VIRTUAL Private Network (VPN) apps should be the first port of call for anyone looking to protect their data or online browsing history.
We’ve tracked down some of the best free and paid-for VPNs out there on a host of devices, so read on for our recommendations.
It’s important to note that VPNs can be used to get around geo-restrictions that stop you watching videos in certain countries. This is illegal, so it’s important not to use them for this purpose. VPNs should only be used to help protect your personal data from snoopers.
More recently, the backlash over Snapchat‘s app redesign had some utilising a VPN to get around the update – although the company’s official Twitter account warns against it, and so do we.
There are plenty of VPN programs popping up online all the time, so we’ve taken the liberty of finding the best paid and free ones to keep you secure.
The best VPN apps for PC
NordVPN (£9/month, £52/year)
NordVPN offers clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux – plus a Chrome plug-in and Firefox add-on. It’s an easy-to-use tool that boasts double encryption to ensure the most secure solution around. The search bar offers quick access to global servers, and there’s extra privacy through connection to the Tor onion network (an anonymous web browsing software used by major sites like The New York Times and Facebook).
Like most free VPNs, TunnelBear boasts a premium version that ditches the download limit restrictions. But, if you’re okay with a data cap of 500MB of traffic each month, this is a solid free VPN. We’d recommend using it intermittently to get around the constraints, and you’ll probably enjoy the cutesy design while you’re at it.
The best VPN apps for Mac
VyprVPN (£6.95/month, £49/year)
A lightning-fast VPN for Mac, this Switzerland-based provider owns and operates all of its servers. Auto-selection of the fastest servers is just one of the paid perks, along with auto-encryption of untrusted WiFi networks, and unrestricted connections by IP address.
Betternet VPN (free)
Betternet’s free-forever service doesn’t come with a data limit. But be warned, it’s considered one of the worst for intercepting malware and you won’t be able to choose the server you connect to.
The best VPN apps for iPhone
IPVanish VPN (£4.90/month)
With over 1,000 servers in more than 60 locations, IPVanish is a top-performing VPN client with a great iOS app. It works on both iPhones and iPads (iOS 8 or higher) and auto-connects every time internet traffic is detected. There’s absolutely no free tier, not even a trial. In exchange, the app doesn’t record your online activity or connection data on iOS.
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Opera VPN (free)
You may have heard of the Opera web browser, well the company behind it also boasts a VPN app. Its free and unlimited, and also blocks ads and trackers. So what’s the catch? It can be slow and unresponsive at times. But you get what you pay for (or in this case, what you don’t pay for).