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In 2013, Edward Snowden exposed the US government for lying about snooping on its own citizens. Congress then passed new legislation that allows alphabet agencies (e.g. NSA, CIA, FBI) to continue mass data surveillance. That’s a good enough reason to want to protect your online privacy.
Top 5 VPNs for the USA
1. Private Internet Access
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Long-standing provider with robust security featuresVisit Private Internet Access
- Affordable premium subscriptions
- Up to 10 simultaneous connections
- Secure & customizable encryption
- Room for interface improvements
- Limited advanced features
- Lacking recent no-logs policy audit
Best overall, Private Internet Access is a tried and true VPN for the US. While it is based in Colorado, we’re very confident in recommending it thanks to its verified logging practices and open-source code that can be viewed by anyone. Other than standard account information, PIA collects zero data from its users, so even if a US government agency did request customer data, PIA has nothing to hand over.
Strapped with advanced settings and a sleek VPN app, PIA is among the best VPNs for America out there. Its network includes over 14,000 servers in 10 American states, which you can connect to on up to 10 devices at once with your single PIA subscription. This is what you look for when streaming or torrenting.
PIA is a strong VPN that offers much of what you’d hope for in a VPN – the ability to hide your IP address, securely encrypt your data, and open the gates to geo-restricted TV shows, movies, and sports.
For more in-depth information, read our Private Internet Access VPN Review.
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A fast, affordable VPN with advanced security featuresVisit IPVanish
- Supports torrenting & P2P
- Dynamic IP addresses
- Zero-logs policy
- No IP address/DNS/IPV6 leaks
- Unlimited connections
- Cluttered interface
- Under 5 Eyes surveillance
- Doesn’t work in China
IPvanish is another VPN that’s based in the US (Orlando, Florida). And while we don’t like the US government’s involvement in the Five Eyes Alliance, we feel comfortable recommending IPVanish due to its strict no-logs policy. It also employs military-grade encryption and offers customizable settings that include port selection, split tunneling, and a kill switch.
You should really consider IPVanish if security or entertainment matters to you. It passes as a trustworthy VPN and is actually tailor-made for devices and platforms like Android, Kodi, and Firestick. It also permits torrenting on all of its 900+ US servers spread across 14 US states.
You can use the IPVanish app on 10 consecutive devices and pay as little as $2.40 per month on its cheapest plan. If interested, consider trying IPVanish out risk-free for 30 days to see what works for you.
For more in-depth information, read our IPVanish VPN Review.
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Feature-rich VPN with strong privacy practicesVisit NordVPN
- Sleek app that's easy to use
- Vast array of security features
- Fast download speeds
- Expensive short-term plan
- Does not accept PayPal
- Basic browser extensions
Based in Panama, NordVPN is a powerful USA VPN. It provides AES 256-bit encryption, a verified zero-logs policy, and a host of extra security features like DoubleVPN routing and CyberSec (an ad-blocker) for added protection online.
The NordVPN app is also easy to configure and runs multiple protocols for secure tunnels between your device and VPN server. In the US alone, NordVPN offers 1,970+ servers in 15 major cities including Atlanta, Buffalo, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Virginia, New Jersey, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis. You can let NordVPN make a quick connection to a random USA server, or choose a specific city to suit your online needs better.
We also liked that NordVPN consistently delivered fast speeds and protects up to 6 devices at once, so you can connect to multiple devices at once. Take advantage of NordVPN’s generous 30-day free trial risk-free to see for yourself.
For more in-depth information, read our NordVPN Review.
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Powerful VPN with diverse functionalityVisit ExpressVPN
- Fast, reliable speeds
- Verified no-logs policy
- Safe, unrestricted torrenting/P2P
- No kill switch on iOS
- Pricey subscriptions
- No WireGuard support
ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN for the US thanks to its strong security and servers in 14 US cities. It’s one of the few VPNs incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which bodes well for users bent on privacy. To emphasize its commitment further, ExpressVPN recruited security giant, PwC, to independently audit its service and verify its logging and safety practices. We were happy to find it passed with flying colors, by the way.
In addition to security, ExpressVPN is also known for consistently delivering fast speeds on both near and far servers, which is great for streaming. It boldly advertises a list of streaming websites it can unblock and covers up to 5 device connections at once. From our tests, we were able to successfully unblock content from popular sites like BBC iPlayer and Netflix US – two platforms notorious for blocking VPNs. It’s even able to bypass sports blackouts.
ExpressVPN is more expensive than other VPNs on this list, but it truly makes up for it with everything it has to offer. You can try ExpressVPN for one month risk-free or consider a longer plan at a discounted rate. We found it very flexible on payment methods and term lengths.
For more in-depth information, read our ExpressVPN Review.
5. HMA VPN
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A VPN that offers extreme speeds and streaming supportVisit HMA VPN
- Impressive server network coverage
- Fantastic speeds with minimal speed loss
- Unblocks multiple streaming platforms
- Limited payment options
- Based in the UK (5 Eyes jurisdiction)
- Limited security on Apple devices
HMA (HideMyAss) is another great provider for the US if streaming and usability are key features for you. While it isn’t the most secure VPN on this list, HMA offers IP addresses in 48 US states, which is the best coverage we’ve seen yet. The only locations not included in HMA’s network are New Jersey and New Mexico, and the states with the most concentrated HMA servers are California, New York, Texas, and Washington.
Thanks to its impressive server network, HMA is able to deliver very fast local and international download speeds. This makes it good for online activities like gaming and streaming. When testing, HMA successfully unblocked multiple Netflix libraries like US Netflix and UK Netflix and accessed NFL regional games.
It’s also known for having a very user-friendly app that’s compatible with major devices and operating systems – good for all beginners. You can choose between HMA’s three main plans priced as low as $2.99. With multiple payment methods and a 7-day free trial, you can easily test HMA out for yourself before fully committing.
For more in-depth information, read our HMA VPN Review.
USA VPN FAQs
- Are VPNs legal in the US?
- Should I avoid VPNs based in the US?
- How do I watch British TV from the US?
- What is the safest jurisdiction for a VPN?
- What is the 5-Eyes Alliance?
- What is the Patriot Act and how does it affect me?
1. Are VPNs legal in the US?
Yes, VPNs are legal in the US. There are no anti-VPN laws on the books that prohibit you from downloading and using a VPN.
However, a VPN doesn’t shield you from any illegal activities you do while using one. For example, it’s still illegal to share copyrighted music without permission regardless of if your internet connection is VPN protected or not.
2. Should I avoid VPNs based in the US?
VPNs under US jurisdiction can pose potential threats depending on their privacy practices. With legislation like the Patriot Act, the US government has significant surveillance power over its citizens.
If you choose a VPN based in the US, you’ll want to find one with a proven no-logs policy to ensure that your personal browsing data is secure. If it’s not, this can leave you exposed in the event of a court order. At any point, a US VPN is obligated to cooperate with US government officials if they request customer data pertaining to a case.
3. How do I watch British TV from the US?
If you want to access British TV from the US, you’ll need to either 1) get a UK IP address or 2) find a VPN with proven access to UK content.
Like Netflix, BBC iPlayer continually blocks VPN servers to protect their programming agreements. So, you need a provider that has a track record for bypassing these firewalls. The best VPNs will successfully hide your IP address and unblock geo-restricted content with ease.
4. What is the safest jurisdiction for a VPN?
The safest places to incorporate a VPN company are the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Seychelles, and Switzerland. These countries are well known for their strict laws protecting personal data, both online and offline.
5. What is the 5-Eyes Alliance?
In 1946, the 5-Eyes Alliance (FVEY) was formed between five countries and their security agencies that include Australia (ASD), Canada (CSEC), New Zealand (GCSB), the United Kingdom (GCHQ), and the United States (NSA).
The main purpose of this pact is to facilitate the sharing of intelligence information between all five countries. While it was initially created to improve communication between geopolitical partners, the powers that be eventually saw it as a great workaround to domestic data protection laws. Edward Snowden, for example, revealed that the US (NSA) was paying the UK (GCHQ) to spy on US citizens since it could not do it itself under the law.
This is why it’s important to only use a US VPN with proven logging practices. If a US court ever made a legal request for customer data, a VPN would be obligated by law to comply.
There are also two other extensions of FVEY: the 9-Eyes and 14-Eyes alliances. Any VPNs incorporated in countries tied to these groups should take extra precautions to protect customer data.
6. What is the Patriot Act and how does it affect me?
In the wake of 9/11, the US government passed the Patriot Act, which greatly expanded the government’s surveillance power to spy on its own citizens.
One of the more concerning sections of this bill (Section 215) relates to the US federal government’s ability to look at and confiscate an individual’s personal data held by third parties. (Think of your health records stored at your doctor’s office or your personal browsing data collected by your internet service provider.)
This bill expired in 2015 and was replaced by the USA FREEDOM Act, which was in effect until 2019. Congress continues to re-introduce clones of the Patriot Act to the floor, but there are still many unknowns.
The safest thing you can do to protect yourself from governmental surveillance is to use a VPN.