How We Chose the Best VPN ServicesGiven how much sensitive information we share on the Internet every day, it’s not surprising that people are always looking for reliable ways to protect themselves. A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, shields users’ privacy and information by routing all Internet activity through a network of secured, private servers, and encrypting your data. With so many different VPN services available, choosing one can be a challenge. In creating this list of the best VPN services of 2022, we looked at four key factors that make a VPN service worth your business.
SecuritySince one of the main functions of a VPN is to provide security to users, it’s critical that VPN services offer the most up-to-date standard security features. We looked for VPN services that use the highest level of available encryption (256-bit AES with PBKDF2-HMAC-SHA512); trusted VPN protocols, and some type of two-factor authentication, like biometric logins or multi-factor authentication.
Server CoverageYour VPN connection’s speed and reliability are largely dependent on how many servers the company has, and where they are located. One of our inclusion criteria is that companies have a sizable server network spread out among several continents.
Logging PolicyDespite the fact that most people use a VPN connection to keep their information private, some VPN services log user activity and data. We focused on companies that promise a no-logging policy, and verified their assurances through a third-party site.
Free TrialIn addition to reading reviews of VPN services, it’s also a good idea to test-drive a few before paying for a subscription. Therefore, we prioritized VPN services that offer a free trial or free account, so users can see firsthand if the service works for them.
What is a VPN service?
A VPN service is a company that offers customers access to a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. They own and operate servers around the world, and are often headquartered in countries with strict laws against online surveillance and international intelligence sharing.
When an individual uses a VPN service, it masks their Internet Protocol (IP) address, and routes their Internet activity through secure, private servers, instead of more vulnerable public networks.
Besides establishing a secure Internet connection, most VPN services offer additional protection in the form of data encryption, ad and malware blocking, and no-log policies. People can also use VPNs to access content that might be restricted because of geographic location or government regulations.
Most VPN services offer subscriptions on an individual basis, although some offer VPN solutions tailored specifically to businesses. These services typically include all the basic functionality of a VPN, as well as additional business-oriented benefits like account managers, dedicated servers, additional customer support, and more. Whether you need a business VPN plan, or just an individual plan will depend on the size of your organization, how many devices you need to connect to the VPN, and the amount of support you will need.
Benefits of VPN services
Regardless of the type of small business you manage, it’s likely that at least some of your operations require online activity, making VPN services valuable.
- Better security: Using a VPN service is one of the best ways to ensure that any sensitive data you or your employees send or access is protected from hackers and data breaches. Adding extra layers of security before there is a problem can save you a lot of time, money, and stress later.
- Easier remote access: While all the devices located in your company’s on-site work locations might be securely connected to your data centers, what about when you or an employee need to log in from a remote location? A VPN service ensures that whenever you have to use a public WiFi connection, any data that is accessed remains private and secured. This also provides a more nimble solution to remote access than having IT install special VPN software on all of an employee’s devices.
- Geographic independence: If international travel is a key part of your business, a VPN service will ensure that you or your employees are not hindered by any local Internet access restrictions and regulations.
What to look for in a VPN service
Every small business has its own unique needs that will guide which VPN service is ideal, but there are a few key features that you should examine before subscribing to a VPN service.
- Server coverage: You want your VPN connection to be fast and reliable, and that has a lot to do with where your service providers servers are located. Most VPN service providers will list the countries and often cities where they have servers. Review this information to ensure that there are servers in optimal locations for your business.
- Logging policy: Many VPN services have strict no-logging policies, meaning they do not track any of their users’ data or keep any records of users’ activity. However, some businesses do require VPN logs for auditing or other purposes. If this is the case, you may want to look for a VPN service that gives you the option to log activity on the VPN.
- Activity management: These tools act much like parental controls. Do you want to monitor and control where your employees can go using their VPN connection? If so, look for VPN services that offer more robust activity management features.
The Cost of VPN services
VPN service subscriptions are usually managed by length of time, with lower per-month prices for longer subscriptions, like one or two years, than for short-term, monthly subscriptions. The cost of a monthly subscription usually ranges from $9-$13 per month, while annual or biannual subscriptions can start as low as $1.99 per month. These different prices usually don’t reflect different levels of services or features offered by the plan. Rather, they reward customers who sign on for longer terms with discounted prices.
Some companies also offer free plans, but these are usually limited to a single device, or a certain amount of bandwidth per day, and are likely not a feasible solution for a small business.
When considering pricing for VPN services, be sure to look at how many devices you can connect with a single account, to confirm that the plan you choose will support all of the devices you need to connect to run your business. If a single-subscriber plan is insufficient for your needs, look for companies that offer enterprise plans. Often these are customized based on your needs, so pricing may be done on a per-quote basis.
Expert’s Notes: CyberGhost, Private Internet Access VPN, and ExpressVPN
While all three of these VPN providers have solid technology to back up their stellar reputations, there is one thing I feel as though cannot go unmentioned if we’re talking about privacy. CyberGhost, Private Internet Access VPN, and (as of September 2021) ExpressVPN are all owned by a parent company named Kape Technologies. If you aren’t familiar with this name, Kape Technologies—formerly known as Crossrider before their name change in 2018—has a bad reputation for creating malware and adware.
This is certainly concerning for anyone looking out for their privacy when connected to the internet, which is one of the main reasons for using a VPN. Kape Technologies has been working to rehabilitate their image and distance themselves from their past. In fact, they are planning on yet another name change to “Private Internet.”
While there hasn’t been any evidence that CyberGhost, Private Internet Access VPN, and ExpressVPN have violated users’ privacy, this is something I feel anyone shopping around for a VPN should keep in mind. Perhaps Kape Technologies/Private Internet is moving in the right direction and is a different company now. Only time will tell.
Other VPN service resources
- 15 Things You Can Do With a VPN That You Can’t Do Without One
- Can You Connect All Your Devices To a Single VPN?
- Do You Need VPN on Your iPad?
- Does a VPN Protect Your Business From Trojans?
- Does a VPN Protect You From Hackers?
- Guide to VPNs for Studying Abroad
- How Do VPNs Work and Why Should You Be Using One?
- How Does Running Your Business From Home Impact Cybersecurity?
- How To Choose a Free VPN
- How To Develop a Small Business Cyber Security Plan
- How To Master the Cyber Kill Chain Stage of Reconnaissance
- How To Setup a VPN
- How To Setup a VPN on Android
- How To Setup a VPN on iPhone
- How To Setup a VPN on Mac
- How To Setup a VPN on Windows 10
- How To Set Up A VPN On A Router
- How To Tell If Your VPN Is Doing Its Job
- How To Test Your VPN – The Complete Guide for SMBs
- How To Use a VPN
- The Best Mobile VPNs of 2022
- The Best VPNs for Mac of 2022
- The Best VPNs for Windows 10 of 2022
- The Best VPNs for Small Business in 2022
- The Difference Between Cybersecurity and IT Security
- The Fastest VPN Services of 2022
- The Mindset of Hackers: Protecting Your Business
- What Can a VPN Protect Me From
- What Is a Firewall and How Does It Work?
- What Is a Network Intrusion Prevention System?
- What Is a P2P VPN?
- What Is a VPN, and why would I need one?
- What is Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) Software?
- When Is It Illegal To Use a VPN?
- Why Is Public WiFi Unsafe?
- What Are the Top Cybersecurity Threats of 2022?
- What is the Cybersecurity Kill Chain?
- What Is Internet of Things (IoT) Security?
- What to look for in a VPN for your business
- Why Use a VPN?