The problem with most personal VPN service reviews and VPN review sites is that they pretty much repeat what you can find on the site itself. The truth of the matter is that a lot of these sites are ‘cookie cutter’ websites – just a formula repeated to make commissions off of potential customers and tossed into the wilds of the internet to be found on Google. That’s not always the case, but more than just a few of them are.
Now you might be wondering – how could he know that? Well, I too make commissions off of this website. Of course! Who on earth would blog about privacy software on the internet? The topic is not all that interesting – at least not interesting enough to devote free time to it as a hobby.
But I, unlike many other bloggers, actually use the services that I write about. I try not to indulge in promotional material too much, and tell it how it is. I mean, sure, I may profit more in the short run, making sales off of users that don’t know any better, but most VPN services have a money back guarantee policy, so the performance (or lack thereof) of the personal VPN service will show in the end.
If you have used VPN services before, then you can use this as just another bit of info to help you make a better decision now that you’ve decided to switch VPN services. Perhaps you too were duped by one of these “cookie cutter” automated sites. If you’ve never used VPN service before, you don’t have to venture further than these few VPN services. They’re some of the most popular, reliable, and well price private networks out there, and I’ve had particularly good experiences with them all. It’s not an exhaustive list, but hey, do you really want to compare 50 services side by side?
So lets get started.
1. Best Personal VPN Service Based on Price
Price, is unfortunately, not so easily compared. You’ve got to compare features, subscription length, and quality of service in conjunction with price to get a true feeling of whether or not the VPN service offers value to the customer. Here’s my take on some of the most well priced VPN services.
The cheapest by far is SwitchVPN. They recently added a scaling pricing feature which means you get a discount for signing up for a longer period of time. This is standard with other services, but new to SwitchVPN. For a single month for a single VPN server, you pay $5.95 which is already pretty cheap. Sign up for a year, and you pay just $3.95 per month. This is a real steal, especially considering that SwitchVPN is one of the better VPN services out there. There are of course other price plans available at SwitchVPN, but these are your cheapest options.
12VPN also offers a very competitive price plan, ant $79 dollars for a US IP package. You get unlimited bandwidth and server switching, but a wider range of support than other services. The only restriction is that you only get access to their US servers, but there are about 10 different cities to choose from.
Hide My Ass is right up there, offering a year of service for $78 USD. They cover all of the standard operating systems (iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux, Android), and give you over 40 different country IP locations (yes, 40+), 25,000+ IP addresses, and hundreds of servers. By the time you read this, their network will surely have expanded as they’re constantly growing.
StrongVPN also offers very cheap packages for $55 USD per year, which will limit you to PPTP VPN and a choice between US and UK VPN servers, but hey, do you really need an Estonian IP address? Probably not. Hulu, Netflix, iPlayer, Pandora, and Spotify are yours anywhere in the world for a few dollars a month.
I guess there are no shortages of high quality, cheap VPN services because PureVPN also has a limited bandwidth account (30 GB per month) for just $75 USD. Not bad for 11 servers which are all torrent compatible.
2. Best Personal VPN Service Based on Service
This is kind of a broad category, because I don’t want this review to get too long and bore you out of your skull. I’ve grouped the idea of features, customer service, and server speed into one category in an effort to save you and me some time.
I’d say the fastest VPN servers I’ve used are with StrongVPN. Setup was kind of a pain (but I was a newbie back then), but I really have had a hard time finding a service that compares to the quality and speed of connection I had with StrongVPN. Of course, there are a lot of factors to consider when determining connection speed – some review site have tried this but most speed tests are deemed false or outdated by commenters. For what its worth, I think StrongVPN is fast.
For the best customer service, it’s no doubt that I’d choose 12VPN. Though they don’t have live support, they are very fast with email ticket support. Their support team is not just friendly and fast, but also very helpful,and thorough. If I ever run into any problems, it’s usually solved within 2 or 3 emails max, all within the same day. With some ticket response services I have to wait 1 or 2 days between responses, which is very annoying.
The VPN service with the best features would have to be HMA (Hide My Ass). They’ve got a cool thing where you can organize and choose your VPN server based on speed, which means you don’t have to waste a bunch of time trying out VPN servers. They allow torrents. They (as mentioned above) are a constantly growing network of (as of April 2012) 40 country locations and hundreds of VPN servers. They offer a FREE web based proxy (available to non-members also), a free open proxy list, free anonymous email, free uploading tool, and free anonymous referral tool. Yeah, that’s a whole lotta free. Plus they offer the longest money back guarantee of any service, – 30 days.
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