Are VPNs legal?
VPN are legal in most countries, however any illegal act done without a VPN remains illegal if you use one.
VPNs have been in the tech space for quite some time. Although many people now know their use and how they work, a considerable number of people aren’t using them to stay protected from prying eyes or access geo-restricted content on the internet. Why? Because they are not sure if it is legal to use one without breaking the law.
In addressing the question, we’ll let you know that VPNs are legal in most countries and subject to clauses in others. Firstly, any illegal act done without a VPN remains illegal if you use one. For example, hacking someone’s computer is illegal. So, using a VPN becomes illegal if you intend to hack someone’s computer with it.
Secondly, some countries don’t explicitly state that VPNs are illegal, even though they have measures to curb their use. For example, the Chinese government, through the Great Firewall, has been cracking down on VPN usage for quite some time, that Apple removed them from its Chinese app stores. The same goes for Russia, where there is no outright ban but a reinforcement of censorship efforts. The government has been strong-arming VPN providers into complying with the amendment.
Therefore, we can state that the way a VPN is used and whether it complies with the government’s policies and censorship efforts are the two important clauses that affect whether a VPN is legal in a country or not. So, it is important to review the policies (as regards VPNs) of whatever country you are in as there is no one-size-fits-all rule for all countries.
Now that we have cleared the air on whether VPNs are legal or not, what are the leading VPNs in the industry?
Best completely legal VPNs
Here’s our list of the top 5 VPNs:
- Number of servers: More than 3,000
- Speeds: Unlimited
- Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
- Maximum devices supported: 5
- 24 live chat: Yes
- 30 day money back guarantee: Yes
- Fastest VPN out there
- Strict no logs policy
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Few discounts
There’s no way anyone can make a list of the best VPNs in the industry without including ExpressVPN. Founded in 2009, the award-winning VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, where there are no data retention laws. This means that companies and other countries cannot compel ExpressVPN to release information about its customers.
A look at this VPN’s features will leave you amazed at all the things you can do with it. Starting with its basic features, ExpressVPN has more than 160 server locations in over 94 countries around the world and more than 3000 servers to connect to. The servers in all these countries are super-fast, reliable, and secure. But that’s not all. You can switch between them as many times as you like, even though the VPN will automatically pick the best one for you.
ExpressVPN doesn’t only have high-quality servers around the world. It also boasts of one of the most impressive security and privacy features anyone VPN has to offer. The VPN protects your data with the best-in-class AES-256 encryption and sports a network kill switch to prevent data leaks when your connection drops. Running its own Domain Name Server (DNS) on each server, ExpressVPN also provides VPN split tunneling and Trusted technology to keep your data secure.
You can enjoy ExpressVPN’s unlimited bandwidth on your Windows, iOS, Mac, Android and Linux devices. Although the service provider allows five devices to connect to a single account simultaneously, you can also use the VPN on routers and smartTVs.
ExpressVPN offers all these features 100% risk-free for 30 days, and there’s 24/7 live chat support to answer all your questions about the VPN.
- Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes
- Simultaneous connections: 6
- Dedicated IP-addresses? Yes
- Servers: 5342 in 58 countries
- Lots of pricing options
- Netflix support kept up to date
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Slow app
NordVPN is a top VPN that is leading the way in its industry. It was founded in 2012 and has since become one of the most popular VPNs around the world. One of the reasons for this is because users can get access to geo-restricted content and blocked sites with its 5667 servers in 59 countries.
NordVPN runs the next-generation AES-256 encryption, which will protect you from security threats. It also has its version of an ad and malicious website blocker called CyberSec. Together with the DNS leak protection, automatic kill switch, and onion over VPN features, there’s virtually no way hackers, your ISP or the government can get hold of your data when using this VPN. But the icing on the cake is that the service provider operates a strict no-logging policy.
One of NordVPN’s selling points is that its servers are faster than that of a regular VPN. Still, you might decide to get a dedicated IP address that only you will have access to.
NordVPN is available on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS devices, and you can use it to secure as many as six devices at a time. But if you don’t want to use the app for these devices, the service provider also has a proxy extension for Firefox and Chrome.
Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for its users, and there’s a customer support system to help you through technical challenges.
- Free trial? Yes
- Simultaneous connections: unlimited
- Ad blocking? Yes
- Servers: 1000+ in 61 countries
- No footprints
- Allows torrenting
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Not the cheapest around
SurfShark is another VPN that is totally worth checking out. Unlike other VPNs that offer only a few servers in a handful of countries, this VPN boasts more than 1040 servers in over 61 counties. It is also topping the chart in the industry with its privacy and security features.
SurfShark does not monitor, store, or track its users’ online activities, which is what is expected from every VPN. Building on this policy, the VPN has a kill switch (that acts as a safety net when your connection drops), camouflage mode, and it operates the best-in-class AES-256 encryption.
This VPN service provider is also a step above others in its privacy features. SurfShark offers its version of a double VPN called Multihop along with private DNS leak protection on each server. However, the most impressive feature of the VPN that you do not see in a lot of its counterparts is that you can connect as many devices as you like to a single account.
SurfShark has a feature called CleanWeb which blocks ads, tracking, phishing attempts and malware, and you can decide which websites and apps you want the VPN to bypass with its Whitelister. There’s no need to worry about any issue while using the VPN because there’s an expert support platform working round the clock that’ll answer all your questions.
- One click connect? Yes
- Bandwidth cap? No
- Servers: 100+ superfast servers
- Platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
- Apps for all devices
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Not as many servers as others
UltraVPN recently burst onto the scene but has made quite a name for itself in a short while. The VPN promises rock-solid connections to enjoy geo-restricted content without buffering or throttling.
UltraVPN has more than 100 super fast servers around the world, with 57 in North America, 20 in Europe, 17 in Asia, 9 in Africa, 13 in South America, and 7 in Oceania. These servers are pretty fast, secure, and reliable for browsing through the malware-infested internet.
Like other top VPNs on this list, UltraVPN ensures your browsing history stays private with its secure firewall and 256-bit encryption. The VPN also operates a zero-logging policy, so your data wouldn’t be monitored, tracked, or stored while you use the VPN.
UltraVPN’s software is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, and you can connect all of them to a single account. What more can you ask in a VPN?
- Connected devices at once: 7
- One click connect: Yes
- Automatic kill switch? Yes
- Servers: 5900 worldwide
- No logs policy
- 24/7 live chat
- Apps for mobile devices and routers
- No free option
The last VPN on this list is CyberGhost. This VPN has been in existence for more than 15 years, which implies that it has had all the time to go polish its features to meet the needs of users.
You can use the VPN to access blocked sites, unblock online streaming services, play region-locked games, enjoy P2P torrenting, and get better online deals.
CyberGhost is one of the leaders in the number of servers it has with 5798 in 89 countries and 112 locations. These servers have blazing fast speeds, and you wouldn’t experience throttling from your ISPs when using them. The VPN also has dedicated streaming servers for users.
As expected, Cyberghost operates a strict no-logs policy, and it uses the industry-standard AES-256 encryption together with secure protocols to keep its users safe. With only one subscription, you can protect as many as seven devices irrespective of whether it is a Windows, macOS, or Linux device.
CyberGhost has affordable subscription plans, and you’ll get a refund if you ask for one within two weeks of using its monthly subscriptions. The VPN also offers a refund for longer subscriptions if you ask for one within 45 days of using the service.
Are your online activities traceable when using a VPN?
A VPN creates an encrypted connection (like a tunnel) between your computer and the server you are connected to. So, your traffic is sent through the server to the target website. No one, including your ISP, can trace your online activities as long as you are using any VPN that runs the industry-leading AES-256 encryption.
Should you trust VPN service providers?
VPNs promise that they’ll protect you from the prying eyes of the government, your ISP, and hackers. However, should you trust a VPN to do this for you? Can’t they intercept your data and use it for malicious purposes like hackers or slow down your connection speed like ISPs?
To answer these questions, take it from us that VPNs, especially the ones we’ve included above, are trustworthy services to use. That’s because most of them run strict privacy policies in regions like Panama and the British Virgin Islands, where they cannot be compelled to handover or illegally use your data.
However, we cannot say the same for most free VPNs.
Which VPN should you go for?
With the number of VPNs growing every day, picking one could be challenging. So, here are some factors to rank each VPN by before you go ahead to get one on your device:
- Price: Top VPNs have the best features anyone can ask for. However, you shouldn’t be paying through the nose to get them on your phone or laptop. Therefore, ensure you look at the price of the VPN’s subscription plans before you go ahead and get one on your device. A reasonable monthly subscription plan should cost anything from $2 to $ 14.
- The number of simultaneous users: This factor is closely related to the price of a VPN. It’s a bad decision if you get a service that doesn’t allow simultaneous connections on a single account. That’ll imply that you have to get a plan for each device you want to protect. So, sieve out those VPNs that do not allow you to connect at least five devices to a single account. However, be wary of connecting many devices because you may get slower connection speeds on each one.
- Security and Privacy Features: This is a no-brainer. The VPN you intend to get must have top-notch security and privacy features. This means you should look out for those that have secure protocols, kill switches, best-in-class encryptions, double VPNs, dedicated IP servers, and many more security features. Above all, remember that settling for a VPN that cannot keep you safe while you browse the internet is no good.
- Bandwidth: One of the major reasons people get VPNs is so that they can use the internet freely. Therefore, paying for one that does not offer unlimited bandwidth defeats the essence of having a VPN on your phone or laptop. So, you should always rank those VPNs that offer unlimited bandwidth higher than the rest that have bandwidth caps.
You don’t have to consider this factor when getting any of the VPNs we’ve listed above because they all offer unlimited bandwidth. However, we cannot promise that all free VPNs have this factor on the table.
- Customer support platform: VPNs have user-friendly interfaces, and almost anybody can get a hold of how to use it immediately after downloading it. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that you wouldn’t experience difficulties when using a VPN. Therefore, it helps to have a reliable customer support platform that can assist you with any issue you may have. Having a blog or other educational features is a plus for any VPN.
- Device compatibility: It sucks if you can’t get a VPN because your device isn’t compatible with the available software. So, ensure you check the operating systems that are compatible with the VPN you intend to get. Top VPNs, like the ones we’ve listed above, also have browser extensions for users whose devices aren’t compatible with the available VPN software.
VPN usage has skyrocketed over the last few months, with some providers getting as high as a 600% increase in overall sales. However, even with these impressive figures, quite some people aren’t using VPNs because they think it is illegal to have one. In truth, in most countries, the context and purpose are all that matter when using a VPN. As long as you aren’t using it to commit a crime or carry out an illicit act, then you are free to use one.
So, what are you waiting for? Choose any of the VPNs we’ve listed above and start enjoying the internet without borders.