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Summary: The Best VPNs for School in 2023

To get around restrictions on websites and applications, you’ll need a VPN.

We thoroughly tested leading VPN services on the market. The best VPNs for school were chosen based on their affordability and privacy and security features:

  1. Surfshark: The best VPN for students
  2. CyberGhost: The most user-friendly VPN for students
  3. NordVPN: The best student VPN for security
  4. Atlas VPN: The cheapest VPN for school and college
  5. PIA: The best school VPN for privacy
  6. Proton VPN: The best free VPN for school
  7. PrivadoVPN: The best VPN for school at below $2
  8. VyprVPN: The best VPN for countries with heavy censorship

Check out the rest of the article for a detailed breakdown of each VPN on this list!

Graduation cap flying out of the cage, icon representing freedom of education

Schools block websites to keep students focused. But school network restrictions are justified, others can be counterproductive. Luckily, the best VPNs for schools can help you bypass website blocks.

The VPNOverview team tested dozens of VPN services on the market to identify the best VPN for school use. The eight best school VPNs are listed below.

Overview: The Best VPN for Schools

Short on time? Consult the table provided below for the five best VPNs for schools.

FeatureSurfsharkCyberGhostNordVPNAtlas VPNPIA
Number of servers3,2009,000+5,400+750+1,700+
Number of countries100+90603760
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited76Unlimited10
Money-back guarantee30 days 45 days30 days30 days30 days
Student Discount 83% off + 2 months free 79% off 15% off83% off N/A
PurchaseGet SurfsharkGet CyberGhostGet NordVPNGet Atlas VPNGet PIA

You’ll find the rest of our eight best VPNs below.

Top 8 Best School VPNs in 2023

Website blocks can prevent students from accessing a research paper linked on Twitter or stop a professor from showing a documentary available on Netflix. How do you bypass these restrictions?

Best VPN icon

A VPN service can unblock your school WiFi to let you access informative content online. So, while testing different VPNs for this article, we paid attention to the reliability of their unblocking capabilities.

In the sections below, we also looked at affordability, security features, and privacy features. You’ll also find details on how you can get the student discounts these providers offer.

1. Surfshark: The best VPN for students

Screenshot of Surfshark homepage, February 2023


  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Excellent unblocking and security capabilities
  • Terrific speeds across the server network


  • Linux client isn't that great

Top-notch security, excellent speeds, unlimited simultaneous connections, and an extensive server network — all at an affordable price. That’s what you get when you choose Surfshark, our best VPN for students.


  • Student discount at 83% off + two months free
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections, perfect for sharing a subscription with friends
  • 3,200+ IP addresses and 100 countries to choose from
  • Unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and other streaming platforms

With Surfshark, we were able to unblock and stream Netflix with no problem. Surfshark’s Camouflage Mode hides your VPN use from the streaming sites and lets you bypass their VPN blocks. And if it works with Netflix, it will work on websites block placed by your school.

In terms of security, Surfshark uses AES-256 CGM-bit encryption, an industry-leading standard that should keep your browsing and download activity hidden from school Wi-Fi administrators.

Students should have no problem getting used to Surfshark’s intuitive application, which works on all leading operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS. If any problems do arise when using Surfshark, its 24/7 online customer service will resolve them without delay.

Deal Save 82% + 2 Months free and pay only $2.30 a month
$ 2.30
  • Very user-friendly and works with Netflix and torrents
  • 30-day money-back guarantee. No questions asked!
  • Cheap with many extra options
Visit Surfshark

Surfshark is an excellent choice for college students due to its 83% off student discount, which you can get by using the discount code “SHARKSTUDENT.” It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which students can use to try out the VPN’s features before committing to a subscription.

2. CyberGhost: The most user-friendly VPN for students

Screenshot of CyberGhost homepage


  • User-friendly interface
  • Easy on the pocket
  • Fast streaming and torrenting with dedicated servers


  • Speeds decrease significantly on servers located far away
  • No high-level hashing algorithms

If you’re a first-time VPN user looking for a VPN that’s easy to navigate, CyberGhost is the best option due to its simple interface and cost-effective subscription plans.


  • Student discounts at 79% off
  • Over 9,000 servers in more than 90 countries
  • Straightforward and intuitive interface that is well-suited for students
  • Provides an extended trial period

Ease of use and simplicity are CyberGhost’s hallmarks. All its applications are designed to make installing and connecting to a VPN as easy as possible.

Simply click the big button in the center of the CyberGhost application, and it’ll connect you to the best available server. The website has a dedicated Help section with guides that help users resolves all kinds of problems.

CyberGhost protects your online browsing activity without reducing your connection speed too much. It also unblocks virtually all streaming services, including Peacock and HBO Max, and even has dedicated streaming servers, making it an easy pick for streaming and torrenting.

CyberGhost uses the best protocols, such as OpenVPN and WireGuard, to secure your data with AES-256-bit encryption. It also features a kill switch, which will prevent your data from leaking in case your VPN fails.

Deal Try CyberGhost for $2.19 per month!
$ 2.19
  • Very user-friendly
  • High quality for a low price
  • Torrents and Netflix possible
Visit CyberGhost

The 45-day trial period and generous 79% off student discount only add to CyberGhost’s appeal as a student VPN. You can claim the student discount by using your StudentBeans account to sign up for CyberGhost. Want to know more about its features and options first? Our CyberGhost review will help you out.

3. NordVPN: The best student VPN for security

Screenshot of NordVPN website homepage with added logo in the corner


  • Industry-leading security features
  • Based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction
  • Unblocks Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming services


  • Relatively expensive
  • Servers in only 60 countries

While slightly expensive, NordVPN provides an unparalleled combination of speed, security, and convenience — landing it the third spot on our best VPN for school list.


  • Robust security and privacy features to prevent snooping by school authorities
  • Unblocks all leading platforms, including American Netflix and Disney+
  • Consistently excellent speeds across the server network

NordVPN takes user safety and privacy very seriously. In addition to the usual encryption protocols, it has created its own protocol, NordLynx, which provides improved privacy without compromising speed. The company behind NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, which is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction without data retention laws.

Speed is also one of NordVPN’s many strong suits. During testing, we hardly noticed a difference in speed when connected to a NordVPN server and could stream and game without lag. It also easily circumvented geo-blocking on online streaming websites, such as ESPN+, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer.

NordVPN is also our top pick for PS4 and PS5 use, giving us a speed decrease of only 5 to 10 MBps. This makes NordVPN a great choice for online gaming, particularly if you need to change your region in games like Overwatch, for example.

Our choice
Deal Save big with 68% off a two-year subscription plus 3 months free!
$ 3.19
  • Fast and large worldwide network of VPN servers
  • Perfect for privacy and streaming
  • Trusted by many, with over 14 million users
Visit NordVPN

NordVPN is a great and affordable VPN that is definitely worth your money. Even so, $3 per month might still be too much for college students. Like other VPNs on this list, NordVPN offers a money-back guarantee that you can use to get a free trial of its features. It also offers a 15% student discount.

4. Atlas VPN: The cheapest VPN for school and college

Screenshot of AtlasVPN website homepage


  • Free VPN option
  • Affordable premium plans
  • Decently fast speeds


  • No support for Linux or routers

AtlasVPN is a great option for college students on shoestring budgets thanks to its free option and highly affordable premium plans that do not compromise on online security.


  • Student discounts at 83% off
  • Affordable and secure plans that are well-suited to students’ requirements
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections

Atlas VPN’s free tier is one of the best on the market, as it offers good speeds across many servers. However, be warned that the free version isn’t great at unblocking content online. For that, you’ll have to use its premium offering.

The speeds we got while using Atlas VPN are decent. There’s a noticeable drop in speeds, but daily browsing and streaming activities remain unaffected. We were able to watch some excellent documentaries on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu while using a premium Atlas VPN server.

Atlas VPN secures user data using IKEv2 and WireGuard protocols. However, the absence of OpenVPN is a slight concern. It also does not retain user logs or identifiable information, which means your private data is safe with Atlas VPN.

While the Atlas VPN website and application are well-designed, we faced some issues during testing. For instance, our antivirus scanner flagged the Atlas VPN as malware. The lack of live customer support is another factor affecting Atlas VPN’s ease of use.

Students can use their StudentBeans account to get an 83% student discount on their Atlas VPN subscription. The 30-day money-back guarantee makes it possible to try out AtlasVPN before purchasing it.

Atlas VPN
Deal 85% discount on a three-year subscription ($1.83 per month)
$ 1.83
  • Free servers
  • Access to Netflix with Premium version
  • Has some technical issues
Visit Atlas VPN

Want to know more about what this VPN has to offer, first? Our in-depth Atlas VPN test tells you everything you need to know!

5. PIA: The best school VPN for privacy

Screenshot of PIA website


  • Strong focus on privacy
  • Minimalist apps
  • Affordable plans


  • Missing some advanced features
  • Speeds fluctuate across servers

If you’re worried about your school administrator or internet service provider uncovering your VPN use, Private Internet Access (PIA) is a great option due to its strong focus on user privacy and preventing surveillance.


  • Large network of 33,000 servers in 84 countries
  • Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services on a number of devices

PIA’s focus on privacy is reflected in its strong and proven no-logs policy. You won’t have to worry about your personal information being stored or leaked when using PIA. Browsing history is also encrypted using the latest protocols, such as WireGuard. A kill switch and built-in ad blocking round out PIA’s security package.

Speeds on PIA are admittedly not the best. During our tests, speeds dropped by over 50% of the original when connected to far-away PIA servers. Despite this, we were able to stream all kinds of content using PIA.

PIA is known for its compact and minimalist applications. Though, while it’s easy to use, it lacks advanced features, such as obfuscated servers. PIA does have clients for all major leading operating systems, but Linux users may need to take extra steps to ensure a stable connection.

PIA’s subscription rate is slightly higher than Atlas VPN, but it’s still pretty cost-effective. Add in the 30-day money-back guarantee, and you’ve got yourself a great deal. The fact that there is no student discount, however, is a slight disappointment.

Private Internet Access (PIA)
Deal Grab PIA for only $2.19 per month with 2 months free
$ 2.19
  • Strong focus on privacy and security
  • Good price
  • Fast and stable servers
Visit Private Internet Access (PIA)

In our full PIA review, we discuss this VPN in more detail.

6. Proton VPN: The best free VPN for school

Screenshot of Proton homepage, February 2023


  • Great free option
  • Strong privacy focus


  • Premium version is relatively expensive
  • Inconsistent speeds

Students will like Proton VPN as it is one of the best VPNs currently available. It offers unlimited data, good speeds, and a decent number of servers at zero cost.


  • Free version with stable servers and good speeds
  • Great suite of applications for different operating systems
  • The paid version is excellent at unblocking streaming services
  • Based in Switzerland, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction

While we generally recommend using a paid VPN for browsing at school, we have no qualms recommending Proton VPN due to its privacy and security focus. Like other Proton products, Proton VPN uses strong AES 265-bit encryption and leading protocols like OpenVPN.

The speeds you experience when using Proton VPN depend on whether you use the free or paid versions. We used both and noticed that the paid version was faster on virtually all servers. Moreover, the free version cannot unblock streaming websites and platforms, while the paid version works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and others.

Proton VPN’s applications work on iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, and Mac. It offers a balanced mix of beginner-level and advanced features. The only downside to Proton VPN’s ease of use is the lack of a live chat option for customer support.

Proton VPN
Deal A solid cybersecurity and privacy package for just $3.99/month!
$ 3.99
  • Strong encryption
  • Specialized servers
  • Free subscription available
Visit Proton VPN

Proton VPN’s paid version is pretty expensive. There’s also no student discount to make the plans more affordable. Hence, users of Proton VPN’s free service may find it difficult to upgrade to the paid version. Still, when testing Proton VPN, we were quite impressed with their services, specifically the level of dedication to their free options!

7. PrivadoVPN: The best VPN for school at below $2

Screenshot of PrivadoVPN homepage, April 2023, with added logo in the corner


  • Very affordable premium plan
  • Based in Switzerland


  • Limited server network
  • No live chat support

Strapped for cash? Luckily, you can get excellent VPN protection for less than $2/month with PrivadoVPN.


  • Affordable premium version with all basic features students need
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • Includes a SOCKS5 Proxy, which is excellent for torrenting

Privado offers both free and premium versions. The free version gets you 10 GB/month and access to 12 servers. The premium version includes unlimited bandwidth, access to servers in 44 countries, and 10 simultaneous connections. However, it does not offer a student discount.

Speeds on Privado servers were surprisingly impressive, and we were able to stream and download large files seamlessly. However, speeds do vary significantly across servers, often without any obvious reason. For instance, we got speeds of 90 Mbps on the New York server but only 18 Mbps on the LA server.

Like ProtonVPN, Privado is based in Switzerland, which is good for user data protection. It also boasts a robust no-logs policy. Additionally, ProtonVPN uses RAM-based servers, which means user logs are never stored permanently.

PrivadoVPN’s applications feature a clean user interface, making them a delight. The installation process for apps is straightforward on all kinds of devices. However, there is no student discount, and consumer support can only be contacted via a form, both of which are disappointing.

Deal Just $1.99/month – or try out the free version!
$ 1.99
  • Secure VPN with strong encryption
  • Doesn't keep logs
  • Limited server network
Visit PrivadoVPN

Want to know more about Privado, its premium service, and the options that the free version offers? We discuss all that and more in our PrivadoVPN review.

8. VyprVPN: The best VPN for countries with heavy censorship

Screenshot of Vypr VPN website


  • Great unblocking capabilities
  • Easy-to-use apps


  • Small server network
  • Relatively expensive basic plan

VyprVPN uses its proprietary protocols to encrypt user information and circumvent surveillance, even in countries like Russia and China where government monitoring is rampant. If you study in such a region, VyprVPN is the perfect choice to safeguard your data and unblock access to restricted content.


  • Chameleon protocol effective in bypassing school and government content restrictions
  • 30 simultaneous connections
  • Audited no-logs policy

Students living in countries with limited freedom need to overcome restrictions imposed by their schools and governments. This requires a VPN with encryption that prevents deep packet inspection and other similar surveillance techniques.

VyprVPN’s Chameleon protocol is specifically designed to overcome such content limitations. It also owns the entire server network, which reduces the scope for data leaks due to the involvement of third parties.

Though speeds on VyprVPN aren’t the best, students will be able to use it for daily browsing and reading. Just be warned that gaming and downloading large files will be challenging. It also offers servers in countries where there are few other VPN providers, like Pakistan.

VyprVPN’s simple interface is well-suited for use by beginners and advanced users alike. Its servers also show expected connection speeds, which is good information to have. Any problems students face while using the app can be easily resolved by contacting customer support via live chat or email.

$ 5.00
  • Quick servers for a good price
  • Netflix and torrenting possible
  • Special "Chameleon" technology to protect your data
Visit VyprVPN

Compared to others on this list, VyprVPN is expensive. No student discount is currently offered, either. However, as our VyprVPN review shows, it remains one of the best VPNs for unrestricted internet.

How We Picked the Best VPNs for School

Several factors informed our picks for this list of the best VPNs for school. We’ve explained each of these factors below:

Infographic showing how we picked the best VPNs for school
  1. Price: We only looked at VPNs that would be affordable for college students. The availability of a free tier was another important consideration when shortlisting VPNs for this list.
  2. Speed: School networks are typically used by thousands of students daily. As such, speeds on school networks may already be slow, to begin with. It’s all the more important that any VPN you choose does not reduce speeds by much. We tested our connection speeds with and without a VPN to determine how they impacted our overall speeds.
  3. Unblocking: We tested all VPNs on this list to determine whether they could circumvent geo-blocks and firewalls imposed by network administrators. All VPNs on this list should let you access blocked content, including streaming websites.
  4. Security and privacy: If a VPN does not use proper encryption or lacks other security features, like a kill switch, it could make your original IP address and connection activity visible to others on the network. This makes you vulnerable to detection by school authorities or surveillance and snooping by others connected to the network.
  5. Ease of use: While most students today are tech-savvy, setting up some VPNs can still be complicated. This is why we tested VPNs on how easy they were to install and use across different devices.

Why You Need a VPN for School

Infographic showing why you need a VPN for school

Below, we’ve listed some of the most important reasons to use a VPN in school.


We urge students to use VPNs only to access informative and educational material, as opposed to other kinds of content that could get you in trouble with your school or college administration.

1. Unblock educational content on websites

While schools generally place restrictions on social media, streaming, and explicit websites, other information sources may get inadvertently blocked. For instance, blocking YouTube can restrict access to great lectures and explanatory videos.

A VPN changes your IP address and encrypts your internet connection, which helps circumvent the restrictions placed by your school or college.

2. Download learning material via torrents

Torrents are generally associated with piracy and illegal downloads. However, large books in PDF form and other similar sources are often shared as torrents. Therefore, restricting torrenting can restrict access to this material.

The VPNs listed above all support torrenting and will help evade any torrenting blocks on your network. Some VPNs, such as CyberGhost, even have dedicated servers optimized for torrenting.

Is torrenting legal in your country? Find out in our guide to torrenting legality.

3. Keep your devices secure

School networks are similar to public WiFi networks in that they can be accessed by many people simultaneously. You never know who’s using the network to snoop on others or inject devices with malicious code.

A VPN encrypts your internet connection and prevents others from snooping on your browsing activity or obtaining sensitive information. Using a VPN in connection with an antivirus, which prevents malware infection, is a good way to keep your devices secure when accessing the school network.

Why Do Schools Block Online Content?

Icon showing tied up Wi-Fi icon with red alert triangle on top

While the VPNOverview team generally supports the right to access the internet without restrictions, we acknowledge that schools have several good reasons to block certain kinds of online content.

For instance, blocking Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other such services is a good way of making sure that students remain focused on their academics. Similarly, blocking social media websites can be essential to prevent distractions and counter bullying on social media.

Schools may also block websites or applications to conserve bandwidth and ensure everyone gets decent speeds. If students were to use the school network for gaming or heavy downloads, it could reduce speeds for everyone and affect the school’s ability to function smoothly.

Can I Use a Free VPN to Circumvent Restrictions in School?

Free VPN icon with question mark

Technically, yes. You can use a free VPN for school Wi-Fi to unblock some kinds of restricted content. However, we’d recommend sticking to the paid VPN providers for a few reasons:

  • First, free VPNs are usually not great at unblocking streaming services. This means educational videos on YouTube or documentaries on Netflix will remain inaccessible even when connected to a VPN.
  • Second, free VPNs significantly reduce your speed. Given the amount of traffic on school networks, it’s unlikely that a free VPN will help you download large files or stream videos in high quality.
  • Third, free VPNs mostly lack advanced security features like obfuscated servers. They are also relatively more prone to DNS leaks. As a result, there is a greater risk that your school will be able to detect your VPN use when using a free VPN as compared to a premium one.
  • Fourth, free VPNs put caps on the bandwidth available to users whereas premium VPNs offer unlimited bandwidth. As a result, you can’t use free VPNs to download large files or watch long documentaries.

If you have to use a free VPN, we recommend Proton VPN Free.

VPNs to Avoid

You should avoid some VPN providers at all costs due to potential security and privacy concerns. We’ve identified three such VPN providers in the following table.

VPN ProviderWhy you should avoid it
Betternet VPNWith over 50 million downloads on the Play Store, you’d think Betternet VPN is a reliable provider. But that’s far from the case, as Betternet was caught embedding malware and tracking libraries in their VPN apps. Moreover, the app is full of pop-up ads which bloat your device.
Hoxx VPNHoxx VPN is advertised as a free VPN that unblocks social media websites online. However, when we tested it, it did not live up to this tack. It also has scant privacy protections and little to no information on its encryption protocols.
BeetVPNBeetVPN may be attractive to students as it unblocks Amercian Netflix. However, there are serious concerns with its privacy policy. We also experienced significant reductions in speed, which basically made our internet connection unusable.

Conclusion: Rounding Up the Best School VPNs

Use a VPN connection icon

Using a virtual private network can help you get around restrictions on the internet placed by your school or college authorities and access some great learning resources. Price, security, speed, usability, and unblocking capabilities are key factors to consider when picking a school VPN.

Based on the factors above, Surfshark is the best VPN for schools as it offers market-leading security and unblocking at a very affordable price. ProtonVPN is a good free alternative, but it is subject to many of the limitations that free VPNs face. CyberGhost and PrivadoVPN present budget alternatives to Surfshark, with slight compromises on speed and unblocking.

Are you a college student who’s into gaming? Check out our articles on the best VPNs to keep you safe while playing some of the most popular online games:

The Best VPN for School: Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the best VPNs for school? Check out the FAQ section below where we’ve answered some of the most common questions about school VPNs.

What is the best free VPN to use at school?

Proton VPN is the best free VPN to use at school. It offers unlimited bandwidth even on the free plan, which should allow students to watch long documentaries or download large books and reports. While the free version is not great at unblocking streaming platforms, it has great speeds and robust security features.

Learn more about ProtonVPN and some of the other best VPNs for school on our website.

Can a VPN be used at school?

Yes, a VPN can be used at school. In fact, using a VPN at school can help access content blocked by school authorities. For instance, you can use a VPN like Surfshark to watch Netflix documentaries that have been inadvertently blocked.

A VPN also protects your security when using a school network. Several devices are usually connected to a school network and it’s impossible to tell if someone on the network is tracking your activity or trying to infect your devices.

What VPN is unblocked at school?

Most VPNs on our list of the best VPNs should be unblocked at school. However, this is entirely dependent on your school’s blocking policies. Your best bet is try a VPN like Surfshark, which has an evolving server network and roster of IP addresses that can be used to circumvent restrictions on the school network.

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