Best VPN 2021

The best VPN is not the same product for everyone, as user needs are different. Read our comprehensive VPN guide and tips to help you find the best VPN for you in 2021.

We always leave traces of our­selves behind every time we use the Internet. Internet service providers, advertisers, and every web­site you connect to, collect your data. Your privacy cannot be taken for granted on the Inter­net. A VPN connection protects you on the Inter­net from tracking attempts and keeps your usage of the Inter­net private.

Whether you are using a computer or a phone, Windows or Mac, Android or iOS, your Inter­net usage is tracked by many different parties. The Inter­net is full of risks, regard­less of the device or operating system. A VPN is an absolutely essential tool for protecting your privacy.

But how to choose the best VPN in 2021? What are the factors by which you can recognize a good VPN? This article will tell you all you need to know about VPN services.

What is a VPN connection?

VPN stands for virtual private net­work. If a VPN is not used, your Inter­net connection goes directly from your device to the Inter­net and can be detected by various observers. When a VPN connection is enabled, all your Inter­net traffic first goes in an encrypted form to the server of your VPN service provider. From there, it is directed to the services that you want.

When your web traffic comes from the server of your VPN service provider, your actual IP address remains hidden. The Inter­net pages that you use see that your traffic is coming from the location of the VPN server and not from your actual location. The source of your web traffic cannot be identified.

Because the VPN encrypts your IP address and web traffic, your privacy on the Inter­net remains protected. At the same time, you get access to country-restricted content, when you change the location of your IP address to another country.

Read more about what a VPN connection is.

The VPN service provider keeps all the information related to your Internet usage in its possession

Internet usage always leaves data behind. As soon as you connect your device to the Internet, your service provider begins collecting data about you. Your location, the details of your device, your IP address, the browser that you use, your connection speed etc. All this information about you and your device is recorded automatically when you use the Inter­net. This information is more valuable than you might think.

When you use a VPN, all the information related to your Inter­net usage is held by your VPN service provider. It is extremely important to know what is done with this information and what your service provider can use it for. The best VPN protects your privacy, but the wrong choice can in fact compromise it. For example, if your VPN service provider resells your data, all the privacy that you have gained through the VPN is nullified.

By familiarizing yourself with the privacy policy of the service provider, you can find out what data they collect about you, why they do it, and also what they do with your data. Service providers must tell you all of these things. In the privacy policy, it must also be stated if your data will be sold or trans­ferred to third parties.

Setting up a VPN connection does not require information technology know-how

Setting up a VPN connection does not require technical skills or experience with computers. Setting up a VPN connection is done with a separate application. In these, connection is usually set up with one on-off button.

In addition, you can usually choose the location of the VPN server from several alter­natives. However, it is not necessary to do this, but instead a VPN connection can be set up, when required, by pressing just one button.

After setting up the connection, all your Inter­net traffic is protected at once. The protection lasts until you switch off the VPN.

How to choose the best VPN in 2021?

The best VPN in 2021 is not necessarily the same product for everyone. There are differences between VPN services and there are numerous service providers. When choosing a service provider, the most important thing is to know for what use the VPN is being acquired. A good VPN, first and fore­most, safe­guards your privacy on the Inter­net and protects your Inter­net connection. However, this does not always happen, as we’ll explain later.

A VPN can also be used, for example, for accessing the streaming services of other countries or other country-restricted content. However, many streaming and other Inter­net services seek, by invoking copy­right reasons, to restrict access to their contents through VPN services.

Therefore, it’s worth considering what purpose the VPN will be for. If it is important to you to watch the TV programs of other countries, it’s worth figuring out which service is the most suitable for that. If, on the other hand, streaming services are not the most important factor for you and you want to focus on the protection of your privacy and security, the best VPN service for you is one that focuses on these aspects. The best VPN of the year 2021 can be found when you take the issues below into account.

The best VPN service meets at least these criteria

It’s your job to decide which is the best VPN service for you. Only you know what you need. Never­the­less, when you are choosing a VPN service for your­self, make sure that the VPN service meets at least the following criteria:

  • The service protects your privacy on the Internet
  • It provides a comprehensive and secure server network
  • It provides servers in your local areas in particular
  • It does not store your browsing data or resell it
  • It is from a country whose legislation does not jeopardize the privacy of users
  • It tells you openly and clearly what data is stored and why
  • It is available for both computers and mobile devices

When you take the points mentioned above into account, safe­guarding your privacy on the Inter­net is in good shape. Continue reading and you can find out why these aspects are important.

The number of VPN servers affects the service — but it’s not that clear cut

Many VPN providers advertise their service on their net­work which is even thousands of servers in size. A large number of servers can indeed make high connection speeds possible. The same server is probably burdened with a smaller number of users than when there are only a few servers. However, from the point of view of security and privacy, the matter is not quite so black and white.

Few providers them­selves own all their servers, but instead they hire them around the world. Particularly if there is a large number of servers, it is impossible in practice to monitor all of them by them­selves, even just because of cost reasons. The problem lies in the fact that hired servers are physically in the possession of others. Even if a VPN provider has wholly honest intentions, the owner of the server center or the authorities of the country in question may care little for your privacy. It is impossible to monitor the security of all servers in an air­tight manner on site if they are in the possession of others.

So, a large number of servers may at first seem tempting. But it’s worth considering whether you really need hundreds of server alter­natives for your own use. If you want to watch the program selection of a particular country, it’s under­standable if you choose a VPN service that has a server in the country in question. However, in other cases a huge server net­work may be at the least be un­necessary, and some­times even a security risk.

The location of the servers also affects the speed of the VPN connection. The farther away the server, the slower the connection. The best VPN offers server alter­natives in nearby countries. In this way, the VPN connection remains faster than if you choose a server from Japan, for example.

The home country of a VPN provider is a significant security factor

VPN service providers are companies and companies must comply with the laws of their home country. These laws may require service providers to collect and hand over information to the authorities, for example to the police or intelligence agencies of their own country.

The problem with this is that you cannot know what is done with your information or some­times not even when it is collected. Further­more, laws can be changed and things which were previously permitted may become illegal. An example of this is the sharing of data through a peer-to-peer net­work. It’s also good to remember that every­thing that is permitted in your country is not necessarily legal in the home country of your VPN service provider.

A lack of laws that protect privacy is also problematic from the point of view of users. If such laws do not exist in the home country of the VPN service, nothing can prevent the VPN service provider from handling your data in an inadequate or harmful manner. Also, nothing guarantees that they tell the truth when they say that they take care of your data. If, on the other hand, the issue is regulated through laws, you can be assured that the service provider must take care of data protection.

The best VPN service does not come from these countries

Many western countries belong to an intelligence community called 14 Eyes. Countries which belong to this community can share intelligence information without telling their users about it. The VPN service providers located in these countries can be obligated to collect data about their users. These 14 countries are: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Nether­lands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA.

If your VPN provider is from these countries, it is worth bearing in mind that data collected about you can end up with the authorities of the countries in question at any time, with­out your consent. Your privacy becomes weaker as a result of this. The best VPN connection for Inter­net usage in accordance with the privacy laws.

Also countries which are questionable in terms of their privacy situations, such as China or Russia, are challenging from the point of view of the security of VPN services. Many free VPN applications, particularly those meant for phones, originate from China and their main task is to collect information about their users. What is done with the data after that is completely in the dark.

Would a free VPN service be the best of the alternatives? Take these things into consideration

Running a VPN service is not free. Even just the up­keep of servers is an expensive business. It goes without saying that companies have to cover the costs of their operations in some way. You may have heard the saying “if you don’t pay for the product, you are the product”. Even though this is not always completely true, it’s worth considering with every free service how the costs are covered.

A free VPN service most often finances its operations by selling the data of its users to advertisers. As established before, when you use a VPN service all the data that relates to your Inter­net usage is in the possession of your service provider. This information is valuable to advertisers and criminals. If you are using a free VPN, the probability that your data is being sold to finance the operations is fairly large. If your data is sold to third parties, all the privacy that you have achieved is nullified.

A free VPN may also be a security risk. Many free services have been found to spread malware. A free VPN service may also finance its operations by directing you to different sites than where you intended to connect to. They may also sell your Inter­net band­width to other net users.

One irritatingly common way to make money is to show advertisements to users. Some free VPN services also limit connection speeds or restrict data usage, thus leading their users to pay for the full version. On the other hand, some free VPN services are browser-based. With these, it should be noted that they only protect traffic that is sent through the browser in question. A separate VPN application protects all the net­work traffic that leaves from your device.

Not every free VPN service is harmful or suspect. However, it’s good to be aware of the risk factors associated with them. When you pay for a VPN service, you don’t have to guess how the operations are financed. Also, your connection is not restricted or sold to others, and you get comprehensive customer support and many other substantial benefits. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. That’s why the best VPN is not free.

Logging, i.e. the recording of user data — why it’s important and why it isn’t

The concept of logging is often talked about in the case of VPN services. What is meant by this is the collection and retention of user data. Many services say in their marketing that they do not log, i.e. record the data of their users, at all. However, this is not true, because every service has to monitor its users in some way.

Some data is essential from the point of view of providing the service. The service provider can inevitably single out who you are and whether you have the right to use the service (in other words, if you’ve paid for it). They also know other information related to you, such as how many user licenses you have, when your license will expire, etc. In principle, not all logging is a problem, and part of it is essential in practice.

Data relating to what you do on the Inter­net, on the other hand, is a cause for concern when it is stored. Your VPN service should not record your browsing history, data regarding what you down­load to your device or what you buy, or your private messages. Most often when services claim that they do not record your data, they are talking specifically about this data. The best VPN connection keeps your browsing information only as your personal information, but recording some data is essential and harmless.

Many services that have claimed that they do not record the data of their users have been caught doing the opposite. There­fore, for that reason as well, it’s worth taking it with a pinch of salt when a service uses the term “no logs” in their marketing.

A VPN connection is also necessary with mobile devices

The threats associated with the Inter­net and privacy apply to mobile devices such as phones and tablets as well. They are used for the same things as computers. So, get a VPN for the protection of your privacy for mobile devices too. However, not all service providers’ VPN applications are available for both computers and mobile devices. The best VPN application is one that you can get for all your devices with one subscription.

Go through the service provider’s privacy policy

In their privacy policies, service providers tell you what data they collect about you, and also what is done with your data and how long the data is stored. Through the privacy policy, you can verify the marketing claims, for example with regard to logging, and also the trust­worthiness of the service provider. Remember that when you use a VPN, you are entrusting your service provider with all the data related to your net usage.

If the privacy policy has been made difficult to under­stand, there is cause to consider why it is like that. Many service providers rely on users not under­standing what they read and there­fore accepting the terms of use care­lessly. In this way, they come to give permission for the use of their data for dubious purposes. Do not fall into this trap. If you want to protect your privacy with the aid of a VPN connection, you have to be informed about the provider’s privacy policies. The best VPN service will tell you about the handling of your data openly and in plain language.

Approach reviews and comparison with caution

When you look for a service, you will probably search for information on the Inter­net. Indeed, you can find a lot of different kinds of comparisons. Unfortunately, comparisons and reviews are rarely neutral. This is because comparison sites get a share of the sales profits for them­selves.

It pays for websites to direct readers with their positive reviews to choose a service provider with which the web­site is in collaboration. The service provider in question pays the web­sites a share of the sales that are realized. It’s in the interests of the web­sites to leave other services relatively dis­regarded, or even to criticize them. This phenomenon is called affiliate marketing.

However, not all comparison sites and reviews have been meddled with. Still, be particularly wary of web­sites that praise some service to high heaven and then give you some kinds of offers for the service in question. The advertisements and pop-up windows of service providers on the review site also give away the existence of collaboration with the service providers in question.

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F‑Secure FREEDOME VPN is the best VPN service for safe­guarding your privacy

F-Secure FREEDOME VPN has been made to protect your privacy on the net. It encrypts your traffic and conceals your actual IP address. In addition, it includes features which actively block trackers that follow you on the Inter­net. FREEDOME also blocks harmful sites.

FREEDOME does not store your browsing data. The privacy policy of FREEDOME has received praise across the world for its use of plain language and open­ness. Because FREEDOME is a Finnish application, no information about its users is dis­closed to the countries of the 14 Eyes intelligence community. Finnish privacy laws are also among the most stringent in the EU area, in addition to which users are protected by EU legislation. The data of the users of FREEDOME cannot be confiscated without a judicial order. How­ever, our aim is to protect the privacy of our users, not criminal activity.

The server net­work of FREEDOME extends around the world, remaining within the limits of a safe quantity. FREEDOME is available for all your devices with the same sub­scription. When you purchase FREEDOME, you have the possibility to get your money back for 30 days. You can try it free of charge without providing your credit card details.

Frequently asked questions

Why should everyone have a VPN?

Everyone has the right to privacy. You may think that you have nothing to hide. Perhaps you don’t, but you have a lot to protect. You’d hardly want the pass­words, messages and personal data contained in your web traffic to be visible to absolutely anyone. A VPN is an easy and effective way to protect your data.

How is a VPN used?

In most cases, setting up a VPN is easy and does not require technical skills. F‑Secure FREEDOME VPN requires the down­loading of an application onto your device. The connection is set up by pressing an activation button. You can change the location of the VPN server when you want by choosing it from the menu.

What is the best VPN just for me?

There is no single answer to this. The best VPN for you depends on what you want to use it for. Service providers emphasize different things. It’s worth choosing the most suitable and secure service for your own needs. In this article, you can find a comprehensive set of information on what factors influence your choice.

How does a commercial VPN differ from an employer’s VPN?

The operating principle is the same in both cases. The VPN connects your device to a server and encrypts the traffic. The difference between them is where the traffic is directed.

A VPN provided by your employer is for ensuring that you get a secure connection from your device to the net­work of your employer, necessary tools and information. These are located on some server that the VPN connects you to. These resources are not public and as a rule cannot be accessed without the VPN.

A commercial VPN, on the other hand, connects you to the server of your service provider, from where your traffic is directed onward to Inter­net services. This protects your privacy on the Inter­net by concealing your IP address and encrypting your traffic. However, a commercial VPN cannot be used to connect to the net­work of the employer.