San Francisco, California is located in the Northern part of the state and has the 13th most populated metro area in the US. It has many different notable features that set the city apart from others. Silicon Valley, good weather, and culture make the city an appetizing place to live, vacation, attend a conference, and more. If San Francisco is in your future, you won’t want to use public WiFi without first connecting to a VPN. Take a look at our list of the best VPNs for San Francisco.
The San Francisco area is known for being the home of the fortune cookie, Golden Gate Bridge, Silicon Valley, Alcatraz Island, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, and many other things. The cooler summer weather is ideal for those that don’t care for hot summers. The area is home to all 4 major sports, including the 49ers, Giants, Sharks, and the return of the Golden State Warriors for the 2018-2019 season.
With all of the technology companies located there, free WiFi is common and may be found in almost every establishment. While that is great for saving the data plans of users, it can also put you at risk. That is why you should connect to a VPN to help protect your privacy. Because of the area, not only do cyber attacks happen, they are common. You never know when there is someone waiting to steal your sensitive information.
The next reason to use a VPN will help you get around firewall restrictions. If you are not familiar with them, those are limits to what you can and can’t access. They are common in schools and businesses and will block you from anything they don’t think you should be able to access. Using a VPN will help you get around those restrictions as well.
What is the best VPN for San Francisco?
We compiled our list of the best VPNs for San Francisco for these reasons:
- Speed of VPN servers located in San Francisco and San Jose
- Preference given to VPNs with multiple server locations in California
- Ability to unblock geo and blackout restrictions
- Strong encryption levels for better privacy protection
- We give preference to providers who do not keep usage logs
- Mobile apps and support for Amazon Firestick devices
Let’s jump right in and take a look at the best VPNs for San Francisco:
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.
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 also need to know that some cities are not shown on the recommended tab inside the client. Of course, this is true for San Francisco. You will want to select the “All” tab, open Americas, and then open the United States. At this point, you can select the USA – San Francisco server location. As you can see we tested a server in San Francisco and the speed was 115.23 Mbps.
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.
NordVPN is based in Panama which some users prefer to using a VPN company that’s actually headquartered in the United States. You will find that NordVPN has a strong presence in the US with servers located throughout the country. Members have full access to their network in the USA and beyond for a very good price.
You will find that NordVPN has perhaps the best mix of services for the price if you subscribe to a longer term account. All users have full access to their network and custom software. You can connect using the VPN client for Windows or Mac. They also have an easy to use mobile app for both Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad) devices.
NordVPN hosts a number of servers in New York City. From the console, clicking on the 3 horizontal dots to the right of the country, you can locate the server area and see the percentages of the servers available. We tested the United States server in San Francisco and the download speed was 123.68 Mbps.
Want to access streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world? If so NordVPN is a great choice. They are one of the only VPN services that can still unblock Netflix. You can sign up for unlimited VPN and SmartDNS service from just $2.99 a month with a 3-year membership.
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 New York.
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.
We use PIA’s Windows client and there isn’t much to it in terms of set up and usage. Its simplicity doesn’t mean the client isn’t feature rich. 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, our speed test showed that PIA was running at 117.89 Mbps while connected to a server in Silicon Valleu.
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 San Francisco. Private Internet Access offers VPN from just $2.50 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, the 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. 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 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 has a few servers located in San Francisco. We connected to one of them and tested the performance. As you can see our download speed was 99.15 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.
Because San Francisco is part of the tech sector and has a lot of history, there are many tourists that visit. That said, there are many reasons to visit the city. IPVanish does well in the city, and is a great choice when looking for VPN service. The VPN service has more server locations in the United States than the other companies in our list. This makes them a go-to VPN Choice for San Francisco.
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 20 servers in San Jose (the closest area) and you can choose to connect to any of them. We suggest selecting one that starts with “a” in the server name. For example sjc-a01.ipvanish.com. In most cases, you will find the “a” servers to be the fastest. We tested an IPVanish server in San Jose, sjc.a10.ipvanish.com, and found the speed to be 80.22 Mbps. Our cable Internet connection maxes out around the same speed.
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. Members are covered by a 7-day money back guarantee.
If you are looking for more options, please feel free to check out our top 10 VPN services list. You’ll like the options we gave you above, though. We chose them based on speed, reliability, price, and security. We also looked for providers with servers located in San Francisco. That way, you’ll get the best speeds. Of course, they all have great networks. Speed is important if you plan on downloading or streaming HD content. The providers we mentioned above are the best options for doing that, no matter which popular services you want to use. Hopefully, our guide will help you make the best decision possible.