A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an essential online security tool these days but you're probably already aware there are loads of other uses, such as accessing blocked websites or streaming more movies and TV shows on services such as Netflix and Hulu.
As a US resident, someone travelling there or if you're after accessing content restricted to use within the USA only then you'll know that you actively need a VPN.
But how do you choose the best VPN for the US?
That's a tough question and one we've answered in this guide.
With more than 500 VPN providers available out there, there's everything from the good to the average and unfortunately the plain terrible. We've tested and picked out the best VPN services on the market.
After some pretty tiring and extensive testing, we've rounded up the best VPNs below. All you need to do is pick one.
How to choose a VPN for the US
When choosing the best VPNs, there are a number of factors you should consider in the USA.
Everything from speed to locations, their logging policy and more.
However, when you're specifically looking for a VPN to use in the USA or to access US services then there are some unique considerations. Below we've listed just a few of them.
Remembering these and taking them into account when searching will ensure you get the top VPN service possible for the USA which will save you time and money in the long run.
- Works with US services: Many USA-based websites and certainly video streaming services block access to a VPN user. Some leading VPNs have managed to evade these blocks and for the least interrupted internet connection, it's critical to choose a VPN that works with the types of content you access. Some to consider are Netflix, YouTube TV, Hulu, HBO and others.
- Jurisdiction: The US doesn't have any specific logging requirements meaning services registered there aren't required to monitor your internet traffic, this includes government agencies surveilling you too. Still, it's best to distance yourself from the country you're in. Choosing a VPN registered outside the US and their spying-friendly ‘five-eyes‘ allies will improve your privacy and help to hide the IP Addresses you use.
- Server Locations: It's just as important to have VPN server locations outside the US as it is to have them inside. Choosing a VPN with a large number of USA VPN servers and overseas servers gives you options for entertainment all the way through to privacy features.
- Money-back guarantee: Never sign up to a VPN client that don't offer a money-back guarantee. Our tests are good but we're honest enough to know that many factors can influence your experience. Money-back guarantees of up to 30 – 45 days will ensure you can test the service risk-free.
Top 7 VPNs for the US
While you've got some idea of what features to look out for, let's take a look at the Best VPNs for the US.
Remember these best VPNs are suitable if you're living or travelling in the USA but also suitable if you're outside the US but want to connect to the US to access USA-based services or other content restricted to using there.
- Plenty of US servers
- Super-fast download speeds
- Audited no log policy
- Registered off-shore
- Criminal case proven log policy
- Works on every device
- Monthly package pricey
Being registered off-shore in the BVI allows ExpressVPN to avoid some restrictions that a US-based provider would be required to adhere to, couple this with their proven strict no-logs policy and it means you've got one of the safest VPN services on the market.
Most of the large US services work with ExpressVPN which means you can unblock Netflix, HBO and YouTube as much as you want from anywhere in the world or without needing to disconnect from the VPN.
A standout feature is the vast range of apps on offer which includes everything from Windows & Mac apps all the way through to iOS and Android apps and even some streaming services and devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Whatever your device of choice you'll be able to connect easily with one of their custom apps and enjoy their super-fast speeds.
You can enjoy simultaneous connections on up to five devices with each account, and a kill switch plus split tunneling and DNS leak protection too.
You've got plenty of time to test their range of VPN plans too as there's a huge 30-day money-back guarantee to let you put the service through its paces. It is quite simply the top VPN provider for the USA.
Best VPN for US 2021
30-day money back guarantee
- Servers in 15 US cities
- Big range of apps
- Works great for streaming
- Audited no-log policy
- Great download speeds
- Fewer countries covered
NordVPN has firmly set itself amongst the top VPNs out there and for using in the US they make a great choice.
Registered outside the US in Panama and having a fully-audited no-logs policy means your safety is assured. They're one of few who've had their claims of not logging your user activity verified and while nothing is certain it goes to great lengths to reassure you their claims are accurate.
What really stood out for us is the ease of use of their easy to use apps. If you want a VPN that doesn't interfere with your daily use and you just want to connect and forget about it then they're the service for you.
They've got some of the best mobile VPN apps we've tested with features like a kill switch, DNS leak protection, Double VPN, and they allow 6 simultaneous connections too.
Again, NordVPN works with most of the popular streaming content websites and services plus they've got the added bonus that you can connect to any VPN server worldwide and still access American Netflix. They also provide amazing and consistent speeds across all their servers too.
There's a good range of VPN plans and a full 30-day money-back guarantee available so you've got loads of time to test it and if the service isn't for you, get a refund. Customer support is first-rate as well with 24/7 live chat support.
Nord is one of the best low budget VPN companies for the USA, and one of the best VPNs around.
- Very nice apps
- Audited no log policy
- Registered outside the US
- Good download speeds
- 5 concurrent connections
VyprVPN is one of the oldest names in the industry but most recently they've become one of the most interesting VPN services.
For years they've offed a robust service with reliable connections, fast speeds, and plenty of server locations. They actually own all of their hardware and aren't renting servers like many other companies, this adds an extra layer of protection alongside features like a kill switch.
What stands out most is their new audited no-log claim. No longer do they retain connection data on when or where you connected meaning you can use their service without any of your usage being logged.
While US Netflix does work with a number of servers at the time of writing they're a little more hit and miss for other services and so they wouldn't be our choice if you want to access a lot of different media services.
Another neat feature is their 30-day money-back guarantee. You can test the full service for up to a month and still get your money back if you're unhappy.
- Lots of US locations
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Reliable connections
- Registered in the US
- Unaudited log policy
IPVanish is another strong contender if you're searching for a secure VPN for the USA with a huge number of servers including plenty in the USA.
They claim to retain no logs of your user activity which means you can use the internet freely without there being any history of your usage.
The service gives you use of a shared static IP Address when you connect to a server. This should, in theory, mean your usage is tangled with other people's activity making it extremely difficult to pinpoint your actions.
The service is one of the many US based VPN services, so if you're a US resident that may be a consideration for you but as we explored earlier in this guide there are no data retention laws in the United States.
Apps are easy to use and available for almost all devices and we really liked their Amazon Fire TV app.
If streaming is one of your uses then that will definitely come in handy as speeds are good, although we did find unblocking certain streaming sites including Netflix a little hit and miss so you may need to try multiple servers before you find one that works.
However, other streaming services such as BBC iPlayer (lots of geo restricted content) work well on their service.
The service gives you unlimited simultaneous connections with almost all devices too as well as features like a kill switch, and there's a 30-day money-back guarantee too. Customer support is impressive too and there is a range of VPN plans to choose from.
- Run by security professionals
- Very fast download speeds
- Reliable connections
- Fewer countries covered
- Short money back guarantee
- Retains connection logs
VPN.ac is a really neat service if you're looking for extra privacy features.
They're one of few services which have added protections in place. Everything from higher levels of encryption all the way through to the way the service is maintained and secured. The speed of their server connections are a particular highlight.
It does have to be pointed out that connection data is retained but only for a minimal time of 24 hours. Plus the service claims to store this securely in an off-site location that only one administrator has access to.
The service offers apps for all devices including Windows, Mac, Android, Apple iOS and even the Amazon Fire TV devices and Android TV ones too. The number of available servers is modest but sufficient for US users.
There are added encryption options such as the ability to use OpenVPN XOR and ECC, LibreSSL rather than OpenSSL, specific modes for accessing from China plus a whole host more.
If you're looking for a craft-VPN service with fast speeds that cares about your privacy then you'll find it here.
- Unlocks 30 Netflix regions
- Easy to use apps
- 30-day money back guarantee
- No log policy unaudited
- Newer service
Surfshark is a young VPN based in the British Virgin Islands which allows it to offer some solid privacy protections, including a no user logs guarantee.
Surfshark has a lot going for it, including a wide range of impressive mobile apps that are all packed with features yet still provide a user-friendly experience. It has solid 256-bit AES encryption and offers decent speeds across its server network.
This consists of more than 3,200+ servers in 65 countries. Crucially, this includes more than 500 US servers located in more than 20+ cities across the country, from Seattle to Chicago, New York to Miami, and Houston to Los Angeles.
But aside from this, Surfshark is an otherwise excellent VPN that comes with other little perks like unlimited simultaneous connections and fast speeds.
It also provides split tunneling, good customer service, low prices and a range of VPN plans, can unblock Netflix and BBC iPlayer, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
7. CyberGhost VPN
- Lots of apps
- Great for Streaming
- 45-day money back guarantee
- Owns ‘VPN review' websites
- Not the fastest
CyberGhost VPN is based in Romania but has a huge server network with more than 7,319 servers across 91 different countries. In the USA, there are 1,503 servers spread across 11 cities the length and breadth of the country.
CyberGhost offers a no user logs promise that is robust. However, this hasn't been proven with an audit.
They have also invested in their infrastructure in recent years too meaning they have strong encryption to protect your internet traffic, excellent VPN connection speeds, and some really impressive extra security features too.
The apps are exceptional and really easy to use. They are very user-friendly, we rate them ideal for novice VPN users. They also provide seven simultaneous connections with every account, and is available on almost every device you can think of too.
It can also unblock streaming services like Netflix too and offers great customer support.
CyberGhost VPN is competitively priced and comes with a huge 45-day money-back guarantee, one of the biggest we have seen. This is another top-quality, high-speeds, privacy-friendly VPN ideal for US users.
Which US VPN is best for you?
After over 8 years of testing VPNs and seeing the VPN industry explode from just a handful of options to what is available now, we know better than most that choosing just one VPN can be a headache.
With all claiming to be the ‘best' or the ‘fastest' there seems little to separate many VPNs.
While there are obvious separations which you would only notice after testing many services there are some more important factors that will help you choose the top VPN.
These are specific to your needs and while one service may be the best for one user, not all VPNs will be the best for you.
So we've broken it down into typical usage scenarios to help you make a decision.
Best for privacy protection
Choose ExpressVPN. With a tested no-log policy, high levels of encryption and is registered outside the United States you can guarantee that you're getting some of the best privacy provisions around.
Best US-based VPN
Get IPVanish. If you prefer to place your trust in homegrown VPNs, then you'll find that here. Offering a reliable and well-respected service and lots of US servers, this one is registered right at home in the United States so you can be using a VPN based domestically.
Best for a risk-free test
Opt for VyprVPN. They offer a huge 30-day money-back guarantee giving you plenty of time to trial it.
Best to unblock US TV services
Choose ExpressVPN. They offer fast connection speeds and lots of US servers and work with more US TV services than most including all the most popular streaming content sites such as Netflix, Hulu, NBC Sports and others.
Best with a proven no-log policy
Get VPN.ac. They stand out as a high security-conscious service that has a few unique features that you won't find elsewhere.
What's the best Free VPN for the USA?
If you want to use a VPN to protect your online privacy or security in the USA, then we would strongly advise you to avoid free VPNs and pay a few dollars a month for a high-quality free premium service.
Free VPN providers frequently harvest and sell user data. Many have close ties to Communist China, and some will even come bundled together with malware that will either steal your data or inject adverts and other junk into your browser.
If you want private internet access, then a free VPN is not the answer.
However, if money is tight and free VPNs are your only option, choose ProtonVPN's free option.
Proton VPN hugely limits its free users both in terms of the number of servers available and the number of devices you can use it on.
But it is at least offers decent security features and while speeds aren't great, it doesn't have the service limitations that many free VPNs come with and works well in the USA with US servers available.
Why do I need a VPN for the US?
VPNs are now essential regardless of where you live and with such a connected country the United States is one of the number 1 locations you really should be using a VPN.
But why should you use a VPN is a very good question.
If you've heard the term ‘VPN' but not quite sure if you really need one then check out this brief list of reasons why a VPN is now a necessity rather than a luxury:
1. Protects your browsing habits from companies and other snoops
VPNs send your data through an encrypted tunnel stopping your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and other online companies or the government from being able to monitor and log your web traffic and internet usage.
Preventing them from monetising this without your permission.
It also helps to prevent you from becoming a victim of the current net neutrality arrangements which allow Internet Service Providers to slow down and speed up your service depending on which sites you visit.
Online privacy is vital in today's world, make sure you protect yours and use reliable VPN technology.
2. Secures you from hackers when using public Wi-Fi networks
Public Wi-Fi networks are everywhere these days but they are notoriously insecure. They often have no passwords and the ones that do are easily accessible.
Even a novice hacker can crack a public Wi-Fi network and see what its users are up to. But a VPN encrypts your data giving you private internet access on these networks meaning it will always be safe, protecting your online privacy.
3. Bypasses speed throttling restrictions on certain services
Thanks to Net Neutrality laws, ISPs are now permitted to throttle your fast speeds to push you towards using certain speeds for specific services.
Some will also throttle if you are doing things like downloading BitTorrent files. A VPN hides details of what you are doing online which prevents any throttling.
4. Unblocks access to more entertainment content
VPNs allow you to access just about any entertainment content you want, no matter where in the world it originates.
With a USA VPN, you can easily bypass censorship and access geo-restricted content, even on services like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, or Amazon Prime video.
By connecting to a number of servers located elsewhere means you can enjoy the entertainment you want whenever you want it.
5. Unblocks websites and services that may otherwise be blocked in your region
Geo-restrictions can be used on streaming services and other content between states but is very common between different countries.
If you want to watch content on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video that is only available in Japan or the UK, a VPN lets you access these services by connecting to different server locations, masking your real IP address and giving you a new IP rather than you being restricted to their US platforms alone.
It's not just streaming sites, plenty of other apps and services are also geo-restricted to certain countries.
6. Allows you to bypass state-wide blackouts for certain sports
Sports can be blacked out or geo-restricted in certain states which is hugely frustrating for fans if you can't access the right cable service.
But a VPN can help you and other internet users by changing servers and hiding your US IP address to fool your streaming service into thinking you are out of state and therefore undoing the state government blackout and letting you watch every game.
7. Enables you to torrent anonymously
Torrenting is a risky business in the USA as many have been found in breach of copyright and facing big fines or even a felony convictions.
VPNs are essential for torrenting since they allow you to connect to servers and hide your IP address allowing you to download privately.
All of your activity is encrypted and your privacy protected by the hiding of IP addresses.
However, just because you are secure doesn't mean you should download copyrighted content. Remember you're only permitted to download content that is legal in your country.
They're just a few of the many reasons why you'll want to be using VPNs in the US. There are, however, plenty more.
The VPN market is ever-changing but this year we found ExpressVPN to offer that little bit more than the competition.
If you're a US resident or you're travelling there then you'll want to choose one of our recommended reliable VPNs that offer a really easy service and offers some big privacy protection features.
We really liked ExpressVPN's range of apps and the fact they're registered off-shore. Couple this with their tested no-log policy and your safety is assured.
If you like to try before you buy then you can take advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee. They're also offering 3-months free right now on their annual package which saves nearly 50% off paying on a monthly basis so it's well worth signing up for.
If you've got some extra time on your hands then take a look at all 7 services because they're all contenders for using in the US or to access US-based services.
What do you think of the providers on the list or is there one provider you think that we've missed? Drop a comment in the comment section below as we would love to hear your experiences.
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