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The Best VPN and Proxy Services of 2021

By Adam Uzialko,
business.com Staff
| Updated
Mar 27, 2018

Here are the best proxy services, which, like a virtual private network (VPN), allow you to change your IP address to protect your privacy.
Proxy Service
Smoth proxy access
Intuitive UI and control
Customer Service
Excellent Customer Service
Enterprise VPN
This IP proxy has 511 servers in 30 different locations.
Help and support was slow to respond to requests.
Most Server Locations
Robust support for different IP Geos
Here are the best proxy services, which, like a virtual private network (VPN), allow you to change your IP address to protect your privacy.

VPN and Proxy Service Comparisons

Privacy can be difficult to come by in the digital era. With the proliferation of smart devices from phones to refrigerators, it's easier than ever for snoopers to peek in on your data. Luckily, there are virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy servers that obscure your activity and secure your data in transit. They can even mask your location to keep prying eyes from finding out where in the world you are.

This guide reviews both VPNs and proxy servers, which are different but work in tandem to deliver both security and privacy to users. You'll find out more about each and how they work, as well as the state of the industry, the going rates for these services (some are free!) and how to best select which to use. They range from simple to implement to demanding technological savvy, and they also vary in their level of protection. Understanding how to implement and use VPNs and proxy servers properly can be a game-changer in promoting your business's anonymity and security online.

Reviews

VyprVPN PRO Golden Frog: Best Proxy Service

The VyprVPN dashboard is easy to set up and use; it configures itself and connects quickly to a server.
This company keeps usage logs for up to 30 days.

VyprVPN's service is the perfect combination of simplicity and security that makes a VPN painless to use and offers peace of mind. With a super intuitive dashboard and simple setup process, VyprVPN takes the onus of implementation off the user. Selecting servers by location is simple, and organizing your favorites is easy to do.

VyprVPN maintains 700 servers across 52 different locations, as well as boasting 200,000 different IP addresses to cycle through. That makes the service less likely to be flagged as suspicious by search engines and social media platforms, reducing the odds that the IP address you're using will be blocked. VyprVPN allows two devices to run on one account at any time.

VyprVPN offers strong security features, with both SSL and TSL encryptions. It also offers both 128-bit and 256-bit AES encryptions, giving users the options of either higher speeds or greater security. VyprVPN uses tunneling protocols including OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP and proprietary software called Chameleon.

The biggest downside to VyprVPN is that the company stores user activity logs for up to a month, meaning there's potential for authorities or other third parties to request the data. However, customer support is upfront, friendly and available 24/7. You can easily get answers to questions about data retention or any other problem.

Read VyprVPN PRO Golden Frog Review

PureVPN: Best Customer Service

Excellent Customer Service

PureVPN offers 450 servers across 101 different locations, as well as 80,000 different IP addresses to cycle through to keep location and identity anonymous. It supports five devices at one time, which puts it ahead of much of the competition. It is also widely accessible across platforms, supporting Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows and BlackBerry.

PureVPN boasts a strong, stable connection and employs 256-bit AES encryption. It also offers a kill switch and optional access to L2TP and PPTP connections. Overall, PureVPN is an effective service that combines convenience, security and versatility.

PureVPN isn't the easiest service to set up, but luckily, it has top-notch customer support to help you through any issues you encounter. Available 24/7 and through live chat, the team is responsive and knowledgeable. Techs can remotely access your computer if you are using the software to quickly fix things if you find yourself totally stumped. Once the account is registered and installation is complete, using the VPN itself is easy.

Read PureVPN Review

CyberGhost VPN: Best Enterprise VPN

This IP proxy has 511 servers in 30 different locations.
Help and support was slow to respond to requests.

CyberGhost maintains 500 servers in 29 countries around the world and offers an anonymous downloadable browser in addition to its VPN service. The VPN is protected with 256-bit AES encryption, and the service masks your IP address. CyberGhost doesn't store any logs of user activity and is able to assign you a proxy server to mask your location and avoid any regional restrictions on content.

Read CyberGhost VPN Review

HMA VPN: VPN With Most Server Locations

This service has 116,980 IP addresses, 190 server locations worldwide and 256-bit encryption.
Technical support isn't available 24 hours a day.

Hide My Ass VPN maintains 867 servers in 311 locations worldwide and offers access to 116,980 different IP addresses. This vast number of servers means if there is any lag or a server goes down, it's easy to find another suitable one to continue working on. When you connect to a server, you will be automatically assigned an IP address, protecting your location and identity.

HMA VPN supports both Android and iOS products and allows you to use virtually any type of device, from smartphones to desktops. The downside is it only allows two devices to run from an account at one time, including virtual machines.

HMA VPN does track user activity and save the data for up to three months. Most other services either don't track user activity at all or only save data for up to a month. This could be a concern regarding anonymity if the company were to divulge your user logs to any authorities or other parties that requested it.

HMA VPN employs 256-bit AES encryption and allows you to connect over OpenVPN, PPTP or L2TP. An upside of the service is that it doesn't restrict bandwidth, allowing you to transfer unlimited amounts of data without a stop or slowdown in service.

Read HMA VPN Review

TorGuard: Review

TorGuard has strong security features, including TSL and 256-bit encryption.
The dashboard is cluttered and not as user friendly as others on the lineup.

TorGuard Anonymous VPN has server locations in the U.S., U.K., Netherlands, Russia and Romania. If you connect to this proxy service, you can select any of its servers based on location or need. You can use this IP proxy on five devices simultaneously on one account. This means that you can secure all of your household devices, including your desktop computers and mobile devices.

Read TorGuard Review

ExpressVPN: Review

Strong encryption and multiple protocols
Lack of phone support

Connecting to an enterprise VPN service through ExpressVPN is quite simple. The service is available as a downloadable app that runs on Windows, Mac iOS and Android systems. Once downloaded to your drive, the program automatically installs and appears as an icon on your desktop. Using the service only requires activating the app and then browsing normally. If any problems develop, the company offers 24/7 customer help via email or online chat through the company's website.

Read ExpressVPN Review

PureVPN: Best Customer Service

Excellent Customer Service

PureVPN offers 450 servers across 101 different locations, as well as 80,000 different IP addresses to cycle through to keep location and identity anonymous. It supports five devices at one time, which puts it ahead of much of the competition. It is also widely accessible across platforms, supporting Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows and BlackBerry.

PureVPN boasts a strong, stable connection and employs 256-bit AES encryption. It also offers a kill switch and optional access to L2TP and PPTP connections. Overall, PureVPN is an effective service that combines convenience, security and versatility.

PureVPN isn't the easiest service to set up, but luckily, it has top-notch customer support to help you through any issues you encounter. Available 24/7 and through live chat, the team is responsive and knowledgeable. Techs can remotely access your computer if you are using the software to quickly fix things if you find yourself totally stumped. Once the account is registered and installation is complete, using the VPN itself is easy.

Read PureVPN Review

ibVPN: Review

The dashboard has everything in one place so you don't have to change tabs to view new information.
This web proxy provider claims to have live chat, but service was slow.

The ibVPN dashboard has all of the tools you need in one place. You can choose your server by location from a drop down menu. While the drop down menu is functional, it is not as user friendly as the interactive maps that some of the other services provide. The drop down menu also lacks the server statistics that some of the other best proxy services offer.

Read ibVPN Review

SwitchVPN: Review

When you log in, you can choose your server location.
The help and support with this company was slow and not very thorough.

While SwitchVPN has a limited pool of IP addresses, the company has 80 servers located across 31 countries, including the U.S., Canada and the U.K. SwitchVPN provides each server with a shared IP address, which the company will swap out every once in a while to keep it from being blacklisted. You are able to choose the server you would like to use, which is a nice feature for proxy services and one that allows you the freedom to browse the web through the encrypted filter of your choice.

You can use SwitchVPN on five electronic devices simultaneously, but there's an additional fee for the add-on. You can also use this proxy browser to hide your IP address while you are using an Android or other mobile device.

Read SwitchVPN Review

IPVanish VPN: Review

This company has an impressive 60 server locations and more than 25,000 IP addresses that mask your identity.
This web proxy lacks live chat and does not list a phone number for phone support on its website.

The proxy software this company uses in one of the best we tested. Setting up an account, logging in and downloading the software was a seamless process. The dashboard allows you to select a server by location or by need. The labels for connecting and disconnecting are all clearly marked, so you never have to wonder where to click.

Read IPVanish VPN Review

OverPlay: Best Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol

This VPN provider has servers in 48 different locations and allows you to connect two devices simultaneously.
OverPlay uses SSL rather than the more advanced TSL security for its encryption.

Signing up for web proxy service and setting up the user platform is simple with OverPlay VPN. You can sign up using a simple form and are instantly granted access after entering your payment information. The proxy browser should automatically install itself, but if it does not, there are installation instructions in the Support Center to help you through the process.

Read OverPlay Review

Private Internet Access: Review

Private Internet Access offers great security options.
The configuration process is a bit confusing, and you may have difficulty reaching help and support.

Signing up for Private Internet Access and downloading the proxy software is not as simple as some of the other services we reviewed. One unique feature of this service is the ability to use a gift card from a major company as payment when you sign up. This means that you do not have to have any of your personal banking or credit card information attached to the account. This feature provides a level of anonymity that is hard to match.

Read Private Internet Access Review

Negotiation

Not all VPN services are created equal, so take the time to ask the right questions to get the best deal:

  • How many devices can access the VPN per license?
  • Does the VPN keep logs of user activity online?
  • What level of encryption does the company employ?
  • Are there any service usage limits or overage fees?
  • What are the company's commitments to user privacy (even if information is requested by authorities)? 
  • Where are the company's servers located?
  • What level of support can you expect from the company?
  • Contact multiple services to compare pricing, functionality, features and accessibility.

As always, subscribing to a plan on more than a month-to-month basis means you should closely review any contracts or legal documents before signing. Ensure the pricing is exactly as you've discussed and that all promised features will be available under the plan you are agreeing to. Also, ask whether there are any cancellation fees and ensure that it's easy to cut ties with the service if you are unhappy.

What We Learned While Researching VPN Services

Bandwidth is essential for proxy servers. Your bandwidth determines how quickly signals transfer from your computer to the VPN server to the website you are accessing. With unlimited bandwidth, pages load quickly and attachments, even large documents, send without lag time. Bandwidth also allows you to download content quickly, so your day-to-day business activities don’t slow down. Many services advertise that they have unlimited bandwidth. In fact, you will find that companies across the board offer it, so don’t choose one based on bandwidth alone – just expect it to be there.

Web proxies keep you anonymous by cycling through IP addresses – that way, your search history and data cannot be connected to you through your registered IP. The more servers, locations and IP addresses a proxy service has, the more difficult it is to trace your online activity back to you or to be blocked by an online service, since the IP changes each time you log in.

Web Proxy Security

Tunneling
VPNs use something called tunneling to package and transfer information. Tunneling is when a secure internet connection is established between a server and a device like a computer, smartphone or tablet. The information sent through the tunnel is first encrypted, then sent via the secure connection across the internet and unpacked on the other side. While this whole process occurs in the blink of an eye, it is a multi-step procedure designed to protect your security.

The different methods proxy sites use to tunnel and transfer your data are call protocols. A few of the most popular are PPTP, site-to-site VPN, L2TP VPN, IPsec and SSL.

PPTP
Point-to-point tunneling protocol, or PPTP, is the most popular and widely used. One of the advantages of PPTP is that it’s cost effective. However, its connections are not as stable as other tunnel protocols, so there is a slight chance your connection could be dropped or penetrated, making you less secure. OverPlay VPN is one proxy service that uses PPTP as one of its protocol methods.

OpenVPN
Another frequently used tunneling protocol is OpenVPN, which is an open-source software used by companies like IPVanish VPN. It mixes Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) keys that connect you directly to the website you want to access and keep your data encrypted so hackers can’t swipe it. OpenVPN also relies on advanced security features, such as user authentication via usernames, passwords, key codes and certificates. It is one of the most secure virtual private networks on the market; however, it is more expensive to run.

Support
Access to help and support is important for any service, but it is especially so when you rely on that service to protect your data from prying eyes. Support should be available through email and over the phone. Live chat support is also helpful, since it quickly connects you to customer representatives.

Enterprise VPN Service: What to Look For

Enterprise VPN services are enormously flexible. Some VPNs are designed to link a handful of users to a shared network while others are optimized for connecting multiple networks across the globe. No single configuration is suitable for every VPN, which is why each one must be evaluated in relation to the intended use of the network. In general, enterprise VPN services are judged by three criteria: who will be connected, how they will connect and the level of intervention required to manage their connection.

Remote Access vs. Site-to-Site
The most basic distinction among VPNs lies in the level at which users are connected. Remote access VPNs connect users to the shared network, which effectively extends the office wide area network (WAN) across the entire internet and allows authenticated users to interact with the private network as if they were physically present in the office. Site-to-site connections use many of the same protocols to connect one network to another. The most common application for site-to-site networking is linking field offices together in a single integrated web.

Authentication Level
The protocols a VPN uses determine the network's security level and ease of use. Remote access VPNs usually authenticate users through usernames and passwords, which makes it simple for anyone with login information to access the network from any location, while site-to-site VPNs use certificates and pass phrases that have been preloaded onto the hardware.

Management Level
Another factor to consider is the level of control an internet VPN offers administrators. Access levels on small networks are often configured for each person, though this becomes unwieldy as the network grows. Large networks use global management, by which a single administrator assigns permission levels to groups of people without having to separately reconfigure each machine.

VPNs combine the benefits of a private network with the ease of using the public internet. They provide secure connections between networks, and they allow remote access by authorized users. Enterprise VPN services can be configured many different ways, and determining which one is right for you depends on how your business will be using the system.

 

State of the Industry

The VPN industry is rapidly ascending. As the demand for secure online communications and data transmission increases – a seemingly inevitable outcome as devices proliferate and access expands to more users – VPNs often find themselves answering the call. The result has been a rapidly growing market that shows little sign of slowing down.

Market Research Future estimates the global VPN market will reach $106 billion by the end of 2022, which is a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent. And mobile VPNs are growing as well. While this is a smaller sector of the industry, analysts anticipate the mobile market will reach $2.4 billion by 2022.

"We believe VPN will be the industry standard when talking about the internet security protection toolkit, which currently involves encrypted hardware, anti-virus services, encrypted email services and more," Jodi Myers, head of NordVPN's marketing and communications team, told VPN Mentor.

However, the market analysts warned that VPNs face obstacles like high deployment costs and the need of technical knowledge, and these constraints might hold down growth. The largest VPN market is in North America, as adoption has been driven by a large number of cyberattacks in the U.S. and Canada. Europe is the second largest market for VPNs, but the Asia-Pacific market is growing the fastest due to the expansion of the manufacturing and service industry in China and throughout Asia.

Adam Uzialko
Adam Uzialko
business.com Staff
See Adam Uzialko's Profile
Adam Uzialko is a writer and editor at business.com and Business News Daily. He has 7 years of professional experience with a focus on small businesses and startups. He has covered topics including digital marketing, SEO, business communications, and public policy. He has also written about emerging technologies and their intersection with business, including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain.
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