The Best VPN Router of 2018

VPNs Keep You Safe Online

The Best VPN Services
It will be very confusing for people to install and set up a poor design VPN softare. Many of these things can't run VPN software on their own, nor can they be configured to connect to a VPN through their individual settings. After the original developers abandoned the software, others from around the world, created different versions of PT from the Github code. T3 is part of Future plc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Yes, with a VPN, you boot it before you start browsing.

The research

The Best VPN Providers of 2018

As does the company's British Virgin Island location when it comes to maintaining your anonymity. And don't forget that we've wangled that 15 months for the price of 12 deal for TechRadar readers, too.

You also get an excellent native client for Windows with an intuitive interface, yet some good depth in terms of advanced settings. There is no free trial, but you benefit from a 7-day money-back guarantee. As you may be aware, China has some pretty heavy internet censorship that's only getting more difficult to get around. ExpressVPN proactively monitors its network to ensure that accessibility in China is maintained.

You also get a speedy VPN service, and quality customer support, which never hurts. That's because the VPN provider offers speedy performance for slick streaming, and supports viewing Netflix in a number of countries not just the US.

And if you're dipping your toe into the VPN waters for the first time, then ExpressVPN's day money-back guarantee should be an attractive bonus. For starters, the provider boasts an impressive array of servers in Canada, 42 of them to be precise, which will certainly help in the quest for a fast and stable connection.

In our tests, we found this VPN gave us a substantial increase in download speeds compared to our normal rates, which is very impressive indeed. If you want a simple solution to ensure safe and private browsing, then you can add an extension to your Chrome browser — and our favorite in this case is ExpressVPN. The extension is super easy to use and has some handy little features such as DNS leak prevention and a kill switch.

It's fast and Chrome users can have confidence in ExpressVPN's security as well - its privacy policy is attractive with no logging of traffic data or online activity. This is our recommended best VPN service for iPad and iPhone largely because of its consistently fast performance, huge server network and wide array of access to streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. We also liked how easy it was to download, install and set up the ExpressVPN app - it takes merely a single tap to turn on and off the VPN at your will.

VPN is one of those tech terms and has gained a lot of traction in recent years as the internet has diversified and grown to even bigger levels. The latter involves technologies that aim to add a layer of security to both private and public networks. These include broadband and internet hotspots. A VPN virtual private network is therefore a secure and private solution within the wider internet itself that allows users — whether they are individuals, or part of an organisation, or business — to send and receive data while maintaining the secrecy of a private network.

That means you could use one to create a secure "tunnel" into your company network to enjoy access to private internal systems, but also means you could browse in complete privacy online and access content you might otherwise not be able to get such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer. All the traffic that passes through your VPN connection is secure and cannot, in theory, be intercepted by anyone else, making it the safest mainstream way to browse the web privately but not always anonymously.

Just bear in mind though that VPN setups are only as secure as the weakest link in the entire chain. So if your device has already been compromised with malware already, using a VPN won't save you from being spied upon, although a good antivirus could. By using a VPN, you can, in theory, prevent your internet service provider ISP and government from seeing your internet history.

VPNs have also emerged as a popular tool in the freedom of speech movement. This results in users customising their location settings to be able to use overseas services. You can resort to a VPN to protect yourself from hackers too. This can lead to you losing valuable data, such as passwords. This technology is also emerging as a popular force in the world of business.

Many VPN services - there are about of them on mobile and desktop - offer different pros and cons, so if you're looking to access Hulu or BBC iPlayer from a different region, dial into your office network or simply stay safe and secure online, you'll find a service tailored precisely to your needs. Some companies now offer a basic service that won't cost you anything at all.

Are the free VPN services as good as their paid-for counterparts then? As you'd expect, there are catches, and they typically start with a data cap. Free products also typically have usage restrictions.

Most companies don't want you to soak up all their bandwidth on torrents, so ZPN is typical in blocking P2P. There's "best effort" bandwidth, which means paying customers have speed priority and you get what's left. And the choice of locations is limited to three: Canada, Netherlands and Singapore. Hola's free-for-personal-use plan doesn't have the same kind of restrictions, but even here there's a catch. The service routes traffic through its free users rather than dedicated servers, so signing up allows others to securely share a small part of your bandwidth and resources.

Then there's the adverts and the session limits CyberGhost and the general lack of service level agreement: Free plans are fine for simple needs, then - maybe protecting your laptop's wireless hotspot traffic on the occasional trip - but if you're looking for anything more advanced, a commercial product is best.

The immediate benefit is that you know your personal data remains safe, even if you're on a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Local snoopers might be able to see the connection, but there's no way to find out what it is or where it's going. VPNs also give you a new digital identity in the shape of an IP address from another country.

This makes it harder for websites or anyone else to track you, allows some people to bypass government censorship, and helps the rest of us avoid those "not available in your country" messages on YouTube or other streaming sites. Best of all, despite the low-level network technology involved, you don't need to be any kind of expert to make VPNs work.

For the most part, all you have to do is choose the country where you'd like an IP address, click Connect to start, Disconnect when you're done - and that's it. Choosing a VPN service can be tricky if you are not well versed in the technical lingo used by the service providers. Does the plan have servers in every country and region you need? Having more than one server in a country can help spread the load, but doesn't guarantee improved performance, so don't assume a plan with servers will automatically beat another with Check the number of simultaneous connections supported.

Typically, this is , which allows you to have a PC, mobile and tablet connected at the same time. But beware, many companies say this is for a single user only, and they all have fair usage policies to prevent people hogging resources. If you let the entire family download and stream videos separately then you'll run into trouble.

Some providers list the connection protocols they use. All VPN companies say they don't log whatever you're doing online , but inevitably they collect a little data. Some services record the day your account logged on, the amount of data you used, and delete anything else when the session closes. Others add items like your incoming IP address and the server you used, and keep the data for months, even years. If you're concerned, check the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service to find out more.

It's important to consider the client, the software which handles your connections. Some clients display server load and ping time in the interface, helping you choose the right server. Regular users might appreciate a "Favourites" system to save and recall specific servers. If you know what you're doing, having access to low-level network settings will help you tune the whole system.

Finally, there's the price. Beware of apparently cheap deals: Look for a 'Pricing' link, read the small print, and if possible use something like PayPal where it's easy to check and cancel a subscription yourself. Once you've found what looks like a good VPN candidate, be sure to take it for a trial before you spend any big money.

But a short trial can only tell you so much, so once that's expired, pay for a month, run as many tests as you can, then upgrade to a better value plan usually yearly if you're still happy.

And many allow you to log on from as many as 5 devices at once, so with one account you can secure and anonymise all of your gadgets. You simply install the app, open it and tell it what you want your location to be.

All the encryption is done in the background so simply by switching it on, it'll do all of the hard work for you. ExpressVPN is reasonably priced, delivers a good service and has support for three simultaneous connections. T3 readers also get 3 months free with all annual ExpressVPN plans - 15 months for the price of 12!

They've been going for years and if you've read about VPNs in the past you've probably seen some of their ads! That's certainly a bonus over ExpressVPN which only offers three connections at a time - IPVanish could be the better option for you if you want to get the whole family on one plan, for example. VyprVPN has a free trial too so you can try it our and see what you think before you commit! It has servers in 59 countries, supports up to six devices simultaneously, runs bit encryption and has a feature list including an automatic kill switch, dedicated IP addresses, strong DNS leak protection and the ability to pay in Bitcoin.

For relatively short connections performance was superb, although we did notice a little latency creeping in from time to time for very long distance connections. TunnelBear is designed for a very specific group of people: And it caters brilliantly for that market, with a very straightforward interface and jargon-free writing. Longer connections can be slower, though: Yes you heard that right! The reason is that unlike the others above on this list, it doesn't offer unlimited data. So you're limited by bandwidth and data, not by devices.

You get 10GB every month, and there's a free plan also but that only allows one device. There are apps for Windows, Mac and iOS but not Android, and the service also offers browser add-ons with useful features such as ad-blocking. Short range performance to US sites is good, but we noticed lag with transatlantic connections.

How much should a VPN cost? For your money you get a decent range of features including up to five devices, private browsing, virtual locations and good if not stellar performance: The main reason to use a VPN is security - in theory, the data that travels across your VPN should be impossible for anybody else to intercept, so it can protect your online banking or confidential business communications - but there are other benefits too. VPNs can make it much harder for advertising to track you online, and they can overcome geography-specific blocks that prevent you from accessing some country-specific services such as online video.

Think of a VPN as being like curtains: What that means in practice is that VPNs are fine for bypassing geo-blocks, for protecting your online banking and for keeping business communications free from interception. A proxy server is another way to conceal your real location. The main difference is that VPNs protect all your traffic while proxies tend to be limited to specific types of data, such as peer to peer networking or web browsing.

Start with the basics: Are there particular security protocols you want to use? How much data will they log about you, and how long do they keep it for? Wherever possible try before you buy. These are the sexy, high-tech whips vying for the prestigious best car bragging rights at the T3 Awards. The updates to the Gear Sport are incremental, but it's still the best smartwatch for Android users.

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7. Private Internet Access