To find the best VPN service for your personal needs, you'll need to compare brands, prices, features, and more. Fundamentally, most VPNs (virtual private networks) provide two services: They encrypt your data between two points and they hide the IP address (from which a general location can be derived) where you're located.
For those traveling or out and about, the first function is critical because most Wi-Fi available publicly is unencrypted -- so anyone on the network can see what you were sending. But VPNs also serve to hide your IP address, replacing the address logged on servers with one in a completely different location -- even a different country. For those worrying about stalking or other threats, this feature could save lives. Most consumers, though, find streaming VPN features compelling because -- in some cases, and with dubious legality -- it allows them to spoof their region of origin to get access to streaming media and sports blacked out from their home locale.
In this article, we look at a bunch of our top VPN solutions with a focus on the number of server locations, level of encryption, and compatibility with phones, computers, and TVs. We'll cover many of the best VPN service providers, how to access the native VPNs built into your desktop machine, and even how to use your NAS as a VPN client and host.
And with that, let's dig into what makes the best VPNs tick and answer some more of your questions at the end of this article, so read on. But first, our picks for the best VPNs of 2022.