Get a NordVPN FREE Trial – Working in 2020

This article will show you how to get a NordVPN free trial. Because with a top service like NordVPN the silver lining is that a VPN can help you protect yourself, your device, and your identity.

Get the NordVPN Free Trial

In today’s world, staying private is more important than ever. Not only are corporations actively looking to snoop on what you do online; between government snooping and ISP tracking, virtually everyone is trying to keep tabs on every little thing you do on the web. Things are even worse if you live in a country that ranks poorly for Internet freedom.

Put simply, a VPN is a piece of technology that encrypts your data while hiding your real IP. Most VPNs are either paid or decidedly bad. As you’re about to find out in this article, it’s not uncommon for free providers to be unsafe or even use your computer to launch botnet attacks (yikes!).

Moreover, the police, the government, and corporations can often see everything you do with no restrictions. Even if you live in a developed country like the US, agencies like the NSA can still find ways to see what you’re up to. Keep reading to learn how to avoid this, why you might want a free VPN, what NordVPN is and how you can use it for free.

Introducing NordVPN

NordVPN is one of the best (many say the best) premium VPNs on the web. Below, we explain how it works, and how you can get it for free.

NordVPN may not have the single biggest server network in the industry, but it’s not far off. Spanning more than 5,400 servers in 61 countries worldwide, NordVPN gives you an astounding range of spoofable IP addresses to choose from for any purpose you can think of. Sheer numbers not enough?

What about their array of specialty servers, each specifically tuned to a different use-case? (These are: onion over VPN, anti-DDoS, multi-hop VPN, P2P, dedicated IP address, and obfuscated servers.) That’s enough utility to unblock Netflix, blast through the Great Firewall of China, or simply browse, download and torrent in peace. Feel free to take your fill of the free and open Internet too; with NordVPN, you’ll never hit caps on bandwidth or speed–never experience throttling, nor run out of server switches.

In addition to having a vast server network, NordVPN is both fast and secure. Everything starts with 256-bit AES encryption, which is so tough that a supercomputer would need millions of years to break just one passcode. Specific protocols include OpenVPN’s cutting-edge UDP and TCP protocols, as well as SSTP: a technology that can beat even the harshest censorship filters.

The logging policy is airtight too, with no records of your traffic, IP addresses, timestamps, bandwidth, or browsing history ever being stored. Last but not least, NordVPN’s holding company is based in Panama – a neutral country – which means that major world governments can do nothing to force your data out of NordVPN.

No matter your requirements, it’s hard to go wrong with NordVPN.

Learn even more in our comprehensive NordVPN review.

Pros

  • Very affordable plans
  • Over 5,400 servers in 61 countries
  • Strong encryption is used on all connections
  • “Double” data protection
  • 30-day money back guarantee.
Cons

  • Very little
  • Sometimes slow in procesing refunds (but always do).
GET NORDVPN FREE: NordVPN is a titan of the industry, offering impenetrable security for any use-case. Get it cheap – 70% off – and then claim your money back after 30 days when the money-back guarantee expires.

How to get NordVPN for free

NordVPN isn’t just a top-notch VPN service; it’s also a generous company. They don’t offer a free trial per se, but you can try their service risk-free because the service comes with a 30-day money back guarantee —  just use it if you’re not happy or call it a NordVPN free trial, there will be no strings attached, and no questions asked.

It might seem a bit scary to pay for 3 years of service, but fret not, you’ll easily be able to cancel the service and get 100% of your money back anytime you want. Some people do just this when they only need a VPN for a limited time, like traveling to a censorship-heavy country for work or vacation.

Can you trust NordVPN?

You know the old adage: if something’s too good to be true, it probably is. In that sense, you may be wondering is the brand really safe to use? Or, are they going to steal your information or even use your computer to do something bad? Questions like these are natural, especially given all the negative publicity free VPNs have received in the past.

Fortunately, we can confidently put all your worries to rest.

NordVPN is one of the biggest, most established premium VPNs in the industry. Sure, its end goal is to get paying customers and make a profit but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Charging users a few bucks a month is what lets NordVPN pay for new servers (which they do quite frequently), hire developers, maintain a 24/7 support line, and continually upgrade its security.  You get what you pay for, and NordVPN delivers value in spades. User reviews have raved about the service since its founding in 2012. Well-funded R&D is the key to quality, here.

The money-back guarantee is a way to demonstrate they stand by their product, and to signal there’s absolutely no obligation or risk to you.

It’s also important to remember two more things. First, since NordVPN is a business, it has a direct stake in your security and anonymity. If someone accesses your browsing data or otherwise compromises your security while you’re using NordVPN, the brand is going to look bad, and lose (a lot of) money. They don’t want this. The result is that NordVPN invests a lot of time and money into offering the best possible service.

This is the primary reason to go with NordVPN as your “free” VPN provider; you really can trust them to deliver a high-quality service, every time.

Why does NordVPN need my card information?

  1. First, this is a way to make sure you don’t keep signing up for a NordVPN free trial. They charge your card when you sign up to make sure that the same person doesn’t use the same card to keep using the service for free in perpetuity.
  2. Second, even if you’re signing up for a long-term NordVPN subscription while planning to cancel later, you’re still going to get charged upfront.

For these two reasons, you will need to have a working card or another way to pay for NordVPN to access it for free.

RELATED READING: NordVPN vs ExpressVPN: Which One Is Right for Me?

Canceling NordVPN and getting a refund

Did you forget to cancel your free subscription and get charged? Or, are you looking to shamelessly make use of NordVPN’s generous policies to your financial gain? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how you get your money back, step by step.

  • Step 1: Go to nordvpn.com, log into your account, then click the “cancel automatic payments” link at the bottom of your billing history.
  • Step 2: Confirm that you wish to confirm the account. If asked to give a reason for canceling, pick the most appropriate option.
  • Step 3: Your account will no longer auto-renew, but it is not yet canceled. To really cancel it, you need to contact customer services. The easiest way to do this is by clicking the blue icon at the bottom right of your screen. Alternatively, you can make a phone call to customer service.
  • Step 4: Once you’re talking to a customer service representative, explain that you want to cancel your account. Provided you can give a simple, straightforward reason – even if it’s “I realized I don’t need the service” – you won’t be pressured to change your mind.
  • Step 5: Wait for your refund to process, usually in 1-2 working days.

Why get a free VPN?

There are many reasons to want a free VPN. For starters, you may not have a convenient way to pay for one. Many people around the world either can’t or won’t make online payments for all kinds of reasons, anonymity being a major one. For example, let’s say you’re highly concerned about your safety and security when online. Buying a VPN leaves all kinds of paper trails, from leaving a trace on your bank statement, to receipts, to you being a registered customer of a VPN company. All of this is highly undesirable for you if you prioritize privacy since it makes it possible (if difficult) to identify you.

Another important treason is that the best VPN deals are usually for year-long or multi-year subscriptions. This is undesirable if you don’t need a VPN often. For example, let’s say you just want to try accessing one service from a foreign IP. Alternatively, imagine you’re going abroad and want to continue using the Internet as you would back home without anyone knowing. In situations like these, it just doesn’t make sense to buy into a long-term VPN subscription. This is another key reason why you might want a free VPN.

Last but not least, there’s the moral aspect of privacy. Many people believe that being able to do what you want without being watched by Internet Service Providers, governments, and corporations is a basic human right. From this point of view, there’s no reason not to use a free VPN. Moreover, as you’re about to find out, some free VPNs offer some the same key features that a regular, paid VPN does. This makes it an excellent option for anonymity and security.

What are the limitations of a free VPN?

Most free VPNs have a number of limitations that paid ones don’t. For example, you can only use a free VPN to do so many things. This usually means browsing, using basic social media, and downloading small files. Things that you can’t do usually include P2P filesharing, streaming videos, and loading larger files. This can make things a little vexing if you expect your regular Internet experience when using a free VPN.

Another factor is that free VPNs usually have limited speed, bandwidth, and servers. Speed is usually hard-capped, meaning that gaming, downloading, etc is very limited. Bandwidth is also limited, meaning that once you hit a certain limit, you can no longer use your free VPN. Last but not least, server numbers and server switches are also finite, meaning that you can only access so many IPs. If you want an IP that’s not in a popular country like the UK, Canada, or the US, you’re almost guaranteed to be out of luck. These are some of the bigger drawbacks to using a free VPN.

Are free VPNs safe?

Paid VPNs usually have a number of security-oriented features. This includes strong encryption, no-logging policies that prevent records from being stored, and more. Many free VPNs make it appear that you’re going to get the same features – but this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, an unscrupulous free VPN can be a serious threat to your online and anonymity. To understand why, consider that all VPNs – including free ones – need to make money. Servers aren’t free, neither are bandwidth or traffic.

So, how do these free VPNs make money? Many display (or bombard you with) ads and/or gently prods you to buy the full version of their service. Nothing nefarious here. However, a number of VPNs actually collects your information and sell it to third parties. This lets them make an excellent profit, but it also means that you’re not really anonymous. Moreover, free VPNs don’t have the resources nor the motivation to fight legal action, meaning that they’re very likely to give up all your data if a government or ISP comes asking for it. Again, not the best features to have considering the reason to get a VPN in the first place is for anonymity and protection.

Then there’s the fact that VPNs can access your computer’s data and processing power. In one famous story, this let a free VPN’s designers harness users’ processing power to launch botnet attacks. This is arguably the worst possible thing that can happen with a free VPN since it means that you’re now involved in a crime. Even worse, your logs are very unlikely to be kept secret if anything goes wrong, meaning you can potentially get in a whole lot of trouble. For all these reasons, it’s important to be very careful with free VPNs.

RELATED READING: Best VPN services reviewed by AddictiveTips

Two free VPNs to avoid

There are 2 specific VPNs that have previously put their users in danger. We strongly urge you to avoid them.

Hola

This is a service that creates a VPN network by relying on users’ devices and Internet connections. The problem with this is that other people can use your device for all kinds of nefarious things. Moreover, Hola doesn’t have solid encryption or a good no-logging policy. This means that you’re vulnerable in every way possible. This is especially bad because Hola has been accused of selling users’ processing power to hacker criminals, e.g. for use in illegal botnets. In short, avoid this service by all means.

HideMyAss

This popular, free VPN has consistently given up users’ logs to authorities, essentially making it worthless in terms of protecting your data. HMA claims to have a no-logging policy, but they monitor usernames, real IP addresses, and more, which essentially means they do keep logs. We can think of virtually no good reason to use this service – at least if you value your privacy to any degree.

Closing words

Now you know all about getting NordVPN for free. You also know all the basics of using any VPN service, free or paid, to access the Internet securely and anonymously. What are you going to do next? Take a minute to leave a note and let us know. We love getting your feedback and will do our best to answer any questions in future articles.

The post Get a NordVPN FREE Trial – Working in 2020 appeared first on AddictiveTips.

5 Best Managed WordPress Hosting Companies in 2019

On the surface, WordPress seems like a pretty straightforward platform. However, managing a WordPress side can be tremendously tough if you’re a serious publisher, business or blogger. While most web hosts focus on providing simple, affordable solutions, these are often sub-optimal for hobbyists and enterprise-level websites. As a result, an increasing number of websites are now run on managed hosting. This includes SoundCloud, HTC, jQuery and a variety of other household brands known to most people.

BEST Managed WordPress Hosting Companies

In this article, we’ll explain why regular WordPress hosting is insufficient and problematic; what managed hosting can do for you; which managed hosting brands are the best on the market for 2019. We’ll start by covering the main types of hosting available today and the ways in which they’re different.

The 3 types of hosting explained

Before we cover specific hosting brands, let’s talk about the 3 types of hosting available for WordPress websites.

SHARED HOSTING

First is shared hosting – which, as far as most people are concerned, is the standard form of hosting. The reason it’s called “shared” hosting is simple: when a hosting company offers shared hosting, they’re splitting a physical or virtual server between dozens, hundreds or even thousands of users.

This is the most common type of hosting available. The reason is that it’s cheap and that the vast majority of WordPress installations really don’t need all that much power. Sharing a single machine between hundreds of personal blogs or tiny business websites really isn’t that big of a deal – and this way, consumers and brands can get websites for a few bucks per month. The thing is, larger publishers often don’t want to share hosting with other websites. We’ll cover the specific reasons for this below, but even at face value, it makes sense. A large corporation wouldn’t want to share a campus and office space with another brand. The same is true for web hosting, and this is where managed hosting comes in.

SELF HOSTING

Second is self-hosting. These sites are hosted through a physical or virtual machine, and provide a high degree of user control. However, this is often a double-edged sword for most individuals and businesses, who might not otherwise have the time and resources to stay on top of updates, plugins, cyber security measures, patches, in addition to regular content production and website design. What’s more, if something goes wrong, there’s not a lot in the way of support to help you troubleshoot. For these reasons and more, you won’t often see companies using a self-hosted website.

MANAGED HOSTING

Option #3, and the main subject of this article, is fully managed hosting. This is when you get your own private or physical machine and a team or professionals who manage your website. This is the most expensive option of the three presented here – but it’s also by far the best and most reliable in terms of performance.

Before we continue onto our recommendations for managed hosting services, it’s important to understand exactly why shared hosting, which is a perfect fit for tens of millions of people around the world, may not be the best solution for you.

Problems with shared hosting

As we mentioned above, with shared hosting, dozens or hundreds of websites use a single physical server. This lets many brands and people share resources and get quality Internet connections, disk space, and more for a tiny fraction of the regular price. The main problems with this are as follows.

In a perfect scenario, all the websites on a shared hosting platform can take turns using the resources a machine has. Unfortunately, real-life users and page visitors don’t know or care about splitting server usage in a way that’s convenient for website owners. They just come to the website they want, when they want to. What often happens at this point is that the shared server gets overtaxed and slow, or completely stops working. This is problem #1.

The second problem is that on a shared machine, all kinds of nasty things can happen. For example, if one website gets a virus or a malware infection, other websites can too. This is the “bad neighbor” problem, which is the second key reason shared hosting isn’t optimal.

Here’s how both problems manifest themselves on shared hosting:

  • Low speed. A server can contain hundreds of websites that share bandwidth, RAM, disk space, and more. When things get busy, individual websites can start working slowly or even fail to load at all.
  • Security breaches. If a single website falls victim to a machine-threatening virus or attack, everyone else is going down too. For example, let’s say criminals are targeting a website that shares your machine with a DDoS attack. If they succeed, they’ll also have taken out your website as collateral damage.
  • Limited resources. A lot of hosts tell shared hosting users that they’re getting unlimited traffic, bandwidth, etc. This is, of course, not true. In the real world, there’s just one machine that other websites also rely on, so “unlimited” actually stands for “very limited beyond a few thousand visitors”.
  • Everything is manual. With your own shared hosting, you’re responsible for updating WordPress, backing up your content and databases, creating your own designs, and more. This means you need to know PHP, MySQL, some HTML, and use your skills actively just to make sure everything works as intended.

How managed hosting is better

The first and main thing a managed host does for you is solve the “bad neighbor” problem. All but the cheapest managed WordPress hosting providers give you a separate virtual private server or physical server, meaning you no longer have to share resources with anyone else. This means you’re less susceptible to viruses and criminal attacks. In fact, it all but eliminates the likelihood of a virus going from your machine to someone else’s.

Moreover, a quality managed hosting provider will give you CDN (Content Distribution Network) functionality, meaning that even if you do get DDoS’d, some of your static content will still be available to users. All told, security gets a big upgrade when you go for managed WordPress hosting.

Another major factor is expert support and maintenance. With managed hosting, an A-Team of experts will handle some or all of your upgrading, maintenance, and cybersecurity needs. It’s like having your own internal team of WordPress wizards, only without all the extra costs. This is the second way in which managed hosting is a serious upgrade over shared hosting.

Next is speed. With a managed host, you get your own device with all the resources that entails. You don’t have to share bandwidth, RAM or anything else. This means your website is significantly faster. The CDN functionality mentioned above further boosts your speed by using multiple international servers to deliver data to your users faster. Then there’s the fact that with a dedicated server, you’re going to get the versions of MySQL, Apache, and PHP that work best for you. As a result, anecdotally, a good managed hosting provider can reduce load times by 2 seconds or more. Given that a 1-second delay could cost Amazon $1.6 billion per year, this is a major deal for publishers and businesses.

Last but not least there’s the question of management. With managed services, all you need to do is tell your provider what you want. They’ll take care of everything else, including backups, updates, and more. Top providers also guarantee uptime no matter what happens. All of this is a major benefit since it saves you from a lot of work, and makes sure that you don’t have to worry about extreme circumstances – like a sudden influx of traffic or a criminal attack.

Now that we’ve explained what the limitations of shared hosting are, and why managed hosting may be better, let’s talk about specific providers that are best for 2019 (and beyond).

Top managed services providers for WordPress

Before we start our countdown, we should make one thing clear. This is a list of the best managed hosting providers in 2019. This means we did not include a few types of brands on our list. For example, we didn’t include many businesses that offer “managed hosting” at price points of below $30 because these brands are really just shared hosting with fancy marketing.

Instead, we focused on real managed hosting providers with top-quality equipment, knowledgeable teams, and a comprehensive approach to managing your WordPress installation(s) for you. Number one is…

1. Presslabs

Presslabs is our overall #1 managed hosting provider for 2019 for a number of reasons. For starters, there are raw numbers. In one benchmark test, a website tested how WordPress performed with up to 10,000 users over 30 minutes. Presslabs had one of the smallest total error numbers at only 56 (compared to 1901 for Pressable). Average response time was consistently outstanding at 208 ms, and peak throughput was also high at 90.85 MB/s. Based on these numbers alone, Presslabs is one of the fastest, most reliable managed hosting providers in the whole business.

In addition to bare numbers, Presslabs has a strong feature set. E-mail and phone support are both 24/7. No matter what you need or what’s happening to your website, Presslabs is literally always there to help. For non-urgent questions, there’s a Git-driven environment for development, and a suite of collaboration features for managing your website. Whether you want to upgrade, change something or load new content. Working with Presslabs’ team is easy.

But where Presslabs really stands out is in its generous extra features. For example, the service gives you a free CDN with HTTP/2, making your WordPress website as fast as humanly possible. You also get free SSL certificates and free backups every 15 minutes, meaning both you and your users can have peace of mind.

Even the pricing is excellent, with plans starting at $99 per month with $0.30 extra per 1,000 pageviews, and a Developer Plan that comes completely free. Larger clients get to choose between the PLUS and PRO plans, starting at $299 or $599, respectively.

Between the high performance quality, the extra features and a responsive dashboard made using ReactJS, it’s plain to see why Presslabs is #1 for 2019. When you get this service, you’re getting a fast, secure, reliable host that does an outstanding job of managing WordPress installations. The only possible downside is that there’s no micro plan for businesses with very little traffic – but so long as your business isn’t just starting out, Presslabs is your best choice.

2. WordPress VIP

VIP was the very first managed hosting provider for WordPress websites. It’s served such notable brands as MSNBC, Time Magazine and TechCrunch. In terms of numbers and performance, it’s one of the very best providers on the market. In the same benchmark we referenced earlier, VIP had just 3 mistakes while serving 10,000 users in 30 minutes. Average response times were low, and while the total number of requests served was less than Presslabs’, it was still very high at nearly 1.75 million. As far as pure performance goes, WordPress VIP is, as the name suggests, one of the best offers on the market.

The service’s feature set is impressive, too. Support is 24/7, meaning you can get the qualified help whenever you need it. Moreover, WordPress is a large brand, meaning you’re unlikely to have to wait on the line at any point. Backups are significantly less frequent than with Presslabs (every 60 minutes), but still very frequent to the point that you don’t have to worry about them. CDN functionality is readily available, meaning your website’s going to work a lot faster when it comes to static content. Security is strong, with every VIP website getting an SSL certificate and built-in anti-DDoS protection.

The one glaring weakness with WordPress VIP is their pricing policy. On one hand, there’s a flat fee that gets you unlimited traffic, bandwidth, and storage with absolutely no hidden costs or upgrades. On the other hand, fees start at $5,000 per website per month, with a $5,000 setup fee. This means that WordPress VIP is only a viable option for enterprise clients, large publishers, e-commerce websites, and so on and so forth. The service may perform well – but unless you’re really big, there’s no point even thinking about it. It doesn’t make financial sense.

3. Pantheon

Pantheon is a little different in that it focuses on 2 CMS systems: WordPress and Drupal. As an indirect result, they have a powerful suite of developer tools that’s an excellent fit for anyone who wants full control over their website and content. To wit, Pantheon is popular with techy brands like Dell, Cisco, IBM, and others. At face value, the brand is a little weaker than Presslabs and WordPress VIP. For example, their peak throughput was benchmarked at just 85.72 MB/s, and their total error number was fairly high (88 in 30 minutes and 10,000 users). However, Pantheon has its own advantages.

Specifically, Pantheon has 3 work environments: dev, test, and live. These environments make it easy to preview the changes you want to make to your WordPress installation on a deep level (i.e. far beyond the usual “preview” feature). The service has a guaranteed uptime SLA of 99.95%, which corresponds to no more 4 hours of downtime per year; an impressive number. A global CDN is included in every price package, as is site migration. Last but not least, Pantheon works with both Drupal and WordPress and runs on Google Cloud Platform, which makes it excellent for brands with multiple digital assets.

In fact, Pantheon has just a couple of weaknesses. The first is that it’s expensive; getting a starter account with servers that let you run several websites is going to cost you $15,000-20,000 per year. The packages are generous – you can run up to 33 WordPress websites with 100+ GB of disk space – but given how high the service costs, that’s to be expected. The silver lining is that there’s no setup fee, but given that you have to pay more as your needs grow and evolve, Pantheon is still extremely expensive, which is why it only ranks as managed hosting provider #3 for 2019.

4. Pagely

Pagely is a security-first WordPress managed hosting provider that’s also strong on fundamentals. It does absolutely everything to make sure your website is safe. First, you get automatic WordPress Core and plugin updates so any vulnerabilities are patched as soon as they’re discovered. Backups are made daily, which may be a little sparse for some websites but is overall decent. There’s also a proprietary PressArmor WordPress security feature that protects you from criminals, automated DDoS attacks, and more. Malware and virus protection happens in real-time, meaning security threats are dealt with the second they arise.

All these features come at an incredibly attractive price: just $499 per month for an entry-level account with up to 200 GB bandwidth and up to 30 WordPress installations. Despite the low price point, support is 24/7 and there’s a broad self-serve knowledge database to help you find answers to questions quickly. There’s even a 30-day money-back guarantee so you don’t have to pay for Pagely if you’re not happy with their service a month in.

Outside the above security features and the attractive pricing, Pricely is excellent in terms of features. PRESSCDN functionality starts at just $9 a month and helps you increase your website’s load speed. So does varnish caching: a technology that can reduce load times for returning visitors to milliseconds. The servers are optimized for fast load times, reliability, and 24/7 uptime. If you’re ready for a “serious” managed hosting provider but don’t want to pay thousands of dollars per month, Pricely just may be the perfect service for you.

5. WPEngine

WPEngine is another budget-friendly managed WordPress hosting provider. Memberships start at just $99 for a personal plan. You’ll be hard-pressed to run a business website without the Business plan feature set, which costs $249 per month, but if you want your own server for blogging, the cheaper option is nice to have. Impressively enough, customer support is 24/7 year-round despite the low pricing. WP Engine has even won 3 Stevie Awards for best customer service, which lets you know how seriously they take your problems and questions.

Performance-wise, WPEngine is solid if not outstanding. In the benchmark test we referred to earlier, total mistakes made in serving 10,000 users in 30 minutes numbered at 786. This is a little on the high side, but not bad by any means. Average response time was decent at 509 ms, with an excellent maximum throughput of over 90 MB/s. All in all, WPEngine may be a cut below Presslabs or WordPress VIP – but given the low price tag for entry-level plans, that can be an acceptable compromise for some.

Feature-wise, all the standard features (and a few extras) are available here. SSL certification is free. Any WordPress installation is CDN-ready, and – starting at the Business plan – automatically enabled. Backups are made daily, as is a threat scan that checks for viruses, malware, etc. Last but not least, the service uses solid structures that optimize your WordPress site’s speed, performance and load times. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to start using managed hosting, WPEngine is a great choice.

In conclusion

There are many reasons to want a managed hosting provider. Having said that, no 2 providers are alike – so it’s important to know exactly what you want to get. That way, you can choose the specific providers that are capable of serving your needs. For example, Pricely is wonderful if you want to save money, but not if you need peak results. Presslabs, our overall #1 choice, is excellent on all fronts – but only if you can afford to spend a few hundred dollars on improving your website’s performance, speed, and user experiences.

Most importantly, make sure to plan your choices for the long haul. With shared hosting, it’s fairly easy to migrate from one provider to another. With managed hosting, moving from one brand to another can be tremendously difficult because it requires some manual work. The best thing you can do is make sure you make a good choice to begin with, avoiding any possible problems and moves ahead of time. Now that you’ve read this article, you know which providers are best. Just make sure to discuss your specific needs, see some demos, and meet the team that’ll be managing you ahead of time.

Read 5 Best Managed WordPress Hosting Companies in 2019 by George P.H. on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Which Documents to Shred to Keep Your Identity Safe

Unsure about which documents to shred, which to keep, and which to just toss in the garbage without fuss? This guide is for you, and in it we’ll show you which types of documents typically contain the most sensitive information. Then, we’ll cover what else you can do to prevent identity theft once you’re done feeding the shredder.

Even in today’s digital age, there is no going around receiving hardcopies of important documents. From purchase receipts to bank statements, we are all guilty of misplacing and throwing out official papers containing sensitive information. In turn, one of the biggest risks for identity theft is right there in plain sight – the documents we should be shredding.

At this point, you must be thinking back to all those times you threw out documents containing your Social Security Number or bank account details. Fortunately, it’s quite unlikely that you chucked anything that’s likely to compromise your identity, credit, etc. Still, it helps to be sure – so in this article, we’ll cover some document types that are risky to throw out and should be shredded.

Which documents put me at risk of identity theft?

There is specific information that one must be careful with in order to prevent identity theft. Below, we’ve listed the most important documents you should shred before you throw out.

Documents stating personal details

First and foremost, your personal information is the most valuable to identity thieves. This includes your Social Security Number, address, and even date of birth. For example, statements from the IRS or letters from your employer could be used to retrieve personally identifiable information. In the wrong hands, your SSN, for example, could be utilized in a manner highly destructive to your credit. Since an identity theft victim spends an average of 600 hours clearing their name, it’s best to destroy any document containing personal details and consequently avoid the situation in the first place.

Account details

This section is one we are all guilty of – storing passwords, usernames, and account numbers for identity thieves to find. If other pieces of information are a mere hint, this is a whole key to your personal accounts. Documents that usually contain this sort of information include credit card statements, tax statements, and utility bills. So, next time you get your phone bill or bank statement for the month, if you have no intention of keeping it, make sure to shred them.

Financial documents

Any letter or statement from a financial institution typically contains sensitive information that could put you and your identity at risk. For example, voided cheques or online purchase receipts contain your bank account information, which can end up serving as a key to your finances. While it is recommended to keep your credit card statements for several years prior to getting rid of them, make sure to shred these documents when the time comes.

Other documents

While the records we’ve mentioned so far have been more obvious, there are some everyday documents that you wouldn’t consider to be risky to simply toss out. However, with more than 60 million Americans being victims of identity theft at any given time, you can never be too careful. Below we list the less obvious documents you should shred before getting rid of them.

  • Boarding passes – this one is surprising, but boarding passes not only contain your name and travel destination, but also have a barcode that any free website could decipher. This information can often be used to gain access to airline accounts, so fraudsters can see your travel plans and even cancel trips.
  • Receipts – many receipts contain the last digits of your credit card and maybe even your signature. This can be used to make fraudulent purchases or returns, as well as to gain access to your store credit.
  • Prescription labels – labels used for prescription medication tend to contain pretty valuable information. Many thieves make use of these bottles in order to get refill of a person’s prescription, therefore make sure to destroy the label prior to throwing it out.
  • CVs – in a nutshell, your resume is essentially your timeline. It contains your name, address, phone number, employment history, academic history, and much more. A resume gives away a myriad of valuable information, therefore be wary of simply tossing it in the bin.

How else can I prevent identity theft?

There can never be a full guarantee that your identity is 100% safe. However, there are many ways you can reduce the risk of being an identity theft victim. For starters, you can use a credit bureau in order to place fraud alerts on your credit report. This way, companies will always take several precaution steps in order to confirm your identity. The next step you can take is place a security freeze on your credit report. A security freeze requires you to go through several security steps in order to confirm that it is, in fact, you. Specifically, you will need to state a password or PIN before a company can check your credit report. Although this may cost a small fee, the extra protection is worth it.

There are simpler steps you can take that don’t require contacting credit bureaus at all. For starters, make sure you are checking your accounts online on a regular basis. This way, if there are any unusual charges you don’t recognize, you can spot them immediately. Secondly, make sure you don’t carry your Social Security Card around with you, and don’t have the number written down for thieves to find. Finally, there are many ways to avoid having hard-copy papers by doing certain things online.

For example, you can now pay your bills online, which will eliminate the risk of an identity thief stealing your check from the mailbox. This is the case with most bills today – paying online is faster, safer, and much more convenient. If you do bill pay online, be sure to lock your Internet connection down with a VPN.

Finally, you should consider signing onto an identity theft protection service. You might think this is only useful after you’ve been a victim, but the real-time monitoring of your many identity vectors will help you catch breaches as they happen. This can go a long way towards stopping something far worse from happening under your name.

Conclusion

It’s clear that everyone leaves a paper trail simply by existing, but it’s up to you to minimize the sensitivity of documents exposed to the general public, hackers, thieves, or anyone else. We’ve shown you exactly which document types should be chucked into the shredder first for this very purpose.

Got any other tips besides these? Share them in the comments below!

Read Which Documents to Shred to Keep Your Identity Safe by George P.H. on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Best VPN for Croatia in 2019

Looking for the best VPN to use in Croatia as of 2019? Today’s guide is for you. We’ll present the top 5 VPN providers currently on the market, talk about the state of the Internet in Croatia, and show you how to get a foreign IP to hide your identity and unlock content from anywhere in the world.

Why is it important to stay safe online in Croatia? There are many reasons. First of all, Croatia is part of the EU: a territory known for government surveillance and cooperation with major world governments (like Japan’s and the US’s). Given that many of us don’t have much trust for world governments, given their track record on privacy and Internet freedom, being able to use the web with no restrictions or surveillance is important.

Furthermore, Croatians are limited to smaller content catalogues with online streaming services like Netflix, while channels like Hulu are unavailable altogether. If you want to visit beautiful Croatia without sacrificing your access to the free and open Internet, opt for a VPN. With one of these apps, you can overcome geo-blocking, censorship, spying, and and throttling.

The best VPNs for Croatia in 2019

The VPN market is saturated with providers, some of which command a hefty monthly fee, while others offer seemingly the same service for free. How do you choose? As with most things, the sweet spot occupies the middle ground, and each of our recommended VPNs was picked for performance, privacy, and price.

Here are the best VPNs for Croatia:

1. ExpressVPN

Whether you’re living, studying, or traveling in Croatia, ExpressVPN is the best VPN you can get to use in the country. Everything starts with the service’s massive server network: over 3,000 nodes in 94 countries. With so many servers, it’s easy to get an IP in any country you want. It’s also easy to connect to a server that’s physically close to where you are, minimizing the physical distance data has to travel. Since all servers are equipped with high-speed Internet connections and modern servers, the connections you get are fast and reliable. It helps that ExpressVPN generously offers no limits on traffic, bandwidth, orr rserver switches. With support for all modern device types, you can use the outstanding service to your heart’s content without worrying about paying extra or running out of proverbial mileage.

In addition to being high-quality, ExpressVPN is tight on security. It features all the modern, state-of-the-art encryption protocols, from fast OpenVPN to legacy device-friendly PPTP. It uses 256-bit AES keys that have more possible combinations than there are atoms in the known universe. It has an outstanding zero-logging policy that covers traffic, DNS requests, IP addresses, browsing history, and more. Throw in the fact that the holding company is based in the British Virgin Islands – a neutral territory that doesn’t report to the US, UK, or the EU – and you get one of the most secure VPN services available, period. Security extras include an automatic kill switch and a built-in DNS leak test that helps make sure your ISP isn’t secretly watching what you do.

Find out more about this service in our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • Unblocks US Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services
  • 94 countries, 3,000+ servers
  • OpenVPN, IPSec & IKEv2 Encryption
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Great customer service via chat.
Cons

  • Priced slightly higher.
BEST FOR CROATIA: Stay safe and anonymous in Croatia while retaining your anonymity with ExpressVPN. Get 49% off the yearly plan, plus 3 extra months free with our link.

2. NordVPN

Although Croatia isn’t the most repressive country in the world, it’s not known for perfect Internet freedom either – and NordVPN can help protect you no matter what device type you use and what you do online. Everything starts with a range of special, security-first servers. These include the Double VPN feature which routes your data through two separate servers, thereby encrypting your data and spoofing your IP twice. Another popular choice is the obfuscated server, which hides the fact you’re using a VPN from your ISP and other third parties. In addition to these specialty servers, NordVPN uses a selection of traditional and ultramodern encryption protocols with 256-bit AES encryption keys to keep your data safe while you’re online. When you factor in that NordVPN also has an outstanding no-logging policy that’s one of the best in the industry, you get an outstanding security package for privacy and anonymity.

In addition to being safe, NordVPN is fast. It has one of the biggest server networks that’s ever existed in the VPN industry: 5,300+ nodes in over 60 countries. With so many servers, it’s always easy to find an IP you need on a server that’s got plenty of free bandwidth. It’s also easy to find a server that’s geographically close to you if you want to minimize the distance data travels to and from you. Apps for every popular device and operating system, including routers and video game consoles. Last but not least, bandwidth, traffic, and server switches are all unlimited, meaning you can use NordVPN to your heart’s content whether you’re at home or on the move.

Want to know more? Then check out our full review of NordVPN.

Pros

  • Unblocks American Netflix
  • 5,400+ servers globally
  • DNS leak protection, kill switch
  • Retains no metadata of your browsing
  • Money back guarantee policy.
Cons

  • Some servers can be slow and unreliable
  • Apps can be a bit cumbersome to use.
SPECIAL OFFER: NordVPN is a robust cybersecurity solution Croatian users can count on. Get 3 years of service 75% off with our special link.

3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost is a slightly different type of VPN. While most others focus on customization and flexibility, CyberGhost is the rare service that offers a rich feature set in an easy, intuitive interface. When you log in using the desktop apps, you don’t have to make a half-dozen manual choices before getting the connection you need. Instead, you simply choose from one of six easy configuration profiles, which include “anonymous torrenting” and “anonymous surfing”: two use cases perfect for Croatian users. Once you choose a configuration profile, you can further customize your connection with an array of easy toggles like “data compression” and “extra speed”. At the same time, CyberGhost has a remarkably powerful VPN network – 3,700+ servers in nearly 60 countries – and has a versatile feature set. This combination of usability and power is what makes this VPN so great.

One area in which CyberGhost is especially outstanding is security. Its no-logging policy may be the best one in the entire VPN business. The service logs virtually nothing, not even your email address, meaning that tracing your VPN usage back to you is effectively impossible. The encryption keys used are 256-bit AES: military-grade passcodes so tough that not even the world’s major governments can crack it consistently. Encryption protocols range from the speedy L2TP, which is good for gaming, to OpenVPN over UDP and TCP ports for speed and security. Add in some cybersec extras, like a connection guard and a kill switch, and you get a service that’s as safe as it is easy to use.

To learn more, see our full review of CyberGhost.

Pros

  • LOW PRICE: 6 EXTRA free months (79% off – link below)
  • Special profile designed for torrenting privately
  • No leaks detected
  • No logs policy
  • 24/7 Live Chat Support.
Cons

  • WebRTC leak detected
  • Doesn’t work well in China.
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4. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN may be the last entry on our list, but it’s got a few outstanding features that make it a top choice for many users. For starters, PrivateVPN’s network has its Internet capacity purchased directly from the IP transit provider. If you’re not sure what that means, consider that most other VPNs opt for shared hosting services, which physically route your data through crowded, rather than dedicated, connections. The result is a boost in speed and stability. Sure, PrivateVPN’s 80+ servers in 59 countries may seem smaller on paper, but each one of those nodes counts.

No matter how you connect, you’ll enjoy 256-bit AES encryption, which has more key combinations than there are stars in the known universe. Specific encryption protocols range from OpenVPN to the even more modern IKEv2 technology, meaning you get state-of-the-art data protection no matter what you’re doing online. Moreover, PrivateVPN has a tight no-logging policy that helps make sure your data stays protected at all times. If anonymity in Croatia is what you want and need, PrivateVPN is an outstanding choice, true to its name..

The service is also generous in features and extras. For starters, it has a unique remote installation service available for desktop users. If you opt into it, a remote support staffer helps you get up and running in just minutes – even if you have absolutely no technical knowledge. Bandwidth, speed, and server switches are all unlimited, meaning you can freely use PrivateVPN to your heart’s content without ever worrying about paying extra or running out of anything. The service is compatible with all common operating systems and devices and comes with 6 simultaneous connections, meaning you can connect multiple devices and share logins with other household members.

Check out our complete PrivateVPN review.

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5. PureVPN

PureVPN is a service that’s noteworthy for its expansive server network. With 2,000+ servers in over 140 countries, PureVPN has one of the farthest-reaching networks in the industry. You can use it to get virtually any IP you want, bypass geo blocking, access international content libraries, and even shop for local deals in any part of the world. If you want a VPN to open up the Internet for you, PureVPN is an excellent choice. It helps that bandwidth, server switches, and traffic are all unlimited. With 5 multi-logins and compatibility with all modern devices and operating systems, you can use PureVPN no matter where you are and with no restrictions. If you ever run into any problems, 24-hour live chat support is always available; a feature that’s rarer even for premium paid VPN services.

In addition to being rich in features and IP choices, PureVPN is strong on fundamentals. It uses 256-bit AES encryption to help you overcome Croatian censorship and protect your data. All modern encryption protocols, from PPTP to OpenVPN, are available. There are P2P and streaming-optimized services for specific use cases. Each server is equipped with a 1 Gbit connection – and PurreVPN helps overcome ISP throttling, wherein your Internet provider sets artificial limits on speed. You can even choose to get a dedicated IP if you don’t want to share one with other Internet users. If you want a strong feature set and the ability to “turn off” geo blocking at will, PureVPN just may be the optimal VPN for you.

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The Internet in Croatia

In terms of Internet usage and connectivity, Croatia is perhaps a step behind most other European countries. You may get faster speeds in cities (where wired connections are common) than in the countryside with limited coverage. Nevertheless, broadband and 4G Internet are essentially ubiquitous. For better or for worse, Croatia also doesn’t regulate its Internet as strictly as other EU nations. For example, hate speech and discrimination isn’t always flagged as such when it happens online. This is unlikely to impinge on your personal Internet use, but is worth noting for a more complete look at Croatian Internet.

What’s censored in Croatia?

At face value, there should be no censorship to Internet usage in Croatia. The country is an EU member and is supposed to follow the area’s laws on Internet freedom. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is somewhat divorced from the theory. Since the EU has opted out of ACTA, some online content gets filtered out in unnecessarily harsh, strict ways. For example: for most Croatian ISPs’ users, search results are filtered regardless of personal preferences. For example, you may find that you can’t find nude images through Google – even if you want to use them for art or your own personal entertainment. You may also find that your access to gambling websites is severely restricted or completely removed, even if what you’re doing isn’t technically illegal. All in all, nothing crazy harsh – but definitely a little inconvenient if you want to use the web freely. A bigger problem is geoblocking.

Geoblocking in Croatia

A lot of Internet users believe that websites like Hulu are unavailable outside the US because of censorship. This is (mostly) incorrect. The reason is that content publishing and distribution companies – from Warner Bros. to Disney – have licensing agreements with international partners that work on a country-by-country basis. That sounds like a mouthful, but it really just means that different companies are responsible for handling copyright-protected music, TV series, films, and more, depending on which country you go to. The result is that while Netflix may have the right to broadcast a show like House of Cards in the US and Canada, it may not be able to do so in, say, China or Russia. This is called geoblocking – and it’s the main reason content isn’t freely available when you live or travel abroad.

In Croatia, geoblocking restrictions mean that services like Spotify, Pandora, Netflix, and Hulu are either unavailable or tightly restricted. The reason is that Croatia is a very small market that there’s little business sense to target. If you want to enjoy the best the web has to offer in terms of content, shopping deals, and more, we strongly recommend that you get a quality VPN to improve your online experience.

How does a VPN help you use the free Internet in Croatia?

A VPN service does two things. First, it encrypts your data before it leaves your computer. This is important because data is usually unencrypted, meaning anyone who gets a hold of it can access and view it freely. From this point of view, getting a VPN is just common sense. Otherwise, important personal details – including bank account numbers, personal correspondence, login information to your favorite websites, and more – could easily fall into the wrong hands. It helps that the VPNs on this page all have strict no-logging policies that prevent them from storing any of your unencrypted data.

In addition to the above, a VPN helps you digitally relocate anywhere in the world (except Antarctica). It does this by routing your data through a remote server rather than your Internet Service Provider’s nodes. This creates a kind of “tunnel” between your device and a remote server, making it seem as if everything you do – whether it involves sending or receiving data – is happening through a server in a remote country. This feature helps beat geo blocking, overcome censorship restrictions, avoid ISP snooping and government surveillance (by making it seem as if you’re not in the country), and more.

Closing words

We’ve given you a brief look at the Croatian Internet, plus more depth into the VPN providers you can use to bolster your cybersecurity within the country. Do you currently live or often travel to Croatia, and have some experiences to share? What will you use your VPN for? Let us know in the comments below.

Read Best VPN for Croatia in 2019 by George P.H. on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

What Does a VPN Hide, What Does it Do?

VPNs are becoming an increasingly common cybersecurity tool employed by power users and newbies alike to bolster their privacy online. But what exactly does a VPN hide, and how? This is precisely the question we’ll be answering in today’s article. We’ll also present you with a list of our favorite VPN providers you can trust to keep your Internet connection safe and secure. 

By default, what you do online is unencrypted. This isn’t necessarily a problem for most users. For example, if you live in Europe, GDPR laws now protect your privacy in some fairly advanced ways. At the same time, it’s important to remember there are plenty of bad people and organizations on the Internet. Direct cyber crime alone cost the world over $600 billion last year. With that in mind, it’s worth protecting what you do from third parties, including governments and ISPs, when possible.

It’s also worth remembering that a VPN can do a whole lot more than just protect your data. It can also help you overcome censorship blocks, access the free Internet, and spoof IPs from anywhere in the world – even when you’re traveling or living in a country with strict censorship laws. Read on to learn more about what a VPN can and can’t do for you after we cover the best VPNs available online today.

What does a VPN hide, exactly?

A VPN can hide most of what you do online. This includes everything you do in your browser: the search terms you look up on Google and elsewhere, the URLs you key in, etc. It also hides the files you download, the websites you visit, and anything you may choose to stream. Moving on, a VPN also works to hide what you do when playing video games, using social media, and interacting with standalone apps. In short, a VPN makes it difficult or impossible to trace what you do back to you.

RELATED READING: How to Pretend to Be in a Different Country with a VPN

Having said that, there are some situations in which a VPN won’t do much (if anything) for you. For example, let’s say you have a computer that came with tracking software installed by an employer or someone else. If this is the case, you’ll still be pretty easy to trace. A VPN encrypts and protects your data while it’s traversing the Internet – but if your very computer is being controlled, a VPN can’t reverse that. The same is true if your connection is compromised physically, e.g. via a camera that captures what you do online. Anything that affects your privacy outside of your Internet connection cannot be resolved by a VPN, no matter how good. Last but not least, a VPN cannot protect users from themselves. If you voluntarily hand over information about what you do online, it won’t be able to protect you.

How does a VPN do this? Let’s take a look at 2 factors:

IP spoofing

One of the main things a VPN does is protect your online identity by masking your IP address to stop the government, your ISP, and other third parties from tracking what you do. It does this by creating a digital tunnel between you and a remote server located in another country. The way this works is, data is encrypted before leaving your computer (more on this later). It is then sent to the remote server before going anywhere else, giving you a new IP in the process. This is one of the core functions of any VPN – and the more servers a VPN provider has, the more IPs you get to choose from for your connections.

Here’s a simple example of how this works. Let’s say that your ISP gives you a US IP like 178.127.98.241. Usually, anything you do online is connected to this unique IP. However, if you use a VPN service, it essentially creates a tunnel between you and a remote server. This gives you a completely new IP; for example, 2.22.190.211. Anything you do online thereafter appears to originate from this IP. Depending on the VPN service you use, the IP you get can be a dedicated one that’s attached to you permanently – or a shared one that multiple people use.

Data encryption

The second “big thing” a VPN does is encrypt your data. Usually, when you’re using the Internet, data is unencrypted. This means that anyone who gets a hold of your data can listen to your audio files, follow where you go online, read your messages, etc. Many services do offer some measure of security – for example, payment processors use encryption technology, as do websites with SSL certificates – but that’s really neither here nor there. For the vast majority of your uptime, your data is transparent and easy to read.

What does this mean? Well, it means that anyone who can get a hold of your data can view it. This includes the US government and other major world governments, most (if not all) of whom have been implicated in spying on regular people in recent years. It also includes your Internet Service Provider, who can very easily access anything and everything you do online. Last but not least, it includes all kinds of 3rd parties, from corporations who mine your data to servers that pass your data en route to its final destination. With so many parties potentially getting to access your data, and with few restrictions on how they can use your data, this second VPN feature does a great deal to help you stay secure online.

The best VPN services

Now that you understand a bit more about VPNs, you’ll want to search out the best provider. Unfortunately, the market has hit a saturation point with VPNs of all caliber, ranging from high monthly fees to seemingly free services. We’ll cut to the chase–most aren’t worth your time, as striking the right balance between privacy, performance, and price is delicate work.

The following 5 VPNs are perfect for hiding your data, identity and activity online:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the best way to hide what you do online. The gist of why is succinctly expressed in the service’s name. Although many other VPN services slow down your Internet usage, ExpressVPN always gives you fast connections, low latencies, and zippy downloads. One reason is its massive server network of over 3,000 nodes in 94 countries. With so many options, it’s always easy to find a server that’s close to you, minimizing the distance data needs to travel. Moreover, the high number of nodes means that you can easily access a server that has free traffic and bandwidth. Combined with the brand’s policy – no limits on downloads, server switches, traffic, or bandwidth – this means that ExpressVPN doesn’t slow your connection much if at all.

In addition to being fast, ExpressVPN is secure. It has a range of encryption protocols, including modern state-of-the-art ones like OpenVPN. With these encryption protocols, you can enjoy the free Internet safely, avoid slowing down your connections, and even pierce censorship filters like the Great Firewall of China. Moreover, ExpressVPN doesn’t store your Internet usage data thanks to a comprehensive no-logging policy. The policy covers traffic, DNS requests, IP addresses, browsing histories, and more – and means that even if someone accesses ExpressVPN’s records, they won’t find your information there. Between the encryption, the no-logging, and the fact that ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands – a country exempt from the Five, Nine, and Fourteen Eyes surveillance agreements between major governments – this is one of the best ways to hide what you do online.

Want to learn more about ExpressVPN’s performance and security? Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • Unblocks US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and Amazon Prime
  • Superfast servers (minimal speed loss)
  • Supports ALL devices
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
Cons

  • Slightly pricier than competition.
BEST ONLINE PRIVACY: ExpressVPN is our best overall VPN service. Keep what you do online hidden from your ISP and the government with ExpressVPN. Get 49% off the yearly plan, plus 3 extra months free.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is a security-first VPN that’s great for staying anonymous online. It has a number of features specifically made to protect you, help beat censorship, and unlock content. Everything starts with encryption; NordVPN uses 256-bit AES keys that would take a supercomputer millions of years to crack. The specific encryption technologies used include OpenVPN, which blends speed and security, as well as less popular options like SSTP (which is excellent for overcoming national firewalls like China’s). The second layer of security comes from NordVPN’s tough no-logging policy. The service doesn’t store your browsing history, real IP address, traffic, bandwidth, and more – which gives you a very high level of data privacy protection. Moreover, with the holding company being registered in neutral Panama, what little personal information NordVPN does have is unlikely to ever be released to a third party.

One other factor in NordVPN being excellent for privacy is its server network. Not only does it have the highest number of nodes we’ve seen in the industry at 5,700+ in 60 countries. NordVPN has specialty, security-first servers specifically made to help protect your data, device, and identity. This includes obfuscated servers, which hide the fact you’re using a VPN, as well as options like Double VPN nodes that route your data through two servers and two layers of encryption. These servers make it that much easier to keep what you do online private. It helps that they also mean NordVPN’s server network is fast, with low latencies and high download speeds no matter where you happen to be.

To read more NordVPN, read our full review of NordVPN.

Pros

  • Unblocks American Netflix
  • GooglePlay users rating: 4.3/5.0
  • Up to 6 simultaneous connections
  • Extra-secure Double VPN for data encryption
  • Money back guarantee policy.
Cons

  • Automatic server selection can be unreliable
  • Refund processing can take up to 30 days.
EXCLUSIVE DEAL: NordVPN offers myriad ways to hide online. Sign up for 3 years of service, and get reader exclusive 75% discount with our link.

3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost is an easy-to-use VPN perfect for beginners and anyone who wants anonymity in a quick, intuitive package. The VPN is easy to install and start using no matter how you’re using the Internet. If you use a common operating system or device, e.g. the iPhone, Android, Windows, or macOS, you get to download an app that helps you get CyberGhost on your device in just minutes. If you use a less popular option, you can use the on-site instructions to figure out what you need to do and do everything manually. There are no limits on speed, bandwidth, or traffic, meaning you never have to worry about turning CyberGhost off or making extra payments.

CyberGhost isn’t just easy to install, though. It’s both easy to use and powerful on features. For starters, the app eschews complex manual settings in favor of 6 straightforward, intuitive configuration profiles. These include “torrent anonymously” and “surf anonymously”, both of which are made to hide what you do online from third parties. If you do want to choose your own settings manually, you’re always free to do so using the custom settings option. Once you’ve picked a configuration profile, you can use a number of simple toggles to further customize your connection. These extra features include “block ads”, “extra speed”, and “data compression”, all of which help tailor CyberGhost to your specific situation. Between these features, powerful AES-256 encryption, and one of the best no-logging policies in the business – not even your e-mails are stored – CyberGhost is one of the best choices for hiding what you do online.

Would you like to find out more? Then see the full review of CyberGhost for 2019.

Pros

  • LOW PRICE: 6 EXTRA free months (79% off – link below)
  • Torrenting allowed
  • Apps for ALL devices
  • Strict no logging
  • 45-days money back guarantee.
Cons

  • WebRTC IPv6 leak in macOS
  • Can’t unblock some popular streaming sites.
SAVE BIG: CyberGhost is VPN protection made easy. Try this streamlined provider for 18 months with our special 79% discount.

4. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN has incredibly powerful AES-256 encryption that prevents even the world’s most powerful supercomputer from cracking your data. It helps that PrivateVPN has a wide selection of encryption protocols, from quick, powerful OpenVPN to the new and exciting IKEv2 protocol. There’s also SOCKS5-ready servers–technology which was specifically designed to beat the Great Firewall of China, if you’re in a country with strict censorship restrictions. Throw in a no-logging policy that covers virtually everything you can think of, and you get one of the most secure VPNs on the market today.

In addition to the above, PrivateVPN has an outstanding server network and a neat range of extra features. For example, you get up to 6 simultaneous connections without having to pay a cent over your monthly subscription fee. This is a valuable feature, especially because PrivateVPN is easy to install on any Internet devices, from iOS and Windows and Linux to video game consoles and routers. Desktop devices even get a free remote installation service wherein a service staffer takes care of your VPN setup process for you. Between these extras and unlimited bandwidth, traffic, and server switches, PrivateVPN is an excellent way to hide what you do online from all third parties.

Take a look at our full PrivateVPN review for more details.

EXCLUSIVE OFFERUse the free web anonymously today using PrivateVPN. Our readers enjoy a 65% discount on the yearly plan, plus an extra month completely free.

5. PureVPN

PureVPN is a veteran of the VPN industry, and has had ample time to build a great reputation and impressive array of features. It starts with a network spanning 2,000+ nodes in a whopping 140 countries, allowing you to route your data through almost any country you can think of. This means that you can access most of the world’s local content libraries, digitally relocate virtually anywhere, and spoof an IP from any continent except Antarctica. You’ll be spoiled for choice if your current server gets too crowded, or you travel somewhere else in the world.

Your data remains hidden behind a veil of 256-bit AES cryptography, which has no known weaknesses. Choose from among a wide variety of encryption protocols, including OpenVPN for the optimal balance of privacy and performance, and the censorship-piercing SSTP. There’s also a generous no-logging policy to completely erase any trace of your activity online.

But PureVPN offers so much more beyond standard fare–it’s a complete cybersecurity suite. You’ll find app filtering, DDoS protection, getting a dedicated IP address, NAT firewalls, anti-spam filtering, and even antivirus software inside your app. Truly, PureVPN is an impressive service that has provided its users the ability to hide online for over a decade.

AMAZING VALUE: Lock down your Internet connection with PureVPN’s complete security suite. Take 74% off the 2-year plan with our link.

Is a free VPN worth it?

There are many free VPNs out there. Some are excellent, some – less so. Let’s start with some of the main reasons a free VPN may not be the right choice for you. First of all, it’s important to understand that “free” is a bit of a misnomer. Any VPN service needs to pay for traffic, bandwidth, servers, and more. This means they need to get money from users like yourself. Some do it by showing ads and encouraging you to upgrade to a paid version of their service. Nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, some VPNs are quite unscrupulous when it comes to making money. There have been numerous cases of them making users less safe, harvesting data for resale, and even leasing out your processing power for botnet attacks. This is obviously not something you want in a VPN service – and it raises the question of whether it makes sense to get a free VPN or not.

Outside of the above, i.e. assuming your provider isn’t doing anything malicious, there are a few other considerations. First of all, most free services only have one or two encryption protocols. A common one is PPTP; an outdated protocol that’s useful for legacy devices and piercing hardcore censorship blocks, but slow and inferior in other situations. Second, bandwidth and speed are both likely to be capped with a free service, typically in the range of 500 MB – 1 GB per month. Third, the number of servers is also likely to be limited to countries like the US and the UK. Last but not least, a free VPN is unlikely to have extras like apps for multiple devices, around-the-clock customer support, etc. All of this means that the service quality you get is worse than you can expect from a paid VPN service.

In closing

The technology behind a VPN may be complex, but its core functionality is fairly straightforward. By encrypting your data and rerouting it through an anonymous relay located somewhere else in the world, it’s all but impossible for third parties to snoop in on your identity or activity online.

We’ve shown you some of the best providers on the market, which one will you choose? Do you have any other tips for hiding your data online? Leave us a comment below!

Read What Does a VPN Hide, What Does it Do? by George P.H. on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter