While most schools and colleges have wi-fi, many students find themselves limited by what they can access when at school. Most school networks block access to websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, streaming sites, and torrent platforms.
Although students are at school or college to study, sometimes they want to enjoy some downtime activities on the internet. Visiting popular websites and streaming platforms is a great way to do this, but schools block students from doing so. Likewise, students cannot share PDFs of textbooks.
Fortunately, VPNs exist and can help internet users at schools to bypass strict school firewalls. Read on to learn why a Virtual Private Network is necessary for use on campus and which VPN providers are the best.
Many students find that when they attend school or college, their internet experience is not as good as it was at home. Here’s how a VPN for campus can change all that!
The professors and staff often place restrictions on the websites you can visit, which means your school won’t allow you to go on sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or anything else.
A VPN changes your IP address, and this means that you can bypass firewalls and access restricted content from around the world while connected to your school wi-fi. This is because a VPN for school changes your IP address to one that isn’t associated with the college or university you attend.
A school VPN will help improve your internet experience by creating a safe, secure connection between your computer and the Internet. When you connect to a VPN server through this secure connection, all of your traffic goes through an encrypted tunnel, so your professors can’t see what you’re doing online – even if they are watching closely.
Hacking occurs everywhere, even on a school network. With a VPN, you can make sure your personal information won’t be stolen when you’re online. Hide your passwords and banking details with VPN encryption.
Below are the best VPNs for college students. Whether you want to access your favorite blocked websites or hide your web traffic from your school, you can do just that with a VPN. We’ve chosen the VPNs below based on our assessment criteria which includes:
Read on to find out which VPN services our experts chose!
Surfshark is a popular VPN provider that focuses on keeping your identity hidden from third parties. It offers a variety of protocols and encryptions to keep you secure on school wifi.
If you want to browse the web in private when connected to your campus wifi network, Surfshark is an optimal choice. The provider employs AES-256 bit encryption to shroud user data in indecipherable code. As well as this, a Camouflage mode hides your VPN use from your school network and websites.
No one will be able to snoop in on what websites or streaming services you are viewing because Surfshark doesn’t log any personal information about its customers! This means your browsing history remains completely private at all times, no matter which protocol you choose for protection.
You can enjoy all of the privacy above, all while still being able to use the internet at high speeds. Surfshark is a great VPN for gaming or torrenting since it offers unlimited bandwidth, which is great news for internet-obsessed students.
Another plus of Surfshark is the fact that it can bypass many internet restrictions. By connecting to a Surfshark server, you can bypass school firewalls and watch Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and even foreign platforms such as BBC iPlayer. Even if you’re studying in the US, you can access restricted content in distant countries like New Zealand, Italy, and South Korea.
Surfshark allows users to install the VPN software on an unlimited number of devices. Surfshark has dedicated apps for Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, and more. It’s great that subscribers have the option to use the VPN on their smartphone, laptop, tablet, and more.
Using a VPN can be hard, and fortunately, Surfshark offers customer support to users. While the help section on its website is not as good as some other VPNs, like CyberGhost, it has a live chat and email address customers can use.
All new users can enjoy prices as low as $2.49 per month and a 30-day money-back guarantee which acts as a free trial. Try Surfshark out for yourself and see just how well it works at bypassing college network restrictions.
One of the best VPN for school use is NordVPN. NordVPN has great unblocking capabilities and is sure to bypass your campus network’s firewall.
NordVPN is a popular service that has many benefits for students. Firstly, the company has a strict no-logs policy and doesn’t store its users’ browsing data on its servers. It also offers military-grade encryption and other advanced security features to ensure that not even the most determined hacker can see your traffic.
You can secure your VPN connection with a choice of tunneling protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, and NordLynx. A great VPN feature is the automatic kill switch; this ensures that should the VPN connection falter, your browsing data won’t ever be exposed to your school as it will cut off your internet access.
If you want to watch video streaming services at school, you can do so with NordVPN. The provider unblocks almost all popular streaming services, including Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu. You can connect to a server location in another country and access blocked content from your campus with NordVPN.
A lack of limits when it comes to bandwidth use ensures that students can torrent on campus. Moreover, NordVPN offers over 4000 P2P-optimized servers. You can share files, digital textbooks, and more while at school.
Although NordVPN provides fewer simultaneous connections than Surfshark, it has apps for many systems with support for just 6 devices. You can use the VPN on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, making it perfect for use at schools and colleges.
NordVPN prices start from $3.71 per month, which is slightly more expensive than Surfshark. However, you get better customer support with NordVPN, including a 24/7 live chat on the site in several languages, including English and German. Try out the VPN today and enjoy a risk-free month-long refund policy.
ProtonVPN offers unlimited bandwidth, a strict no-logs policy, and fast speeds. It’s perfect for streaming or torrenting on college or school wifi!
Even when you connect to school wifi, ProtonVPN encrypts everything with military-grade encryption and the OpenVPN protocol. The provider also operates a strict no-logging policy and is based in Switzerland, so it doesn’t have to follow strict data retention laws. There is virtually zero chance someone will know what websites you were looking at or what files you downloaded when using Proton.
ProtonVPN is a great VPN for school because it offers a comprehensive free plan. Many students are strapped for cash, but they can download ProtonVPN’s free plan and enjoy zero data caps, access to server locations in the US, Japan, and the Netherlands, and enjoy total online anonymity at all times with a kill switch.
If you want a VPN for school to secretly watch streaming sites during free periods, then you can do so. ProtonVPN can unblock Netflix and several other popular streaming platforms. You can also connect to specialty servers for torrenting and download files in private on campus.
We like ProtonVPN’s split tunneling feature since this permits students to use the VPN for specific internet activities. If you want to access certain apps like Instagram and Facebook via the VPN tunnel but access everything else via the campus network, you can.
ProtonVPN has limited device support compared to other providers on this list, as it only has apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. However, the apps are extremely user-friendly and make it easy for novices who use a VPN for the first time.
There are four subscription plans which include the free plan, Basic, Plus, and Visionary. We don’t recommend the Visionary for students unless you want to spend $24 a month and get access to an encrypted email service.
All paid plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee that has a catch. You only get a refund for the days left on your refund policy, so keep this in mind when purchasing a ProtonVPN plan. Customer support is also limited with this provider, and there is no live chat that customers can use.
Why should you use IPVanish on campus? This VPN service encrypts your internet traffic and conceals your IP address with military-grade encryption, and isn’t too expensive either.
With advanced encryption and a selection of protocols, including IKEv2, OpenVPN, L2TP, and IPSec, no one will be able to find out what you’re doing on the web or where in the world you are. IPVanish also employs a no-logs policy to ensure that your online activities are not stored anywhere.
IPVanish has servers worldwide, which allows for better connection speeds than most other VPN services; this improves latency and makes it seem like you’re browsing from closer proximity – even if your campus isn’t near any of these locations. It also increases download speeds because there are fewer hops between source and destination.
A larger server network also means more IP addresses, of which the provider offers over 300,000 IP addresses. You can be at school in the US but watching Netflix or BBC iPlayer in the UK with crystal-clear HD video. A lack of bandwidth caps ensures that you can carry out as many data-heavy activities as you want to.
One of the best things about this VPN for school is that it offers subscription packages with encrypted cloud storage. You can make sure that your files are stored in a safe place, where no third parties can view them or steal them. This is beneficial for students who may have important school documents they need to store safely.
Like Surfshark, there are no device connection caps. You can use the VPN on your Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. You can even connect the VPN to your Amazon Fire TV if you use one in your college dorms.
IPVanish offers some of the best customer service we have seen. There is 24/7 support in the form of a live chat, email service, phone support, and a help section on the website. Try out the VPN today and enjoy a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee and prices from as little as $3.84.
Private Internet Access (PIA) is another excellent VPN for school because it has many VPN servers around the world. This means that you’ll be able to access content on Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming service that is restricted on campus or in your region.
PIA is excellent for students who want access to one of the largest VPN server networks available. You can rest assured that speeds are good and server loads are low since subscribers have many choices when it comes to which server they can connect to.
Another reason why PIA is excellent for use on campus is that the VPN provider supports torrenting on all of its servers. You can P2P share on a shared IP address and make sure that your school doesn’t see what you download.
PIA employs advanced security solutions to ensure that your VPN traffic is always secure on the school wifi network. There is a choice of AES-256 or AES-128 bit encryption and many tunneling protocols, including WireGuard. There is also an internet kill switch that will cut off your internet connection to ensure your data traffic is never visible to your school.
Each PIA plan comes with 10 device connections, and there is support for the most popular operating systems. You can employ the app Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS. While the PIA app is simple and easy-to-use, it isn’t as sleek as some other providers’ apps.
PIA does have good unblocking abilities but falls short of bypassing VPN firewalls on some websites and streaming sites. While PIA can unblock Netflix, it has a tumultuous relationship with BBC iPlayer and has failed many times to unblock this site during our tests.
If you sign up to PIA, you can expect average customer service, including a live chat on the website. There is a standard 30-day money-back guarantee and many price plans, with the lowest subscription plan starting at $2.69.
ExpressVPN makes our list of the best VPNs for school because it prioritizes user security, ensuring that subscribers have access to the most secure servers in the industry.
ExpressVPN is an extremely reputable company and has a large subscriber base. This is mainly due to the advanced security features it offers, including advanced VPN encryption, protocols including its proprietary Lightway, and RAM-only servers.
By using volatile RAM servers, students can rest assured that their browsing data won’t ever be stored on the servers. RAM servers wipe themselves when switched off, and a no-logs policy guarantees that nothing could link activity on the network to individuals.
Another security tool that we like is the Network Lock, ExpressVPN’s version of the kill switch. The Network Lock is automatically activated upon download, which is great for students as they don’t need to remember to enable it. It guarantees that your browsing data won’t ever be exposed when using the VPN on your school wifi.
As well as the above, Express offers DNS leak protection thanks to its private DNS servers. This guarantees that websites and your school network won’t find out information like your ISP via your DNS requests.
ExpressVPN excels in the area of security and is also excellent at overcoming internet restrictions. You can watch Netflix and YouTube in other countries on your school wifi and enjoy blocked content.
While Express only supports 5 devices at one time, it has apps for many systems. Whether you are an Android or iOS user or prefer to use computers and tablets, ExpressVPN is a great option.
ExpressVPN offers some of the best customer services we have seen, with a live chat manned by informative customer agents, 24/7. However, there is a major downside to Express, so we placed it last on our list; it costs a lot more than other VPNs.
While Surfshark has prices as low as $2.49 per month, ExpressVPN doesn’t offer a subscription plan that costs less than $6.67 each month. It also doesn’t have a free trial, even though the provider has a 30-day money-back guarantee on offer for new customers.
It is not illegal to use a VPN at school or on your college campus. Since many schools have strict restrictions on their school wifi networks, many students resort to using VPNs to bypass firewalls and internet blocks.
ProtonVPN is a great example of a safe free VPN for school. However, there are many free VPNs that we recommend you stay far away from. While Hola VPN provides subscribers with access to many IP addresses, it is not a secure option.
Many students participate in study abroad semesters, and the country they go to many impose strict internet restrictions. VPNs for school can be used abroad or at home and aren't just for use on school wifi.