Best VPN for School and College: Unblock Content on Campus Wi-Fi

Almost all colleges and schools have some sort of restriction on their internet networks. Some middle and high schools will even place blocks on social media sites so that their students can concentrate on studying instead of tweeting, using Snapchat or watching YouTube.

You’ll be hard-pressed to name a school that allows students to stream content from Netflix or download video games without limits. College Wi-Fi networks often have limits placed to prevent overcrowding during high-traffic times of the day.

Of course, students should pay attention to their studies especially when they are in school. But sometimes, schools and colleges end up restricting access to websites that may be useful for students. YouTube and Dailymotion could be used for research purposes if they want to watch an informational video or documentary about a subject they’re studying.

Fortunately, we live in a world where there is a perfect tool to counter such restrictions: A Virtual Private Network or VPN.

A group of university students connecting through a stable and protected VPN connection

If you sign up for a good VPN, you can have complete unrestricted access to any online service or website that you need, regardless of whether your school has blocked the website. A VPN will unlock everything.

In addition to their ability to bypass restrictions, VPNs can also protect you from hackers and other cybercriminals who want to steal your passwords and data.

A VPN will encrypt your IP address to mask your real location.

It also encrypts your internet traffic as it moves from your computer or mobile device to its final destination. These measures ensure maximum security and privacy.

So without further ado, here is the list of good VPN apps for high school classrooms, college dorms, lecture halls and any other school setting.

Best VPN for Schools

1. NordVPN

NordVPN University Logo

Simultaneous Connections: Six

Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

About NordVPN

NordVPN is the best VPN for school WiFi, especially if you are looking for two things: A large server network that covers the entire globe and advanced security features.

If you want the best security in a VPN that works at school, NordVPN is for you. NordVPN offers users:

  • More than 5,000 servers
  • A server network that covers 59 countries
  • Six simultaneous devices per account

Pros

  • Great security measures

  • The server network is huge and diversified

Cons

  • Slightly expensive monthly plan
  • Client for the Windows platform may not be the best

The company offers its users over 5,000 servers evenly spread across the world. Every measure of performance suggests that NordVPN servers can deliver great speeds and work under heavy loads. Notably, NordVPN is able to control the decrease in upload and download speeds that VPNs usually cause when users turn on their VPN clients.

A university campus running a wifi connection

In terms of compatibility, NordVPN is up there with the best of them. It has dedicated apps for all mainstream operating systems and platforms including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. The service also offers browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

NordVPN tries to make things easier for its customers by offering in-depth tutorials on how to set up apps on different devices. The Windows app isn’t the best it could be, but overall, it’s far superior to competitors. It offers great server selection options and advanced configurations for experienced users.

Note:

If it is security you are after, you can’t really go wrong with NordVPN. The Double VPN feature will pass your internet data through two servers, meaning your data will be encrypted twice.

The other great thing about NordVPN is that the company owns and operates all of its DNS servers. This gives NordVPN total control over its product as it doesn’t have to deal with the possibility of third-party services interfering with user privacy.

NordVPN also comes with more advanced security options such as Tor Over VPN and filtering for ad-blocking. It’s the best mainstream VPN service that protects users against phishing and malware sites. These features come as added bonuses to the standard set of options that most other services offer.

NordVPN also is very strict about maintaining its zero-logs policy.

All packages have a 30-day money-back guarantee attached to them, making signing up for the service risk-free. With that said, NordVPN is not exactly the cheapest service on the market, especially when it comes to monthly packages.

Therefore, we suggest that you go with the three-year deal, which offers a good discount. The monthly package costs $11.95 per month while the three-year deal costs $3.49 per month.

VPN Apps

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Our Score: 9.8/10

Read the full NordVPN review here.

By buying a three-year plan and using our exclusive link you’ll get a significant discount on the service.

Visit NordVPN

2. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost University Logo

Simultaneous Connections: Seven

Money-Back Guarantee: 45 days

About CyberGhost

CyberGhost has got a lot of things going for it as a good VPN that works in school settings.

CyberGhost offers users:

  • More than 6,000 servers
  • A server network that covers 90 countries
  • Seven simultaneous devices per account

Pros

  • User-friendly apps that come equipped with quality improvements such as the ability to connect to specialized servers for different activities
  • Zero user logs
  • Strong encryption
  • Works with many streaming services
  • Fast servers that can download large files
  • Value-for-money packages
  • Unblocks almost all censored content

Cons

  • The company is headquartered in the UK
  • No working Chinese server

The company behind CyberGhost VPN is registered in Romania, which means it should not have problems in respecting and preserving the privacy and security of its users and their data—as Romania’s data retention and security laws are relatively consumer-centric. However, just because something should happen doesn’t mean it always does.

an image of a campus building with people around it

While CyberGhost is not considered the most private of VPNs, it is certainly an elite VPN service. The only real problem we see with CyberGhost (as far as privacy is concerned) is that it was acquired by U.K.-headquartered firm Crossrider in 2017. Since the U.K. has strict data retention laws that companies are obligated to follow, this is definitely not good if CyberGhost wants to ease its way into providing users with ultimate privacy.

With that said, there are no glaring issues with the encryption standards that CyberGhost uses. In fact, it uses some of the strongest protocols available.

Note:

For the OpenVPN protocol, CyberGhost makes use of the AES 256-bit encryption. Most security experts consider AES 256-bit encryption to be more than enough security for almost all online users.

With over 6,000 servers in 90 countries, CyberGhost users can easily unblock websites at school or college by connecting to servers in a host of different locations. CyberGhost solves that problem rather easily.

Each CyberGhost VPN package allows users to connect up to seven internet-enabled devices at a time. The industry average is still around six, so CyberGhost stands out in this regard. CyberGhost also offers VPN apps for all major operating systems, including Linux, macOS, Windows, iOS and Android.

Overall, CyberGhost is a user-friendly, private and secure VPN service that offers advanced security features like DNS leak protection and zero logs. With a 45-day money-back guarantee, you can try out the product before committing long-term. These features make it a good VPN for school environments.

VPN Apps

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Our Score: 9.3/10

Read the full CyberGhost VPN review here.

You can get a discount on CyberGhost by using our exclusive link.

Visit CyberGhost

3. Surfshark

SurfShark University Logo

Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited

Money-Back Guarantee: 30 Days

About Surfshark

With fast servers covering more than 60 countries, you can easily use Surfshark for bypassing school restrictions and accessing censored content. These features, together with a sizable network of over 1,700 servers, make Surfshark one of the best VPNs for unblocking firewalls in schools and colleges.

Surfshark offers users:

  • More than 1,700 servers
  • A server network that covers 63 countries
  • Unlimited simultaneous devices per account

Pros

  • Anonymous payment methods are available
  • Good privacy and security features
  • Fast servers
  • Unblocks many streaming sites

Cons

  • Not the biggest server network you will find

Surfshark also unblocks premium streaming services like BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Surfshark allows customers to connect as many devices to their servers as they want, all in one single account. Offering an unlimited number of simultaneous devices per account, Surfshark surpasses the industry average of six simultaneous connections.

Of course, no VPN would be worth your money if it does not offer security.

Surfshark makes use of state-of-the-art, military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. On top of that, Surfshark packages come with advanced security features such as a kill switch and an automatic scanner for malware. There are also implementations for WebRTC, DNS, IPv6, and other leaks.an image of students connected in a city

In terms of the privacy policy, SurfShark delivers by not logging any type of data on its users that an entity could use to trace them. The company also out of its way to provide customers with multiple anonymous cryptocurrency payment methods. The company also offers customer support 24/7 via a live chat service.

In terms of compatibility, SurfShark offers users dedicated applications for all major platforms such as Windows, Linux, Android, macOS and iOS.

VPN Apps

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Our Score: 8.5/10

Read the full SurfShark VPN review here.

You can get a discount on SurfShark by using our exclusive link.

Visit SurfShark

4. ZenMate VPN

ZenMate vpn university logo

Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited

Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

About ZenMate

ZenMate made its name in the VPN industry by offering free VPN services to millions of online users. This strategy worked so well for ZenMate that at one point it had a user base of 40 million people. Those days are gone now as the only viable way to use ZenMate is through its premium VPN service.

ZenMate offers users:

  • More than 3,700 servers
  • A server network that covers 74 countries
  • Six simultaneous devices per account

Pros

  • Works with streaming services like BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime
  • Comes with a 3-day money-back guarantee
  • Free trial
  • Strong encryption
  • Unlimited number of connections per account
  • Affordable
  • P2P-enabled servers

Cons

  • Server network cannot compete against other VPNs
  • Average performance
  • Privacy policy not airtight
  • No live chat
  • Not safe in China

The company has shifted its focus from offering free services to attracting users who have the budget to pay for their VPNs. Generally speaking though, ZenMate provides them with a decent selection of VPN servers, stable and mostly fast connections.

an image of students sitting in front of their university

With that said though, it does come with a small set of problems that users who value their privacy would want to know about. It does not have an airtight privacy policy, it can sometimes leak DNS requests, and users report connecting to slow servers several times in a row.

ZenMate is still a decent VPN service that’s working to improve its functionalities and features. It’s a good VPN for your daily routine tasks such as downloading, streaming and browsing. We’re assuming here that you would be doing those activities at school and because of that, you won’t go to extremes in downloading huge files, or streaming 4K two-hour YouTube videos or re-loading the popular John Hopkins University COVID-19 map several times an hour.

Overall, ZenMate has a large enough server network along with above-average security and the ability to unblock streaming services.

The good thing about the paid version is that it allows users to download torrent big files. Of course, the downside is that torrenting servers may not be fast enough for some users.

an image of students enjoying a stable wifi connection

ZenMate has claimed many times in the past that it has a no-logs policy. But that claim doesn’t hold as much water as some of the other VPNs on this list. The privacy policy that ZenMate has put out needs a bit more clarity.

This is also the reason why we do not recommend ZenMate as a VPN to use in China. It simply does not have the experience and the infrastructure that some of the other VPNs have on this list.

However, it is good enough to unblock almost all the sites that your school may have blocked. Given that you will be in school or college, you may even tolerate slightly slower speeds. ZenMate’s security protocols are also strong.

ZenMate doesn’t cap bandwidth or data usage for users who engage in P2P file-sharing. But if you need top speeds, it is better to go for other options on this list.

VPN Apps

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Our Score: 8.8/10

Read the full ZenMateVPN review here.

You can get a discount on ZenMate by using our exclusive link.

Visit ZenMate

5. IPVanish

IPVanishVPN Icon with a University Hat

Simultaneous Connections: Ten

Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

About IPVanish

Students may want to use a school VPN to download torrents or engage in other P2P activities. This is where IPVanish really shines.

The service offers:

  • Over 1,500 servers
  • Servers in over 75 locations
  • Over 40,000 IP addresses
  • 10 simultaneous devices per account

Pros

  • Configurable software
  • Good download speeds

Cons

  • No free trial
  • The Windows client is not the best

IPVanish does a lot of things right. This VPN service has more than 1,500 servers in 75 cities and regions.

A vector image of modern students and buildings

Most of the time, you will find that its servers are not only fast but they are also able to keep performing when under heavy load. For unrestricted access to online services and apps, there are very few VPNs that outrun IPVanish.

IPVanish offers superior speeds compared to competitors. You should not notice any significant degradation in your download speeds when you’re connected to an IPVanish server.

And that holds true even when you have connected to a server that’s far from your physical location. These attributes make IPVanish one of the best VPNs for torrenting.

a group of students having fun and enjoying the moment discussing about VPN connectionIf you are at school, you need a VPN service that offers dedicated apps for all major platforms and devices. IPvanish is one of those services.

IPVanish offers one of the best clients in the industry today. It comes packed with features that give you a lot of control over what you want to do with your app. Granted, the IPVanish app for Windows does come with minor annoyances but those shouldn’t affect your overall user experience.

Perhaps the biggest feature that IPVanish apps offer to users the ability to block DPI or Deep Packet Inspection.

Additionally, IPVanish does not store any user data.

Some VPNs make this claim but don’t follow through. Rather, they keep a record of outgoing and incoming IP addresses along with logs of users’ connection times. IPVanish doesn’t do this, which is one of the reasons why it’s rated so highly.

IPVanish currently does not have a free plan, nor is there a free trial period. But you can use its 30-day money-back guarantee as a trial period and ask for a refund if the service is not up to your standards after a month has passed.

The monthly plan costs $10 per month. If you sign up for IPVanish for a year, the price will come down to about $6.49 per month. The quarterly plan is priced at $8.99 per month.

VPN Apps

Apple App Icon
Apple
Android App Icon
Android
macOS App Icon
macOS
Windows App Icon
Windows
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Amazon Fire TV

 

 

 

 

Our Score: 9.0/10

Read the full IPVanish review here.

You can get a discount on IPVanish by using our exclusive link.

Visit IPVanish

FAQ

Is there a good free VPN for school?
Running a VPN business is expensive. The most trustworthy VPNs use a subscription model for revenue because it goes against their mission to collect, store and sell user data to advertisers or other third parties.

Conversely, free VPNs rely on user data to survive, as they often gain revenue through advertisements. To minimize risk and preserve your privacy and security, we advise against getting a free VPN for school or college.

How do I get a VPN to work on school Wi-Fi?
Just like any other environment, not just at school, you can connect to a VPN server through your VPN app while still being connected to your Wi-Fi network. Connect your computer or smartphone to your school Wi-Fi network as you normally would, then open the app and connect to a server.
Can schools block VPNs?
While it is possible that your school has the ability to block VPN IP addresses from using their networks, this is relatively uncommon. If your school has blocked your VPN’s connection, try using a proxy service or the Tor browser. With the Tor browser, we recommend using a VPN to add a double-layer of protection.
Ali Raza Ali is a freelance journalist, having 5 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications. With a Master degree, now he combines his passions for writing about internet security and technology for SecurityGladiators. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.
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