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Reviewed and Tested: The Top 5 Best VPNs in Canada

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Whether you’re looking for the best VPN for torrenting, streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime, or a secure VPN to keep your data safe, we’ve compiled a list of the six best VPNs in Canada.

There’s plenty of demand for Canadian VPNs thanks to changing privacy laws and changes to anti-terrorism rules that go too far. Given that most Canadian internet traffic also passes through the United States, Canadians may be subject to stringent American internet laws as well – and everyone knows how stifling those are. The internet has never been less free, but the best Canadian VPN puts the power back in your hands.

A good quality Canadian VPN enables you to avoid most of this. Even if you don’t care too much about being tracked, you could still benefit from using a VPN when browsing the internet.

If you enjoy watching TV, movies, and sports, then using a VPN opens up plenty of new content, including the US version of Netflix and other geo-restricted services such as the BBC iPlayer and NBC Peacock. A VPN also means you can access the content you’re used to having at home if you travel abroad. All you have to do is connect to a Canadian server, and you’re good to go.

What Makes a VPN The Best Canadian VPN?

One of the most important things to look for with a Canadian VPN is a robust privacy policy; ideally, one that keeps a proven no-logging policy. This combination will protect your identity and ensure that personally identifiable information isn’t kept by the VPN provider, meaning that the VPN service has nothing to show the authorities even if they request information.

You should also choose a service that lets you connect to all the streaming services you want with a great connection speed. Several VPN providers fall short here and don’t have the speeds they need to offer the full package. Some succeed on all fronts, however, and can definitely be considered the best Canadian VPN.

ExpressVPN is at the top of most criteria for choosing the best VPN. ExpressVPN handles almost anything you throw at it. It has a proven no-logging policy audited by a third-party, quick connection to services worldwide, and access to nearly every streaming service. However, we believe in freedom of choice, so we also scoured for five other services that could be considered the best VPN for Canadians.

1. ExpressVPN

Pros:

  • Great for streaming
  • Excellent connection speeds
  • Apps for every device
  • Best support
Cons:

  • Maximum five connections

ExpressVPN ticks every box for the best VPN service; The team behind this VPN wasn’t happy to offer just incredible speeds and unblock every service; they wanted to provide the full package. You’ll get optimal security, torrenting support, and support for every device, including Mac, Android, Linux, iOS, and Windows.

Let’s start things off by saying that ExpressVPN uses military-grade AES-256 encryption for connections, along with other protocols and Perfect Forward Secrecy. Express offers extra privacy through a robust no-logging policy audited by an independent third-party. ExpressVPN also offers a kill-switch feature to protect you if the connection drops and split tunneling, which means only some traffic is routed through the VPN.

If all that wasn’t enough, you also get access to any Netflix library you want, access to Hulu, BBC iPlayer, NBC Peacock, Amazon Prime, and more. That’s a lot of media right there, and you’ll have access to it all when you use a VPN to relocate your computer to another country virtually.

Don’t let this vast array of features put you off – you can connect with the push of a button and get connected. Some people appreciate being able to fine-tune their VPN connection, but fans of the simple will love how easy it is to connect through ExpressVPN.

There’s no other VPN service quite like ExpressVPN – it does it all and does it well. There’s even a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you try out the service if you aren’t too sure. You get your money back with no questions asked if you aren’t satisfied for any reason.

2. SurfShark

Pros:

  • Cheapest option
  • Simple and useable apps
  • An excellent choice for streaming
Cons:

  • Could be too simple for some

If you want to find the cheapest VPN for Canadians, then it doesn’t get much less expensive than SurfShark. SurfShark has all of the features you’ll likely need, including excellent speeds for a small fraction of the cost of other services. Given that cost is an essential factor for some people, SurfShark stands out as a perfect choice.

With full AES-256 encryption and other protocols, a built-in ad-blocker, a connection kill switch, and more, the desktop versions of SurfShark are as reliable as they are powerful. SurfShark is simple to install, and the apps give quick access to the 1,700+ worldwide SurfShark servers. Around 90 of those servers are located in Canada, for people who want privacy or access to the homeland from abroad.

As well as being among the best VPN for Mac choices, SurfShark has simple and accessible mobile apps. The app isn’t as in-depth as the ones for ExpressVPN, but they get the job done – and they do it well. These apps also correct one of the few problems with ExpressVPN by offering unlimited connections. SurfShark lets you connect as many devices as you want at once, from one to five, to a hundred.

One of the few pitfalls of SurfShark is that the apps could be too simple for some. There’s not much customization or options to be found outside of the kill switch and protocols. Not that this will matter to most people. If anything, the simplicity will be a significant part of the charm for most. SurfShark is simple, cheap, reliable, and easy-to-use. Who could ask for more?

3. NordVPN

Pros:

  • Fantastic connection speeds with reliable service
  • More than 5000 servers in 59 countries
  • Cryptocurrency accepted as payment
Cons:

  • Torrenting only supported on some servers
  • App can be slow at times

NordVPN is one of the biggest names in the VPN world. It’s no surprise that it works well as a VPN for Canadians. With some of the best privacy features on the market and equally impressive streaming performance, NordVPN makes for one of the simplest and best VPN experiences around.

NordVPN offers some 400 servers in Canada, which all but guarantees you’ll have excellent streaming and browsing speeds no matter where you live. With more than 5,000 worldwide servers available, you’ll also have no problems connecting when traveling for business and pleasure.

Don’t worry about staying anonymous when using NordVPN. The provider offers 2048-bit double encryption, a wide array of protocols, and a kill switch option. Some devices also have access to the WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol for super-fast connection speeds. NordVPN recently underwent independent auditing, which should restore faith in the company after their 2018 data breach. The company learned from their mistakes, so don’t let that put you off trying them out now.

Nord also offers dedicated apps for all manner of devices. Beware that these apps all use a similar interface and that it doesn’t do well on smaller screens. We’d rather see a straight server list than the map Nord shows. If you want to connect to one of the most trusted names in VPNs and cybersecurity, however, then NordVPN is the service for you.

4. Hotspot Shield

Pros:

  • Superior connection speeds
  • Impressive 45-day free trial
  • Unlocks almost every streaming service
Cons:

  • No manual option for setup
  • Not the best privacy protection in town

If you want the fastest VPN in Canada to get connected and streaming quickly, then you should definitely consider using Hotspot Shield. It isn’t the overall fastest option by any means, but there’s no denying it connects fast. The speed is down to the proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol it uses, allowing for up to 400Mbps or faster speeds. That’s quicker than most people are even capable of. This is one VPN provider that will keep up with your browsing, downloading, and streaming without any issue.

One of the downsides of using Hotspot Shield is that it isn’t as flexible as other VPNs. You’ll need to deal with the proprietary Hotspot Shield apps. These apps are simple enough to use and understand, but they don’t come with the option of manual setup. Hotspot Shield also isn’t wholly log-free. The good news is that the logs the company collect don’t contain identifiable information, but some people would rather have no records at all.

With all that said, if you want a quick VPN that can connect and stream anything you can imagine, then Hotspot shield could be the choice for you.

5. IPVanish

Pros:

  • Excellent server locations
  • Excellent connection speeds
  • Plenty of customization options
Cons:

  • Can’t access the BBC iPlayer

IPVanish is a US-based VPN provider that works well as both a US VPN and Canada VPN. IPVanish offers excellent connection speeds above and below the border. It also provides a more aesthetically-pleasing experience than most other apps. There’s plenty of information available on the UI for those interested in that kind of thing.

IPVanish is an excellent choice for streaming over a VPN. While the VPN struggles to offer access to iPlayer, almost every other streaming service is accounted for. IPVanish would be a good fit for Canadians on holiday and away on business rather than people in Canada looking to explore the virtual world.

The VPN provider claims to operate a strict no-logging policy, but an independent audit hasn’t verified them. There is currently no evidence to back up this claim, meaning you’ll have to take the team at their word. Those concerned with security may also take issue with the fact the VPN company is based in the USA. If you want something more liberal, then we’d recommend retaking a look at ExpressVPN.

With that said, IPVanish does have a lot going for it. For example, the company recently upgraded its servers to allow for unlimited simultaneous connections. It joins SurfShark as one of the few VPN providers to offer infinite connections for real value for money.

You can try the service for yourself if you aren’t sold on it. IPVanish offers a full 30-day money-back guarantee. You’ll either like what you get from IPVanish, or you’ll get your money back.

6. PrivateVPN

Pros:

  • A low-cost option for Canadian internet users
  • Based in Sweden, which is outside of the “Five Eyes” countries
  • Robust security and privacy
  • Stable speeds
Cons:

  • Limited live chat support
  • A small network of server locations

PrivateVPN is a relatively new member of the VPN scene. With that said, it’s impressive how quickly PrivateVPN took off. The service can already stand up to some of the biggest names in the business when it comes to both security and speed offerings. The VPN company is based out of Sweden, which does mean the service is accountable to some data retention laws. However, Sweden isn’t part of the Five Eyes of countries that agree to spy on each other for each other. In any event, the company follows a stringent no-logs policy to ensure that there is nothing to hand over to the authorities even if it receives a court order.

The degree of encryption depends on whether you connect through TAP or TUN with OpenVPN. TAP is powered by 128-bit AES encryption, while TUN offers 256-bit encryption. Both options are relatively untraceable, but the latter technically provides more security. PrivateVPN also offers a kill switch, perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak protection, and IPv6 built-in.

One of the problems with using PrivateVPN is that there is such a limited choice of countries and servers. Upload and download speeds remain consistently fast, however. The service opens the doors for BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more. The number of servers is also growing each day as the company adds more. PrivateVPN is only just starting, and we’re eager to see where it goes from here.

Canada VPN FAQ

1. Why should I use a VPN?

What do you think about when someone mentions online surveillance? Most likely, you think of the United States. The country had an ample light shone on it thanks to Edward Snowden, who uncovered the PRISM program and similar covert operations used by the National Security Agency. The country has found itself at the heart of most debates revolving around bulk interception, mass surveillance, government-backed spying on civilians, and protecting encryption.

While the US is a significant figure in the debate, the only reason for that is that they were caught. The country is a considerable power with a vast military and economic power. There was no way anyone could ignore the findings. However, the country isn’t the only one involved with mass surveillance. The United States isn’t the only one crossing the line between national security and overreaching into civilians’ personal lives with online security. Another such country is Canada, partly due to the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015. The Act allowed intelligence agencies in the country to gather and share information in a way similar to the NSA.

Canada is also a member of the Five Eyes, which is a collective intelligence alliance between the United States, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. If you are being monitored in Canada, then it’s likely that intelligence agencies in these countries also have access to information about you.

The underlying issue with all of these surveillance programs and laws is that they gather information about everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a criminal or not – the government is spying on you. These laws also tend to affect certain groups of people disproportionately. Activists, journalists, immigrants, and people from certain religions – mostly Muslims – are targeted more than others.

If you believe that anyone is spying on your online activity, even your own government, then the best remedy is to use a VPN. A VPN, also known as a Virtual Private Network, encrypts communication between devices accessing the internet. Traffic is funneled through an intermediary server based on a location you choose. This means that hackers, your ISP, and your government can’t track your online activities and see what you get up to. It is a myth that only those who have something to hide have something to fear from surveillance. Most people are not comfortable being watched to that degree.

Every option in our list of the best VPNs for Canada will protect your information and data when connected to the internet. We recommend using a VPN when accessing unsecured public Wi-Fi. Hackers watch the traffic on public Wi-Fi and intercept traffic for a variety of attacks. Using a VPN prevents them from being able to do this to you.

2. Can I use a VPN to access Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, and Netflix?

As well as offering extra online security and privacy, VPN services have another handy benefit; they unblock geo-locked services and sites such as Netflix and Hulu. When you connect to your VPN, it masks your IP address and makes websites think you are connecting from somewhere else. Your IP address is a unique series of numbers and decimals used to identify particular devices – and where they connect from. Changing your IP address to an American one, for example, would grant you access to content typically restricted to American users.

Connect to a United States IP address to unlock the US catalogs for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Go, and similar services. Unfortunately, most service providers have caught on to people using VPNs and prevent people from streaming content through VPN connections. Some VPN providers have managed to counter these efforts and still connect to streaming services. All of the services in our list above have proven themselves capable of connecting to Netflix and the like without being caught. You could have to contact the support staff to ask which servers you should connect to, as not all of them are undetectable.

3. Are VPNs Legal in Canada?

The good news is that using a VPN is completely 100% legal in Canada. There are no laws preventing you from using a VPN in Canada or a particular province. Of course, what you do with that connection is your responsibility. We don’t condone or encourage illegal activity. Using a VPN is legal, but what you do while connected might not be.

4. Are there any free Canadian VPNs?

Free VPNs do exist, but we recommend you avoid using them. If you are concerned about your privacy and security, then you should avoid using free VPNs. Keep in mind that these products have to make money. If you don’t buy a product, then you are the product. Free VPNs make money by recording how you use them and inserting advertisements into webpages accessed through them. They can also put tracking cookies on your computer. There’s no point in using a VPN for privacy reasons if the VPN itself tracks your every move.

Free VPNs are also more limited in terms of server locations, data caps, bandwidth limits, and waiting for queues – leaving you without a connection for extended periods.

Some shadier free VPN programs have been caught spreading malware. People also suspect that some of them are honeypots used by intelligence agencies and law enforcement to detect people breaking the law.

We always recommend choosing a paid service that puts the “private” in Virtual Private Network.

Final Thoughts on VPNs

It might sound redundant by now, but you should consider using a VPN if you live in Canada. There are too many people accessing the internet through a standard provider and putting themselves at risk.

Here’s why you need a VPN – hackers are becoming more sophisticated and have no problem accessing your devices unless you have encryption in place. There is a common misconception that hackers are too busy tackling governments and corporations to focus on everyday users. That’s to say nothing of being spied on by your government when all you want to do is watch cat videos.

Any form of personal information is a valuable currency to people on the dark web. Anyone is fair game when it comes to hackers. No matter what you use the internet for, we want you to be safe when you do.

Josh MacDonald
Josh is an internet marketer and entrepreneur best known for his SEO knowledge and software such as SerpClix and Keyword Scout.

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