A VPN (Virtual Private Network) establishes a secure network through which your internet traffic passes, hiding everything that can be used to identify you from your ISP (Internet Service Provider), hackers, and even governments. To make it easy for you, we have a list of the ten best VPN in India that includes popular choices like Private Internet Access, ProtonVPN, and more.
Disclaimer: The article is intended for those who want to protect their privacy and for educational purposes. We don't condone the use of VPNs for any sort of unlawful activities like accessing illegal websites, torrenting, hacking into private networks, etc. We don't take responsibility for any account ban that can happen from changing regions on streaming apps and online games.
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Table of Contents
Here is a well-researched guide on how to choose a VPN for your privacy and anonymity. Keep reading to learn about VPN protocols, encryption, leaks, and more in the sections below.
A VPN protocol is a set of instructions that determine how your internet traffic is routed through a secure tunnel. Some commonly used protocols are OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), IKEv2/IPSec, Wireguard, and PPTP. Each one of them is designed to perform optimally under specific circumstances. OpenVPN is the most commonly used protocol.
It provides a very good level of encryption and is compatible with most operating systems and devices. Wireguard is another open-source protocol that is lightweight and provides much more connection stability than OpenVPN. The level of encryption is also as good as OpenVPN. IKEv2/IPSec offers faster connection speeds compared to OpenVPN and Wireguard.
It is good for media streaming and torrenting. PPTP is one of the oldest protocols. It is as fast as IKEv2/IPSec, but the level of encryption is very poor. If you use a VPN using the PPTP protocol, you will be extremely vulnerable to hackers. We recommend finding a VPN that gives you the choice of at least two protocols, most preferably OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec.
If you want to access regional content, for example, Netflix shows available only in Bulgaria, you need a VPN that has servers in that country. The number of servers the VPN service provider has in a particular country also matters. When several users are connected to a server, it becomes overloaded, causing slow internet speed, packet loss, etc.
If the VPN has multiple servers, choose one that shows less load. If your purpose of using a VPN is just for privacy and anonymity, check the VPN's official website to find out if they have servers in countries closer to India. If you connect to a faraway country, you will experience slow speeds, since data packets take longer to travel to and from your device.
And slow speeds will result in high in-game latency, slower download speeds, video buffering issues, etc. If you are a journalist or an activist, you would want to connect to a country with no strict data retention laws.
Some VPNs come with servers dedicated for special purposes, for example, streaming, gaming, and/or torrenting. Suppose you want to watch Netflix USA, go for a VPN that comes with a Netflix streaming server in the USA among regular servers. Dedicated servers can help reduce video loading time, in-game latency, and increase torrenting speeds.
But there is a problem. VPNs usually provide shared, dynamic IP addresses, meaning a random IP address also used by other VPN users all around the globe gets assigned to you too. Video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime know that people use VPNs to access region-specific content. They have implemented measures to find and blacklist IP addresses used by VPNs.
Even video game publishers do that to prevent you from playing on a server dedicated exclusively to a country. So VPNs offer dedicated IP addresses to users as an add-on. The IP address is assigned to your account, and only you can use it. Video game publishers and streaming service providers won't find out that the IP address you are using was provided by a VPN service provider.
Sometimes a VPN connection can go down, exposing your IP address and location to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is called traffic leak. If you switch from one VPN server to another, it takes some time for the connection to get established. Even during such a brief interval, packets can leak from your device and reach the ISP's server.
Connectivity issues can occur at the server level too when there is a connection overload or server crash. A VPN without a kill switch will expose your identity immediately. A kill switch is a feature that gets activated once the VPN detects that the connection to the secure server has gone down. There is a better solution to kill switch, and that's a firewall.
By the time your VPN detects that the secure connection has gone down and the kill switch gets activated, some packets of data might reach the ISP's servers. While the kill switch only kicks in when the connection drops, a firewall is like a safety net that is always there. Choose a VPN that offers the best traffic leak solution for your needs.
A VPN leak reveals your identity and browsing behavior to your ISP or a hacker snooping on your network. There are mainly four types of VPN leaks: Traffic leak, DNS leak, IPv6 leak, and WebRTC leak. We talked about traffic leaks in the previous section. A DNS leak occurs when your device communicates with your ISP's DNS server instead of the VPN's.
This can happen if the VPN service providers don't have DNS servers or the technology to prevent DNS leaks. There are two types of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6. An IPv6 leak can happen if your VPN doesn't support IPv6. In this case, only the IPv4 traffic gets routed through the secure tunnel, exposing your IPv6 address to the website you are visiting, which can be traced back to you.
WebRTC is a tool used by browsers to facilitate voice and video chat (for example, Skype). The basic functionality of this tool involves sending your IP address to the website even if you are using a VPN. Head over to the features section of a VPN service provider's official website and find out if their app has the technology to prevent all four types of leaks.
What if you don't want your entire device to be connected to a VPN server? Suppose you are torrenting (which is illegal if the file you are downloading/uploading is copyrighted), and you are connected to a VPN server because you don't want your ISP to know that you are torrenting.
But you want to access your bank's website that is only accessible if you are in India. Split tunneling is a VPN feature that lets you choose the apps that should send traffic through the VPN server. Here are the benefits of choosing a VPN that comes with the split tunneling feature.
You can conserve bandwidth by routing only the traffic that needs to stay hidden rather than forcing the entire device to connect through a VPN server. You can still watch your Indian Netflix while you are traveling. You don't have to wait till you reach India to watch your favorite shows.
Paid VPNs usually offer unlimited bandwidth and data. There are VPN service providers that offer everything they got in every plan they offer. The only difference is the billing frequency. You may be charged monthly, annually, or even biannually.
Others, however, create plans that offer different numbers of servers, countries, and features, so you can choose one that suits your requirements. Some VPNs offer free plans too. But you won't get the high speeds and unlimited data that comes with paid subscriptions.
Some VPN service providers like TunnelBear give you limited data but access to all the features of the VPN. Those who want to test the app before purchasing a plan will find this useful.
We use a VPN to hide ourselves and the websites we visit from strangers' eyes. But the VPN service providers can log your IP address and the websites you visit if they want. VPNs based in countries with strict data retention laws may require doing so by law. Go for a VPN with a strict no-logs policy. But no logging doesn't mean that none of your data is collected.
If you have any such concerns, there are VPNs that accept payment in the form of cryptocurrency and third-party gift cards. Private Internet Access is a VPN that accepts payment in the form of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, etc., and gift cards of major brands including Starbucks, Walmart, and Best Buy.
Click to purchase
Unlimited Bandwidth With 30 Days Risk-Free Money Back Guarantee
Has 5273 Servers in 60 Countries
Best for Streaming and Torrenting
Dedicated IPs Available for Purchase Separately
Private Internet ACCESS
Offers Open Source Transparency
Uses Their Proprietary Hydra Protocol
Comes With TOR Support Built-in
Features a Superior Solution to Kill Switch
Accepts Bitcoin, Monero, and Cash Payments
Provides Easy-to-Use Browser Extensions
ExpressVPN is the best VPN app on our list. With over 160 VPN server locations in 94 countries and unlimited bandwidth, you can browse, stream, and download anything you want anonymously. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, where there are no data retention laws. Your activity and connection logs are safe from law enforcement and governments.
ExpressVPN offers five encryption protocols: Lightway, Lightway, OpenVPN (with TCP/UDP), SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP. Learn about the significance of VPN protocols from our buying guide. The app is configured to prevent IPv6 and DNS leaks too—the security issues that can occur when your internet traffic communicates directly with your ISP's servers.
The app has a kill switch. In case your VPN connection fails, this kill switch will block all internet traffic until the connection is restored. But this VPN is not actually free. It offers a 30-days risk-free money-back guarantee. If you are not satisfied, you get your money back.
NordVPN offers apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, routers, and more. If you want every device connected to your home router to be protected, go for the NordVPN router app. Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox are also available.
NordVPN is based in Panama, a country with no mandatory data retention laws. NordVPN uses the NordLynx protocol by default in most of the apps. This technology is based on the latest WireGuard protocol. The app also provides other security protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec.
Other features offered by this VPN include split tunneling, dedicated IP address, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, etc. NordVPN allows six devices to be connected using one account.
Here is another VPN service provider based in the British Virgin Islands: a jurisdiction with no data retention rules. The app takes privacy to a whole new level with MultiHop. This feature establishes a connection through two VPN servers in different countries, thus adding an extra layer of protection.
Surfshark uses AES-256 encryption to protect your data, and even the fastest computer on earth would take a billion years to crack it. The default protocol in Surfshark VPN is IKEv2/IPsec (faster than OpenVPN and Wireguard, so good for streaming and torrenting). But you have other choices like OpenVPN, WireGuard, and Shadowsocks as well.
Surfshark follows a strict no-logs policy. They promise not to hand over your connection and browsing information to advertisers or government authorities. The key feature of Surfshark is that it allows an unlimited number of devices to be connected using a single account.
Do you connect to public Wi-Fis when you are outside? Your typical hotel or airport Wi-Fi gives hackers easy access to your device. Using a VPN will protect you from attackers. CyberGhost VPN offers three different encryption protocols (OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard) and AES 256-bit encryption. At a time, the app allows seven devices to be connected.
CyberGhost has 7199 servers in 114 locations across 91 countries. They also have dedicated streaming servers for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+ Hotstar, and more. The company also offers dedicated IP addresses as an add-on to your regular subscription.
CyberGhost allows split tunneling too. Now you can decide which apps should access the internet directly through your ISP and which ones should be connected via the secure VPN. The company offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, unlike other VPN service providers that offer only 30 days.
Private Internet ACCESS (PIA) is one of the most trusted VPN service providers on our list. The app's entire source code is open source, meaning you can inspect the code to confirm the company's promise to protect your privacy and anonymity. Even the protocols are open source—OpenVPN and WireGuard.
PIA is based in the United States, where there are no strict data retention laws. But the USA is part of the 5 eyes, 9 eyes, and 14 eyes alliance. As long as you don't travel to the United States and do something illegal over the internet, you have nothing to worry about.
PIA is trusted by top online publications and magazines like Forbes, WIRED, tom's guide, and Lifehacker. The app allows a maximum of 10 simultaneous connections. The paid subscriptions offer shared dynamic IPs. You can purchase dedicated IPs if you want to access IP-restricted networks.
Hotspot Shield is one of the few VPN service providers that have developed their own protocol. Their Catapult Hydra protocol is 2.4 times faster than OpenVPN. The connection speed offered by the free plan is limited to 2Mbps, and the data limit is 500MB per day. That's way too low for today's needs. The best premium plan they offer gives you five accounts and allows 25 device connections.
The paid plans also offer streaming mode and gaming mode. Now you can play online multiplayer games with your friends without high ping and watch movies and TV shows on Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, etc., without slow buffering. The free version also doesn't allow split tunneling or offer a kill switch, which can be inconvenient and a privacy concern.
This VPN service provider is trusted by popular media companies like CNN, FOX, and abc news. You can try risk-free for 45 days, and if you are not satisfied, you get your money back.
Just like Private Internet Access (PIA), ProtonVPN apps are also open source. Feel free to check for any malicious codes that could compromise your privacy. ProtonVPN offers a feature called Secure Core with their Plus and Visionary plans. When you connect to servers in high-risk jurisdictions like the USA, your traffic will first go through Secure Core servers.
This will make it even more difficult to track the IP address of users. Secure Core servers are located in countries with strong privacy laws: Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden. ProtonVPN comes with built-in support for Tor (an open-source software that enables anonymous communication). Now you can access the dark web with the protection of ProtonVPN as well as the Tor anonymity network.
The Basic plan gives you access to 350+ servers in 40+ countries, better speed, BitTorrent support, and Adblocker. The Plus plan gives you access to 1200+ servers in 55 countries, 10 Gbps speed, streaming service support, Secure Core VPN, TOR over VPN, along with the basic plan features.
Windscribe has firewall, a better solution to kill switch. While a kill switch only gets activated when the connection goes down, a firewall is an ever-present filter that restricts unprotected connection.
It won't let any packet that is not going to or coming from a Windscribe server leave or enter your system. Windscribe doesn't keep any logs that can identify you. This VPN comes with a unique feature called R.O.B.E.RT.
It allows you to set rules to block ads, malware, porn sites, gambling sites, and many more, allowing you to protect your kids from accidentally opening inappropriate websites. Free users get 10 GB per month and access to ten of the 63 countries where Windscribe has servers.
IVPN goes to lengths where other VPN service providers don't to keep their operations as transparent as possible. The company has published the results of an independent audit by Cure53, a german cybersecurity firm, verifying the no-logging claims.
IVPN's standard plan allows two devices and provides an anti-tracker (blocks ads, malware, data harvesting trackers, and malicious websites). The Pro plan allows seven devices, port forwarding, and multi-hop (connect through multiple servers). IVPN accepts cryptocurrency payments (Bitcoin and Monero) as well as cash payments, thus providing an extra layer of anonymity.
TunnelBear makes it easy for even novice users to use the VPN. It only supports two VPN protocols: OpenVPN for Windows, Android, and macOS, and IPSec for iOS. TunnelBear conducts independent security audits annually, and the report is available for users to read. Here is the 2020 security audit report by the German cybersecurity firm, Cure53.
The company has good privacy and no-logging policies but is based in Canada, a Five Eyes alliance member. The app is available for Windows, Mac, iPhone&iPad, and android. Lightweight browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox are available too.
Unfortunately, TunnelBear doesn't offer any money-back guarantee. Free users get only 500 MB of data, which is not sufficient for running multiple tests to find out if the app is optimized for your various needs like torrenting, media streaming, gaming, etc.
Free VPN is a myth. You may not be paying money, but you are paying with your browsing behavior. Maintaining servers requires money. If a company is offering its services for free, it is most likely selling your data to advertisers. If you are a journalist or an activist under the radar of a government, they may even force the VPN service provider to share your browsing data.
If the service provider hardly makes any money (because they are offering their services for "free"), they will easily yield to any persuasion to avoid lawsuits. Sometimes, VPNs use fake locations, which they sugarcoat by calling them virtual servers. For example, you may choose Pakistan from the list of servers, but the actual server may be in Singapore or Malaysia.
This can be dangerous if you are trying to avoid certain countries. The internet speed can also get affected if the actual physical server is far away. Paid VPNs also do this. Check the official website of a VPN for the list of physical and virtual locations they offer. Free VPNs may also lack sufficient data encryption and leak protection. Some free VPNs are also known to contain malware.
With many of us working from home now, the need for video conferencing is even more necessary than usual. But the devices of your family may also be connected to the same router. And because of this, you are likely to experience a delay in video and audio transmission. Not to mention the forever loading times.
We got recommendations and buying guides for the best webcams and WiFi extenders in India. Now you can video chat with your colleagues and loved ones in HD and never experience slow speeds even if you are on the balcony of the first floor.
Do you want the governments to spy on your internet activity? Or advertisers to bombard you with ads? We think not. A VPN can protect you from anyone who wants to snoop on your private affairs.
A VPN is becoming a necessity these days, considering the scandals that are being unearthed. Protect yourself from hackers, ISP, and law enforcement agencies by using a VPN. As a journalist or an activist, you may not be doing anything illegal, but people in positions of power may not entertain your quest for truth and justice. Sometimes, it is easy to hide rather than fight.
Author - Arun F Xaviour
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