Interested to hear opinions about various VPNs.

I’m in the market for a VPN. I have no idea which ones are legitimate businesses that can be trusted. In addition to being secure and not a scam, I need at US based IP address with throughput (DL) speeds of at least 200Mbps. I don’t want the VPN to be the bottleneck in my connection to any streaming service or website.
I’m not looking to do anything nefarious or illegal, and I’m not looking to bypass any government censorship or blocked content. I merely want to access all of the same YouTube, ROKU and Netflix stuff that I’ve come accosted to. And I want the commercials in between video clips to be in English. I want to use google.com, not google.de. I want American search results without having to adjust the settings every time, for every website.
What does such a service cost? Which of the hundreds of VPNs advertised online are actually worth a damn? Thanks!

Dunno if it fulfills all your needs, being as I have sooooper slooooow internet and am in the US, but I use <removed>. There’s a lifetime discount code <removed> so it costs me thirty bucks a year. They have servers all over the world and I am definitely piratical and nefarious and shit but do not get takedown notices from my ISP so long as I use some fairly stiff encryption protocols. And their customer service people are very good, they always fix any issue I have. I’ve been using them for about three years now and basically no problems.

I use PIA vpn. Works well on my phone.

One thing about vpn’s. They can confuse some web sites. Some web sites track your location and get upset if you pop up in a different part of the country.

Amazon was making me verify my login with a pin they emailed. They saw my vpn location and were suspicious. I make a point to turn it off before going to Amazon.

Same thing happened logging into Linkedln. I forgot to shut off the vpn and had the hassle of verifying my login.

One cool feature is getting international news. Some web sites customize their feed based on your location. I get European feeds by setting my vpn server in those countries. Sometimes I get ads in foreign languages.

I read about a number of them online and ended up going with IPVanish.

I can not comment on if you can go fast enough with them. My internet is only for my home and on most servers, I notice almost no speed change. It allows a wide variety of locations in the United States and all around the world as well.

It’s expensive compared to some. I think I pay $77.99 per year, but I am very happy with it and have had no issues.

Features it offers:

  • It is never totally down. I’ve literally never been unable to get on a server and I’ve had it 16 months, used daily.

  • They keep no records of your internet usage. This was a feature everywhere recommended and while I am hardly able to be sure they don’t keep records, I pretty much believe them.

  • Speeds are great. Many, many servers.

  • They have apps for apple and android devices. I don’t use them much, but have and they work great.

IGN offered a coupon when I signed up, too.

No problems with PIA. Some people recommend NordVPN too though I don’t have direct experience.

Can somebody explain the basics of using a VPN for this layman? I understand the concept behind it; you’re connected to the internet through another computer so websites can’t identify who you are.

But how does it work on my level? Is it something I just set up once and then never notice again? Or is it something I’m going to have to activate when I want to use it? Will I be having to choose which VPN computers I connect to? Will it noticeably affect my internet access? Is it something I can conveniently shut on and off as needed?

The PIA VPN Andriod app has a slider to turn it on or off.

It defaults to the last server that I used. I can select a different one from a list.

They list the current speed under each city. New York is currently 73ms, Seattle 99ms, Houston 43ms. Spain 163ms etc.

You get the fastest response by choosing Houston in this case.

It doesn’t noticably slow me down. I play YouTube videos easily.

Once in awhile I notice my key symbol (on the status bar) for the VPN disappears. That means I got dropped and need to reconnect. That’s my Wi-Fi’s fault.

I’ve used NordVPN. Their interface is simple and super easy to use. Never had a problem connecting, except on my Mac but I just needed a different client. Tons of connection points across the globe. I don’t really have any other one to compare it to, but it appears to do what it says it will, is all I can tell you.
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PIA is a safe choice. Well known and respected. I stopped using them because they no longer fulfilled my use case (which won’t really relate to you) but when I used them I didn’t have any problems or complaints.

I tried dozens free ones, but have no experience with profi providers. I just need it to go around “service not available in your country” problem. To put it in context, I come from small obscure country and a lot of service providers just don’t bother to check it on their support list. And there is Youtube. I found that one built in Opera to be the best for my purpose. That is, If you don’t mind, that current owners of Opera are Chinese (oh the irony). It is usually fast and it really works.

Moderator Note

While you claim that you are not looking to do anything illegal, some of these things are illegal. Netflix for example has various agreements in place about what can be shown in what country, as does Youtube. You are technically violating those agreements by spoofing your country location.

The primary purpose of this feature by VPN services is to protect their customers who are engaging in illegal file and content sharing. Discussions of illegal file sharing are strictly forbidden here.

The primary use of VPNs these days is to engage in illegal file sharing without getting caught. Secondary is spamming. Things like trolling, ban evasion, and online harassment are also common uses. There are legal uses for VPNs, such as for security concerns or to access private networks (I use a VPN to access my work network from home, for example), but legal and legitimate users of VPNs are a very small minority these days.

We have been a bit inconsistent in the moderation of VPN topics. Since the primary use of all of the VPN services listed is illegal file sharing, I tend not to allow much discussion at all about them. Other moderators want to allow the legal discussions of VPNs, but as this thread shows, it is difficult to keep everyone on the legal side of the line. The main feature of aiding illegal file sharing has already been mentioned, and I suspect that most of the VPN services listed are used more for illegal file sharing than any other purpose.

This is the appropriate section of the rules/FAQ:

The OP is trying to keep this legal, so in that spirit, I am going to allow this thread to continue. Let’s not mention VPN services that advertise among their primary features that they do not keep records. Let’s also avoid mentioning VPN services that advertise multiple and constantly changing destination IPs, as the primary use of that feature is spamming.

Keep everything on the legal side of the line. Otherwise I am going to be forced to send this thread to the cornfield.

Also, for those that are considering accessing the SDMB from a VPN, many spammers and trolls have used VPN services to avoid bans, and as a result, many VPN IP addresses are permanently blocked here. Depending on what VPN service you choose, you might not be able to access the SDMB while using it.

Dude, my primary and secondary motivations don’t involve piracy nor spamming. Personal privacy is a goal in itself, not evidence of needing to hide something due to legal ramifications.

I’m not accusing you personally of anything. But every single VPN service mentioned in this thread so far is primarily targeted towards folks engaged in illegal file sharing or spamming. The problem is the VPN services, not the folks here.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the web page of the service you recommended, the first three features on their list are aimed at file sharing.

The SDMB is owned by a media company. Their rules are strict. We don’t even allow discussions of file sharing software like torrents at all, even though torrent software does have some legitimate uses.

Moderator Note

You are admitting to illegal file sharing which is blatantly against the terms of service here. Do not do this again.

Thank you for keeping this thread open. Though, I am curious about the distinction noted above. Violating a ToS is not illegal, it’s a civil matter, right? It wouldn’t be illegal to watch SNL clips on YouTube from Germany, it’s just not allowed by YouTube because of advertising and other issues. But that’s a different matter than, say, trying to watch a YouTube clip that the Chinese Government didn’t want shared for political reasons. I understand your decision to not allow discussion of that hear on the grounds that this board does not want to encourage ToS violations. But, unless I’m missing something, I don’t think such use of a VPN would constitute illegal activity.

I don’t think it’s really settled, but there are absolutely companies that are pushing for it to be treated as a form of hacking under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The 9th Circuit rejected this argument earlier this year but I don’t know if it’s come up elsewhere.

I’m an engineer, not a lawyer. My understanding of it is that it’s basically a copyright violation. Whether it’s a civil matter or not is kinda irrelevant. The SDMB is owned by a media company and as such, they tend to be very picky about copyright issues.

If anyone knows more about the legal issues involved, feel free to discuss them in this thread.

Ugh. Coincidentally, I was just pulling up nVIDIA’s homepage to download an SEC 10K report. It took multiple attempts just to get the site to load without the /de-de after the .com. No matter how many times I deleted it, it kept reloading in Germany. Doing this once or twice for every single webpage every single day… the frustration adds up. A VPN will be money well spent.

Thank you. And, to be clear, I wasn’t meaning to question your Moderator Note by debating the subject of criminality. I understand the that the SDMB has vested interest in not encouraging a wide range of legal, and illegal activity made possible by a VPN.
I asked about the legality because I seriously have no desire to do anything that is a violation of criminal law–in the US or Germany.

Regarding NetFlix: If I have get a static IP address in Germany (I don’t have my home internet set up yet. Hell, I don’t have a home yet), NetFlix will allow me to access all of the US-based programming. I just need to send them a copy of my orders and give them my IP, and they will allow access to US content to that specific IP address. The problem is that my ISP may not issue static IPs; I just don’t know yet. Or, it might cost extra–possibly more expensive than a VPN. That’s just more interesting fodder for the legality discussion. NetFlix would otherwise have no problem giving me access to the content I want, but may be unable to–forcing me to use a VPN to access content they’d otherwise allow me to stream.
I haven’t heard of YouTube offering similar service, though.