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The Best VPNs for School and College (2023 Reviews & Rankings)

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By Scott Winstead

best vpns for school

With the best VPNs for school, students can stay safe and secure while browsing online learning materials and anything else they need to access.

As more and more learning shifts to online and virtual spaces, it’s important not to overlook your digital setup.

In fact, one of the most important tools you can supply yourself with as a student isn’t one you can see.

As students rely more and more on the internet at school and college, it’s becoming more important than ever to invest in a good virtual private network, or VPN.

VPNs essentially work as safeguards to keeping your online identity and data safe from hackers and scams.

Without a VPN, you face a much higher chance of your data being compromised or tracked while using your school or college’s public Wifi.

Using a VPN is one of the best internet safety tips for students out there.

Read on to learn more about how a VPN works, then check out our carefully curated list of the best VPNs for school and college users.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, we might get a commission if you click the link and purchase.


How Does a VPN Work?

A virtual private network, or VPN, creates a secure digital connection between your device and a remote server operated by the VPN provider.

This creates a protected point-to-point tunnel that keeps your information from being accessed by outside parties.

VPNs are a great way to keep your information safe anywhere, but they’re especially important when using shared Wifi networks.

Most college campuses and universities offer Wifi that isn’t particularly secure.

Chances are, the majority of your online browsing while using these networks can be monitored.  Third parties can access everything from the sites you visit to the media you download to the amount of time you spend online.

This is true even if you wipe your search history or use an Incognito window while browsing.

At best, this lack of security simply means your connection isn’t private, and your online identity is not confidential.

At worst, it could set you up to be hacked.

Social media, bank accounts, and other sensitive information can be compromised on low-security networks, leading to time-consuming and expensive damage control on your end.

Some studies have shown the effects of hacking can even lead to disastrous mental health consequences.

If you’d rather not take your chances, it’s wise to start shopping around for a good VPN service ahead of time.

This handy safeguard will obfuscate your online activity and information by sending it to one of the VPN company’s servers, making it impossible to track.

VPNs will mask your computer’s IP address and help you bypass firewalls and geographic internet blocks.

They can also speed up your connection and make it possible to torrent and stream content from around the world.

If you’re ready to take the next steps to protect your information and improve your online experience, keep reading to explore our favorite VPN services for students listed below.


The Best VPNs for School and College

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Best VPN Overall: Surfshark VPN

Surfshark is one of the leading VPN services available today.  It’s designed to provide effective, convenient security without breaking the bank, making it an ideal choice for students.

Since its launch in 2018, Surfshark has skyrocketed to global connectivity.  Based in the Netherlands, the VPN service now boasts over 3,200 servers in 100 countries.

Surfshark is even represented in places other VPN services are unable to reach, like South America, Africa, and China.

The company offers a host of sophisticated security measures, as well as seldom-seen convenience features.  Read on to learn more.

What Features Does Surfshark Offer?

Most importantly, Surfshark offers robust point-to-point tunneling from a huge array of servers, making it very difficult for outsiders to snoop on your internet activity whether you’re using your VPN at home, school, or anywhere else.

Unlike most VPN services, Surfshark also offers unlimited connections.  This means you can use your VPN with all of your devices without being charged an additional fee.

Surfshark also offers a unique Bypasser option, allowing you to mask the fact that you’re using a VPN at all.  This is especially helpful for some university sites that don’t allow VPN access.

Rather than having to disable the VPN service completely, simply employing the Bypasser technology will allow you to access the site while keeping your other activity secure.

Surfshark also includes an ad blocker called Cleanweb that protects your computer against malware, as well as its Clean DNS service that allows for fast, reliable streaming from around the globe.

We also appreciated Surfshark’s transparent Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, written in easily understood language.

The company makes it clear that they do not track or log any user information, and receive absolutely no profit from customer data.  Instead, their entire business model is centered around the selling of subscriptions.

Your data will not be harvested by Surfshark or any third party when you use their VPN service, which sounds about right for a service designed to keep your personal information private.

How Much Does Surfshark Cost?

Surfshark isn’t free, but the 82% off discount and 2 months of free service you can get with our link makes it incredibly affordable.

The price of a two-year Surfshark VPN subscription for students comes in at just $2.30 per month – less than the cost of a cup of coffee – with two months completely free of charge.

Surfshark has long been touted as one of the most reasonably priced high-quality VPN services around.  At 82% off, it’s practically unbeatable.

Rather than rolling the dice with free options, Surfshark makes it possible for students in any income bracket to feel protected when they use their university’s internet connection.

With all of the security and convenience features included in Surfshark’s student VPN package, it’s well worth spending a couple of bucks every month.

Click here to get 82% off plus 2 months free when you use our special link!


Best VPN for Streaming: NordVPN

NordVPN is another highly rated service when it comes to providing top-tier online security.

NordVPN boasts comprehensive servers and fast connections around the globe.

Its servers are reliable across the world, even when faced with censorship blocks in China.

NordVPN is also an ideal option for streaming enthusiasts, thanks to its advanced enhancements in bypassing media blockers.

What Features Does NordVPN Offer?

NordVPN offers secure encryption designed to keep your internet activity confidential, even when you’re using a public Wifi network.

The company is also known for its Double VPN feature, which essentially reroutes your IP address twice.  This makes it even less likely for your information to be compromised.

NordVPN is transparent about their policies and make it clear that they do not log or profit from user information and data.

NordVPN’s services are also extremely handy at circumventing streaming platform blocks, including those from big names like Hulu, Netflix, and Prime Video.

These streaming services sometimes limit content based on the country where you’re located.  By masking your IP address with a VPN, you can access media that might be unavailable otherwise.

While all VPNs are capable of this convenient sidestep, NordVPN is especially adept at thwarting VPN detectors, making it our top choice for students who love to stream.

What Does NordVPN Cost?

NordVPN is on the pricey side, though they do offer a range of packages students might want to consider.

None of these packages offer any free features, however, making them a bit harder to justify on a student budget.

The most economical package at NordVPN comes out to around $3.99/month, though this is only offered when you purchase a yearlong subscription up front.

Additional features cost more, with the most advanced packages totaling around $16 per month.


Best VPN for Gaming: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN offers excellent security features while also providing an optimal experience for gamers.

If you’re a student who loves to game, this VPN company offers some unique features that you might find appealing.

What Features Does ExpressVPN Offer?

ExpressVPN creates a highly secure connection designed to keep your internet usage and activity private.

It’s also able to be installed directly to routers, making it possible to use your VPN from your gaming console.

This offers several perks for gamers, such as easier access to downloadable content and faster gameplay without limitations from your internet service provider.

While ExpressVPN does not save identifying user information and data, the company does keep track of some user connection logs.

These logs don’t contain sensitive information, though it’s unclear why the company retains this information at all.

What Does ExpressVPN Cost?

ExpressVPN offers a variety of packages at a moderate price point.

The most affordable ExpressVPN offering comes out to about $7 a month, with higher-end options rolling in at around $13.

Since ExpressVPN is especially revered by gamers, it makes sense to shell out a bit more if this is a hobby you’re really passionate about.

When it comes to other VPN uses, however, such as data security, remote accessibility, and streaming abilities, ExpressVPN is a slightly pricier investment for students than its equally effective counterparts.


Final Thoughts on the Best VPNs for School and College

As the world of education continues to expand into the digital realm, finding the right VPN service is becoming an essential step for students.

Protecting your online identity, as well as all of your schoolwork and research, is a top priority, especially when you’re relying on internet connections that aren’t necessarily secure.

Take the time to consider each of the offerings here and decide which one suits your needs.

You may even look into free VPN options, though beware: these are often highly limited and may require payment to access important features.

Instead, save 82% plus get 2 months free when you use our special link to try Surfshark VPN!

Whether you’re interested in streaming, gaming, or getting the best overall online security and value, using a good VPN service means you can pay attention to what really matters to you as a student.

Because after all, you have better things to focus on than a data breach.

Have any questions about our guide to the best VPNs for school and college? Let us know by commenting below so we can help you out.

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