Some users are genuinely apprehensive about the security of their data while browsing the internet. Why shouldn’t they be? Given the latest Collection #1 mega data breach, which contained over 770 million individual e-mail addresses in one batch, being concerned is quite natural.
In fact, it might be wise for us all to be concerned about the security of the sensitive and personal information we make available online. In the 21st century, browsing the internet securely should no longer be part of informal or specialized professional training, but a widespread educational practice that is reinforced from a young age. We all browse the internet and we all need protection.
With Plex, arguably one of the best client-server media library systems, you might not necessarily want to add an extra layer of security to your connection. After all, the company does use Standard Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to encrypt all data that is sent between its server and the users who access it. For the majority of cases, this is enough. Yes, an adept hacker can easily find ways around SSL, unbreakable as it may be, but most users are interested in using Plex with VPN primarily to access region-blocked content. Production companies’ geo-blocking can be especially annoying when you’re traveling and want to access your HBO Now, Netflix, or BBC iPlayer on the go.
For this and other reasons, here is a list of the five most recommended VPN Plex set-ups that do not require you to buy additional routers or know how to script.
1. AirVPN ‣
AirVPN takes the first spot on the list because it’s one of the most secure, intuitive, and fastest VPN connections out there, all of which are mandatory when using Plex. You can manually forward ports, connect to any wifi network without exposing your sensitive data, and there is no monitoring, logging or throttling of user activities on the part of the organization. Operated by activists, as well as hacktivists in defense of net neutrality, their VPN tunnel is based on one of the most reliable and secure solutions for encrypted tunnels, namely OpenVPN.
Although some users might feel uneasy about AirVPN’s non-corporate status, the latter has built a reputation for stellar services. More importantly, their compact, easy-to-use application is automatically configured and support is always responsive. With 5 devices per license, this option is perfect for a small household or for personal use. There are no refund policies for payments already made, but you can cancel any subscriptions.
Unlike corporate competitors, AirVPN offers a significantly lower number of worldwide servers, which is to be expected given their emphasis on civil rights. Despite this, they feature a mandatory minimum speed limit, while the maximum only depends on the server load. They do offer unlimited server switches and the servers that are used by the organization admittedly deliver a flawless performance, which is why this is our top VPN Plex combination.
AirVPN is a strong, reliable option. It’s not flashy and it won’t bombard you with discount offers, but it will get the job done well. In the case of AirVPN, no complaints of incompatibility were recorded for users running Plex with VPN
2. NordVPN ‣
Unlike AirVPN, NordVPN is arguably one of the most successful and widespread corporate VPN services out there. It does offer 6, rather than 5, simultaneous connections and it does have a 30-day money-back guarantee, which can be quite useful for those who are still on the fence about what VPN Plex recipe they want to go with.
NordVPN is notorious for their strict no-logging policy, primarily because they are based in Panama, under a jurisdiction that does not participate in either the Five Eyes or the Fourteen Eyes intelligence alliance countries. Furthermore, Panama does not feature any mandatory data retention laws. As such, from a legal standpoint, NordVPN ensures that no user logs are recorded in case of a national security event.
In terms of performance, NordVPN may be slightly better than their competition, as they offer hundreds of servers (amidst a total of approximately 5000) optimized for peer to peer connections. While this aspect might not affect your Plex or Netflix experience in a significant way, if you’re a regular torrent user, NordVPN will most often achieve better download and upload speeds. What sets them further apart is that they offer additional tunneling protocols aside from OpenVPN. Your data is chained through two VPN servers, rather than one, and is thus encrypted not once, but twice before it reaches its destination.
With stability and ease of use similar to that of AirVPN, along with better than average performance and protection, we highly recommend Nord as your Plex with VPN corporate, go-to choice.
3. CyberGhost ‣
If for some reason, you find that neither of the two options above is to your liking, CyberGhost is a great alternative. They closely resemble NordVPN in that they are one of the largest VPN providers currently on the market, while also enjoying complete legal security. Although recently acquired by an Israeli parent company, their headquarters was strategically kept in Romania, as the jurisdiction there did not compel them to store any information regarding their users’ traffic.
CyberGhost VPN is strictly and unequivocally dedicated to the protection of their users’ data, which is why they store nothing of the latter, not even connection logs. Unlike the previous two options, CyberGhost features a neat application that allows you to switch in-between streaming, browsing, and torrenting-optimized modes. Handy! Their kit also presents a built-in malware and ad blocker that guarantees a perfect, interruption-free viewing experience.
The monthly cost for CyberGhost is slightly higher than the industry average, but you get plenty of features for it, so there is great value in your purchase.
There were some rumors following their acquisition by Kape Technologies, a parent company facing certain security concerns. However, all evidence pointed to the fact that these comments were insubstantial and that CyberGhost was meant to bring some much-needed change to the larger group.
4. IPVanish ‣
The US-based IPVanish is a great competitor in the Plex category. Their speeds often match the performance of NordVPN/CyberGhost and their application is quite intuitive. As confirmed by numerous customers, you will likely have a stress-free experience using Plex with IPVanish. One caveat for many experienced web surfers is that IPVanish is not compatible with TOR, which does not necessarily concern Plex users.
On the other hand, falsely advertising 24/7 support is a major drawback. When contacting the team for live chat support, customers have received automated e-mail responses in 24 to 48 hours from submission. In addition, the monthly cost for IPVanish is higher than for AirVPN and NordVPN, which means you’d be paying extra for not much in return.
Still, IPVanish offers a good level of protection while you surf the internet and stream your favorite media from Plex. In addition, they support a strict zero traffic logs policy for their users, which is what ultimately justifies their rank and reputation.
5. PureVPN ‣
Finally, PureVPN is also an option if you’re looking for a way to either by-pass geoblocking, protect your data while browsing the internet, or both. Like all of the services mentioned above, Pure comes with similar levels of encryption, as well as features that disable ISP throttling in order to deliver good performance to its customers. Most importantly, Plex users have reported that this VPN was compatible with streaming their media and is relatively easy to use, even remotely.
The problem with Pure, as well as with any ISP located in either of the Five or the Fourteen Eyes countries is that, under the right circumstances, a legal entity can pressure them to release whatever information they have on their users. This is what happened in a now famous 2017 case when PureVPN worked with the FBI to apprehend an individual who was harassing his former roommate.
As per their own terms and conditions, PureVPN does keep some minimal logs on your connections. They unequivocally condemn any use of their services that may be deemed illegal, threatening, unlawful or abusive in a jurisdiction, which is what prompted the cooperation (and the existence of the records) in the first place.
Although initially safe, and under the right circumstances perhaps even functional, PIA was expressly blocked by Netflix precisely for disabling their geo-blocking features.
ExpressVPN, on the other hand, provides a great service and competitive offer, but requires extensive scripting in order to set up remote Plex access, which makes it highly unappealing for a user with no knowledge of systems administration.