Best VPN Chicago

You’re likely already aware that streaming sites like Netflix offer different movies in other countries. However, this kind of geo-blocking can happen on a smaller scale too. For instance, NHL blackouts prevent fans from streaming Blackhawks games while visiting Chicago, and won’t be able to access their usual local channels on platforms like YouTube TV.

The good news is that you can regain access to all of your favorite platforms with the help of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Better still, these services provide an extra layer of online security so you’ll be able to torrent, play online games, and use public wi-fi networks without worrying about who might be monitoring your activities.

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:

  1. NordVPN: Our first choice for a Chicago VPN. Packed with privacy features and boasts some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.
    TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly for Chicago.
  2. Surfshark: The best budget VPN for Chicago. Boasts an expansive server network, fantastic download speeds, and a total lack of connection limits.
  3. IPVanishEnhance your digital security with this superfast, zero-logs VPN. Works with many popular streaming services and has no connection limit.
  4. ExpressVPN: Veteran provider with high speeds and over 90 server locations. Keeps no logs and offers its own secure protocol for maximum security.
  5. CyberGhost: Offers dozens of Chicago-based servers, excellent speeds, and a wide range of additional features, plus 24/7 support.
  6. PrivateVPN: Choose from around a dozen server locations in the United States. Ironclad privacy policy, great unblocking ability, and steady speeds.
  7. Hotspot Shield: A fantastic everyday service. Provides high speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and strong security. Also works with some of the most popular streaming services.

WANT TO TRY THE TOP VPN RISK FREE?

NordVPN is offering a fully-featured risk-free 30-day trial if you sign up at this page. You can use the VPN rated #1 for Chicago without restriction for a month. It's ideal for anyone taking a short business trip or vacation.

There are no hidden termsjust contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn't right for you and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.

There are so many VPNs on the market, it can be hard to settle on just one. Our years of experience has taught us that you’ll usually be better off with a well-rounded service, rather than one that’s excellent at a single task. That’s why our recommended VPN providers had to meet all the criteria below:

  • Offers access to lots of speedy servers, ideally with some in Chicago
  • Works with a good range of region-locked services
  • Doesn’t forbid P2P traffic or impose bandwidth limits
  • Has uncrackable encryption and plenty of extra privacy features
  • Refuses to store any logs that could identify you
  • Comes with apps for all major operating systems and devices
  • Free customer support, preferably accessible around the clock

Best VPN for Chicago

Let’s get started. Here are the highest-quality VPNs for people in Chicago:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN Jul 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • Background FireTV

Website:  www.NordVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

NordVPN is our first choice for a reason; users can choose from around 60 server locations, and there are almost 2,000 servers in the US alone. This provider works with major platforms like Netflix, NFL Game Pass, and Peacock, so whether you’re looking to live stream the Bears or relax with a movie, you’ll be just fine. What’s more, NordVPN is one of the quickest providers on the market and permits up to six simultaneous connections.

Its apps shield your online activity using 256-bit encryption, an app-specific kill switch, and leak protection. NordVPN can also block ads, trackers, and malicious sites for you, and has a threat protection tab with easy-to-understand explanations of what its more advanced features do. Multiple third-party audits have shown that NordVPN follows a strict no-logs policy, though mobile users do have to clear their advertising IDs regularly for maximum anonymity.

NordVPN has apps for Linux, MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android, and Android TV. Alternatively, you can manually install it on your router to secure every device on your home network.

Pros:

  • Impressive download speeds
  • Excellent streaming ability
  • Won’t be beaten on security
  • Zero-logs provider
  • Offers 24/7 live chat

Cons:

  • Stores advertising IDs on mobile

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST VPN FOR CHICAGO:NordVPN is our top pick for anyone in Chicago. It’s versatile, fast, and boasts industry-leading security features. As if that wasn’t enough, you can try NordVPN risk-free thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Still have questions? Find the answers in our complete NordVPN review.

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2. Surfshark

Surfshark

Apps Available:

Surfshark is the best low-cost VPN for Chicago. It has servers in 100 countries including the US and delivers consistently high speeds (averaging nearly 200 Mbps in our latest round of testing). This VPN works with a huge range of popular streaming services and unlike most others on the market, it allows any number of simultaneous connections. There’s even a 24/7 live chat desk in case you run into any problems.

This VPN clearly prioritizes your digital security. Its auto-connection features can make sure you never use public wi-fi networks unprotected and your data is shielded with a kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, leak protection, and tracker-blocking. Surfshark has a zero-logs policy and can even swap your IP address periodically, making you even harder to track across the web.

Surfshark apps are available for Android, Windows, iOS, Linux, and MacOS. However, you’ll have to manually install it on routers.

Pros:

  • High speeds and unlimited bandwidth
  • Works with plenty of streaming services abroad
  • Protect all your devices at once
  • Very strong security offering
  • Keeps no logs

Cons:

  • Has a few features that require the paid Surfshark One upgrade

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is an affordable VPN service that doesn’t cut corners. It’s fast, able to securely access 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?

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3. IPVanish

IPVanish

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.IPVanish.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

IPVanish has around 2,200 servers in 60 countries, with nearly two thirds of these in North America. Whether you’re looking a Chicago native looking to beat ISP throttling or a traveler who just wants to watch your local TV channels, this service is up to the task. With average speeds approaching 300 Mbps and no connection limits, IPVanish outshines many of its better-known competitors.

You’ll find plenty to like security-wise too. IPVanish has a zero-logs policy and guards your internet connection from snoopers using 256-bit AES encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch. It also allows users to obfuscate OpenVPN traffic, which might help you beat some forms of VPN-detection systems. Getting help is easy since IPVanish operates a free 24/ live chat-based help desk.

IPVanish offers its own apps for Windows, Android, Android TV, MacOS, and iOS. Manual configuration is needed for use with Linux devices or supported wireless routers.

Pros:

  • Plenty of servers in Chicago
  • Delivers some of the fastest speeds of any premium VPN
  • Puts your security and privacy first
  • No-logs policy

Cons:

  • Has difficulty with some larger streaming platforms

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

SECURE EVERY DEVICE:IPVanish is a premium service with high speeds, strong security features, and no connection limits whatsoever. To sweeten the deal even further, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee on 1-year plans.

Interested? Find out more in the complete IPVanish review.

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4. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.ExpressVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ExpressVPN has a network spanning 94 countries, making it as easy as possible to hide your real IP address and access your usual content while in Chicago. Our team very rarely runs into a streaming service it can’t unblock and with average speeds of almost 200 Mbps, there’s no need to worry about lag, choppy playback, or random disconnections. Customer support is available around the clock over live chat so that you’re never more than a few minutes away from assistance.

This provider is no slouch when it comes to security. Its apps keep you safe with uncrackable encryption, a kill switch, protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks, and obfuscation that activates automatically whenever you visit a country with strict digital censorship. There’s even a custom protocol named Lightway that hides your traffic in the split-second between switching networks. ExpressVPN doesn’t log any personally-identifiable data and has been audited to prove it.

ExpressVPN has quick and responsive Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android apps. It also has custom firmware, meaning you can quickly install it on a router to bypass the five simultaneous connection limit and secure devices that don’t normally support VPNs, such as older Smart TVs or gaming consoles.

Pros:

  • Consistently high speeds
  • Great for streaming
  • Takes your online privacy seriously
  • Beginner-friendly VPN

Cons:

  • Monthly subscription prices are a little above average

Our score:

4 out of 5

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.

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5. CyberGhost

CyberGhost

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Cyberghost.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

CyberGhost has one of the largest networks around, with 9,000 servers in 90+ countries. Of these, there are over 1,400 are in the United States and around 50 in Chicago. There are even servers designed for specific tasks, like torrenting anonymously or securely streaming Netflix. Thanks to this VPN’s unlimited bandwidth and speedy connections, there really isn’t much it can’t do. Seven simultaneous connections are permitted 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. If you’d like more control, you can set smart rules that govern when the VPN will activate automatically. CyberGhost has a no-logs policy, something that’s been confirmed by multiple audits. Users can contact support staff at any time using email or live chat.

CyberGhost offers iOS, Android, MacOS, Linux, Android TV, and Windows apps. If you’d like to install it on your home router, you’ll have to follow manual setup instructions.

Pros:

  • Large presence in Chicago
  • Streaming-optimized servers
  • Easy to use, with lots of extra security features
  • Very little impact on your internet speeds

Cons:

  • May be less suitable for power users

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

NOVICE-FRIENDLY VPN:CyberGhost is extremely easy to use and offers plenty of fast Chicago servers. Includes a 14-day money-back guarantee on monthly plans and 45 days for annual plans or anything longer.

Take a look at our full review of CyberGhost.

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6. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.PrivateVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

PrivateVPN owns, operates, and hosts its entire network to prove the highest level of online privacy you can get. There are servers in 63 countries and roughly a dozen locations in the US alone, so watching geo-Best of all, it ranked well in our latest speeds tests and allows up to 10 simultaneous connections.

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. It’s also possible to reduce the encryption level for faster speeds or turn on the stealth mode to beat particularly tough VPN-blocking measures. You can even activate the stealth mode to use the internet safely in places like China. PrivateVPN has a strict no-logs 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, and Android systems. Linux systems and select routers are also supported, but you’ll have to configure these manually.

Pros:

  • Fast and reliable connections
  • Works with most streaming sites
  • Security-conscious VPN that keeps no logs at all

Cons:

  • Fewer servers to choose from than other providers higher on this list
  • Live chat isn’t available 24/7

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

ZERO-LOGS PROVIDER:PrivateVPN gives you all of the tools needed to secure your internet traffic in Chicago. 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.

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7. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Hotspotshield.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

Editor’s Note: Hotspot Shield is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company.

Hotspot Shield has around 1,800 VPN servers in 80+ countries. Naturally, this includes the US; there are clusters in Chicago and 26 other cities. Speeds are generally very impressive and certainly fast enough for streaming, torrenting, or gaming. This provider has no bandwidth limits and recently doubled its device limit from five to 10.

This provider keeps your network traffic secure using a kill switch, IPv6 and DNS 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 can get around the world’s strictest online censorship. This service doesn’t keep any logs that could identify you. Customer support can be reached day or night via email and live chat.

Hotspot Shield has Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, Linux, and Android apps. This VPN works with select routers too, although you’ll have to install it manually.

Pros:

  • Novice-friendly service with a strong focus on privacy
  • Easily unblocks a host of geo-restricted content abroad
  • Quick and reliable speeds

Cons:

  • Could do with a few extra security features
  • No anonymous payment options

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

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.

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How to protect yourself in Chicago with a VPN

Not sure how to get started with your new Virtual Private Network? Don’t worry: setting up a VPN connection is much easier than you might expect. Just follow the steps below to get a US IP address and 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 in Chicago:

  1. First, you’ll have to decide which VPN to use. As mentioned above, we recommend NordVPN.
  2. Now, download and install the VPN app on any device you use frequently. Most providers allow five or so connections at once.
  3. Connect to one of your VPN’s servers. If you’re only interested in enhancing your online 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.
  4. Congratulations, all of your internet traffic is now encrypted, meaning it’s unreadable to anyone who might be watching. This allows you to use public wi-fi hotspots in Chicago safe in the knowledge that your activities are private

Methodology: Finding the best VPNs for Chicago

There are all kinds of reasons you might need a VPN in Chicago. You could be trying to protect your internet connection from snoopers during a quick visit, or simply looking to stream Cubs matches live. Perhaps learning that it’s one of the most surveilled cities in the US just makes you want as much privacy as possible.

In any case, there are a few important things to look out for. Here are the key criteria we used to find the best VPNs for Chicago:

  • Network: Many sports streaming platforms have state-specific blackouts. That’s why our top VPNs need to have lots of available locations in the United States. Foreign locations are important too since these allow international travelers to continue viewing their favorite content during a visit to Chicago
  • Performance: A slow internet connection is a distraction at best and a liability at worst. Our team of experts regularly speed tests a variety of VPNs, meaning we’re uniquely well-suited to say which can handle anything you throw at them and which are too slow to really be useful.
  • Versatility: We prefer VPNs that can handle whatever you throw at them. With this in mind, we make sure they’re suitable for gaming, allow P2P traffic, and able to evade detection and blackouts on platforms like Netflix, NFL Game Pass, Amazon Prime Video, and ESPN+.
  • Security and privacy: Our priority is making sure your network traffic remains private at all times. That’s why we require our top VPNs to follow a strict no-logs policy and provide 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks. Of course, we appreciate tools that add another layer of security, such as stealth modes, tracker-blocking, or multi-hop servers.
  • User-friendliness: We believe that everyone should be able to hide their online activity from snoopers. For this reason, we prefer VPNs that are welcoming to novice users. Anything that lowers the barrier to entry is extremely valuable, whether it’s 24/7 support, a lack of connection limits, or even something like streaming-optimized servers.

Want to learn more about our process? We’ve put together an in-depth post that talks all about how we test VPNs at Comparitech.

VPN for Chicago FAQs

Are VPNs legal in Chicago, 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 don’t do any illegal activities while connected, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Disclaimer: Although we’ve spent hours researching this topic, we are not legal experts. As such, nothing we’ve said above should be taken as legal advice. We encourage you to consult local laws or perhaps even seek a professional’s opinion if you’re not positive that VPNs are legal where you are.

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 online banking services 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.

Will a VPN for Chicago improve my gaming?

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can benefit gamers in many ways. A VPN for Chicago can improve your gaming experience by providing you with an extra layer of security, anonymity, and privacy when accessing online games. It also allows you to bypass ISP throttling, meaning that your ISP will not slow down your internet connection due to heavy data usage.

Furthermore, a VPN can give you access to servers in other parts of the world, making it possible to play with friends in games that don’t normally let users switch regions. This also helps you access country-specific events or gain early access to games that haven’t launched where you are yet.

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. To begin with, they usually can’t access services like Netflix and their low monthly bandwidth caps prevent you from watching anything regularly unless you subscribe.

These VPNs raise other concerns too. After extensively testing 20 free VPN apps, we found that most contained trackers, significantly reduced the users’ speeds, and often requested far more permissions than they really need.

If you’re going to end up paying anyway, we suggest choosing a premium service to begin with. These tend to have better privacy policies, more advanced security features, and knowledgeable support staff who can help with any issues. What’s more, most of them include a money-back guarantee so if you’re not impressed, you can just cancel for a full refund.

How do I get a Chicago IP address?

Plenty of VPNs offer access to US servers but few let you select one in a specific city, and even fewer have servers in Chicago itself. However, NordVPN, Surfshark, and IPVanish are all capable of getting you an IP address from Chicago.

In our opinion, these are three of the fastest, most secure providers on the market and all of them excel at beating regional restrictions. Best of all, they all offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so there’s harm in trying them out.