Ann Arbor, Michigan is the sixth largest city in the state. It has a population of approximately 114k and is located 45 miles to the West of Detroit. The city’s economy heavily centers on high technology, and it is the home of the University of Michigan. Coincidentally, the population is just shy of the total number of people that will fit in the UM stadium called the “Big House”. If you plan on taking a trip to Ann Arbor and want to use public WiFi, you should connect to a VPN first. Before we share the details of why it is important, have a look at our best VPNs for Ann Arbor.
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Like many of the cities in the US, Native Americans inhabited the area that is now Ann Arbor. However, in 1824, land speculators John Allen and Elisha W. Rumsey founded the city. They decided to name the city for their wives (both named Ann) and the stands of bur oak trees. Shortly after that time in 1837, the University of Michigan relocated to Ann Arbor from Detroit.
As you might guess, that means the city’s identity is closely tied to and defined by the university. Today, the University of Michigan employs more than 26% of the city residents. High tech, health services, and biotechnology are major parts of the city’s economy. They are drawn to the area by the university’s research & development dollars as well as its’ graduates. Of course, Wolverines football is a huge draw to the area as well.
If you find yourself in Ann Arbor, you won’t have any issues finding businesses that offer free WiFi. That can be a great thing for users, but it can also be great for cybercrooks. There are plenty of people that are just waiting to get a hold of your private data. When you use a VPN, you make a connection to a secure and encrypted server. That makes it extremely difficult for the thieves to steal your sensitive information.
Another great reason is to help you get around geo-blocks. If you have ever been to a website and been blocked, you probably already know what those are. Media companies, organizations, and even some countries will block you from seeing something they do not want you to see by using a firewall. In this case, your VPN will help you connect to a server in a different location. That way, you can fool the firewall software into letting you see what you would like to see.
Let’s jump right in and take a look at the best VPNs for Ann Arbor.
ExpressVPN brings together fast VPN access with MediaStreamer which acts as a Smart DNS service to unblock access to geo-restricted content. The VPN service will help encrypt your connection and unblock live sporting events. You will even find a list of the latest live entertainment and sporting events on their website. Being in the British Virgin Islands puts ExpressVPN outside the 5 eyes and 14 eyes countries. They maintain a no-log policy that has been verified through high profile legal requests over the years.
ExpressVPN manages a very large VPN network. Beyond the USA, the ExpressVPN network boasts thousands of servers in key locations to help protect their user’s privacy. You can use their network to protect your privacy, unblock censorship, and watch your favorite streaming services from anywhere.
When you use the ExpressVPN application, you can select the city location you want to connect to. Though you can’t connect to a specific server, the VPN client will pick the best option for you. In this case, you’ll want to pick a server in Chicago (since it is the closest city with an ExpressVPN server). Many servers are listed in the recommended servers, however, Chicago cities may not be there. To find the city, go to the “All” tab. Now, you can type in the search bar “Chicago”. When you do, it will pull up the Chicago locations. As you can see below, our Chicago speed test and the speed was 58.03 Mbps.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of using ExpressVPN is their support for a wide range of devices. ExpressVPN offers custom VPN software for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Connect from your desktop and mobile at the same time with up to 3 simultaneous connections. You can also install the ExpressVPN web extension for Chrome or Firefox. Want to protect your entire home network with a single VPN account? If so you can use the ExpressVPN router app to get all set up. The MediaStreamer feature adds Smart DNS support to devices like game consoles (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, etc.), media boxes (Apple TV, Roku, Nvidia Shield TV, etc.), and Smart TVs.
ExpressVPN performed very well in our speed tests. They are a great choice for privacy and to unblock geo-restrictions. Customer support is available 24/7 to provide assistance and answer any questions. Enjoy the best VPN for less with confidence as ExpressVPN offers a 30 day money back guarantee.
Ann Arbor is a great area with many technology companies. However, they do not have their own servers there. In this case, we connect to a server in Cleveland, Ohio because it is only 117 miles away. You could also use Chicago, but it is almost double the distance. The service does quite well around the area, no matter where in the region you are. IPVanish has more server locations in the United States than the other companies on our list. This makes them one of our top choices to use in while in Ann Arbor.
Along with a large footprint in the USA, IPVanish hosts servers in every continent other than Antarctica. The network has consistently been the fastest VPN in North America and Europe in our speed tests. You will find multiple server locations in countries like the US and UK. You can select a location or an individual server.
IPVanish hosts 3 servers in Cleveland and you can choose to connect to any of them. When we tested an IPVanish server in Cleveland, cle-c03, and found the speed to be 63.20 Mbps. This is close to the maximum speed of our cable Internet connection.
When it comes to value IPVanish is hard to beat. They offer unlimited access to their VPN network and custom software for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Firestick and more for $7.50 a month or $58.49 a year. That works out to just $4.87 a month on the annual plan. A 7-day money back guarantee covers all new members.
StrongVPN is headquartered in the United States and has one of the best VPN networks in the country. In the past the company charged users based on the number of server locations and protocols they used. That has changed as StrongVPN now offers members full access to their network with hundreds of servers worldwide.
The latest addition to the StrongVPN service is the StrongDNS feature. Everyone who signs up for a StrongVPN account also receives free access to StrongDNS which is a smart DNS service used to circumvent geo-restrictions. It is a great solution for those who plan to travel outside the USA and want to access Netflix.
StrongVPN hosts a number of servers located in Chicago (Again, since it is the closest to Ann Arbor). Unfortunately, you can not select a specific server. Instead, you’ll want to click on the server location drop-down box and choose United States – Chicago. We chose OpenVPN UDP for the best performance. After connecting to a server there, we tested our speed and found it to be 61.74 Mbps.
StrongVPN has been kind in offering our visitors a 25% discount. The coupon stacks on top of their normal term discounts. You can enjoy unlimited VPN and free SmartDNS access for just $7.50 a month or $52.49 a year. The annual account works out to just $4.37 a month. New users are covered by a 7-day money back guarantee.
HideMyAss was brought to life in 2005 when Jack Cator, a 16-year-old student in England, decided that he wanted to create a service to help people avoid censorship. Specifically, Jack was unable to access social media sites and online games because they were blocked on the school network. HMA added hundreds of thousands of users the first month and has since grown into one of the largest VPN services in the world with over 350 server locations. Privax, the parent company of HMA Pro VPN, joined the AVG team in 2015.
If your goal is to find the VPN with the most server locations then HideMyAss is your best choice. Just keep in mind that HMA logs user activity which is a concern for some VPN users. HMA hosts 175 VPN servers in the United States including several servers in the Lansing area (since it is only 50 miles from Ann Arbor). To connect to a server in there, you will want to go into the “Location Mode” and select “Change Location” to get started. Then click on the “Cities” tab and search for Lansing. From there you can select the USA, Michigan, Lansing server location. We connected to a server in Lansing to run a test and found the speed to be 45.20 Mbps.
In 2016 HMA and a few other leading VPN providers led the way in simplifying their custom client software. The result is a full set of custom apps that make it easy for any user to connect to the HMA network and encrypt your connection. They have software available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. You can also connect to HMA through your router. HMA offers unlimited VPN access from just $4.99 a month and offers all new users a 30-day risk-free money back guarantee.
Above, you see the best available options to use while in Ann Arbor. That said, you can always take a closer look at our top 10 VPN services list for other options. You shouldn’t have to, though. Because we made our decisions based on speed, reliability, price, security, and server locations. That way, you can get the best speeds. They all have great networks because they are all well-known. You can’t go wrong with our suggestions. Good speeds are important if you plan on streaming HD content or just don’t want to run into buffering issues. Just be sure to choose a provider with a good reputation. With our help, you can make a solid decision that will suit your needs.