You may already know this, but services like Netflix and MLB.tv change their content depending on where the user is. This means that if you visit Chicago, you might not be able to access your favorite shows or watch the Cubs play. Also if you’re traveling abroad you might not be able to access websites back home from Chicago. That said, there is a workaround: just connect to a VPN server that’s located in your home country (or state, if you’re looking to bypass sporting blackouts).
This works because geo-restricted services rely on the user’s IP address to determine their location. Once you’re connected to a VPN, they can only see the IP address of your chosen server. In other words, if you choose a French server, sites like Netflix will think you’re in France. Better still, VPNs encrypt your data, keeping your activities hidden from prying eyes and allowing you to focus on enjoying your time in Chicago.
Looking for the short version? You’ll find a brief overview of the best VPNs for Chicago below. If any catch your eye, just scroll down for a more in-depth review.
Best VPNs for Chicago:
- NordVPN: Our first choice for a Chicago VPN. A veteran provider that’s fast enough for just about anything. Has a fantastic security offering, a true no-logging policy, and a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: The best budget VPN for Chicago. Quick, reliable, and able to unblock a ton of popular geo-blocked services from abroad. Best of all, there’s no connection limit.
- ExpressVPN: Faster than any other VPN we’ve tested. Unblocks major streaming platforms without any issues. Has a great set of security features and 24/7 support.
- CyberGhost: Has 50+ high-speed Chicago servers to choose from. Provides comprehensive security in one click. Has specific servers for streaming and torrenting.
- IPVanish: This no-logs VPN offers steady speeds, decent unblocking potential, and the ability to protect all of your devices simultaneously.
- PrivateVPN: Boasts exceptional unblocking ability, very high speeds, and a zero-logs policy. A particularly strong choice for anyone looking to stream in Chicago.
- Hotspot Shield: A fantastic everyday service. Provides high speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and strong security. Also works with some of the most popular streaming services.
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It can be overwhelming trying to decide which VPN to try out. After all, there are so many on the market, and they all claim to be the best, the fastest, or the most secure. That said, you’ll usually be better off with a well-rounded service, rather than one that stands out in one area. To ensure you get a versatile VPN, whichever you choose, all of our recommended providers meet the criteria below:
- Offers access to lots of speedy servers, ideally with some in Chicago
- Works with a good range of region-locked services
- Has effectively uncrackable encryption and various other security features
- Refuses to store any logs that could identify you
- Comes with apps for all major operating systems and devices
Best VPN for Chicago
Now, let’s get started. Here are the best VPNs for Chicago:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN users can choose from 5,400 servers in 59 countries, the US included. In fact, it has clusters in 15 American cities including Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. You shouldn’t have any issues accessing your favorite content, since this service easily unblocks platforms like MLB.tv, ESPN+, and NBC Sports. Better still, its speeds are high enough that you shouldn’t notice any lag or buffering. Up to six simultaneous connections are permitted per account.
This provider is known for its strong security focus. Case in point, it hides your activities with a blend of 256-bit encryption, protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks, and an app-specific kill switch. There are even obfuscated servers designed to provide extra privacy so you can browse safely in places like China. NordVPN follows a no-logging policy and accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple payments. Support is on-hand around the clock via email and live chat.
NordVPN users can install apps for Linux, MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. Alternatively, you can manually install the VPN on their router to secure every device on your home network.
- Consistently high speeds
- Excellent unblocking ability
- Won’t be beaten on security
- Zero-logs provider
- Offers 24/7 live chat
- Desktop apps sometimes take a little longer to connect
BEST VPN FOR CHICAGO:NordVPN is our top pick for those in Chicago. It’s an extraordinarily versatile service with high speeds, industry-leading security features, and impressive unblocking ability. As if that wasn’t enough, you can try the service risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Still have questions? Find the answers in our complete NordVPN review.
Surfshark users have access to around 500 servers in 24 US cities, including Chicago. In total, this provider has roughly 3,200 servers in 65 countries. Thanks to its total lack of a connection limit, users are free to access a huge range of platforms (including Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube TV) from whichever device they’d like. Better still, with steady and reliable speeds, you should be able to watch without any noticeable buffering or lag, even at high resolutions.
Despite how easy this VPN is to use, it has all kinds of security features built-in. There’s a kill switch, for instance, as well as 256-bit encryption, protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks, and a NoBorders mode that hides the fact that you’re even using a VPN at all. Perhaps most importantly, Surfshark refuses to keep any logs, meaning your activities can’t be revealed to anyone. If you run into any issues, help is available 24/7 over live chat and email.
Surfshark apps are available for Android, Windows, iOS, Linux, and MacOS. This service works with some routers via manual installation.
- High speeds and unlimited bandwidth
- Unblocks plenty of streaming services abroad
- Protect all your devices at once
- Very strong security offering
- Keeps no logs
- Customer support could be improved
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is a budget-friendly service that doesn’t cut corners. It’s fast, able to unblock just about anything, and extremely security-conscious. With no connection limits, you can browse privately wherever you go. A 30-day money-back guarantee is included.
Why not take a look at our in-depth Surfshark review?
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN has roughly 3,000 servers in 94 countries around the world. This includes the US, with clusters in 13 cities, including Chicago. Given this service’s excellent unblocking abilities and the fact that it’s the fastest we’ve tested, it’s a natural choice for anyone looking to stream while abroad. You’ll be able to access platforms like Netflix, Sling TV, and Disney+, to name just a few. Up to five devices can be connected at any one time.
This provider is no slouch when it comes to security. It uses 256-bit AES encryption and a kill switch, plus DNS and IPv6 leak protection to keep your activities safe from snoopers at all times. You can also choose to block local connections entirely, or let specific apps pass through the VPN. ExpressVPN doesn’t store any logs that could be used to identify you. It’s possible to sign up almost completely anonymously using Bitcoin and a disposable email address. Live chat-based support is available around the clock.
ExpressVPN has quick and responsive Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android apps. It offers its own router firmware that helps simplify the process of protecting your whole network.
- Quicker than any other in this list
- Great capabilities for unblocking geo-locked content
- Takes user security and privacy very seriously
- Keeps no traffic logs and accepts Bitcoin
- Costs slightly more than others in this list
GREAT EVERYDAY VPN:ExpressVPN checks all the boxes. With high speeds, a great security offering, and impressive unblocking potential, it’s ideal for day-to-day activities both in Chicago and everywhere else. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Check out the full ExpressVPN review for more information.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost has one of the largest networks around, with 6,400 servers in 90 countries. Of these, some 1,600 are in the United States and around 50 are in Chicago. There are even servers designed for specific tasks, like torrenting anonymously or unblocking Netflix. Thanks to this VPN’s unlimited bandwidth and speedy connections, there really isn’t much it can’t do. A maximum of seven devices can be connected at once per account.
One of CyberGhost’s biggest strengths is that it goes out of its way to make security simple. For instance, 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and malware scanning are all enabled by default, so there’s no configuration required. It’s also one of the few services that supports the new fast and secure Wireguard protocol. CyberGhost doesn’t keep any traffic logs and provides 24/7 customer support via email or live chat.
CyberGhost offers iOS, Android, MacOS, Linux, and Windows apps. If you’d like to install it on your home router, you’ll have to follow manual setup instructions.
- Over 50 high-speed servers in Chicago
- Some servers designed for streaming
- All security features enabled by default
- Easy to use
- May be less suitable for power users
NOVICE-FRIENDLY VPN:CyberGhost is extremely easy to use and offers plenty of fast Chicago servers. Works great with popular geo-blocked services, includes a 45-day money-back guarantee, and protects your traffic in just one click.
Take a look at our full review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish has roughly 1,600 servers in 60 countries. A huge proportion of these (around 900) are located in the US, with almost 100 in Chicago alone. This service is more than fast enough for streaming live HD or even 4K video, and doesn’t limit your bandwidth in any way. Further, it allows you to secure as many devices as you like, making it a fantastic choice for families.
You’ll find plenty to like security-wise too. This service uses effectively uncrackable 256-bit AES encryption, for instance. It also has a kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a feature that scrambles your traffic to make it harder to tell you’re using a VPN. IPVanish is a zero-logs provider and as such, can’t divulge details of your activities under any circumstances. A customer support help desk provides assistance 24/7 via live chat and email.
IPVanish apps are available for Windows, Android, MacOS, and iOS. Manual configuration is needed for use with Linux devices or supported wireless routers.
- Plenty of speedy Chicago servers
- Puts your security and privacy first
- No-logs policy
- Has no connection or bandwidth limits
- Struggles to unblock larger streaming platforms
SECURE EVERY DEVICE:IPVanish is extremely versatile, with fast speeds, strong security and privacy features, and no connection limits whatsoever. To sweeten the deal even further, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Interested? Find out more in the complete IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN users have around 150 servers to choose from, in 62 countries and 10 US cities including Chicago. This VPN can handle just about anything you throw at it, from unblocking stubborn streaming services like Amazon Prime Video to helping you torrent anonymously. Best of all, it’s among the speediest services we’ve tested and allows up to six connections at once.
With 256-bit encryption, IPv6 and DNS leak protection, and a customizable kill switch, this service ensures you’ll never have to browse unprotected again. You can even activate the stealth mode to use the internet safely in places like China. PrivateVPN has a strict no-logging policy and allows you to pay in Bitcoin. Staff are on-hand most hours of the day to help with any problems you might encounter over live chat and email.
PrivateVPN offers easy-to-use apps for MacOS, iOS, Windows, Android, and Linux systems. Select routers are also supported, but you’ll have to configure these manually.
- Provides fast and reliable connections
- Unblocks popular streaming sites including US Netflix
- Security-conscious VPN that keeps no logs at all
- Fewer servers to choose from than other providers higher on this list
- Live chat isn’t available 24/7
ZERO-LOGs PROVIDER:PrivateVPN gives you all of the tools needed to stay safe in Chicago, but equally important, it keeps no logs. It’s quick too, and easily unblocks a host of geo-restricted services. This provider offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans.
Take a look at our in-depth PrivateVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Hotspot Shield has a network of around 1,800 servers in over 80 countries. Naturally, this includes the US; there are clusters in Chicago and 25 other cities. Speeds are generally very impressive and certainly fast enough for streaming, torrenting, or gaming. Best of all, there are no bandwidth limits and you can connect up to five of your devices simultaneously.
This provider clearly takes user security seriously. It includes a kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and automatic wifi protection alongside 256-bit AES encryption. What’s more, Hotspot Shield even lets you use its own proprietary Hydra protocol, which it claims is “bank-level secure”. This service doesn’t keep any logs that could identify you. Customer support can be reached, day or night, via email or live chat.
Hotspot Shield has Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android apps. This VPN works with select routers too, although you’ll have to install it manually.
- More than fast enough for day-to-day browsing
- Easily unblocks a host of geo-restricted content abroad
- Strong set of security features
- Some past privacy concerns
- No anonymous payment options
SOLID ALL-ROUNDER:Hotspot Shield lets you browse, torrent, and stream securely in Chicago or anywhere else. Boasts high speeds, powerful security features, and great unblocking potential, not to mention a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our comprehensive Hotspot Shield review.
How to protect yourself in Chicago with a VPN
New to VPNs and not sure where to begin? That’s alright: these services are much simpler to use than you might expect. Just follow the steps below to get a US IP address or keep your data hidden while traveling in Chicago. You can also follow the same steps to get a Chicago IP address from abroad by selecting a VPN server in Chicago.
Here’s how to use a VPN for Chicago:
- First, you’ll have to decide which VPN to use. As mentioned above, we recommend NordVPN.
- Now, download and install the VPN app on any device you use frequently. Most providers allow five or so connections at once.
- Connect to one of your VPN’s servers. If you’re only interested in privacy, any location will work. However, if you’d like to use a region-locked service, you’ll have to use a server in the appropriate country.
- Congratulations, all of your internet traffic is now encrypted, meaning it’s unreadable to any snoopers. This allows you to use public wifi hotspots in Chicago without worrying about who might be watching.
VPN for Chicago FAQs
Are free VPNs safe to use?
Free VPNs can be appealing at first glance, but scratch beneath the surface and they have more than their share of problems. They usually can’t access services like Netflix and are fairly useless for streaming anyway. Even if they can unblock a platform, free VPNs usually have fairly low data caps, as well as extremely slow speeds.
These services present a real security risk too. According to one study, almost 40 percent of surveyed free VPN apps contained malware. This means that there’s a significant chance that in attempting to improve your security, you’re actively undermining it by choosing a free VPN. It’s also worth knowing that 18 percent of the 280+ apps studied failed to use any encryption, making them effectively useless from a privacy perspective. For maximum protection, we recommend sticking to reputable, no-logs providers instead of using a service just because it’s free.
Are VPNs legal in Illinois?
VPNs are legal all across the United States and, in fact, most of the world. In other words, there’s no need to worry about getting into trouble for using a VPN in Illinois. It’s worth mentioning that these services don’t give you a free pass to commit crimes online; you could still face consequences for using a VPN to harass someone, for instance. However, as long as you aren’t doing anything illegal, you won’t have any problems.
How can a VPN help me while traveling?
VPNs can be used for far more than just accessing your favorite streaming services abroad. For instance, you can connect to a server in your home country to safely access your online banking service from abroad without worrying about having your account temporarily locked. This might sound like a minor annoyance but if you’re in a foreign country, not having access to your funds can be a major problem.
You’ll also be able to browse privately, wherever you go with a VPN. That’s because even if you use a public wifi hotspot (which are notoriously bad for security), the VPN will encrypt your data. In other words, even if there is an attacker watching the network, they won’t be able to tell what you’re doing or intercept personal information like login credentials and payment details.