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VPN Guide 2021 Unlocked – Best Paid Vs free VPN

Several VPN services can provide privacy and security as you browse the internet. They can make torrenting safe, unblock sites, keep you anonymous, and improve network speed. But how do you find and select the best one? How would you be aware you invest your money well and receive all the features that VPN service providers promise in their advertisements? 

This VPN Guide 2021 will highlight how to get the best VPN; you will also find out the best VPN in 2021 according to your needs, budget, and priorities.

Meaning of VPN

VPN, known as Virtual Private Network, is a secure, safe, and encrypted connection between one user and a network or two networks. The central theme of VPNs is that it provides privacy and safety when surfing the web.

How VPN Works

Rather than sending your internet traffic straight to your ISP (Internet Service Provider), VPN will firstly route the traffic via a VPN server. When your data is finally transmitted to the internet, it will show that it emanates from the VPN server instead of your device.

Without using a VPN, your IP address, a unique number to your home network, will be web visible. A VPN covers your IP address by working as an intermediary and redirecting your traffic. Also, it adds encryption or what is seen as a tunnel within your identity when you connect. The combination of the encryption and the VPN server tunnel prevents the government, ISP, and hackers from spying on you when you surf the web. 

As hinted, when you make use of a site via a VPN server, your connection source will display as one of the several VPN routers, known as a proxy server, and not your own. Thus, anyone or site owners attempting to spy on you can’t know you.

Why You Should Use VPN

  1. Anonymity and Privacy: The primary work is to conceal your IP address and protect your privacy when online. With the addition of encryption, VPN service providers use VPN protocols to ensure no one can view your activities online. With your safety guaranteed online, you can utilize safe communication on your device.
  2. Improved Security: A VPN service adds a sheet of protection to your Internet connection. The increased encryption indicates you are secure from hackers. A VPN will enhance your security anytime you make an online transaction or when you receive or send sensitive information.
  3. Bypasses Geo-restrictions: Another vital benefit of a VPN is that it bypasses geo-restrictions. Get a VPN if you wish to gain access to restricted websites, apps, or online services. With a VPN, you can change your IP address to any country regardless of your location in the world, thereby bypassing any limitation or restriction easily. You can also access and watch media programs seamlessly on online video streaming services, such as  Netflix, BBC, Hulu, Hotstar, Philo, or Sling Tv. 

How to Choose the Best VPN

There is a set of expectations and features that every VPN has to meet. Take a look at the criteria you need before choosing the best VPN.

  1. Simple to Use: Not everyone can navigate a complex VPN with several technical processes. Thus, you have to consider VPNs that are simple to use. With that, you will find your way around it, even if you have not used a VPN before.
  2. Cross-Platform Support: Most VPNs provide a range of simultaneous connections. An excellent VPN needs to have native apps for mobile platforms, enabling you to install and utilize your selected VPN on your phone, computer, and tablet. 
  3. Capabilities and Features: There are many unique features you can anticipate from any VPN service. For instance, there are AES-256 encryption, cross-platform support, and probably an effective kill switch. Also, there are features such as support for Open VPN that enables some unique VPNs. 
  4. Server Networks: It’s essential to be aware of the number of servers and their location. For instance, you need to pay attention to the numbers of the servers you want to connect to in the United States if you wish to stream on a service like Netflix. More so, VPNs with several servers bring quicker performance, which is vital to have in mind.
  5. Throttling and Speed: You can expect some throttling when it comes to VPNs. Meanwhile, the best options make the throttling to be almost unnoticed. It is essential to separate superb VPNs from average ones.
  6. Policies on Pricing and Money-Back: There is a list of affordable and good VPNs whose plans offer value for money compared to their competitors. Also, consider VPNs with flexible payment structures that equally offer guaranteed refunds or free trials.
  7. Customer Service: The best VPN need to possess excellent customer support that works 24/7 with live chat. That way, you will have any issues you might be having with the service resolved in a timely manner. 

There is a considerable difference between free and best paid VPNs despite being the same on the outside. The differences are significant, and they directly affect online security and privacy.

Free VPNs Online- Are they Good and Safe?

It is necessary to consider your digital data safety in this present era. As established, there are no better means to secure your online presence than using a VPN. There are several good free VPNs you can use, though they often have speed or data limits. However, this section will expound on the efficacy of free VPNs online. It will highlight the risks of utilizing free VPN services.

General Note; you should reconsider before using a free VPN service. Most times, free VPNs try to target you through ads, gather your details, or even take advantage of you in other means. Thus, ensure to research extensively and not trust any marketing advertisement.

Dangers of Free VPNs Online; What to Expect

The following are well-known dangers and disadvantages of using free VPNs online.

  1. 1. Using Free VPNs Won’t Keep You Safe Online: You will see a limited choice of VPN protocols, along with fewer levels of secured encryption. It requires huge knowledge and money to build a safe VPN app supported by secure infrastructure; that’s why free VPNs online can’t be compared to paid VPNs.
  2. Using Free VPNs Breeds Crippling Data Caps: ProtonVPN is the only free VPN online without a data cap. Despite that, you might face a limited performance. There is nothing like an unlimited and free VPN service. 
  3. Using Free VPNs Slows Your Web Speed: The prominent paid VPNs even slow your internet connection, let alone the free VPNs. It’s just the manner VPNs work. This is common with free VPNs, which can only be utilized for fast Web browsing sessions, not when you have to carry out a transaction that involves exposing your data online.
  4. Free VPNs Gathers Your Private Information: The application makes its revenue by showing you ads or gathering your information. VPNs have trackers in their software; in the end, your data might be seen in a partner company’s hands.
  5. Free VPNs Can’t Unlock Streaming Web Contents: Significantly, you can’t unblock streaming apps or websites with free VPNs. If you are searching for a VPN to watch Hotstar, Hulu, Netflix, the BBC, or other platforms, understand that free VPNs won’t help. They have performance limitations and data caps, making it impossible to stream restrictive contents. 

Tabular Comparison Of Paid Vs. Free VPN Comparison

FeaturesFree VPNsPaid VPNs
Encryption WeakStrong
Data CapYesNo ( Unlimited)
VPN ProtocolsWeakStrong
VPN server’s numbersLimitedThousands
Policy on Data LoggingVariesNo logs policy
Support of Media StreamingNoYes
Torrenting SupportNoYes
Technical SupportLimitedTimely & unlimited
Security GuaranteesNoYes
Speed of ConnectionLimitedUnlimited

According to the table, free VPNs have several limitations. Free VPNs are used only for fast Web browsing sessions. Meanwhile, if you want to protect your online presence, you have to go for a paid VPN service.

How to Download and Set up VPN

There are choices at your disposal for VPN download on your device. Your options are determined by:

  1. 1. Your device: mobile or desktop?
  2. Your OS (operating system): Windows, Android, macOS, or iOS?
  3. Your VPN software: VPN download on an app or configuring VPN manually?

Setting up a VPN through an app download

Several VPN providers provide service in a convenient app form. An example of this is the Nord VPN, which dedicated apps for Mac, Android, Windows, and iOS. This is the easiest means to begin if you are setting up in your home.

With various VPNs out in the market, you will undoubtedly find one that is simple to use. The following setup process will get you started with a new VPN quickly.

Download your chosen VPN

The first task is to select a VPN that meets your requirements. Research your choice and check out reviews by daily users and experts. Doing this will enlighten you on what each provider gives. Then, you can make an informed choice according to your needs.

After making your choice, download the VPN app to your device. For instance, Nord VPN provides native apps for Mac, Android, Windows, and iOS, protecting your internet connection with top-notch encryption, making your online presence untraceable, and keeping your confidential information private. Nord VPN offers top digital privacy, whether you are shopping online, chatting with friends, or checking your bank account. 

Troubleshoot Errors:

If you select a VPN from a prominent provider, you wouldn’t have any problem downloading it. But shady VPNs will give you a few red flags. You have to think correctly if to proceed when a VPN tells you in installation to click on “accept unsigned drivers,” or if it instigates the computer’s antivirus software. Instead of accepting those drivers or disabling your firewalls, consider changing to a VPN from a top and well-established cybersecurity leader such as Avast using Avast SecureLine.

Pick your Server:

 After downloading and installing the VPN app, input and log in with your password and username. The next step is to select the “home” VPN server of your use. Generally, servers situated nearer to your real-world location will provide quicker speeds. However, this is not always true, especially if the servers are in high demand. Often, you may even receive better performance from servers that are far away from your location.

What’s more, if your VPN provides the offer to choose a server for you, grab its recommendation. It will select a server that will deliver service quality and the best speed. However, if you want an IP address in a particular country to unblock websites with your VPN, then disregard this recommendation; if otherwise, your VPN knows the best. Once you connect to your server choice, there is nothing else to do but switch on your VPN and enjoy the upgraded online security and privacy.

Configure your Settings: 

If you have a VPN that delivers top-notch service, then you should ignore this step. The VPN provider already preconfigured several prominent commercial VPNs to work optimally. Just consult your provider’s guidance and recommendations before you make any setting changes. Moreover, VPN apps give vital benefits that you would miss if you set up your VPN.

A VPN protocol is one thing you might adjust. It will ascertain how your VPN makes the encrypted connection between the VPN server and your device. The safe and popular OpenVPN protocol is an open-source choice, which shows that programmers and security experts can simply inspect it in case of vulnerabilities. Though, other protocols might not be as safe.

Here is an example of setting up a VPN (Using Nord VPN as a case in point):

NordVPN provides a simple to use app that doesn’t require extensive knowledge to utilize.

Time needed: 30 minutes.

To set up a VPN on your device, follow the given steps.

  1. Visit the VPN download page.

    Log in to the NordVPN website or download the app and choose your subscription. Then go to the download center: Install VPN

  2. Select  your operating system

    Once you selected the operating system in previous step, choose the version as shown in the image below.Choose version

  3. Click to download.

    After selecting the version, you will be directed to VPN install page. Click on download tab to start VPN downloading on your device.Download VPN

  4. Installing the VPN.

    Go to your downloads folder and click on the NordVPNSetup.exe file; a prompt will come up to enable the app to run on your device. Click yes.Installing the VPN

  5. Complete the set up wizard.

     The installer window will cope up. Click next. Select installation options. Once the installation process is complete, click finish:Complete the set up

  6. Sign up and Log in to VPN account.

    After installing the app on your device, click on the app logo and create an account using email address and password. After sign up to VPN, login to your VPN account to connect to servers.Login to Nord VPN

  7. Connecting to servers

     You can select the “Quick Connect” button with NordVPN, and the app will bring the best server close to you. You can also click on a country pin to choose and connect to a particular country. There is also an option to scroll down the list of servers and pick the one you want to connect to. You can again navigate to the settings and turn in additional features such as the Kill Switch or switch protocols.Connect to servers

Using NordVPN on Different Platforms

Using VPN on Windows: Sign in to your account, select and click on “Quick Connect,” and you would be connected to the available and quickest server. You can also choose a server from the countries’ list on the left menu or tap it from the map.

The status will adjust to “Connected” with the server location and an IP address after a few times. A pop-up message on Windows will equally indicate and confirm you have successfully connected.

Using VPN on macOS: Find the NordVPN app on the App Store and set it up. The “Quick connect button” is found on the upper right app corner. After that, a pop-up message surfaces to confirm that you have successfully connected.

Using a VPN on Android: Android users can install NordVPN straight from the PlayStore. You can click on “Quick connect” in the app or scroll down to choose a server from the countries’ list.

Using Nord VPN Extension on Web Browser (Example: Chrome)

NordVPN browser extension permits you to change your present IP address by picking another country from the list right in the menu to unlock web contents and websites restricted in your address.

VPN extension for chrome

How to Add NordVPN to Chrome?

  • 1. Click on the browser extension from your dashboard and set it up.
  • Input all the needed information into the window that brings up a message
  • Click on the Nord App icon in your Chrome browser to start your protected browsing section.

Are VPNs Safe for Torrenting

Do you make use of torrents for downloading games, music, movies, or software? A good VPN is a great solution. It will effectively secure your connection, hiding your real IP address and geographical location. NordVPN, for instance, utilizes AES-256-bit encryption to hide both your incoming and outgoing requests. Torrenting with a VPN hides your IP address. It majorly covers your P2P traffic from trackers and ISP. However, you can still be caught when torrenting with a VPN. Two reasons can make that happen; your VPN provider might expose your IP, or it doesn’t support P2P traffic.

In the meantime, not all VPNs support torrenting fully. You should utilize the right one to be protected from being caught. Generally, torrenting is not illegal; however, distributing copyrighted material is. Thus, some VPNs state that they support torrenting, but they won’t permit you to distribute copyrighted music, movies, or games.

You can’t be caught when using the right VPN for torrenting because it is safe. The service guides your privacy and your online activities by hiding it from the government or ISP. You might be fined or even have your devices confiscated when you torrent without a VPN.

Be that as it may, if you are searching for a VPN that supports and conceals torrenting, below are some recommendations:

NordVPN

NordVPN is a superb VPN that has strongly invested in enhancing its security practices and infrastructure. It provides top-notch security features and a vast server network. 

Private Internet Access VPN

This VPN provides a vigorous VPN service, a superb fresh app interface, and can support several devices along with about ten simultaneous connections. It doesn’t provide much beyond the protection of the VPN. Thus, there is a need for better communication of its privacy policies.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is impressively dedicated to privacy, and it contains a range of far-flung servers that outclasses much competition. This has a huge price, and several might not require its world access.

CyberGhost

CyberGhost provides a superb VPN product with a powerful position on privacy, a vibrant network, and a great range of simultaneous connections. However, it’s costly.

TorGuard VPN

TorGuard VPN is a cheap means to secure the web traffic and provides features certain to appeal to security wonks; however, its client software is not the best.

IPVanish VPN 

IPVanish VPN provides a great value with ten simultaneous connections and a vibrant server’s gathering. However, all is shrouded in a cluttered interface, and the firm can utilize a more explicit privacy policy.

Surfshark

This is an excellent and affordable VPN product. It operates on Mac, Android, Windows, and iOS. You can certainly utilize Surfshark on several gadgets and devices simultaneously that even further improves the value.

There are several available security protocols such as TCP, OpenVPN UDP, IKEv2, and the new quicker WireGuard. Also, there is a kill switch for added security when using the VPN. Moreover, Surfshark’s ‘Quick Connect’ choice will quickly connect you to one of its 3,200+ servers. 

How to Use Sling Tv with VPN

This is the instruction on how to change your Sling TV location to enable you to watch things abroad;

  1. Sign up for a VPN. NordVPN, Surfshark, IPVanish VPN, CyberGhost, and ExpressVPN are highly recommended.
  2. Register or enroll for the service and install the VPN app or software.
  3. Next, log in to the VPN provider and connect to a US server.
  4. Try to play any video via the Sling TV website.
  5. Follow the above steps to watch Sling TV from abroad. Try to clear your browser’s cookies and cache if you encounter any problems.

How to Unblock Netflix with a VPN

You have to select a VPN that has been tested and can outclass Netflix geo-blocks. NordVPN is highly recommended for this due to its server speed, coverage, and simple use.

Go to VPN and connect your server to a Netflix library country you wish to access. In particular, you should connect to a US server if you want to access Netflix. Generally, you will see the library for your chosen country when you open Netflix. You can also check out Netflix free trial.

How to unblock Philo TV with a VPN

  1. If you want to watch Philo with a VPN, then follow these easy instructions. Download or install the Hotspot Shield VPN app on your desktop or mobile device.
  2. Connect; Go to the Hotspot Shield VPN app, select and click the “Connect” button.
  3. Pick location; Select the VPN server’s location to your preferred country to watch your favorites.
  4. Finally, go to the Philo app and enjoy your favorite programs.

How to Watch Hotstar from Anywhere

This has three simple steps:

  1. Download or install a VPN. NordVPN is recommended due to its speed. Also, it has a reliable server that is fitted for streaming Hotstar.
  2. Pick an Indian server. You can see most Indian content in Hostar. Thus, it’s great to connect it to an Indian server.
  3. Begin to watch your Hotstar! Enjoy your favorite movies and content in India.

Current Best VPN Service

Finally, it is pertinent to state the current ten best VPN services.

  1. ExpressVPN; this is seen as the best VPN generally. 
  2. NordVPN; this is another excellent VPN. It has the best encryption. 
  3. Surfshark; this is an excellent VPN service, and it’s the best VPN for torrenting.
  4. CyberGhost; another superb VPN. It is the most suited VPN for Mac.
  5. IPVanish; is the best VPN for Android.
  6. Private Internet Access; this is the best VPN for Windows. 
  7. Tunnelbear; is the best free VPN online.
  8. Windscribe; this is another excellent VPN. It is the best VPN with double hop  
  9. Encrypt. me; this is the best VPN to use with unlimited devices.
  10. Hotspot Shield; it’s the best VPN for Netflix.

VPN FAQs

The following are frequently asked questions in VPN use. 

Is VPN Safe? 

Are VPNs truly safe? Do you really require a VPN? Are VPN tools truly the best tools for your privacy safeguard?
The answer for all is yes. VPN applications have the most efficient way of preserving your privacy. They encrypt your web data, stop online trackers, and have you stay invisible online. More so, you should know that VPNs are not new because they have a rich development history for many decades. This shows that VPNs are advanced and easy-to-use tools to route your data via a safe tunnel.
What’s more, VPN services have other uses. They change your IP address and as well change your physical address. Due to different methods of obfuscation, VPNs unblock websites, including media streaming services. Finally, suppose you witness that your ISP is throttling on your Web traffic. In that case, these applications will aid in fighting against the throttling, permitting you to utilize your Web connection to its maximum extent.

Is VPN Legal?

The use of VPN is totally legal in almost every country in the world. Since VPN signifies the right to keep your information private, few countries stand against the software solution. 

How much Does VPN Generally Cost?

There is no specific VPN Payment. You will spend more if you want a monthly subscription. They can range from $10-$18 for monthly subscriptions, indicating that you will be charged once monthly. Meanwhile, you can save enough money if you decide on a long-term subscription. However, the highest savings are seen in yearly subscriptions or plans. It can aid you in saving from 50 percent and more. It is essential to add that there are free VPNs online that require no subscription.

Can VPN Be Hacked?

The answer is yes. Just like any cybersecurity product, VPN can be hacked. However, prominent providers, such as NordVPN, utilize top-notch security features that will take millions of dollars and years to hack. Nevertheless, some services like several free VPNs can sell your data for money and expose you intentionally to fraud or malware.

Can VPN Be Tracked?

Many have asked if VPN can be tracked.  Consequently, if you utilize a VPN, your IP address is adjusted. Your activities online are encrypted to ensure you can’t be tracked. Some websites or ISPs might know you are utilizing a VPN; however, they cannot view your online activities. Hence, you need to use a VPN to reduce your chances of being tracked or even caught online.

Is VPNs Safe For Devices?

It’s secure to make use of a VPN on your devices or phone, provided you chose a trustworthy app. A top-rated VPN app will make you change your server where you will connect to the internet, thus, hiding your location.

Does VPN Reduce Internet Speed?

Can VPN reduce the speed of your internet? Yes, a VPN will slightly decrease your internet speed because it adds some steps that were not available in your connection hitherto. They are the encryption procedure and a remote server connection. In the meantime, premium VPN is crafted to reduce the effect of latency.

What is VPN Meaning?

VPN, known as Virtual Private Network, is a secure, safe, and encrypted connection between one user and a network or two networks. The central theme of VPNs is that it permits you to hide when surfing the web.

Conclusion

The central meaning of VPN is that it permits you to hide when surfing the web. The basic aim of any VPN service is the protection of your privacy and identity. VPN is still the perfect defense against your online privacy. And you can be certain that there are trustworthy VPNs that have no-logs policies. More so, there is no better or other means to keep your online activities or surf privately than using a VPN. The minute you connect to your server, your ISP won’t track the websites you visit, thus, keeping your online presence and browsing habits as they ought to be; Private!

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