Schoolwork requires a lot of research and gathering of data and information. The advent of the internet has made this a lot easier. That being said, when it comes to using the internet, there are many ways through which your data can get leaked or hacked by unauthorized people who harbor ill intentions.
This is why you need a VPN; to make sure that you are safe and sound at all times. That being said, there are many VPNs in the market today, and it may take some time before you can identify the best one. Luckily for you, though, we carried out a myriad of tests of hundreds of VPNs and have come up with a list of five of the best VPNs to use in school.
The Best VPNs for School in 2021
- Surfshark (Best Overall VPN for School)
- NordVPN (Best Budget VPN for School)
- CyberGhost (Best School VPN for Studying Abroad)
- Hide Me (Best School VPN for Free)
- ProtonVPN (Best Free VPN for School)
Detailed Overview of the Best Chrome VPNs
Surfshark has its headquarters based in the British Virgin Islands. This is very important and actually acts to your advantage because the British Virgin Islands are not part of the 14-eyes alliance, enabling counties to share their citizens’ personal data. This means that you can rest assured that your personal data, information, and browsing history is safe and sound.
SurfsharkVPN has a strict no-logging policy, meaning that they do not store any data related to your online activity. The only data that Surfshark collects is the frequency of use of the app, the aggregated performance data, and the unsuccessful connections attempts if any. All this data is strictly for analytical purposes. Thus, there is no uniquely identifiable information about you that they store. Ergo, you will be able to access all the material you need for your school work and entertainment without having to worry about a thing.
Protocols are important for VPNs because they encrypt your data and traffic so that no unauthorized person can access it and because they are the medium through which firewalls are bypassed. The latter is extremely important, especially when you want to get content from counties such as North Korea, Russia, and China.
SurfsharkVPN has a couple of protocols at its disposal, and in many ways, you are spoilt for choice. It uses OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec. For users who have a Windows Operating System, Shadowsock protocol is especially effective when bypassing firewalls.
Encryption is catered to by AES-256, one of the most effective encryption protocols in the business.
The larger number of servers a VPN has, the more options you will have for spoofing. The VPN’s network includes 1040 servers in 61 different countries. We found that this should be sufficient for using VPNs in school, but some VPNs have a wider and more intensive network.
Surfshark supports torrenting and streaming. For your entertainment, Surfshark has moved mountains to make sure you get what you deserve. Torrenting and streaming speeds are high, and you do all this without the risk of leaking your personal data or anyone knowing your online whereabouts, so to speak.
SurfsharkVPN is compatible with all major devices. It works with all major operating systems; Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Another upside when it comes to SurfsharkVPN is that you have an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, meaning that all you have to do is pay for one account, and you will be able to use it on all the devices you want.
The main reason why Surfshark is on this list is because of its pricing. As a student, you are always looking for value for money, and SurfsharkVPN offers exactly that. The monthly plan costs 11.95 dollars. You can opt for the annual plan, which will cost you 5.99 dollars a month.
However, the real discount is in the 24-month plan, which only costs you 1.99 dollars a month. All the stated subscriptions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The Long-term subscription pricing can be a bit confusing though. It is a fact that the longer the subscription period, the lower the price. With Surfshark, this is true. Notwithstanding, long-term subscriptions can prove to be confusing. This is because, for long-term subscriptions, you have to pay all the money at once.
No free version. Many VPNs have a free version; it limits the number of servers available, in addition to the amount of data you can use. All of this, though, is free. Surfshark doesn’t have a free version, so you have to pay to get what you want.
As mentioned earlier, one of the main criteria we used when compiling this list was pricing. Of course, one cannot acquiesce to low quality just because it is cheap, so we have to balance cost and quality. Suffice it to say, NordVPN more than meets these criteria.
NordVPN is based in Panama, a country whose laws more than assure you that your online safety is guaranteed. It is not part of the 14-eyes coalition nor any other signal-sharing treaties.
Located in a privacy haven
It is head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to safety and security. It has put in place all the necessary protocols to ensure that all your data and online activities are safe, and no one else apart from you can access it by using military-grade encryption protocols, such as Open VPN and Ikev2/IPsec.
HTTPS protection – Even though most people believe that sites with HTTPS encryptions are safe, it is not necessarily the case. As innocent a site as it may seem, such as a research site, it may affect your device by introducing ransomware, malware, and other threats. This fact is proliferated when you bring into the fold torrenting and illegal streaming sites.
NordVPN comes with a feature known as CyberSec that protects you from unsafe connections and unwanted ads.
DDoS Protection – Hackers use DDoS, distributed denial-of-service, to flood your device with so much traffic that it crushes. This is most often a decoy so that they can get your data, such as credit card details, or install malicious software into your device.
You are most prone to DDoS attacks if you use public Wi-Fi signals, which are more common in learning institutions. Therefore, you have to make sure that you are protected at all times.
NordVPN can help you with this. It comes with an Anti-DDoS Protection feature that will make sure you have all the protection you need.
NordVPN has fast servers, though it is not one of the fastest in the business. However, as stated earlier, you will get value for your money.
NordVPN also launched a new product called NordVPN Teams. This is similar to Microsoft Teams, which enables the communication between co-workers. However, as you can expect from a privacy company – NordVPN Teams can be a much safer choice.
One thing we don’t like is that the interface sites may seem a bit cramped and sometimes the app requires a hard reset. NordVPN comes with a myriad of features, and at times it may appear a bit cramped. You will have to be extra careful when you are moving about not to touch the wrong buttons.
No free trial
It does not have a free trial.
At least in the traditional sense, NordVPN does not have a free trial version. Thus, you will have to pay first to get to know what you are paying for. That being said, it has some of the most affordable prices in the market; For a monthly subscription, you will have to part with 11.95 dollars. A one-year plan will cost you 6.99 dollars per month, and a three-year plan will cost you 2.99 dollars per month.
When you are studying abroad, you are bound to miss home. The best way to ease this homesickness is to find a way to access some of the content that is exclusive to your country of origin. CyberGhost VPN is thus exactly what you need.
CyberGhost has a very impressive server network, perhaps even the best one amongst VPNs on this list. It has over 6000 VPN servers in over 90 countries. This is the reason why so many people prefer CyberGhostVPN over other VPNs. In fact, CyberGhost has over 36 million subscribers. Thus, if you’re feeling a bit homesick, all you have to do is spoof your traffic to your country, and you will be able to enjoy the content you miss and need.
Privacy across the globe
CyberGhost is based in Romania, which is not part of any signal-sharing alliance but also has a myriad of laws that ensure that personal data and information privacy are upheld. Moreover, Romanian law, which CyberGhost is under, does not require data companies to have any logging, and thus CyberGhost has a no-logging policy.
It does not have a double-hopping feature.
The double-hop feature makes it possible to use two servers simultaneously. This gives you more security and privacy. CyberGhost does not have this feature but has made up for it with many other privacy and security features, as mentioned earlier.
Bonus features – CyberGhost comes with a plethora of bonus features. It comes with an ad blocker and a website, and virus protection software. Moreover, it offers data compression, which will save you on space and the amount of mobile data you will be spending. Note that the said features are not standard to other VPNs, but they are with CyberGhost.
Good news for Netflix and torrenting fans. CyberGhost works perfectly with Netflix, despite the latter’s policy to try and block VPNs. Additionally, we found that the VPN works wonderfully in torrenting and is one of the fastest VPNs, with regards to Torrenting, on this list and in general.
One thing we didn’t like was the fact that CB software auto-selects servers when you log back in – We logged out and then back into the VPN every time we found that we were tunneled to a different server than we had set the last time. You can change the server you want to use, but it is still a bit annoying.
The price for CyberGhost subscriptions is higher compared to other VPNs with similar features. You will pay 12.99 dollars for the monthly subscription, and you will have a 14-day money-back guarantee. The 6-month plan comes at 7.99 dollars per month and translates to 95.88 dollars a year.
The 18-month plan is by far the cheapest in terms of the monthly payment. It is billed at 45.5 dollars for the first 18-months and then annually from thereon. If you choose the 18-month plan, you get a 45-day money-back guarantee, and if it is not to your liking, they will refund you all your money.
The best things in life are free and Hide.me VPN is a quintessence of this. With Hide.me, you will be able to get most of the services you would expect from a VPN whose services you are paying for, only this time; it is completely free.
Hide.me is a brainchild of eVentures Limited, based in Malaysia, and was founded in 2012. In 2010, the Malaysian government put the Personal Data Protection Act into action, which states that companies are not required to transfer personal information to entities outside Malaysia unless ordered by the Minister. In addition to this, Malaysia also does not require companies to log their clientele data, which is a huge bonus for you.
Hide.me has established numerous encryption protocols to provide you with the very best data protection. Examples of these protocols include L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, SoftEther, IKEv2, OpenVPN, and PPTP. The VPN automatically switches between these protocols and finds out the most effective and efficient way through which it is possible to unblock sites and streaming services, all the while making sure you remain anonymous.
Hide.me can be integrated into a myriad of devices without any fuss with regards to configuration. It can work with all the major operating systems; Android, Blackberry, iOS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. Most importantly, though, it supports routers, which is often not the case for other VPNs.
Servers all over the world
Hide.me has just over 1400 servers in over 34 different counties. This means that you have quite a lot of options to spoof.
Average speeds. Numerous factors affect the speed of a VPN; the location of the said servers, your location, server processors, the number of people using the servers at a said time, and even the age of the hardware.
When we conducted tests on Hide.me to determine its speeds, we found that, though they weren’t bad, they weren’t at par with that of other VPNs with whom Hide.me considers competitors.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t establish a connection to China
Most VPNs in this list have servers in China. Hide.me, on the other hand, does not. This is not such a big deal unless you want to route your traffic to China.
A very responsive customer service
We found that the customer support service that Hide.me has is very responsive, and all your issues will be sorted out promptly and effectively. When we contacted them through the live chat, they responded within less than a minute.
Email responses, because they are more intricate, will take a bit longer to reply to. We received a reply after a little over 70 minutes, which isn’t that long because we had emailed them concerning a rather complex issue.
Hide.me has a free edition, which comes with 2GB of data transfer, 5 worldwide locations you can pick from, and one simultaneous connection. This may not seem like much, but it may prove to be more than helpful when you want to access something in another country without necessarily having to pay for it.
The subscription-based package will cost you 4.99 dollars a month. With it, you will be able to get unlimited data transfer, 55 worldwide locations to choose from, and five simultaneous device connections.
School is not all about study. All work and no play, am I right? The best way to kick your feet up and relax is to watch a movie or catch up on your favorite series. Streaming has become mainstream. However, popular streaming services like Netflix and HBO have geo-restrictions on their content. To get past the said geo-restrictions, you will need a VPN, and ProtonVPN is the best VPN when it comes to streaming.
Great security features
ProtonVPN is equipped with the latest security technologies like most other best VPN services. After all, they are the creators of ‘Protonmail’ – a well-known encrypted e-mail platform.
In addition to double-hop, ProtonVPN comes with a kill switch – ProtonVPN’s kill switch feature will automatically disconnect you from your internet after your connection with the VPN server drops. This ensures that at no time will you be liable to attacks or leaks.
ProtonVPN has slightly over 1300 servers in 55 different countries. This is industry average and still a long way from the numbers that other VPNs such as HMA! has. However, ProtonVPN is more secure, the choice depends on what’s your tradeoff.
A lot to offer for students
Who doesn’t love an intuitive user interface?
It is always pleasing to use an app or platform that works to make it easy for you. ProtonVPN’s interface is not only aesthetically appealing but is also one that will make it a lot easier for you to use. It is uncluttered and extremely user-friendly, and thus you will have the easiest of times moving about it.
The Always-on feature aims to re-establish the connection to the said server as fast as possible and automatically link you back to the server once the issue has been resolved. When these two work in tandem, you can be assured that you are safe at all times.
It allows Netflix, streaming, and torrenting
Netflix has put in place a policy to try and block all VPNs. However, ProtonVPN has several protocols that bypass this, allowing you to access all the content that Netflix offers. ProtonVPN servers also facilitate torrenting, meaning that now you can download all the files and media, and access all the torrenting sites without any fear of repercussions.
Concerning this, ProtonVPN allows for up to 10 simultaneous device connections, meaning that you can stream on whatever device you want to stream on.
No live chat
It has no live chat
The customer support section does not have a live chat, which is a bit odd, considering that it is more or less an industry standard. If you have issues, you will simply have to read through the support page.
Though it has a free version, one of the best in the market by all accounts, ProtonVPN’s free version is very limited, and you have used up the 2GB data, you are done. Moreover, the official ProtonVPN website has started that the free VPN service is subsidized by paying users. This begs the question if the paid users cease to exist, will there be a free version still?
Why do you need a VPN for School?
Most of the Wi-Fi networks installed in schools are public. Though it may seem safe, this exposes you to many risks, such as malware and introducing viruses to your device. Moreover, someone may tap into the said network and access some of your most private and intimate data. This is the reason why you need a VPN.
When selecting VPNs, you have to make sure that you pick one that has a strict no-logging policy. Moreover, you should also ensure that you pick one located in a jurisdiction that is not part of any signal-sharing alliance, such as the 14-eyes alliance. You should also consider the price of the said VPN concerning the services it offers.
When coming up with this list, we had to carry out extensive and intensive tests to ensure that the VPNs that made it on the list were the best. The criteria we used were;
Location of the VPNs’ headquarters
The most important thing about VPNs is the level of safety and security that they offer. To determine this, we first looked at the countries where the companies were set up. This gave us information on the jurisdiction in which the VPNs fell and whether the countries were in any signal-sharing alliance.
We also had to go through the laws of the said countries concerning data breaches. The law should work to your advantage regarding personal privacy and the security of personal data. Anyone or anything that breaches these laws should be punished severely and accordingly.
If the country or jurisdiction did not have any data security and safety laws or existed but didn’t meet our standard, the corresponding VPN was automatically eliminated.
History, Hierarchical Structure, and culture
History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes, and an in-depth look at how and when the VPN companies were created, their hierarchical structure, and how they function. The culture of the said VPN companies was also put under a microscope just to make sure that they value the needs of their clientele above everything and everyone else.
When it comes to the overall speed of a VPN, there are three things you have to take into account ping, downloading speed, and uploading speed.
Ping, also known as latency, is bound to develop or increase when the VPN is switched on, as the traffic is flowing through an additional channel, the VPN. Latency is measured in milliseconds. The lower the increase in latency, the faster the VPN is said to be.
Upload and Download speeds are bound to decrease when you use a VPN. This is because all your traffic is flowing through a virtual private network of servers, not directly to and from your internet service provider. Thus, the fastest VPNs are those that have the least amount of speed decrease.
We determined the speeds for the various VPNs by first measuring the speed of the traffic of internet-enabled devices without switching on the VPN. For upload speed, we measure the speed of uploading files, and for downloading speed, we measured the speed when downloading files.
Afterward, we switched on the VPN and then measured the speed the traffic was moving at when downloading and uploading. We did the same to determine latency. We compared the two speeds, measured for ping, the increase, and download and upload speeds decrease and expressed the difference as a percentage.
|VPN||Ping||Download Speed||Upload Speed|
The best way to know if a VPN true worth is through referrals and testimonials from people who have used it. Thus we had to take into account user experience when coming up with this list. For this, we used highly trustworthy sources such as the ratings and comments on Google Play Store and Apple Store. We also conducted a couple of physical surveys using people who have used and frequently used VPNs.
From the user experiences, we were also able to rank the VPNs on customer ratings. Additionally, we did some research and data collection on our own, such as checking if the VPNs had a live chat, whether you could contact them through email, and how long they took to respond to the various forms of communication.
All VPNs have an official website, where they list the subscription prices. Through the said websites, we were able to determine the pricing of various VPNs and identify what VPNs had free versions.
The best VPN for schools is SurfsharkVPN, as it has the best balance between pricing, speed, and quality of services.
The best free VPN that works in the school is Hide.me.
The main reason why your VPN may not be working is that you haven’t turned it on. If you ascertain that it is on and that your subscription is still valid, then you can contact the VPN’s customer support for further assistance.
In most academic institutions, it is not illegal to use a VPN in school. Just to be sure, make sure that you check with the relevant authorities in your school.