Have you heard about the 5, 9 or 14 eyes alliance of surveillance countries and are concerned about your privacy or the Virtual Private Network (VPN) you use? This is the guide for you.
Inside, we are going to focus on which is the best VPN to use if you want to choose a VPN provider located outside the jurisdiction of the 14-Eyes surveillance alliance.
As you may know (thanks to Edward Snowden no doubt), the 14-Eyes alliance is an alliance of 14 different countries’ intelligence agencies. The ’14 eyes’ have banded together to share intelligence and data from online sources.
It originally started as a 5-eyes alliance after the cold war, then it became 9-eyes, and eventually a 14-eyes coalition (that’s a lot of eyes!).
These countries regularly demand that various services hand over data about their clients, and can potentially share this data between themselves.
Many of the ’14 eyes’ countries have passed laws requiring that internet service providers and other data handlers, including virtual private network services log and share user data.
For those who genuinely want their VPN connection to be safe, secure, and most importantly of all, private, it is therefore a good idea to choose a VPN company based outside 14 eyes jurisdiction.
So, if you’re looking for a privacy-focused VPN service, you need to choose your VPN company carefully. That’s what this guide is all about.
Keep reading and we will advise you on the very best virtual private networks to choose outside the 14 eyes alliance.
Table of Contents
Top 5 VPNs outside 14 eyes
Our recommendation for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service not based in a 14-eyes country is ExpressVPN.
In our expert testing, we found them to be the best VPN outside 14 eyes countries with some of the fastest speeds and high-level security and encryption.
However, why just take our word for it? Below are the five best VPNs registered outside 14-eyes countries.
- ExpressVPN – British Virgin Islands
- NordVPN – Panama
- VPN.ac – Romania
- VyprVPN – Switzerland
- CyberGhost VPN – Romania
To help you choose which VPN outside 14 eyes countries is right for you, here is a more detailed rundown of our best VPNs.
- Registered off-shore
- Audited no log policy
- Audited apps
- Big range of server locations
- Fast download speeds
- Strong encryption
- Owns VPN ‘review’ websites
- Monthly price expensive
ExpressVPN is typically considered to be among the leading Virtual Private Network services out there. It is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, which places it well outside the 14-Eyes jurisdiction.
It offers super fast download speeds ideal for watching streaming services like Netflix, Android TV, and Amazon Prime Video. It also boasts excellent privacy features and ‘military-grade’ encryption like any good VPN service should.
That makes it a secure VPN, and it has an audited no-logging policy to help keep your online activity hidden from the 14 eyes global surveillance network.
Next, it has a massive server network that spreads through 94 countries, and it offers a money-back guarantee that lasts for 30 days from the moment of purchase.
It can be used on up to five devices concurrently, including phones, laptops, desktops, tablets, smart TVs, Fire TV, and more. Thanks to browser extensions, you can even use it on any device that can use Chrome or Firefox.
ExpressVPN is one of the leading VPN services overall, but when it comes to a VPN outside 14 eyes countries, it is quite simply the best VPN.
Our #1 Recommended VPN
30-day money back guarantee
- Audited no log policy
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Apps for most devices
- Registered in Panama
- Good download speeds
- No Paypal option
Next, we have NordVPN – another super fast VPN service that is used for its ability to unblock all kinds of geo-restricted and censored services and let you have unrestricted access to streaming services from around the world.
NordVPN is registered in Panama, which is also not a member state of the 14-Eyes alliance, and which has no mandatory data retention laws. This means you will get private access to everything and your browsing history will not be logged.
Similarly to ExpressVPN, NordVPN has a vast server network comprising of more than 5,000+ individual servers, strong 256-bit encryption and security features, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.
It keeps no logs of what you get up to when enjoying your internet access which has been confirmed via an independent audit. It has dedicated apps for all major devices and it’s highly rated from both individual users and industry experts.
It is one of the best alternatives to ExpressVPN if you’re looking for a second-choice VPN located outside 14 eyes countries and its location coupled with the quality of service warrants it a place on this list. It is perhaps the best budget VPN on this list too.
- Very fast download speeds
- Registered in Romania
- Run by security pros
- Strong encryption
- Fewer server locations
- 7-day money back guarantee
VPN.ac is a provider that tends to go under the radar but when it comes to avoiding surveillance and unblocking content in authoritarian countries, that is no bad thing.
VPN.ac is based in Romania, a European country but nevertheless a good location for a VPN outside 14 eyes jurisdiction.
If you want a VPN that offer strong ‘military-grade’ encryption, then VPN.ac is the one for you. It offers 256-bit AES encryption as standard and popular VPN protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard.
VPN.ac has actually led the way on security for years. It has a kill switch feature that will stop your internet if your VPN connection drops, the 256-bit AES encryption and popular protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard.
They also offer a 4096-bit RSA key is used for handshaking which makes them even more secure.
Privacy policies are also impressive with VPN.ac to. They do keep some connection logs but only for 24 hours and their no logs policy looks pretty watertight too. If you want to browse the web anonymously and evade online surveillance, VPN.ac is as good as any other provider out there.
VPN.ac has apps for all the major desktop and mobile devices and like NordVPN, it allows up to six simultaneous connections.
As a smaller VPN provider, the VPN.ac server network is more modest than some other providers on this list, with around 150 servers in 20 different countries.
But key markets are well catered for, there are plenty of IP address options, and it is very much a case of quality over quantity with this provider.
Subscribers will benefit from unlimited bandwidth usage which gives you unlimited access to streaming services, online gaming, and more. Pricing is very competitive and there is an excellent customer service too.
If you want to keep away from fourteen eyes jurisdiction and security is a priority for you, VPN.ac is another option well worth considering.
- Good range of apps
- Registered in Switzerland
- Time-proven provider
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Not the fastest
- Not great for streaming
Next, we have VyprVPN which is based in Switzerland, a country that highly values your right to privacy. This is also what puts it outside of the reach of the fourteen eyes alliance.
It comes with a dependable and independently verified no logs policy ideal for ensuring your privacy with a VPN outside 14 eyes nations.
VyprVPN offers apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and more, and it claims to have over 2 million users around the world.
It features advanced security, the ability to bypass censorship, and it has more than 700 servers in over 70 locations worldwide meaning there are multiple IP Address options available.
It is among the oldest and most respected VPN companies, and it also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, just in case you find something that you don’t like.
- Good range of apps
- 45-day money back guarantee
- Great for streaming
- Unaudited no log policy
- Owns VPN ‘review’ sites
Finally, we have CyberGhost, which is a VPN based in Romania. As such, it is also safe outside the jurisdiction of the 14-Eyes alliance, and it has a reliable no logs policy.
Best of all, CyberGhost VPN has a rather lengthy money-back guarantee which lasts for 45 days, which is longer than any other service on this list.
CyberGhost also doesn’t fall behind others when it comes to other things, such as security quality. It even has some of the best prices among the top-quality services.
It has servers in 60+ countries, with a total of 7,000 ram only servers – ideal for strong security and getting a new IP Address.
It also has excellent speeds, which will help you unblock streaming services with no buffering or throttling.
CyberGhost leads in the simultaneous connections stake by allowing you to protect as many as seven devices at the same time making it an ideal choice for a VPN outside 14 eyes alliance countries.
How to choose a non-14 eyes VPN
When it comes to choosing the best VPN outside the 14 eyes countries, there are a few criteria that these best VPNs need to meet. The key features that the best VPNs outside 14 eyes countries should offer are:
1) Being located outside of 14-Eyes’ jurisdiction
If it wasn’t clear enough already, the 14 eyes countries are always hungry for new data, and they aren’t shy about getting it in any way they can.
It is therefore vital to choose a VPN located in a country that isn’t part of this network to give yourself the greatest chance at online privacy. Ideally, this should be an offshore location, where minimal data retention laws and other unhelpful legislation are in place.
2) No logs
VPNs that don’t keep records of your online activity cannot give them to the authorities, even if they come knocking and demand they hand them over.
You should therefore be sure to choose a Virtual Private Network – VPN – service that has been audited (or that has had its claims tested in court or criminal cases.)
Having a strict no logs policy will therefore hide your online identity and make sure all your sensitive data is hidden from those prying 14 eyes.
3) Fast download speeds
With a good VPN, your internet speed won’t be impacted when you connect to one of the VPN servers.
It’s essential if you regularly download content, whether via torrenting or other means as speeds can vary widely between VPN providers, so when it comes to speeds you need a fast and reliable VPN service.
4) Strong Encryption
Anyone concerned about their security in the 14 eyes network need to make sure their VPN usage is protected with secure VPN protocols and ‘military grade’ encryption.
This will ensure that your VPN encrypts all online data. Also look out for additional features such as a kill switch, double VPN servers, and split tunneling protocol and well as tools to secure your DNS queries and things like ram only servers.
5) Money-back guarantee
It is possible that your chosen VPN won’t suit you, whether for the lack of servers in the right places, flaws in the app, or something else entirely. If this happens, you can get your money back, but only during a specific period from the moment of purchase.
The best VPNs offer money-back guarantees that range from as little as 7 days up to 45 days, so it pays to take note of this.
While members of the 14-Eyes alliance are certainly among the worst countries to have a privacy-oriented service in such as a VPN, many others are quite privacy-friendly.
Some of these we already mentioned as the countries where our top 5 VPNs are based, including the British Virgin Islands, Switzerland, Panama, Romania, as well as Iceland, and others.
These countries have their own privacy laws, and they are not obligated to provide data to the 14-Eyes alliance since they are not members.
As such, when you use a VPN based in countries like these, you already have a head start over other services since they are not located in countries where sharing data is standard.
These locations won’t demand that the VPN service provides information and endanger their clients’ security and privacy, which is not the case when it comes to the 14-Eyes alliance countries.
What countries are part of the Fourteen Eyes alliance?
The member countries of the 14 eyes alliance are:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
The first five were the founders of the 5-Eyes alliance. Combined with the following four, they make up the 9-Eyes alliance, and all of these countries in total are the 14-Eyes alliance.
As stated before, these 14 eyes alliance countries often ask that data carriers (which could include VPN services) surrender customer information, whether for surveillance purposes or specific cases, trials, and more.
Due to the laws in these 14 eyes alliance countries, VPNs have little choice. Some are even forced to record user data due to a court order, even though they might claim that they don’t do that.
But countries like the British Virgin Islands are not only not in the 14 eyes alliance, but they are guaranteed by local laws to not only allow no data collection, but have no requirements to share data either.
Pseudo- anonymity proviso
While using a VPN service based outside the 14-eyes alliance, it’s vital to understand that no solution is guaranteed and there are limitations.
If you are a high-profile target, then government surveillance organisations will likely monitor you regardless of the steps you take to keep yourself anonymous online.
However, if you’re a regular internet user concerned about your online privacy wishing to limit the reckless dragnet-style logging of data that many western and indeed 14-eyes alliance countries employ, choosing a VPN service registered outside those jurisdictions is the most reliable solution.
Can I use a free VPN?
You can, of course, but if privacy matters to you, we would advise strongly against it.
Free VPNs have many service limitations, data and speed limits, and are totally useless for things like streaming services. They have limited servers and so very few IP address options and these are often blocked.
Free VPNs also frequently come with security issues like malware and spyware, and providers will often sell customer data to generate profits. They certainly never have the great additional features like split tunneling and double VPN servers that premium VPNs do.
In sort, you can use a free VPN. But out best advice is, don’t.
What the Reddit community says
The debate about registered VPN service location versus actual VPN server location used continues to rage on.
Take for example you sign up for ExpressVPN, a service registered in the British Virgin Islands – outside the 14-eyes alliance jurisdiction.
You then connect to a server in the United States. Are your actions considered under BVI law or US law?
While Reddit isn’t full of lawyers, it is a good starting ground for discussion on most subjects.
In this case, Reddit seems to conclude, US law.
As user Emrine explained “In any case, it doesn’t matter where the server is if you’re trying to hide from these 3/4 letters agencies. If Snowden leaks told us anything is that “they” have eyes everywhere and a simple VPN alone isn’t enough to stop them.”
User Nemesis6 raised a good point about spreading your activities via jurisdictions, “And if they weren’t based in the eyes, it would have been that much harder for the U.S government to come after them in the first place. By using providers in these countries, you’re simply presenting a bigger attack surface to parties interested in your activities.”
Ultimately though, Reddit and other sites are nothing more than opinion so you should trust your instinct.
14-Eyes surveillance alliance is generally considered to be one of the greatest enemies of online privacy and freedom.
These are large countries, always hungry for intel and often paranoid about their citizens, which ensures that they would stop at nothing to have their way.
The best way to avoid them – even if you live in one of the member countries – is to use a VPN which is headquartered outside of their jurisdiction.
Luckily, there are quite a few excellent choices, some of which we mentioned above. Although our favourite right now is ExpressVPN and as it’s located in the British Virgin Islands it’s certainly outside the scope of 14-eyes.
Illustrations © Andrii Zorii & Ints Vikmanis | Dreamstime.com