Best VPN remote workers freelancers

While working remotely can be relatively straightforward, it does come with risks, including those related to online security and privacy. Thankfully, plenty of great tools are at your disposal, the most important one being a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This will encrypt all of the traffic going to and from your device, keeping it safe from prying eyes. As a bonus, a VPN routes your traffic through an intermediary server. This means you can use it to spoof your location and access region-locked or censored content.

With high-speed internet, advanced device technology, and a wide range of online tools and free remote desktop software at our disposal, many of us can work from virtually anywhere. The ease of working remotely means that a whopping 83 percent of businesses already have or are planning to roll out a flexible workspace policy. What’s more, the number of freelancers and workers who work fully remotely is constantly on the rise. And in some cases, circumstances beyond our control force people to work from home. Take the recent coronavirus pandemic, for instance. So it’s vital that everyone who could work from home already has a VPN installed, should the need for it arise.

We’ll go into more detail about these below, but here’s our list of the best VPNs for remote workers.

Best VPNs for remote workers and freelancers:

  1. NordVPN: Our first choice for remote workers. This provider packs a suite of security extras and has a huge server network. It comes with a no-fuss 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Surfshark: Best budget option. This provider allows you to customize security and has plenty of server locations.
  3. ExpressVPN: Boasts excellent speeds and is extremely reliable. Very large number of server locations to choose from.
  4. CyberGhost: This VPN offers strong security features and great speeds.
  5. IPVanish: If you’re looking for speed, privacy, and reliability, this could be another great pick.
  6. PrivateVPN: Known for its strong privacy features, PrivateVPN is a small but powerful VPN.
  7. Atlas VPN: Quick, privacy-conscious, and extremely fast. Lets you secure all of your devices simultaneously.

A simple web search for VPNs will deliver a ton of results. However, they come in a broad range in terms of quality, performing differently in areas such as speed, security, customer service, and more. We used the following criteria when making our selections:

  • Has excellent speeds
  • Provides reliable connections
  • Uses strong encryption and other security features
  • Offers servers across the globe
  • Doesn’t log user data
  • Provides solid customer support

Best VPNs for remote workers

Here is our list of the best VPNs for remote workers:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN May 2022

Apps Available:

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

Website:  www.NordVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

NordVPN is our top pick for remote workers and freelancers. It has been a mainstay in the industry for many years and continues to provide solid performance across its large network of servers. It currently operates around 5,500 servers in 60 countries. It works in China and other countries where VPNs are normally blocked. Plus, it’s an excellent choice for streaming and works with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

NordVPN has one of the largest selections of security options out there. Features include strong encryption, perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch in all apps except Android, protection against leaks, and automatic wifi protection. It also provides a wide selection of obfuscated servers that can help you avoid web filtering techniques such as deep packet inspection (used in China). NordVPN has a policy of keeping no logs whatsoever.

You can use the VPN on up to six devices under one subscription. Apps are provided for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. There’s support for some home routers too.

Pros:

  • Expansive server network
  • Lots of security features
  • Great for streaming
  • No-logs provider
  • 24/7 support

Cons:

  • Users can’t select a specific server, only a location

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST VPN FOR REMOTE WORKERS:NordVPN is our first choice. Highly secure, with impressive speeds, user-friendly apps, and 24/7 live chat. Packages come with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full NordVPN review.

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2. Surfshark

Surfshark

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Surfshark.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Surfshark is the best budget option. It has rapidly proven itself a worthy contender in the industry, boasting impressive speeds, excellent streaming capabilities, and strong security. It has around 3,200 servers in over 60 countries and can securely access just about every service we’ve tested including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

This provider keeps adding to its security suite with existing features including 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, automatic wifi protection, split tunneling, a kill switch in all apps, and leak protection. Surfshark never logs user data. Further, it’s recently added a tool that lets you swap IP addresses at regular intervals. Customer help is available 24/7 over email and live chat.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android, and Surfshark can be manually configured on some home routers. A huge plus is that you can connect an unlimited number of devices at any given time.

Pros:

  • Great for streaming
  • Fast speeds
  • Unlimited connections

Cons:

  • Some featuresmentioned in-app require an additional payment

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is our low-cost pick. Speedy, secure, and great at accessing your favorite content. Plus, you can use it on all devices. Packages include a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Learn more from our in-depth review of Surfshark.

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3. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.ExpressVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ExpressVPN offers blazing-fast speeds, and reliable connections, so you don’t have to worry about a choppy conference call. This provider has an extensive network of more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries, so you can usually find a location that’s close by.

If you do get some downtime while working from home, ExpressVPN has you covered on the entertainment front. It can securely access Netflix, as well as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. It can also bypass censorship in countries like China, enabling access to sites like Facebook, Skype, Instagram, and more.

Security is a strong focus of ExpressVPN and you can expect military-grade encryption with perfect forward secrecy, protection against leaks, split tunneling, and a kill switch in the desktop apps. ExpressVPN doesn’t keep logs of any user-identifying data. ExpressVPN offers prompt and knowledgeable support via 24/7 live chat, so you can troubleshoot quickly should you run into issues.

Need a VPN on multiple devices? ExpressVPN allows up to five connections at a time and has apps for Linux, Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire TV. If you’d prefer to set up the VPN on your home router, you’re in luck, as ExpressVPN has easy-to-use custom firmware that works with select routers. You can also configure the VPN manually on certain routers with compatible firmware.

Pros:

  • Incredibly fast speeds
  • Large server network
  • Doesn’t keep logs of personal data
  • Strong suite of security features
  • Knowledgeable customer support

Cons:

  • Priced a bit higher than some competitors

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

FAST AND SECURE:ExpressVPN ideal for freelancers choice. It’s super-fast, very reliable, and highly secure. It even comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our in-depth review of ExpressVPN.

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4. CyberGhost

CyberGhost

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Cyberghost.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

CyberGhost is another solid VPN worthy of consideration. This provider operates a huge network comprising more than 7,700 servers spanning 90+ countries. It has great speeds, so you won’t have to wait forever for that huge project file to download, and it’s very beginner-friendly. If you’re looking to stream, you’re in luck: CyberGhost works with a ton of services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

You’re covered on the privacy front as CyberGhost keeps no logs, deploys leak protection, and includes a kill switch in all of its apps. Additional security features include 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and automatic wifi protection on familiar networks.

Apps are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, and Android. You can connect up to seven devices simultaneously. Some home routers can be manually configured with the VPN. Customer support is available around the clock.

Pros:

  • Great speeds
  • Expansive server network
  • No-logs provider
  • Solid security

Cons:

  • Lacks some configuration options

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

GREAT FOR NOVICES:CyberGhost offers a large network, solid speeds, and strong security. Plans include 24/7 support and a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full review of CyberGhost.

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5. IPVanish

IPVanish

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.IPVanish.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

IPVanish is another great choice for freelancers or others working from home. With great speeds and reliable connections, this VPN is suitable for a host of reasons. It’s especially useful for Kodi users and torrenters as its Android APK can be downloaded directly to your device and is remote control friendly. IPVanish has more than 2,000 servers in over 60 countries. It doesn’t work with as many streaming sites as rivals, but it does help you stream Netflix US and UK, among others. It doesn’t currently work in China.

This provider has always hung its hat on offering private and secure service. It has a strict no-logs policy and encrypts your connection with 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, leak protection, and a kill switch in the desktop apps.

Desktop clients are available for Windows and MacOS, and mobile apps can be installed on iOS and Android devices. The VPN is compatible with select home routers. You can connect any number of devices at a time under one plan. IPVanish offers 24/7 live chat customer support.

Pros:

  • Solid speeds for browsing and downloading
  • Tight security
  • Reliable customer support

Cons:

  • Not the best for streaming

Our score:

4 out of 5

NO-LOGS VPN:IPVanish is highly secure and has strict no-logs policy. Annual plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Discover more from our full review of IPVanish.

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6. PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.PrivateVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

PrivateVPN is often overlooked due to its small network size (it has just over 200 servers in 63 countries). However, it consistently delivers in all other areas including speed, security, streaming, and more. It provides fast, reliable connections and can bypass even the country-wide censorship used in places like China. As such, streaming Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video safely is child’s play.

PrivateVPN won’t record any of your traffic or connection data and employs 256-bit encryption. This is in conjunction with perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch (in the Windows app), and protection against leaks.

Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.The VPN is compatible with select home routers. PrivateVPN imposes a 10-device limit. You can contact customer support via live chat, although it’s unavailable for several hours per day.

Pros:

  • Great speeds
  • Keeps no logs whatsoever
  • Military-grade encryption

Cons:

  • Kill switch is Windows-only
  • Server network is small

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

SMALL BUT HIGH-PERFORMANCES:PrivateVPN might be smaller than competitors, but it’s fast, secure, and versatile. The company extends a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full PrivateVPN review.

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7. Atlas VPN

Atlas VPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android

Website:  https://atlasvpn.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Atlas VPN has roughly 750 servers in 40 countries. This might not sound like a lot, but they’re capable of delivering extremely high speeds and helping you access just about any service you require. In fact, we had no problems securely streaming Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or HBO Max while connected, which says a lot. Best of all, this VPN lets you connect as many devices as you like.

There’s no need to worry about privacy, either. Atlas VPN follows a true no-logs policy, meaning it can’t reveal what you do online, even in the face of legal pressure. Its apps also include 256-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch. There’s also a SafeSwap feature that enhances your privacy by regularly changing your IP address. Customer support is available, day or night, over live chat.

Atlas VPN apps are available for MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android.

Pros:

  • Good speeds and streaming potential
  • Impressive security and privacy offering
  • No connection limit

Cons:

  • No Linux or router support
  • Fewer locations to choose from than others in this list

Our score:

4 out of 5

NO CONNECTION LIMIT:Atlas VPN can help you secure all of your devices simultaneously. Not only that, but it’s extremely fast and boasts a ton of privacy features. There’s even a 30-day money-back guarantee!

For more details, read our full Atlas VPN review.

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How do I set up a VPN for remote working?

If you’re new to VPNs, they can sound a bit intimidating. However, they really are very simple to set up. Below are the basic steps.

Here’s how to set up a VPN for remote workers:

  1. Select a suitable provider and pay for your chosen subscription period. We recommend NordVPN.
  2. Download the native app for your device. Desktop apps can be found on the provider website and mobile apps in their respective app stores.
  3. Launch the app and log in using your new username and password.
  4. Select a server in a location of your choice. Choose a geographically close server for the fastest speeds, or select one in the appropriate country for unblocking content.

That’s it. You’re now protected and can browse, download, and stream with peace of mind. Note that if you run into any issues, all of the above providers have troubleshooting advice on their websites, or you can contact a support representative.

Methodology: How we chose the best VPNs for remote workers

Not every VPN is suitable for business use. Some are simply too slow, while others are incapable of accessing the tools you need, or lack the tools required to do so safely. To ensure we only recommend the best VPNs for freelancers and remote workers, we created a list of strict criteria our top services had to meet:

  • Fast speeds: Slow connections cause frustration, whether it’s by reducing your efficiency or preventing you from participating in meetings. We regularly speed test leading VPNs and can safely say that those above are fast enough for any day-to-day task.
  • Lots of server locations: Generally, the closer your chosen server is, the more reliable your connection will be. That’s why we prioritize VPNs with servers all over the world; no matter where you are, there should be one that’s relatively close by.
  • Strong security and privacy tools: You’ll need a secure connection to work remotely. Our top VPNs must offer 256-bit AES encryptiion, a kill switch, and protection against IPv6 and DNS leaks, as well as a no-logs policy. This is just a baseline; many of those above include additional tools including custom protocols and stealth modes.
  • High degree of versatility: During the course of your day, you might have to participate in video conferences, contact those in other countries, stream video, or download large files (possibly using P2P networks). For this reason, we test our top VPNs with a plethora of services including Skype, WhatsApp, BBC iPlayer, Tor, and uTorrent.
  • Easy to use: We strongly prefer newcomer-friendly VPNs, which is why we keep an eye out for multi-platform support, 24/7 live chat, and any other features that make the service easier to use. These might include streaming-optimized servers, a lack of connection limits, or money-back guarantees.

Interested in learning more? We’ve put together a full guide that explains exactly how we test VPNs at Comparitech.

VPNs and remote work: FAQs

Can I use a free VPN for remote working?

When searching for VPNs, you’ll find that there’s an overwhelming number of choices available, including many free options. However, we recommend against using free VPNs. These services tend to come riddled with issues and provide a poor user experience.

Free VPNs operate using a variety of business models, but in most cases, the user is the product. You’ll likely be served a slew of annoying ads while using the VPN, and there’s the likelihood that the provider will track your internet activity to create a user profile that can be sold to third parties.

What’s more, free VPNs usually don’t employ the same encryption standards that paid providers do, and lack features like leak protection and kill switches. Some even carry malware, which is clearly not what you expect when you sign up.

On the practical side, free VPNs have low data caps, so you’re extremely limited on what you can do with them in a day. They’re also slow and prone to dropped connections, not ideal when you’re in the middle of a video chat.

Clearly, when working from home, you need to avoid all of the above issues. Paying a few dollars per month for a reputable paid provider can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Why should I use a VPN when working remotely?

When working from home, it’s likely your network will lack many of the security features that are built into networks run by employers. If a hacker is able to access your home network, they can potentially see all information that’s traveling to and from every connected device, including communications, passwords, downloads, and more.

A VPN can protect your home internet connection and prevent exposure to cyberattacks. It encrypts all traffic flowing to and from any device it’s running on. This means that anyone who intercepts that traffic will be unable to read it without the decryption key. A VPN also prevents snooping by other parties, such as government agencies and your internet service provider.

VPNs have other benefits too. If you’re in a country where the government censors certain content, then a VPN is your solution. By changing your location to one outside your current country, you can bypass these restrictions and access apps and websites that might otherwise be blocked. This is particularly handy for accessing communication apps like Skype and WhatsApp that you may need in order to work productively. You can also use this method to browse safely while at a public wifi hotspot, since these are usually not as secure as they should be.

As a bonus, a VPN can help you securely access other content too. Many streaming, gaming, and other sites restrict their content based on your geographic location. Using a VPN, you can spoof your location and make it appear that you’re in the appropriate country to access content.