quinta-feira, 4 de maio de 2017

VPN - Comparison: The Best VPN Service 2018

Despite being highly technical, the concept of VPNs has become a familiar one to French web surfers ever since Hadopi came online. Nowadays, these three letters are synonymous with freedom, anonymity, and security. With more than 180 providers worldwide, there is no shortage of offerings in this highly competitive market. However, this plethora of providers makes choosing the right service complicated for the consumer. This is especially true since not all VPNs offer the same level of security, performance, and preservation of their clients’ anonymity. Certain providers offer specialized services for specific usages, and some users, for whom cost is not an issue, might even purchase services from several different providers, depending on their needs.
For this 20th of February 2017 update, we have added several VPN services to our test list, and we have conducted a new performance (bandwidth) test for all the listed services. Every update will see new services being added to our comparison and we will perform a new bandwidth test every time we update our list.

By the way, what is a VPN?

VPN is the acronym for “Virtual Private Network”. This technology allows for the creation of a virtual network between two computers linked through the internet – creating in effect a sort of secure, encrypted tunnel for digital communications.
Best VPN
Typically, this allows a computer user to connect to a server via the internet without anyone else being able to intercept the user’s traffic. A VPN could be used for example by a traveling business person to securely connect to his or her company’s server. A VPN can also be used to create a private connection between a user’s computer and a server which will act as a gateway to the internet in such a way as to make it much more difficult for websites, spyware and government agencies to trace the user’s point of origin; the user’s activity is still visible and can still be recorded but the point of origin is the VPN’s address and no longer the user’s own – making it much more difficult for the user to be tracked.

Our selection of the best VPNs: 1st semester, 2017

This table is a summary of our selection, for more detailed security and functionality results for all of the tested servers, please see the table on the last page which contains the detailed results for all of the VPNs that we tested.

VPN performance test: bandwidth

The performance of VPNs is rather hard to analyze: the performance values vary in function of the time of day, the country from which one connects, the country in which the VPN is located, ISP peering traffic, etc. It is therefore hard to precisely evaluate VPNs and the only true test it to connect to a specific VPN from your own internet connection to test the VPN’s performance for your personal needs.

Our measures give a general idea of the performance which can be expected by French users using an ADSL connection within France. Only the “USA TV Streaming” metric is conducted via a very high speed (Fiber FTTB) connection within the United States.
Our detailed table, which can be found at the end of the article, summarizes all of our other functionality test results (NetFlix, number of countries, etc.)
Our bandwidth measurements
For all practical purposes, we evaluate each VPN by performing several bandwidth measurements for different servers and for different types of usage. In the last chart, these measurements (in MB/s) are summarized based on four criteria:
— In green: the metric “USA TV Streaming ” (mainly based on Speedtest.net and Whoever) estimates the quality of the bandwidth obtained for a user outside of UK who is connecting to a UK VPN – in order to emulate being within UK. Typically, this test measures the available bandwidth when trying to watch UK TV from outside of the country – in this case the USA.
– In blue: the metric “UK TV Streaming” provides an idea of the available measured bandwidth (average obtained by using Speedtest.net and Fast) for streaming or downloading a file while connected to a VPN located in the United States. For example, to watch Netflix US or Hulu from within UK.
– In red: the metric “Downloads” gives an idea of the bandwidth one can attain when downloading and streaming using the servers recommended by the VPN via the user’s home internet connection (the value is an average of the results obtained by using Speedtest.net and BitTorrent).
– In yellow: the metric “Activity via Sweden” evaluates the quality of web surfing and general internet activity when attempting to remain anonymous by going through a VPN server in Sweden – the European country having the strictest laws regarding the protection of personal privacy and internet anonymity.
Best VPN
To give you a more concrete idea of what these values mean, here are the typical bandwidths obtained when streaming video:
  • Low bandwidth: Bandwidth lower than 1 MB/s
  • SD bandwidth: Sufficient bandwidth for streaming standard video: between 2 and 4 MB/s
  • HD bandwidth: Sufficient bandwidth for streaming 720p HD video: over 4 MB/s
  • FHD bandwidth: Sufficiently high bandwidth for streaming 1080p Full HD video: more than 8 MB/s
IN CONCLUSION:Using an encrypted VPN puts an extra load on bandwidth. The bandwidth which can be achieved while going through a VPN is necessarily inferior to the bandwidth of your normal internet connection and can also be affected by the distance which separates the two servers as well as the service’s capacity. The best test is actually trying out a service to get an idea of its performance for your particular type of usage.

What you should take away from our tests

Do our tables and graphs seem too complicated and tedious to decipher? Here is a brief summary of what you should take away from our tests in function of your intended use for a VPN:
· The 4 fastest VPNs for downloading:
HotSpot Shield, NordVPN, HideMyAss, ActiVPN
· The 3 best VPNs for surfing the internet anonymously and blocking ads and tracking cookies:
Freedome, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost
· The 3 best VPNs to hide its online activities (via Sweden):HotSpot Shield, ActiVPN, IP Vanish
· The 3 best VPNs to watch UK programs from the USA:HotSpot Shield, IP Vanish, CyberGhost
· The 3 best VPNs to watch US streaming from UK (excluding Netflix):HotSpotShield, CyberGhost, Freedome
· The 3 best VPNs to watch NetFlix USA from UK:Freedome, HotSpot Shied, Private Internet Access
· The 3 most user-friendly VPNs on Windows:
IP Vanish, CyberGhost, SurfEasy

My VPN seems slow, what should I do?

The performance of VPN providers depends on a number of factors, some of which can be directly attributed to the provider, others depend on your Internet Service Provider and its peering agreements.
In general terms, certain VPNs are faster since they benefit from better infrastructure and have more and better interconnected servers.
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In addition to this infrastructure, slow performance can be directly linked to the VPN server you have selected: it might be too far away or be over saturated. If you are experiencing very slow performance on a particular website, perform a “Trace Route” (DOS command “Tracert”) with and without the VPN activated in order to precisely identify where the bottleneck is occurring. If the bottleneck is at the level of the VPN server you have selected, try choosing another server or a server in another country.
IN CONCLUSION:The performance of VPNs varies depending on the provider and the VPN server. If you are not satisfied with your VPN, change providers: the majority of VPN providers offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

VPNs: for whom and for what are they?

Why use a VPN?

Essentially, a VPN hides your internet activity. In general terms, a VPN, as it relates to the general public, results in:
• Improved anonymity:
A VPN hides the point of origin of a user’s internet activities (all the activity appears to be coming from the VPN server to which the user is connected and not from the user’s internet connection) and helps to protect the user’s privacy (since websites can continue to track users via cookies through web browsers). VPNs are especially useful for protecting a user’s confidentiality when connected through a public WiFi connection (they help avoid a user’s data from being stolen by hackers). VPNs are also effective for hiding your activities from your ISP.
• Freer access:
VPNs allow users to bypass filters put in place by Internet Service Providers or employers. They also allow some users to get around the censorship imposed by their government. By replacing your IP address with the address of the VPN server to which you are connected, the VPN will allow you to emulate being in another country and to bypass the geo-tracking filters put in place by certain websites or internet services.
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Who might need a VPN?

VPNs can be useful to many types of users for various possible uses. Typically, VPNs can be useful for the following types of users:
– Students and employees seeking the ability to bypass the filters put in place by the institution or hotel providing their internet connection. A VPN is also a good way to guarantee a secure internet connection when using an open WiFi HotSpot in a cafe, train station or airport.
– Paranoid people who place primary importance on the security of their online activities. Those people obsessed with protecting their private life almost systematically go through a VPN connection when doing anything on the internet. VPNs are not an absolute guarantee, but they do provide an increased level of privacy and security.
– Downloaders: Whether the download is legal or not, a VPN makes it possible to hide the fact that you are using BitTorrent or any other service to download a file, a movie or music. This explains in large part why the use of VPNs has become so wide-spread in France ever since Hadopi came online.

Criteria for choosing the right VPN service

Define your usage requirements

Now that we have established what not to do, here are the things you should look into before paying attention to the more technical aspects: first, you need to determine exactly what you would like to do with your VPN.
Best VPN
• Are you going to use it to download with BitTorrent?
In this eventuality, you should check whether P2P usage is forbidden or not and make sure that the service provides an adequate bandwidth. You should also verify that the VPN service does not log your activities, that it has its own DNS and that it is able to pass IP leaking tests. Make sure that you are able to pay for the service through PayPal or with Bitcoin and that its software makes a KillSwitch option available (explained further on).
• Will the VPN be used to watch US/UK TV from abroad?
Make sure that the service you are interested in has its own servers in US/UK, with US/UK IPs and with significant available bandwidth within US/UK.
• Is the VPN to be used to get around the censorship filters imposed by the governments of the countries you visit?
Make sure that the VPN you have in mind does not impose any service limitations and that it is capable of handling a multitude of protocols. You will also need to check that it is compatible with multiple connections and mobile devices.
• Is it to surf the web in total anonymity?
Don’t just verify that the VPN does not track you in any way, also make sure that it uses its own DNS, that it passes IP leaking tests and that it offers additional features for the preservation of your private life and identity.
• Is it to protect yourself when connecting from public HotSpots?
Make sure that the VPN software activates automatically whenever you connect to a public HotSpot.
• Are you interested in using the VPN exclusively on your PC or on all of your mobile devices as well?
Verify that the VPN provider supplies applications for mobile devices and that it allows simultaneous connections.
There is no such thing as a perfect VPN. Choose a VPN with the usage characteristics which most closely match those you are looking for.

Simplified software

In principle, using a VPN connection does not require any specialized software. It is a feature which is usually integrated by default into all operating systems. Your are only required to configure the connection by specifying the IP address of the VPN server, the protocol to use as well as your user identifiers (username and password) for the VPN service. This can appear complicated to novice users and can become a nuisance for everyday operations when the VPN server has dozens or hundreds of server addresses to choose from.
For this reason, the majority of VPN providers offer small applications that allow for the automatic configuration of the VPN and which allow you to easily choose the country that you would like to emulate. These applications offer advanced options and features (explained later on) such as an antivirus, dangerous site filters, automatic activation mechanisms (when connecting from a public HotSpot) or internet connection blocking whenever the connection to the VPN is lost (KillSwitch feature). Certain services, such as CyberGhost, offer an application with a very user friendly interface. The software proposes different types of usage (watching foreign video services, P2P, secure navigation). All the user needs to do is to click on the desired option and the VPN will be automatically configured with the best parameters to accomplish that function.
IN CONCLUSION:Give preference to those services which offer an easy-to-use interface in order to activate the VPN and configure its options.

Multi-OS compatibility

These days, users connect to the internet via a multitude of devices: PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets. Therefore, it would be logical for you to want to take advantage of your VPN on all of your devices while benefiting from the same quality on all of them. If this possibility is something that would interest you, you should choose VPN solutions which offer software for all of the operating systems you intend to use.
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While almost all VPNs offer applications for iOS and Android, providers that offer a true UWP application for Windows 10 which works equally well on PCs and smartphones are still few and far between. We know of three which do provide this type of application: VPN Unlimited, Hotspot Shield and TouchVPN. The other providers usually simply provide a Windows “Desktop” version.
Other than the compatibility of the VPN with all of your devices, another thing to verify is that you are able to connect to the service from several devices simultaneously. Some VPNs only allow a single connection. Most VPNs are limited to 3 devices, while others do not impose any limits – such as Avira Phantom.
Chose a VPN provider that does not impose any limit on the number of connected devices (or which offers the ability of connecting 5 devices simultaneously) and which supplies the applications required to connect from all of your mobile devices.

No limitations

While you are required to pay for most VPN services, not all of them are without limitations. For example, some services limit the volume of monthly data transferable, but this limitation usually only applies to free account packages.
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Others, for legal or ethical reasons, forbid P2P downloading via BitTorrent. As a general rule, don’t forget to read the FAQ and the operational guidelines before making your selection of a VPN provider; you risk choosing an offer that turns out to have been too good to be true.
Avoid those providers which impose any sort of limitation on the volume of transferable data or which block P2P downloads unless you only use a VPN for anonymous web surfing. Free VPN packages or usually limited to surfing the internet; they do not provide any real protection and their bandwidth is generally very limited.

Access to US streaming services

VPNs are often used by UK users to bypass the geographical restrictions of VOD services in order to access UK streaming TV services when traveling abroad or to access foreign VOD services (such as Hulo or ESPN) from within UK.
Many UK Netflix subscribers, who are not bothered by English, use VPNs to make Netflix believe that they are located in the USA. Why? In order to access the totality of the film catalog. Indeed, the UK version of Netflix is much less complete than its American counterpart due to their distribution agreements with UK TV stations and the restrictions imposed by the film industry.
However, ever since early 2016, Netflix has been fighting back against VPNs by blocking these services’ IP addresses. Some VPNs are still able to get around these restrictions by making it difficult for Netflix to ban them.
For the purpose of writing this guide, we tested the possible access to Netflix US from within UK. If we were able to connect in fewer than 3 attempts, the test was marked “Success”. If we were unable to connect, the test received the annotation “Failure”. The results of these tests can be found in the table at the end of this article.
We were able to connect to Netflix US from within UK by using the following services: ExpressVPN, F-Secure Freedome, HideMyAss, HotSpotShield, Private Internet Access and VyprVPN.
It should be noted that even though we were able to access Netflix US by using certain services, there is no guarantee that these services will remain unknown to Netflix in the days and weeks to come. Furthermore, certain VPNs are occasionally blocked on some of the servers and not on others. By changing one’s emulated US location, it might be possible to discover an IP address which has not yet been blocked.
Netflix is actively fighting against the use of VPNs to bypass geographical restrictions. Because of this, no service can guarantee that their VPN will allow you to access Netflix US from within France. If this is your primary reason for using a VPN, buy a monthly subscription to the service in order to be able to change VPN providers if your service is no longer able to grant you access.

The number of countries and servers

Depending on your intended use for your VPN, you may need to pay attention to these two criteria:
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  • The number of available servers has an influence on the availability of the service, the bandwidth as well as the overall quality of the service. The more servers there are, the better the service will be. Unfortunately, this information is rarely made available to users.
  • The number of available countries is easily determined from within the VPN’s user interface. However, more important than the number of countries are the actual countries which are available. You should for instance verify that the VPN has available servers in Sweden if you are interested in remaining anonymous (it is the country with the strictest privacy regulations). You should also make sure that it has access to servers in the USA if you are interested in accessing Netflix or other American VOD services. The VPN should also have servers in UK if you are interested in connecting to UK streaming TV channels while traveling abroad.
Make sure that the VPN has servers in the country for which you are interested in accessing the VOD and streaming TV services or in which you will be making purchases.
Respect for your anonymity
Choosing a VPN service is above all a question of confidence. The more transparent a service is about its operating principles, the better.
Even if your VPN hides your activity from your ISP, the VPN provider is still able to tell who you are and what you are doing. Some countries require these services to keep a log of all connections which would eventually allow police organizations to trace certain activities back to you. Some services track connections in order to clear themselves of any responsibility. Other services claim to provide a “no logging” service in which no information is recorded.
In reality, no VPN can be credible when claiming that it does not record any personal information since they must, at the very least, record your log in information and keep track of your payments. This means that when a VPN service claims to provide a “no logging” VPN, they are really saying that they do not log a history of your online activities (visited sites, downloaded files, your IP addresses, etc.).
If you use a VPN in order to preserve your anonymity, make sure that the provider does not record any connection information about you and that they provide a “no logging” service. A VPN is an indispensable tool for remaining anonymous on the internet, but it is not sufficient on its own. Other measures must also be taken such as a proper configuration of your web browser’s parameters.
Cost and payment methods
It all depends on what you intend to do with your VPN, but it is important to keep in mind that if you make your payments by credit card or by PayPal, it will be easy for the service to discover your real identity. As a general rule, paying with PayPal is preferable to paying with a credit card since not all VPN providers are totally transparent about their finances and about the people who operate the service. Since it fulfills the role of a trusted intermediary, PayPal remains a more secure and discrete option.
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If you are seeking a VPN in order to navigate the internet in total anonymity, there exists a payment method which is almost entirely anonymous: Bitcoin. A number of services are now accepting it as a means of payment. Remember that a Bitcoin transaction, as opposed to conventional payment methods, does not require the user to divulge any sort of personal information.
In addition to the various payment methods, VPN providers often propose two types of subscriptions: monthly or annual. Some services require a certain type of subscription in order to access all of the available services such as BitTorrent downloading.
Lastly, you should know that most providers do not offer a truly free trial period, most providers usually propose a 7 day period during which you are able to request a refund if you do not find the service to be satisfactory.
Bitcoin payments are the only ones which guarantee your anonymity, but not all providers accept this form of payment.
They are rare, but some providers offer a free trial period; do not hesitate to take advantage of this type of offer in order to try out the VPN’s services.

The affiliate nightmare: never make this mistake

If there is one thing that you should absolutely never do, it is to refer to Google in order to find a VPN provider! Searching for terms such as “best VPNs” or “Top 10 VPNs” will, in 90% of the cases, refer you to sites or blogs where the recommendations are made entirely on the basis of financial gain by convincing users to purchase services through affiliate links. This is because the majority of VPN services has implemented large-scale recruitment programs. As a consequence, many sites and blogs simply propose those VPN services which pay the most in referral commissions.
P.S.: Yes, our buyers guide also has affiliate links, but our tests, advice and ranking are totally independent from any marketing concerns!
Most sites dedicated to VPNs are financed by affiliation and give preference to those providers which are most profitable. Do not blindly trust any information you find on this type of site.

Choosing the right VPN: technical criteria

The supported protocols

There are various protocols which allow you to create a secure tunnel between your PC and the VPN server:
  • PPTP a fast and light-weight protocol, but with a low level of encryption.
  • L2TP makes use of IPSec encryption; it is mainly used in commercial applications rather than for personal VPNs.
  • OpenVPN is the new star of the VPN world – a protocol which is considered to be highly reliable and secure.
PPTP and L2TP are supported by default in Windows. OpenVPN requires installing special drivers which are usually added to the operating system during the installation of the companion VPN software.
In addition to the protocol, certain VPN providers allow you to choose the packet transmission method: TCP or UDP. In general, UDP’s performance is superior, but certain installations and certain networks do not allow its use and impose the use of the TCP method.
The protocol is too technical an aspect for most novice users, and it has very little bearing on the user’s experience. PPTP is simple and already integrated into Windows. OpenVPN is the fashionable protocol at the moment.

VPN reliability

A VPN’s quality depends above all on its implementation. Certain services can leak your real IP address in some cases. All the results of our tests can be found in the table at the end of this article. A service must have passed the three following leak tests in order to have received the annotation “Success”.
Best VPN
DNS Leak > Typically, certain servers leak the DNS information used by your device, which makes it possible to trace activity back to you by using the logs kept by these DNS services. In order to avoid this type of leak, some service providers use their own DNS so that there is no way to figure out who their users really are. We test the efficiency of these anti leak defenses by means of services such as “Ipleak.net” and “DNSleaktest.com”.
IP Leak > Certain VPNs allow your computer’s real IP address to filter through due to deficiencies in Flash player and the WebRTC protocol. We verified, by using Whoer.net, whether or not the tested VPN services allowed the real IP address to leak through.
IPv6 Leak > Nowadays, all PCs install both the IPv4 and Ipv6 protocols by default. This means that every PC is associated with not one, but two IP addresses. Yet, most VPN protocols in operation at the moment were created before the standardization of IPv6 which means that VPN providers only circulate your traffic by means of IPv4, leaving the IPv6 traffic unencrypted and not secure. The most secure solution is to deactivate the IPv6 protocol on your network adapter. However, some VPNs propose an easier solution for automatically stopping IPv6 leaks (while the VPN is active, only the IPv4 is authorized).
BitTorrent Leak > Certain VPNs refuse to process P2P and BitTorrent traffic, allowing this traffic to flow outside of the secure tunnel, in which case your IP address is visible. We conduct tests to verify that the BitTorrent protocol is truly being managed by the VPN and that your real IP address does not show while downloading.
Only choose a VPN which received the “OK” on our leak tests: IP/DNS/WEBRTC/FLASH/BITTORRENT.
: VPNs do not protect you from information communicated by your web browser which can easily betray your country of origin.
KillSwitch option
When connected via a VPN, it is possible for your connection to be interrupted, either due to an unintentional disconnection from the VPN server or as a result of technical failure on the part of the VPN server, or even due to a disconnection from your ISP (or a reboot of your modem). In all of these cases, the VPN “drops out” and your real IP address becomes visible once more.
Some VPN service providers looked for an answer to this problem and implemented a simple and practical solution: the KillSwitch. This feature, when it is activated, completely interrupts the internet connection whenever the VPN is no longer active. The goal is to avoid any packets containing data from leaving your computer in the eventuality that you are not being protected by the VPN. Under real world conditions, the KillSwitch is never 100% reliable (there exists a delay between its activation and the loss of the connection to the VPN, during which time packets could be sent out). However the solution is very easy to use and effective enough for most types of usages.
If you are downloading via BitTorrent, choose a VPN which offers the “KillSwitch” feature in such a way as to prevent your real IP address from ever been seen in the event that you should temporarily loose your connection to the VPN.
Caution: The KillSwitch is an imperfect gadget. There is only one way to be completely certain that no packets will leak out: manually configure the firewall to block all packets unless they are being transmitted through the VPN interface. This type of configuration requires a certain degree of technical knowledge.
Extra features
Many VPN service providers offer simple software in order to facilitate the VPN’s use on a daily basis and some providers also offer some extra features.
Automatic WiFi connection: Some providers offer software which gives you the possibility of automatically connecting to the VPN server every time that you attempt to connect to the internet through an open WiFi HotSpot.
Web filters and browser protection: Certain VPN providers, such as F-Secure Freedome, Private Internet Access or CyberGhost, are starting to offer advanced services to increase your anonymity on the internet. For example, their servers are capable of automatically intercepting tracking cookies and eliminating all the private information they contain. This “anti tracking” option is sometimes accompanied by an “anti publicity” option which automatically blocks the advertisements placed on websites, for a less polluted web browsing experience. Lastly, some services (such as ActiVPN or Freedome) even go so far as to offer an“anti malware” option which automatically blocks Botnet traffic towards its Command and Control center (C&C) as well as blocking URLs which point to infected files.
Some VPNs, thanks to their Windows interface, offer additional security features such as automatic WiFi connection. These options truly increase the anonymity and security of your personal information while you are connected to the internet.

Best VPN 2017:

VPN HotSpot Shield IPVanish NordVPN VyprVPN CyberGhost F-Secure Freedome HydeMyAss ExpressVPN Private Internet Access
Country USA USA Panama Swiss Romania Finland UK French USA
Payment by Bitcoin Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Payment by Paypal Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Free trial test Free Offer No No 3 days Free Offer 14 days No No No
Traffic Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Anonymous registration No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Email validation Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes No
Number of simultaneous devices 5 2 6 3 1 3 2 3 5
PPTP support No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No
OpenVPN support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Anonymity Medium Good Very Good Medium Very Good Good Medium Pretty Good Good
Authorized P2P / BitTorrent Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Auto Protection Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes No Yes
Anti-Tracking Pub / Anti-banner No / Yes Yes / No No  / No No  / No Yes / Yes Yes / Yes No  / No No  / No Yes / Yes
KillSwitch Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of countries 20 60 48 50 26 27 192 87 24
Number of Servers No date 458 490 710 600+ No date 928 1000+ 3435
UWP/ iOS/Android App No / Yes / Yes WinPhone/ Yes/Yes No / Yes / Yes No / Yes / Yes No / Yes / Yes No / Yes / Yes No / Yes / Yes No / Yes / Yes No / Yes / Yes
NETFLIX Access Test Success Failure Success Success Failure Failure Failure Success Success
Leaks Test Success Success Success Success Success Success Failure Success Success
Download & Video Performance FHD FullHD FullHD FullHD HD FHD HD HD HD

fonte: http://pc4u.org/best-vpn-service/

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