The city of Columbus, Ohio is the 14th most populous city in the United States and the third largest state capital. Its metro area houses just over 2 million people, which makes it the 32nd largest in the country. The city has several nicknames and there a few different reasons why people like to visit. No matter what your reasons are, you won’t want to use public WiFi there without a VPN. We’ll explain why shortly.
Best VPNs for Columbus – Summary
Here are our favorites for the top 4 VPN services to use for Columbus.
With all of the tourism in the area, many places in this “small town” are offering free WiFi to their customers. However, criminals also know that. Public WiFi can often give a false sense of security. That is the biggest reason to use a VPN to protect your privacy. When you do, you create a connection to a secured server. That makes it much more difficult for criminals to steal your data. No one wants to take a trip and become the victim of identity theft.
The next reason to use a VPN is to help you get around geo-restrictions or blackouts. Have you ever tried to watch a sports event and had it blacked out? That is a form of a geo-block. In other words, companies, countries, and campuses will block you from viewing certain content outside of a targeted area. In that case, you can connect to a VPN server located somewhere else. That way, you will fool the blocking software and it will think you are located somewhere else. No sports fan wants to miss out on a game just because of where they are. Whether it is for blackouts or other content, using a VPN is a good idea if you are inside or outside of a targeted area.
Those are two common reasons for using a VPN. If you are in Columbus or any other city, it will help you meet those goals. Keep in mind that you may find more reasons when you sign up for the service. From protecting your privacy from criminals to getting around blackouts and geo-blocks, using a VPN is crucial. Now that you see why it is important, let’s talk about the best options.
What is the best VPN for Columbus?
We focused on the following criteria to determine our list of the best VPNs for Columbus:
- High VPN Speeds in the Columbus area
- Large and stable network to help avoid disconnections
- Military grade encryption to protect privacy
- Providers with a no logs policy
- Ability to get around sports blackouts and geo-blocks
- Multi-platform support for devices including Amazon Firestick
Without further delay, here is a list of our choices for Columbus:
- Exclusive 12-month plan – $4.87 a month ($58.49 total cost)
- 3-month plan – $6.74 a month ($20.24 total cost)
- 1-month plan – $7.50 a month
No matter what your reason for visiting Columbus is, you will find it a great place to visit. In this case, we’ll connect to a server in Chicago, Illinois because it is only a few hours away. That closeness means it will perform well no matter where you are. Since the VPN service has more server locations in the United States than the other companies on our list, they are one of our favorite VPN providers for Columbus. IPVanish also has servers in Cleveland if you prefer to connect in the state.
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 72 servers in Chicago and you can choose to connect to any of them. When we tested an IPVanish server in Chicago, cha-a61, we found the speed to be 126.81 Mbps. This is the fastest VPN we tested. IPVanish allowed us to easily download, stream HD content, and game at the same time.
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.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
- Exclusive 12-month plan + 3 mos. free – $6.67 a month ($99.95 total cost)
- 6-month plan – $9.99 a month ($59.95 total cost)
- 1-month plan – $12.95 a month
When you use ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer feature along with their vast network of fast servers, those items act like a Smart DNS service. To explain more deeply, it means you can get around geo-restrictions. If you are trying to watch sports or content from other regions and have been stopped from doing so, you have run into those restrictions before. On top of that, the service will also encrypt your connection thus protecting your privacy.
ExpressVPN runs a large and expansive VPN Network. While you are in Columbus, another US city, or even elsewhere in the world they have hundreds of servers in important locations to help protect your privacy. You can also use them to unblock censorship and get around geo-restrictions.
ExpressVPN allows you to select the city you want to connect to, but not the server. Since the software picks the individual server, you can be assured that it will pick the best option. There are two ways to choose a server in Chicago (since it is the closest major city to Columbus). After downloading, installing, and opening the client, go ahead and push the “Choose Location” button. Now, you can either go to recommended servers and then Chicago or you can go to the “all” section and type in Chicago in the search box. Either one will get you to the right place. When we tested a server in Chicago, we found the speed to be 58.03 Mbps.
Even though ExpressVPN has a higher pricing point than some of the other providers, we think you will agree that you get what you pay for. Their vast network list, great features, and customer support contribute to the high-value service. You can connect a computer, handheld device, router, and game console (SmartDNS) with a single VPN account for just $6.67 a month with an annual subscription.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
- 12-month plan – $6.99 a month ($83.88 total cost)
- 6-month plan – $7.99 a month ($47.94 total cost)
- 1-month plan – $11.99 a month
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 a number of servers located in Columbus. To connect to a server located 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 Columbus. From there, you can select the USA, Ohio, Columbus server location. We connected to a server there to test and found the speed to be 62.20 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 $6.99 a month and offers all new users a 30-day risk-free money back guarantee.
Read our full review of HMA.
- Exclusive 12-month plan + 6 mos. free – $2.75 a month ($49.50 total cost)
- 6-month plan – $4.99 a month ($29.94 total cost)
- 1-month plan – $11.99 a month
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.
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. As an 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 Cleveland (because of locations), we opened the Windows client and expanded the interface. From there you will want to click on the “All Servers” tab if it isn’t already active. Scroll down to the United States and click to the right of the star. This will bring up a full list of servers in the USA. The CyberGhost network includes a number of servers in Cleveland. We connected to one of them and tested the performance. As you can see, our download speed was 42.06 Mbps.
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 $2.75 a month during their current promotion.
Read our full review of Cyberghost.
For those that would like to see other options, you can view our top 10 VPN servers list. That said, you should not have to. The ones we chose earlier were based on reliability, speed, price, security, and locations. Since there are many located in or near Columbus, you should get the best speeds. No matter what you are streaming, good speeds are a must. All of our options have great networks, so there are no bad options. Our guide will help you choose the best option for your needs.