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The best US VPN to use in or outside the USA 2021

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

Whether you're looking to sign up for a VPN in the US, or you want to dial in to a US VPN location from outside the USA, we're here to help you find the best software possible. We've tested all the latest and greatest options out there to present you the best US VPN guide.

A VPN is a piece of software that lets your computer appear to be in a completely different country to the one you're actually in. So if you're on vacation or abroad for work and still want to access, say, Peacock, Sling TV or US Netflix exclusives then you can use a VPN to bypass those geo-restricted websites. The VPN will virtually relocate you back home and watch as if you're back in the US. Although lots of people will use it to access foreign streamers such as BBC iPlayer over in the UK, too.

VPNs also mean great privacy and protection online which is ideal for travel when connected to potentially insecure public Wi-Fi at stations, airports and hotels. So getting a premium US VPN is a no-brainer. Enhanced security, better speed and top customer service are a few examples that make the best stand out.

Narrowing down the best VPN for when you're in the US (or have headed overseas) can be tough. You're in luck though as we've already done it for you - after literally years of testing these software wonders. Here and the five best US VPN options to download right now.

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Today's top 3 best US VPNs:

1. ExpressVPN - the best US VPN
Whether it's for streaming, getting around banned websites and apps, or simply for an extra layer of security, ExpressVPN is our top choice. It's fast, secure, easy to use and you can now get it with 3 months extra free and free unlimited cloud storage or try it risk free with its 30-day money back guarantee.
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2. Hotspot Shield - speedy online browsing
After testing Hotspot Shield ourselves, we couldn't quite believe the connection speeds we were seeing - especially from its US-based servers. If you know you want a VPN and your main concern is system slow down, then this might just be the provider for you.View Deal

3. NordVPN - one of the best in the business
NordVPN has a huge reputation in the world of VPNs, and it's certainly well earned. Unblocking geo-restricted content is easy to Nord, and it's easy to set up and use. We also like all the extra security perks it brings to the table, and the pricing isn't bad either!
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The top 5 best US VPN in 2021:

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

Best all-round US VPN for privacy, speed and unblocking

Number of US server cities: 14 | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | Maximum devices supported: 5 | Trial length: 30 days

Simple and easy to use interface
Fast and stable connection across multiple US connections
24/7 customer support
Great for streaming
Max 5 simultaneous connections

Best US VPN 2021 - Get 3 months free with an annual plan

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ExpressVPN is the best US VPN (and, indeed our favorite service overall) because it offers the best of everything from speed and security to ease of use, compatibility and customer service.

It's particularly well suited for use in and outside the USA as it has a whopping 3,000 servers spread across 160 locations and 94 countries - everywhere from Atlanta to Washington DC!

So not only do you get high-speed US based server choices (especially when you switch on its proprietary Lightway protocol), with smart selection wizards and 24/7 live chat assistance, but also plenty outside the country, too.

ExpressVPN will let you watch the likes of Hulu, HBO Max and Peacock when you're outside the US (we know, because we've tried!), BBC iPlayer inside the states and plenty more besides. You're secure too with Bitcoin payment, P2P support, industrial level encryption, a kill switch, DNS protection and a clear no-logging policy. 

The only downside is that while this has clients that work on lots of devices, you can use up to five at once - that's less than some other services on our list will offer you. Never going to need that? Then this is pretty much the perfect VPN.

Get the best US VPN 2021: get 3 months extra FREE
ExpressVPN tops the lot by a clear distance and isn't even that expensive when you consider that it will give 3 months FREE if you sign up for an annual plan, together with an entire year's use of unlimited, secure cloud storage from trusted provider Backblaze. Fantastic value on a fantastic US VPN.
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Hotspot Shield US VPN

(Image credit: Hotspot Shield)

2. Hotspot Shield

Speedy online browsing privacy-focused US VPN

Number of US server cities: 27 | Number of servers: 1,800+ | Server locations: 70+ | Maximum devices supported: 5 | Trial lnegth: 45 days

Sensational speeds
Decent pricing
Simple to use
More support would be nice

Hotspot Shield has a totally unique Catapult Hydra protocol which it developed as a way to enhance download speeds – and it really works, this VPN is rapid.

That goes the same for US servers and across long distances, making this a great US VPN to use when overseas. It works on the likes of iOS, Android, Windows and Mac also making it great for mobile devices. Those lickety split speeds are really consistent as well.

This VPN will unblock Netflix so you can still access US content when away - it even works for BBC iPlayer, if you want to watch UK shows when you're across the Atlantic.

The software of the client is simple to use and just works, fast, making this great for beginners and seasoned VPN aficionados alike. P2P support runs across servers making this torrent-friendly too, although there is some logging so be warned. Support could be better but with no bandwidth limit and some stunning speeds you'll likely never even notice that.

(Image credit: Future)

3. NordVPN

Superb security at its best

Number of US server cities: 15 | Number of servers: 5,400+ | Server locations: 80+ | Maximum devices supported: 6 | Trial length: 30 days

Excellent speeds
Double encryption
Superb user experience and support
Some servers are flakey

You've probably heard of NordVPN - the company does a lot of VPN advertising in the US and around the world. But this is one of those services that really walks the walk, as well as talking the talk.

The engineers have really sought to take security to another level. Of course there's the usual array of 2048-bit encryption, kill switches and DNS leak protection, but there are extra features like Double VPN (that encrypts your data twice) and Onion over VPN (pushing everything through the specialist super-secure network) that really gives you peace of mind that your internet activity isn't going to be seen by anybody you don't want it to.

You can even pay anonymously using Bitcoin or PayPal. For USA and outside use this is ideal as it offers a DNS-like SmartPlay system which is made specifically for getting around geo restricted content, so you can watch anything, from anywhere, wherever you are.

The live chat support is excellent, should you find issues. But generally the software is easy to use with decent compatibility so you can get on via smartphone, tablet, laptop and more.

This all sounds perfect, so why isn't it higher in the list? We found that some server connections were flakey at times over long distances and we personally don't think the user experience is quite as good as ExpressVPN or Hotspot Shield.

(Image credit: IPVanish)

4. IPVanish

Top torrenting tech inside and outside the USA

Number of US server cities: 19 | Number of servers: 1,600+ | Server locations: 75+ | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Trial length: 30 days

Owned and managed servers
Configurable apps
Strong speeds
Not all streamers' best friend

If you're looking to use torrents while inside and outside the US then IPVanish is ideally suited. This VPN uses a staggering 40,000+ IP addresses spread over more than 70-odd countries all while dishing out unlimited P2P traffic.

It'll also work across on as many devices as you can handle at once so you're able to download, stream, upload, listen, watch, and anything else across your tech. You can take advantage of that thanks to lot of client compatibility across phones, laptops, tablets, Windows, Mac and even Fire TV.

IPVanish works well in real-world use with excellent speeds for streaming the likes of Hulu, but it won't be much help as a BBC iPlayer VPN or with Amazon Prime Video. Even with Netflix, it doesn't particularly impress. While it unblocks US exclusive content without difficulty, we couldn't access any non-Originals catalogs in the likes of the UK, Australia and Canada.

But all-in-all, a very solid VPN.

(Image credit: Future)

5. Surfshark

Proof that cheap doesn't have to mean low-quality

Number of US server cities: 24 | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 100+ | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Trial length: 30 days

Eye-catching pricing
Use on unlimited devices
Looooads of US server locations
Privacy policy could be more detailed

The reputation of Surfshark has grown sharply in the VPN world. It's probably fair to say that its clean and friendly interface and branding are a tad less intimidating than some of the competition. And the pricing certainly is - nobody really comes close to stealing away Surfshark's spot at the top of our best cheap VPN countdown.

But unless you're an advanced user that wants all the features going, you won't feel shortchanged by Surfshark either. For starters, it's available to use on as many devices as you can handle in your household on the same, low-priced account. It's available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux and a whole host of other gadgets.

At the time of writing, it offered servers in more than 20 different US city locations. That's more than most, and feels like a commitment to the security and site unblocking of those who are stateside.

  • Want a freebie? These are the only free VPN options to consider