The safest VPN of 2018: top choices for the best coding

<pre><pre>The safest VPN of 2018: top choices for the best coding

VPN security and encryption is a rather awkward matter when you dig deeper into the various problems. As you probably know, the main purpose of a VPN is to increase your online security and privacy by sending your data through an encrypted tunnel so that it does not come close to curious authorities, ISPs or malicious types such as hackers .

If you want to easily choose the most secure VPN provider with the very best encryption, we have done the hard work for you and compiled our best five choices here.

Most secure VPN in 2018

1. ExpressVPN

Best all-round VPN for security and encryption

Number of servers: 2000 | Server locations: 148 | IP addresses: 30000 | Maximum devices supported: 3

Premium security

Fast performance

No free plan or trial

Not the cheapest VPN

With ExpressVPN you get all the security you want. The provider uses almost exclusively AES 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN. In addition, the company uses an RSA-4096 handshake (a form of connection negotiation between your device and a VPN server) and SHA-512 hash message verification code (HMAC), together with PFS (Perfect Forward Secrecy).

WebRTC leak protection, DNS leak prevention and a kill switch complete an impressive security effort.

The performance is for the most part just as strong, especially with shorter distance connections. There are numerous VPN servers to choose from and the service offers user-friendly apps for any major platform, as well as a wide range of additional devices (and a few browser extensions). A real privacy policy is also in place, which is good to see.

However, there is no free plan or trial to test the waters and the price tags on the three available subscriptions are slightly higher than many competing VPNs (especially the monthly plan).

Still, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee and if you opt for the 12-month plan (with an additional three months extra for the right order), you get a good value proposition – especially in view of the security features that are used here. offered. The available packages are:

2. IPVanish

Number of servers: 1000+ Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 10

Seriously fast

Nice configurable software

Windows client needs work

No free trial period

During our performance tests, IPVanish delivered excellent download speeds for nearby servers, while still managing above-average speeds over longer distances. Native apps are available for all major platforms, with installation instructions for many others.

The software gives you more than enough low-level settings to tinker with, if you want, although there is a small disadvantage with the Windows client. We found that the latter was somewhat sensitive to network problems and did not play at all when competing VPN clients were installed on the host PC, so keep this in mind.

Securing, IPVanish uses AES-256-CBC encryption with an SHA256 hash algorithm, support for multiple protocols, a kill switch, both its own DNS and external DNS code, as well as an OpenVPN scramble solution to prevent the VPN connection is detected and blocked. The service is also one of our favorites when it comes to privacy.

You will have to spend some money to enjoy this service because there is no free trial to test it (unless you sign up for the iOS app). Prices are not the cheapest, although the annual plan offers more than value for money, and you can save more by signing up through TechRadar's special offer, of course. The available packages are:

3. NordVPN

Best VPN for double coding

Number of servers: 4906 | Server locations: 62 | IP addresses: N / A | Maximum devices supported: 6

Double data encryption

Good performance

Expensive monthly subscription

This Panama-based outfit has a number of security strengths, especially the Double VPN technology that routes your connection via two separate VPN servers (instead of just one) for an extra layer of security.

There are a limited number of Double VPN servers, but the service also offers the use of the Onion network via VPN, as well as automatic blocking of suspicious websites and advertisements. 256-bit AES encryption is present, while the IKEv2 / IPsec security protocol is approved as standard in the NordVPN apps for iOS and macOS, with OpenVPN being the choice for Windows and Android.

The performance service delivered in our tests, and you can connect to a large number of available clients (plus there are a number of tutorials for devices that do not have native clients). As far as privacy is concerned, the company implements a "no logs & # 39;" policy, so it's all good in that respect.

In terms of subscriptions, NordVPN offers a number of low-cost commercial plans (the expensive monthly subscription aside), along with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The limited 3-year plan is of great value if you are willing to fulfill that commitment. The available packages are:

4. AirVPN

Best balance between performance and price

Number of servers: 223 | Server locations: 20 | IP addresses: N / A | Maximum devices supported: 5

Open and transparent

Very configurable

Few server locations

Can be more user-friendly

AirVPN, originating from Italy, is an OpenVPN-based service managed by "activists and hacktivists in defense of net neutrality, privacy and against censorship". As a result, you will receive a refreshing transparent provider that openly covers all important security and privacy aspects, as well as other details. A good example is that AirVPN guarantees users a minimum allocated bandwidth of 4 Mbps (downloads and uploads) in advance.

You get the complete scoop about what happens in the security field. High-quality encryption includes 4096-bit RSA keys, an AES-256-CBC data channel, HMAC SHA1 control channel and internal VPN DNS solution and PFS, while each server supports OpenVPN over SSH, OpenVPN over SSL and OpenVPN over Tor. Also the full IPv6 support has recently been added, as well as support for & tls-crypt & # 39 ;.

In our tests, performance was fast when using local servers, although we had found a lower speed on some servers. The company has servers in 20 countries, which is on the low side compared to some rivals.

The native Windows client has a tricky interface that does not help its cause, but on the other hand it sports many bells and whistles that help facilitate a more pleasant VPN experience.

There are five available plans that are generally reasonably affordable. There is a three-day plan that serves as a cheap alternative to a full trial, but as always the annual plan is the best choice for the best savings. The available packages are:

5. Windscribe

Number of servers: 530+ | Server locations: 100 | IP addresses: N / A | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

Unlimited devices

Free subscription with 10 GB / month of data

Average connection speeds

Scarce planning choice

One of the most important factors that make Windscribe so attractive is that users can connect an unlimited number of devices, making it ideal for families. Another big advantage is a freebie offer with a fairly generous monthly data limit of 10 GB (much more than you will find elsewhere, although you are limited in the servers you have access to, which is quite common with free subscriptions).

Our performance tests showed mixed results, with the closest server delivering disappointing download speeds, oddly enough, and the results improved from further afield (just the opposite of what we are used to).

It's good enough for browsing and lightweight streaming, and we have to say that Windscribe performs reasonably well for a free service. Mobile users will not experience any problems using the service because there are apps available for both iOS and Android.

The Canadian provider uses AES 256-bit encryption with SHA512 authentication and a 4096-bit RSA key. There is also support for PFS, as well as a kill switch and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks. More good news comes in the form of a detailed privacy policy that is as beneficial as it can get.

The free plan aside, there is not much choice in terms of paid subscriptions – in fact you can choose between monthly, yearly or biennial invoicing, the latter offering the best value for money. The available packages are:

Security and encryption

Encryption can only go that far. If the authorities require logs or other details about users of a VPN company, the encryption will not prevent the provider from transferring these details – so you should always look for a company with a super-fast & # 39; no logs & # 39; policy. That is because although encryption can keep your data private and unreadable for your ISP, it is still visible to the VPN.

So that is one of the general misconceptions about VPN security and encryption with regard to online privacy. Further misunderstandings may arise from the mishmash of the jargon that talks about coding, which is probably useless for the informal VPN user. Terms such as 128-bit, 256-bit, AES and other jargon are likely to confuse, so a little explanation is all right.

Encryption is based on advanced mathematical formulas to manipulate its magic. Some types of coding are stronger than others, and that is where the terms 128-bit and 256-bit arrive – the latter is stronger than the previous one. AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard and is the computer number or the actual algorithm used to perform the encryption.

Blowfish and AES are by far the most common codings in daily VPN usage and you will usually see VPN providers that offer AES 256-bit encryption. The latter is something of a global standard for solid security, where 256-bit encryption produces an amazing 1.1579 x 10 to 77 possible keys.

Given that even if you use the combined power of all the most powerful supercomputers in the world, it is not possible to perform a brute force attack to crack a symmetrical 256-bit key (not before the death of the universe rotated, anyway)).

Also worth mentioning is Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), a system of private encryption keys generated for each new session – this actually means that, even if the current specific key that is in some way at risk, the encryption of past sessions can not be cracked (because they all use a different key).

With regard to VPN protocols, in the field of security, OpenVPN is the recommended choice under most conditions because of the inherent safety and high configurability.

These are the basic principles when it comes to VPN encryption, without you delving into the depths of the subject.