New college students have a general checklist to get ready for life outside the nest: towels, a laptop, bed sheets, and some Bob Marley posters. You’re all set right?
Well if you value your online privacy and freedom as much as your meal pass, then you need to add a virtual private network, or VPN, to that list.
We’ve already covered some of the best VPN services and their benefits. For college students, they allow you to access social media or torrent sites that might be blocked on your school’s Wi-Fi networks. They can also help you access censored or region-locked content if you plan to study abroad. And at the very least, they provide you an extra layer of security when you study for midterms in coffee shops with unsecure Wi-Fi.
Many of the VPNs we’ve covered in the past are running back-to-school offers to help you stay on a tight budget. Check out the deals that are live this week:
As one of the biggest VPN brands, NordVPN gives you all of the essentials with worldwide coverage. You get access to over 5,800 servers in 60 countries, which means this is a great VPN to choose before you spend a semester abroad. It’s available to use on your Mac, PC, Android, iOS, and many other devices with high levels of encryption. And since they’re based outside of U.S. and EU jurisdictions, they don’t have to track and log your online activity. And when you lock in the price of $2.99 per month for three years, you get 75% savings for most of your college career.
If you don’t want as long of a commitment but need a speedy VPN, Private Internet Access gives you what you need with a two-year plan for just $3.49 per month. It provides a foundation of 3,341 servers in 32 countries, and is simple to use for any VPN neophyte. Your data is fully encrypted on Wi-Fi and you enjoy an anonymous VPN IP with unlimited bandwidth across up to 10 devices at the same time. It even allows you to block ads, malware, and other trackers with ease for a clean internet experience. And if you want a fully anonymous experience, you can pay for your subscription with those unused gift cards you got after graduation. Pay just $83.87 for a two-year plan, down from the original price of $238.80.
Let’s not pretend that the main draw of TunnelBear isn’t their cute bear mascot plastered all over their site. But they have more to offer than cuteness. TunnelBear is one of the easiest VPN apps to use, and it launches as soon as you power on your device. However, you are limited to just 22 countries. While they offer a free edition, you should definitely upgrade to the premium account for unlimited data across five devices and priority customer service. When you sign up, you get fast speeds, secure Wi-Fi protection, and strong encryption. Pay just $99.99 for a two-year plan, down from the original price of $239.76.
If you want the lowest price right now, then you can use our promo code MASH50 to get one year of TorGuard for just $29.99. That’s just $2.50 each month, so it’s the best deal if you need a VPN without a long-term commitment. And cheap doesn’t equal fewer features. You get unlimited speeds and bandwidth with over 3,000 servers in more than 50 countries. Connect up to eight devices at the same time on an anonymous IP, whether you use Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, or Linux. Their Stealth VPN also makes it invisible to strong firewalls and deep pack inspections, meaning this VPN isn’t so easily blocked by government entities.
IPVanish gives you fast speeds and tight security, and they have a strict zero-logs policy. This means they don’t collect information on your connections and activity, and thus they can’t share it with anyone even if they wanted. They also offer a steadily growing network of over 1,300 servers in about 50 countries for a total of over 75 server locations worldwide. It’s easy to use, offers unlimited bandwidth, and connects up to 10 devices at once on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and other operating systems. During this limited-time sale, you can save 50% off the yearly price of $77.99 and pay just $39.
Editor’s Note: IPVanish is owned by J2 Global, the parent company of Ziff Davis, Mashable’s publisher. Any J2 products featured on Mashable are covered independently by our content team.