Ethical hackers understand just how crucial it is that their activities remain private. Whether you’re performing penetration testing, trying to protect against online threats, or just looking to prevent unauthorized access to your internet traffic, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an excellent tool to have.
VPNs encrypt your data and route it through a remote server elsewhere in the world. This hides your real IP address, making you appear to be in another country entirely, and stops snoopers like the government, network administrators, or yoru ISP from seeing what you get up to online. With a VPN that doesn’t store any logs, it becomes difficult for snoopers to identify you or trace certain activities back to you.
Note: There’s no VPN ideal for performing malicious hacks, such as launching a DoS attack, and Comparitech does not encourage or support malicious hacking. In this guide, we explore only the best VPNs for ethical hackers.
If you’re short on time and want to find out which VPNs are best for hacking, check out our the list below:
- NordVPN: Our top VPN for hackers! Boasts outstanding speeds, a high level of security, and a strict no-log policy. Includes a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly for ethical hacking.
- Surfshark: The best budget option for ethical hackers. Great set of privacy tools and no simultaneous connection limit. Faster than most other VPN services.
- ExpressVPN: An advanced VPN with several added security options to enhance your online privacy. Incredible speeds for long crypto trading sessions.
- CyberGhost: A well-respected VPN with fast servers in 94 countries. Great set of security and privacy features built in. Works with most geo-blocked services.
- IPVanish: Quick and reliable, with apps for desktop and mobile devices. No connection limit and some interesting tools, such as OpenVPN obfuscation.
- PrivateVPN: Flexible service that works almost anywhere in the world. Keeps no logs and allows up to 10 connections at a time.
WANT TO TRY THE TOP VPN RISK-FREE?
NordVPN offers a fully featured risk-free 30-day trial if you sign up at this page. You can use the VPN rated #1 for hacking with zero restrictions for a month. This is great if you’d like to hack securely from anywhere.
There are no hidden terms. Just contact support within 30 days should you decide that NordVPN isn't suitable for you, and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.
The best VPNs for hackers
With so many VPNs to choose from on the market, it can be hard to know which provider to trust. Our team personally tested dozens of services, identifying the best hacking VPNs by only selecting those that met all of the following criteria:
- Offers lots of servers to choose from
- Must be an established provider with years of industry experience
- Provides fast enough speeds for any day-to-day task
- Can go undetected by popular geo-blocked websites
- Keeps you safe with uncrackable encryption and various other security features
- Works with all of the most common operating systems
Here’s a list of the best VPNs for hackers:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN’s stellar track record makes it the best at securing your privacy and therefore establishes it as the best VPN for ethical hackers.
It offers access to over 5,000 RAM-only servers in 60 countries and doesn’t keep any logs at all. The apps include a wide range of security features including a customizable kill switch. This disables your internet connection should your VPN connection drop. NordVPN also has obfuscated servers capable of keeping you anonymous online, even in places like China.
This service offers unlimited bandwidth and fast download speeds, plus you can pay in Bitcoin for even greater anonymity. Some downsides to NordVPN include the possibility of experiencing slight glitches when trying to use the service and slightly slower speeds during the busiest hours. However, these are fairly small problems, and 24/7 live chat is available in case you run into anything more serious.
NordVPN is compatible with a range of operating systems including Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, and Linux.
- Risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee
- Huge network means fewer blacklisted IP addresses
- Blocks ads, trackers, and malicious websites by default
- NordLynx protocol is perfect for gaming, streaming, and video calls
- Includes 24/7 live chat support
- Mobile users have to clear advertising IDs periodically
BEST VPN FOR HACKERS:NordVPN is our top pick for secure hacking. Super fast NordLynx protocol is ideal for streaming, using VoIP apps, and torrenting. Advanced privacy and security features, including a kill switch and obfuscation. Robust AES-256 encryption. Zero logs policy. Includes a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full NordVPN review to find out more.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is the best low-cost option. Despite its affordable price, it allows you to connect all of your devices, making it great for sharing with family members and friends. Not only that, it’s one of the fastest VPNs we’ve seen, averaging around 200 Mbps in our latest testing. Surfshark works with a ton of region-locked services and boasts 24/7 live chat support, so you can ask questions and get help anytime.
Your internet traffic is secured with 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection. However, there are a few more unusual privacy features too. For instances, you can change your IP addresses periodically, blocks trackers, and activate the NoBorders mode to beat even the most stubborn online restrictions. Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, so it isn’t required to keep logs. It’s recently been audited too, so you don’t have to take its privacy claims at face value.
Apps are available for all popular platforms, though you’ll have to manually install it on supported routers.
- No bandwidth or connection limit
- Super fast WireGuard protocol
- Servers in 100 countries
- Strong on privacy
- Works in China
- The most advanced features are only available to Surfshark One customers
BEST BUDGET VPN FOR HACKERS:Surfshark delivers fantastic value for money. Allows unlimited devices to be connected at once, and is highly secure. Works with many popular streaming services, including Netflix. 30-day money-back guarantee included.
To discover more, check out our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN has secure servers in 94 countries, making it ideal for getting an IP address from a less-common location like Bhutan. It’s fast enough for any task, whether it’s streaming, downloading large files, or making VoIP calls, and recently increased its connection limit, making it better value than ever before.
One of the best things about this service is that it takes care of security for you. Essential features like high-level encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch are enabled by default, and obfuscation kicks in automatically as and when it’s needed. There’s even a Threat Manager that blocks trackers and shady websites in the background. ExpressVPN follows a zero-logs policy and has proven it with multiple independent audits. While this VPN is straightforward to use, there’s 24/7 support should you need any help.
ExpressVPN provides Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux apps. You’ll also find apps for Amazon Fire TV and Android TV and browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Custom firmware is offered for routers.
- High-speed connections and no bandwidth throttling
- Stream Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and more
- Beginner-friendly apps combined with 24/7 support
- No identifying logs of users so you can remain anonymous online
- Fewer advanced features than its rivals
- Monthly subscribers have a lower connection limit
RELIABLE CHOICE:ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries. High-speed servers and unlimited bandwidth. Secures data with uncrackable encryption and provides excellent 24-hour live chat support. Has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review to learn more.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost has thousands of servers spread across 90 countries. Many are optimized for tasks like streaming, torrenting, and pushing your privacy as high as possible. What’s more, this service boasts exceptionally high speeds, so it’s uniquely well-suited to downloading large files. You also have access to live chat support 24 hours a day, and can connect up to seven devices simultaneously.
As you might expect, this VPN uses 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection to keep you safe online. However, it also offers tools that ethical hackers will greatly appreciate, like random port connection and a smart rules system that governs then the service connects automatically. CyberGhost has a strict no-log policy, has been professionally audited, and publishes annual transparency reports, so your privacy is in good hands.
CyberGhost has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, Linux, and Android TV. Alternatively, Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are available. Manual setup is required to use CyberGhost with your WiFi router.
- Lets users create a custom security setup
- One of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested
- Permits seven simultaneous connections
- Large network of task-specific servers
- Struggles to bypass the Great Firewall of China
- Doesn’t allow local networking
FAST SPEEDS:CyberGhost is a blazing-fast VPN that’s perfect for streaming and torrenting. A colossal server network and flexible security. Strict no-logs policy. Comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
For more information, read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is an underrated VPN provider that has really stepped up its game lately. With nearly 2,000 self-owned servers in 60 countries and truly outstanding speeds, it’s perfect for a wide range of applications, from ethical hacking to unblocking streaming platforms abroad. With unlimited bandwidth, a total lack of connection limits, and access to 24/7 support over live chat, this service makes it as easy as possible to get started.
Users can take advantage of high-level encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch, plus local traffic-blocking and automatic reconnection tools. It’s also possible to obfuscate your OpenVPN traffic to obscure your digital footprint even further. IPVanish has a strict no-logs policy, which means it can’t divulge details of your activities under any circumstances. .
Apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. Manual installation is possible for Linux systems and certain wireless routers.
- Owns and operates all the servers on their network
- Strong encryption and privacy protections
- Unlimited speed and no cap on simultaneous connections
- It doesn’t accept cryptocurrencies
- Apps don’t work in China
CONNECT ALL YOUR DEVICES:IPVanish has an extensive network of servers. Generally solid for hacking and users who need the highest privacy standard, but look elsewhere if you want to beat digital censorship. Annual plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Feel free to read our full IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN has around 200 servers in 63 countries. That might not sound like much, but they’re capable of beating the world’s strictest online censorship and provide speeds that are fast enough for streaming and torrenting. What’s more, this service allows up to 10 simultaneous connections and offers near 24/7 customer support.
This VPN boasts a high level of security, with adjustable encryption, an app-specific kill switch, IPv6 and DNS leak protection, and a stealth mode. If you value online anonymity, it’s well worth noting that PrivateVPN has a valid no-logs policy. In addition, very little personal information is required for signup. You just need an email address, which could be a throwaway one if you like. There’s even the option to pay in Bitcoin and if you need any help, live chat support is always available.
Apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. To use it with Linux or your router, you’ll need to follow the manual setup instructions provided by PrivateVPN.
- Works with most popular streaming platforms
- Breakneck speeds for streaming without lag or buffering
- Puts your online privacy first
- A much smaller network of just 200 or so servers
- It doesn’t offer any browser extensions
STRONG UNBLOCKING:PrivateVPN rarely struggles to bypass restrictions. You can use it with Amazon and Netflix. Fast server speeds and strong privacy protection with a no-logs policy. Very user-friendly. Has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Feel free to check out our full PrivateVPN review.
How to set up VPN for ethical hacking
Fortunately, all the VPNs on our list are fairly easy to use. Just follow the simple steps we’ve highlighted and you’ll be up and running in no time.
Here’s how to set up a VPN for ethical hacking:
- Start by signing up for one of the VPNs on our list (we recommend NordVPN).
- Install your VPN app onto whichever device you use for hacking. If you have multiple devices, that’s okay since most providers at least five connections at a time.
- Log in and select one of the servers in your desired location This hides your real IP address, allowing you to browse anonymously and access sites as though you were somewhere else
- You should now be able to hack without any fear of being identified. To be sure, use an IP address checking service like What Is My IP Address.
Note that a VPN only hides your IP address. You can still be identified through other means such as cookies, fingerprinting, logging into a site or app, or revealing personal information. We recommend you combine your VPN with your web browser’s incognito mode or the Tor browser.
Methodology: How we chose the best VPNs for hackers
Not every Virtual Private Network is suitable for hacking. Some are simply too slow, while others provide the thinnest layer of security possible. To ensure we only chose the best VPNs for hackers, we conducted in-depth analysis of each contender, focusing on each of the following areas:
- Infrastructure: Our team considered the scale of each VPN’s network, how many locations they supported, whether they used RAM-only servers, and whether any locations were virtual. These are all important for hackers, as any one could impact your test results.
- Performance: Slow speeds may interrupt your hacking speeds or cause the VPN to disconnect. We run regular speeds tests to see which VPNs are the fastest and most reliable. This way, you’ll know you’re getting a service that’s quick enough for any task you have planned.
- Privacy features: Your online privacy is paramount, so we require 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, a no-logs policy, and leak protection at a minimum. Extra security tools are a huge bonus, though, so we keep an eye out for proxy server support, the ability to automatically rotate your IP address, and obfuscation.
- Versatility: Your VPN should be able to handle anything, whether it’s accessing geo-blocked sites like Netflix or beating country-wide censorship. Our experts simulate real-world usage and note any areas where providers excel or could use improvement.
- Usability: The more streamlined a VPN app is, the more likely you are to use it. The services above offer apps for a variety of platforms, and some even include Smart DNS services to help you execute your hacking activities stress-free.
- Pricing: We’ll never recommend services that charge more than they’re worth. Additionally, we seek out money-back guarantees, free trials, and long-term discounts to help keep the cost as low as possible.
Interested in learning more about how we choose the best VPNs? Check out our full VPN testing methodology post.
Best VPNs for Hackers FAQS
Can a free VPN help with hacking?
We advise against using free VPNs. To begin with, these providers usually have fairly small networks, making them much easier to saturate with data.
Furthermore, free services tend to be pretty slow at the best of times. Even if you found one with a solid DDoS prevention system, it’s likely you’ll still have a subpar experience. Additionally, free VPNs typically impose low monthly data limits making free services a poor choice for anyone looking to use them regularly.
Can a VPN stop hackers?
Let’s start by clarifying something: there is no way to completely protect yourself from hackers. However, by taking a mindful approach to online privacy, it is possible to reduce the number of opportunities they have to compromise your system.
For instance, a VPN encrypts your traffic, protecting against Man-in-the-Middle and Evil Twin attacks. Their large networks are also great at shrugging off all but the most high-volume DoS attacks. Some VPNs even include automatic tracker-blocking, phishing-protection, and malware-detection tools, bridging the gap between an online security tool and a traditional antivirus program.
How does a VPN help with ethical hacking?
Ethical hackers can use VPNs for all kinds of things. For instance, they allow access to region-locked services from anywhere in the world, shield sensitive internet traffic from network administrators, and allow employees to bypass their office’s web-filtering software. These aren’t the only ethical hacking tools that professionals rely on, but they are an invaluable asset.