A 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.
As US resident, someone travelling there or if you’re after accessing content restricted to use within the US only then you’ll know that a VPN is not only a necessity but the solution to your needs.
But how do choose the best VPN for the USA?
That’s a tough question and one we’ve answered in this guide. With more than 500 VPN services available out there, there’s everything from the good to the average and unfortunately the plain terrible.
We discover that ExpressVPN is about the best VPN available for the US right now but there are other options.
After some pretty tiring and extensive testing, we’ve rounded up the Top 5 choices below. All you need to do is pick one.
How to choose a VPN for the US?
When choosing a VPN there are a number of factors you should consider. Everything from speed to locations, their logging policy and more.
However, when you’re specifically looking for a VPN to use in the US 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 best VPN service possible which will save you time and money in the long run.
- Works with US services: Many websites and certainly video streaming services block access to VPN users. Some leading VPN services have managed to evade these blocks and for the least interrupted internet usage, it’s critical to choose a VPN service that works with the types of content you access. Some to consider are Netflix, YouTube TV, HBO and others.
- Jurisdiction: While the US doesn’t have any specific logging requirements meaning services registered there aren’t required to monitor your activity, it’s best to distance yourself from the country you’re in. Choosing a VPN service registered outside the US and their spying-friendly ‘five-eyes‘ allies will improve your privacy.
- Server Locations: It’s just as important to have server locations outside the US as it is to have them inside. Choosing a VPN with a large range of server locations gives you options for entertainment all the way through to privacy protection.
- Money back guarantee: Never sign up to a VPN that doesn’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.
Best VPN for the US:
While you’ve got some idea of what features to look out for, let’s take a look at the Top 5 VPN services for the US.
Remember these are suitable if you’re living or travelling in the US but also suitable if you’re outside the US but want to connect to the US to access services or other content restricted to using there.
Being registered off-shore in the BVI allows them to avoid some restrictions that a US-based provider would be required to adhere to, couple this with their proven no-log policy and it means you’ve got one of the safest VPN services on the market.
Most of the large US services work with the VPN which means you can Netflix, HBO and YouTube as much as you want from anywhere in the world or without needing to disconnect from the VPN service.
A standout feature is the huge range of apps on offer which includes everything from desktop and laptop apps all the way through to tablet, mobile and even some streaming 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.
You’ve got plenty of time to test their service too as there’s a huge 30-day money back guarantee to let you put the service through its paces.
Best VPN for US 2020
NordVPN has firmly set itself amongst the best VPN services 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-log policy means your safety is assured. They’re one of few who’ve had their claims of not logging your 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 apps. If you want a VPN service 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 apps we’ve tested.
Again, NordVPN works with most of the popular streaming websites and services plus they’ve got the added bonus that you can connect to any server worldwide and still access American Netflix.
There’s 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.
For years they’ve offed a robust service with reliable connections and plenty of server locations. They actually own all of their hardware and aren’t renting VPN servers like many other companies, this adds an extra layer of protection.
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 the service 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 3-day free trial. You can test the full service completely for free. Just enter some payment details to take advantage. Don’t forget to cancel if it’s not for you!
IPVanish is another strong contender if you’re searching a VPN for the USA.
They claim to retain no logs of your activity which means you can use the internet freely without there being any history of your usage. The service uses shared IP Addresses which should, in theory, mean your usage is tangled with others activity making it extremely difficult to pinpoint your actions.
The service is registered in the US 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 legal requirements to retain usage data on users in the United States.
Apps are 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, although we did find unblocking certain services including Netflix a little hit and miss so you may need to try a few servers before you find one that works.
There is only a short 7-day money back guarantee but they do allow you to use their service on up to 10-devices which is far more than most other services.
VPN.ac is a really neat service if you’re looking for extra privacy features.
They’re one of few services which has added protections in place. Everything from higher levels of encryption all the way through to the way the service is maintained and secured.
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.
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 that cares about your privacy then you’ll find it here.
Which US VPN is best for you?
After over 5 years of testing VPN services and seeing the industry explode from just a handful of options to what is available now, we know better than most that choosing just 1 can be a headache.
With all claiming to be the ‘best’ or the ‘fastest’ there seems little to separate them. 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 best.
These are specific to your needs and while one service may be the best for one user, they may not be the best for you. So we’ve broken it down into typical usage scenarios to help you make a decision.
If you want the best privacy protection, choose ExpressVPN. With a tested no-log policy, high levels of encryption and being registered outside the United States you can guarantee that you’re getting some of the best privacy provisions around.
If you want a US-based VPN service, get IPVanish. If you prefer to place your trust in a homegrown service then you’ll find that here. Offering a reliable and well-respected service, this one is registered right at home in the United States.
If you want a free trial, opt for VyprVPN. They’re the only provider that lets you test their full service for 3 days without paying. You will have to enter some payment details but you can cancel if it’s not to your liking.
If you want to unblock US TV services, choose ExpressVPN. They work with more US TV services than most including all the most popular such as Netflix, Hulu, NBCSports and others.
If you want a proven no-log policy, choose ExpressVPN, NordVPN or VyprVPN. All three providers have either had their no-log policy tested in some way or had their service audited to show they’re not retaining logs.
If you want a smaller craft-VPN, get VPN.ac. They stand out as a high security-conscious service that has a few unique features that you won’t find elsewhere.
Why do I need a VPN for the US?
VPN use is 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:
- Protects your browsing habits from companies and other snoops.
- Secures you from hackers when using public Wi-Fi networks.
- Bypasses speed throttling restrictions on certain services.
- Unblocks access to more entertainment content.
- Unblocks websites and services that may otherwise be blocked in your region.
- Allows you to bypass state-wide blackouts for certain sports.
- Enables you to torrent anonymously.
They’re just a few of the many reasons why you’ll want to be using a VPN in the US. There are, however, plenty more.
In Summary: Best VPN for the US
The VPN industry 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 find a really easy service that offers some big privacy protection features. We really liked their 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 5 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.