The US is one of the worst countries in the world as far as digital privacy is concerned. Mass surveillance from agencies puts citizens at constant threat of being monitored by authorities, so the risk of privacy violations is ever-present.
Although there is no mandatory data retention law in the US, NSA has the ability to crack some VPN protocols such as PPTP and L2TP.
Moreover, it isn’t out of the question that NSA can ask US-based VPNs to retain some logs so they can continue their surveillance operations without any obstacles in their way.
Therefore, users should ideally opt for offshore VPN services that are headquartered far from the reach of NSA and their ilk. Here are the 5 best non-US VPN services that protect you from surveillance agencies:
5 Best Offshore/Non-US VPNs [2021 In-Depth Analysis]
There are many features that differentiate a reliable VPN service from a poor one. These features often include server network, speed, and privacy features.
With the passage of time, the jurisdiction in which a VPN is based has become an important factor when discussing the best VPN services. The following VPNs are all located in safe non-US jurisdictions and can be counted on to keep your privacy intact:
1. ExpressVPN – Best Offshore VPN based in the British Virgin Islands
ExpressVPN is the best VPN service outside the US. It is based in the British Virgin Islands, an excellent location for an offshore VPN. It has been protecting user privacy with an excellent logging policy for customers all over the world.
The VPN guarantees safety on the web with an optimally sensitive automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, military-grade AES-256 encryption for maximum security on its VPN server.
ExpressVPN does not keep logs. The British Virgin Islands is outside the 14 Eyes alliance and is not obligated to collect your data. Other countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, and more do not have the authority to compel ExpressVPN to produce user records. Especially for UK. It is one of the Best VPN for UK users.
Furthermore, the VPN service provider has over 3000+ servers in 94 countries. Utilizing these servers, you can access geo-restricted streaming services, access blocked torrenting websites, and bypass censorship issues if they apply in your country.
2. Surfshark – Offshore VPN based in BVI
Surfshark is worthy of being considered one of the best VPNs based outside the US. It is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is a territory having no ties with US surveillance agencies of the Five Eyes.
The provider strictly adheres to a zero-logs policy so you can safely stay private on the internet. It does not log IP addresses, browsing history, connection time stamps, and other sensitive user data.
Some of the best features the provider offers are MultiHop, Double VPN, CleanWeb (ad-blocker), and kill switch. These features enhance your privacy, while the network of 3200+ servers in 65 countries allows users to unblock streaming and other websites.
For a cost of $2.21/mo , Surfshark is a powerful VPN tool if you’re looking for one based outside the US.
For more information, read our Surfshark review.
3. NordVPN– Panama-based Offshore VPN Service
NordVPN is one of the safest VPN providers you can opt for, owing to the fact that the provider is based in Panama. Therefore, you can rest assured that your data will not be logged by this VPN service.
NordVPN does not keep data logs. No-logs data policy coupled with a privacy-friendly jurisdiction makes NordVPN a secure option for users. NordVPN has also undergone a third-party audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG in late 2018. NordVPN passed the audit and it proved their claim to the no-logs policy.
NordVPN offers a network of 5100+ servers in 60 countries. There are multiple specialty servers including obfuscated servers that disguise your VPN connection as normal internet traffic, so even your ISP cannot see if you are using a VPN service.
With NordVPN, you also get other valuable features like DoubleVPN, CyberSec (ad/malware blocker), Onion over VPN, DNS leak protection, and kill switch. The AES-256 encryption, coupled with the VPN’s remarkable unblocking capabilities are qualities that few other VPNs share in the industry.
Currently, NordVPN is priced at $3.30/mo (VPN Awareness Month – 2 year plan at 72% off + 3 months FREE) and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Find out more about this provider in our NordVPN review.
4. CyberGhost – Offshore VPN based in Romania
CyberGhost is another secure VPN based in the safe jurisdiction of Romania. Since Romania has privacy-focused laws, citizens enjoy freedom from government surveillance of any kind nor are ISPs in the country required to maintain user logs.
CyberGhost does not store any activity logs. It does not collect any connection logs, for example, your IP addresses, browsing history, timestamps, bandwidth usage, and more.
CyberGhost also published Transparency Reports on its website, every three months. These reports contain information about malware activity flags, policy requests, DMCA complaints, and more. This is a step forward to ensure VPN users that CyberGhost does not store any user data.
CyberGhost is an impressive VPN service for users interested in P2P networking, as it offers various servers dedicated to torrenting. Overall CyberGhost offers 7000+ servers in 90 countries. In addition, the country has lax legal enforcement against torrents.
The VPN is available for $2.25/mo with a 45-day refund policy.
View our CyberGhost review to learn more about this VPN service provider.
5. VyprVPN – Offshore VPN Provider based in Switzerland
VyprVPN is based in Switzerland which is one of those places in the world where there is minimal internet censorship. Moreover, the government is not known to perform surveillance over online traffic of users in the region, nor are ISPs required to retain any metadata or other information of their customers.
VyprVPN is part of the Golden Frog, GmbH, which follows a strict no-logs policy. VyprVPN does not store IP addresses, connection timestamps, browser history, and other sensitive information.
The company delivers advanced encryption for online security, and security features like DNS leak protection, split tunneling, and kill switch. The service has a good unblocking capability and works with streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more.
VyprVPN makes it one of the best offshore VPNs that you can get for a surprisingly low price of $1.67/mo with a 30-day refund policy.
Read our detailed VyprVPN review to find out more about this service.
Why non-US/ Offshore VPN Are Essential for Privacy
There’s hardly any other country in the world where mass surveillance and communications tapping is as widespread as in the US. With programs like PRISM and the role of the US as one of the key members of domestic-intelligence sharing surveillance networks, getting a VPN service headquartered in the US amounts to playing with fire.
1. NSA & Warrantless Surveillance
NSA conducted warrantless surveillance on millions of unsuspecting citizens people, both within and outside the US from 2001 to 2007. Although disclosure of this operation and subsequent public pressure forced NSA to end the program in 2007, it shows a glimpse of the sheer power these agencies hold. The revelation proves agencies can cavalierly ignore legal requirements if they so will it. In fact, EFF took AT&T and NSA to the court because AT&T had permitted NSA to monitor all communications of their subscribers unlawfully, violating privacy laws.
This means that if a US-based VPN provider is storing any information about you, it’s entirely possible that NSA might acquire this information without even needing a warrant. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be so easy for NSA to do that if you were using a VPN that has its entire base of operations located far away from the US and thus not within reach of the NSA’s surveillance apparatus. This is where offshore VPN services become so important for maximum security.
2. NSA Can Decrypt VPN Traffic
According to researchers, NSA has the means to break some forms of VPN encryption and monitor VPN traffic. In fact, it has long been believed that NSA is capable of breaking into outdated VPN protocols such as PPTP. Again, it is much simpler for the agency to do this if the VPN provider they wanted to break into is based in the US.
Jurisdictional, as well as technological complications, arise if the targeted VPN is located in a territory with strong privacy laws and which has no ties in any way with American agencies.
3. Torrenting and P2P
The US has one of the strictest enforcement against torrent downloads. Copyright infringement committed in the form of digital piracy can lead to fines of as much as $150,000 per file and even 5 years of jail time! The MPAA and RIAA are responsible for monitoring torrent usage for copyright violations. These groups have also caused many torrent websites in the US to be banned including KickAss torrents and ThePirateBay.
VPN service providers that are based in the US have no choice but to comply with DMCA requirements. As such, these VPNs usually do not support torrent activity using their services. However, non-US VPNs are only bound to comply with national laws which may not be as stringent.
This is another reason why downloading torrents is significantly safer if you use a non-US IP with a virtual private network based overseas.
Disclaimer: We do not encourage nor condone the use of VPNs to engage in any illegal activity including copyright infringement.
FAQs – Best Offshore VPN
You need non-US-based VPNs in order to defend yourself from American agencies performing surveillance and violating your online privacy. Non-US-based VPN companies are not mandated by the laws to log user data and provide it to the authorities when needed.
As there are no laws regarding data retention, non-US-based, or offshore VPNs are best for online privacy and anonymity. Our top offshore VPN provider is ExpressVPN as it is based in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands.
It is not safe to use a VPN service based in the USA as agencies such as NSA can monitor VPN traffic. In fact, VPN service providers based in the US usually do not support activities like torrenting. So, such VPNs are not very useful.
Moreover, there are mandatory data retention laws in the country that make VPN providers store user data for 12 months or more. On the other hand, VPNs based in safe jurisdictions are completely safe to use. Our top recommendation is ExpressVPN.
There’s hardly any room for doubt that all privacy-conscious users should choose non-US-based VPN services in order to avoid being a subject of unlawful surveillance by American agencies.
ExpressVPN is the best offshore VPN based outside the US, keeping in mind its exceptional service, privacy-focused features, and excellent server network.
If you have any cool tips to share about staying safe from US spying programs or have any suggestions about non-US VPN providers, don’t forget to leave a comment below.