When it comes to government surveillance, the United States is one of the most heavily monitored countries in the world. It’s not unrealistic to assume that, if you’re living there, the government is watching you thanks to the powers granted by the Patriot Act. Using one of our best VPN for the U.S. could be your first line of defense.
Revelations made by whistleblowers highlight the level at which your private data might be used and manipulated and show that even ISPs will hand over your data. This means you should look for a VPN provider either based outside of the U.S. or one that strictly keeps no logs. The majority of the government’s surveillance relies on telecommunications companies cooperating with them and supplying logs of users’ online activity.
All the above is why Cloudwards.net has put together a selection from among our best VPN providers that will work well in America and protect your privacy if you live or travel there. Before we take a look at which of our VPNs made the cut, let’s examine the criteria they were valued on.
Best VPN for U.S. 2018
What Makes a VPN the Best for U.S.?
The most important factor when using a VPN to browse the web or access online services in the U.S., is ensuring the provider has a solid no-logging policy. This keeps your IP address and online activity hidden and ensures you remain anonymous should the government or a security agency attempt to retrieve information from the VPN provider.
Encryption is also a key factor, as privacy and secure browsing is one of the main reasons for needing a VPN. When looking for a VPN, aim for one that offers 256-bit AES encryption with L2TP/IPSec, SSTP or OpenVPN protocol. PPTP encryption is a common and popular protocol but it’s not as strong as other protocols and should only be used if nothing else is available.
For accessing streaming services like U.S. Netflix, you’ll want a VPN with plenty of servers inside the U.S. but with headquarters outside the country. For more info on this, check our best VPN for Netflix picks.
These days most people have a number of different devices, including laptops, phones and tablets. The profiles you use on these devices, for things like email and social media, are often connected. For this reason you should have a VPN running on all your devices, so it’s important to look for a VPN that offers a number of simultaneous connections (like our best VPNs for multiple devices).
An often overlooked feature in apps and software is customer service. All the top VPNs we’ve listed here have intuitive software that is easy to use but when things go wrong, you’ll want the help of a well-informed professional. A good feature to look for in the technical support of any program is live chat — this way you can instantly talk to a support agent and hopefully have your problem solved within minutes
Now that you know what to look for, let’s take a look at our top five best VPNs in America.
Best VPN for U.S.: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is one of the best overall VPNs available and also our pick for the best VPN for America. With servers in 94 different countries around the world, you won’t be short of options to connect to, whatever your needs are. It’s also the best VPN for streaming, so Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and Amazon are all available. Read our full ExpressVPN review to learn more.
ExpressVPN supports IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP and SSTP protocols and for encryption offers 256-AES, RSA-1024 and RSA-4096; this wide array of options has also put it at the top of our list for the best VPN for China.
It supports connections on three devices simultaneously so you’ll be able to run it on your phone and laptop without a problem. It also features a speed test to find the fastest nearby servers and a diagnostics tool that you can use to assist customer support with any problems you may have.
Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, meaning it isn’t restricted by any data retention laws, so anonymity is assured. It doesn’t benefit from a free trial but with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you should have ample time to test it and decide if it’s the right VPN for you.
ExpressVPN’s killswitch is another excellent feature, and one that should be found on any decent VPN — especially for those living in countries with very restrictive governments. Consistent reliability, fast speed and strong security all make ExpressVPN a winner when it comes to safe browsing in the U.S.
- Excellent security & anonymity
- Fast and reliable
- Servers in 94 countries
- More costly than most
NordVPN has a strict no-logging policy and is located in Panama, making it our best VPN for torrenting. It features the ability to select a specialized server depending on your needs, including torrent-optimized and anti-DDoS servers. Between all this, there’s no way the NSA can spy on you.
It offers a host of servers within the U.S. that provide access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and BBC iPlayer, so you’ll have no trouble streaming your favorite media, nor with connecting with one just up the road from you. This means that you can browse both securely and fast.
NordVPN doesn’t feature split tunneling like ExpressVPN does, but it does have a configurable killswitch to target certain apps. If the VPN goes down it will kill torrents, for example, but keep your browser and email up. Read our full NordVPN review to learn more.
Other Reasons We Like NordVPN
Boasting an impressive 4000 servers in 61 countries, NordVPN should fit the needs of any VPN user, whether it be streaming media or enjoying secure communications. “Double VPN” is a feature of NordVPN that provides the functionality to use two VPN servers on one connection for added security.
NordVPN offers excellent technical support and round-the-clock live chat for any assistance you require. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, which should be more than enough time to get a decent idea of its functionality.
- Over 4000 servers in 60 countries
- Specialized server selection
- Strong customer service
- Slower than some VPNs
Private Internet Access is based in the U.S. which means it does fall under the jurisdiction of the NSA, FBI and the rest of the alphabet. However, PIA is an anonymous VPN that doesn’t keep any IP or traffic logs and it has maintained an excellent reputation for all the years it’s operated (as well as being a front-line fighter for net neutrality).
One of PIA’s most attractive features is the exceptional value for money that it offers. It provides strong security and fast speeds for a fraction of the cost of some other services with similar performance. Read our full PIA review to learn more.
It’s not the best VPN out there for streaming, but still offers plenty of versatility in other areas, on top of being the most lightweight VPN client out there. It’s run entirely from the taskbar or from your browser, so no clutter on your screen. Read our best VPN for Chrome piece for the details.
Other Reasons We Like PIA
PIA can support up to five simultaneous connections at a time, so you’ll have no trouble securing all your devices. PIA also offers 256-bit encryption and DNS leak protection for extra security.
PIA hosts over 1600 servers in ten major U.S. cities and covers more than 30 countries worldwide, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a connection near you. PIA offers a seven-day refund, so there’s no harm just taking it for a spin.
- Based in the U.S
VyprVPN has a large number of servers spread over 70 countries with 10 servers in the U.S. and offers strong encryption, a NAT firewall and its own DNS servers to prevent DNS leaks. In our tests during our VyprVPN review process we found it to have decent performance for the price range and very user-friendly mobile apps.
In theory this doesn’t offer complete anonymity, but there’s little chance the NSA will be able to get a warrant anyway from the close-mouthed Swiss authorities.
Other Reasons We Like VyprVPN
VyprVPN offers up to five simultaneous connections on its premium service and excellent value with strong security, decent speeds and some of the lowest prices available. It has easy-to-use intuitive software for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.
VyprVPN comes with a three-day trial period of its full service so you can check it out without hassle, though you’ll have to provide it with your payment details before you can make use of it.
- Based in Switzerland
- Servers in 70 countries
- Some data logs
CyberGhost is another VPN benefiting from L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec tunneling protocols with 256-bit AES encryption, giving it strong security and privacy. It has over 1300 servers spread across 60 countries, giving it broad reach for streaming services — Hulu, Amazon and the U.S. version of Netflix should all be easily accessible.
Read our full Cyberghost review to learn more.
CyberGhost covers up to five devices simultaneously and supports split-tunneling. It also has a great selection of extra features, including data compression, HTTPS redirect and blocking of malicious websites, ads and online tracking.
CyberGhost has an impressive website, which is both intuitive and user-friendly. There is 24/7 live chat available with native support for English, French and German. The basic support on offer is decent, although if you ask something very technical, your inquiry will usually be referred to a more advanced team that will answer it later via email.
Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost
Being based in Romania means CyberGhost is free to operate an anonymous, no-logging policy. It has an app protection feature to ensure you aren’t accidentally left unprotected and a killswitch in case your VPN connection drops.
The downside to CyberGhost in this case is that its server network in the States and Canada lags behind its massive spread in Europe. It’s still a perfectly good service, it just offers a little less choice than the others in this list. CyberGhost offers a 30-day refund period to try it out and a seven-day free trial on top of that.
- Over 1300 servers in 60 countries
- Great value
- Limited U.S. Netflix
- Some P2P restrictions
Honorable Mention: CactusVPN
IP and DNS leak protection is included and its supported encryption protocols are OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, PPTP and SoftEther protocols. For mobile usage, it has simple but functional apps for both Android and iOS and features two killswitches — one that controls the overall connection and another that targets specific applications.
Living in the U.S. means that you need to keep your data secure or you may find yourself the beneficiary of some very unwelcome attention. The above VPN providers will keep you safe while minimizing your speed loss and still allowing you to stream freely.
What do you think of our picks? Have any suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.