With many schools taking measures to block social media, streaming, and torrenting websites, VPNs are effective tools for providing students, staff, and visitors with more freedom online.
But, choosing the right VPN for school is trickier than it looks.
Many institutions block access to VPN sites and VPNs themselves, making it essential to pick the right software before attempting to bypass network restrictions.
What Is The Best VPN for School?
If your school is blocking the internet then we recommend you can use the following VPNs to access websites without restrictions.
There are several criteria that were used to determine the best tools available in the market today. All virtual private networks basically offer the same service so choosing the right one for the job should be a top priority.
The best VPN that can unblock websites and bypass school firewalls have passed all the important criteria. Take a look at the best VPNs for school wifi.
1. ExpressVPN - Best All-Round VPN for School
ExpressVPN has proven itself time and time again that it is one of the best unblocking tools in existence.
Many security experts have already tested this virtual private network service that works well in all circumstances.
Having been around for the past couple of years, ExpressVPN always delivers what it claims it offers. Using such a top-rated VPN service is the best choice you have.
In terms of speed, ExpressVPN is considered one of the fastest in the industry. ExpressVPN has shown unbeaten connection speeds during our tests.
The service provider also provides a built-in speed tester so users can determine their actual ISP internet speed and the VPN-connection speeds. ExpressVPN is a large VPN network so users have several servers they can connect to.
The provider has more than 1,500 servers as of this writing.
Most of its servers are working well so there should not be any issues in terms of connection stability.
Depending on which server you are connected to, there should be certain slowdowns since the VPN is using military-grade encryption to deliver a highly secured network.
ExpressVPN uses a 256-bit AES encryption system to maximize the privacy and security of its userbase.
The service provider supports several security protocols including OpenVPN (UDP), Open VPN (TCP), PPTP, SSPT, and L2TP/IPsec.
ExpressVPN also works on the most popular devices such as desktops, smartphones, routers, browser extensions, and media players.
If you are having difficulty making ExpressVPN work on your device, just check out the provider’s comprehensive troubleshooting and installation guides on the website.
For students who are looking for the right VPN tool, ExpressVPN is not really the most affordable service available in the market.
A monthly subscription costs $13.00 which can be expensive for a student.
However, how costly it may be to use ExpressVPN, users can get their money’s worth since the service is a high-caliber VPN.
Users can get discounts by subscribing to a multi-month plan.
ExpressVPN offers a 6-month package worth $60.00 or $10.00 per month. Bigger discount is available thru the annual plan which costs $100.00 ($8 per month).
The service provider even offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
So, if you are not satisfied with the service, simply request a refund before your subscription ends.
ExpressVPN is one of the few providers that accept Bitcoin.
Using such a payment method is the best way to keep full anonymity online.
Users can pay their subscription plans using credit cards, Paypal, WebMoney, AliPay, UnionPay, and many more.
Unfortunately, there is no trial account available at the moment.
But given the 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee, users can still get their money back with no questions asked.
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands which currently does not have data-retention laws.
Express can ensure complete private browsing experience by not keeping activity logs.
With so many service providers to choose from, one criterion that VPNs should provide well to be considered a good service is its customer support.
ExpressVPN is the kind of service provider that takes it’s after-sales transactions seriously. The company has a working 24/7 customer support through the live chat feature, ticket support, and email support.
Response time is also impressive considering the average waiting time is 20 seconds or less. So if you ever need help with the virtual private network, rest assured you will get the assistance you paid for.
ExpressVPN is the ideal tool you need when you want to unblock the internet at school.
Whether you are trying to access Netflix, YouTube, or Facebook, or simply want to get better online security on school grounds, Express is what you need to make that happen.
This provider is a good VPN for students.
Plus, it passes all criteria with high marks.
And by the way, this VPN also supports torrenting activities as well.
So, you should still get your money’s worth with ExpressVPN.
2. CyberGhost VPN - Best For Torrenting and P2P
CyberGhost is one of the most reliable solutions for securing your internet activities. This service provider is often being recommended by tech companies because it is that good.
Like most VPNs, CyberGhost claims it is the best tool for unblocking the internet. But what sets CyberGhost apart from a hundred other providers is its reliability.
Whether you use CyberGhost at school, workplace, or at home, you are assured of working, secure, and private connections.
Unlike ExpressVPN, CyberGhost does not have a built-in speed tester to see which servers provide the fastest connections. But you can use SpeedTest.Net to check your speed.
During our tests of CyberGhost’s virtual private network service, we managed to get at least 90% of our original speed while connected to various servers.
Comparing these speeds with other VPNs, CyberGhost performed above average and thus we experienced smooth connectivities. We did encounter massive slowdowns when connected to certain servers – probably because those were located the farthest from our location.
Nevertheless, CyberGhost proved that it can provide decently fast connections. Keep in mind to connect to the nearest servers to get the most out of your connection speeds.
CyberGhost has only been around for 7 years but it has already managed to expand its server network on a global scale.
CyberGhost currently has more than 1,700 servers that are strategically located in 60 countries.
There are at least 38,000 users that are enjoying the benefits of CyberGhost at the moment.
CyberGhost supports tunneling protocols like PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, and OpenVPN. Users all over the world can set up CyberGhost on their preferred devices.
The VPN service offers a dedicated client app that works well on popular operating systems including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and even Linux. Users would need to manually set up the VPN on other platforms.
CyberGhost proves to be the best by using a top-class 256-bit encryption system to protect users’ privacy.
Even when connected to a school’s public WiFi users would still get the necessary protection they need from eavesdroppers, spies, and cybercriminals alike.
Here’s where it gets a bit nerve-wracking though. While CyberGhost is an awesome VPN for protecting one’s online privacy, it is also a bit costly to use it.
CyberGhost offers its VPN service for €11.99 per month. Again, this is not the most student-friendly price in our opinion.
But what you pay is what you get. CyberGhost does not compromise safety which is why it charges that much in order to deliver the best virtual private network experience ever.
There are discounts available too, but they are still a bit pricey compared to other providers.
One year’s worth of CyberGhost subscription costs €59.88 / $70.79 (or €4.99 / $5.6 per month). Users can get a better deal with the 2-year plan worth €90.96 / $107.53 (or €3.79 / $4.48).
The best CyberGhost offer costs €99.00 for 3 years – that’s €2.75 per month. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
As of today, CyberGhost does not offer any free trial accesses to interested subscribers. Users will have to subscribe to a plan in order to test the service – and if they don’t find it good, they can just as for a refund within the next 30 days.
CyberGhost is all about protecting one’s privacy. Thus, the company has invested a lot in developing its VPN network.
This VPN service is based out in Romania, a country under the European Union. Just recently the EU has updated its law protecting user data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates all companies be transparent about what data they collect.
CyberGhost for its part says it does not log any user data. And even if it does, the EU can look into those data and see if the company is indeed staying true to its promise of keeping users’ data as private as possible.
CyberGhost cares for its users that is why it has set up reliable customer support to handle all queries. If you are having difficulty setting up the VPN on your device, simply chat with one of the representatives and you should get the necessary assistance you need.
Users can either create a ticket, chat with a support representative, or check out the Help & FAQ page available on the websites to get solutions for their concerns.
CyberGhost is a well-established company that does not only protect your privacy, but it also helps you access restricted content – especially when you are trying to bypass your school’s internet restrictions.
Although it may not the best-priced VPN plan for students, this is by far one of the best options out there for anything related to internet security. Nevertheless, CyberGhost performs well on all benchmarks – which is what you need in a Virtual Private Network service.
3. PureVPN - A Pretty Fast VPN
With a great mix of standard and advanced features, PureVPN caught our attention thanks to its unusual add-ons and well-rounded service geared towards the newest of adopters.
PureVPN’s server location interface cleverly allows users to select destinations from a map and save their favorites for later. This simple, yet thoughtful addition is a surprisingly useful feature that allows for quick selection among its 140+ server when reconnecting.
A second feature that stands out from the crowd is the VPN Hotspot. Users can set up a limited VPN router and connect their devices — or devices or fellow students and colleagues — to via the secure connection.
For UI/UX lovers out there, it is essential to note that PureVPN doesn’t boast the slickest of interfaces and does take longer than most to install. Streaming lovers will also be disappointed by its inability to unlock international versions of Netflix.
Another clear downfall of PureVPN is the price. At $10.95 per month (annual plan) it delivers far less value than cheaper VPNs on our shortlist, however, it becomes far more affordable — at $3.25/month — on a two-year plan.
4. TunnelBear - Affordable Alternative
We often feature the top names in the VPN industry simply because they are the most widely used and have proven that they are indeed the best security tools available.
However, when it comes to performance, nothing compares to Tunnel Bear – a relatively new VPN provider that is making waves in the market today.
Nobody can deny the fact that Tunnel Bear is a beast when it comes to providing an awesome VPN experience.
Tunnel Bear offers a fast VPN service with an average speed of 30 Mbps. Although users may experience a small amount of speed loss on certain servers.
There are several reasons why you might experience slowdowns. First of all, encryption affects the speed of the connection.
Since Tunnel Bear is making use of top-rated encryption technology, the speeds may be affected in a negative way. Though such speed drops are not that noticeable at times.
Nonetheless, Tunnel Bear still offers a decent speed for unblocking the web. Students who are trying to get Netflix unblocked at school can achieve decent speeds with Tunnel Bear.
Tunnel Bear’s VPN network covers 20 countries. Among the countries that have a Tunnel Bear servers are United States, Canada, Brazil, Singapore, and Australia.
Unfortunately, Tunnel Bear does not disclose the actual number of servers that it has. The service provider has been around since 2011 so we are assuming that it already has a decent amount of servers available worldwide.
Tunnel Bear provides a client app so as to ease users from using the VPN. It is also not difficult to set up the app. Simply install the app on your device and the VPN should work instantaneously after.
The service works well on iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Windows, and Mac OS. Tunnel Bear will also work on other machines but would require manual setup.
Tunnel Bear would also work on Chrome and Opera browsers. Tunnel Bears uses various protocols for different devices.
OpenVPN protocol is used for Windows, Android, and Mac OS while IKEv2 for iPhones. Unfortunately, these protocols are fixed in their apps. Meaning, you cannot change the protocol. But most users don’t find this a problem at all.
Here’s our favorite part of this Canadian-based VPN service. TunnelBear has 3 main plans.
The first one, which best suits students, is the Little Bear plan – more commonly known as the FREE plan. Yes, this plan is absolutely free.
There is a catch though. Users are only allowed 500 MB of data every month. If your goal is only to unblock the internet at school for a short period of time, then this bandwidth allocation will suffice.
Want more bandwidth? Just tweet Tunnel Bear and get 1GB additional bandwidth!
The Giant Bear VPN plan costs $10.00 per month with unlimited data. For the annual plan, users can get a 50% discount. The Grizzly Bear plan only costs $60.00 or $5.00 per month.
Tunnel Bear handles personal data as private as possible. The Virtual Private Network service is open about collecting certain personal information such as email address, operational data, as well as financial details.
Such details are collected only for transaction purposes only. Tunnel Bear does not in any way store user activities which benefits all users.
This is an area where Tunnel Bear needs to improve on. At the moment, Tunnel Bear can only be reached via the ticket support, or thru its social media pages.
There is also an FAQ page but this does not seem to have all the answers related to the service.
Tunnel Bear is an affordable VPN service that solves the problem of how to get pass school blocks. Price is just right, performance is better than other VPNs, and above all, it delivers its promises.
Tunnel Bear is easily one of the best VPNs out there. If only it offers a better after-sales experience, then Tunnel Bear is the best option for unblocking the entire web.
Why Do Schools Block Websites And VPNs?
But why do institutions employ these measures in the first place, you might be wondering?
There are three primary reasons for blocking access to your favourite website:
The downfall of these well-meaning measures occurs when schools unintentionally block students from accessing sites that contain essential information for research.
As the New York Times reported in 2016, website filtering can obstruct the learning process by blocking sites that are essential to complete assignments.
Using a VPN saves you time and frustration when conducting research online.
The Importance of Using a VPN at School
VPN is a game-changing technology that is becoming more important by the day. Given all the time we are spending on the internet, it is just but the high time that we use such a tool to keep our connections as secure as possible.
Aside from being able to unblock the internet blockage on school grounds and even at workplaces, virtual private network services are also good for everything related to security protection.
When using such unblocking technology all your internet data and traffic will be safe from eavesdroppers. This would allow you to browse the web while being completely anonymous.
A VPN gives you the power to freely access the internet despite the global restrictions that it already has. Say for example you are interested to learn how to watch Netflix at school, the best workaround to this problem is by using encrypted and IP-masked connections.
Geographic restrictions can easily be unblocked by using only the right virtual private network service. Anybody who is looking to unblock the internet altogether can greatly benefit from using such an anonymizing tool.
Most internet service providers (ISP) usually throttle speeds so as to provide a decent traffic connection through its entire service network. Users can get better speeds by using a good VPN service. They can even bypass torrent-restrictions as well.
So, unless you install a VPN on your device, you will not be able to fully access the internet while you are at school. Better choose any of the best providers listed below in case you are looking for ways to unblock websites at school.
How To Choose The Right VPN?
Schools often block VPN websites, preventing students, staff, and visitors from downloading software while connected to their network.
In order to sidestep these obstacles, users are encouraged to do one of two things: download or access the website while connected to off-campus wifi at home, for example.
Users without access to a secondary wifi connection are encouraged to set up Internet tethering via their phones and access the VPN site by using their mobile data, if possible.
Looking out for specific technical features encryption type, bandwidth limitations, security protocols, and privacy features will help you in choosing the very best VPN for school wifi.
Other criteria to consider include connection speed, server coverage, multi-platform support, customer service options price.
Decreases in connection speed are expected due to the additional time need to encrypt your data, but speed degradation varies according to each VPN.
If you are planning to do considerable streaming or downloading, this may be one of the most significant factors in choosing which VPN you will purchase.
Similarly, if you intend to do hours of streaming while at school, it is recommended that you compare the bandwidth restrictions set in place by VPN providers.
Bandwidth limits vary according to each VPN, with many offering unlimited options.
Considering your likely student status, the cost will be a deciding factor for many who are pinching pennies while completing their studies.
All VPNs included in our final five offer deeper discounts for annual or multi-year commitments that may heavily influence your decision.
While most VPNs offer the standard 256-bit AES encryption, your needs may exceed those of the general public when it comes to security.
Look for special security features and newest protocols that may or may not be included in basic packages.
If privacy weighs heavily on your mind, take into consideration the no logs policy of your VPN provider.
A dedicated IP or dedicated server policies might be an attractive feature for you to consider.
It is likely that you’ll want to connect more than one device to your school’s wifi, so it is crucial to consider a VPN’s device connectivity limit.
Users looking to connect more than three devices will need to watch out for this important restriction.
When things go wrong, it is essential to have skilled experts getting you back online as soon as possible.
Pay close attention to customer service options if you’re not as tech-savvy as you’d like.
VPN providers are always looking to differentiate themselves from the competition, and often do so by offering special features.
If your school is blocking access to certain websites, all you have to do is get yourself a reliable VPN service and you should be able to unblock all firewall restrictions in a single click.
Choose ExpressVPN if you want to get the best speeds.
Otherwise, go for CyberGhost for the best performance.
But if you are tight on budget, SurfShark should be a great choice too.
Regardless of which of the three VPNs you opt for, you will still achieve complete internet anonymity and privacy while you enjoy accessing blocked content.