VPNs are built to ensure you get an unmatched security and privacy experience. We’ll help you pick from the best VPN services that will keep you stay safe while online and gives an extra layer of security.
A VPN service (Virtual Private Network) has become an essential tool to keep your online activity and information safe and private.
Be it to stay secure when using a public Wi-Fi network, to unblock social media and streaming sites, or to block online tracking, there are numerous reasons why you should use a VPN.
With the development of the Internet network, such a concept as a VPN penetrates deeper into the life of a regular user.
Today one can hardly imagine a company or corporation that does not use VPNs to work. In the present time, the market has a number of good services to offer.
If your only need for a VPN is to keep you encrypted when using public Wi-Fi and streaming a little overseas television, then grabbing a free VPN can pay dividends.
It’s important to note, however, that a completely free VPN service often comes with a hidden price.
If it isn’t getting money from you, then it’s getting funds from someone else sometimes by selling your browsing history, borrowing your bandwidth or injecting ads into the sites, you visit.
That’s why we generally recommend paying to upgrade to a full plan without any hidden costs and, crucially, no limits on use.
Choosing the right virtual private network (VPN) service is no simple task. A VPN should keep your internet usage private and secure, but not every service handles your data in the same way.
We spent more than 80 hours researching 20 VPN services, testing five, interviewing the leadership of three, and consulting information security experts.
VPNs aren’t necessary for everyone, but for protecting your information on public Wi-Fi (and in some other cases).
1. Express VPN
ExpressVPN is considered one of the best VPN services. ExpressVPN offers access to more than 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 94 countries, alongside maybe the widest platform support you’ll find anywhere.
It offers everything you would expect from a great VPN, like a zero-logging policy, impressive connection speeds.
A large number of servers across the world, and necessary security features like the Network Lock, DNS leak protection, and more.
ExpressVPN also doesn’t skimp on what the VPN is capable of. Everything from P2P file sharing to media streaming, including Netflix, is possible using ExpressVPN.
This VPN provides a plethora of protocols (OpenVPN, IPSec & IKEv2, among others) all equipped with the latest-and-greatest encryption standards (AES-256).
That makes ExpressVPN perfect for almost any device. Each city that features an ExpressVPN server provides you with various options as it comes to security standards.
There are six different standards to choose from, but not all of them are available in every city.
ExpressVPN can be more expensive than other providers, but it is certainly one of the best VPN services around and worth the cost.
Their best plan is priced at just $6.67 per month for an annual package which includes 3 months free.
- Access to blocked content
- High-level encryption
- Supports OpenVPN
- Geo spoofing
- Fast speeds
- Good security features
- Netflix and other video streaming access is available
- Typically more expensive than others
- Only 5 concurrent connections allowed
Surfshark offers desirable perks like military-grade encryption, high speeds, the ability to unblock content (websites and regional) and more.
Surfshark’s super cheap pricing might be the first thing that attracts you to this VPN, but it’s high on quality as well.
Surfshark Based in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark has laid-back and playful branding. But when it comes to keeping you and your online identity secure, it’s all business.
If Surfshark’s claims are anything to go by, then they truly deliver. I was impressed with the fast speeds, reliability, strict no-logs policy, and advanced encryption.
Other than the cost, it’s the connection speeds that really stand out from our testing.
Even connecting to servers in faraway locations doesn’t seem to slow things down, so Surfshark could be a great option if your main reason for getting a VPN is for connecting back home when away on business or holiday.
And we love that one subscription covers unlimited laptops, routers, mobiles, and TV streaming devices.
Surfshark keeps things very simple from a user experience point of view. For most people that should be regarded as a pro, as it means there’s nothing to faff around with if you just want to get connected quickly.
One of our favorite things about this VPN service (other than the price) is the fact that your subscription covers unlimited devices and services.
So if you plan to use your VPN on your laptop, desktop (compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux), tablet, a couple of mobile phones (iOS and Android both covered) and Amazon Fire TV Stick for watching overseas TV, the one account will cover you on all of them simultaneously.
There’s a month-to-month subscription, which comes in at $11.95, and is a pretty expensive option if you’re on a budget. There’s also an annual plan that retails at $5.99/month, which will save you up to 50% annually. And there’s a 2-year plan, which is $1.99/month.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 24/7 live chat
- Optimized for streaming
- Advanced encryption
- No logs
- DNS leak protection
- Ad-block feature
- Strict no-logs policy
- Unlimited devices
- Torrenting allowed
- Unblocks Netflix geo-restrictions
- Safe and secure
- Works with Netflix, YouTube Red, and BBC iPlayer
- Accepts Cryptocurrency payments
- Lacks a free trial
- Average speed
- Monthly plans are expensive
NordVPN is based out of Panama, and it is one of the most secure VPN systems you could ever hope to encounter. That’s why it has consistently been our top-rated service.
NordVPN usually gets the highest grade when it goes about privacy and network security. It does not keep logs.
It offers the finest encryption algorithms, including military ones, CyberSec technology protects from web threads, double encryption through the Double VPN technology, and collaboration with the Tor browser.
NordVPN’s server count is positively massive, with more than 5,600 servers all spread out over 60 different countries.
That’s the most complete server list we’ve seen among our VPN providers. NordVPN takes security seriously.
They have a service they call “Double VPN.” This feature takes two different servers and combines them into one for twice the encryption and an ultra-secure connection.
Their user-friendly VPN apps come fully loaded with a kill switch to protect your data from dropping into the wrongs hands.
The software is compatible with all platforms (Windows, macOS) and devices. Also, a user can find tutorials about the manual setup of the app on the website.
However, the speed leaves much to be desired and appears to be the weakest side of the provider compared to the best VPN services.
The price range appears from $4 to $12 per month, depending on the subscription plan with an ability to run up to 6 devices simultaneously.
- Easy to install and operate
- Customer service is incredibly helpful and very patient
- Multi-platform integration
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Good for torrenting- specialty servers are available.
- Allows for access to Netflix and other video streaming platforms.
- Up to 6 simultaneous connections allowed – more than most.
- 7-day trial available along with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Connection speeds are slower than most people would prefer
- The security breach was a worrying event
- Apps require a bit of a learning curve
IPVanish is another strong performer in our VPN tests. IPVanish keeps zero logs. Zero. We also like the company’s stance towards privacy.
They even provide support to EFF, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit at the front lines of protecting online privacy.
The company claims to offer “the world’s fastest VPN”, with more than 40,000 shared IPs, almost a thousand VPN servers spread across 60 countries, unlimited P2P traffic.
The good news continued when we tried some real-world tests. Servers were always up, and connected quickly; download speeds were above average; torrents are supported on every server, and we were able to unblock BBC iPlayer and US Netflix.
A unique feature of IPVanish, and one we’re very intrigued by, is the VPN’s support of Kodi, the open-source media streaming app that was once known as XBMC.
Any serious media fan has used or built Kodi or XBMC into a media player, and the integrated IPVanish Kodi plugin provides access to media worldwide.
Single plan pricing begins at $10/month-to-month then drops to $6.49/month if you sign up for a whole year at $77.99.
Their 7-day money-back guarantees will be processed in 10 business days if canceled on the website.
Refunds of variably priced currencies, including BitCoin, are paid at the US Dollar exchange rate at the time of refund.
- 0 logs
- Accepts Bitcoin
- 700+ servers in 60+ countries
- Solid encryption
- Good leak protection
- Customer support
- Powerful, configurable apps
- Excellent download speeds
- No free trial
- Presence in Fourteen Eyes and Enemies of the Internet countries
- Need separate SmartDNS provider
CyberGhost has an impressive number of servers, offering 5,900+ servers across 90+ different countries. That is the biggest server park we’ve seen.
If privacy is your chief concern, Cyberghost has you covered with a winning combination of Romanian jurisdiction coupled with a strict ‘no logging’ policy.
Your privacy will remain intact, no matter what. On top of that, there were no DNS or WebRTC leaks, whatsoever. We should know, we tested it six different times to be sure.
Cyberghost also includes a kill switch, that will shut your session down immediately if any leak springs in your VPN tunnel.
This is a perfect Plan B in case you have any concerns about your connection.
One feature in particular, which stands out, is the option of kicking off the VPN when specific apps are launched. Torrent users will be happy to hear that this service supports them on most of its servers. Performance-wise it is solid.
CyberGhost offers four plans: $12.99 a month, $3.69 a month billed every two years, $2.75 a month billed $99 every three years, or $5.99 a month billed $71.88 every 12 months.
(Note that these are billed upfront, however, there is a 45-day money-back guarantee.)
- Excellent performance on speed test
- Great UI and overall experience
- One of the best no-log privacy policies
- Comes standard with ad blocker and malware blocker
- 1-click streaming and torrent-optimized settings
- Connect up to 7 simultaneous devices
- Cross-platform features with full access to streaming services.
- Limited servers overseas mean Cyberghost works best in North America and Europe
6. Pure VPN
PureVPN does not log connection information. The company joined the “no log” movement in 2018, which was recently verified via a third-party audit by Althius IT (albeit one commissioned and paid for by PureVPN).
PureVPN is all about ease of use and completely takes the guesswork out of server selection, which is great for the first-time user.
All you have to do is choose between various well-defined modes like Stream, File Sharing, and more, and then pick a specific purpose or the server closest to you.
The Settings or Preferences menu is simple, and the various security features come with small descriptions to make them easier to understand.
Of course, you can leave the default settings in place if you don’t want to worry about these options.
With ten years of experience, it’s no wonder the company offers an impressive server coverage – 141 countries, 180 locations, and 750+ self-managed servers. Do note that some of these servers are virtual.
There are no third-parties involved and the provider doesn’t log user activities. All servers support OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, and IKEv2. Considering Pure VPN often pops up as a highly-recommended provider.
Pure VPN doesn’t offer a free trial. Instead, you can purchase a 3-day subscription for $2.5 to test the ins and outs. If you ask me, that’s better than subscribing for a month just to try a service.
- An excellent client with pre-configured modes for streaming, P2P, privacy
- Kill switch
- Support for a wide range of protocols, including OpenVPN
- Great for newbies and experienced users alike
- Wide server coverage
- Good speeds
- 24/7 support
- Accepts Bitcoin
- No free trial
- The 7-day money-back guarantee comes with restrictions
- No Netflix
- No BBC iPlayer
- The client is not as “one-click” as advertised, and troubleshooting requires technical skills
7. Private Internet Access
Speaking of price, if you want a solid VPN provider, Private Internet Access is the place to go.
Private Internet Access is an American-based company that has thousands of servers worldwide and is one of the most trusted names in the VPN space.
There are many VPNs among our top picks that could be used for downloading torrents, but our preferred choice is Private Internet Access.
This no-frills VPN has an absolute ton of servers, good speeds, and a nice amount of country locations to remain relatively anonymous.
Private Internet Access has secured its spot as one of the most widespread and well-known Virtual Private Networks on the market.
Now in its 7th year, this American-based company has thousands of servers worldwide and continues to be one of the most trusted names in the VPN space.
The key to getting the most savings with this vendor is buying their two-year plan for $83.87. That works out to $3.49 per month.
They also offer a one-year plan for $71.88, but as you can see, you can get an entire additional year for less than ten bucks if you sign up for their two-year plan.
- Very affordable plans (as low as $3.33 per month)
- A plethora of security options, and features including Kill Switch and leak protection
- Huge number of servers means very consistent and reliable connection
- Speed and performance are well below average
- Interface is not as polished as newer VPNs – it’s less user-friendly
8. Strong VPN
With a name like StrongVPN, you expect a VPN service that will be a heavyweight when it comes to privacy and security.
So, of course, there’s the usual array of zero-logging, minimal personal information gathered at the start, no information selling and turn off-able cookies.
All of which is admirable – we’d just have liked to see a bit more specific detail readily available on the provider’s website without digging into the 1,000+ pages of small-print.
Strong also picks up kudos for its large base of IP addresses, which also helps protect your anonymity.
They have a solid collection of servers and worldwide locations. For those of you who need a dedicated IP, you can get one from the company, but you’ll need to contact support to get help setting it up.
One of StrongVPN’s strongest strengths is the company’s network. They own and operate their entire network infrastructure, which means they have no externally-dictated limits on bandwidth or the type of traffic allowed on the network.
This gives you the confidence that you’ll be able to power through your work.
StrongVPN’s regular monthly price of $10 is in the middle of the pack, but their yearly price of $69.99 is among the lowest of our contenders.
- Impressive connection speeds
- No logging
- Money-back guarantee option
- Applications accessible for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
- Free StrongDNS advertised
- 5 days Money Back Guarantee
- Limited servers
- Costly month to month design
- US-based VPN Provider
- Boycotted IP tends to revealed by clients
9. TunnelBear VPN
Whenever someone mentions TunnelBear, ease of use is the first thing that comes to mind.
This Canada-based VPN offers extremely good user experience, but also plenty of clients to choose from on both desktop and mobile platforms.
It’s not the largest server coverage on the market, but their VPN provides acceptable speeds and high-end privacy for a reasonable price.
If you’re after the ease of use and no-hassle experience, you just might find TunnelBear an ideal solution for the moment.
Its hassle-free approach is clearly visible from the company’s website – the language is as simple as it can be.
Experts, on the other hand, might not enjoy not being able to get access to all the nuts and bolts of the clients. So if you’re a beginner – this one is for you.
Usability is superb with its client. The map, locations list, and the settings are as straightforward and self-explanatory as they can get.
TunnelBear settings focus on fundamentals. They deploy OpenVPN by default and 256-bit encryption, but there’s no breakdown of technicalities or ways to tweak them.
Their monthly plan is worth $9.99 that covers up to five devices – no data caps. The 1-year plan is billed for $59.88 ($4.99 per month).
The best deal is the 2-year plan that will set you off $99.99, which is a bargain by all modern standards.
- Strong encryption and no activity logs
- Five simultaneous connections
- Unblocks BBC iPlayer
- Cross-platform with native mobile apps
- Sleek, intuitive client
- 900 servers in 20 locations
- Same-continent servers offer reasonable speeds
- DNS leaks
- No kill switch
- Long-distance servers are slow
- No refunds
- Based in Canada
- Ticket-based support
10. Safer VPN
SaferVPN is an Israeli provider with “all the right moves.” Cross-platform and easy-to-use, it features 700+ servers in 34 countries and very decent speeds.
SaferVPN claims to be the fastest and simplest VPN service around, and I found it to be one of the best VPN services around during my review.
The speeds are also as fast, if not faster, than more expensive options like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Of course, VPN connection speeds depend on a lot of factors, so not everybody might have the same experience that I did.
Considering the feature set, I was expecting to see the high-end price list, but SaferVPN turned out on the affordable side.
Usability and cross-platform support are excellent with SaferVPN. They support all the popular platforms – Windows, Mac, iOS and Android mobile platforms and routers. It is also available as a Chrome extension
The good news is the SaferVPN offers a 24-hour trial period as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee, which should be more than enough time for you to figure out if this is the right VPN service for you.
Their monthly plan is a bit steep at $9.99, but the yearly subscription chops it off almost by half and kicks in at $59.95. The two-year plan, however, beats them all with an $83.77 price tag.
- 24-hour free trial
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Ample selection of encryption protocols
- Up to 5 simultaneous connections
- Broad server coverage
- Unblocks BBC iPlayer
- 24/7 live chat support
- Kill switch
- Session logging
- Israeli jurisdiction
- No P2P allowed
- No Netflix US
VyprVPN provides solid security, a promise of extra security from prying eyes and ease of use that I greatly appreciated.
Swiss-based VyprVPN is a well-specified service that boasts more than 70 server locations and a stack of unusual high-end features.
The company has its own zero-knowledge DNS service, for instance. Its proprietary Chameleon protocol could help you get online even in VPN-blocking countries like China and Iran.
And platform support covers everything from the regular Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS apps, to routers, Android TV, QNAP, Blackphone, Anonabox and more.
Clients are very intuitive, especially the Windows offering, and the service includes VyprDNS and the Chameleon protocol to provide extra security.
VyprVPN offers a 3-day free trial and a menu of three paid plans – basic, pro, and premier – each with a choice of monthly or annual billing.
Each plan gives you simultaneous connections and unlimited data. Pro and premier provide protection from deep packet inspection (DPI) except on iOS devices.
- Protected by Swiss privacy laws
- Top tier plans provide extra layers of security
- The best plan offers 5 simultaneous connections
- All plans have unlimited data
- High performance
- Competitive pricing
- Easy to use interface
- Significantly slower PING could be an issue for gamers
- Difficult to pay for service anonymously
12. Mullvad VPN
Mullvad VPN is owned by a Swedish-based Amagicom AB, a cybersecurity company well-known in the Nordic region. Mullvad is the Swedish for a mole – a suitable name for a VPN company.
Mullvad stresses user privacy. Unlike most paid VPN services, you don’t need to enter a password to use Mullvad.
Instead, you log in with a randomly generated account number. More to the point, you don’t ever need to give Mullvad any name or email address, and you can pay for the service anonymously, including cash.
Mullvad connections are protected by AES-256 encryption, while clients are authenticated using RSA-4096 encryption and use an SHA-384 handshake.
OpenVPN connections are rekeyed every hour and the company operates its own key exchange infrastructure.
There’s only one plan – Mullvad charges 5 euro per month in any currency based on the current exchange rates.
- Three-hour free trial
- No registration, even for paid members
- Accepts anonymous payments
- No logs
- Solid security and doesn’t leak DNS
- Simple UI, cross-platform client
- Unblocks Steam US libraries
- Allows P2P and up to five simultaneous connections
- No native mobile apps
- Didn’t unblock Netflix or BBC iPlayer in my tests
13. Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield is a US-based VPN from AnchorFree operating right out the Silicon Valley. Hotspot Shield VPN comes as an app and a browser extension in both free and paid packages.
Performance-wise it lacks for nothing, there’s an ever so slight increase in latency, with both upload and download speeds a bit faster after being connected.
Hotspot Shield is a good VPN for torrenting. The provider allows torrenting on all servers and all device platforms.
The VPN will mask your IP address and hide your P2P activity from your ISP. Hotspot Shield also delivers on its promise of excellent download and upload speeds, which is ideal for P2P file sharing.
One of the features that make Hotspot Shield special is its unique Catapult Hydra protocol, which maximizes speed without sacrificing security.
The paid Elite plan kicks in at €12.99 a month, €95.88 a year, and €107.64 for 3 years. It does away with the limitations and lets you stream, and access a modest network of 20 server locations.
It does away with the limitations and lets you stream, and access a modest network of 20 server locations.
- Affordable long-term plan
- Free version available
- Impressive speeds
- Geared toward non-technical users
- 30-day refund policy
- No advanced customization
- Shares your data with third parties routinely
- Free version is barely useful
- No Netflix, no BBC iPlayer
- Avoid using it for torrenting due to the US copyright laws
- Support is ticket-based and slow
14. Windscribe VPN
Based in Canada, Windscribeis a welcome addition to the VPN market, building on well-received features and functionality of preceding services, while also offering its own unique appeal.
Windscribe is a capable VPN service that delivers more than you might expect in many areas.
You get clients for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux, for instance, as well as Chrome, Firefox and Opera extensions, and guides for manually setting up the service on routers, Kodi and more.
Windscribe’s strongest selling point is that it offers unlimited connections with its commercial plans, so it can cover everything, regardless of how many machines you throw at it.
The standard subscription with unlimited data runs $9/month, or $49/year ($4.08 per month). Most people are on a $2-$3/month plan – which is to say, there are options along the pricing spectrum.
- Top tier privacy and security
- Great UI and tutorial features
- Ability to connect any number of devices simultaneously
- Free version allows 10GB/month of bandwidth, enough for some users
- Browser extensions
- iOS and Android apps
- No live customer support
- Only average speeds
15. Hide.me VPN
Hide.me is an excellent VPN provider that can confirm its commitment to zero logs storage, gigabit speeds, and simplicity clearly sets it apart in the industry.
Hide.me has 1400+ servers across 55 countries, across Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
The service uses a wide range of protocols: IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP, IPsec, OpenVPN, Softether, SOCKS, and SSTP. They offer AES-256 encryption and a kill switch for maximum security.
The service is compatible with multiple devices including Android, iOS, macOS, Routers, Windows, Windows Phone, Chrome, Firefox, BlackBerry, and Amazon Fire Stick, and allows up to 10 simultaneous connections.
With both the monthly and annual plans, you can connect to the 1,400 hide.me servers in 55 countries. All of these now let you access unlimited data, plus 10 device connections on a single account.
According to the hide.me website, this plan is the most popular. It starts at $5.41 per month and comes with comprehensive features that suit heavy VPN users, especially businesses.
Some of its additional features include the ability to carry out unlimited data transfer and port forwarding.
- Lifetime free plan available
- Port forwarding available
- Certified zero logs
- Independent from any government interference
- Supports modern security protocols
- Outstanding speeds
- Applications for mobile devices available
- 24/7 customer support
- Complexity in setting up simultaneous connections
- Number of servers may not sufficiently handle heavy traffic