Following 2001 terrorist attacks US government had been actively passing legislation that would create legal framework for mass surveillance. In 2013 Edward Snowden, former CIA employee, revealed highly classified information about the mass surveillance program initially launched by the US and UK government.
Leaked documents revealed that the involved governments gathered communications records of millions of ordinary citizens on a global scale. NSA had direct access to servers of all major tech giants. Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, YouTube, Skype, AOL, PalTalk, AT&T and many more provided highly personal information to the NSA, information that included text messaging and email content, recording of calls and VoIP videos, photos, social media posts and activity. And following 2001 terrorist attacks US government had been actively passing legislation that would create legal framework for the above surveillance.
USA PATRIOT Act (The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act) was the first fundamental law that expanded domestic law enforcement surveillance powers to monitor phone calls, emails, browsing activities, collect banking information and credit history. The Patriot Act additionally provided legal framework for the US government agencies to share information related to potential terrorist threats.
The government was using the law to justify mass collection and processing of highly sensitive personal information about millions of Americans. The Patriot Act essentially provided legal framework to spy on citizens without a court warrant specifically targeting individuals that were suspected to be involved with terrorism.
In 2006, EFF obtained whistleblower evidence (.pdf) from former AT&T technician Mark Klein showing that AT&T made copies of all emails, web browsing activities and other Internet traffic to and from AT&T customers and provided those copies to the NSA. Secret government documents, leaked by Snowden and published by the Guardian and Washington Post, confirmed that the NSA had access to full copies of all telecom and Internet communications within the United States.
USA Patriot Act was the first legal threat to privacy since it provided unprecedented comprehensive powers to the US government that facilitated mass surveillance on ordinary Americans.
The United States Gag Order additionally restricted the recipient (private company, for instance) from publicly acknowledging the subpoena. USA Patriot Act coupled with a Gag Order had been used by the US government to force private companies into secretly spying on their users.
In June 2015, US Congress approved the USA Freedom Act, a bill placing restrictions and oversight on the NSA surveillance. While the USA Freedom Act put an end to NSA mass monitoring, the law did not stop private entities from gathering the data. Although passing mandatory data retention legislation in the US failed, phone records, emails and Internet browsing are still being logged under a more narrow Call Detail Records (CDR) program. In order to gain access to this information, the NSA has to provide a reasonable suspicion that a specific individual, account or device is associated with the terrorism.
Even though USA Freedom Act seemingly limited government agencies’ access to personal data that private companies collect, in late 2015 Congress passed yet another law, CISA, that was designed to protect businesses from legal liability in cases when they volunteer to hand over intelligence information to the federal government.
As a result, USA Patriot Act along with the Gag Order and CISA basically neutralize US privacy laws making the United States one of the worst jurisdictions for privacy and the worst jurisdiction for a VPN company to be based in.
The UK and Australia have similar legislation that allows the government to silence private companies into complying with the request. It’s worth noting, however, that the US government only enforces Patriot Act and Gag Order in high-profile cases mostly involving national security.
ANNUAL PRICE: 3.49 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 11.95 USD
Panama based NordVPN is one of the best security oriented VPN companies with amazingly fast infrastructure. NordVPN is a no logs VPN service that was independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG based in Zurich, Switzerland (one of the Big 4 auditing firms) to back the claims that they don’t log identifiable user information under any circumstances.
NordVPN custom apps have DNS and IP leaks protection and a kill switch that actively monitors your network and shuts down Internet access when your VPN in not running.
NordVPN offers a Double VPN – a privacy feature that sends your Internet traffic through two VPN servers, encrypting it twice.
Onion Over VPN servers is a powerful NordVPN feature that takes your privacy and security to the next level. Using this tech, you first connect to a VPN server and then to the Tor network. Your ISP does not know you are connected to Tor because your entry point in a secure VPN server, while your destination sees an anonymous Tor exit point.
NordVPN obfuscated VPN servers are a perfect choice to use on restrictive networks and to hide the fact that you are using a VPN. These VPN servers are generally recommended for countries that block VPN altogether because the technology can bypass even the most advanced network filtering. Obfsproxy hides OpenVPN and makes your VPN use completely undetectable. Neither your ISP nor the government will know that you are on VPN.
Besides, NordVPN has a Smart Play technology offering an encrypted connection to access geo-restricted content on Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Spotify and similar services. If you are a torrenting user, NordVPN has torrenting VPN servers as well.
NordVPN offers over 5,000 high-speed servers in 62 countries, dedicated & shared IP types, 6 simultaneous logins; the infrastructure is built to provide maximum online security, bypass Internet restrictions, online censorship and network firewalls.
To read a full NordVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 6.67 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.95 USD
Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN is an excellent no logs VPN service for privacy oriented VPN users who want to protect their data from government surveillance, improve online security and bypass censorship.
ExpressVPN has been independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a top team of security audit experts with access to ExpressVPN servers’ codebase to verify their no logging claims. The audit also checked that TrustedServer technology operates as described, one of the extremely important features to guarantee user anonymity.
TrustedServer is a name ExpressVPN uses to describe their security tech that has VPN servers running on RAM only, instead of a hard drive that typically contains data until it is erased and written over. TrustedServers are automatically wiped every time they are rebooted or the electricity is cut off, which eliminates any possibility that the government could seize VPN servers and access sensitive user data.
ExpressVPN custom apps have a built-in DNS leak protection to ensure that no data is leaked while the app is running. Even though ExpressVPN is extremely reliable, kill switch is another useful feature that guards your real IP address from leaking.
ExpressVPN default configuration wraps OpenVPN into SSL and reroutes VPN connection through HTTPS port 443. This setup completely hides VPN use from network admins and makes your VPN traffic appear as regular encrypted Internet browsing, thereby, making ExpressVPN a perfect choice for VPN users who need increased anonymity. Assuming your restrictive network blocks VPN protocols and VPN ports, ExpressVPN can unblock VPN on virtually any network.
Additionally, the provider has one of the fastest infrastructures with over 3,000 servers in 94 countries. Ultra fast ExpressVPN is one of the few services with VPN network that supports gigabit Internet connection, making it a perfect choice for ultra high speed streaming and torrenting.
ExpressVPN is also an excellent choice for high speed Netflix streaming. The provider can unblock Netflix USA and UK, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and a number of other streaming services.
Overall, this ultra fast infrastructure, dedication to security, and a number of additional privacy features definitely makes ExpressVPN one of the best non-US based VPN services.
To read a full ExpressVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 4.99 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 9.95 USD
Based in Malaysia, Hide.me is one the most secure and fastest VPN providers offering ultra fast gigabit VPN servers that deliver the fastest VPN speeds for users on gigabit Internet connection.
Hide.Me is a no logs VPN service with custom VPN apps that include a number of advanced features for maximum security. Hide.Me VPN has a built-in protection against IP and DNS leaks. Kill switch is an excellent tool to shut down Internet access when the connection to a VPN server is dropped.
Stealth Guard takes this even further by blocking access to predetermined apps even when the VPN is OFF. Essentially, you can configure Hide.Me in a way that makes it impossible to use Chrome browser, for instance, when the VPN is not running. This feature is an excellent addition to protect yourself from accidental mistakes.
Hide.Me supports perfect forward secrecy, an advanced security feature that tells OpenVPN to regularly renegotiate private keys. In case the private key of the server is compromised, past session keys will not be compromised. Forward secrecy protects past sessions against future compromises of secret keys, and future sessions against current attacks.
The provider also offers advanced VPN masking tools to bypass strict firewalls, censorship and hide VPN use. Hide.Me masks (obfuscates) OpenVPN traffic with TLS-Crypt so, if your WiFi network blocks VPN by analyzing traffic patterns, this methods can bypass the most advanced firewalls. This setup also encrypts every OpenVPN packet twice, sort of like double VPN encryption.
Additionally, the provider offers a dynamic TCP/UDP port-forwarding (UPnP) with up to 10 TCP/UDP ports, a useful feature on WiFi networks that block VPN ports, or for torrenting. Port forwarding feature is a great addition as it can speed up torrenting or streaming when your ISP throttles select traffic.
More so, you can selectively tunnel only specific traffic via secure servers. Split tunneling feature allows this or, alternatively, SOCKS5 proxy can be setup on your browser/torrenting client and re-route only that traffic.
Hide.Me VPN is extremely reliable and very fast which makes it a perfect choice for security oriented users who would like to enjoy uninterrupted streaming and browsing experience.
To read a full Hide.me review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 2.50 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.95 USD
Switzerland based VyprVPN is a leading no logs VPN provider with over 700 ultra fast servers worldwide that support gigabit VPN speed (1,000Mbps). VyprVPN was independently audited by Leviathan Security that confirmed VyprVPN to be a no logging VPN service.
Unlike most VPN providers, VyprVPN doesn’t rely on 3rd party hosting – they own and manage their own VPN servers. Essentially, no 3rd parties involved means that no one else handles your data, which increases overall security and privacy.
All VyprVPN servers run on the highest encryption using the most modern encryption methods. NAT firewall is an additional layer of security since it blocks unrequested inbound traffic.
VyrpVPN apps have a DNS and IP leaks protection and a kill switch to protect your device from accidentally accessing the Internet using your real IP address. VyprVPN kill switch works deeper than a typical kill switch. It remains active even after you quit the app, so when enabled, it works as a firewall and completely blocks Internet access until you connect to VyprVPN.
In addition, VyprVPN is an excellent provider to bypass even the strictest firewalls that block VPN connection. For this purpose VyprVPN designed a proprietary VPN protocol called Chameleon. The protocol scrambles OpenVPN to hide VPN use and make it undetectable via deep packet inspection (DPI). Chameleon allows you to use VPN on very restrictive networks that completely block VPN.
VyprVPN infrastructure is amazingly fast offering ultra fast gigabit speeds and low ping times for high speed HD streaming. Being one of the fastest VPN services, VyprVPN boasts some of the best VPN speeds. VyprVPN has dedicated streaming servers that can bypass Netflix proxy error and also work with BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Spotify.
With over 200,000 IP addresses in 64 countries, VyprVPN offers a fantastic choice of VPN locations.
To read a full VyprVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 9.99 EUR/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.99 EUR
Germany based Perfect Privacy is an ultra fast (gigabit servers) VPN provider with a heavy focus on advanced online security. As the name suggests, Perfect Privacy VPN has some of the most secure VPN features for maximum security, privacy and complete anonymity.
Perfect Privacy dedicated VPN servers run on RAM, not the hard drive, to secure your anonymity and privacy. This setup ensures that the data is automatically wiped during reboot or server shut down so the government cannot access sensitive user data in case they seize the server.
More so, the provider has one of the best and most advanced kill switch implementations. Their integrated firewall enforces all traffic to be sent through secure tunnels thereby protecting their users from all known IP leaks not only when the app is running, but also after OS reboot. Essentially, it prevents unsecured online access after you restart your device unless you connect to a VPN server.
In addition, Perfect Privacy offers a unique Multi-Hop VPN feature that allows cascading over up to 4 OpenVPN servers (multi-layer end-to-end encryption) at the same time along with SOCKS5 and Squid proxies. So you can create a chain of 6 VPN locations at the same time which basically eliminates any possibility of tracking you down. While this setup surely provides more anonymity, it will dramatically slow you down, which may be an issue for some VPN users.
NeuroRouting is an AI based dynamic routing that determines the most secure and fastest route through the Internet. The algorithm dynamically changes VPN servers when taking a secure route to different destinations. Since NeuroRouting automatically assigns you a new IP address for different exit points, government tracking becomes very challenging, if impossible.
Additionally, Perfect Privacy regularly updates a Warrant Canary page as an insurance that the provider has not received any subpoenas.
Another interesting feature is the provider’s ability to resolve .onion (TOR) addresses without the need for the Tor Browser. Perfect Privacy SOCKS5 and HTTP proxies are setup to resolve Tor addresses by default.
Perfect Privacy also can bypass strict firewalls by obfuscating OpenVPN to look like normal HTTPS traffic with Stealth VPN or OpenVPN over SSH feature. For additional firewall penetration Perfect Privacy allows 5 custom port forwardings or 3 default random ports. Basically, if your WiFi network completely blocks VPN, Perfect Privacy can bypass firewall and unblock VPN on virtually any network.
Overall, Perfect Privacy VPN is a perfect non-US based VPN service to avoid mass surveillance, bypass internet restrictions, access blocked websites, and securely stream multimedia content.
To read a full Perfect Privacy review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 2.45 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.99 USD
Romania based CyberGhost is a secure no logs VPN provider with over 6,500 ultra high speed VPN servers in 90 countries.
The provider has a number of advanced security and privacy features that are not offered by competitors. CyberGhost desktop apps have DNS & IP leaks protection, as well as an automatic kill switch that guards your connection if VPN disconnects.
Anti-fingerprinting and tracking protection blocks websites from storing personally identifiable data. A built-in ad-blocker and anti-malware blocks annoying ads along with malicious websites. Automated HTTPS redirect forces unsecured websites to go to HTTPS, ensuring that you browse the most secure version of it.
Data compression is another interesting feature that compresses data to reduce your Internet usage.
CyberGhost, additionally, offers dedicated high-speed streaming servers to unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and other multimedia services. You can also choose to connect to dedicated VPN servers optimized for torrenting.
Split tunneling is a feature that excludes specific websites from passing through the VPN tunnel. CyberGhost split tunneling only works to bypass predetermined websites, like Netflix.com, and cannot be used for other apps, like torrenting.
For faster streaming and torrenting, CyberGhost VPN allows switching between TCP/UDP protocols (UDP may be faster comparing to TCP).
If you are on a restrictive WiFi network that block VPN connection altogether by closing common VPN ports, typically found at hotels, restaurants and the like, desktop VPN apps can automatically test a wide range of ports and connect to the random VPN port that works. For this reason, the provider is a great choice to unblock VPN, bypass online censorship and unblock restricted content.
To read a full CyberGhost review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 2.75 EUR/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 7 EUR
AirVPN is an Italian VPN provider created by privacy activists whose main goal is data protection. AirVPN has over 200 servers in 23 countries that have Perfect Forward Secrecy through Diffie-Hellman key exchange DHE. Essentially key negotiation is performed every 60 minutes to avoid data breach if the key is compromised. Additionally, AirVPN offers OpenVPN over SSH and OpenVPN over SSL that mask OpenVPN and make the use of encryption tools invisible to some of the most advanced firewalls. To read a full AirVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 1.75 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 11.99 USD
Germany based ZenMate is a no logs privacy oriented VPN provider with a number of built-in security features for advanced protection from tracking and various IP leaks. ZenMate has over 3,700 ultra fast VPN servers in 74 countries that are great for streaming, torrenting and gaming since the infrastructure is optimized to take the best routes, low ping times and virtually eliminates lag.
ZenMate premium software for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android is lightweight, efficient and extremely reliable – it takes about 2 seconds to switch servers. During our lengthy in-depth testing, ZenMate VPN never disconnected, not even once. But if you need that extra security, ZenMate kill switch is your fail-safe security measure.
The provider is an excellent choice for VPN users who would like to stay anonymous online and stop the government from tracking individual browsing history or compiling sensitive personal data.
ZenMate gigabit VPN servers are the best for uninterrupted streaming experience. The provider can also unblock a number of geo-restricted streaming services including Netflix (USA, UK, France and Germany), BBC iPlayer, HBO, Amazon Prime and more.
Additionally, if you would like to use your VPN for browsing only, you can install ZenMate browser extensions on Chrome, Opera and Firefox browsers.
To read a full ZenMate review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 1.99 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 8.88 USD
No logs Trust.Zone is a Seychelles based VPN provider with user privacy as their foremost priority. Since Trust.Zone is a VPN service launched by one of the largest torrenting websites ExtraTorrent, it’s no wonder they are one of the best providers for p2p file sharing. Their apps have DNS, WebRTC leaks protection, Kill Switch and port-forwarding features. To read a full Trust.Zone review click HERE.