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The Best VPN Service
Can you tell us the downside of using a VPN in Thailand other than the cost? Google, et al will usually read your emails to expand your data graph and use the information to send you targeted advertising. CyberGhost offers an excellent VPN product with strong, unique features not found elsewhere. A determined adversary can almost always breach your defenses in one way or another. Pacific Thursday evening, between 7 p. Are there any other security holes I should plug other than using a VPN?

There are two versions of PortableVPN:

The Best VPN Services of 2018

Locations on six continents, with multiple cities or regions in populous areas. The more locations a VPN provider houses servers, the more flexible it is when you want to choose a server in a less-congested part of the world or geoshift your location. And the more servers it has at each location, the less likely they are to be slow when lots of people are using the service at the same time.

Of course, limited bandwidth in and out of an area may still cause connections to lag at peak times even on the most robust networks. Experienced users may consider IKEv2, but because it has its own debated pros and cons , we ruled it out. Though AES bit encryption is fine for most purposes , we prefer services that default to the more-secure bit encryption and still offer good performance.

DNS servers are a bit like the phone books of the Internet: Required; must be effective and one-click-easy to activate The best: Customizable rules to activate kill switches on startup or certain networks. We considered kill switches to be mandatory. And although we looked for apps that made it easy to add rules about when to activate kill switches, we considered special config files or manual firewall tweaks to be too complex.

Native apps for Windows, Mac, and Android The best: Additional operating systems, plus router, set-top box, and game console support. For more-advanced users, adding VPN connections to Wi-Fi routers can help secure all connections on a home network without having to manage devices individually. We reached out to Apple to confirm the details of these limitations, and will update this guide if we hear back.

Three simultaneous connections The best: Five or more simultaneous connections. A three-connection limit is probably enough for most individuals, as well as some couples who each want a connection. But five connections is more flexible, especially for families or households with many devices. Multiple payment methods, including cash or cryptocurrency, are nice, but we doubt most people will take advantage of them. If you want to disconnect your VPN account from your billing information, you can pay with a prepaid debit card purchased in a local shop.

On networks that block anything that looks like VPN traffic, such as campus or corporate Wi-Fi, a stealth mode can help secure a connection without being detected. Custom ad blockers or browser extensions from VPN providers can make managing connections easier, or can add privacy features not found in standard extensions like AdBlock Plus. Multilayer and multihop technologies can add an extra layer of encryption by routing your traffic through multiple, separate servers.

For example, you might want to send your Web traffic through your VPN but stream Netflix on your fast, domestic connection. The EFF supports this legal position , though other highly regarded companies and organizations think warrant canaries are helpful only for informing you after the damage has been done.

Our initial research brought our list of serious contenders down to 12 VPN services. We signed up for each one and then dug deeper into their technology, performance, and policies. We tested each service using both the Netflix-operated Fast. We ran each test on the macOS version of each VPN software in its default configuration, with our test computer connected over Gigabit Ethernet to a cable modem with no other traffic running through it.

For services that offered automatic location selection—a feature designed to give you the best speed possible—we also ran the tests on whichever location the VPN software chose. We ran the full series of tests with each location during three time periods that we chose to see whether Internet rush hours drastically reduced performance:. Tip for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera users: WebRTC assists with peer-to-peer connections, such as for video chatting, but could be exploited in some cases.

You can manually disable this function in Firefox, or use an extension to block most instances of it in Chrome or Opera. For more details and instructions, check out Restore Privacy. Based on our performance tests, we whittled our list of 12 contenders down to six: We reached out to those finalists for more information about their operations to judge their trustworthiness and transparency, and five all but IPVanish responded.

We also dove deeper into the desktop apps of the top-performing services. Great apps have automatic location selection, easy-to-use designs, and detailed but uncluttered settings panels. We took into account how easy each one was to set up and connect, along with what options were available in the settings pane. We contacted each of our finalists with simple questions about its service and troubleshooting.

This means that self-help support sites are even more important, since waiting for a reply while your connection is down can be frustrating.

Response times to our support inquiries ranged from 20 minutes to a day. IVPN exceeded our requirements for being trustworthy and transparent. Other VPNs we tested had faster connections at particular server locations or lower prices, but they came up short on essential factors such as transparency about who exactly runs them. The top VPN services gave us a variety of answers to these questions, some of which were frustratingly vague.

ExpressVPN was the only other company to outline these controls and assure us that these policies were well-documented and not half-practiced. IVPN goes further than the other leading candidates we considered by being transparent about who runs the service and is responsible for your privacy.

The company lists its core team on its website, and its small team has an online presence on a variety of platforms. In contrast, only one employee at ExpressVPN has a public face: We discuss ExpressVPN in more detail in the Competition section —that company was almost our top pick but for this issue.

IVPN also performed well in our speed tests. Read more in the Competition section. Our results were similar in other parts of the world, with IVPN ranking near the top regardless of the test, day, or time. See more in the Flaws but not dealbreakers section. None of the 12 services we tested disclosed our true IP address though some showed mismatched IPs. IVPN currently disables all IPv6 connectivity, though the company is looking at solutions to securely support it soon.

Most companies we considered do the same; OVPN was the only company to support IPv6 addresses at the time of our testing. On a desktop or an Android device, the company supports only the OpenVPN protocol we recommend and uses AES bit encryption what we consider the standard at this point. Our budget pick, TorGuard, defaults to the weaker but also acceptable AES bit encryption unless you manually change it.

If you do want to tweak some settings, IVPN has easy-to-understand checkboxes for most options. When you turn the kill switch on, all traffic in and out of your computer will halt if the VPN is disabled or loses its connection.

This is a must-have feature that prevents your data or IP address from leaking if your connection hiccups. Inside the Preferences pane, you can also tick boxes to automatically launch or connect the app when you boot your device. IVPN is the only service we tested to offer this option. Every service we tested accepts payment via credit card, PayPal, and Bitcoin. Because few VPN companies offer live support, we appreciate when they at least provide easy-to-follow resources on their websites.

If you need to submit a ticket for a specific problem, you can expect a quick response from all the companies we tested—IVPN and TorGuard both responded to us in minutes, and PIA took the longest at one day. ExpressVPN was the only one of our finalists that offered tech support over live chat. Other companies provide live chat only for sales and signup support.

Though we liked the IVPN app overall, we were disappointed in its omission of automatic server selection. The closest IVPN comes is offering a latency measurement next to each server in the connection list—color-coded, so green means good and red means bad. Though IVPN has a good mix of countries and strong performance elsewhere, its presence in Asia is limited to a single location in Hong Kong.

Most of the competitors we tested had speedier servers in Japan—if that location is important to you, consider our budget pick, TorGuard, instead. TorGuard is well-regarded in trust and transparency; it was also the fastest service we tried despite being less expensive than much of the competition, and its server network spans more than 50 locations, more than twice as many as our top pick. TorGuard includes settings and labels that allow extra flexibility but clutter the experience for anyone new to VPNs.

TorGuard CEO Benjamin Van Pelt answered all our questions, as he has done for other outlets multiple times since the company launched in Since we have an obligation to provide fast, abuse free services, our team handles abuse reports per server — not per single user. TorGuard was consistently one of the fastest services we tested.

When we averaged three tests performed at different times of the week with Internet Health Test, TorGuard was the fastest service when connecting in the UK and Asia, the second fastest in the US, and the third fastest in Central Europe. Each time we checked our location via IP address, it accurately resolved to the location of a TorGuard server. No VPN offers a reliable way to access these streaming services, though: All of the VPNs we tried were blocked by Netflix, and of the four that could access BBC content on the first day, two were blocked the next.

TorGuard has more advanced settings than our top pick, but only a few are easy for novices to use. You can add scripts to execute when connecting or disconnecting the VPN. Using these apps, you can manually select a server, click Connect, and not worry about the rest. New users are likely to find themselves out of their depth when modifying anything but the most basic functions, such as auto-connecting at launch or minimizing the app.

And it offers no option to automatically connect to the fastest server, a feature our top pick lacks as well. Compared with that of IVPN, the checkout process is clunky, and using a credit or debit card requires entering more personal information than with our top pick.

The easiest option for anonymous payments is a prepaid debit card bought locally. Otherwise, like most providers, TorGuard accepts a variety of cryptocurrencies, PayPal, and foreign payments through Paymentwall. That last service also allows you to submit payment through gift cards from other major retailers. This is, presumably, where concerns about VPN enter the picture. A device using a VPN, for example, will have its connection encrypted on the local network.

You might have trouble connecting to it. Using Chromecast on a VPN device just doesn't work, for example. Kodi users might have the same issue. For local VPN issues, you have a couple of options. Alternatively, many VPN services offer browser plug-ins that only encrypt your browser traffic. That's not ideal from a security perspective, but it's useful when all you need to secure is your browser information.

Some, but not all, VPN services will let you designate specific applications to be routed outside the encrypted tunnel. This means the traffic will be unencrypted, but also accessible locally. If you're trying to connect to a remote media source with Kodi, a VPN would likely play a different role. It might, for example, prevent your ISP from determining what you're up to.

It might also be useful if you're connecting to a third-party service for Kodi that allows streaming of copyright-infringing material. Keep in mind, however, that some VPN services specifically forbid the use of their services for copyright infringement. When we test VPNs, we generally start with the Windows client. This is often the most complete review, covering several different platforms as well as the service's features and pricing in depth.

That's purely out of necessity, since most of our readers use Windows although this writer is currently using a MacBook Air. We periodically upgrade to a newer machine, in order to simulate what most users experience. But as you can see from the chart at the top, however, Windows is not the only platform for VPNs. The Android mobile operating system, for example, is the most widely used OS on the planet. So it makes sense that we also test VPNs for Android. That's not to ignore Apple users.

While Google has worked to make it easier to use a VPN with a Chromebook or Chromebox, it's not always a walk in the park. Our guide to how to set up a VPN on a Chromebook can make the task a bit easier, however. In these cases, you might find it easier to install a VPN plug-in for the Chrome browser.

This will only secure some of your traffic, but it's better than nothing. Finally, we have lately begun to review the best Linux VPN apps , too. We used to advise people to do banking and other important business over their cellular connection when using a mobile device, since it is generally safer than connecting with a public Wi-Fi network. But even that isn't always a safe bet. Researchers have demonstrated how a portable cell tower, such as a femtocell , can be used for malicious ends.

The attack hinges on jamming the LTE and 3G bands, which are secured with strong encryption, and forcing devices to connect with a phony tower over the less-secure 2G band. Because the attacker controls the fake tower, he can carry out a man-in-the-middle attack and see all the data passing over the cellular connection.

Admittedly, this is an exotic attack, but it's far from impossible. Wi-Fi attacks, on the other hand, are probably far more common than we'd like to believe. While attending the Black Hat convention, researchers saw thousands of devices connecting to a rogue access point.

It had been configured to mimic networks that victim's devices had previously connected to, since many devices will automatically reconnect to a known network without checking with the user. That's why we recommend getting a VPN app for your mobile device to protect all your mobile communications. Even if you don't have it on all the time, using a mobile VPN is a smart way to protect your personal information.

VPN providers typically allow up to five devices to be connected simultaneously under a single account. Also, while there are free VPN services available, many require that mobile users sign up for a paid subscription. Not all mobile VPN apps are created equal. In fact, most VPN providers offer different services and sometimes, different servers for their mobile offerings than they do for their desktop counterparts.

One feature of note for Android users is that some VPN services also block online ads and trackers. While iPhone owners can use apps like 1Blocker to remove ads and trackers from Safari, ad blockers aren't available on the Google Play store.

If you're of the iPhone persuasion, there are a few other caveats to consider for a mobile VPN. Thankfully, there's a workaround for this problem. Open it, and you can enter your subscription information from the VPN company you've decided to work with.

Computer and software providers work hard to make sure that the devices you buy are safe right out of the box. But they don't provide everything you'll need. Antivirus software, for example, consistently outperforms the built-in protections. In the same vein, VPN software lets you use the web and Wi-Fi with confidence that your information will remain secure.

It's critically important and often overlooked. Even if you don't use it every moment of every day, a VPN is a fundamental tool that everyone should have at their disposal—like a password manager or an online backup service.

A VPN is also a service that will only become more important as our more of our devices become connected. So stay safe, and get a VPN. Click through the review links of the best VPN services below for detailed analysis and performance results, and feel free to chime in on the comments section below them. Once you've picked, be sure to read our feature on how to set up and use a VPN to get the most from your chosen service. More than 4, servers in diverse locations worldwide. Blocks ads, other web threats.

Strong customer privacy stance. Earning a rare 5-star rating, it's our top pick for VPNs. Browser extensions, including a stand-alone ad blocker. Uninspiring speed test results. Lack of geographic diversity in server locations. It's friendly when you need it to be, invisible when you don't, and it doesn't skimp on security.

Far above average number of available servers. Supports P2P file sharing and BitTorrent. Strong stance on customer privacy. Spartan interface may confuse new users. Excellent and unique features.

Offers seven licenses with a subscription. Automatic IP address cycling. Designed for BitTorrent and P2P. Numerous servers spread across the globe. Top speed test scores. It's packed with features sure to appeal to security wonks, and it has the best speed test scores yet, though its client is clunky. Add-on features like Firewall and dedicated IP. Allows P2P and BitTorrent. Tedious to get online. Unclear where virtual servers are located. Some features didn't work in testing.

Restrictive policy on number of devices. Small number of servers. Good geographic distribution of VPN servers. It allows few simultaneous VPN connections, however, and its total number of servers is low. Hundreds of server locations spread across almost every nation. Relies heavily on virtual server locations. Max Eddy is a Software Analyst, taking a critical eye to Android apps and security services. He's also PCMag's foremost authority on weather stations and digital scrapbooking software.

Does anyone have good or bad feedback on Express VPN? Aug 18, at It is decent Express VPN but a bit more expensive.

You only get 3 simultaneous connections too, so bear that in mind if you have a partner. I also tried PureVPN. From my experience the key things to look for are: When I was using PureVPN it would crash but still appear that it was working regardless of the kill switch settings.

And, who owns the servers. With the major companies, Vypr, Pure, etc, the people you give your money to also own and manage the servers your data runs through.

With the free VPN services they are a network of dedicated volunteers providing the servers out of the goodness of their own hearts. Aug 19, at Can both VPNs be configured into routers, so that when the router is turned-on, a vpn is automatically created for all devices connected to the router? How is the default location determined in the vpns? Next, I have a yoka tv kb2 box running Kodi and other apps connected directly to an internet modem.

Can it be auto-configured to automatically to connect to a correct country server, so that I get the content. Do have to manually use a PC to the select the server location? Jul 09, at 3: You can extend protection to all the devices by configuring it on your home network. You can also set the server location too: Jul 09, at Jun 26, at 9: Jun 26, at 6: Jun 16, at 7: Jun 16, at 8: Jun 25, at If so, all recent operating systems.

It does work on Windows 7; I just checked. Jun 25, at 6: Jun 08, at Jun 04, at 2: Jun 05, at 4: I have used Express VPN what do you think of it. May 23, at 9: I like Express VPN but it is a bit more expensive. It is not free, but they do have days money back guarantee. This would be a deal breaker for me. Do you have any experience accessing these services from Thailand over VPN?

Apr 10, at I have sent you an email with a screenshot. Occasionally these issues arise due to changes with the third party companies, but they tend to solve them very quickly. Apr 10, at 3: Mar 13, at 7: Mar 17, at 5: Feb 17, at 5: If you were to pick one for use in Vietnam and Thailand, which would you select? Jan 11, at 4: You can choose your trusted networks, like your home one.

Jan 11, at 5: Jan 11, at 6: Will be traveling to Thailand next July and am looking to retire there. I am now eagerly devouring all your valuable information here. Do you have any experience with Silent Circle and how would you compare it with your VPN recommendations? Dec 17, at You can either buy their Blackphone with the software on it or run the software on your phone, as opposed to connecting to a VPN app as and when you need it.

Dec 17, at 4: After I log in, which is very quick, my speed drops from 19 to a speed between 2 and 4mbps. I access servers in the USA to access my cable channels. Sep 16, at 6: I pretty much always use the fastest server available for minimal drop-off, unless I need to appear in a specific location for research purposes. VYPR has a really handy dashboard in that respect, which lets you choose the fastest server with one click.

Great on mobile too through their app. Sep 16, at I too started using ExpressVPN recently. I noticed a substantial drop in speed as well, but I suspect that many of the speed tests are not all that accurate as I sometimes get wildly different results from different tests at the same time. That said, I seem to get the best speeds by using servers in Singapore and Hong Kong for my regular surfing and only those in the US when I need to.

Sep 17, at 5: An American in Thailand says: I thank you for passing this on. Great and wonderful site! Sep 14, at 8: Sep 15, at Thanks for this great blog. Are you able to point me to any guidelines on how to do this in Thailand, including whether I will likely need to buy a new router to replace the True device? Thanks in advance for your help. Aug 30, at 9: Hi Margo, you can do this by sharing the internet connection with your Apple TV. Most VPN providers have a solution for this.

Aug 30, at 3: I would like to know how long 3BB keeps my browsing history. But how much previous browsing can the spooks sift through, using 3BB. Do they keep it for 1 year? I hope with your contacts you can find this info out. Aug 24, at Over the last few months, the single gateway is being tested, particularly in Bangkok, which would explain many users experiencing strange connection behaviour such as certain websites taking ages to load and timing out, and in particular unreliable Facebook connectivity.

Aug 24, at 2: Aug 12, at 1: Aug 13, at 2: I signed up for a month with HMA and installed the software on my Mac desktop, then spent the better part of the morning trying to log on to one of their servers. I finally contacted the help desk and they told me my brand-new router from CAT was not compatible with a VPN and that I would have to purchase a new router. I would also like to mention that one of the reasons I selected HMA is because of the good-looking interface you showed. Their dashboard really looks impressive.

Well…on my Mac there is no such thing! Only a little window to turn on or off the VPN and select from a long list of countries. Aug 06, at This might actually have done you a favour long term. In terms of the dashboard, I use MAC too. Feel free to drop me an email with a screenshot of what you are seeing. Aug 07, at 1: Can you tell us the downside of using a VPN in Thailand other than the cost?

Is there much of a hit on the connection speed? Jul 29, at 8: Of course, when on mobile there are certain areas in Thailand where connectivity is poor, and having the VPN on exacerbates this.

Jul 18, at Will this be available from 1st to 31st anytime I log onto the net, and even if I tether my connection to another mobile device? Jun 26, at 2: Yes, with a VPN, you boot it before you start browsing. Once connected, you are secure. If you tether from the connection that i encrypted by the VPN, the tethered device will also be secure because it is using that connection.

Jun 26, at Jun 12, at 9: Jun 12, at Hi being I am having problems with paypal,is using a visa to get hma a good idea,I have read some posts saying that they where having problems with third party transactions……Thanks.

Jun 13, at 8: Jun 13, at Jun 02, at 6: They can be handy if you are travelling in a group because you can connect to an Internet source and make it a WiFi hotspot, which allows multiple devices to connect at once. That said, if you have an unlimited 4G package, multiple devices could tether off that connection. Jun 02, at 5: Jun 01, at 5: Jun 01, at Oh thanks man for the reply. No worries, glad you are finding it helpful.

A pocket router is no different, you will still want to use a VPN to encrypt your connection and identity. Have a great trip. Jun 03, at VyprVPN allows more simultaneous connections — as long as everyone is in the same geographical location the Terms of Service state otherwise. Interesting though, the link in this article brought me to a more expensive page.

A search on HMA Pro took me to the 5. Hopefully, this information will be of use to those who travel outside the country. I went with HMA! Pro for that reason. May 07, at 9: He shares my login while on holiday there due to the great firewall they have.

I have just confirmed this with their support. May 08, at 7: Google voice works well for a free phone service. I still have my account from when I lived in the states and I can now receive phone calls through hangouts on my cell phone.

They permit 3 connections from anywhere in the world. My daughter in TX uses one of my 3 connections and I use the other 2 here in Thailand. Loads of servers all around the world so you can appear anywhere you like. May 08, at 8: I also found the connection inconsistent in Thailand.

Good call on Google Voice no pun intended! I have never really felt the need to bother with a VPN in the past here in the States, and only vaguely considered it in Thailand, but after reading this I will definitely be using one when back in Thailand.

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