While it may seem that schools are just restrictive bodies looking to keep students from having a little fun online, the restrictions could actually be a deterrent for students to find good sources for their projects. Schools and colleges tend to have a long list of sites they block and while these are often the root cause of missed deadlines and an enormous drain on bandwidth, they can be helpful too.
For students, it’s important that schools have a VPN on their public WiFi as there are numerous security threats to consider. While the school’s VPN won’t necessarily prevent students from getting hacked, it does provide another obstacle that hackers would need to infiltrate before accessing sensitive information.
The restrictive lists that schools place on their VPN often include sites such a Facebook and YouTube. Both can be very handy in terms of gaining knowledge, and for those who need to arrange team events and socials, Facebook Live and Facebook groups can be handy. For students to get past the annoyance of VPNs, they would need to get their own VPN.
You’re going to want a VPN on your side when you’re dissertation includes anything that might be considered outside the fringes of a very sensitive school firewall
This VPN would allow them to access content that would have previously been considered verboten. It is, however, to use a VPN that’s safe and well-respected in the industry. While you would still need to play it cool and resist the urge to download hours of movies for the sake of your education, these VPNs can be a source of relief hours before a deadline and your best source is an interview on a site that falls within the “dubious areas on the net” category. What’s more, when you use a VPN, the nosy Parkers at school can’t snoop on your web activity, tattle to your ISP, or track your web movements.
Best VPNs When You’re At School
Before throwing your lot in with a specific service provider when choosing your VPN, you need to ensure that the option matches your needs. These 5 options for VPNs are at the top of our list for a number of reasons, and here’s a short summary of why they’re our top picks:
- ExpressVPN: Considered the #1 Trusted leader in VPN, this provider make is to the top of the list as users across the globe can use it to access content from anywhere else on the planet. Also, users are guaranteed their money back after 30 days if they’re not satisfied with the access – and security – this VPN provides them.
- NordVPN: For those who make regular use of public WiFi, this provider is confident that they provide a VPN that is hack-proof. This provider also happens to be mentioned in a number of top online publications as their VPN provider of choice.
- CyberGhost VPN: While their speed at connecting their customers to secure service providers is legendary, this provider also boasts over 5,900 servers in over 90 countries. For global users, this shortens the gap between content and security, all in one go.
- IPVanish VPN: Those who are looking for a low-cost provider that happens to provide a fast and reliable VPN service, this option will be a great fit. This VPN provides coverage across a multitude of platforms.
- PrivateVPN: Regarded as one of the fastest-growing VPNs globally, this provider is slowly staking its claim as one of the top VPNs out there. One of the key selling points of this provider is that users don’t have to endure frustrating lagging when watching online content through the VPN’s server.
While all of the providers list a money-back guarantee, only one provider exceeds the 30-day period for a 45-day window period. There is also only one provider that only provides a 7-day moneyback period. Although this is an important component of our criteria in this review, there are a few other key aspects that will determine whether I recommend a VPN service or not. Things we look out for when doing a review include:
- Whether the VPN offers a high level of protection while surfing the net
- The number of locations that users can expect to be serviced in
- The cost of signing up with the service provider
- Whether there is sufficient speed to stream content from other servers
- The ease with which to deal with the service team
- How many devices the VPN covers
Here are the top five VPN service providers I would recommend for use at schools.
Users will be hard-pressed to find better, bigger, and faster when it comes to VPN services, and ExpressVPN knows just what customers need to make their online journeys safe and restriction-free.
For students, this is a great option that will allow them to do all the research they want, from sites all across the globe in order to provide well-researched and documented papers. The access to the right content will also provide them with better insight into their chosen topic, expanding their knowledge on the subject. ExpressVPN provides access to over 3,000 servers in 94 countries.
Another aspect that is critical to research for students, is the speed of the server. There is nothing more frustrating than watching a how-to tutorial on a critical subject, only to have the video lag in the process. For students, unlimited speed is a pre-requisite to a desirable VPN.
Due to customer rankings, ExpressVPN is considered the top VPN service provider around the globe, and it boasts a 30-day moneyback guarantee. It also boasts unrestricted content across websites, social media, and more. For students who happen to be in countries where content is restricted in terms of streaming, they can now more easily enjoy Netflix and chill even while in the far corners of the earth.
Security is a fundamental component in the service delivery of a VPN, and with ExpressVPN, students can rest assured that they’re safe from online spying and hacking. This is especially important for those who fear their online activity being tracked, for instance, when using the WiFi at a public restaurant.
- Fast and speedy access to servers
- Many locations across the globe, with thousands of servers
- Secure coverage while browsing, including a killswitch if needed
- Speedy service and numerous contact points
- Hassle-free moneyback guarantee
- Slightly more pricey than competitors
THIS IS THE BEST VPN FOR COVERT WEB RESEARCH: For students, it’s important that they’re able to effortlessly garner the information they need to finish their projects. With ExpressVPN, they have easy access to websites across the globe, even those with geoblocking restrictions.
You can’t be on the lookout for a VPN service and not consider NordVPN. Students who wish to remain anonymous while browsing online will find this one of the most secure VPN services around. For a few dollars per month, users can expect to effortlessly browse and stream content from anywhere on the planet. This happens to be a great option for those who want to keep their browsing history safe and protect their devices from getting hacked while using public WiFi. Although there is usually quite strict security on a school or college public WiFi, students can benefit from the added layer of security a VPN provides.
What makes NordVPN a tough contender to beat, is the fact that students can secure up to 6 devices with their subscription. The service is available on apps specially designed for iOS, Android, and Android TV. Students are also not restricted to Windows, macOS, or Linux.
When it comes to the availability of the service, NordVPN has over 5,500 servers in more than 60 countries, providing students with seamless browsing. While it may not boast quite the coverage of some of its competitors, NordVPN is said to have the fastest VPN experience.
Perhaps one of the most endearing qualities of NordVPN is the flexible subscription options. This allows users to finetune their budgets, even though the 1-month plan is slightly on the pricey side. Those who want to use the service for 3 years stand to benefit from the highest savings, as the monthly costs are super low, but only when paid as a one-off amount for the three years.
- Fast and efficient service delivery
- Can support multiple devices simultaneously
- Numerous subscription options and fair pricing
- Secure VPN for browsing and accessing content
- Good service delivery, according to peer reviews
- Not as many countries as some of the competitors
BEST FOR STUDENTS WHO WANT MORE OPTIONS: Not everyone likes being locked into a three-year subscription, however, this option not only provides students with up to 70% discount on costs but it’s also payable once-off.
3. CyberGhost VPN
It’s not often that you see a service provider list a peer review rating on their site, however, CyberGhost VPN is proud to display their 9.4 of 10 rating from TrustPilot. For those looking for a VPN, this rating is about as good as it gets and they’re in for a treat. Students will find their journey with this VPN is a simple and efficient one, with a fairly user-friendly platform, fast executions, and an effective service delivery model that ensures that students are covered when they need it most.
Perhaps one of the elements of this VPN service that envokes trust a little more than the others is the fact that users have a 45-moneyback guarantee. This means that for a month and a half, students can use the service, and if they’re not entirely satisfied, get their money back hassle-free.
For students working on a project, it’s important that the information remains safe and secure, without compromising accessibility between students. This is where the P2P torrenting functionality is critical, and students can do it safely by using this VPN. It’s also an effective way to unblock streaming services, which makes downtime all the more fun.
Students can also rest assured that they’re safe while using public WiFi, as the security encryption is military grade. This means their online banking is safe, browsing is secure, and overall security is improved.
- Fast and secure service with quick turnaround times
- Military-grade encryption used
- A well-priced service with affordable subscription options
- Up to 7 devices are secured simultaneously
- 90+ countries and over 5,900 servers
- High cost of a one-month subscription
THIS IS THE BEST OPTION FOR THE TECH STUDENT: The avid researcher who has multiple devices going at the same time, will want a VPN service that offers protection for all their devices at the same time. CyberGhost VPN offers coverage for up to 7 devices.
4. IPVanish VPN
Sometimes it may seem like you’d want a VPN for your VPN, and with IPVanish VPN, there is the understanding that they don’t log your browsing. Ever. For a student who may be doing some sensitive research, especially on topics considered taboo in their own or even other countries, it’s vital that their information remains protected and secure. For users, it’s important to know that their VPN won’t use their information against them, such as access to financial records and personal online files.
One of the key selling points for this provider is the fact that everything is done in-house. This means that all the servicing, maintenance, and sales are handled internally to protect their client base. Customers won’t get routed to an outsourced service provider for anything with IPVanish VPN.
For students, it’s important to keep their information safe from their fellow students as well, especially those who need to work on their own designs, processes, or theories. Academic theft is a gamechanger and those who rely on public, college, and school WiFi for access to their cloud service, run a big risk of getting hacked. This service uses a 256-bit AES encryption.
While they may not boast as many servers or countries as their peers, IPVanish VPN makes it on this list thanks to its multiple-device support. Users can load the VPN on up to 10 devices simultaneously, which is generous by any standard.
- Good pricing structure
- Offers high security protocols
- Servers are their own, no 3rd parties
- Strict zero-logs policy keeps customers safe
- All parties, including design and development, are in-house
- A fraction of the servers and far fewer countries available on their list
- Only offers a 7-day moneyback guarantee
THE IDEAL OPTION FOR THE SAFETY-CONCERNED: Students who are worried about their information getting farmed by service providers will find this option to be ideal. The entire servicing team is within the company, which means no outsourcing. All servers belong to the company as well.
PrivateVPN is a gamechanger in the VPN industry when it comes to accessing the content at a high speed. They boast one of the fastest connection speeds, which prevents lag and buffering. This is ideal for those who need fast access to tutorials and video content that require a fast connection. The provider promises unlimited bandwidth and speed in order for browsing to happen effortlessly.
While speed may be an important factor for students who wish to access content not available due to their school’s firewall, safety is paramount as well. This is because public WiFi spots tend to have security weaknesses that could leave their information vulnerable. PrivateVPN boasts 2048-bit encryption with AES-256, and when paired up with the ZERO-log policy, makes this VPN practically impenetrable. There is also the IPv6 leak protection that ensures users aren’t compromised when their VPN suddenly gets disconnected.
One of the best features of PrivateVPN, is how fast users are able to start using the service. It takes under a minute to sign up, and users can make use of the service immediately. For those situated in the far outskirts of the world, there are over 60 countries listed, with over 100 servers.
- Fast service and setup times
- High-level security encryption
- Low and flexible pricing structures
- Additional layer of security with IPv6 leak protection
- Fast speed and unlimited bandwidth
- Only 100 servers available
FOR THE HIGH-SPEED STUDENT: Studying can take up a lot of time, which is why students need to be able to free their hands of things that will slow them down. High-speed connections and unlimited bandwidth are important considerations.
All In The Name Of Research
There are a number of reasons why students will want to unlock certain sites, as these provide them with an insight into things that they may previously have been blocked from. Sites that students can look forward to having access to include:
- Apple Music
- Google Play
- Spotify, and more
While these may at first not seem likely options for students to want to have unlocked, these sites are filled with information that students may need. For instance, YouTube and Pinterest are loaded with tutorials.
Students may also find that listening to music streaming apps while studying could improve their cognitive ability, if they’re used to music in the background. By allowing them access to these services, VPNs can help students study for their exams.
While VPNs also allow students access to streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix, the service might not extend to gaming services needed for Playstation 4 or Xbox. For these, students may have to configure the entire router to the VPN to gain access.
Choose The Right VPN For The Best Service
While it’s simple enough to choose a VPN service and start using it, the service can be problematic if it counters your rights to browse safely online. For instance, VPN services that don’t follow the strict rules of engagement when it comes to customer protection may end up logging their user’s information and using the information to track them. This not only defeats the purpose of using a VPN but is also a serious infringement of privacy. This often happens when users sign up for free VPN services.
Conclusion: Why We Chose ExpressVPN
There are a number of reasons why ExpressVPN ticks all our boxes and the fact that it’s a little more pricey than the competitors hardly makes a dent in this consideration. For students, this option provides them with a speedy service that is both reliable and secure. While there is an endless stream of servers and countries, it’s the continuity of the product that really stands out.
For users, a safe browsing experience is about more than just being tracked online. It also means taking care of financial matters without worrying that the information will be compromised. ExpressVPN enjoys high ratings through peer and consumer reviews, and with good reason. The product, sales service, and after-sales-service is commendable and gets my vote.