California is one of the most populous states in the United States, famous for Hollywood and Silicon Valley, the home of many technology start-ups. While Californians enjoy relative internet freedom, the US government operates a mass-surveillance system, keeping track of what residents in the country get up to online.
If you’re living in California, visiting the sunshine state soon, or want to access websites that are restricted to the state only, check out our list of the best California VPN services below.
There are a few reasons why you should use a VPN for California. Let’s dive in to see why you might want to invest in VPN software:
We’ve tried and tested many VPNs to inform you of the best California VPN services. Check out our list to see which are the top providers for use in the sunshine state.
Our top California VPN provider is NordVPN. Well-known in the industry, due to its recognizable logo and the great VPN services it offers, this provider has many servers in the state of California.
If you’re looking for an excellent VPN that offers many American IP addresses, NordVPN is a stellar choice. NordVPN has over 1970 servers in the USA and servers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose, offering plenty of choices for California users. If you’re social media-obsessed and want to tag your location on Instagram as somewhere in LA, you can do so with NordVPN.
NordVPN is an excellent choice if you want a VPN to unblock US-based content. The provider can bypass restrictions in many countries thanks to its vast server network and also can unblock streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max. NordVPN is also a great VPN for companies who want to access Californian-based content for advertising research.
California is the home of many cities that are hotspots for hacking. If you’re using a VPN for privacy protection, NordVPN is a great option thanks to AES-256 bit encryption and a choice of secure protocols. We particularly like the NordLynx protocol, based on the WireGuard protocol, that offers high speeds combined with security.
As well as military-grade encryption, NordVPN implements private DNS on all its servers, IPv6 leak protection, and an internet kill switch to shut off your internet access if your server connection goes down. There is also a great feature called Double VPN, which routes your connection through two servers to mask your real IP address and give you more anonymity.
NordVPN is based in Panama, outside of the US jurisdiction, which is good news for users. As well as this, NordVPN operates a strict no-logs policy, assuring customers that browsing data and real IP addresses won’t be stored on the server network.
If you want to torrent in California, you should use a VPN to mask your download activity since sharing copyrighted material is illegal. NordVPN offers more than 4000 P2P-optimized servers, many of which are based in the United States.
Each NordVPN subscription comes with 6 simultaneous connections, and Nord offers dedicated apps for the most popular platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Firestick, Android TVs, and more.
NordVPN has excellent customer support, with a live chat option, an informative help center on the website, and an email address. Each plan comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you time to try out the VPN with no strings attached.
Another one of the best VPNs for California is Surfshark. The provider has many excellent features to offer on top of having server coverage across 20 US cities.
Surfshark is a great California VPN, in part because it has servers in Los Angeles and San Francisco and other popular US locations like New York. Surfshark is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a California IP address to change your location on apps, access blocked content, or protect your connection.
To ensure that no third parties have the ability to view what you’re doing online, Surfshark uses 256-AES encryption, and its default protocol is IKEv2/IPSec (although users can change this to OpenVPN on the app).
Surfshark offers many different modes, which is great news for customers who want to connect to a California-based server from another country. There is the NoBorders mode that ensures customers in restrictive areas can use the VPN and Camouflage mode, which hides the VPN use from ISPs and other third parties.
As well as the above, users can enjoy the MultiHop feature, which re-routes your connection via many servers, adding extra layers of privacy to your real IP address and location. Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, which means that the company doesn’t have to follow any strict data retention laws and can afford to operate a no-logs policy (that has been independently audited).
In terms of unblocking content, Surfshark is one of the best VPNs. Not only can it provide access to US Netflix, but it can also unblock 14 other Netflix libraries across the globe, as well as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. The provider supports torrenting on its network and offers fast speeds to ensure quick downloads and no buffering when streaming TV shows or films.
Every Surfshark subscription comes with unlimited simultaneous connections enabling you to use the VPN on all of your devices. Surfshark has dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux and offers browser extensions.
The dedicated apps are sleek and easy to use; they are full of additional features such as split tunneling, which enables you to decide which apps and websites are accessed via the VPN and which are not. The CleanWeb feature also blocks millions of adware, phishing, and malware threats, protecting your device while you use the VPN and surf the web.
Overall, Surfshark delivers an incredible service offering cheap long-term plans and a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its plans. It’s a user-friendly VPN service that is great for both VPN novices and technology experts.
ExpressVPN is a great California VPN due to the number of server locations it has in the sunshine state. As well as this, you get access to excellent privacy and security features.
One of the best California VPN services is ExpressVPN, not least because it has many VPN server locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Santa Monica. With several servers in each of these locations, users can access many IP addresses, enabling them to change their virtual location and bypass geo-restrictions.
If you’re based outside of the USA and want to access streaming services in the country, you can choose a server location in California and unblock a whole load of content on Netflix sites. The ExpressVPN apps are straightforward to use, with a well-laid-out server list sidebar that enables you to choose which server location to connect to.
ExpressVPN has no problem unblocking restricted content across the world, but how does it fare when it comes to privacy and security features? First of all, the provider uses AES-256 bit encryption and offers a selection of tunneling protocols for customers to choose from. Among the protocols is Lightway, which provides super-fast speeds while keeping your connection secure.
There is DNS leak protection on all ExpressVPN servers, and the provider’s version of the kill switch called the Network Lock. As well as this, ExpressVPN only uses RAM servers, which is great from a security point of view; it ensures that no data is permanently stored on the servers.
Like Surfshark, Express is based in the British Virgin Islands and operates a zero-logs policy. The provider only collects personal information such as your name and email address.
You can use ExpressVPN on 5 devices simultaneously and on all popular operating systems. We especially like the fact that Express has a router app, allowing all devices on your network to browse with a California IP address.
While ExpressVPN is the most expensive VPN service on our list (its monthly plan costs $12.95), it is great value for money. There is first-rate customer support in the form of information on the website and a live chat in English. As well as this, a 30-day money-back guarantee acts as a kind of free trial and allows users to test out the VPN before signing up long-term.
CyberGhost offers excellent global server coverage with 11 VPN server locations in the US alone, including in Silicon Valley.
CyberGhost offers extensive global coverage when it comes to its VPN server network, with 1187 servers in the USA alone. This VPN service is one of the best for getting a California IP address since it operates 104 servers in Los Angeles and 45 in San Francisco.
With a CyberGhost California IP address, you can easily access restricted websites and US streaming content on Netflix, Comedy Central, HBO Now, ESPN, FOX, and NBC. CyberGhost is also great for gaming, providing access to new releases in the US and cheaper product prices in California.
Torrenting is permitted on the CyberGhost server network, and the provider offers great security features to ensure that no third parties can see what you’re downloading. There is AES-256 bit encryption, secure tunneling protocols, and an automatic kill switch to cut off your connection if the server goes down.
Your privacy is paramount with CyberGhost, and you’ll enjoy a level of anonymity with the VPN provider. CyberGhost is based in Romania, a country with great privacy laws, and has a no-logging policy to ensure user data is not stored on the network. Users can also tunnel their internet traffic via the company’s NoSpy server network to ensure that there is no third-party interception.
All CyberGhost plans come with 7 simultaneous connections and can be used on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Firestick, and routers. There is outstanding customer service, including a live chat and a 45-day money-back guarantee, which is extremely long for a VPN company.
Hotspot Shield makes our list of California’s best VPNs due to its free plan and innovative Hydra technology.
Hotspot Shield offers high-speed servers, many of which are based in the United States. The provider operates two VPN server locations in the state of California: Los Angeles and San Francisco. With the ability to change your geo-location to one of these places, you’ll be able to unblock a whole host of content and websites using a California IP address.
Not only can Hotspot Shield unblock a vast array of websites, including US versions of popular streaming sites, but it is also super fast. This is due to the Catapult Hydra protocol, Hotspot Shield’s proprietary protocol that uses advanced technology to achieve super-fast speeds.
The paid plan comes with 5 simultaneous connections and can be used on Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, and Linux devices as well as Smart TVs and routers. There is split tunneling through the Smart VPN feature, enabling users to select which websites bypass the VPN connection. As well as this, your device is safe from internet threats such as malware thanks to Hotspot’s built-in malware and phishing protection.
The free VPN service is great for customers who don’t want to pay for the premium service. However, there are limitations with the free Hotspot Shield plan. You get a limit of 500GB bandwidth per month, 1 device connection, and can only connect to 1 server in the US.
Fortunately, Hotspot Shield has started to offer a 7-day free trial so that subscribers can easily test out both the free and paid VPN plans and see which is the best to use. There is also a 45-day money-back guarantee and excellent customer support with information, and a live chat on the Hotspot Shield website.
Private Internet Access (PIA) has a vast VPN network, made up of both virtual and proxy servers, of which there are several in California.
There is no competition for VPN server coverage in California state: PIA is one of the best VPNs in this area since it offers access to more than 2200 servers in California and 711 in Silicon Valley. While many of these are proxy, this doesn’t affect the fast speeds on offer, which go up to 22560000Mbps, an incredible speed.
PIA is a great VPN for bypassing geo-restrictions to access some streaming sites; you can use the VPN to watch US Netflix or popular streaming platforms in other countries like YouTube, no matter where you are located. It is also a great torrenting VPN since it provides a SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding for a better speed.
Each plan comes with 10 simultaneous connections, and there is support for all popular operating systems meaning you can use the VPN on your desktop and cell phone devices. There is also customer help on the PIA website, including a live chat, a ticketed email system, and an extensive help section full of information, ways to connect the VPN to your router, and more.
PIA offers a 30-day refund policy on all plans, giving users a chance to test out the VPN in the state of California before signing up long-term. If you want a California VPN with a VPN server network that spreads over many countries, then PIA is a great choice.
VPNs cover your web traffic with a layer of encryption and hide your real IP address. However, there are some ways in which you can still be tracked online, no matter whether you’re using VPNs or not.
Trackers on the web and website cookies can trace VPN IPs and still collect data on your online movements. Some VPNs come with built-in tracker protection, which is a great addition and a feature we recommend looking for when you’re browsing VPNs.
Yes! There are many free VPNs. However, we recommend avoiding many of these unless they have a stellar reputation. Hotspot Shield, ProtonVPN, and TunnelBear all offer great free VPN services, but some free VPNs like Hola compromise your privacy. Check out our list of the best free VPNs here.