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To help you find the best services across a range of product types, including digital services for finances, cloud storage, VoIP, VPN, and more, we have tried out products from a large variety of providers. We were looking for the best-of-the-best solutions to common everyday digital problems and preferred companies that offered great customer service and stellar user experience.
The best service we tried was easily a VPN called Private Internet Access. This virtual private network offers superior browsing privacy with a minimalist design, in addition to offering apps that integrate with Windows, Apple computers, iOS devices, Android devices, Linux operating systems, and more. Keep reading to learn more about other high-quality digital and home services available to make your life easier.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Best VPN on the market, offering secure and speedy encryption at a budget-friendly price point, with included software that blocks ads, malware, and phishing scams.
Private Internet Access offers a superior VPN service at a relatively budget-friendly price point, compared to some of the flashier providers out there, while still protecting your browsing experience from unwanted interlopers. We loved the proprietary ad-blocking and malware-blocking software that comes standard with the service, the speedy servers that allow for quick downloads, and the ultra-secure encryption. PIA also integrates nicely with nearly any setup, including Windows computers, Apple computers, Linux computers, Android gadgets, and iOS-enabled devices.
Though this VPN offers a minimalist interface, so as to allow for speedier browsing, the UI can be clunky and confusing at times until you get the hang of it. Additionally, there is some decent customer support here, but it is not available 24 hours a day, though there are easily accessed digital tutorials. You can end your search for the best VPN, you’ll be satisfied by Private Internet access.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Fantastic business-centric VoIP, offering the ability to conduct conference calls with up to 1,000 users and allowing business owners to access the service without signing an annual contract.
RingCentral boasts a number of unique plans to suit small business owners, as well as larger plans to accommodate large businesses and corporations. To that end, the company offers the ability to host conference calls with up to 1,000 users and does not require an annual contract, which means smaller businesses can adjust their services as needed. We also loved their unique technology, which allows standard phones to be upgraded with VoIP capabilities, thus eliminating the need for small businesses to replace all of the phones in the office in order to access the service.
Though this is a reputable VoIP with great customer service, they do not run quite as many server locations as some competitors, meaning it is possible, in theory, to lose a connection in the case of an Internet brownout. RingCentral is among the best VOIP you can find on the market.
Award: BEST TELE-CONFERENCING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Industry leader for business and personal teleconferencing, with free plans that can accommodate 100 users at a time and unique features like the ability to form breakout sessions.
In recent years, Zoom has gone from being a relatively unknown player in the video conferencing space to overtaking rivals, such as Skype, and it’s easy to see why. Zoom offers a free tier that is actually useful for both personal use and for small businesses, allowing rooms with up to 100 participants. We also loved the unique features the service offers, such as the ability to create breakout sessions, which create small sub-rooms within larger meetings, and easily clickable meeting URLs.
Though Zoom is great for video conferencing and does offer a bevy of unique features, the file-sharing capabilities are somewhat limited compared to some other providers. Additionally, we found contacting customer service to be slightly frustrating, as it requires reserving a ticket and then waiting for a representative. If you like Zoom, you might also want to read our guide to the best budget apps for Android.
Award: BEST FOR FAMILY USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: Great password manager for both families and small businesses, with two-factor authentication, a sleekly designed native app, and a free option that allows for full use of the software on a single computer.
The Dashlane Password Manager service is a great option for families or small businesses, thanks to a free tier that actually offers full use of the software suite on a single computer. The prices are reasonable when adding more computers and the sleekly designed native app features two-factor authentication, digital wallet management, and the ability to perform security scans, which lets you know how safe your information is. We also admired that the service has a built-in feature for the saving of receipts, important emails, and other pertinent information that could impact your online security.
Though this is a great solution for families and small businesses, the feature set may be slightly limited when it comes to larger enterprises, such as corporations. Also, the recently released mobile app is still finding its footing and, as such, offers slightly fewer features than its desktop counterpart. Once you’ve got your passwords under control, you might also want to take a look at 8 of the best budget apps for Android.
Award: BEST COMPUTER PROTECTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Best-in-class antivirus software for Mac and Windows computers, with unique functionalities, including adding password-protection to important files and integration with email servers, for the elimination of spam.
AVG is known for creating highly effective antivirus software, with a free version that offers superior protection for casual users, with anti-spyware protection, phishing link protection, and email protection. The “Pro” version ups the ante by offering the ability to encrypt and password-protect important files, protection against potentially harmful files, and secure banking and identity theft protection.
AVG’s software is perfect for desktop computers, no matter which OS you run, but we found that the mobile version offered slightly less functionality, though it was still a serviceable product. Additionally, this is a serious piece of software and, as such, it can use up a significant amount of computing power, creating something of a large footprint. If you want to give your computer a bit of extra space, check out our guide to the best free cloud music storage services.
Award: BEST CLOUD STORAGE
WHY WE LIKE IT: The fastest and most reliable cloud storage available, with instantaneous syncing across multiple devices, 256-bit AES encryption, and two-step verification, for added security.
Dropbox has become synonymous with cloud storage, and for very good reasons. It is a fantastic cloud storage platform with plenty of bells and whistles, including instantaneous syncing across multiple devices, an intuitively designed user interface, and plenty of security features, including 256-bit AES encryption and two-step verification. We also loved that the service allows for watching stored videos and streaming stored music files, among many other perks.
The company does offer a free version of the service, but it only allows for 2GB of storage, whereas some competitors offer as much as 15GB of free storage. Also, the team collaboration features here are slightly less expansive than what is found withs services such as Google Drive.
Award: BEST FOR BUDGETING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Excels with personal budgeting, thanks to instantaneous syncing with nearly every banking institution in the world and a sleek and easy-to-use interface.
Mint has quickly risen to be the best digital budgeting service available, thanks to instantaneous syncing with nearly every banking institution in the world and automatic updates to your financial records. The sleek and modern user interface easily categorizes pertinent financial information and the service offers unlimited and free credit score checks, without harming your credit. We also loved the robust security features, including VeriSign security scanning.
Though Mint is a full-featured suite of financial service tools, it does not integrate with QuickBooks, which could be unfortunate for consumers who are tied to that ecosystem.
To help narrow down to the above list, we tried to find the best-of-the-best service for a number of necessary and varied digital tasks. To that end, you’ll find picks that help you manage your finances, surf the Internet privately, protect from computer viruses and much more. We compared our picks to other well known services in their field, choosing to ensure they offered a number of exclusive and innovative features.
We liked services that offered sleek and modern user interfaces that made it easy to perform necessary adjustments and keep an eye on pertinent information. We also loved services that truly excelled at making your life easier. For instance, we included a robust password management system that excels with storing and relaying important passwords to a number of websites and services.
We also admired digital services that offered a free tier that actually allowed users to perform useful tasks and were generally not hobbled in relation to their paid counterparts. Finally, we made sure that each service we chose was available for most major computing platforms, including Windows and Mac OS, in addition to Android gadgets and iOS devices.
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