Best VPNs for Schools
and College Students

Best VPNs for Students

University Headquarters

Top Resources to Help You Choosing the Best VPNs for College

Learn More Below

Cybersecurity is a puzzle for many computer users. We try to use complex passwords and avoid clicking suspect links in odd emails, but there are more steps we can take to ensure our safety. One easy and affordable measure is to install a VPN, or virtual private network. These applications and services route and encrypt web traffic so as to thwart hackers. While every computer user should consider a VPN, they are especially recommended for those who make regular use of Wi-Fi networks while traveling or around town. In fact, most VPNs can be installed on a mobile device to ensure that you're always protected.

Resources for Before and After College

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a cybersecurity tool that desktop computer and mobile device users employ to provide extra privacy for their internet activities. VPN is an acronym for virtual private network. It functions to route user’s traffic through a third-party internet server. When a user installs a VPN on their device and boots it up for a session, all of their internet traffic is encrypted and routed through the VPN provider's hardware.

A VPN is a great idea for those who use public Wi-Fi such as at a coffee shop, bar, or hotel. Hackers should be unable to hack through the encryption and access your browser or any of the information it holds. It can also help international travelers who many need to conduct banking or brokerage business while they travel. They can log-on to a VPN server in their home country and thus indicate to their bank or broker that they are at home.

General Perks of a VPN

VPNs offer users a range of perks that include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Access to Blocked Sites:
    If your local area does not allow access to a foreign website, a VPN can be used to route traffic offshore so that you can access the information you need.
  • Protection from Hackers:
    Sadly, many public Wi-Fi spots are monitored by bad actors who wish to capture your passwords and other sensitive data. A VPN encrypts and secures your internet activities so that you can surf in safety.
  • Torrent Usage:
    Many internet service providers monitor your internet traffic and may wish to police your use of torrent services. When you use a VPN to use one of these file trading websites, that traffic is hidden from view. That way, you can download what you like without the prying eyes of the ISP you pay every month.
  • Virtual Relocation:
    Some financial or other services are not accessible if you are abroad and using an international server. If you are overseas and need to transfer funds or do some other financial business, your VPN can route your transactions through a server back home and allow you to transact business freely. Sometimes other media is also blocked based on your geography, so changing your VPN server can ensure that you are able to watch the sports you want or let you view movies that aren't yet available to the domestic market but are included elsewhere in the service you already pay for.

What to Look for in a VPN When You’re Headed to School

Shopping for a VPN can be daunting to those not already comfortable with this cybersecurity measure. However, a few pointers can clear up much of the confusion surrounding VPN.

  • Ease of use:
    A VPN should be virtually invisible to the user. Seek out a VPN that will open automatically with your mobile or desktop device. Most have a simple GUI interface or might integrate with your device's network functions. You might also seek a VPN that has a browser app that you can configure to launch with your browser, thus securing all browser traffic.
  • Low Cost:
    Most VPNs aren't very expensive, but you should compare prices against reviews and overall functionality. If you want a VPN that you can use on multiple devices, check each provider's terms. Some providers allow users to install and use their VPN on an unlimited number of devices.
  • Home Network Installation:
    This feature provides perhaps the best security for home users. With this, a VPN may be installed on your home router so that any device that uses your Wi-Fi network will be secured from prying eyes.
  • VPN Perks for College Students:
    Students can use their VPN for a variety of reasons. One clever use is to shop for flights and hotels using a foreign server. Sometimes, a lower price might be offered to local travelers, or to travelers from overseas. Students studying abroad can also whichever server is best for their wallet instead of just the one that’s easily available

The Best VPNs for Students

Here are just some of the best VPNs for students that are currently available.

  • Nord VPN:
    NordVPN is one of most popular VPNs out there. Its monthly cost is a bit more than others, but it's less than 75 cents more than the cheapest we found. However, they do offer a 15% student discount and a 30-day money-back guarantee. For that little bit of extra money, Nord VPN provides double encryption by routing traffic through multiple servers.
  • SurfShark:
    This VPN provider stands out for its low cost as well as the ability to install and employ the VPN on an unlimited number of devices. SurfShark gets high marks for its 324mbps speeds, full support of 4K and UHD video conferencing, and no-logging policy. On top of its low cost, SurfShark provides an 83% discount for college students. Their desktop and mobile interfaces are both intuitive and easy for most any student to use. Users should know that SurfShark is located in the Netherlands, which has strong privacy laws, yet they may still compel data from the VPN service.
  • CyberGhost:
    As of this writing, CyberGhost was noted as having the very lowest cost, as well as offering a 79% discount for college students. This provider is also considered to be the very best VPN for use by students studying abroad. Further, their 45-day money back guarantee is longer than any other on the market. It's always nice to have a window for risk-free experimentation.
  • Express VPN:
    Express VPN allows up to five connections per account, does not log your activity, supports Netflix use, and is less than seven dollars per month. They also offer a fail-safe that will kill your internet connection in case there's any trouble with the VPN you're currently using. This is handy because sometimes connections can falter without the user's knowledge.
  • Private Internet Access VPN:
    With an impressive stable of 29,000 servers in over 78 countries, you'll always be able to find a suitable VPN for your purposes. Though they don't offer a free trial, PIA does provide a 30-day money back guarantee.
  • IPVanish:
    IPVanish is noted for its speed and Windows compatibility. They allow up to 10 simultaneous connections per account, which should be enough for most families, and certainly most students. Speaking of students, IPVanish offers students a 60% discount as well as first-class customer service.
  • Ivacy:
    For those who primarily need a VPN for accessing Netflix, Ivacy is #1. Students will appreciate the 20% discount and the lack of torrent blockers. It's also comforting to know that Ivacy has a full no-logging policy, and those who are all about privacy will be happy to know that it is not located in a country where they can be compelled to divulge browsing activities.
  • Ultra VPN:
    This service is only available on 100 servers across 50 countries, so if you are close to one of those hubs you should experience blistering speeds. Customers should be aware that Ultra VPN is headquartered in the USA, which means that they could be compelled to hand over all browsing data.
  • Tunnelbear:
    Students who use a Chromebook might consider Tunnelbear. This service is noted for its ease of use, so it's great for those non-IT students who simply need extra protection while using the public Wi-Fi on campus. However, the monthly costs are rather high and there is no student discount. Tunnelbear is headquartered in Canada, which may mean that all browsing data can be compelled by that government.
  • Proton VPN:
    Switzerland-based Proton VPN may appeal to students for one outstanding reason: it is free. Keep in mind that free comes with a price: in this case, the speed is capped when using the free servers. Nevertheless, Proton VPN uses 1,700 server across 63 countries, making this a good choice for students who wish to study abroad. The full service is a bit more expensive than others we reviewed but the free version may be perfect for casual users who need a VPN for short vacations or other limited uses.
  • Atlas VPN:
    This VPN offers a terrific security feature not often found with other VPNs: server swap. This feature means that the VPN will switch servers periodically to give any would-be hackers the slip. Unfortunately, Atlas VPN is headquartered in the USA so user data sharing may be compelled by the government.
  • Private VPN:
    This service is noted for simplicity, P2P support, and a zero-logging policy. While there is no standing student discount, you might want to check their website to see if they are running a special. They also have servers in 62 countries, meaning that Private VPN has one of the largest networks in the VPN universe.
  • VyprVPN:
    Users won't go wrong with VyprVPN, though the company does log some portion of their data. However, that data is only stored for 30 days. VyprVPN is noted for having some of the lowest fees on the market, while offering good network speeds which average 258mbps and video streaming support for 4K UHD.
  • HideMyAss (HMA) :
    HMA VPN has one of the biggest VPN networks in the world. With HMA you can install HMA VPN on as many Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux devices as you want, and keep multiple connected at once with military-grade encryption.