California is the third largest state in the United States and is located on the Pacific Coast. It has a total population of over 40 million people and is a very popular state to visit. California is called The Golden State and tourism is huge in the state for a list of different reasons. Whether you are in the northern part of the state or the southern part of it, if you plan on using public WiFi there, you’ll want to be sure to use a VPN first. In this post, we’ll give you the reasons and the best options to use.
Best VPN for California – Summary
Here’s a quick look at our list of the top 5 VPN services to use in California.
The state of California has a long history of indigenous people, specifically the Paleo-Indians and Mexicans. However, the Spanish explored the lands in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish Empire claimed the state as part of their New Spain colony and called it Alta California. In 1821, the empire ceded it to Mexico in a successful war of independence. Of course, Mexico ceded it to the US in 1848 after the Mexican-American war.
California has an extremely diverse ecology and you can elevations range from Mount Whitney with an elevation of 14.5k feet to sea level. You can find a variety of weather, but many residents enjoy the state for the very mild climate and other reasons. Now, we’ll mention only a few driving forces behind the state’s popularity. Economically, the state is as diverse as its’ ecology is.
There are many different cities to visit in California including the Silicon Valley area (including San Francisco, San Jose, Et Al), Lake Tahoe area (for its’ beauty and nature), Los Angeles area (including Anaheim, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and others), San Diego (for its naval base and closeness to Mexico), and several other areas. The state is home to the second largest CSA with almost 19 million people in the L.A. region and the Silicon Valley area is the home of many well-known technology companies. The truth is, you can find anything and everything you want to do somewhere in the state.
For those that plan on visiting the state for business or pleasure, you’ll likely end up using public WiFi at some point. Before doing so, make sure to connect to a VPN. With the number of people that flow through the state, you are constantly in digital danger there. That is because of the lurking cybercriminals. You can bet there are at least a few people waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting targets. By connecting to a VPN, you create a secure and encrypted connection to a server of your choice. That makes it much more difficult for your sensitive data to be stolen.
Another good reason you may want to use a VPN is to help you get around blackouts and geo-restrictions. With all the sports teams in the state, you will be blocked from seeing any hometown teams online. The goal behind that is to make you watch it on TV instead of online. If you are a sports fan, you already know it can be frustrating to stream your favorite team online if the local affiliate has it blacked out. Additionally, companies, countries, and institutions will block content as well. For anyone inside or outside of a targeted area, those geo-restrictions can definitely cause problems. By using a VPN to connect, you make the blocking software think you are located somewhere else. That way, you can connect to a server in another area to watch your favorite team.
Those are the two best reasons to use a VPN while in the great state of California. From protecting your privacy while on public WiFi to getting around blackouts, firewalls, and geo-blocks, using a VPN will help you accomplish those goals. Now that we have told you why it matters, let’s talk about what to look for.
VPNs use encryption protocols to protect their members. All the providers we mentioned above will give you a choice between different ones. If available, you’ll want to choose either IKEv2 or OpenVPN whenever possible. Though IKEv2 is preferable for any situation, not everyone offers it. In that case, OpenVPN will work just fine. If you are offered a choice between 2 different versions of the last one, UDP is faster. That said, you would use the TCP version if you have any connection problems. Now, we’ll take a closer look at the best options for you to use while in the state.
Los Angeles and San Jose (the Silicon Valley area we mentioned earlier)are two huge locations for many different types of travelers and businesses. We know from personal experience that IPVanish will work quite well around the area, no matter where you are. The VPN service has more server locations in the United States than the other companies on our list. That makes IPVanish our top choice for VPN services while in California.
|Countries||Locations||Servers||USA Server Locations||Software||Monthly||Yearly||Refund|
|63||89||1000||Ashburn, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Phoenix, San Jose. Seattle, Washington DC||$7.50||$58.49||7 day|
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 60 servers in Los Angeles and 20 servers in San Jose. That gives you the option to use up to 80 different servers just from those two cities. We suggest selecting one that starts with “a” in the server name. As of this point, all servers in the city have that designation. For example, lax-a01.ipvanish.com or sjc-a01.ipvanish.com. In most cases, you will find the “a” servers to be the fastest. We tested IPVanish servers in Los Angeles and San Jose and found the speed to be the fastest of any VPN provider.
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.
ExpressVPN brings together fast VPN access with MediaStreamer which acts as a Smart DNS service to unblock access to geo-restricted content. The 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.
|Countries||Locations||Servers||USA Server Locations||Software||Monthly||15 Mo.||Refund|
|67||95||2000||Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Hollywood, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New Jersey, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Seattle, Tampa, Virginia, Washington DC||$12.95||$99.95||30 day|
As you can see in the table above, ExpressVPN manages a very large VPN network. Beyond the USA, the ExpressVPN network boasts hundreds 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 teams from anywhere.
The ExpressVPN app allows you to select a server location down to the city but you can not choose a specific server. Instead, the client will select a server in your chosen location. You will want to select the “All” tab, open Americas, and then open United States. At this point, you can select the USA – Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose server locations. You can also click on the “All” tab and type in the name of the city above it. As you can see, we tested servers in LA and San Francisco. The speed was good in both cities.
While ExpressVPN is sold at a higher price point than the other services in our list, the value is high given the size of their network and service features. You can connect a computer, handheld device, router, and game console (SmartDNS) with a single VPN account for just $6.67 a month with a 30-day money back guarantee
CyberGhost was founded in 2001 by 7 enthusiastic young team members in Bucharest, Romania. Since that time the company has grown into one of the largest VPN services in the world. The team of 50+ members is focused on protecting users privacy. Robert Knapp, co-founder and CEO, continues to lead the team even after they joined the Crossrider group in 2017. Since that time the CyberGhost network has expanded quite a bit.
|Countries||Locations||Servers||USA Server Locations||Software||Monthly||18 Mo.||Refund|
|60||80||2960||Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC||$11.99||$49.50||30 day|
CyberGhost offers a nice mix of server locations, strong encryption, and the ability to unblock popular streaming services like Netflix, YouTube Red, and Amazon Prime. Some of the channels even let you unblock geo-restrictions for multiple regions. For example, you can access Amazon Prime video content in the US, Germany, or UK. The Windows client also gives you the option to surf anonymously, protect Wi-Fi, torrent anonymously, unblock basic websites (Google, Facebook Instagram, etc.), and choose a server.
Since we wanted to test a server in Los Angeles and San Francisco, we opened the Windows client and clicked on the “Choose My Server” option. From there, you can expand any country and select a specific server. The CyberGhost network includes a number of servers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Because of that, we connected to several of them and tested the performance. As you can see, our download speed was fast in both locations.
The CyberGhost VPN client is one of our favorites. It is very easy to use and includes a number of advanced features to help protect your online privacy. They have a development team in Germany that is continually adding features to the client and mobile apps. You can sign up for full access to the CyberGhost network from just $3.50 a month during their current promotion.
Private Internet Access (PIA) gives users a few different options. Unlike in the past, you no longer have to set up a profile for each VPN server. Now, you can connect to any of their server locations in 25 countries. As you can see below, the PIA team has organized their servers by region, country, and city. The server locations are listed in alphabetical order by country. Once you select a location, you can connect easily to locations in L.A. and Silicon Valley.
|Countries||Locations||Servers||USA Server Locations||Software||Monthly||2 Years||Refund|
|30||47||3282||Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Phoenix, Piscataway, Plano, San Jose, Seattle||$6.45||$59.95||7 day|
There are a lot of torrent users who love Private Internet Access. The service includes a feature that will stop your system from communicating if the connection to their service drops. Meaning if your encrypted VPN access is dropped for any reason it will keep you safe.
When using PIA’s Windows client, there is not much to the setup and usage. However, that doesn’t mean that the program is stripped down. PIA offers different levels of privacy protection depending on your needs. You can control encryption levels and find the right balance between privacy and speed. As you can see, when we tested servers in those two areas and the speeds werew quite good.
When it comes to their Windows client the PIA team has included an Internet kill switch. The kill switch will kill your Internet connection anytime the VPN fails. That can really come in handy for those wanting to ensure anonymity in Los Angeles. Private Internet Access offers VPN from just $2.50 a month.
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.
|Countries||Locations||Servers||USA Server Locations||Software||Monthly||Yearly||Refund|
|20||43||600||Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC||$7.50||$52.49||7 day|
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 in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Unfortunately, you can not select a specific server. Instead, you will want to click on the server location drop-down and choose United States – Los Angeles or United States – San Francisco. We selected OpenVPN UDP for the best performance. After connecting to servers in both locations, we tested our speed and found the best results in LA.
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. A 7-day money back guarantee covers new users.
Above, you have the best options for the state of California. We made our selections based on security, speed, reliability, price, and server locations. We also specifically looked for providers with servers specifically in the state. That way, you will have access to the best speeds possible. All of our services have been in the business for a while, so there are no bad options. If you plan on streaming any sort of content, speeds are very important. By using our guide to help, you can make an informed decision.