Best VPN for USA

Best VPN Services for USA

Since we wrote our first Best USA VPN article, much has changed in the global internet landscape. Privacy and net freedom are more often than available at a premium, and one of the key battlefronts, at least in the context of online privacy, remains the United States of America.


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USA notably houses some of the world’s most progressive technological clusters, which proudly encompass the most recognisable internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Netflix. Accordingly, the country is also home to some of the largest VPN services, some of which you may already know, including PIA, IPVanish and LiquidVPN.

But despite this evident acceleration of innovative web based services, the last couple of years have seen the United States become synonymous with disturbing breaking of privacy rules by its own government as well as implementation of arguably the most excessive anti-piracy laws around.

Indeed, we are referring to the mass data surveillance by the NSA, that was revealed by Edward Snowden back in 2013, while the latter is, of course, reference to the chaotic six-strikes law that was implemented in the same year to target downloaders of pirated content using BitTorrent / P2P exchange platforms.

Lump this all together and we’re left with a bunch of unclear paradoxes; on one hand the United States, as an internet playing field, has a lot of desirable attributes, which many countries can only envy. For instance, in terms of availability of on-demand, online entertainment and general access to the free web, US residents have it good.

On the other hand, when it comes to being able to exchange files privately, without worrying about DMCA notices and consequential fines, the States are actually behind some of the most unlikely nations. And we haven’t even had a chance to go into detail about data privacy. But we’ll go into that later, as we go through all of the current issues faced by US netizens.

Most importantly, we know that you’re here to find our recommendations for VPN services to use in USA (and for getting a US IP address from abroad). You can jump straight to our top six list of providers, but if you are interested in learning more about internet privacy and freedoms in the US, read on.

NSA surveillance

In June of 2013, a former CIA contractor – Edward Snowden leaked thousands of highly classified NSA documents, revealing details of several international surveillance programmes, led chiefly by the NSA itself. Snowden’s revelations mainly focus on the agency’s PRISM programme.

Launched in 2007, PRISM – a sophisticated surveillance infrastructure enabled the NSA to intercept and collect emails, videos, photos, video calls, social network activity and even login details, all provided through intentional data backdoors created by many internet firms, including Microsoft (and Skype), Google (and YouTube),  Facebook, AOL and Apple, to name but a few. According to the leaked presentation, PRISM sets back US taxpayers a cool $20 million per year, unknowingly funding a programme that essentially spies on them.

NSA PRISM data collection
Leaked outline of PRISM backdoor data collection scheme involving major internet firms

While Mr. Snowden avoided impending arrest by hiding in Hong Kong and then in Russia, a huge public outcry had spawned, questioning whether privacy was even attainable in today’s digital sphere. Adding insult to injury, NSA’s then-director Keith Alexander claimed that programmes like PRISM were paramount to preventing terror attacks, albeit at the expense of the public’s private communications, while own president Barack Obama comfortably backed up the agency’s actions with the statement “You can’t have 100% security, and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience”.

Public backlash or not, big brother is here to stay, at least in the United States. This becomes that bit more apparent, particularly with news of US federal courts ruling NSA surveillance as lawful, stamping approvals for further systematic collection of phone records, and, as expected, continued plans to maintain backdoors into internet and technology companies.

A very important question to ask is – can using a virtual private network prevent your online data from being monitored by the NSA? Sadly, not entirely. Although a secure VPN connection will encrypt the traffic passing between your device and the ISP, not much can done to prevent backdoor surveillance through individual web service companies headquartered in the US.

Nevertheless, if you’re convinced that you only use the most anonymous of services for email, chatting and social networking (i.e. not Gmail or Facebook, etc), or, you’re not that critically concerned about using certain backdoored services, but still want to take precautionary measures to hide your traffic from your ISP (who, by the way, also allow for creation of gateways for data collection through routers), then yes, a good VPN is a mighty addition to your digital armour.

Torrenting and six-strikes law

Another highly sensitive topic in the United States, as is the case in most places: torrenting. While torrent index sites such as Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents remain, for the time being, unblocked, consequences for illegally downloading pirated content is far from lenient.

In fact, punishments for getting caught are at the behest of a very threatening and very lucrative scheme called the Six-Strikes scheme.

In February, 2013, as a result of intense pressure from copyright holders – chiefly from MPAA and RIAA, the US government passed a stringent law forcing ISPs to cooperate closer with anti-piracy outfits in order to catch out pirated file-sharers.

Using the automated Copyright Alert System, content owners quickly receive information from ISPs about the infringing party, including details of the illicit file, their IP and even account information. This enables the likes of MPAA to send out warnings and ‘suggested’ fines on behalf of their clients. In addition, this is where the Six-Strikes rule kicks in: the suspected infringer can then receive up to six notices about their wrongdoings from their ISP, culminating in unpleasant scenarios such as suspension of service, blackouts of certain websites (e.g. torrent sites), various mitigation fees, fines and so on.

Punishments can vary between internet providers, but here’s an example of what to expect from Comcast upon your fifth warning:

Comcast fifth copyright warning
As shown in this fifth copyright infringement warning from Comcast, users’ web access will be interrupted via their browsers

Alarmingly, the Copyright Alert System was already in place for the best part of the last decade, which paved way for thousands of unregulated fines and threats of litigation against alleged offenders. In all likelyhood, many of these ‘pirates’ simply opted to pay the ‘suggested’ fine, rather than face more serious legal problems.

Some cases have been outright blown out of proportion, such as the RIAA vs. Thomas-Rasset case which forced the defendants to fork out over $200k in fines for sharing music, and RIAA vs. Tenenbaum – a lenghty court battle between Joel Tenenbaum and Sony BMG that resulted in a $675k fine for sharing 31 pirated songs.

And it’s not just record companies or movie studios getting in on the act. Book publishers have likewise recorded victories in court against file-sharers. And what about that time when anti-piracy firm CEG TEK sent casual $300 fines directly to University of California students?

Whether these monetisation tactics are there to protect ‘creativity’ is questionable, but one clear point to draw from this all is – without encryption, internet users’ traffic is completely transparent and visible to ISPs and their third party collaborators. Therefore, if you want to avoid receiving Six-Strike warnings, inflated fines and, instead, maintain full privacy of your torrent activity, a trusty VPN provider will act as an integral solution.

Best VPNs for United States

So what is the best USA VPN out there? In reality, there are numerous providers worthy of a mention. However, the best service can only really be chosen based on your specific requirements, and we’ve attempted to cover as many of these as possible, aggregating our recommendations by what is commonly needed in a VPN by US residents as well as people looking to connect to an American IP from outside the country.

In a nutshell, we’re looking at factors such as good encryption, excellent speeds and abundant server clusters that allow users to connect to the closest servers on the East and West Coasts, and also central states, including the Midwest.

Furthermore, we simply had to add at least one provider that offered Smart DNS services alongside their standard VPN plans. This is to benefit those of you who only need to unblock geo-restricted content (e.g. Hulu) or regionally blacked sports events in. So here is our top six, and below the table you will find a detailed rundown explaining why we chose those providers in addition to their pros and cons:

Logo Name Links Monthly Price
ExpressVPN ExpressVPN Read Review
Visit Provider
$8.32
Private Internet Access Private Internet Access Read Review
Visit Provider
$6.95
IPVanish IPVanish Read Review
Visit Provider
$6.49
LiquidVPN LiquidVPN Read Review
Visit Provider
$6
VyprVPN VyprVPN Read Review
Visit Provider
$6.67
PureVPN PureVPN Read Review
Visit Provider
$9.95


ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN USA servers

Currently one of the most talked about VPN providers around, ExpressVPN rose from relatively unknown to powerhouse levels within a couple of years. The company is based in the British Virgin Islands, what can be viewed as ‘offshore’ to most, and meaning that only this local jurisdiction applies to their business operations.

That said, the service is well accustomed to customers in the US, offering a range of server locations ranging from LA, San Francisco and Seattle to Chicago, New York, Dallas and Miami. There are also plenty of neighbouring countries to connect to if necessary, including Canada, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Alongside their cross-platform apps, their true asset is speed, so if there’s one feature to be truly confident about – it’s consistent performance throughout their network.

Pros: Fast service; lots of US and international locations; software for all devices; torrenting allowed on all servers
Cons: Quite pricey

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Private Internet Access

PIA VPN

PIA are one of the biggest providers on the market today. And although the service hasn’t expanded its network along the line of its top competitors, the company instead focuses on delivering a very reliable, no-nonsense and no sparkles service.

The US-based VPN provider is affordable, accepts from a wide range of payment methods and has over two thousand encrypted servers to choose from, and approximately one thousand in the USA alone, covering California, Washington, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, Arizona and Florida.

One other thing that makes Private Internet Access stand out is their awesome customer support and discussion forum, where it’s very easy to raise technical questions about your VPN account.

Pros: US-based company, significantly cheaper than most ‘large’ providers; fast performance; have large customer discussion forum; torrents allowed on all nodes; up to 5 simultaneous connections

Cons: Not as many countries to choose from (though plenty of actual servers, including in USA);

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IPVanish

IPVanish VPN

Another homegrown US company is IPVanish. In the last year, the Tier 1 provider has vastly expanded their server range, extending their outreach to almost every populated corner of the globe.

PVanish is likewise a good choice of speed, having notched a comfortable 2/3 of our original bandwidth during performance tests.

Moreover, the service allows P2P activity on any server and has numerous US locations available for connection, including in California, NY, Washington, Arizona, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Nevada and Florida.

Pros: US-based company’ good speeds; torrents allowed on all servers; Tier-1 service

Cons: Customer support may not always be as responsive as required

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LiquidVPN

LiquidVPN

A relatively new player on the scene, LiquidVPN has quickly established a strong reputation as a credible and secure VPN service. Operating out of Michigan, this small independent company makes a point of fervently focusing their efforts on optimising encryption and coming up with innovative ways to cipher your traffic.

In terms of server locations, LiquidVPN covers all the usual spots in the US, including California, Midwest and several nodes on the East Coast. And though they may not offer other locations in other parts of the country, they certainly make up for it with robust 256-bit-CBC encryption, own DNS servers and additional protection through IP modulation.

The company is arguably more transparent with their no-log privacy policy than any other service we have previously reviewed. Regularly published transparency reports automatically indicate whether the company servers have been backdoored or tampered with by third parties.

Pros: Independent US-based company; strong encryption; strict and transparent privacy policy; P2P allowed

Cons: Website’s design doesn’t always look clean; not as many server locations

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VyprVPN

VyprVPN

Offering servers in Austin (their HQ), Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C., along with a multitude of other global locations, GoldenFrog’s VyprVPN will suit US residents very well.

Focusing on performance and growth, this service is well known for developing and operating with its own proprietary technology, unlike most smaller providers who tend to outsource to third parties in building their networks.

Additionally to their VPN, the company offers their own dedicated DNS servers, to held prevent unnecessary IP leaks among bonus features like “Chameleon” – an unmodified OpenVPN 256-bit protocol designed to scramble metadata in order to prevent VPN blocking through deep packet inspection (DPI).

Pros: US-based provider; proprietary Tier 1 network; many server locations; custom-built apps for all devices; NAT Firewall included

Cons: Slightly more expensive;

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PureVPN

PureVPN

Not all VPN providers can claim genuine global presence. But as a result of a major network expansion, PureVPN now rank among the biggest providers in the world.

The Hong Kong company covers key US cities and states including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Washington D.C. as well as New Jersey, Florida and Georgia. Internationally, PureVPN extends from the Americas to Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

If you travel a lot, or need a US IP from a location afar, this provider would not be a bad choice.

Pros: Huge choice of server locations; apps for all platforms

Cons: Replaces TAP drivers with own upon desktop software installation; no free trial; no zero-log policy

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Logo Name Links Monthly Price
ExpressVPN ExpressVPN Read Review
Visit Provider
$8.32
Private Internet Access Private Internet Access Read Review
Visit Provider
$6.95
IPVanish IPVanish Read Review
Visit Provider
$6.49
LiquidVPN LiquidVPN Read Review
Visit Provider
$6
VyprVPN VyprVPN Read Review
Visit Provider
$6.67
PureVPN PureVPN Read Review
Visit Provider
$9.95

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4 thoughts on “Best VPN Services for USA

  1. Could you send n me a phone number because I do not order from sites with only email contact.

    • You can subscribe directly through the official website of your preferred VPN service from the above list in this article.

  2. Hi, do you know if using a VPN can help with Facebook leaking my data through unauthorized back doors? Also, which VPN do you think will work best for getting both US and Canadian IP addresses? Thanks

    • Sadly, VPNs can’t account for your account activity with another website or service. Facebook have ultimate control of your profile data and VPNs are not capable of protecting against backdoor leaks, but one will encrypt all traffic between yourself and the internet service provider. The recommended solution is to stop using FB in question altogether.

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