While the right to freedom of speech and expression that American citizens traditionally enjoy extends to the internet, there have been a large number of troubling events taking place in recent years.
While the country’s citizens have open access to the web, changes in Net Neutrality and hacking and disinformation incidents during the 2016 presidential campaign had a chilling effect on internet users.
Many citizens fear increased surveillance by the U.S. government, as well as limited access to certain types of content due to the reversal of Net Neutrality in the country.
Happily, if you’re in the United States, you have easy access to a tool that protects your online activities from prying eyes, helps keep your personal information personal, and opens access to content from other regions that might normally be blocked from the U.S.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) protects your online activities from being tracked by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), the U.S. government, advertisers, and the shifty fellow sitting at the table next to yours at your favorite coffee shop.
A VPN can also “spoof” your location, making it appear as if you are connecting to the internet from another location, be it on the other side of your country or the other side of the world. This opens access to geo-controlled content, such as international Netflix content, gaming servers, and other types of services.
Below, I assess the 6 best VPNs for use inside the United States, and I list the features that are most important to look for in a VPN provider.
How to Use Your VPN in the U.S.
To protect your online activities with a VPN while inside U.S. borders, do the following:
- Subscribe to your VPN provider of choice.
- Install the provider’s app on all of your devices to protect all of your online activities.
- Log into the VPN.
- Select a VPN server and connect to it.
- Enjoy your online anonymity.
Best VPNs for the U.S.
I ran my top VPN providers through rounds of rigorous testing and came up with a list of the 6 best VPNs for use in the United States. The TL;DR Top 6 is as follows:
- NordVPN: Excellent customer support, top-notch privacy protection and speedy connections all add up to a reasonably-priced VPN that makes it the top choice for online users in the USA.
- Surfshark: This provider will be an attractive option for users looking for a low-cost option to protect all of their devices at once. Plus, the provider’s blazingly fast connection speeds will stream any type of content.
- ExpressVPN: This provider’s fast connections, extensive global server coverage, and excellent security and privacy protections make this provider a reliable choice for use in the USA.
- CyberGhost: This popular provider offers some of the best connection speeds around via an easy-to-use app, making it an excellent option for first-time VPN users or those looking for an easy way to protect their online activities.
- IPVanish: While the provider has a somewhat small but growing server network. The service also provides an added layer of security with its self-owned and -operated server network.
- PrivateVPN: Connections that deliver streaming-capable speeds, plus excellent security features – including military-grade encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch – all make this Sweden-based provider an excellent option for the U.S.
I evaluated and ranked the top U.S. VPNs using the following criteria:
- Security and privacy protections
- Fast connections, with unlimited bandwidth and no data caps
- Global network server numbers
- Uses shared IP addresses
- Customer support
- Native app support
- Bonus points for allowing torrenting
Here are my top 6 picks for the best VPNs to use from inside the United States.
NordVPN offers an excellent way to protect your stateside internet connection thanks to its well-protected connections, optimal privacy protection, and comprehensive customer support.
This provider makes its home in Panama and takes full advantage of the country’s lack of data retention laws. It keeps no logs of your online travels and makes a Bitcoin payment option available. The provider runs all of its VPN servers 100% from RAM, never writing any data to a physical hard drive. This ensures all data is securely wiped when a server is rebooted.
Connection security is as strong as the privacy protections are, thanks to NordVPN’s military-grade encryption and kill switch protection. The provider also offers the option to use obfuscated servers, which help hide the fact that you’re using a VPN. NordVPN can also block ads and malware.
NordVPN’s fast connections are not hindered by data caps or bandwidth limitations.
5,200+ servers located in 60 countries means you’ll have access to content from around the globe. Shared IP addresses add to the protection. While NordVPN allows P2P activity, it limits it to select servers. The provider is moving its server model to an owned-and-operated one, keeping third-party operators aways from its customers’ personal information.
NordVPN offers round-the-clock live support chat, email support, and an easy-to-use knowledge base.
Apps for Android, Windows, macOS including native support for Apple’s M1 Macs), iOS, Android TV, Linux, and Amazon Fire devices likely have your needs covered. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions protect your browsing sessions.
If you need to protect another device, or if you need more than 6 concurrent connections, use the provider’s excellent router features to protect all of your devices via a single access point.
- 5,200+ servers, located in 60 countries
- Comprehensive multi-platform support
- Allows P2P activity on some of their servers
- Runs all servers 100% from RAM
- Apps could be more user-friendly
TOP PICK FOR U.S. VPN:NordVPN offers excellent VPN protection at a price that won’t break the bank. Fast connections, excellent privacy protections, comprehensive app support, and great customer support. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark is an excellent option for protecting and elevating your online security and overall enjoyment, all for a low price. In addition to fast connections, the provider also allows unlimited simultaneous connections.
With 3,200+ servers available in 65+ countries, Surfshark offers reliable access to content around the globe. The provider can access numerous streaming providers, including Hulu, Netflix in the U.S. and abroad, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and more. The provider says it offers access to 30+ Netflix libraries around the globe.
Surfshark offers the fastest connection speeds that I saw in my most recent tests, and are easily up to streaming high-definition content, depending on your usual connection speeds.
The provider offers comprehensive security protections, including a kill switch, bank-grade encryption, and an ad and tracking blocking feature. Privacy-wise, Surfshark also performs well, with a strict no-logs policy and happily expecting Bitcoin as a privacy-friendly payment method.
Surfshark offers native apps for Android, iOS, macOS (including native Apple Silicon support), Windows, Linux, and Amazon Fire devices. Extensions for Chrome and Firefox protect your browser activity, while its router support can protect all of your devices through a single point of access.
Surfshark provides something else that’s particularly useful for streaming: an unlimited simultaneous connections policy. This means you, your family, and your friends can all connect your devices at the same time on one account.
Surfshark’s Smart DNS service can connect devices like gaming consoles and some set-top boxes, with access to streaming services abroad, although it only works through your router. Be aware, though, it doesn’t encrypt your connection like the provider’s VPN offering does.
Should you have any issues with the service (however unlikely), you can connect to customer support through their 24/7 live chat option or a “contact us” form. You can also choose to peruse their searchable support library.
- Budget-friendly price
- Fast speeds
- Unlimited concurrent connections
- Apps for numerous devices
- Apps could use more advanced options
BEST FOR BUDGET:Surfshark is a great choice for online users on a tight budget, or who would rather spend their money on other things. The provider’s unlimited simultaneous connections policy makes it great for big families or small companies with lots of online users. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
ExpressVPN is your best bet for providing comprehensive VPN protection for your internet connection when inside U.S. borders.
This British Virgin Islands-based VPN service keeps no logs of any type. You can keep your payment information completely incognito thanks to a Bitcoin payment option. Plus, the provider runs all server operations only from volatile RAM, never writing any data to a physical hard drive. This means that all data is securely wiped from ExpressVPN servers whenever they are rebooted.
Military-grade encryption protects the company’s connections. Plus, kill switch protection and IPv6 leak protection keep your online communications free from observation. The provider’s proprietary Lightway connection protocol is optimized for performance and protection.
ExpressVPN offers fast connection speeds, which are more than up to whatever you throw at them. No data caps or bandwidth limitations mean you’ll never have to worry about losing your protection before the end of the month.
ExpressVPN has 3,000+ servers located in 94 countries. Those servers use shared IP addresses, increasing your security by increasing anonymity. P2P activity is allowed on all servers.
Customer support is a definite plus at ExpressVPN, as it offers 24/7 live support chat, a trouble ticket system, email support, and a searchable troubleshooting and support library.
No matter which device(s) you use, ExpressVPN likely has you covered. Apps are available for Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Linux, BlackBerry, Amazon Fire, and Chromebook devices. Chrome, Edge, and Firefox browser extensions are available to protect your browsing activity.
If you need VPN coverage for other devices, or if the provider’s 5 simultaneous connections allowance isn’t enough, you can take advantage of ExpressVPN’s excellent router compatibility.
- Offers excellent app support and browser extensions
- Allows P2P file sharing
- Top-notch security and privacy protections
- Exceptional global server coverage
- Only allows 5 concurrent connections
- More expensive than many competitors
RELIABLE VPN PROTECTION FOR THE U.S.:ExpressVPN is a reliable option for protecting you online while in the United States. The provider has excellent global server coverage, well-encrypted connections, and top-notch privacy protections. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
CyberGhost is an attractive VPN option for rookie VPN users looking for an easy to use, yet efficient way to protect your online activities while inside U.S. borders.
7,100+ servers, located in 90+ countries add up to comprehensive global server coverage. And, with over 1,100 servers located in various locations around the United States, the provider also delivers excellent U.S. content-accessing power and protection. (The provider has numerous streaming-optimized servers located in the U.S.)
CyberGhost’s download speeds are some of the best around. HD and 4K streams are easily handled by this provider. No data caps or bandwidth throttling to spoil the fun.
In addition to the usual banking-level encryption, kill switch, and DNS/IPv6 leak protection, the provider also offers the ability to block ads, malicious websites, and online tracking. Plus, an automated HTTPS Redirect feature forces websites to serve up HTTPS versions of their web pages.
Your privacy is well-protected thanks to the provider’s total no-logs policy and willingness to accept Bitcoin in return for their considerable services.
This provider’s excellent app support has you covered, with native app support is available for Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Linux, Windows, and Amazon Fire devices. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are also available.
If you need protection for other devices, or if you require more than 7 simultaneous connections, you can make use of the provider’s comprehensive router support.
The provider offers a password manager, as well as an ID Guard feature that alerts users if and when their email address is included in a data breach. CyberGhost’s Security Suite for Windows offers antivirus and malware protection, as well as a way to customize how much of your personal data Microsoft can access, and last but not least, a utility that scans your PC’s hard drive for outdated and vulnerable versions of software.
- Streaming-optimized servers in the U.S.
- 4K-capable connection speeds
- Easy-to-use apps
- Top-notch privacy and security
- Apps lack some advanced options preferred by some users
- Has issues with some U.S. streaming services
CyberGhost’s easy-to-use apps should prove to be an attractive option for rookie VPN users. The provider offers downloading and streaming-optimized servers based in the U.S. Fast connection speeds and optimal online protections are an attractive bonus. A 45-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read my full review of CyberGhost.
IPVanish delivers fast, well-protected connections, along with an extra layer of privacy not offered by most VPN services.
Access to various streaming services are available through IPVanish’s 1,900+ servers in 55+ countries. Over 1,000 of those servers are in the USA. The provider is currently in the process of expanding its global network.
IPVanish owns and operates all of its server network, as opposed to being managed by third parties, as many VPN providers do. This ensures that third-party operators don’t have access to your personal data.
IPVanish’s connection speeds can easily handle high-definition video, online gaming, and more, depending on your usual connection speeds. No bandwidth limitations or data caps are ever placed on your VPN usage.
Military-class encryption protects your online activities from prying eyes. Meanwhile, a strict no-logs policy means there are no records of your online travels to be shared with any Nosy Nellies. Unfortunately, this provider doesn’t offer a Bitcoin payment option. The provider is currently working to roll out the WireGuard connection protocol.
IPVanish provides multi-platform support that includes apps for Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV devices. If your device isn’t covered, you can make use of the service’s wide-ranging router compatibility. (Pre-configured routers are available.)
An unlimited simultaneous connections allotment allows you to concurrently connect as many devices as you like to the provider’s servers on a single account.
Customer support includes a 24/7 live chat feature. You can also email questions, or look for answers on your own in IPVanish’s support library.
- Provides optimal security and privacy
- Owns and operates all of its VPN servers
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- No browser extensions
- Lacks Bitcoin payment option
HIGHLY SECURE:IPVanish keeps things private with its self-owned and -operated servers. That adds up to excellent security and privacy for their customers. 24/7 customer support. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
PrivateVPN offers reliable, well-protected connections that are more than up to anything you may throw at them, and their optimal privacy protections are a plus.
A location in Sweden ensures PrivateVPN can follow a no-logs-ever policy that never saves any info about your online antics. Bitcoin is happily accepted here.
PrivateVPN’s speedy connections are well protected with military-grade encryption, IPv6 leak protection, and auto-reconnect if you lose contact with the VPN’s servers. No data caps or bandwidth limitations are ever imposed.
200+ servers are by no means a high server count, but the provider does spread them out well, if thinly, in 60+ countries around the world. P2P file sharing is available on all PrivateVPN servers. Shared IP addresses add another layer of security.
Customer support from this provider is a mixed bag, as their live support chat is not available 24/7. However, an FAQ section and a “Contact Us” form are available.
The provider does offer a unique form of customer support not seen in other VPNs. Remote help is available, where the provider assists in setup and troubleshooting of the VPN software.
App support for PrivateVPN is limited to the big 4 platforms: macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. However, the provider does offer router support to protect all of your connected devices. Up to 6 devices can be simultaneously connected to the provider on one login.
- Impressive protected connection speeds
- Up to 6 concurrent connections allowed
- P2P file sharing on all servers
- Server count is low
- App support also comes up a bit short
P2P USERS WELCOME:PrivateVPN provides fast connections perfect for P2P file sharing and streaming. Their server count is a bit lacking, but the provider does a good job of strategically locating them. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Methodology for Assessing VPNs for USA
There are several factors to carefully consider when researching VPN protection while inside of US borders.
This is a list of the most important things that I considered when I was making a decision about which VPNs to recommend for use while visiting or residing in the United States:
- Connection Speeds: A fast internet connection is an important factor for the enjoyment of popular online activities. Browsing the web, gaming, streaming videos, and other popular pastimes are more enjoyable with a faster connection. All of the VPNs I include in my articles provide fast connections.
- Global Server Network: The larger a global server network, the easier it is to access geo-controlled content around the globe. Multiple servers in each country are always a plus, as they offers improved performance.
- Value: By weighing a VPN service provider’s asking price against the features and performance it provides you can determine a VPN’s true value. Every VPN I include in my articles offers excellent value for the money.
- Ease of Use: VPNs should offer native app support for most popular device platforms. Apps should also be easy to use. Each VPN on this list offers well-designed, intuitive apps.
- Security and Privacy: Any VPN worth considering should at least offer 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch and DNS/IP leak protection. A no-logs policy should also be followed by the provider.
- Streaming: VPNs included in my articles all offer reliable access to streaming sites, including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and numerous other popular services.
Check out more information about my VPN testing methodology.
Why Use a VPN in the United States?
Although the United States is thought of as a bastion of freedom (yes, it was hard to keep a straight face while typing that), efforts to allow increased monitoring of U.S. citizens continue to gain strength.
The U.S. government continues to encourage Internet Service Providers and VPNs to keep logs of their customers’ online activities. While the move is usually framed as anti-terrorism-related, the campaign could have a chilling effect on the internet freedoms that American citizens currently enjoy.
A VPN provides encrypted connections that prevent the U.S. government, your ISP, or anyone else attempting to monitor your online activities from tracking your travels. At best, all they can tell is that you’re connected to a VPN.
Many ISPs also block peer-to-peer file sharing on their networks. This is due to pressure from movie studios and music companies, who fear their content is being illegally shared via P2P activities.
Sadly, ISP blocking of P2P also blocks legitimate usage of the technology, as many businesses use it to share documents among their employees. (Many game publishers also use the tech to distribute updates.)
A VPN enables torrenting activity despite ISP blocking by encrypting your connection, thereby hiding your online activities. The ISP can’t detect your P2P activity, and so it won’t block it.
A VPN also opens access to streaming, gaming, and other types of content that might normally be unavailable in the U.S. Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services are legally bound to restrict access to their content to specific regions of the world.
A VPN makes it appear you are located in those regions, allowing you to access that formerly blocked content.
Is a Free VPN a Good Option for Use Inside the U.S.?
I refuse to recommend a free VPN to my readers, as gratis providers simply present too much of a privacy risk, and they actually have hidden costs.
Many “free” VPN providers violate their users’ privacy by monitoring and recording their online activities and then selling that information to advertisers and others who might have an interest in your online antics. There’s no reason to think they wouldn’t turn those logs over to the Feds if they were pressured enough.
Freebie VPN providers have also been caught injecting unwanted tracking cookies and advertisements into their users’ browsing sessions. UGH!
So-called “free” VPNs can also take a toll when it comes to your precious time. Some VPNs of this ilk will herd their users into queues, where they are forced to wait until the provider gives them the OK to connect. That’s when users find their server selection is severely limited, or they may not get a choice at all.
Last but not least, freebie VPNs have a tendency to throttle their users’ connections and impose monthly data caps and bandwidth limitations on their usage. That’s the exact opposite of what a VPN should do.
A month of service from a reliable VPN service costs less than an Animal-Style Burger, fries, and a shake from In-N-Out. Sure, there’s no secret menu available from a VPN (well, as far as YOU know), but paying upfront for your VPN service is a much better deal than “free.”
A Note About Using VPN Browser Extensions
While these extensions are a convenient way to keep your browser sessions protected, keep one important caveat in mind.
When you use a VPN provider’s native app for your device, all of your online activities are protected. This includes streaming, P2P file sharing, messaging, web browsing – basically, any activity that uses your internet connection is protected.
However, when you use a provider’s browser extension, only your browser session is protected from prying eyes, while all of your other internet-connected activities are left open to monitoring.
If you just need a quick bit of protection for your browsing activities, by all means, use the browser extension. Otherwise, always use the native app to protect all of your online activities from detection.
USA VPN FAQs
Can I Use Any VPN for Torrenting in the USA?
No, not all VPNs allow torrenting on their USA-based servers. While many allow torrenting on specified servers (some, like CyberGhost, offer downloading-optimized servers), others restrict it outright or only on servers in other countries.
Does the USA Operate Under Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality requirements were ended by the Trump administration in 2017. At the time of this writing, it has not been restored. However, in an executive order issued in July 2021, President Joe Biden called for the FCC to restore the net neutrality rules undone by the Trump administration.
Internet users who are located in or will be spending time in the United States are strongly advised to use a Virtual Private Network when accessing the internet.
A VPN – such as my #1 choice, NordVPN – not only keeps your web browsing undercover, but also keeps your P2P file-sharing activities, streaming binges, and more away from prying eyes, while opening up your entertainment possibilities to content anywhere around the globe.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the NordVPN website.
- How to Use Your VPN in the U.S.
- Best VPNs for the U.S.
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. IPVanish
- 6. PrivateVPN
- Methodology for Assessing VPNs for USA
- Why Use a VPN in the United States?
- Is a Free VPN a Good Option for Use Inside the U.S.?
- A Note About Using VPN Browser Extensions
- USA VPN FAQs
- Can I Use Any VPN for Torrenting in the USA?
- Does the USA Operate Under Net Neutrality?