The internet has gone through a lot of changes in the last several decades, and unfortunately — not a lot of them were positive. Sure, we now have all the information in the world only a quick Google search away. We have quick and easy access to our friends from anywhere in the world. We have a place to express our thoughts and feelings, share photos and events, and more.
Our choice to stay anonymous online is to use NordVPN, don’t bother with other VPNs.
Get 77% off NordVPN here (drops the price down to $2.75 per month)
We have access to all kinds of services, including online banking, streaming movies and shows, playing games, playing games with friends, and almost any website, concept, or idea has a community filled with like-minded individuals.
With all of that available on our computers and phones at any time, what possible drawbacks could there be for us to complain about? Plenty.
For all its benefits, the internet is a dangerous place. It is filled with threats which could ruin your life. One of our greatest assets is our privacy because we are safe in the fact that people who would do us harm for their own gain cannot do so if they don’t know details about us. And yet, the internet gives them everything they need to do just that.
As you collect the data from the web — the web collects data from you. Every website tracks your movements; every app collects your information. Things like your location, your browsing habits, your online activities are all legally collected by websites and stored in huge databases.
If any of those databases are compromised, all that information and more would be, too. And what about illegal threats? Hacking attacks, malware, viruses, keyloggers, and more threaten your privacy and security at all times. The photos you put on social media, alongside the rest of your information, is more than enough for anyone to profile you.
Then, there is online surveillance by governments and governmental agencies or advertisement companies who would stop at nothing to collect as much as they can, once again — for their purposes. Sure, that data could be used for good — governments could identify threats, and advertisers would know what kind of items you are interested in, so they would present you with better ads. However, is it worth having your privacy exposed? We do not think so.
Because of that, various online privacy and security tools were invented, and above all of them stand VPNs.
What is a VPN and how does it work?
VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is online privacy, security, and anonymity tool. There are countless VPN providers out there, and they will all offer you an app, or a browser extension that will allow you to hide your traffic and location.
No two VPN providers are the same, but they are all based on the same idea, and they all offer the same basic services. They use encryption to make your data flow unreadable. They use security protocols to create a secure tunnel for your data to flow through. Finally, they use server networks to let you hide your real IP address and replace it with one of their own. This changes your online location to that of the server itself and lets you bypass censorship, geo-restrictions, and protect your real location.
As mentioned, different firms offer different additional features, so you may encounter some that feature kill switches, DNS leak protection, different size of the server network, different online security protocols, or encryptions of different strength. Many VPNs even offer the ability to protect multiple devices at once, so you can ensure that your entire family is protected. Some offer support for torrenting; others let you split your traffic and only protect certain parts of it. The features are many, and each service offers its own set.
That is why it is extremely important to pick a good service that will let you protect what you want. Some VPNs claim to be fast, but they are not. Worse than that, some claim that they are completely anonymous, and that ends up being not true. Some are based in countries that are not privacy-friendly, which is a piece of information that you should definitely know before opting to use their services.
Since it is important to know these things, and those not familiar with what they should look for cannot make the choice of a good quality VPN themselves, we have decided to come up with a list that would give you some better insight. You are free to choose any service you wish, but before you do — make sure to know and understand their features. With that in mind, here are our top recommendations for the best VPNs to help keep you anonymous on the internet.
The first on our list is ExpressVPN — a VPN service based in the British Virgin Islands, and well outside the 5/9/14 Eyes surveillance alliance’s jurisdiction. ExpressVPN is also well-known for its privacy features, such as keeping no logs of your activities, strong security protocol (OpenVPN), top encryption (256-bit AES), and a massive server network that spans through 94 countries.
With it, you will not only be completely anonymous and secure online, but you would also be able to unblock any content on the internet, in every country where the service has servers. It also offers a kill switch that lets you cut your connection instantly if the VPN app malfunctions, as well as a DNS leak protection, that would ensure that your traffic doesn’t leak.
The only drawback is that its monthly subscription is a bit more expensive than usual ($12.95), although its six-month and 1-year plans come at major discounts that make it well worth it. And, if you happen to change your mind after purchasing a plan — ExpressVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Next, we have NordVPN. This provider is based in Panama, which is outside of the surveillance alliance’s jurisdiction as well, and well-known for its privacy values. When it comes to its security features, it is almost every bit as good as ExpressVPN. It uses OpenVPN protocol, the same strong encryption; it features a kill switch, as well as DNS leak protection. It also has obfuscated servers, that can hide the fact that you are using a VPN to conceal your traffic.
It can easily bypass firewalls, and it keeps no logs of your activities. NordVPN also allows you to connect up to six devices at the same time, and it supports a massive number of platforms, including Android, Windows. iOS, macOS, Linux, Smart TVs, and it offers several browser extensions. It has 5700 servers in 60 countries around the world, which makes its server network almost as big as that of ExpressVPN, although the number of countries is a third smaller.
Finally, NordVPN is similar when it comes to prices. Its monthly price is around 10.50 EUR, which is pretty much the same as the ExpressVPN. However, it also offers a 1-year plan (6.14 EUR per month), a 2-year plan (3.50 EUR per month), and a 3-year plan (2.62 EUR per month). It is a good service, and it will definitely keep you safe and anonymous, with all the security features you could ever want. The only potential drawback includes speed inconsistencies, although that is only on some servers.
Then, we have VyprVPN, which is based in Switzerland. Despite the fact that Switzerland is in the heart of Europe, which is not exactly the best place when it comes to privacy — the country is not a member of the EU, so it can conduct its own privacy laws without answering to anyone. As it happens, the Swiss also value privacy quite a bit, which makes their country a great place to base a VPN service.
With our previous entry, the inconsistent speed was the only real issue, but when it comes to VyprVPN — there are no such problems. This VPN runs on a proprietary server network owned by the service’s parent company, which means that they don’t use third-party servers. This is excellent in terms of security and speed alike.
Just like others on this list, it keeps no logs, and it has all the same security features, including OpenVPN protocol, strong encryption, DNS leak protection, a killswitch, and even a stealth mode known as Chameleon Protocol. Its apps are easy to use, and they cover all popular devices and systems, such as Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, as well as Smart TVs, QNAP, Routers, Blackphone, and Anonabox.
Its server network covers over 70 countries, with more than 200,000 unique IP addresses for you to choose from, and get lost in the sea of traffic. The same 30-day money-back guarantee is present here as well. As for prices, they are pretty much the same as the others. You can pay $12.95 per month and cover 5 devices, use Chameleon Protocol, and VyprVPN cloud feature, or you can pay $9.95 per month, use the VPN on 3 devices, and lose the two security features from the other packet. The prices are better on a yearly basis, with $5 per month for the 3-device plan, and $6.67 for the 5-device one. The fact that the basic plan does not come with Chameleon Protocol is the only major drawback of this service.
4. Private Internet Access (PIA)
Next, we have a Private Internet Access VPN or PIA. Unlike others, this VPN is based in the US, which is one of the founding members of the surveillance alliance. Apart from that, we all know how much US agencies like to spy on everyone, so this is not the perfect place to launch a VPN or use one from there. However, PIA may be an exception.
It is very much appreciated by the Reddit community, and it offers a plethora of privacy features that will make you safe and anonymous. It offers several levels of encryption, so you can change it the way you prefer. It also offers several security protocols, OpenVPN included.
Next, PIA features the same zero-logs policy as the others, meaning that it won’t have anything for the government or anyone else who comes demanding your data, even if they might have the right to demand and take it. Since the delicate situation, it was audited by a third party, and its claims were confirmed. It also regularly provides transparency reports.
PIA offers support for torrenting; it blocks ads, offers multiple VPN gateways, and unlimited bandwidth. There is likely no better choice if you wish to protect multiple devices at once — PIA lets you protect 10 of them with any of its plans. It is also easy to use, and it features 3341 servers in 32 countries around the world. While the server network is smaller than others, it is still more than capable of unblocking most of what you could ever need.
It works on Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, Linux, and 34 other devices. As for its appreciation for privacy, it even allows you to pay with Bitcoin. And, while we are at the topic of payments, PIA offers a much lower monthly plan, of only $9.95. If you take its yearly plan, you can save up to 40% by only paying $5.99 per month. However, its two-year plan is the most economical one, as you would save as much as 65%, and pay only $3.49 per month.
The only drawback is that its money-back guarantee only lasts for 7 days.
Finally, we have TorGuard. This is one of the best VPN services that you will ever find, despite the fact that it is based in Florida, meaning that it is within the US and the 5 Eyes surveillance alliance jurisdiction. Just like PIA, TorGuard does everything in its power to rectify that with excellent security features, low prices, and more.
In fact, when it comes to security features, TorGuard is near the very top of the VPN food chain. It offers anonymous IP, it supports torrenting, and it offers 5 simultaneous connections. It offers at least 5 security protocols, the strongest possible encryption, and a network of over 3,000 servers in 55 countries.
It keeps no logs; it has a kill switch, a DNS leak protection, and more. It works on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. It also covers some routers, including Tomato and DD-WRT. Next, it features excellent speeds, it allows torrenting, and it has dedicated IP addresses for streaming. It is stealthy and secure, and there were no leaks detected during any of the testings.
It also works with Netflix (although not all servers), and its customer support is one of the best in the industry, available 24/7 via live chat.
As for its price, TorGuard will let you use its VPN with all of its features for $9.99 per month, $19.99 per 3 months, $29.99 per half a year, and $59.99 per year.
Its drawbacks include the fact that it is US-based. However, it is a great service which you should definitely consider.
Using VPN to make anonymous Bitcoin Payments
As mentioned, some VPNs can be paid for with Bitcoin, which would bring even greater anonymity and privacy, as not even the VPN itself will know to whom they are renting their services. Just be careful if contacting their customer services, as many would keep the information shared with them that way. But more to the point: If you are a cryptocurrency enthusiast and a Bitcoin user, you should know that many on the internet call Bitcoin anonymous, but that is not really the case. In truth, Bitcoin is a pseudonymous asset, and you can only keep your identity a secret until you perform certain actions.
For example, if you have your Bitcoins in an anonymous wallet, your identity is safe as no one knows who the wallet belongs to. However, Bitcoin, as a cryptocurrency, is digital cash, and everything digital leaves a trail — however faint it might seem at first. Cryptocurrencies do not encrypt your traffic, and any transaction is posted to Bitcoin’s nodes, completely unencrypted and plain to see.
Anyone who monitors the network, such as your internet service provider (ISP) will instantly get information on where transactions have originated from and could link your Bitcoin address to your real IP address. This would compromise your identity, and all anonymity would be lost.
However, if you use a VPN, you can encrypt your traffic and hide it from view. Not even your ISP would be able to see what you are doing online, and so there is no way for them to connect your Bitcoin wallet to your IP, and in extent — to your real identity. This is the only way to use Bitcoin anonymously. In fact, ExpressVPN — our top choice — has an excellent guide on how to make anonymous payments with Bitcoin. It is lengthy and complex, but it will surely do the trick. However, even this won’t protect you if you connect your wallet directly to an exchange where your identity is verified, so step lightly if you wish to keep your crypto-related actions secret.
Using the internet brings countless opportunities, features, and benefits. However, it also brings many dangers, particularly when it comes to the security of your identity. If bad actors could steal your information, you could end up in a lot of trouble. Your accounts could be compromised, your money could be stolen, and even your identity could share the same fate.
For those, and many other reasons — you should consider using a VPN. Above, we have shared several of the top VPN services, with excellent reputations and security features. They also feature reasonable prices and numerous other benefits that will keep you safe and anonymous online. And, as mentioned, a VPN is the only way for you to use Bitcoin and not have everyone know which wallet belongs to you, and how much money you have stored within. So don’t risk your privacy and security, when around $10 or less per month could guarantee your complete safety.