While the arrival of the practical tablet eclipsed the popularity of traditional laptops, these convenient desktop alternatives are still widely used. Laptops are ideal for tasks that don’t require a lot of processing power (although many models offer impressive performance in this area) and they are portable. Thanks to the physical keyboard, you can easily compose emails and work on the go, which is why they are excellent tools for productivity.
Since we use our laptops to manage and share a great deal of information, it is important to take measures to keep our data secure. Due to their portability, many people use their laptops to connect to internet via public WiFi hotspots in airports, hotels, coffee shops and more. Unfortunately, this is when we are more likely to be targeted by online fraudsters. In order to keep our online privacy protected, no matter where we are connecting from, it is advisable to use a VPN. Before listing the best VPN services for your laptop, we will go through the advantages that this technology offers for your device.
Why do you need a VPN for your laptop?
Watch geo-restricted content
One of the best things about VPNs is that they give you the possibility of accessing online content that is subject to geographical restrictions. Given that laptops are not only convenient for business, but that are also great for entertainment, it is clear that combining them with a VPN, will allow you to enjoy a wide selection of videos, TV shows and videos, no matter where you live.
Additionally, many laptops currently available feature an HDMI output port, meaning that they can be connected to a big screen TV to enhance your viewing experience. The majority of popular content is only available in the US and the UK and most providers have servers in these countries. Keep in mind that if you wish to access content from other countries, you should opt for a provider that has servers in that location.
There are countries in which the government has implemented restrictions on the websites and applications that can be accessed. In many cases, popular websites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are affected. One of the main examples of strict censorship is the Great Firewall of China, but in countries like UK and Finland, the use of “voluntary” filters means that certain websites are restricted by ISPs.
While the filtering system is primarily meant to address pornography, some of the websites blocked are not even related to this kind of content. With a VPN, it is possible to bypass censorship because you can connect to a server in another country, which disguises your IP so that you can access content with freedom. In addition, a VPN secures your connection and encrypts your data so that nobody else, not even your ISP can have visibility of your online activities.
Protect you from surveillance
We are now aware of the extent of the mass surveillance programs carried out by government agencies like the NSA. Anyone can be a target and the privacy of our browsing history, emails, online conversations and more, can be compromised. Furthermore, large internet corporations are also guilty of collecting users’ information and using their own benefit. A VPN is an effective solution to protect your privacy from these threats because it encrypts your connection.
In order to get a high level of protection for your privacy, it is important to opt for a provider that uses shared IPs, that doesn’t keep logs of your activities and that accepts anonymous payment methods such as Bitcoin. You should also look for strong encryption (128-bit may be enough for most users, but 256-bit is the recommended option for top security) and use OpenVPN, whenever possible.
While using Tor is a free and effective way to protect your privacy, it can be painfully slow. In this area, a VPN offers an important advantage because although it can slow down your internet connection, generally the impact is not significant. This makes a VPN ideal for protecting your traffic when you are streaming or downloading content.
Speaking of downloading, another good reason to use a VPN is to protect your privacy when you are torrenting. However, it is important to keep in mind that some VPN providers don’t allow this activity, so check that the service that you choose, allows P2P. In some cases, P2P is only allowed when you connect to servers in countries like Netherlands or Romania, which are known for their lax approach to P2P.
Public WiFi is becoming increasingly available and it offers a very convenient option to get access to internet. However, cybercriminals lurk around public WiFi hotspots, hoping to get access to unencrypted data, particularly financial details that may be recklessly shared. The good news is that when you use a VPN, all the traffic between your laptop and the VPN server is encrypted, keeping you safe even when you are connected to a WiFi hotspot.
Since laptops and mobile devices are becoming more affordable, many households have multiple computers, tablets and smartphones. In order to enjoy the security and versatility that a VPN offers across all your devices, you will need multiple simultaneous connections. There are popular VPN providers that allow up to 5 simultaneous connections, which may be enough for most users.
Best VPN Services for Laptops
Private Internet Access
Although PIA is based in the US (which may concern some people as it places them within the NSA’s jurisdiction), the truth is that they offer a solid service to protect your privacy. No logs of your online activities are kept and PIA accepts Bitcoin as method of payment. Additionally, the high level of encryption applied, will keep your connection secure. They also offer DNS leak protection, kill switch, IPv6 leak protection, port forwarding and support for up to 5 simultaneous connections. PIA has over 3,200 servers in 24 countries and their plans are affordable.
Since it was established by a group of hacktivists and campaigners committed to online privacy and freedom, you can expect a high level of security from AirVPN. They don’t keep logs, use top level of encryption to protect your data, as well as shared IPs. Options like VPN over Tor and VPN through SSH and SSL tunnels are examples of the advanced technology and security that AirVPN adds to your connection. They accept Bitcoin as method of payment.
IPVanish is another provider that is known for its fantastic speed and since it manages its own network of servers, it is set to offer reliable performance. They have over 40,000 shared IPs distributed in over 60 countries. While IPVanish is also based in the United States, the provider doesn’t keep traffic logs and Bitcoin is accepted as method of payment. They allow up to five simultaneous connections.
ExpressVPN is ideal for those who want outstanding speed and professional customer support. They also offer access to servers in 87 countries, shared IPs and accept Bitcoin payments. With ExpressVPN, your online traffic is protected with strong encryption and there are no logs kept of your online activities. They support up to three simultaneous connections.
Customers based in the APAC region will find that IronSocket is an ideal choice as it offers a selection of servers that will allow them to enjoy great speeds. IronSocket uses shared IPs, protects your data with high level of encryption and allows up to three simultaneous connections. Bitcoin is accepted as method of payment and since they are based in Hong Kong, they are not subject to strict data retention laws.