Best VPNs for USA in 2019 for Privacy, Speed, Value, Unblocking

best VPN

One of the biggest competition in the VPN industry is the accessibility to the US content. After all, the US is home to the world’s popular entertainment. However, the most extensive library of content is only accessible to people geographically in the US.

Whether to unblock restricted content or improve privacy, Americans also need VPNs.A virtual private network (VPN), encrypts your internet traffic and transmit it through an intermediary server located in a country of your choice. In most cases, VPN providers have servers in different locations in different countries. If you use a reliable VPN, not even your internet service provider (ISP), government agency or hacker can monitor or track your online activities.

Even though we will cover in more details later, here are our top picks.

  1. ExpressVPN: This is our top choice because of its speed, security, and privacy. Although it only supportsa few simultaneous connections, it unblocks geo-restricted content with ease. Also, it is easy to set up and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. NordVPN: Offers decent speed and employs strong security and privacy measures. It has one of the biggest networks of servers that can unblock geo-restricted sites. This VPN offers up to six simultaneous connections.
  3. CyberGhost: A budget option VPN service with decent speeds and robust privacy features. It is compatible with a variety of operating systems and can unblock popular streaming content.
  4. PrivateVPN: Has a proper distribution of servers that are fast enough to stream high quality content. The software is easy to use and compatible with a wide variety of operating systems.
  5. SaferVPN: Although it has a few servers, they are fast and reliable. The VPN is straightforward to use and supports a wide range of apps
  6. Surfshark: Features an automated HTTPS redirection to ensure the user makes the most secure connections. It is compatible with various platforms and can support up to seven simultaneous connections.
  7. Hide.com: Employs advanced encryption algorithm and other security features to protect the privacy users. 
  8. AirVPN:  Uses OpenVPN tunneling protocol and 4096 bit RSA encryption to keep users’ internet traffic anonymous. 

Fortunately, the US government does not impose a lot of restrictions on internet usage like in other countries. However, intelligence agencies like the FBI and NSA and giant corporations such as Google can track and monitor internet activities.

The worst part is that Americans fall under the direct jurisdiction of these government agencies and corporations. In fact, under the USA PATRIOT Act, government agencies can compel ISPs to surrender information about their customers.

This is the reason why even US citizens also need a VPN to improve privacy and unblock restricted content.

Best VPNs for the USA

Due to increased competition in the industry, choosing the best VPN can be challenging. Also, because of the privacy concern in the US, certain factors should be considered. Below, we have highlighted the criteria we used to select the best VPNs for the USA.

  • Not headquartered in the US
  • The provider does not record or keep traffic logs
  • Secure default encryption and other security and privacy measures
  • More shared IP addresses to preserve anonymity
  • Allows anonymous payment methods such as cryptocurrencies

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a versatile VPN service with a large number of servers distributed globally. Although slightly pricier than alternatives, it uses military-grade encryption to ensure users remain secure. The VPN has a strict no-logs policy and supports all major platforms.

The company offers a 7-day trial period on mobile apps but not on other devices. However, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. As for the pricing, ExpressVPN offers three plans. The monthly plan cost $12.95, the six-month plan at $ 59.94, and the annual plan at $99.84. 

ExpressVPN has a simple interface, especially on the Windows platform. It has a cool-lookingbutton that direct the user to either an optimized endpoint or the last one selected. The current version is cleaner than the previous one and gives the user more control. For instance, the user can choose the protocol, including OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP.

Recently, the company announced that they are going to change their server configuration to a technology known as TrustedServer. These are servers that run entirely on random access memory (RAM) and not on hard drives.

In this technology, there is no data logging because there is nowhere to keep the data permanently. Also, the servers reboot frequently to delete any data saved. This will help to ensure the user’s traffic logs are not recorded or saved.

Pros

  • Impressive speeds
  • Clear no-logging policy
  • Unblocks most restricted content
  • Superb 24/7 live customer support
  • High-level encryption
  • Based outside the Five Eyes

Cons

  • Expensive monthly plan

NordVPN

NordVPN is a top-notch VPN service with a vast network of servers spread over sixty countries. It offers high-level encryption, an optional double VPN protection, and high speeds. No wonder the VPN attracts millions of users around the world. 

It is exceptionally straightforward to install and use. You will only need to go on their website and download the appropriate version for your operating system. Follow the installation steps and start to use. With this VPN, you will not need to download other configurations for it to work.

NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, which is considered to have the best privacy laws in the world. Also, the country is not subject to US data retention laws or the EU data retention directive (DRD). In addition, NordVPN observes strict logging policy where user’s traffic is not monitored, recorded, logged, stored, or passed to third parties. 

Furthermore, if you want to remain completely anonymous, you can purchase your plans using non-identifiable means like cryptocurrencies. This makes it a good option for anyone looking to avoid surveillance or censorship.

There is also a kill switch that automatically cut off your traffic in case the VPN connections drops. This helps to prevent any form of leakage since the traffic is no longer protected. The best part is that you can set the VPN to either completely terminate or restrict data flow.

Pros

  • An impeccable reputation for privacy
  • Fast, secure and highly encrypted connection
  • Unblocks a wide variety of geo-restricted sites
  • 24/7 live chat
  • Massive server network
  • Audited no-logging policy

Cons

  • P2P restricted to specific servers

CyberGhost

CyberGhost is a trusted VPN service offering safe, fast, and customizable experience. This is a good option if you are looking for a VPN to surf securely, bypass geo-restrictions, or stream comfortably. It offers up to seven simultaneous connections, which are more than other VPNs offers.

It supports all native clients for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. There are also browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. On top of that, it can be configured to work with platforms such as Linux since it comes with an in-built PPTP protocol. However, you might require third-party software if you want to use other protocols such as OpenVPN or L2TP/IPsec.

This VPN offers one of the shortest free trials of merely 24hours. However, there is a 14day money-back guarantee on the monthly plan and 45 days for the two and three-year plans.

The pricing scheme is friendlier on the longer-term commitments than the shorter plans. For instance, the monthly plan cost $12.99, which is more expensive than even top rated VPNs such as NordVPN.

At $63 for the annual plan, the monthly cost drops precipitously to about $5.25. Even better, the monthly price of the two-year plan drops to $3.69 while the three-year plan is even lower at $2.50 per month.

CyberGhost ensures your data is always protected by maintaining the highest levels of security. For example, they use military-grade 256-bit encryption to mask your online activities even when using public networks.

Pros

  • Affordable long term plans
  • Automatic kill switch
  • Seven simultaneous connections
  • Fast and reliable service
  • Solid privacy and security features

Cons

  • Ad-blocker does not offer HTTPS sites

PrivateVPN

Although PrivateVPN is a relatively young provider, it offers high-secure connections, lightning speeds, and optimum privacy. In addition, the company claims to use secure encryption technologies and does not collect or keep the user’s data.

A free trial is an excellent feature because it allows you to scrutinize and test the services provided before committing to a paid, full-time subscription. On the downside, PrivateVPN does not offer a free trial like some of its competitors. However, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

In the recent past, PrivateVPN has been changing the price structure regularly. Currently, the price is reasonably set after several adjustments. The monthly plan cost $7.67, three-month plan at $14.63 while the annual plan at $49.68. This is much cheaper than most VPNs offer.

PrivateVPN has over 100 servers in over sixty countries, including 14 in the US. Even though the servers are few compared to their competitors, they are strategically placed to offer optimum services. Also, the servers are quite fast.

This VPN has several features that are intended to improve the privacy and security of the user. For instance, there is a kill switch that disconnects your internet in case the VPN connection is interrupted. It also features both DNS and IPv6 leak protection. This helps to prevent your identity from leaking. In addition, the provider offers various connection protocols such as IKEv2, OpenVPN, L2TP, etc.

Pros

  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Unblock most geo-restricted content
  • Accept anonymous payment methods
  • Offer six simultaneous connections

Cons

  • Limited free trial

SaferVPN

SaferVPN is an Israeli-based VPN provider that has been around since 2013. It is an affordable service with decent features. It claims to offer ultra-fast speeds and secure connections with the latest security and privacy standards.

When the VPN was launched in 2013, they only offered limited features. However, over the years, the company has grown to include more features. Now, it is one of the most capable VPNs on the market.

The monthly plan is slightly expensive, at $10.99. A one-year subscription reduces the monthly price to about $5.99 while in the two-year plan, the price drops to $3.29 per month.

There is a free trial which is only 24hours. Even though it is not long enough, you will not be required to provide payment details. However, even if you pay, you will be protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The basic plan offers only two simultaneous connections. If you want to connect more devices, you will need to subscribe to the premium plan that allows up to five devices.

SaferVPN indicates that they have a strict no-logging policy. They do not log or monitor user’s data such as DNS queries, source IP address, browsing history, or metadata. Therefore, the company does not know what you are doing on the internet.

On most operating systems, the VPN is equipped with a built-in kill switch. When activated, this feature will stop all activities if your VPN connection drops. In addition, it uses AES-256-bit encryption to keep your online activities anonymous. On the Mac operating system, the VPN defaults to using the OpenVPN protocol.

Pros

  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Compatible with routers
  • Easy to use interface
  • Tough encryption
  • Reliable customer support
  • Unblocks popular sites

Cons

  • Small server network

Surfshark

Surfshark is a newcomer in the VPN industry based in the British Virgin Islands which is beyond the jurisdiction of the 14-Eyes countries. It offers reliable performance and advanced security and privacy measures.

Even though it has a smaller network of servers, it excels at unblocking restricted sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and others. At the same time, it supports a wide variety of operating systems like Windows, IOS, Mac, Android, as well as Chrome and Firefox extensions.

One of the most significant selling points of Surfshark is the unlimited number of simultaneous connections. This makes it an ideal option for households with several devices.

Other prominent features of this VPN include URL and ad blocking, Zero-knowledge DNS servers, split tunneling, P2P support, and VPN chaining.

The monthly plan is on the higher side at $11.95. However, subscribing to the annual plan cuts the cost to about $5.99. The biggest deal is on the two-year plan that is equivalent to $1.99 per month. This is one of the lowest prices on the market.

Surfshark accepts a variety of payment options, including credit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, or Ali pay. Also, if you want to remain anonymous, you can pay using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoins.

To protect user’s privacy, the company uses high-level security measures such as AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and double VPN hop. In addition, Surfshark has its own private DNS on each server. These features reduce the chances of your internet service provider (ISP), government agencies, or hackers spying on your online activities.

Pros

  • An incredibly cheap two-year plan
  • Live chat support
  • Advanced security and privacy features
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections

Cons

  • Expensive monthly plan

Hide.me

Hide.me is a VPN provider based in Malaysia that offer both free and commercial services. It has over 1400 servers, most of which are located in North America and Europe. This means it is an excellent option to access US restricted content.

This VPN supports a wide range of secure protocol support such as SoftEther, SSTP, IKEv2, OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP. There is also DNS and IPv6 leak protection to ensure user’s identity does not leak.

It is compatible with various desktop platforms like Windows, macOS, and mobile operating systems like iOS and Android. Also, it can be installed on routers, consoles, and other devices. In fact, it allows up to five simultaneous connections. If you run into problems while installing the VPN, there is a 24/7 live chat support.

Subscribers can choose between three price tiers that come with similar features. The monthly tier which cost $14.95 is a bit expensive compared to even top rated providers like ExpressVPN. Also, the annual plan is costly at $9.99 per month. In fact, it is higher than most VPNs offers on the monthly plan. On the bright side, the company recently introduced a two-year plan that cost just $5.40 per month.

Fortunately, Hide.me accepts different payment methods, including bitcoin, PayPal, and credit cards, among others. Besides, there is a 14-day refund. However, you will not be refunded if you have consumed a significant amount of the transfer data.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • No-logging policy
  • A Limited free plan (2GB per month)
  • Good privacy and credentials
  • Fast servers

Cons

  • Expensive

AirVPN

While some VPN providers market their services on features, others do so on prices. However, AirVPN claims to be founded and independently operated by activities and hacktivists to promote net neutrality and privacy and protect users from internet censorship.

Although the pool of servers is small, they are P2P friendly and strategically distributed. The company has listed the servers and their locations on the website’s status page. It displays important information, such as the current load, session traffic, and more.

AirVPN is popular because of the flexibility in payment plans. The provider offers different options include the three-day plan that cost $2.26, monthly plan $7.93, three-month plan $5.66, and six-month plan $5.57. The one, two, and three-year plan cost $4.62, $3.73 and $3.11 respectively. Payments can be made using credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and more.

The provider is very clear about logging policy, claiming that it does not monitor or track users’ activities online. Also, the company indicates that it complies with EU privacy directives. In addition, any server located outside the EU treats the users’ data with high levels of privacy and protection.

Pros

  • Flexible payment plan
  • Fast servers
  • P2P servers
  • Strong encryption

Cons

  • Complicated and technical especially to newbies

Are there good VPNs that are based in the US?

Due to privacy reasons, we did not include VPNs that are based in the US. Even if the provider claims they have a strict logging policy, the fact that government agencies like the FBI can compel the VPN providers to surrender user’s data does not inspire confidence.

Here are some of the VPN providers based in the US that are worth considering.

  • IPVanish
  • LiquidVPN
  • Private Internet Access (PIA)
  • StrongVPN

Some of these VPNs have superior features and capabilities compared to the list above. For example, IPVanish offers up to ten simultaneous connections. So, if you trust they have a strict logging policy and do not record or keep traffic logs, you can sign up for their services.

What VPNs should Americans avoid?

Hola

This is a browser extension that permits other members to use your unused bandwidth. It is important to note that it does not have its own servers. Even though this is a crucial privacy concern, the company is not transparent about it.

Allegedly, the company created a botnet using the user’s network power, which was used to attack other websites. This is the reasons why we highly recommend avoiding Hola, especially if you want to keep your online activities anonymous.

HideMyAss

HideMyAss is a VPN provider based in the UK. Since the US and the UK have a close relation, this VPN may not be a good option if you want to avoid national intelligence agencies. In fact, there are reports that the company surrendered LulzSec hacker traffic logs that led to his arrest.

On its website, the company claims that it does not record or keep users’ traffic logs. The reality is HideMyAss keeps detailed metadata logs, including the user’s real IP address. This was enough information to pin down the hacker.

Free VPNs

Most free VPNs lure users with free services. If you are concerned with your privacy, it is good to avoid these free services at all costs. This is because they are extremely slow and limit bandwidth. In addition, they have poor logging policies and security features, meaning that your activities can be easily monitored or traced. They make money by injecting ads, and worst of it all, sell users’ data to interested parties.

Blackout restrictions

Although Americans have the most extensive library of content, they are faced with one persistent form of restriction: blackouts. This form of geo-restriction occurs when streaming videos, especially sports. Even if you have subscribed to a legitimate online streaming service, sometimes local sports content does not stream. This is because broadcast rights to local games are regulated by regional TV stations which blocks online streaming services.

The problem can be circumvented by using a VPN. You will need to connect to the server in the location where the content is not restricted. If it is a reliable VPN and you have enough internet speed, you should be able to stream in high definition without buffers.

VPNs for torrenting in the US

In the US, downloading and distributing copyrighted content is illegal. In fact, most ISPs employs a three-strike rule where customers are penalized for downloading content illegally through BitTorrent.

Even though BitTorrent is not illegal, it is associated with online piracy, which is illegal. However, it is entirely legal to download non-copyrighted content. A VPN is an excellent way to hide BitTorrent traffic from spying eyes.

Accessibility to geo-blocked content and privacy are two primary reasons why most people prefer to use a VPN instead of the standard internet connection. However, not all VPN can unblock popular restricted sites or protect your privacy. Therefore, you will need to research extensively to get the best VPN that will suit your needs. ExpressVPN is our top pick in the above list because it offers flawless security and privacy features and can unlock popular restricted sites.

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