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Chicago is widely considered one of the best cities in the USA- and there is plenty of evidence to back up the claim!
The windy city is one of the most visited places in the country, welcoming well over 50 million tourists every year. All this hustle and bustle creates an electric atmosphere, but it also puts a lot of demand on the free WiFi networks.
The bold city skyline and dramatic architecture are not the only icons in Chicago. Few places can boast the same level of sporting royalty. The Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, and White Sox are some of the main treasures, and their home games attract some pretty immense crowds.
Moving from sport to art, Chicagoans are also proud to lay claim to the world’s number one rated museum- The Art Institute of Chicago.
Works from the most prolific artists in history line the walls, including multiple Picassos, works by all the founding fathers of the impressionist movement, Van Gough classics, and the world-famous and controversial Grant Wood masterpiece, “American Gothic.”
Of course, you can’t think of Chicago and not envision a deep-dish pizza and a hotdog, with the culinary classics being one of the first things on every tourist’s list.
A stroll alongside Lake Michigan or through the Lincoln Park Zoo, hot dog in hand, is a very Chicagoan image.
In such a vibrant and bust city, trying to get online can be testing, and if you do, your information could easily be at risk – unless you download a VPN.
Public WiFi in Chicago is readily available but very overused and does not provide a reliable or secure connection. Whether you are just passing through or staying for a while, downloading a reputable VPN is advisable.
1. Best Chicago VPN in December 2023
1.1 NordVPN – Best Overall Chicago VPN
NordVPN is a mammoth international provider and has almost 2500 servers in North America alone – including locations in Chicago. Wherever you go in the city, you can rely on industry-leading steady connections with a focus on keeping you protected. The no-log policy is an excellent addition for anyone who wants extra anonymity, and the encryption software is state-of-the-art.
The stand-out feature of NordVPN is superior streaming. There is no other provider that can navigate even the strictest geo-blockers quite as effectively as NordVPN. It is the ideal choice for someone planning to watch shows or sports games during their trip. The long-term deals are great value for money and can be used on six active devices simultaneously.
1.2 ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN for Chicago
Although other providers are increasing their average connection speeds, not one can compete with ExpressVPN. The lightning-fast connectivity is the crowning glory for this market front-runner and is perfect for streaming or downloading on the go.
ExpressVPN uses only the very best encryption software, keeping up to date with all new developments in online security protocols. The app is one of the most user-friendly, and the 24/7 customer support second to none.
Fully compatible, easy to use, unrivaled speed, and next-level security, ExpressVPN is a leading choice amongst businesspeople. With servers in the city and local IP addresses on hand, ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for Chicago.
1.3 IPVanish – Chicago VPN With Many Locations
No other provider has as many Chicago-based servers as IPVanish. With more than 100 dotted around the city, the connection is reliable, fast, and secure. The provider also has plenty of local IP addresses to be assigned to users during their visit, making it the primary choice for IP security in this city.
IPVanish has been around for over a decade and has maintained its status as one of the best in the business. This title still applies, for many reasons. The anti-spy software in place is industry-leading and backed up by multiple other levels of protection. Full compatibility and unlimited simultaneous connections are other appealing features.
1.4 CyberGhost – Safe VPN for Chicago
CyberGhost is all about anonymity. If privacy is your primary focus, the various levels of encryption and camouflaging in place with this provider are hard to beat. Internationally, CyberGhost has a mammoth network, making it great for an adventure traveler who never knows where they might visit next. In Chicago, there are 92 dedicated servers, which provide a near-perfect and seamless connection.
Streaming and downloading are no problem thanks to the access to all areas nature of CyberGhost’s blocker navigations. Seven devices can be active at any given time, making it a great choice for groups traveling together or for a Chicago local looking to improve their cybersecurity at home to cover all the household devices.
1.5 Surfshark VPN – Best Budget VPN for Chicago
Surfshark has gone from being one of the best budget VPN options to one of the biggest names across the board. The provider has over 500 servers across the US in 20 cities- including Chicago- and thousands more internationally in more than 60 countries. A firm favorite amongst backpackers and regular jet setters, Surfshark’s service is highly impressive.
When it comes to connection speed, Surfshark gives ExpressVPN a run for its money. People who often download or stream are sure to love this VPN. They can rest in the knowledge that everything is backed up by military-grade security protocols and subscriptions. Surfshark is a serious player in the VPN industry and should be high on the list for anybody traveling to Chicago or overseas.
2. What Does VPN Mean and What Does It Do?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Put simply, it means an online connection separate from the public domain that can only be accessed by devices with specific software installed. When you download your chosen VPN app onto your phone, tablet, or PC you activate this software and connect to its private servers.
By connecting to a VPN server, you alter the way your device is seen online. This may seem irrelevant, but at a time where more and more information is being shared via the internet, maintaining a little distance between your online identity, personal data, and any prying eyes is worthwhile.
3. Why Do You Need One?
The point of connecting to a virtual private network rather than a public access network is predominantly security. Anybody with tech-savvy, know-how, and sinister inclination can hack unsecured public connections and access information. The most at risk are people traveling away from home who rely entirely on this type of network to stay online.
3.2 Hiding Your IP Address
A VPN acts as a shield between your device and the bid bag cyber world, and any snooping is quickly put to bed. If you chose a provider with servers located in the place you are visiting, Chicago, for example, you can also change your IP address to a local one (see below.)
3.3 Better Connections
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Other huge appeals of downloading a VPN are the enhanced connection speeds and freedom of access. Free WiFi is very convenient but also pretty slow if you can even connect at all. In a busy city like Chicago, the chances are there are hundreds- if not thousands- of people connected at any given time. With a VPN, you can use their privately secured servers to keep a steady connection wherever you go.
3.4 Unlock Streaming Access
Accessing content, particularly entertainment, is essential for the modern internet user. Streaming giant Netflix has more than 74 million subscribers in the US and Canada alone, and the demand is only rising. All the major platforms have restrictions in place to block access based on location, which is frustrating if you travel far and often. A VPN with good geo-blocker navigation can work around these restrictions.
They can also help you stream live sports regardless of the licensing. This is essential for a trip to Chicago: one of the best sports cities in the US and home to some of the biggest teams across all the major sports.
3.5 Protecting Your IP Address
If you need a Boston IP, make sure you use a VPN provider with at least one server based in the city. All the options on the list below offer this service. Once you have signed up for the provider of your choice, follow these few simple steps:
- Log into and download the app. You can download it on as many devices as you want.
- Launch the VPN and choose a Chicago server to connect to.
- The provider should automatically assign you a new IP.
- To double-check, you can search online to see your current IP address.
Chicago is undoubtedly one of the best cities in the US for both domestic and international visitors. The sports, culture, food, and architecture are all impressive and equally iconic. A trip to this incredible place should not be dampened by frustrating weak WiFi connections or a cybersecurity data leak. You also don’t want to miss out on any big home ground sporting events! Downloading a VPN onto your devices or home router is not only an intelligent safety decision, but it also makes online browsing a far more enjoyable experience.
All five VPN providers on this list offer an excellent service in Chicago and all have servers based in the city to help maintain a reliable, consistent, and fast connection. Whatever brings you to Chicago, don’t come alone – be sure to come with your VPN already installed and ready to go. Subscribe, download, and enjoy unrestricted access and seamless connections.
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