In general, online privacy has been getting worse as of late. This is especially true for students and young people because they use so many social media sites to share information about themselves and talk to others online. You must start using a VPN service to protect your online identity and stop people from mining or stealing your personal information. This article lists the best VPNs for students who want to protect their online privacy while studying abroad, talking to friends and family, or even using streaming services.
Why you should use VPNs
VPNs are not just for unblocking entertainment, of course. They also give you access to services and websites that your university or college may have blocked. But you’ll want to see if VPN can unblock what you need to use before signing up for an extended subscription. Even though most services do not offer free trials, they offer money-back guarantees, usually for up to 30 days.
Though, it’s not always easy to get your money back, so we recommend paying for one month instead of one or two years.
Some excellent free VPN services might do what you want, and we’ve listed them below. Make sure to try them out first before you pay for VPNs. We know that you want to save money wherever you can, and that’s a real possibility here. It depends on what you want to do with a VPN.
You might still want to use a VPN if it’s not unblocking. After all, it gives you more privacy because all your data is secured. This is also helpful if you want to connect to open Wi-Fi on your campus (or anywhere, really), as it adds an extra layer of security.
It would be best if you also chose a password manager, so all accounts have different passwords. Using the same one for everything might be easy, but it’s not a good idea if you care about security.
You can’t expect too much for free, but even for its free users, Privado has more to offer than almost any other VPN service. Most VPNs only let you connect to a few servers, but Privado enables you to connect to 13 servers in 9 countries.
These servers also unblock some streaming services only if you sign up using the link.
|Generous free plan||10GB per month limit for free customer|
|Unblocks streaming services|
Privado is based in Switzerland, which is excellent for privacy and doesn’t keep any logs. Since there’s no independent audit to back it up, you’ll have to take its word for it.
Aside from the choice of servers, the other limit is that you can only use 10GB of data per month. That’s kind, but you might run out before the end of the month. If that happens, you won’t have any protection until the account is renewed.
If you want to look around the web and not stream Netflix, 10GB should be enough. This makes Privado an excellent choice for many students.
|No data limit, even for free customers||“Medium speeds”|
|No adverts||The free plan doesn’t unblock streaming services|
ProtonVPN is a well-known VPN service based in Switzerland. It has been around for a long time and is known for putting privacy first and giving this to everyone for free. The best thing about this VPN is that you can use it as much as you want.
Proton’s kindness only goes so far, though. Customers who don’t pay for the premium don’t get the same speeds as those who do. They can only choose between three servers: Japan, the Netherlands, and the US. The free servers can’t stream video or download files using P2P may be the biggest problem, but not for everyone (i.e., BitTorrent files).
ProtonVPN is excellent for students who don’t want to pay for a service but still want a VPN for privacy and extra security.
Atlas VPN Premium
|Free and affordable plans are available||10GB data limit for free customers|
|Unlimited devices on the Premium plan||Based in the USA|
Atlas VPN started as a “freemium” VPN, which offered free service to get people to pay to upgrade and get access to all servers and the fastest speeds.
If you use it for free, you can use 10GB of data per month, just like with Privado, but you can’t use more than 2GB of that on any given day.
There are three servers to choose from (750 for paying customers), but we couldn’t unblock Netflix even when we tried the two US-based servers. When we asked Atlas about this, we were told that people who pay for its Premium tier are more likely to be successful.
Atlas VPN’s Fire TV Stick and Android TV apps are only available to Premium subscribers. This is another sign that the free version isn’t made for streaming.
Even on the free plan, speeds were pretty good at 70Mbps, and our tests showed that Atlas VPN did an excellent job of keeping our online activity private.
One small problem is that the company is based in the United States, which is unsuitable for privacy. Atlas VPN says that, like most VPNs, it does not keep any logs. That means it doesn’t save any information about how you use its service, so even if the government or another authority asked for it, it wouldn’t exist.
But as with Privado and Surfshark, there is no proof of this. Nord Security, the well-known NordVPN, owns Atlas VPN. This is reassuring.
|Relatively affordable||Steep renewal pricing|
|Unlimited devices||No independent audit of its no-logs policy|
Surfshark, like Atlas VPN, is owned by Nord Security. This is the most affordable plan, costing $2.49 / £2.17 monthly. Even though it is not free, this is a fantastic all-around service. There is no restriction on the quantity of data you can consume or the number of devices you can simultaneously connect to Surfshark.
There are also a few extra features, such as Multi-Hop servers that route your connection through not one but two servers and the relatively new Nexus feature, which essentially replaces Multi-Hop and routes the connection through multiple servers in its network to effectively hide your actual location and, consequently, your identity.
Add to this fantastic speeds, user-friendly interfaces, and a solid track record of unblocking streaming services, and it’s a good deal, even for students on a budget.
If you subscribe for two years, you must remember to cancel your subscription to prevent overpaying.
In conclusion, despite the representation on Surfshark’s website that it has undergone an independent audit, this is not the case. It was an audit of its Chrome and Firefox extensions, which is in no way similar to its VPN service. It did not examine its server architecture and hence did not confirm that it sticks to its no-logs policy.
|Choice of 10 countries on the free plan||10GB of data per month|
|No speed limits are imposed for free users||Doesn’t unblock streaming services|
Windscribe, like others on this list, offers a free VPN service. However, you can only use 10GB of data per month before you lose access to the service until the next month.
Free users receive the same speeds as paying clients. With support for the most recent WireGuard protocol, that’s relatively quick. In addition, there is no connection limit, so you can use the VPNs simultaneously on numerous devices. On the other hand, you’ll quickly exhaust your 10GB limit.
Notably, the free plan does not grant access to any Windflix servers. Thus, you will be unable to unblock multiple Netflix regions or other streaming services.
Windscribe now offers a $1 per location ‘create your own plan’ option for those who desire it. This could be appealing if you simply want access to one or two countries. However, many VPN providers only charge a few dollars or pounds a month for their “pro” or “premium” levels, which provide access to hundreds or thousands of servers worldwide.