A virtual private network (VPN) is an Internet security service that allows users to access the Internet as though they were connected to a private network. VPNs use encryption to create a secure connection over unsecured Internet infrastructure.
Encryption is a way of scrambling data so that only authorized parties can understand the information. It takes readable data and alters it so that it appears random to attackers or anyone else who intercepts it. In this way, encryption is like a "secret code.".
A VPN works by establishing encrypted connections between devices. All devices that connect to the VPN set up encryption keys, and these keys are used to encode and decode all information sent between them.
The effect of this encryption is that VPN connections remain private even if they stretch across public Internet infrastructure. Imagine John is shopping online from his hotel room. Now suppose that a criminal has secretly infiltrated the hotel’s network infrastructure and is monitoring all data passing through (sort of like tapping a telephone line). John’s data is still secure because of the VPN. All the criminal can see is the encrypted version of the data.
When you make a transaction or when you need to send or receive sensitive information, a VPN will enhance your security.
We tested, reviewed, and ranked dozens of the leading VPN offers to come up with this top 10 list. To figure out which VPNs are really worth your money, we looked at the features, reputations, and prices of each brand.
The main reason for getting a VPN in the first place is security. That's why we chose VPNs that have military-grade encryption, a range of protocols (OpenVPN, L2TP, IKEv2, and more), DNS leak protection, and a kill-switch. We also compared each VPN brand’s number of servers and where they are situated, as well as their speed and latency. We then looked at ease-of-use, customer support, and reviews via sites like Trustpilot. Lastly, we checked out the price of each VPN service to help us root out the best offers with the best value for money.