Skype is everywhere and has entered the realm of services that can be used as a verb without confusing people. With over 600 million users, it has impressive reach and is one of the services most likely to get technophobes in front of the computer. However, as we will always have some security concerns no matter what, we’ve put together this list of the best VPN for Skype.
Voice over Internet Protocol is a great enabling technology that allows anyone with an internet connection to chat with anyone else around the world at little to no cost. However, it also enables the state to keep an eye on its citizens. A VPN can help you claw a bit of your privacy and security back.
Some countries aren’t keen on people talking privately, and many of those block chat and messaging services. A VPN makes you geo-neutral, allowing you to access Skype wherever you are, but be careful. Not every country that blocks Skype makes it illegal to access, but some do (like China).
Why Use a VPN with Skype
One reason to use a VPN is privacy, but it’s worth saying that a VPN won’t necessarily make you anonymous to Microsoft. The latest version of Windows makes it all but impossible for users to ensure the company doesn’t collect their data. Read our article on how to tweak Windows privacy settings for more.
A VPN won’t necessarily prevent Microsoft from identifying you on Skype, either. If it chooses to share its info with the state — be it through the National Security Agency or agencies in other countries — it likely has the technical, if not legal, capacity to do so. That includes your contact and payment info, as well as the content of text, voice and video calls.
Skype began as a P2P service, but has shifted toward a more traditional model in recent years. It’s not open source, so there is no way to be 100 percent sure what data it gathers or who can access it.
A VPN will give you added protection from malware. If you’re traveling, it can provide another layer of security when using potentially insecure WiFi connections.
A service from among our VPN reviews that works well with Skype has a good chance of working with Google Hangouts or WhatsApp, too. Though we’re focusing on Skype here, the best VPN for VoIP will be one that also works with those services.
Best VPN for Skype 2019
What Makes a VPN the Best for Skype
A wide server network is a big positive, especially if you make a lot of overseas calls. If you’re going to be talking to friends, family or colleagues in a particular location, you’ll want to look into our country-specific articles for more info on that.
We want to be able to access as many countries as possible without compromising speed or security. Some countries that snoop on their citizens block Skype, so a VPN may be the only way to communicate with loved ones overseas. A good server network will make it easy to connect to Skype and get fast speeds over a VPN.
For video calls, a fast connection will help ensure resolution and frame rates are acceptable, audio doesn’t pause and lag is low. A fast service will also help make sure you have enough bandwidth for high-resolution video calls.
We’ll factor in the security capabilities of the VPN, such as enabling you to encrypt your connection to prevent it from being intercepted or monitored. The reliability of service providers and how well they guard your information will also be considered.
Best VPN for Skype: NordVPN
With a fast network delivering impressive speeds to most parts of the world, NordVPN is ideal for Skype. It has more than 4,000 servers globally, so you’ll have no trouble catching up with friends, wherever they are.
It uses AES 256-bit encryption, the OpenVPN protocol and features “double-hop” servers to make your connection extra secure. Its specialty servers also give you a way to evade state surveillance, if you are in a country that places heavy restrictions on internet use, such as the Middle Kingdom (check out our piece on the best VPN for China for more on this).
Since NordVPN keeps no logs, it won’t be giving your call history away. It includes a killswitch to stop you from using an insecure connection if the VPN fails. It lacks split tunneling, though, and doesn’t have as much detail on servers as we’d like.
Other Reasons We Like NordVPN
NordVPN is easy to use, which is great for less technical users. Its anti-malware software, CyberSec, is a nice bonus, too. Clients are available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS, but not Linux. Its users will have to configure NordVPN manually.
It has excellent customer support, with a staff that managed to handle the curveballs we threw at them during testing. We’re big fans of NordVPN here at Cloudwards.net. Take a look at our NordVPN review for more details.
It tops our list for Skype due to its speeds and coverage, great security and user-friendliness. At $99 for three years, NordVPN won’t break the bank, and it has a 30-day, money-back guarantee, if you decide not to continue using it after subscribing.
- Specialty servers
- Vast server network
- No split tunneling
- Little server detail
ExpressVPN is Cloudwards.net’s overall best VPN pick. Its excellent server network and speeds are key strings in its bow that benefit all users, including those making Skype calls.
As you can read in our ExpressVPN review, it is one of the fastest services for connecting to locations around the planet. That makes it a great choice for high-quality video calls. With over 2,000 servers, you, and the person you’re calling, are more than likely to find one nearby.
ExpressVPN keeps no logs, which means your call history can’t be traced back to you. It uses AES 256-bit encryption and includes many configuration options for those who want to make sure they have the best security possible.
It has several useful features, such as split tunneling, which enables you to divide your services into those that go through the VPN and those that use your regular connection. The latter will, generally, be faster than the more secure VPN route. There’s also a killswitch, should your regular connection fail.
Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN has a quality client that runs on start-up and keeps you aware of your connection status. It has a smart server feature, which you may want to play with to make sure you connect to a good server for VoIP. It is also our pick as the best VPN for Netflix, ensuring streaming pleasure.At $99 per year, ExpressVPN is expensive, and you are only allowed three connected devices at once. You get a top-quality service, though, so we highly recommend it if you can afford it.
- Split tunneling
- Best results require tweaking
- Only 3 simultaneous connections
A big player in the net neutrality battle, PIA is one of the strongest services available for security and privacy. As you can read in our PIA review, it passed all our security tests without issues. It is a good choice, if you want to keep your contacts and conversations to yourself.
Encryption is strong, with support for AES 256-bit and RSA-4096. Those have to be set manually, though, as PIA defaults to AES 128-bit encryption for higher speeds. If you’re not concerned about privacy, you can go for speed, but, if it is your priority, our online privacy guide for journalists is worth reading.
PIA has over 3,500 servers, which is excellent. They’re distributed across 30 countries, so coverage isn’t perfect. If you are covered, though, you can expect speeds to be fast.
Other Reasons We Like PIA
PIA hits blistering speeds, with downloads reaching 13.74 Mbps between Europe and Japan during testing. That is just what you need for high-quality video chatting. We did get a slow result from Los Angeles in our tests, so play with settings and switch servers, if needed.
The knowledgebase is good and serves Linux users well. Customer service response times are slow, though, so look elsewhere if you don’t enjoy troubleshooting.
At $39.95 per year, PIA is excellent value and offers a seven-day refund, if you want to try it. It is a top-quality service that we recommend, though you should confirm it has servers in, or near, your country before signing up.
- Slow customer service
TorGuard is a speedy service and was listed in our fastest VPN article. That speed is great news for Skype users. It has no caps on speed or bandwidth, so you don’t have to worry about cutting your conversations short. With over 3,000 servers in more than 50 countries, you, and whoever you’re talking to, should have a nearby server available.
It has clients for all platforms, including Linux, and plugins for Chrome and Firefox. As mentioned in our TorGuard review, the UI is unusual, with some features being offered via its website instead of its app. The app is nice and easy to use. It has a killswitch, as well as an ad blocker and malware blocker, but not much else.
Should you run into issues, you’ll find TorGuard has good customer service, with a knowledgebase, forum, live chat and fast, responsive email support. TorGuard claims to keep no logs, despite being compliant with U.S. law. It is based in Orlando, and will hand over a blank hard drive if ordered to by the NSA.
Other Reasons We Like TorGuard
At $59.99 per year, TorGuard is affordable and comes with a seven-day free trial if you want to test it before committing. You get five connections, so if someone wants to spend a couple of hours chatting, they don’t have to boot the rest of the family from their devices.
- Easy to use
- Good customer services
- Trouble accessing streaming services
VPN Unlimited offers a simple-to-use application, so it’s good for those who don’t use the PC much. Its security is decent, and it offers okay pricing, too.
Security and privacy are where the service falls down. As we found in our VPN Unlimited review, it claims not to keep logs, but bans users who violate spam policies, which means there must be some degree of tracking. As it is based in the U.S., that is of concern to those worried about NSA snooping. It also lacks a killswitch.
That’s a shame, because the connection technology is top-quality, with a choice of AES 128-bit or AES 256-bit encryption and backed by the KeepSolid DNS Firewall.
Access to streaming services is a mixed bag. We failed to connect to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, but we were able to get into BBC iPlayer.
Other Reasons We Like VPN Unlimited
VPN Unlimited’s app is easy to use and the Chrome extension is one of the best available for the platform. It also passed all our DNS leak tests.
The standard VPN Unlimited price of $59.99 per year isn’t the cheapest, but it is offering two years for the price of one. You can also get lifetime service for $149.99, which is excellent value.
It supports all major platforms and allows five device connections at once. Despite a few gripes, VPN Unlimited is reasonably fast and has a strong network, which makes it a capable choice for making Skype calls.
- DNS Firewall
- Good network
- Patchy access to streaming services
Skype is part of the online furniture for many of us, but that doesn’t mean using it can’t be improved. A VPN can add a range of benefits, including extra speed, security and, in some cases, the ability to use Skype at all. Security comes at a cost, though, so it is worth picking a service that doesn’t compromise speed to bring it to you.
The services we’ve listed here should let you connect to Skype from most of the world, while enjoying the benefits of using a VPN. NordVPN is our winner, with ExpressVPN a close second. PIA and TorGuard both have their strengths, and VPN Unlimited is a decent, reasonably-priced option, too.
Let us know about your experience using Skype with our listed services, and tell us if you know of another VPN that works as well as, or better than, our choices. Thanks for reading.