Wednesday 4 January 2017

The best 10 VPN service providers for anonymity and security – 2017 edition

In order to improve your online privacy and security, using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service is arguably the most effective measure that one can opt for. VPN is a network technology, which links the private network over internet using encryption methods. It is generally preferred by government agencies, corporates, educational institutions, and private citizens to facilitate easy access of remote users to secured private networks.
In comparison to private networks, VPN is not only economical and flexible, but it also allows VPN users to maintain their anonymity and protect themselves from being snooped. A VPN can be used to access region-restricted websites, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, and more. However, one should be aware that there is no such thing as a one-stop-shop when it comes to protecting your privacy and staying secure while using the internet. Therefore, VPNs should be considered as an important tool in your internet toolbox.
Basically, VPN works on 4 protocols:
• IP security (IPSec): IPSec utilizes two methods to encrypt its user’s data: a) transport mode or b) tunnelling mode. Encryption of message within the data packet by transport mode is also termed as Payload, whereas inscription of the whole data packet is known as Tunnelling.
• Point-To-Point Tunnelling Protocol (PPTP): This is the most widely used protocol; PPTP uses the tunnelling method wherein PPTP stores data within the PPP packets, which are further stored inside the IP packets and transported to the desired destination.
• Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP): It works on two major features: L2TP Access Concentrator (LAC) and L2TP Network Server (LNS). LAC is a device which terminates the call, whereas LNS authenticates the PPP packets as seen earlier in the PPTP.
• Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) i.e. TSL/SSL: This system uses a combination of authentication and encryption, which leads to the sharing of data between the servers and client.
In this article, we bring the top 10 VPN service providers that not only offer privacy but also data security.

1. PureVPN

PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, which has the advantage of being out of view of the prying ‘14-eyes’. It has gained a reputation for being a respected provider with solid encryption, global server coverage, and state-of-the-art software. It uses 256-bit grade encryption and boasts more than 500 servers across 141 countries.
While it does not monitor or record any activity that passes through its servers, but it does acknowledge of keeping a record of connections and bandwidth, which it says is in order to optimally manage its servers. It also offers the more secure OpenVPN protocol and maintains its own DNS servers.
Features include a Kill Switch that ensures that your actual IP is never exposed should the VPN drop. It also has split tunnelling, which routes specific apps to access the internet via their local internet connection and other specific apps via their VPN connection at the same time. You can select a location either by city or by activity, such as online sports streaming, and it will connect you to an optimal server.
PureVPN Pricing is reasonable at $4.99 per month, and you can pay via anonymous payment methods such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express, PayPal, Discover Card, Bitpay, CoinPayments, PaymentWall, Alipay, Cashu, and much more. Further, there is a 7-day money back guarantee, as long as you don’t go beyond 3GB. Additionally, PureVPN offers 24/7 support in case you have technical or other difficulties.

2. Ivacy

Founded in 2007, Ivacy was the first VPN service to offer Split Tunnelling feature. It has recently been revamped and with impressive new features, it is one of the most secure VPN services that are around. One of the newest privacy providers in the world, Ivacy offers robust encrypted tunnelling with an uncompromising Zero Logging Policy. Ivacy VPN secures subscribers’ activities and data using leading edge tunnelling protocols (PPTP, OpenVPN, SSTP and L2TP)& military grade AES-256 bit encryption.
Ivacy VPN Apps have been developed in-house ensuring there is no foreign code or malware injected to deliver advertising and pop-ups. The apps are quality tested to ensure optimal performance on all compatible operating systems.
Ivacy VPN never retains any data the provider ensures nothing is ever available against user accounts. Servers automatically delete all connection time stamps and connection data every 48 hours ensuring you are 100% anonymous and completely safe when using Ivacy VPN.
URL: Ivacy VPN

3. TorGuard

TorGuard will give you “No logging policy” and will also provide you a second layer of data security with IP configuration, which is very tough to find users IP. No logs are monitored. TorGuard VPN has multiple Socks proxy servers and VPN’s around the world. The entire data is wrapped into single packet by encryption via tunnel method through secure servers and then this data is again connected to the BitTorrent cloud, which gives it the second layer of insulation from being attacked.
Currently, TorGuard maintains 1600+ servers in over 50 countries across the world and are in continuous expansion. It retains its control on all hardware though it seeks partnerships with data centers who can adhere to strict security criteria. All servers are arranged and managed exclusively by TorGuard’s in house networking team through a single, secure key. TorGuard advises its clients to use OpenVPN connections only and for encryption use AES256 with 2048bit RSA for better security. It runs OpenVPN and will do so on Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android and iOS.
URL: TorGuard

4. IPVanish

This creates a secure environment for day to day web usage. Before user logs onto the net, it is essential to establish IPVanish VPN connection, which will convert entire online data into encrypted tunnel including emails, data transfers, online banking, instant messaging and all online browsing. The encrypted data cannot be intercepted by any third party including ISP (Internet Service Provider). It supports P2P traffic. It uses OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP Protocols for its operations.
URL: IPVanish

5. BTGuard

This service is based on proxy service where the user is able to hide their true IP address from the rest of the world. This is a service specially built for the BitTorrrent users to protect their anonymity. BTGuard was just a basic proxy service that user would need to configure to avail the BitTorrent service. However, now BTGuard is becoming a handy tool with its easy to install software to protect their anonymity. It also has an encryption tunnel software for users who require special security for their data. BTGuard stores username, password and e-mail addresses; however, the IP addresses are never stored.
URL: BTGuard

6. BolehVPN

It hides true location of the user by encrypting and encapsulating the entire data, which passes through the VPN, thereby making it difficult for the snoopers or the third party to intercept or decode the internet traffic. Various features of BolehVPN can be listed such as it protects the user by masking the IP address. Further, the data is encrypted throughout i.e. to and fro when it passes the VPN server, it accelerates the P2P. It also hides the true location of user due to which user appears to hail from a different location. Lastly, it also helps users to bypass certain corporate firewalls. It is based on Open VPN and SSL VPN.

7. HideIPVPN

It is based on combination of PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, IPSec, OpenVPN and SmartDNS. It is compatible with a huge list of operating systems Windows, Mac, Linux, Routers etc. HideIPVPN offers a very high quality of anonymity to its users on the internet wherein user can access even the blocked websites, surf the web anonymously, hide the IP address and encrypt user’s data. It does not restrict access to any online sites or services. All data going out and coming in via VPN is encrypted, secured and it also hides IP address, which means one can safely access secure websites without anyone intercepting the connections.
The encrypted data is hidden from user’s ISP and network administrator too, which means only user and the destination will be able to see what is being sent. SmartDNS service helps the user to access more than 35 online media services from around the world hence it is ideal for anyone who has limited cable access to TV channels, by using HideIPVPN user can change their DNS name and hence get easy access to the blocked TV/media servers.

8. SlickVPN

An IP address acts as a digital signature which helps to detect the location of the user to any website or to the Internet Service Provider i.e. ISP. SlickVPN hides the true IP address of user by assigning them an anonymous one hence enabling user to hide their location from snoopers. If any user connects to SlickVPN, a connection will be created between user’s computer and our servers.
SlickVPN encrypts any data transmissions or online activity so that user’s presence is anonymous. In addition, the connection is also secured by SlickVPN so that the internet activity, usernames, passwords, emails, instant messages, downloads, uploads, etc. are shielded from third party.
URL: Slick VPN

9. Unspyable

This uses an Off-Shore VPN service wherein VPN encrypts the entire internet connection and creates an encrypted tunnel between the user’s computer and the server chosen by user from the preferred list of servers. Whenever user browses the internet, all the websites which user visited would see the address of the remote server and not the real IP address of the user. Due to the encrypted tunnel between user and server, user’s IP address is now anonymous. Hence, none of user’s information is available on the local network nor to the local ISP or to government censors and monitoring.
For users who want a higher security Unspyable also offers the Multiple Hop VPN wherein just as in Off Shore VPN the data is made to pass through a multiple off shore hops / servers which is very difficult to crack. Major benefits of this VPN are: it provides secure and private offshore email logs which is not saved or monitored, correspondence is secured using hot spots, and anonymity of IP address.
URL: Unspyable VPN

10. NordVPN

This provides a great 256bit AES OpenVPN protection and there are PPTP and L2TP/IPSec connections available. As soon as user connects to the NordVPN, a tunnel is created between user and the server and all the data in this route is encrypted. It is also one of the only VPNs to allow Tor over VPN and has a double-hop encryption system which cannot be cracked. Tor over VPN is an advanced privacy solution provided by NordVPN.
The basic principle here: User first connects to NordVPN server, which then routes all traffic through a widely known Tor network. Here, the data is encrypted within NordVPN layer at the initial stage and later sent to the Tor network. The Tor is more safer for privacy as the encrypted data is made to route through a few Tor hops and finally reach its destination helping in maintaining the anonymity of user’s vital information and also DNS traffic is  routed through the Tor network user’s will be able to access ” .onion websites” or the hidden websites just using NordVPN.

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