I am frequently asked which services and products I recommend. Here is a list which I update several times a year based on products and services that I've personally used. Some of these companies—like Other World Computing—offer products which I've used for decades. In some cases, these companies have provided me links to share with you that will save you money and earn me a small referral fee. While it's not enough for my retirement, it's a simple way you can say "thank you" for the time I've put into researching and testing these products and services for you!
The best VPN: NORD VPN
Nord VPN is my top choice among all VPN's for both security and convenience. It's one of the few VPN companies that meet the following, important criteria:
- doesn't keep logs on the websites that its customers visit
- isn't headquartered in the United States
- offers servers in 10+ countries
- is NOT a member of the 5, 9, or 14 eyes security agreement
- offers a connection with an encryption rating of at least "AES-256"
- offers a free trial and/or a money back guarantee after 15-30 days
- supports both Macs, PCs & mobile devices
Using a VPN not only provides you with online privacy, but it also allows you access to websites in the US when travelling abroad. I can't say enough about this company, both as a customer and as an affiliate of their great service. Try them: their offer a free trial period, so there's literally no risk.
The best password manager: LASTPASS
LastPass is among the highest-rated and most secure password managers on the market. Even better: it's 100% free to use their entry-level tier of service. Otherwise, it's $2/month for use on all your computers and mobile devices. I've used LastPass for many years now and think it's far better than Dashlane or 1Password.
Best online shop for ram, hard drives & MAC GEAR
Other World Computing, now "Mac Sales", has been around since 1988. I've purchased gear from them for most of that time! They have the best options when you need to upgrade your RAM or hard drive, including simple-to-follow videos for those of you who'd like to perform these upgrades yourself. Recently, they also started offering certified refurbished Macs, for those on a budget. These guys are amazing and know how to provide old-school customer service which they offer 24/7.
Best CLOUD-BASED BACKUP SOFTWARE: IDRIVE
For years, I used backup software from a company called "Crashplan" and was very satisfied. When they retired their backup software for home users in mid-2018, I had to research which services and products were worthy competitors. After much testing, I discovered iDrive and haven't looked back. Both my wife and I now use their service because it's easy to set up and use, it's AMAZINGLY CHEAP when compared to their competition, and it offers all of the same features. It's even free to try (for up to 5GB) and you can have have as many computers and devices as you like backing up to the same account.
Best futuristic mail service
Earth Class Mail is an amazing service for those who prefer a high level of privacy. Rather than providing your actual home address on forms, you can instead provide an Earth Class Mailing address. Earth Class offers addresses in many cities, so you can benefit from having an address in a city (or cities!) that best suit you, something a regular PO Box cannot offer. Earth Class scans the envelope of every document you're sent to PDF and emails it you so you can say how to proceed: open and scan, shred, or trash. They can even deposit your checks and any documents can be mailed to your actual physical location — wherever that may be. They offers HIPAA compliance standards, mandatory employee background checks, yearly recertification with HIPPA compliance, and 24/7 video surveillance of its scanning facility which gets monitored by operations leadership and even the executive team.
Best Online invoicing system
You can't beat FREE, especially with all of these features. OnlineInvoices.com is the invoicing/client tracking system I use to manage my time and invoice all of my clients. It's ridiculously easy to use. You can have up to 15 clients and bill 15 invoices a month...for free! After that, it's a reasonable $10/mo to use their online service or $8.29/mo if you pay for a year up front. The very best recommendation I can provide to anyone is that I use a service myself. In this case, I trust my entire online invoicing system to these folks. You should as well, especially given their built-in security features.