced features. It covers a wide range of servers worldwide and offers more reliable and stable internet services.
- The NordVPN is one of the largest connecting server VPNs. It covers 5400 NordVPN servers in 59 countries of the world.
- You can install the NordVPN on six different devices.
- It is compatible with Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X systems. Additionally, it also works with Android, iOS, and Android TV devices.
- The encryption technique used in the NordVPN is more advanced that hides your data from the outside world.
- An ultra-fast connection offered by NordVPN allows users to use internet services hassle-free.
- The feature of Kill Switch ensures that any data or information is not exposed.
- It also provides other features, like double protection, making IP addresses, protecting data non-stop, blocking spyware and malware, offers access throughout the world, etc.
Price: Like the Surf Shark VPN, the NordVPN also offers three plans, 12 months, six months, and one month. For a 12 months plan, you need to pay $6.58 per month, for six months, it requires $9.00 per month, and for a monthly subscription, it charges $11.95.
The Best Free VPN for 2020
The above three VPNs were premium and top-rated VPNs. They do not offer any free editions. Some users do not afford the amount specified in their plans. For such a reason, several VPNs are available in the market that provides free editions and paid versions. Let us see some best and free VPNs of 2020 with their traits.
Another best free VPN used widely is TunnelBear. This free VPN utilizes the more advanced encryption method that protects and keeps your data safe and secure. It is best suited for novice and professional users.
- One of the significant features of the TunnelBear is it blocks hackers and intruders from stealing passwords and sensitive information.
- Users can access content from any website. The TunnelBear VPN enables users to retrieve data from restricted and blocked websites from any location.
- The TunnelBear VPN helps users to avoid IP-based tracking.
- Some other advanced features include preventing data throttling, unblocking restricted apps and websites, etc.
- One of the robust encryption techniques, called AES-256-bit encryption, is used by the TunnelBear VPN.
Price: TunnelBear VPN is packed with three plans, Free, Unlimited, and Teams. The Free edition is free to use and offers 500 MB of internet browsing. Next, the unlimited plan is available at $3.33 per month, and the Team’s program requires $5.75 per month for each user.
Hotspot Shield Free VPN is one of the most trusted and best free VPN. This VPN offers the fastest and more reliable security features. You can access any internet service by protecting your sensitive and personal information.
- One of the significant advantages of the Hotspot Shield Free VPN is it utilizes a military-grade encryption technique to protect your data against stealing or tracking activities.
- There are Ultra-fast VPN servers that offer unlimited speed and prevent bandwidth throttling.
- It is compatible to install on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS platforms.
- You can even access blocked and restricted websites using the Hotspot Shield Free VPN.
- The installation of this VPN is very comfortable and straightforward.
Price: Hotspot Shield Free VPN comes with two editions. One of the free editions and another is the Premium edition. You can install the free edition of the Hotspot Shield Free VPN freely. The Premium edition requires $2.99 per month, which is significantly less.
Another best free VPN used widely is Windscribe. It is of the free VPNs that offer more advanced and outstanding security features. You can anonymously access any internet connection ensuring the protection of personal data using Windscribe.
- The Windscribe VPN has a large coverage area of 110 cities and 63 countries.
- It offers a provision of blocking any IP address and advertisements as per users’ wishes.
- The encryption techniques used in this VPN is one of the strongest ones. This technique is AES-256-bit. The authentication process uses a 4096-bit RSA key.
- Some other advanced characteristics include eliminating all types of data leaks, securing hotspots, creating a proxy server, and offering the most flexible connectivity via IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP, TCP, etc.
Price: There are different versions of Windscribe, Free, and Pro. The free version is free to use. Another version, Pro, is a paid version. You can subscribe to a monthly or yearly plan of the Pro edition. The monthly plan requires $9.00, and the annual package costs $4.08 per month.
ProtonVPN is another leading and high-rated free VPN. It is one of the extremely secure and protected VPNs. One of the significant features of ProtonVPN is it allows unlimited internet browsing. This feature is found only in the ProtonVPN. No free edition offers a complete internet browsing facility.
- The ProtonVPN can be installed on ten different devices. It uses more than a hundred servers with unlimited internet browsing capability.
- It is compatible to install on all major platforms, like Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
- ProtonVPN covers 1,060 servers in 54 countries, having a capacity of 1,240 Gbps.
- One of the robust encryption techniques, called AES-256-bits, is used for encryption purposes. The message authentication process is carried out using SHA384, and key exchange is done using a 4096-bit RSA.
Price: ProtonVPN comes in four different versions, Free, Basic, Plus, and Visionary. The Free plan is free to use and does not require any amount. Another edition is the Basic edition, which requires $4 per month. The Plus plan charges $8 per month and the Visionary plan requires $24 per month.
Hide.me is considered as the world’s one of the smartest and fastest VPNs. It is a free VPN that provides the best and easy to use interface for novice users. The Hide.me VPN covers more than 50 locations in the US and Canada and has five limited servers.
- The Hide.me VPN makes use of the more advanced encryption technology that enables users to access internet services faster and safer.
- It can hide your IP address and allows you to use all internet services with advanced protection.
- Users using Hide.me free VPN can retrieve the information or content from any restricted and blocked website.
- It does not save any browsing history or online activity.
Price: There is a free version of the Hide.me VPN that does not charge a single penny. Additionally, there are three plans, monthly, yearly, and two years. A monthly plan requires $12.95, an annual plan charges $8.32 per month, and a two-year plan requires $4.99 per month.
One of the highly secure, reliable, and free VPNs is Speedify VPN. It is one of the trusted VPNs because of its user experience. As its name indicates, it offers faster and reliable internet services. The latest version of the Speedify is Version 10, which ensures high data performance and faster internet services.
- The Speedify VPN incorporates the channel bonding technology that provides higher and reliable speed for browsing the internet.
- It utilizes high-quality and standards encryption methodology to offer top-rated security and protection to your data.
- You can use any application, website, or any other restricted service using the free Speedify VPN.
Price: The Speedify VPN is packed in four distinct editions, Starter plan, Individuals, Families, and Teams. The Starter Plan is freely available. Another edition is Individuals. It costs $9.99 for a monthly plan, $5.99 per month for a yearly plan, and $3.99 per month for a three-year program. Next, the Families edition costs $14.49 per month for a monthly plan, and the Teams charges $9.99 per month.
OperaVPN is also an ideal and widely used free VPN. It is specially developed to use with the Opera browser. The features of the OperaVPN are highly advanced and reliable. Users can access any internet service with enhanced protection and privacy to their data.
- Using the OperaVPN, you can browse the internet with a virtual IP address. Your original IP address is not revealed.
- One of the significant advantages of using OperaVPN is it blocks all cookies that track your online activities. So, you can safely surf the Opera browser with no worries.
- Another great benefit of this VPN is it is already built-in Opera browser. So, Opera users need not have to install it.
- It offers all essential VPN features in its free version. There is no requirement for payment, as it does not have any paid version.
Price: The OperaVPN is entirely free to use. No other edition is available other than the open.
Another free VPN offering all fundamental security characteristics is Betternet VPN. It is compatible to install on all major platforms, like Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. Additionally, it offers unlimited access to internet services.
- Using the Betternet VPN, users can access any blocked or restricted website. Additionally, users can also use censored and geo-restricted data from any location.
- The Betternet VPN masks your IP address and does not expose the original one. It keeps you anonymous while you browse the internet.
- One of the extraordinary features of the free Betternet VPN is it can act as a Tor proxy. All passwords and data is kept protected from spyware or intruders.
- Another perk of using this VPN is it protects Wi-Fi hotspots from hackers and attackers.
Price: Like the OperaVPN, the Betternet VPN is also totally free to use. There are no paid versions.
The other free VPN is the VPNBook that incorporates more advanced security and protection features. It covers only three areas, the United States, Canada, and Romania having six servers. Although it is server restricted, it offers more reliable characteristics.
- The VPNBook supports all primary systems, like Microsoft Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, Android, and iOS devices. But, all these systems must have a built-in Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP).
- It uses two different ways to connect to the service. One is the third-party OpenVPN client, and another is PPTP.
- Users can access any restricted website, geo-restricted website, and blocked website.
- There is no need for the installation of any other software package for the VPNBook.
- The VPNBook utilizes a robust encryption method, the AES-128-bit encryption method. It is more manageable and easy to use.
Price: Free and open-source.
One of the quickest and most agile VPNs is the Turbo VPN. It incorporates more reliable and durable characteristics and serves as the perfect solution for security and protection. The free Turbo VPN offers unlimited data access.
- The Turbo VPN is compatible to work with Microsoft Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome, and Amazon Fire TV platforms.
- It has a large coverage area of more than 50 locations and more than 10,000 servers.
- Users can access any restricted content from any location and blocked or regional websites.
- It bypasses the firewalls with a VPN proxy.
- Users can browse the internet without exposing the original identity.
- It incorporates multiple free cloud proxy servers that offer the best and stable internet services.
Benefits of using a VPN
One of the significant benefits of the virtual private network is known to you, as mentioned in this article’s earlier sections. This benefit is to protect your sensitive and confidential information. Now, let us focus on the other several advantages of using a VPN.
- Using a VPN for personal and commercial use allows you to share files with enhanced security and protection. When you use a VPN, you do not have to worry about data damage or stealing activities.
- Another advantage of a VPN is you can access any remote files or information. The virtual private network’s remote access advantage is beneficial for all sizes of businesses and organizations.
- When you use the internet, your identity is revealed, and it becomes more manageable to retrieve or steal your sensitive data. The virtual private network enables you to browse the internet without revealing your identity.
- The virtual private network allows you to access blocked and restricted sites.
- One of the significant advantages of using the virtual private network is it enhances the system’s efficiency and bandwidth.
- Another advantage of using the VPN is it reduces call or phone charges for long-distance or roaming areas.
- Many times you may experience slow internet service because you use your limited internet data. Such a situation is referred to as data throttling. The VPN can increase the speed of internet services in such cases.
After you go through this post, you will get to know the VPN, its working, VPN types, and factors to consider before selecting any VPN. We have listed some top premium VPNs, like ExpressVPN, Surf Shark VPN, and NordVPN. All these VPNs have paid editions.
Later, we have covered the best free VPS with their traits. The four VPNs, Turbo VPN, VPNBook, OperaVPN, and Betternet VPN, offer entirely free editions. There are no paid or premium versions. The TunnelBear, Hotspot Shield Free VPN, Speedify, Hide.me, ProtonVPn, and Windscribe offer free as well as paid versions. Lastly, we have observed the benefits of using a VPN.