Best VPNs for Stanford / Palo Alto / Silicon Valley

Stanford, CaliforniaStanford, California is an unincorporated area of Santa Clara County. It has a population of approximately 15k with a daily population of 35k. It is right next to Palo Alto. So much so that some consider it to be part of the city. There are a number of reasons to visit the area including its proximity to San Jose and San Francisco as well as what the area is known for, Stanford University. Whether you are there to watch the Stanford University Cardinal or another reason, you won’t want to use public WiFi without a VPN. We’ll tell you why in a moment. First, have a look at our best VPNs for Stanford list.

RankVPN ServiceVPN Fan
5Private Internet Access$3.33PIA52CheckboxCheckbox

Stanford University, Stanford Medical Center, and other support activities take up most of the Stanford area. It consists of a total area of almost 2800 square miles. The school is officially called Leland Stanford Junior University. It is a private research university and known for its academic strength, wealth, and proximity to Silicon Valley. That makes it one of the world’s top universities. In fact, many consider it to be on the level with the Ivy League schools of the eastern US.

As you probably know, the school also does quite well in athletics. As part of the Pacific Athletic Conference (Pac 12), the school is definitely a force to be reckoned with. While there are many high-end donors, the founder of Nike, Phil Knight, donates millions of dollars to Stanford University. He is just one of the factors that contribute to the schools all around success.

Though there is plenty to do in the area, if you visit the city, you will likely use public WiFi. With all the technology just down the road, you can expect to find an abundance of fast speeds from establishments there. While that is great for the user, it is also great for cybercrooks. You better believe that there are predators just waiting to get ahold of your sensitive information. When you connect to a VPN, you create a secure and private connection to the server you want to use. In other words, it makes it much tougher for thieves to steal your private data.

Despite the progressive nature of the area, you don’t have to look hard to hit a firewall. The leaders often put those devices in place to block the user from seeing “inappropriate content”. They are common with schools, businesses, organizations, and even some countries. With a VPN, you can make the software think you are located somewhere else. Additionally, all it will detect is the use of encrypted traffic. That way, you can still view anything you want to view. Of course, if you try to watch some sports online, the media companies will block you because of location.

While you may discover other reasons, those two points are the biggest reasons to use a VPN while in the area of Stanford. At the moment, the OpenVPN protocol is the best option to choose, and you will want to do so whenever possible. Almost every single provider will offer you that option. If the providers offer you a TCP and a UDP version, both will do just fine. In this case, the difference is that UDP is the fastest. Good speeds are important if you want to stream any content. If you have connection issues, TCP would be a better option for you.

1. Best VPN for Stanford: IPVanish


Because Stanford is so close to the tech sector, there are many tourists that visit. That said, there are many reasons to visit the area. 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 Stanford.

CountriesLocationsUSA Server Locations
6389Ashburn, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Phoenix, San Jose. Seattle, Washington DC

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 and you can choose to connect to any of them. We suggest selecting one that starts with “a” in the server name. For example In most cases, you will find the “a” servers to be the fastest. We tested an IPVanish server in San Jose,, and found the speed to be 62.18 Mbps. Our cable Internet connection maxes out around the same speed.

IPVanish Stanford speed test

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.

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2. Best VPN for Stanford: ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN offers fast VPN access and MediaStreamer. That means that the service acts like a Smart DNS service to help you unblock access to geo-blocked content. That will help encrypt your connection and unblock content like live sporting events and others. You will even find a list of the latest live entertainment and sporting events on the ExpressVPN website.

CountriesLocationsUSA Server Locations
94160Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Seattle, Tampa, Virginia, Washington, DC

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 unblock censorship, protect your privacy, 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 Stanford. 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 Jose server location. As you can see, we tested a server in San Jose and the speed came out to 59.32 Mbps.

ExpressVPN Stanford speed test

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 an annual subscription.

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3. Best VPN for Stanford: NordVPN

NordVPNNordVPN 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.

CountriesLocationsUSA Server Locations
6180Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington DC

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 33 servers in San Jose. Unfortunately, the NordVPN client does not show the city of the server. The easiest way to select a specific server number is to select the “Servers” tab in the app and then sort the results in alphabetical order. You can then scroll down and select any of the server numbers we have listed above. You can see the load time percentage and the distance to each server. We tested the United States #355 server in San Jose and found it to be fast with a download speed of 63.93 Mbps.

NordVPN Stanford speed test

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 $3.99 a month with a 2-year membership.

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4. Best VPN for Stanford: PIA

Private Internet AccessPrivate 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 San Jose.

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 you should underestimate it. 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 62.56 Mbps while connected to Silicon Valley.

PIA Stanford speed test

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 Stanford. Private Internet Access offers VPN from just $2.50 a month.

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5. Best VPN for Stanford: HMA


HideMyAss was brought to life in 2005 when a 16 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.

HMA Pro VPN Network - USA Server Locations
Anchorage, Ashburn, Asheville, Atlanta, Baltimore, Bath, Bedford, Billings, Boston, Cheyenne, Chicago, Columbia, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Grand Forks, Honolulu, Idaho Falls, Jacksonville, Lansing, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Madison, Magnolia, Miami, Montgomery, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Philippi, Phoenix, Portland, Providence, Rutland, Saint Paul, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Scranton, Seattle, Souix Falls, South Bend, St Louis, Trimbull, Washington DC, Wichita, Wilmington

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 San Jose. To connect to a server in Stanford 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 San Jose. From there you can select the USA, California, San Jose server location. When we connected to a server in Stanford to test the speed and found it to be 62.05 Mbps.

HMA Stanford speed test

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.

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If you are looking for more options, please feel free to check out our top 10 VPN services list. We think you’ll be satisfied with the options we gave you above, though. We chose them based on speed, reliability, price, security, and providers with servers located near Stanford. That way, you can be assured that you 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. By using our guide, you can make an informed decision.

A VPN service will help protect your online privacy and unblock sites from around the world. We support a free and open Internet.