Categories
News

7 Awesome Ways to Find and Share Music Playlists

Music streaming is now an unstoppable juggernaut that more people are making use of. Ease-of-use and ease-of-access have helped to propel the competing apps into some of the most popular on the planet.

One of the best things about the growth of services like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music is music sharing and music discovery.

You no longer need to sit and listen to the radio for hours to record your workout songs or make a mixtape for your crush. Instead, you can make your playlist in minutes and share your playlist in seconds.

With that in mind, here are the best ways to find and share music playlists.

1. Spotify

spotify playlist creation

One of the simplest ways to share a playlist is to use Spotify itself. It’s the best tool if you want to make playlists for parties or create joint lists with friends.

The first step is to create a new playlist. You do this by navigating to File > New Playlist. Give the list a name and click on it to open it. Add a couple of songs, and you’re ready to share. At this point, there are a few different routes you can take:

  • Make the list public: Use this option if you’re planning to share it using some of the other tools on this list, but be aware that anyone will be able to find it by using Spotify’s search function.
  • Share the playlist’s URL: The list itself will remain private, but anyone who has the link will be able to access it.
  • Make the playlist collaborative: This is a great option for parties and family get-togethers; anyone who has a Spotify account will be able to add music and choose what’s currently playing.

You can access all of these features by clicking the three horizontal dots and choosing your desired option.

2. 8tracks

8tracks playlists

8tracks went offline in 2019 due to financial issues. However, following a buyout, the service is back. Today, 8tracks is once again one of the best places on the web for both sharing playlists and discovering new ones.

The name “8tracks” comes from the nature of the playlists offered—each one needs at least eight tracks to be accepted into its library. The service does not work with Spotify, SoundCloud, or any other similar service. It’s a standalone product that is ad-supported and legal.

A premium subscription tier will remove the ads. Once you’ve registered, you can either browse the site and listen to user-created playlists or create your own list for other people to enjoy.

3. SoundShare

soundshare

SoundShare is a playlist-sharing app rather than a website. It works by pulling together music and playlists from Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, and YouTube.

The app’s main purpose is to bring a social element into the various services, but a great offshoot of this is the ability to share and create collaborative playlists with friends and family, regardless of which music service they subscribe to.

The social features include liking songs, commenting on what your friends are currently listening to, and a way to find and follow users with similar musical tastes. The app also supports Apple AirPlay and has a Shazam-esque music recognition tool.

Sadly, the app is only available on iOS at the time of writing.

4. r/SpotifyPlaylists

spotify playlists reddit

Reddit has two playlist subreddits that are worth having a look at. The first is r/SpotifyPlaylists. With tens of thousands of subscribers, there’s a steady flow of new playlists getting shared every day.

The community is also active, so it’s rare that a playlist is posted without a few users providing feedback and suggesting changes and additions.

(NB: As the name suggests, this subreddit is only for playlists created using Spotify. Playlists from other services will be removed by the mods.)

5. r/Playlists

reddit playlists

Another of the best ways to share playlists on Reddit is to head to the service-agnostic r/Playlists. Most of the playlists come from Spotify, but there are some from other apps too; YouTube Music playlists are posted frequently.

Finally, if you’re a Reddit user, make sure you have a look at the subreddit dedicated to your music streaming service of choice (most mainstream services have one). The focus of the dedicated subreddits is typically split 50/50 between troubleshooting and playlist sharing.

6. Playlists.net

playlist.net

Playlists.net is a site that allows anyone with a Spotify account to submit and subscribe to playlists. Adding your own playlist is easy—you just need to make it public and add the URL.

Where the service really shines, however, is in playlist discovery. Discovery features include a playlist generator, a daily chart of the hottest songs on the site, and an extensive search function.

There’s even an extensive blog post on how to make a shareable playlist—it’s definitely worth reading if you’re serious about creating and sharing playlists.

7. Playlist Party

playlist party web app

If you’re looking for the best way to share music with friends, check out the Playlist Party app. It allows you to create and share playlists among a group of friends, then listen to the tracks simultaneously so you can share the listening experience.

All 57 million tracks on the site are free to listen to and you can use any of them in your shared playlists. Better yet, there are more than 1 million existing playlists for you to dig into; you don’t even need to go through the hassle of creating your own playlist if that’s not your thing.

When you’re listening to your playlists with friends, the app offers a chat feature so you can talk about the music without interrupting the audio.

At the moment, Playlist Party is only available on iOS. The developer has promised that an Android version is in the works. You can also tune in via the web player.

More Things to Do With Playlists

These methods will provide you with a starting point for creating and sharing playlists with family and friends. It’s not easy to find a reliable way to send playlists to other people when there are so many streaming services around, but these options should cover most bases.

If you’d like to learn more about playlists, check out our articles detailing how to set a Spotify playlist as an alarm and the best ways to download YouTube playlists.

Read the full article: 7 Awesome Ways to Find and Share Music Playlists

Categories
News

How to Stream Your Computer Audio Output to Sonos Speakers

Sonos speakers are one of the best ways to fill your home with music. They’re entirely wireless and controllable from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Sonos speakers also sync with dozens of music streaming services, including Spotify, Amazon Music, and Apple Music.

However, there’s one area where Sonos falls short: there’s no way to listen to your computer’s audio output with it.

It might not sound like a big deal, but it is. If you’re an audiophile, you probably use a dedicated music manager like MusicBee or MediaMonkey to keep your tunes organized.

Specialist apps such as these include a vast number of features, tags, metadata fields, and everything else that music fanatics love. In contrast, the Sonos app is bare-bones. You can see the artist, song, album, and artwork—but not much else.

How to Stream Your PC’s Audio Output to Sonos

sonos app add radio

To play computer audio through Sonos, you’ll need to use a third-party app called Stream What You Hear (SWYH). But before we get into the setup instructions, allow us to list a few caveats:

  • You need to perform the entire process on a Windows computer. The SWYH app is not available on macOS or mobile operating systems.
  • The speaker’s audio output will lag behind your computer by a couple of seconds. As such, this method is only suitable for listening to music, not watching videos.
  • The SWYH app has not been updated since 2016. It still works perfectly, but the more time that passes, the more likely it is to break.

That said, let’s look at the process. To use your Sonos as a PC speaker, follow the step-by-step guide below.

  1. Download and install Stream What You Hear.
  2. Launch the app using the Start menu shortcut.
  3. Right-click on the app’s icon in the system tray.
  4. Go to Tools > HTTP Live Streaming.
  5. Copy the on-screen URL.
  6. Open the Sonos app.
  7. Go to Manage > Add Radio Station.
  8. Paste in the URL and give the link a name.
  9. Click OK.

To use your new “radio” station, go to Radio > My Radio Stations. Make sure your computer is playing audio before launching the station, or it will fail to connect.

Do you use Sonos to stream local audio or do you prefer to use one of the best music streaming services? Remember, there are multiple ways to stream music to your Sonos speaker.

Read the full article: How to Stream Your Computer Audio Output to Sonos Speakers

Categories
News

The 7 Best Music Streaming Services for Audiophiles

Music streaming services haven’t traditionally targeted audiophiles by focusing on audio quality. Spotify and Google Play Music both boast maximum bitrates of 320 Kbps, while Apple Music comes in at just 256 Kbps.

This might sound like a lot, and for most users, it’s certainly enough. However, when you compare the quality of most streaming services to CDs—which typically offer 1,411 Kbps—there’s no contest.

If you’re an audiophile, this poses a problem. You demand the clearest and most refined music available, and don’t want to put up with low-quality audio. As such, your options are rather limited. However, here are the best streaming services for audiophiles.

1. Tidal

tidal logo

Tidal is the best-known high-definition music streaming service around right now. Operated by global rap star Jay-Z, the service’s entire reputation has been built on its high-quality audio offering.

Tidal offers users two different plans. The Premium plan costs $9.99/month and provides a music bitrate of 320 Kbps. If you’re an audiophile, you need to focus on the Hi-Fi package. It offers lossless, CD-quality 1,411 Kbps music for a monthly fee of $19.99. Both packages have family plans available.

And just because Tidal doesn’t have the same allure as the big three—Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music—don’t worry about not being able to find something to listen to. At the time of writing, Tidal boasts more than 60 million tracks.

2. Qobuz

qobuz playlist

Another of the leading audiophile streaming services is Qobuz. Based in France, entrepreneur Yves Riesel launched the company in 2007. In addition to streaming services, it also offers music downloads.

Unfortunately, the app does not have the international reach of some of its competitors. While Tidal is currently available in 54 countries worldwide, Qobuz operates in just 12: the US, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, and Austria.

Today, Qobuz holds the largest catalog of lossless CD and hi-res albums in the world. The library, which spans 50 million songs, has both new releases and niche genres.

Two subscription plans are available, Studio Premier ($15/month) and Sublime+ ($250/year). The audio quality is the same on both plans, but Sublime+ allows for cheaper music purchases.

3. Deezer

deezer hifi

If you live outside Qobuz’s supported countries but don’t want to subscribe to Tidal, Deezer might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Although it’s not known for as an HD audio music streaming app, the $20/month Deezer Hi-Fi offers 16-bit, 1,411 Kbps FLAC audio. In comparison, the regular Premium plan only offers 320 Kbps and the free tier just 128 Kbps.

The lossless plan was originally introduced in 2014 thanks to the company’s partnership with Sonos. At the time, it was only available on Sonos speakers. Today, however, the Hi-Fi subscription works on most smart speakers, including Bang and Olufsen, Harman/Kardon, Sony, and Google Home.

4. Primephonic

primephonic playback

Primephonic launched its streaming service for classical music fans in 2014. It was instantly popular, as users praised the app for its reimagined approach to cataloging tracks, its impressive artist biographies, and its ease-of-use.

Classical music-loving audiophiles will be delighted to learn that Primephonic streams all of its content in 16-bit, 1,411 Kbps CD-quality if you are happy to pay for the $15/month Platinum plan. A cheaper $10/month plan is available with 320 Kbps MP3 streaming. Primephonic also lets you buy music. Again, all of your purchases will be downloaded in high-definition audio.

The use of FLAC audio for classical music makes sense. It’s the music genre that has the most to gain from high-definition audio. After all, you don’t want your Mozart masterpieces to sound like something your school orchestra has thrown together.

5. Amazon Music HD

amazon music hd details

Amazon Music HD is one of the newest audiophile music streaming services on the market following its launch in the second half of 2019.

More than 60 million HD songs are available on the platform. Around 50 million of them are in 850 Kbps and 16-bit/44.1 kHz, with a further 10 million available in 3730 Kbps and 24-bit/192 kHz. That’s more than 10 times the quality found on most rival music streaming apps.

Before you sign up, make sure your device supports 24-bit songs. If you own a pre-2015 Android or iOS gadget, you will probably be out of luck. Amazon’s Fire devices are all supported.

A subscription to Amazon Music HD costs $15/month (or $13/month if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber).

6. YouTube Music

youtube music videos

YouTube Music initially launched with a maximum bitrate of 128 Kbps, though that has since increased to 256 Kbps. But that’s still way behind some of the other apps in this list, so why have we included it as one of the top streaming services for audiophiles?

Well, for the music videos. Music as an art form is about more than the audio. Ever since Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles became the first music video to air on MTV in 1981, artists have been falling over themselves to produce more and more extravagant video content. As you can see in our brief history of music videos.

If this side of the music world appeals to you, YouTube Music is king. Not only is there a vast selection of music, but you can watch the videos, concerts, and recording sessions that accompany your favorite tracks.

7. Spotify

spotify playlists

Spotify offers its users a maximum audio quality of 320 Kbps. However, despite the lesser quality, Spotify is still worth considering if you’re an audiophile purely for the vast library. More than 50 million tracks are already available, with a further 40,000 being added every day.

The service’s music discovery tools are also unrivaled. Even if you have niche tastes, Spotify will still be able to find new music that you’ll almost certainly love. For music lovers who want to embark on an audio journey, there are few better ways to broaden your horizons.

And remember, Spotify is one of the most device-agnostic services. There is a Spotify app available for just about every operating system and smart speaker on the market. Some of the lesser-known services don’t offer such widespread support.

Interestingly, in 2017, Spotify announced that it was planning to enter the world of high-definition audio streaming. Branded as Spotify Hi-Fi, the company started testing it around the world. Since then, the trail has gone cold and Spotify has offered no further updates.

It is still one to keep an eye on though; Spotify is already one of the world’s top music streaming services. If it did enter the HD music arena, its vast library and powerful music discovery tools would make Tidal vs. Spotify a more interesting battle.

Keeping Even the Pickiest Audiophiles Happy

These music streaming services for audiophiles should be more than enough to keep everyone satisfied. Yes, even the pickiest audiophile. And if you don’t already own one, here are the best digital audio players for music without your phone.

Read the full article: The 7 Best Music Streaming Services for Audiophiles

Categories
News

12 Discord Tips and Tricks All Users Should Know

Discord has become one of the leading chat platforms on the web. What started life as a service for gamers has built an impressive list of features that have helped it grow into other areas. Today, the app is used by everyone from businesses to crypto investors.

Using Discord is simple, but if you know where to look there is more to Discord than meets the eye. With that in mind, here are some Discord tips and tricks that all users should know.

1. Special Discord Integrations

discord integrations

Discord has some built-in integrations with other common apps. You just need to enable the connections to reap the benefits.

In total, nine different apps are supported. They are Twitch, YouTube, Blizzard Entertainment, Steam, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and Xbox Live. The features of each integration vary from app-to-app. However, they all provide a way to sync the data from the linked app directly into your Discord server.

To set up Discord integrations from your desktop app, go to User Settings > Connections and click on the apps’ icons.

2. Control Your Discord Notifications

discord notifications

If you are a member of lots of Discord servers, your notifications can quickly spiral out of control. Opening the app to discover thousands of unread messages isn’t helpful; you can’t possibly parse that amount of information.

Thankfully, Discord lets you take a granular level of control over your notifications. You can edit your preferences at the server level, the channel level, and the user level.

To edit your general notification settings (such as unread notification badges and desktop messages), go to User Settings > Notifications. If you want to turn off notifications for an entire server, right-click on the server’s icon and select Server Mute. Finally, if you only want to turn off alerts for a particular channel, right-click on the channel’s name and choose Mute [Channel Name].

3. Use Server Folders in Discord

In July 2019, Discord added support for server folders; it was a feature that users had been requesting for years. By using server folders, you can organize your list of servers on the left-hand side of the screen into more manageable groups. For people who are members of dozens of different groups, the folders make the app much easier to use.

To create a new server folder, drag one server’s icon on top of another server’s icon. And if you right-click on the newly created folder, you can rename it, change its color, and tweak other settings.

4. Use Markdown in Discord

One of the cool Discord tricks that not many people know is the app’s support for markdown. For the uninitiated, Markdown is a lightweight markup language created in 2004. It has many applications, but it is most commonly used to create rich text using a plain text editor. It means you can use markdown to format your messages the way you want.

Here are some of the most common markdown writing tips you should know about:

  • Bold: **[TEXT]**
  • Italics: *[TEXT]* or _[TEXT]_
  • Underscore: __[TEXT]__
  • Strikethrough: ~~Strikethrough~~
  • Code: `[TEXT]`
  • Hyperlink: [Hyperlink!]([URL])
  • Remove embeds: <[URL]>

Use these codes liberally, and you’ll be able to make your messages stand out from the crowd.

5. Set Up Discord Hotkeys

Discord hotkeys—called Keybinds—let you set which keys activate certain in-app actions. You can either set up a single key or a combination of keys.

They are available for the following actions:

  • Activate Overlay Chat
  • Push to Talk (Normal)
  • Push to Talk (Priority)
  • Toggle Mute
  • Toggle Deafen
  • Toggle VAD
  • Toggle Streamer Mode
  • Toggle Overlay
  • Toggle Overlay Lock

To set up keybinds, go to User Settings > Keybinds. Click on Record Keybind to enter your preferred combinations.

6. Use Discord Keyboard Shortcuts

As you’d expect, Discord offers a bunch of keyboard shortcuts. Expert users rely on them a lot; if you’re involved in lots of simultaneous chats, you need to be able to bounce between them quickly.

Some Discord shortcuts that are worth knowing include:

  • Switch servers: Ctrl + Alt + Up/Down
  • Switch channels: Alt + Up/Down
  • Cycle through unread messages: Alt + Shift + Up/Down
  • Mark channel as read: Escape
  • Mark server as read: Shift + Escape
  • Jump to oldest unread message: Shift + Page Up
  • Toggle emoji window: Ctrl + E
  • Toggle deafen: Ctrl + Shift + D
  • Answer a call: Ctrl + Enter
  • Edit your last message: Up

Keyboard shortcuts differ from hotkeys in that you cannot edit or remove them; they are hardcoded into the Discord app.

7. Install Discord Bots

discord bot example

Bots play an increasingly important role in lots of communications apps. You’ll find them in everything from Facebook Messenger to Telegram.

Discord is no different. There are hundreds of community-developed bots available—each of which is designed to fulfill a specific role on the server. For example, GAwesome Bot can be used to conduct polls and giveaways, GameStats lets you rank gaming stats and profiles against your buddies, and there’s even a quiz-themed bot called TriviaBot.

The bots are almost all free to install and use. You will only be able to add new bots to a server if you’re an admin, but you can add as many as you want to your personal rooms.

8. Buy Discord Nitro

discord nitro

If you find that the basic version of Discord is not meeting your needs, you should consider upgrading to the paid pro version, called Discord Nitro.

Discord Nitro introduces some cool additional features. For example, you can set up a custom Discord tag (for the duration of your subscription), share your screen in either 720p (60 FPS) or 1080p (30 FPS), increase the maximum file upload size (from 8MB to 50MB or 100MB), upload your own GIFs, and enjoy support for global custom emojis.

Discord Nitro costs $50/year or $5/month. There’s also a more expensive plan that introduces “server boosts”. The boosts are mostly gimmicks and don’t warrant the price of $10/month or $100/year.

9. Type Discord Chat Commands

Discord offers several in-app chat commands. They are only available on the desktop app and iOS; unfortunately, Android users are out of luck.

Check out some of these popular commands to get started:

  • /nick: Lets you change your server-specific nickname (assuming the permission is turned on). Enter your new nickname after the command.
  • /tenor and /giphy: Allow you to search the web for animated GIFs.
  • /spoiler: Hides your message so other users don’t see your spoilers for TV series and games.
  • /shrug: Gives the common ¯_(?)_/¯ output in the chat window.
  • [emoji]: Typing a before an emoji will enter the Unicode emoji picture rather than the Discord version.
  • s/[text]/[new text]: This command is a simple way to edit typos in your previous message. For example, s/bananna/banana would replace the misspelled word (bananna) with the correct version.

10. Edit Voice Processing Settings

discord voice settings

One of the most underused Discord tricks is to improve your own mic’s audio output by using the app’s powerful voice processing features. Settings you can toggle on/off include Echo Cancelation, Noise Reduction, and Automatic Gain Control. You can also use a beta noise suppression tool for your microphone.

If the person you’re chatting to is struggling to hear you, you should have a fiddle with these settings. They are all enabled by default, however, if you have a decent mic, they could prove to be more of a hindrance than a help.

11. Enable 2FA on Discord

discord 2fa setup

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be a member of dozens of different Discord servers across a wide range of topics. You don’t want someone to gain unauthorized access to all that information—it’s a window on your life, hobbies, and friends that needs to be kept out of the wrong hands.

One of the best ways to ensure the security of your Discord account is to turn on 2FA. When enabled, you’ll need to add an extra numerical code generated by a phone app or dongle every time you log in. You can enable 2FA on Discord by heading to Settings > My Account > Enable Two-Factor Auth.

To learn more about 2FA, check out our article explaining the pros and cons of various 2FA methods.

12. Enable Discord Developer Mode

discord dev mode setup

The Discord Developer Mode is primarily aimed at, well, Discord developers.

However, if you run your own server it’s worth turning on for one reason: you can use the tool to easily grab the unique multi-digit ID of users, individual messages, and servers. You can use them to further customize the Discord experience for your server’s members.

Turn on Developer Mode by going to Settings > Appearance > Advanced > Developer Mode.

More Discord Tips and Tricks Worth Knowing

In this article, we’ve discussed some of the best Discord tips and tricks everyone should use to squeeze more out of the app.

However, these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to learn more about using Discord, here’s how to find the best Discord servers and how to set up your own Discord server.

Read the full article: 12 Discord Tips and Tricks All Users Should Know

Categories
News

How to Find Your IP Address on Windows 10

Simply put, you can think of your computer’s IP address as a virtual residential address—one that can be changed if necessary. In real terms, an IP address serves two primary purposes: network interface identification and location addressing.

For example, maybe you need to know your computer’s IP address because you’re having internet connectivity issues or you’re trying to set up a home theater app like Plex.

There are two ways to see your IP address on Windows. You can either use the Settings app or go poking around in the Command Prompt. Keep reading to find out how to find your IP address on Windows.

Find Your IP Address Using the Settings App

ip address windows 10

The easiest way to find your IP address on Windows 10 involves firing up the Settings app:

  1. Go to Start > Settings.
  2. Click on Network and internet.
  3. In the left-hand panel, choose either Wi-Fi or Ethernet, depending on what type of connection you use.
  4. Click on your network or connection name.
  5. Scroll down to Properties.
  6. Find the IPv4 address listing.
  7. The number you see is your IP address.

How to Check Your IP Address Using Command Prompt

ip address via the command prompt in windows 10

If you want to know how to find the IP address on Windows 10 using Command Prompt, follow these instructions instead:

  1. Click on the Start Menu.
  2. Type cmd and click on Command Prompt.
  3. Type ipconfig and press Enter.
  4. Locate either Autoconfiguration IPv4 Address (Ethernet) or IPv4 Address (Wi-Fi).
  5. The number you see is your IP address.

Which method do you prefer? You can let us know in the comments section below. And to learn more about IP addresses, check our article on how to find the IP address of your printer.

Read the full article: How to Find Your IP Address on Windows 10

Categories
News

The 8 Best Board Game Apps for iPhone Users

Do you remember what it was like before the internet existed? We used to have to read newspapers to find out about current affairs, use landline telephones to chat with our friends, and go to physical shops to buy stuff. We also had to play board games to entertain ourselves.

Thankfully, those sepia-toned childhood memories of beating your granddad at Monopoly can be recreated on your smartphone. Granted, you won’t get the satisfaction of seeing your sister throw the board across the room when she loses, but the digital experience is still an enjoyable one.

So, with that in mind, here are the best board game apps you can play on your phone…

1. Monopoly

Monopoly is the king of classic board games. It was invented way back in 1903 as a way to demonstrate the shortfalls of an economy that was dominated by monopolies and has since gone on to sell more than 250 million sets. The aim of the game is to drive your opponents into bankruptcy.

All parts of the game are faithfully recreated in this version of the board game for your phone, including the famous playing pieces, the bank, and the ability to auction your properties.

There are three different levels of difficulty, and the game rules can be customized to match the way you’re used to playing the physical version of the game. Multiplayer support is available, but you and your fellow players will all need to have the game installed.

Download: Monopoly for Android | iOS ($4)

2. Connect 4

Seven columns, six rows, and a requirement to get four of your discs in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row. Sounds simple, right? Actually, it’s surprisingly complex—there are 4 trillion ways to fill a board and 2 trillion ways to get four-in-a-row.

While it’s true that Connect 4 was “solved” years ago (just make sure you go first and play in the center column), it can still provide hours of fun and frustration in equal measure.

There are no official versions of the game on either Android or iOS. Instead, you can choose from numerous free options. The Android version with the best rating is called Four in a Row. It lets you play on either a 2D or 3D board, has 10 levels of computer difficulty, and supports multiple disc colors. The best iOS version is Connect 4. It has three levels of difficulty and supports multiplayer.

Download: Four in a Row for Android (Free)

Download: Connect 4 for iOS (Free)

3. The Game of Life

Surprisingly, the roots of The Game of Life are even older than those of Monopoly. The original version was designed in 1860, with the modern game being released in 1960 to commemorate the original’s 100-year anniversary. Today, we think it makes for one of the best board game apps for your phone.

The game takes the player on a journey from college graduation to retirement, with events such as kids, jobs, mortgages, and marriage all featuring prominently. The winner is the person who has the most money at the end.

An official version of the game is available on Android and iOS. Features include the ability to play with friends, animated tokens, 3D landscapes, and a “life journal” to track your game. The iOS version will also let you pair music from your iTunes account with in-game events.

Download: Game of Life for Android | iOS ($3)

4. Scrabble

Another classic board game, another EA release. Although “Words with Friends” became popular upon its release, for that really nostalgic classic board game feeling you really need the original Scrabble.

Scrabble was first realized in the 1930s and became instantly popular as a thinking person’s game. The objective is to use your titles to make a word on the board—the more complicated your word and the more multiplier squares it intersects, the more points you score.

The game is available on both Android and iOS. It has an in-game dictionary to help you maximize your scoring, a teacher mode which will retrospectively show you what your best available word was for each turn, the ability to challenge your friends via Facebook, and a speed mode for faster games.

Download: Scrabble for Android | iOS (Free)

5. Ludo (AKA Parcheesi)

Ludo is derived from a 6th Century Indian game called “Pachisi”, though the simpler modern version first hit the shelves in 1896. American readers may know it by the brand name “Parcheesi”.

It supports up to four players, with the aim of the game being to get your four pawns from your nest to the central space before your opponents.

The best Ludo app—Ludo King— is available on both Android and iOS. The game offers local and remote multiplayer, an offline mode, and different board themes. Other games like Ludo King include Ludo Club and Ludo Online.

Download: Ludo King for Android | iOS (Free)

6. Snakes and Ladders (AKA Chutes and Ladders)

Like Ludo, this game also originated in India. The world knows it as Snakes and Ladders, but in the US the snakes were replaced by chutes in 1943 after Milton Bradley discovered American school children reacted badly to them.

Whatever you call it, it’s a game you almost certainly played as a kid. There are 100 numbered squares, with the game’s sole objective being to get from square 1 to square 100 before anyone else. However, your progress is either aided or hindered by the presence of ladders and snakes/chutes.

The game is available on Android and iOS. Features include a multiplayer mode, offline mode, and an arcade-style “Survival Mode” for extra fun.

Download: Snake and Ladders for Android | iOS (Free)

7. Backgammon

backgammon android

How classic do you want your board games to be?! Backgammon is one of the oldest games in the world—its history can be traced back more than 5,000 years to the early Mesopotamian civilizations.

The aim of the game is to remove all of your own checkers off the board before your opponent using a combination of strategy and luck. Given that the board is naturally a rectangle, the dimensions make it one of the best board game apps for tablets such as the iPad.

Numerous versions of the game are available for both the Android and iOS platforms. We’ve linked our favorite edition for each operating system below.

Download: Backgammon Free for Android (Free)

Download: Backgammon for iOS (Free)

8. Risk

Risk is a great game, but it has one massive annoyance—the number of pieces on the board. If there are a lot of players it’s all too easy to accidentally knock pieces into different territories, especially in the early game.

The mobile version of the game has no such issues. Tiny playing pieces aside, the rest of the game is faithfully recreated. It includes different game modes, customizable rules, an in-depth tutorial, and game stats. You’ll also find plenty of DLC such as new maps and scenarios.

The basic game, which only includes the classic Risk game mode, is available on both Android and iOS.

Download: Risk for Android | iOS (Free)

What Are Your Favorite Board Game Apps?

What did we miss? There are so many classic board games out there it’s impossible to cover all of the ones you can now play on your phone. Have you found a great mobile version of Battleships? Cluedo? Or Pictionary? If so, we would love to hear your recommendations in the comments below.

And if you’d like to learn more about playing board games, check out our articles listing the best sites to play board games online and the best ways to play board games with friends.

Read the full article: The 8 Best Board Game Apps for iPhone Users

Categories
News

The 8 Best Free Streaming News Channels to Watch Online

Traditionally, one of the biggest drawbacks of canceling cable TV has been the availability of news from other sources. Sure, if you pay for Sling TV or Hulu + Live TV, you’ll get some 24-hour news channels included in your package. However, it hasn’t always been easy to find free streaming news channels to watch.

Thankfully, the situation has changed in recent years. And there are now plenty of free news channels available to stream. Some are offered by global news conglomerates, while others are apps by niche news gatherers. So, with that in mind, here are the best free streaming news channels you can watch today.

1. NewsON

NewsON app

Available on: Roku, Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast

NewsON is a news service based in the United States, and the app is only available within America’s borders. Its primary focus is on local news from around the country.

It currently offers more than 170 local stations from 113 American cities and towns, thus reaching 84 percent of the population.

Originally, seven of the largest American TV station owners backed the app (ABC Owned Television Stations, Cox Media Group, Hearst Television, Media General, plus Raycom Media, Hubbard Broadcasting, and Sinclair Broadcasting). Unfortunately, ABC pulled its channels from the service in January 2020.

You can choose the news categories that interest you, then enjoy a continuous feed of newscasts and clips that match your preferences. You can also watch live feeds of the 170 channels if you want a more traditional news experience.

2. Newsy

Available on: Roku, Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast

Rather than acting as a middleman for existing network news channels, Newsy creates its own content. Its main topics of focus are world news, politics, science and health, entertainment, technology, business, and sports.

The company takes a short-form approach to news—you won’t find any long investigative pieces or in-depth analysis. It simply takes the biggest headlines for each day and breaks them down into digestible chunks of two to three minutes.

Once you’ve selected your favorite categories and locales, Newsy will keep lining up the short videos for you to watch. It gives you a “lean-back” TV watching experience that’s often sorely lacking in the world of cord-cutting.

Newsy also prides itself on a lack of bias that’s rare in the mainstream media. It aims to cover multiple sides of every story, thus giving you balanced and fair coverage. Only you can be the judge of whether the claims of impartiality are accurate.

3. Haystack TV

Available on: Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, LG TVs, and Samsung TVs

Haystack uses big data to provide a personalized free news channel. Yes, you can add your own preferences within the app, but the company has a more expansive algorithm that determines which videos it should show you.

The algorithm grabs thousands of user-generated data points every day and uses them to create real-time interest graphs. It breaks the graphs down by world, local, and interest-based content. The graphs are then correlated against your profile and the app will suggest breaking stories and topics it thinks you’ll be interested in.

If you’re willing to give the company access to your Facebook or Google account when you sign in, the recommendations become even better.

The topics and headlines can vary from the mainstream to the extremely niche, depending on how quirky your interests are. But ultimately, the result is a never-ending feed of news you’ll love. Most videos are between three and five minutes long.

4. YouTube

YouTube news categories

Available on: Roku, Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Plex, most gaming consoles, and the web

You might be surprised to see YouTube on this list, but it more than deserves its place. The site’s auto-generated news channels are a rich source of free content.

Start by heading to the main News channel, where you’ll find seven further subcategories. They are Sports News, Entertainment News, Business News, Science and Technology News, World News, National News, and Health News.

Click on any of the topics that interest you, hover your mouse over the Top Stories icon, and click Play All. You’ll now be able to sit back and enjoy several hours’ worth of continuous content from the biggest providers in your country.

Best of all, there’s so much stuff on YouTube, you’ll never have to watch the same report twice. If you come back tomorrow, you’ll have an entirely updated set of videos to enjoy.

5. Plex

Plex news

Available on: Roku, Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox, PlayStation, and selected smart TVs

Plex added news to its repertoire with the 2017 acquisition of the free streaming news channel, Watchup. The app is now fully integrated into Plex’s UI.

It means Plex can pull news stories from more than 190 different publishers, including CNN, Bloomberg, CBS Interactive, PBS, Euronews, FOX News, Sky News, and the Financial Times. As you watch the stories, you can add topics to your preference list, allowing the recommendations to become more personalized over time.

You can further personalize your content by selecting preferred locations, sources, and more. News on Plex is available for free, so you do not need a Plex Pass.

6. Sky News

Available on: Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and the web

Sky News is one of the world’s largest distributors of free live news. It has apps available for all of the leading platforms, and you can tune in even if you live outside the UK. The content is a mix of rolling news and standalone news-themed shows.

The channel was frequently accused of bias in the 1990s and 2000s under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch and later, FOX. Today, it is owned by Comcast and is the current holder of the prestigious “Royal Television Society News Channel of the Year” in Britain.

If you don’t want to download the standalone app, you can stream Sky News for free on YouTube.

7. Bloomberg

Bloomberg TV

Available on: Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV, YouTube, Roku, and the web

If you want up-to-the-minute business and financial news, Bloomberg is hard to beat. It lacks the bias of FOX Business and the sensationalism of CNBC. It is also the only one of the “big three” that’s available to stream for free via the web.

The channel is split into three distinct sub-channels—Bloomberg (from the US), Bloomberg Europe (from London), and Bloomberg Asia (from Hong Kong)—which air at different times of the day.

Other channels called “Bloomberg” that are not one of the three mentioned above are only the Bloomberg name via a franchise agreement. Which means you may not be able to find live streams of them.

As well as the dedicated app and YouTube stream, you can also stream Bloomberg for free on some of the best streaming TV services.

8. Al Jazeera

Available on: Android, iOS, Android TV, Apple TV, YouTube, and the web

In the last decade, Al Jazeera has grown into one of the largest news organizations on the planet. It now boasts more than 80 bureaus around the world and has largely shed its reputation as being a mouthpiece for the Qatari government.

This free news channel is available in the US, UK, Canada, most of the EU, India, and parts of North Africa and the Middle East.

Which Free News Channels Do You Watch?

In this article, we’ve recommended the best streaming news channels that let you get your daily fix of current affairs. All of the options have pros and cons. The best one for you depends on the platform you’re using and whether you prefer watching content from global news conglomerates or indie producers.

Remember that you can get free news from sources other than TV, too. To learn more, check out our list of the best news apps available for free.

Read the full article: The 8 Best Free Streaming News Channels to Watch Online

Categories
News

The Best TV Shows to Binge-Watch During Lockdown

Are you fed up with being stuck at home all day? Join the club. To help anyone currently locked down due to COVIID-19, we have compiled a list of the best shows to binge-watch on a range of streaming platforms.

1. ReGenesis

Let’s kick off with a virus-themed show. ReGenesis is a Canadian series that ran for four seasons in the 2000s. The story follows a scientific research lab in Toronto as it investigates bioterrorism, diseases, and environmental changes across North America.

You can grab all four seasons on The Roku Channel and Pluto TV.

2. The Office US

The Office US is always worth watching thanks to its neverending stream of comedy gold.

But more aptly, but for the millions of office workers around the world who are stuck at home during the coronavirus lockdown, the series serves as a timely reminder of what they’re missing out on (or happily avoiding!).

You can watch all nine seasons of this binge-worthy show on Netflix.

3. Porridge

A show based in a prison draws obvious parallels with the current lockdown we’re all going through.

But for fans of classic British comedy, Porridge is a must-watch. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest British sitcoms ever and stars one of the UK’s most talented comedians of all-time, the late Ronnie Barker.

The show ran for three seasons in the mid-70s. It is available to stream on Britbox.

4. The Last Dance

The Last Dance has been one of the big hits of the quarantine period. It doesn’t even matter if you’re not a basketball fan—this documentary about Michael Jordan is one of the best shows to binge-watch on Netflix right now.

It includes interviews with a litany of sports stars and celebrities; everyone from Dennis Rodman to Carmen Electra gets screen time.

Watch The Last Dance on Netflix.

5. El Chapo

This co-production between Netflix and Univision is a crime drama about the life of fallen Mexican drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Once the most powerful drug trafficker in the world, El Chapo now sits in a supermax federal prison in Colorado. This show tells the story of how he got there.

You can stream El Chapo on Netflix.

6. Game of Thrones

Has there ever been a more binge-worthy show than Game of Thrones? Over the course of its eight seasons between 2011 and 2019, the show grew into a cultural phenomenon. Only one season failed to earn a score of more than 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Game of Thrones is available to stream on HBO GO.

7. Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak

This Netflix Original documentary, released with uncanny timing in January 2020, explores how humans could tackle a serious virus if faced with a global pandemic.

The six episodes explore influenza outbreaks, vaccines, new viruses, and more. Several leading scientists are interviewed throughout.

You can watch Pandemic on Netflix around the world.

8. Peaky Blinders

Is Peaky Blinders the best TV series to come out of the UK in the last decade? You could certainly make the case.

The show is based on the real-life story of the Peaky Blinders. They were a British street gang operating in Birmingham between 1890 and 1930.

And if you’re looking for good shows to watch and you still haven’t ticked this one off your list, stop reading the article, go and watch every episode on Netflix right now, then come back.

9. Suits

Suits is another of the best shows to binge-watch during lockdown. The drama tells the story of the relationship between college-dropout-come-legal-protégé Mike Ross and a senior partner at his law firm, Harvey Specter.

The show offers solid storylines, a healthy dose of comedy, and a motley mix of supporting characters.

You’ll need an account with Amazon Prime Video to stream all eight seasons.

10. Tiger King

Who could have predicted that a TV show about a dispute between a zookeeper and the CEO of an animal sanctuary would become one of the best series to watch during the coronavirus crisis?

35 million people tuned in within 10 days of Tiger King’s release, making this Netflix show one of the company’s most successful series to date.

You can watch Tiger King on Netflix right now.

11. Sunderland ‘Til I Die

Anyone who’s missing their fix of soccer should try watching Sunderland ‘Til I Die. The sports documentary runs for two seasons as it follows the fortunes of English football side, Sunderland FC.

The club was relegated from the English Premier League in 2017. The series has unprecedented access to the chairman and manager as they try to fight their way out of the second division at the first attempt during the 17/18 season.

Sunderland’ Til I Die is available to watch on Netflix.

12. The Simpsons

With 31 seasons, 700 episodes, and a feature film, there’s enough material in The Simpsons’ back catalog to keep you busy until Christmas.

And hey, if quarantine does last that long because of the dreaded “second wave,” what better way to spend your time than watching the longest-running American sitcom in history?

All 31 seasons are available on Disney+.

13. Breaking Bad

Many people claim Breaking Bad is the best TV show of all time. Making it a shoe-in for our list of the best shows to binge-watch.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the story follows the life of Walter White, a terminally ill chemistry teacher who moves into the meth business to protect his family’s financial future.

The show can be streamed on Netflix.

14. Mad Men

The advertising industry of the 1960s played a prominent role in driving the cultural changes that took place across the US and Europe throughout the decade. Yet the industry itself was also in a state of flux, as old pre-war attitudes were swept away for a sexier and more sophisticated image.

Mad Men, which picked up 16 Emmys and 5 Golden Globes over its seven-season run, tells the story of the 60s through the eyes of one of the largest ad agencies on New York’s famed Madison Avenue.

You can watch Mad Men right now on Netflix.

15. Between

We end with one more show about pandemics. Between was a joint production between Netflix and Canada’s Citytv network.

The story follows a small village that’s under attack from a deadly virus, with only the young surviving. The government issues a strict quarantine around the town, leaving the inhabitants to work the rest out for themselves.

You can stream the series on Netflix right now.

More of the Best Shows to Binge-Watch

If our list of the best shows to binge-watch during lockdown has left you wanting more, be sure to also take a look at our articles listing the best science TV shows to watch on Netflix and the best food documentaries to watch on Netflix.

You should also check out the A-Z of shows to binge-watch on Netflix.

Read the full article: The Best TV Shows to Binge-Watch During Lockdown

Categories
News

The 8 Best Parental Control Apps for Windows

As the world continues its relentless charge into the digital age, it’s more important than ever to ensure your children are protected from some of the web’s more mature content.

It’s impossible to know just how much of the internet is devoted to adult material, but estimates suggest pornography alone accounts for anywhere from 5–35 percent of all websites. And that’s before you count topics such as gambling, extreme profanity, dating sites, and other associated themes.

Luckily, the number of parental control apps has been growing at an impressive rate over the last few years. Parents now have a wide choice of software to choose from.

But which should you use? Keep reading to learning about some of the parental control software for Windows 10.

1. Windows User Accounts

Family accounts screen on Windows 10

Microsoft beefed up its native parental control offering with the release of Windows 10. It’s now possible to designate a user account as a “Child Account.”

Creating a Child Account lets you manage the account across all services the account is connected to, including Windows, Xbox, and the Microsoft Store.

Before explaining how to create a Child Account, you need to be aware of two important caveats.

First, your own user account on Windows 10 must be linked to a Microsoft Account—you cannot create Child Accounts if your account is a local account.

Second, you need to create the account within your “Family.” More on that shortly.

To create a Child Account, head to Start > Settings > Accounts. In the panel on the left of the window, click Family and Other Users.

Below Your Family, click Add a Family Member. A new window will pop up. Make sure you select Add a Child. If your child already has an email, enter it in the space provided.

If they don’t, click The Person Who I Want to Add Doesn’t Have an Email Address. You can then either create a new email or register the new account against your existing email.

Click through the next couple of screens and you’ll get a confirmation message. The new account will be visible under Your Family.

To manage the account, click Manage Family Settings Online. You have options to block websites, limit their screen time, add money to their account so they can buy content in the app store, and even get weekly reports about what sites your child has been visiting.

If you want something more powerful than the native Windows tool, you have many options to choose from.

2. Qustodio

Qustodio is arguably the best third-party parental control app for Windows 10. It has a free version and a premium version, though the free version is comprehensive enough for most users. The entry-level premium version costs $40 per year.

The free version offers website filters, search result filters, customizable time limits for games and apps, live notifications if your child accesses questionable content, and even a register of what they’ve been doing on the computer.

The biggest drawback: it’s only available on one device.

The premium version adds social media monitoring, location tracking, call tracking and blocking, SMS tracking and blocking, and an expanded dashboard. Depending on the plan you choose, you can manage up to 15 devices.

Using Qustodio is simple: you just need to make an account on the website and install the app on all your devices. You can then manage the individual settings from the web portal.

The software is also available on Mac, Android, iOS, and Kindle, meaning your kids will be protected regardless of which device they are using.

3. OpenDNS

OpenDNS Benefit Matrix

You should also consider OpenDNS. The company offers four plans, two of which—Family Shield and Home—are available for free.

Family Shield is pre-configured to block adult content and provides a set-it-and-forget-about-it solution. The Home package is more customizable, and thus, more complicated to set up for beginners.

Although the two free services can only block sites and nothing more, they will still restrict access to anything concerning proxies, anonymizers, sexuality, or pornography.

Of course, the beauty of using a DNS-based app is it works at a network level—just add the DNS address to your router’s control panel. If network-wide filtering is too extreme, it can still work on a per device basis.

Parental controls are just one of the many security benefits you can enjoy by changing your DNS server. There are a few reasons why third-party DNS servers care more secure.

4. Kaspersky Safe Kids

Like Qustodio, Kaspersky Safe Kids has both a free and a paid tier. To use the free version, you only need to make an account on Kaspersky’s homepage. You can then download and activate the app on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.

Features of the service include screen limits, time limits for social networks and games, and activity monitoring. For $15, the premium version adds reporting tools, location tracking, and Facebook activity tracking.

Kaspersky Safe Kids premium is included for free if you already have a Kaspersky Total Security plan.

5. Norton Family

Norton Family is a premium parental control app for Windows, Android, and iOS.

Some of the app’s key features include web supervision, time supervision, search supervision, video supervision, weekly and monthly reports on your kids’ activity, and instant lock which allows a parent to lock a child’s device from their own app.

Norton Family also supports access requests. If a child thinks an app or site has been blocked unfairly, they can ask you to whitelist it.

Sadly, if you live in a household with lots of different devices, the software might not be suitable—there is no Mac version.

A plan costs $50 per year.

6. Clean Router

If you’d prefer a network-based solution, check out Clean Router. It replaces your home router and adds monitoring and parental controls to any device on your network.

And you don’t need to worry about locking yourself out of adult content. You can apply device-specific filters, and even choose which time of day you want the filters to apply.

On the downside, as a router, the device does not perform as well as some of the more well-known brands on the market; it is not as fast as equivalent 802.11ac devices.

You also still need to pay a monthly fee. It’s $10 for the basic plan and $15 for the premium plan.

Check out our article if you’d like to learn more about the best routers on the market this year.

7. KidLogger

kidlogger

KidLogger doubles as both parental control software for Windows 10 and a keylogger. It means you can restrict what content your children have access to while also making sure they’re not using the apps you have given them permission to use in an irresponsible way.

If you deploy the app for an extended period of time, it builds up a comprehensive picture of how your kid is using the computer, including their most-used apps and most frequently accessed files.

It also has a cool feature that secretly takes a screenshot of your computer at predetermined intervals before saving them in the cloud, allowing you to see what your child was doing within each app.

Because the app is a keylogger, you will be able to see exactly what your child wrote in messages to friends and on social media. That’s obviously a powerful tool that some parents might feel uncomfortable using. If it is not for you, try one of the more traditional services we have discussed above.

In addition to Windows, the app is available on Mac, iOS, and Android.

8. Spyrix Personal Monitor

Spyrix is a powerful remote monitoring app that doubles as some of the best Windows 10 parental control software.

The list of features is impressive if a little scary. It offers a keylogger, live screen viewing, remote screenshots, microphone surveillance, webcam surveillance, search engine monitoring, URL logging, clipboard control, alerts, analytics, and a lot more.

For one PC, the software costs $60. If you only want to use the keylogger (perhaps to gain an insight into what might be troubling your kid), you can download it for free.

How to Choose the Right Parental Control Software for Windows 10

Before you purchase a premium app, first make sure you are clear about what you want your parental control software to achieve. If you have a young child, something as simple as website blocking might be sufficient. As kids age, the features you need from the app will change.

If you would like to learn more, make sure you check out our list of parental control apps for Chromebook.

Read the full article: The 8 Best Parental Control Apps for Windows

Categories
News

The 5 Best Free Mac VPN Clients (And 2 Bonus Alternatives)

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are more popular than ever. They’re an important weapon in the ongoing fight against cyber-snooping and can even unlock some geo-blocked apps and websites.

Different VPN providers specialize in different areas; it can be difficult to choose the right supplier for your needs. But once you’ve selected your provider, you still have decisions to make. Specifically, how do you know which VPN client to use? Should you use your VPN provider’s proprietary app, or a flexible solution that can connect to several different services?

If you’re not sure where to turn, keep reading for the best free Mac VPN clients you can use right now, plus a few other options you might not have considered.

1. TunnelBlick

tunnelblick vpn mac

Let’s start with some open source VPN software for Mac. TunnelBlick is a free VPN client that works on macOS and iOS with any VPN provider that offers OpenVPN support. There is no Windows or Linux version.

Because the app is open source, you can be confident it’s not secretly tracking your internet usage in other ways and thus negating the benefit of using a VPN. It’s thus more transparent than proprietary apps.

Interestingly, TunnelBlick logs all your session data by default. This is not out of the ordinary—all OpenVPN clients do the same. If you want to turn off session data logging, all you need to do is add verb 0 to the app’s config file. Remember, this is not linked to whether the VPN provider itself is logging your data.

Finally, the app has a vibrant support community. If you encounter difficulties, head to its Google Group discussion forum, and someone will quickly step in to assist.

Download: TunnelBlick (Free)

2. OpenVPN

openvpn login

The OpenVPN project began back in 2002 and is probably the most well-known of all free Mac VPN clients. In addition to the Mac version, the app is also available on iOS, Windows, and Android.

The app supports lots of different VPN configurations, including remote access, site-to-site VPNs, and enterprise-scale deployments.

OpenVPN isn’t as easy to use as proprietary apps—or even some other OpenVPN clients—but it’s established a name for itself thanks to its feature-rich menus and unflinching reliability.

The main criticism of OpenVPN is its VPN configurations limit. By default, you cannot have more than 50 saved. It’s possible to recompile the app to remove the limit, but that’s a complicated process beyond the scope of this list. It’s also important to be aware that the OpenVPN app only supports the OpenVPN protocol.

Download: OpenVPN (Free)

3. SoftEther VPN

softether report

SoftEther VPN is one of the leading multi-protocol VPN apps. It runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux. The open source offering is entirely free, regardless of whether you use it in a personal or commercial environment.

The app supports almost all VPN protocols, meaning not only is it one of the best OpenVPN clients on Mac, but you can also hook it up to L2TP/IPsec, MS-SSTP, L2TPv3, EtherIP, and most impressively, VPN-over-HTTPS connections.

If you use the developer’s own SoftEther VPN protocol, you can expect faster surfing speeds than OpenVPN. In testing, the SoftEther server was 103 percent faster than Microsoft’s Windows implementation of L2TP/IPsec, and up to 117 percent faster than OpenVPN.

Additional features include support for packet filtering, dynamic DNS, and UDP hole punching.

Download: SoftEther VPN (Free)

4. WireGuard

WireGuard is a fast VPN tunnel that can outperform OpenVPN and IPSec. Connections via WireGuard rely on the exchange of public keys. As such, the VPN can roam between IPs and removes the need for managing connections and daemons.

The technology uses cutting-edge cryptography to keep you safe and deploys a tiny codebase in order to reduce the potential attack surface.

The VPN client app for Mac lets you connect to a VPN (assuming your provider supports WireGuard), import new tunnels from archives, and create new tunnels.

WireGuard is also available for Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS.

Download: WireGuard (Free)

5. OpenConnect GUI

OpenConnect GUI

OpenConnect GUI is a free Mac VPN client. It uses TLS and DTLS to establish sessions and is compatible with the Cisco AnyConnect SSL VPN protocol. For those who don’t know, OpenConnect was originally developed as an open source replacement for Cisco’s proprietary product, and it quickly grew in popularity.

However, OpenConnect is its raw form requires command line knowledge. This VPN client removes the need for that by providing a clean and easy-to-understand interface that beginners will quickly be able to wrap their heads around.

OpenConnect GUI is also available on Windows.

Download: OpenConnect GUI (Free)

Bonus: Shimo

shimo log

Unfortunately, the selection of free VPN clients for Mac is fairly thin. Thus, we’ve included two paid options in case the above didn’t fit your needs.

Shimo supports OpenVPN, IPSec, PPTP, SSL, AnyConnect, and SSH connections (note that it does not support PPTP/L2TP on macOS Catalina, however). It allows for concurrent connections, automated connections, and 2FA. And there’s even a dark mode!

Security-wise, you can enjoy AES-256 encryption, SHA-2 hash functions, and secure key exchange using the D-H method. Connections that need certificates or one-time passcode tokens are also supported through the Extended Authentication (XAUTH) toolset.

The app costs a one-time fee of €49 (about $53 at the time of writing), but you can try before you buy.

Download: Shimo ($53, free trial available)

Bonus: Viscosity

Viscosity vpn mac

Like the free solutions we discussed, Viscosity is open source. It’s available for $14 and is cross-platform—you can run it on Windows as well as macOS.

Viscosity definitely has the best design here. Its user interface is more polished than the free alternatives, and it’s incredibly easy to use and navigate. If you’re new to the world of third-party VPN clients and aren’t familiar with VPN terminology, the app represents money well spent.

From a technical standpoint, the app gives you a complete traffic breakdown of your connections, integrates with Keychain to keep your details safe, and works with macOS’s advanced DNS system.

You can use a 30-day free trial before you commit to the single purchase.

Download: Viscosity ($14, free trial available)

Which Mac VPN Client Do You Prefer?

Each VPN client has different advantages and disadvantages. Which one you choose will depend on the protocols your VPN provider offers and your familiarity with setting up and using VPNs on third-party apps.

To learn more about VPNs, check our guide on how to set up a VPN on your Mac.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Free Mac VPN Clients (And 2 Bonus Alternatives)