If you are a PC or smartphone user, there is a great chance that you have access to the internet. So, you probably use the internet daily for different purposes, such as networking with friends and people online, working on your business or brand, managing your finances, streaming movies and music, and surfing the web generally.
With hackers, cybercriminals, and fraudsters on the prowl, online security has become very important. Your data is crucial, and the bad guys will do anything within their power to get it. It may interest you to know that the internet isn’t as safe as you think it is.
There are apps and websites with spyware, government institutions that spy on their citizens, internet providers that sell users’ data to the highest bidder, advertisers that use trackers to target their online audience, and marketers that sell people’s emails and phone numbers. Your data is valuable, so treat it like it’s gold.
While protecting your data may look quite challenging, a VPN can help protect your data from being monitored or stolen by cybercriminals, hackers, the government, or your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
ATTENTION: Hackers, ISPs, and even your government constantly snoop on your internet traffic and monitor your online activity. Therefore, you may land into trouble for accessing copyrighted content on your Fire TV Stick. We recommend getting the best FireStick VPN to shield your IP address whilst securely streaming your favorite movies, shows, and TV content.
Specifically, ExpressVPN is offering a whopping three extra months free on their yearly plan.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts your internet traffic and browsing data, making it unreadable for anyone trying to spy. They conceal your IP address so you can use the internet anonymously and privately.
VPNs have become valuable cybersecurity tools for anyone using the internet. With a VPN service, no one, not even the government or your Internet Service Provider, can track your activity on the web. Perhaps, you want to stay anonymous while using public Wi-Fi; a VPN will help.
Furthermore, a VPN service guarantees you internet freedom; they unblock geo-restricted content and give you access to services that are unavailable in your region. For instance, a VPN can help you watch Hulu on your Nintendo Switch abroad. VPNs can help you block intrusive ads and certain types of content and keep you away from harmful websites and apps.
Connecting to the Internet on your laptop or desktop is fine. But sometimes, you need a little privacy when browsing. Corporate firewalls or restrictive internet providers can interfere with your online activities and even keep you from viewing certain websites. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) help you avoid this by giving you an encrypted tunnel to route your information through.
If you want to maintain your online security and privacy, choosing a VPN is the way to go. I believe you already know the value of using a VPN. However, you cannot use any VPN out there. With lots of underperforming VPNs, choosing the best VPN may look like a daunting exercise.
Relax! We’ve done the entire work for you. We are familiar with several VPN brands and have tested some of them. We are really excited to share the results from the thousands of hours we invested in testing and reviewing these VPNs. In this article, we will discuss what a VPN is and how it works, the benefits of using a virtual private network, how to choose a VPN service, and the best VPN brands.
Table of Contents
What Is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) Service?
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, refers to a piece of software installed on your device that directs your internet connection using its services around the globe. What this means is that your internet traffic and activity will be hidden in an encrypted channel, and your IP address will be changed.
Connecting to a VPN service will replace your IP address, and your web traffic will be very difficult for anyone on the same public Wi-Fi network to track. Virtual Private Networks protect your online privacy by making you anonymous; they change your location online and trick sites like Hulu and Netflix into showing you content blocked in your region.
How Does a VPN Work?
When you want to connect to a website or use the internet, your device sends a query to your ISP’s DNS server requesting its IP address. Next, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) routes your request to the website’s server.
When your device crunches the data, it displays data with pictures and pictures once it is fully loaded. While this happens, it leaves traces of your online activity. In the long run, your ISP can get a lot of information from you while having a peek at what you are doing online, and this doesn’t sound good.
Generally, VPNs connect the internet user to a private server rather than a public one. The private server encrypts your internet traffic and activity in a tunnel. It changes your IP address, which makes it incredibly difficult to hack even on a public Wi-Fi network.
You may be wondering to know how a VPN encrypts your web traffic. Web traffic is typically encrypted using the current industry standards such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL), the Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA 2), and AES-256 encryption. By the time the VPN creates the encrypted tunnel, it sends your data to a server using some protocols such as Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP).
At times, VPNs can encrypt your internet traffic many times using multiple servers; this process is known as “multi-hop”.
You may not be aware of these VPN protocols since all you do is connect to any server and have your IP changed and your internet traffic encrypted. This is just a way to best describe how a VPN works.
A variety of VPN service programs have services located in different parts of the world for users to connect as locally as possible. The closer the service is to your region or location, the faster the speed while connected.
By installing a VPN program on your router, app, or computer, you can switch your location to another country and prevent your ISP from intruding on your online privacy. Suppose you are using public and unprotected Wi-Fi offerings in hotels, schools, coffee shops, bars, and airports. In that case, the VPN program can actually protect your sensitive information from being seen by people who are up to something nefarious.
As we mentioned earlier, a VPN encrypts your internet traffic. This means that your activity cannot be detected even if your IP address is intercepted. You can browse and use the internet in total secrecy and anonymity, as hackers, cybercriminals, your ISP, and even your government will not see your online activity.
Maybe you want to access sites that ordinarily you can’t access with your ISP, or you want to unblock content on YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix, or you live in China or Russia, and you can’t access some streaming channels – get a VPN.
Do you want to unblock Kodi, Skype, Pandora, Hulu, Spotify, and Netflix libraries? Do you want a safe and secure profile on public Wi-Fi networks? Do you want to torrent anonymously? Check out this list of the best VPN services in 2023 to help you make an informed decision.
Best VPN Services In 2023
VPNs are a nice option for ensuring your privacy and security. They can also unlock geo-blocked content from different countries. As I will show you, there is a huge amount of choice on the market, but not all are trustworthy.
Ideally, the best VPN services will encrypt your internet traffic on free public Wi-FI, bypass internet geo-restrictions at great speed, hide your IP address, and protect your data.
I’ve rounded up a list of the best VPNs based first on variables such as privacy tools, data, speed, and security. I’ll share what I know about these VPNs and give you useful information that will benefit you, especially if you are searching for a VPN.
We rate the following VPN services as the best for smartphones, laptops, desktops, routers, video game consoles, and streaming devices.
1. Nord VPN (Best VPN)
- Country of registration: Panama.
- Number of servers: 5,200+.
- Location: Across 60 countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to 6.
- Special features: Split tunneling.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, and VPN routers.
NordVPN is one of the most recognized companies in the VPN industry. Over the years, they have set a standard for internet security and privacy. NordVPN offers a sufficient number of simultaneous connections; you can connect up to six devices simultaneously on this network.
One of the reasons why NordVPN is regarded as the best VPN is due to its split tunneling feature. If you don’t know what split tunneling is, it is the ability to allow or permit certain activities, such as streaming or gaming, to circumvent the VPN technology and use the normal ‘clearnet’ for optimal performance.
Nord isn’t free itself but offers different subscription plans for customers. However, it does offer a full 30-day refund policy. The standard plan, which costs $4.99 a month or $59 per year, gives you a wide range of features, such as access to more than 5,000 servers in over 60 countries and the ability to connect up to 6 devices simultaneously. The two-year plan costs $3.99 per month or $96 for 24 months.
NordVPN comes with a great set of security features. This company shows concern and values your privacy as well as online security by providing you with three different encryption protocols, including NordLynx, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. NordLynx is its own version of WireGuard, which gives you great speeds without compromising your security. Also, it provides you with an ad and malware blocker. NordVPN has every tool you need to have a secure and anonymous online presence.
On top of that, the company has a strict logging policy. It doesn’t record or save your browser history, personal web logs, IP address, or bandwidth usage data. It uses diskless servers and will not record any data locally. NordVPN is based in Panama, which is outside the jurisdiction and control of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliances. If you need a VPN to avoid any surveillance from a government, your ISP, or the government, NordVPN is what you need.
There are certain reasons why we placed NordVPN above other VPNs. First, it offers a dedicated IP option, which is great for people who do not want to share a single IP address with other NordVPN users. Moreover, NordVPN has a kill switch feature, which disables your connection automatically whenever the VPN server drops or fails. With this feature, no one will know your information or see your real data, even when the VPN server suffers an outage or downtime.
We have seen NordVPN perform well in our speed tests, which makes it one of the fastest VPNs. In our NordVPN Vs. ExpressVPN comparison, we found NordVPN’s speed to be incredibly fast, and there was nothing like service interruptions or sudden dips.
NordVPN offers double VPN services (multi-hop connections), which route your web traffic through two servers for better, improved security. Its VPN plans come with other add-ons, such as a password manager (NordPass) and NordLocker, a file encryption service. It boasts an audited no-logs policy and has different server types, including obfuscated servers.
It supports varieties of devices, including Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Raspberry Pi, Xbox, Chromecast, and Fire TV. It is important to know that they made our list of the best Fire TV Stick VPNs. So, any device in your home can actually be connected to this VPN. This SmartPlay technology allows you to use this VPN even on devices that don’t support native VPN apps.
NordVPN is capable of unblocking any streaming service, including BBCiPlayer, Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, DAZN, and Hulu. Moreover, it has dedicated, easy-to-use apps for Android and iOS as well as major platforms such as Windows, Linux, and macOS.
The NordVPN interface is one of the most attractive and easy to use. It earns a place in our list of best Chrome VPN extensions. It is rare to face technical issues with this VPN, but whenever you do, you can always make use of the 24/7 live chat service for support. If you want to save money, the two-year plan gives you the best offer. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee on your purchase.
2.SurfShark (Best VPN for Security)
- Country of registration: British Virgin Islands.
- Number of servers: 3,200+.
- Location: 65 countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: Unlimited.
- Special features: 7-day free trial (for iOS, macOS, and Android), Double VPN hop.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, VPN routers, and Smart TVs.
Surfshark is one of the newcomers, but it competes with the best VPNs. This company is hard to beat because it provides premium VPN services at a much lower price. If you are looking to protect their privacy on a cheap budget, Surfshark has got you covered.
This VPN company has a large network of over 3,200 servers in over 65 countries and is reasonably priced at $2.49 per month over 24 months. Not just that, but they allow an unlimited number of simultaneous connections.
For such an inexpensive VPN, Surfshark offers a lot of functionalities and features. That includes GPS spoofing on Android, a malware blocker, split tunneling, and multi-hop connections. The ‘Override GPS location’ feature stops Android mobile apps from using GPS to know your real location.
Other features include Camouflage mode to reduce ISP snooping, CleanWeb for ad-free browsing, and NoBorders mode to use the VPN in restricted regions. The camouflage mode obfuscates your traffic to make it look like you are not using a VPN. This can be vital, especially if you are traveling or staying in a country that bans VPN use. All Surfshark’s servers support P2P connections, which makes it great for people who do a lot of torrenting.
Surfshark offers top-notch security tools such as the unbeatable AES-256 encryption coupled with other secure tunneling protocols like OpenVPN UDP or TCP, WireGuard, and IKEv2/IPsec. It has an audited no-logs policy and uses private DNS to protect your online activities.
Furthermore, this VPN works well with different streaming services such as YouTube, HBO Now, DAZN, Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Hotstar, AbemaTV, YLE Areena, and Apple TV. In fact, it is one of the best Apple TV VPNs and the best VPNs for YouTubeTV out there. If you want to watch content abroad or you are tired of streaming websites preventing you from seeing foreign content, use this VPN. Apart from unblocking content on streaming services, Surfshark can get you into Japanese, Australian, Canadian, US, and UK Netflix.
It has apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Fire TV, smart TV, and routers. Also, there is no limit to the number of devices you can use with this VPN. Moreover, you can configure your Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and other game consoles to run on Surfshark VPN through DNS settings. You can as well whitelist some websites and apps to bypass the VPN automatically.
Regardless of your operating system or device, you will experience fast speeds with this VPN service. However, the speeds may not be up to what you will get from NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
We would have loved to see the dedicated IP feature on Surfshark. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer dedicated IP addresses. However, it freely lets you connect on a limited number of shared static IP addresses manually. Overall, Surfshark is great for personal and business use. If you are looking for a cheap but high-quality VPN service, try out Surfshark. In case it doesn’t give you what you offer, you can take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee to claim a refund.
3. AtlasVPN (Best VPN for Beginners)
- Country of registration: United States.
- Number of servers: 750+.
- Location: 37 locations across 30+ countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: Unlimited.
- Special features: Split tunneling.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Android, Fire TV, Android TV, iOS, Windows, and macOS.
AtlasVPN offers SafeSwap servers, which help improve your online security and privacy. This feature allows you to rotate and change IP addresses without switching VPN servers. This VPN uses dynamic addresses rather than static IP addresses, which assigns a new address to you each time you log in, making it difficult for you to be tracked.
Safeswap servers draw from a variety of IP addresses with outgoing traffic routed to the addresses. Still, you don’t notice any drop in the speeds. Particularly, this is vital if you are streaming. Asides from AtlasVPN, no other VPN provider offers this feature or something of this nature.
Whether you are looking for a VPN for streaming or gaming, Atlas servers are up to the task. The server network may be smaller than other VPNs. However, this is a new service with ample time to improve. With AtlasVPN, you will be able to bypass the geo-restrictions on Netflix and view content and shows from different countries in the world. Perhaps, you are not a fan of Netflix, but this VPN service will not fail to unblock content on BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu, and other streaming services.
The best things don’t always have to be pricey. Even the most expensive tools become a waste when they don’t give you what you need. Atlas gives you secure and top-quality features at a low price. In other words, this top-tier VPN service offers great value for the money. Atlas VPN offers a data breach monitor along with other features such as unlimited simultaneous connections, a free data plan, and a kill switch, which prevents data leaks.
Many VPNs offer extra features and add-ons such as dedicated IP addresses as well as free data and cloud storage. AtlasVPN offers a data breach monitor across all its premium plans. This monitor inspects leaked databases looking for your personal data and information. Although it may not be as accurate as the best ID theft services, it alerts you beforehand so you can lock down your accounts and change your credentials.
The implementation of the WireGuard VPN protocol seems to have increased the performance of the Atlas VPN. The speed of this VPN makes it ideal for streaming, gaming, and other online activities. AtlasVPN offers unlimited simultaneous connections, so you don’t have to worry about which device to connect to the VPN. You can get all your devices connected to this VPN and keep yourself protected.
Moving on, there is a SafeBrowse feature on this VPN app, which helps block malicious websites. You should enjoy a malware-free experience while using the Atlas VPN. Virtually every VPN has an app for its users – desktop and mobile apps. This VPN company has apps for iOS and Android as well as macOS and Windows. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee you can always use if the service doesn’t meet your expectations.
4. ExpressVPN (Best VPN for Streaming)
- Country of registration: British Virgin Islands.
- Number of servers: 3,000+.
- Location: 160 locations across 94 countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to 5.
- Special features: Split tunneling.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Kindle Fire, Chrome OS, Smart TVs, VPN routers, and gaming consoles.
Looking at its server network and an array of features, you can tell that ExpressVPN offers the best VPN services. It is incredibly fast and secure, and boasts a large fleet of servers spread across 94 countries. With more than 3,000 servers in 160 locations stretched over 94 countries, you can tell that ExpressVPN is suitable for anyone residing or traveling outside the United States.
If you ever experience technical issues, their 24/7 customer support team is always on the ground to help you solve them. Particularly, this VPN service is best suited for lag-free gaming, fast HD streaming, and private torrenting. ExpressVPN provides an intuitive, user-friendly, and easy-to-use interface that is loaded with a lot of basic and advanced features.
It offers great speeds without sacrificing security and is packed with top security features such as AES-256 encryption. It also features integrated speed testing, bypassing ISP throttling, a kill switch, split tunneling, built-in threat protection, and IP address masking.
It provides support for major platforms such as Android, macOS, Linux, and Windows. When you search for quality VPN services, you will find ExpressVPN almost topping every list, including our list of the best VPNs for Windows and the best VPN for Linux so its high prices can be overlooked.
You don’t need to worry about compatibility because ExpressVPN gives you functionalities to download and use their VPN technology on other devices like routers. It has a Smart DNS feature (MediaStreamer) that you can use to install VPN on certain devices like gaming consoles that don’t provide native support for VPNs.
It should be noted that ExpressVPN supports only five simultaneous connections with a single subscription – and this is the lowest number in our reviews. However, any subscription you get gives you 24-hour customer service and high-speed unlimited throttling.
If you install Express VPN on your router, you can use that same router to protect all your devices. Now, ExpressVPN sees your router as a single device, so regardless of how many devices you connect to your router, the VPN system counts them as one. In this way, you can pair all your devices and even have more than five devices connected to the VPN at the same time.
ExpressVPN is capable of unblocking any streaming service, including Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, and Netflix. If you have been searching for a VPN to unblock blacklisted websites or circumvent restrictions on streaming services, ExpressVPN will do just that.
Anyone can set up and connect their devices to the ExpressVPN server without stress. All ExpressVPN’s servers enable P2P traffic without logging or tracking your data transfers. Furthermore, this VPN company is one of the most secure and safe VPNs to use. ExpressVPN can help block DNS leaks and WebRTC leaks.
For the records, ExpressVPN is more suited for personal use than business use. It is designed to safeguard individual VPN users and not corporate entities and companies. We noticed that ExpressVPN has no business VPN plan, it has no unlimited number of simultaneous connections and it doesn’t offer a dedicated IP address or other business-friendly features. So, if you are looking for a business VPN service to track and monitor the behavior of your employees, this VPN may not be for you.
ExpressVPN has been in the business of protecting the data and information of internet users for more than a decade. They have a network of fast VPN servers, and impressively, the speeds are above that of an average VPN.
The downside of this VPN is that it is more expensive than most VPN services out there. Still, a lot of people are willing to pay more for ExpressVPN products and services because they are getting what they paid for. If you want to get this VPN at a cheap price, get a long-term plan.
ExpressVPN is a VPN company that delivers what it claims to offer. In case you’re having any issues connecting to a server or unblocking a streaming service, their customer support is always available to help. Also, the how-to guides and articles on their blog can help you if you find anything tricky or confusing.
5. Private Internet Access (Best VPN for Windows)
- Country of registration: United States.
- Number of servers: 29,000+.
- Location: 84 countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to 10.
- Special features: Split tunneling, publicly available source code, and anonymous payments.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with macOS, Linux, Windows, iOS, Android, smart TVs, and VPN routers.
One of the biggest names in the VPN industry is Private Internet Access. They have been around for a long time; instead of fading into obscurity, PIA has cemented its status as one of the best VPNs. This American-based company has a robust VPN service, which gives you everything you expect from an ideal VPN service provider.
Apart from having a large server network, it delivers a high level of security and fast connection speeds, especially during file sharing. It features the market-standard AES-256 encryption as well as OpenVPN and the latest open-source WireGuard VPN protocol. Private Internet Access (PIA) has lots of advanced security settings. It shields your IP address, protects your information, and scrambles your internet activity using encryption tools.
We mentioned that PIA has one of the largest numbers of servers in the VPN industry. PIA claims to have more than 31,000 servers across 84 countries. If this is true, it means that PIA users and customers can never be stranded even when they travel to regions with internet censorship.
If you are a Linux user, it may interest you to know that this VPN has a native app designed for you to ensure the security and privacy of your internet activity. Other amazing features this VPN service provides include dedicated IP addresses, a no-logs policy, split tunneling, a kill switch in case the VPN connection drops or fails, multi-hop connections, and anonymous payment when buying tuffs on the internet.
Private Internet Access, or PIA as it is fondly called, supports up to ten simultaneous connections. You can include the dedicated IP address option in your subscription for an extra $5 per month. The dedicated IP address add-on is a useful feature for you if you will be using the VPN for work or business-related issues.
Moreover, this VPN service supports Netflix, and Disney+ along with other major streaming websites. Even though it can access US Netflix, it doesn’t give you the number of countries you will get from NordVPN and Surfshark.
In our review, we discovered that PIA servers are unable to unblock BBC iPlayer. Nonetheless, PIA’s server network is one of the most secure we’ve ever seen. The PIA VPN comes with port forwarding, which increases torrenting speeds and also helps with seeding files. At the moment, they are the best VPN for torrenting and anonymous file-sharing. However, it is not permitted on US servers.
One of the things you should keep in mind is that Private Internet Access is based in the United States, which is a Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes member. However, the founder claims that the company doesn’t retain customers’ logs. Also, PIA has never been requested to hand over the data of its users.
Private Internet Access ensures the privacy and anonymity of its users by using dynamic IP addresses over static addresses. What this means is that you get a new IP address each time you use the PIA VPN network. Ideally, this makes it harder for anyone to recognize you.
Despite its robust set of features, PIA is one of the cheapest and best-budget VPNs right now. You can get a subscription at PIA for as low as $39.95 for one year or $79 for three years. If you are streaming or browsing, this VPN will give you decent speeds.
We feel that the speed may not be fast enough for some users, especially the ones using iMacs and MacBooks. However, the feature of this VPN service is attractive for individuals as well as small businesses. If you are new to VPNs, you can give PIA a trial. They have a 30-day money-back guarantee, and they provide good customer service.
6. IPVanish (Best VPN for Android)
- Country of registration: United States.
- Number of servers: 2,000.
- Location: 75 locations across 50 countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: Unlimited.
- Special features: Independently audited no-logs policy.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Android, Windows, Chrome OS, macOS, iOS, Linux, and Fire TV.
IPVanish is a company that gives you all the features you’d want from a VPN. Apart from being reliable and safe to use, it offers other features such as split tunneling, strong encryption, fast speeds, and doesn’t save streaming activity logs. All of which makes it ideal for anyone looking for the best VPN services to use.
Despite having over 2,000 VPN servers across 75 locations, IPVanish gives you unlimited simultaneous connections for a low price of just $3.33 per month. This US-based VPN company runs its own servers, which makes it a great option for individuals who value their privacy.
Another set of people who would love this service would be people looking for Netflix-compatible VPNs to use. This VPN gives you access to US Netflix but struggles with Disney+ and BBC iPlayer, and Netflix. Sadly, after connecting to this VPN server, we weren’t able to watch Amazon Prime Video.
One of the exciting features of the IPVanish VPN is that it supports Kodi, which is an open-source media streaming app used to be known as XBMC. IPVanish has tools for anonymous streaming, it works really well on Kodi and IPTV streaming apps. If you are an avid media fan, you most likely have used Kodi as a media player. Thankfully, IPVanish gives you access to worldwide media content on Kodi.
IPVanish protects your online privacy whether you are browsing the internet from home using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Moreover, it helps you avoid “Deep Packet Inspection”, which is mostly used by ISPs to limit the internet speeds of users. IPVanish VPN offers unmetered data transfer caps, which means that there is no restriction on the number of devices you can use. Ideally, this makes this VPN flexible and suitable for high-volume users as well as people with larger local networks.
It has a no-logs audit, indicating that they are concerned about protecting your privacy. Most of the VPNs we reviewed have privacy policies that stipulate the type of data they collect, the reason why they collect those types of data, and how they intend to use the data. However, not all of them have gone through audits like IPVanish. The Leviathan Security Group, top-notch, independent security and privacy auditing company, audited IPVanish’s privacy and security practices. After the audit, they discovered that, truthfully, IPVanish doesn’t log users’ usage data and browsing information. Another thing they found out is that IP Vanish doesn’t invade its users’ privacy, making it a top VPN for privacy-focused people.
A failing VPN or one that disconnects when in use can really expose your privacy. If your VPN suffers an outage or fails while you are using it, your ISP and the website or app you are on at that moment can see your real IP address. Therefore, VPN services need to have the kill switch feature. Fortunately, IPVanish offers the kill switch feature, which will disable the internet traffic on your connected devices should the VPN connection drop or fails.
It provides you with more than 40,000 IP addresses to use to protect your device. However, it lacks Smart DNS functionality, making it complicated to stream geo-blocked content on Apple TV and video game consoles.
Although IPVanish comes with great features, it still lacks additional features like a dedicated IP address add-on. If you are looking for a VPN for a large volume of work or business, you may find this VPN service interesting enough because it lacks a dedicated IP address add-on. Apart from that, it is a reliable VPN for anyone with a lot of gadgets and devices to protect.
7. ProtonVPN (Best Free VPN)
- Country of registration: Switzerland.
- Number of servers: 1700+.
- Location: 63 countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to 10.
- Special features: Split tunneling.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Android TV, Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Chromebook, and Linux.
ProtonVPN (now Proton) is an impressive VPN company that gives a wide fleet of cybersecurity tools. It is nice to start out with its robust fleets of features, such as split tunneling and a zero-logging policy.
It is designed with the double VPN feature, which enables you to use 2 VPN servers simultaneously. Like other top VPN providers in this list, Proton offers a wide range of VPN protocols. It uses strong AES encryption, as well as WireGuard and OpenVPN, which is assisted by Proton’s own VPN Accelerator tech for increased speeds. It has removed some weaker security protocols, such as L2TP and PPTP, which surprisingly are still being used by other VPN providers.
A kill switch feature essentially shuts your internet traffic and secures your data in case the VPN connection fails. Despite having a small fleet of servers, Proton boasts stellar speed performance. It has options to route your traffic through a secure set of private servers. Also, it has a strict no-logs policy and is 100% open-source with regularly published audits. ProtonVPN has annual transparency reports, which show that it doesn’t hand over customers’ data.
Looking at its high level of transparency and top-grade security standards, it is clear to see why it is pricier than other VPN providers we reviewed. To think of it, the company is domiciled in Geneva, Switzerland, which isn’t part of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes surveillance alliances.
What’s more interesting is that Proton VPN has Secure Core servers, which are physically located in secured privacy-friendly countries. They also have servers that support P2P traffic. If you are looking for a fast VPN for streaming, I recommend you try out Proton VPN. We experienced great speed when using ProtonVPN across our desktop and mobile devices. This VPN service has low latency and fast upload speed, which makes it perfect for anyone working from home or frequently having meetings on Zoom and other video conferencing tools.
This VPN really helps in unblocking a good number of streaming services, including Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer. It works with a variety of devices, including Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and even Linux. The ProtonVPN apps are not only minimalistic but also easy to use.
Furthermore, it collects a piece of small information from customers, like email addresses, payment details, and timestamps. Since it doesn’t save IP addresses or browsing information, you have nothing to worry about. In addition to Proton’s features, it supports multi-hop connections and gives you access to VPN into Tor servers. For increased privacy, Tor over VPN and alternate routing will allow you to browse safely in regions with limited internet usage.
ProtonVPN offers a free option that works on all platforms and devices. However, it is limited to a single device and offers servers in just 3 countries – Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States. Thankfully, the free version doesn’t have data limits and speed limits, so you can stream as much as you want with it.
The company at ProtonVPN has changed its system. They now offer more tools and functionalities. A ProtonVPN account gives you access to other tools such as ProtonDrive, ProtonCalender, and ProtonMail. Without a doubt, this VPN service is best-suitable for beginners as well as tech experts. Novices and first-timers looking for a VPN to use will be able to use this service.
Looking at the security features and functionalities offered by this company, it is evident that Proton is a VPN to beat. If you really care about your online privacy, you will be glad to use ProtonVPN even without worrying about the price tag. There’s a month-long money-back guarantee for you in case you didn’t like what you see.
8. Ivacy (Best Cheap VPN)
- Country of registration: British Virgin Islands.
- Number of servers: 3,000+.
- Location: 160 locations across 94 countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to 5.
- Special features: Split tunneling.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Kindle Fire, Chrome OS, Smart TVs, VPN routers, and gaming consoles.
If you are conscious and careful of your data while using the internet, you should consider using Ivacy VPN. To start with, Ivacy allows customers to make payments for its services without revealing any of their private or personal information. It accepts cryptocurrency as a payment method, which is great for any privacy and security-conscious person.
While lots of cheap and free VPNs make profits by selling customer information to third-party, Ivacy doesn’t keep any record of your online activity. It doesn’t save your browsing histories, IP address, or timestamps. However, it takes record of the following information:
- Your name.
- Payment method.
- Performance data.
- Failed connection attempts.
- Crash event reports.
- Application usage.
- Aggregated bandwidth usage.
It is quite understandable for IvacyVPN to take the abovementioned data to run the business effectively. There is nothing to worry about since they aren’t sensitive or private information.
What’s more interesting is that there are based in Singapore, which is a contributor but not a member of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes surveillance alliances. Therefore, the company cannot be coerced to hand over your data and information to any government agency.
Ivacy provides servers that have been configured and optimized for different purposes. You can find servers for downloading, streaming, and unblocking content on this VPN service. With Ivacy, you can access Netflix without any interruptions and restrictions. Apart from Netflix, Ivacy works well with other streaming services such as YouTube, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Kodi, Prime Video, and DAZN.
Ivacy offers a variety of global servers coupled with good streaming functionality, 100% anonymous payment options, and excellent security features – all at a low price. Ivacy VPN comes with a split tunneling feature, a kill switch, AES-256 encryption, and zero logs – which are all expected from every top VPN service. Although it doesn’t offer the WireGuard VPN protocol, which is known for fast speeds and high-level security, it provides other protocols, such as OpenVPN and IKEv2. You will still get quality performance from these VPN protocols offered by Ivacy.
Another feature to look for is the Ivacy Secure Download functionality, which scans your downloaded files for viruses and potentially harmful data. The Ivacy interface allows you to filter your servers to choose the best ones to use with a specific streaming service or app. You can save your preferences and favorites as well as select between a number of protocols.
Ivacy VPN can be used across 10 devices simultaneously and they have apps for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. Apart from these devices, it provides connectivity options for gaming consoles, routers, and smart TVs. So, you can keep all your devices protected by connecting them to Ivacy’s VPN server.
Truthfully, Ivacy provides the cheapest VPN services in the market. You can pay as low as $1.19 per month on this VPN platform and still get great value, but that is it if you sign up for the five-year subscription. If you don’t want to tie yourself for that long, you get can a year subscription for $3.99 a month. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to activate just if you are not happy or satisfied after making a purchase.
9. PureVPN (Best VPN for Travel)
- Country of registration: Hong Kong.
- Number of servers: 6,500+.
- Location: 96 locations across 78+ countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to 10.
- Special features: Split tunneling, P2P support.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, macOS, Chrome OS, smart TVs, and VPN routers.
Everyone has their reasons for using a VPN. If your main focus is security, you should look at PureVPN. PureVPN has been around for a while, and they have over 6500+ servers spread across 78 countries. Moreover, their VPN technology is compatible with various devices, and it provides an extra layer of protection for users.
PureVPN has apps for mobile devices, desktops, and also smart TVs. It offers a special collection of features, such as split tunneling, which allows you to whitelist some activities you don’t want to go through the VPN. It features P2P support and provides support for 10 simultaneous connections. Your entire family can use this VPN service without reaching the device limits. This VPN service gives you a personal IP address to use on certain websites. Also, you can use online services and browse the internet through the VPN server and on the Clearnet at the same time.
It comes with top-level security features, including the industry-standard AES-256 encryption, which is widely recognized in the industry. PureVPN happens to be the first-ever VPN service provider to implement the GDPR fully. Additionally, it is the first VPN company with an always-on audit. It is mind-blowing to see that PureVPN does not log connection information. It has its no-logging credentials checked and verified by an audit as well. The company became a part of the “no log” movement in 2018 and is audited by Altiusit IT, a third-party firm.
It is imperative to note that PureVPN is one of the cheapest VPN solutions available. Their subscription plans come with an audited no-log policy, malware blocking, P2P support, and multiple encryption protocols (L2TP/IPSec IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP/TCP, PPTP, and SSTP). It also comes with a port forwarding feature, which is helpful for accessing demote devices or configuring gaming servers.
We also noticed that this VPN prevents accidental data leaks. It also prevents websites from seeing your personal IP address, thereby stopping them from knowing you or your real geographical location. With more than 6,500 servers to choose from, you will never lack options to connect to.
You will find PureVPN’s servers in the following locations:
- The United Kingdom (U.K) – 3 in Maidenhead, 18 in Gosport, 147 in Manchester, and 399 in London.
- Australia – 76 in Perth, 77 in Brisbane, 79 in Melbourne, and 128 in Sydney.
- France – 18 in Roubaix, and 24 in Paris.
- Germany – 12 in Nuremberg, 18 in Hessen, 54 in Munich, 54 in Berlin, and 63 in Frankfurt.
- The Netherlands – 316 in Amsterdam.
- Spain – 90 in Madrid.
- Japan – 110 in Tokyo.
- Korea – 14 in Seoul.
- Mexico – 20 in Mexico City.
- Singapore – 142 in Singapore.
- United Arab Emirates (UAE) – 33 in Dubai.
In addition, PureVPN offers dedicated IP addresses but for $2.04 per month on a 2-year subscription plan. That means you won’t share UP addresses with other users. Some websites and streaming services recognize these shared IP addresses, which becomes an issue when it gets blacklisted. With the dedicated IP add-on, you will be assigned a unique IP only you will use.
PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, a non-member of the Five Eyes. So, the company can’t be forced to hand over your information to the government through any means. This VPN company is clearly transparent and trustworthy when it comes down to users’ privacy. Asides from hiding your browsing history and IP address, PureVPN will collect information like:
- Your name.
- Payment information.
- Total bandwidth consumed.
PureVPN used to have slow speeds, but since the implementation of the WireGuard protocol, it boasts fast speeds to give you the perfect browsing experience. Moreover, it has apps for almost all platforms, including iOS, macOS, Windows, Android, and Linux. The apps are also simple to use, and you won’t encounter any issues figuring out how it works.
With a large network of servers, PureVPN is one of the best VPNs for travel. Their servers are located in countries such as Australia, France, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan. It makes our list of the best VPNs for Germany, the best VPNs for Australia, and the best VPNs for France. If you are living in any of the countries or traveling to places with internet censorship, PureVPN is the perfect choice for you.
In terms of pricing, PureVPN is one of the cheapest VPNs to get on a budget. It has a 31-day money-back guarantee, so you can start trying out their plans without investing in a long-term commitment.
10. PrivadoVPN (Best VPN for Netflix)
- Country of registration: Switzerland.
- Number of servers: 320.
- Location: 55+ physical locations across 45+ countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to 10.
- Special features: Free data-capped basic plan, P2P transfers, and SOCKS5 proxy support.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Android, Windows, iOS, macOS, routers, Fire TV, and Android TV.
Most times, it is not entirely about the exciting features offered by the VPN but the location of the company. A VPN provider can give you an impressive set of features and will be legally forced by the government to hand over your data. PrivadoVPN is a company that prioritizes the privacy and online security of its customers.
They are based in Zug, Switzerland, which is free from the laws of the European Union (EU), so it doesn’t adhere to the Data Retention Directive. Although Switzerland has its privacy laws, it is a non-member of the Fourteen Eyes Surveillance alliances or any anti-privacy intelligence sharing networks.
The owners of PrivadoVPN claim that they are a “fast and secure VPN you can trust”. It doesn’t store customers’ data, nor does it log your IP address or the websites you visit, but it collects a small amount of information such as:
- Your Username.
- Email address.
- Payment information.
- Support messages.
- Mobile identifiers (can be turned off).
- Anonymous, aggregate statistics (this is the number of active users over a particular period).
- Total amount of bandwidth consumed.
As long as it doesn’t log sensitive data or your private information, the only information the Swiss government can possibly get is just your username and email address. PrivadoVPN operates over 320 servers across 58 physical locations in 47 countries, which is a small amount. The company claims to run physical servers and not virtual servers because it doesn’t want to reduce the quality of its service. Although physical server locations are expensive to set up, there are safer than virtual ones.
It also provides apps for Android, Android TV, Fire TV, Mac, iOS, and Windows. This VPN support up to 10 simultaneous connections, which is enough for your devices. PrivadoVPN may be the best VPN for peer-to-peer file transfers. It offers P2P support alongside a SOCKS5 proxy to increase torrenting speeds.
The addition of the SOCKS5 proxy ensures super-fast and easy peer-to-peer transfer of bulky files. This is great for torrenters as it allows for great speeds and increased anonymity. If you are a torrenter, you will love this service because they ensure your file sharing stays anonymous. Also, there is a kill switch to protect you just in case the VPN connection suffers a downtime or outage.
PrivadoVPN unblocks content on popular streaming platforms. It unblocks geo-restricted content on Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, US and UK Netflix as well as British TV streaming websites like All 4 and BBC iPlayer. However, it couldn’t unblock DAAN in our tests.
Although it could stream content from the UK and US Netflix, it couldn’t unblock content in other regions like Canada, Germany, and Japan. The best Netflix VPNs can unblock up to 30 international libraries. If you need a VPN with wider global servers to access content in different regions, you will need a top service like ExpressVPN to do the job.
PrivadoVPN is one of the free VPNs you can use today. The Privado Free VPN service is more generous than some top VPN brands. They offer up to 10GB of free data every month and a large server network. The free VPN service gives you servers in the following locations:
- Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- Sao Paulo, Brazil.
- Montreal, Canada.
- Paris, France.
- Mexico City, Mexico.
- Amsterdam, Netherlands.
- Zurich, Switzerland.
- London, United Kingdom.
- New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Miami, and Chicago – United States.
You can actually stream US Netflix overseas with PrivadoVPN; however, you will not get SOCKS5 proxy support, and you will be restricted to one device only. If you are an avid torrenter, I wouldn’t recommend you to use the free service. Rather, get a premium subscription plan to access P2P servers, fast speeds, kill switch feature, and generally get the best out of PrivadoVPN services.
The biggest drawback of this VPN company is that it doesn’t have an extensive VPN network. We would love to see more servers from PrivadoVPN, especially in Africa and the Middle East. Also, there is no configurable DNS and split tunneling feature.
11. Hide.me (Best VPN for China)
- Country of registration: Malaysia.
- Number of servers: 2,000.
- Location: 75+ locations in 48 countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: 10.
- Special features: Split tunneling, IPv6 leak blocking, custom DNS, WireGuard & OpenVPN protocols, AES-256 encryption, and kill switch.
- Supported Devices: Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, BlackBerry, Router, Fire TV apps.
If you want to use the best VPN and a safe, reliable, and trusted VPN service, then you should try out Hide.me. The company claims they are the most secure VPN with a free plan. How true is this attestation? After seeing this, I undertook a series of tests, research, and inquiry into this VPN service to check if it is legit, effective, and safe as it claims to be.
My tests showed that Hide.me is a VPN company with excellent security, a user-friendly interface, powerful speeds, and great features. Looking at the set of features it offers, one can say that Hide.me really means business.
Hide.me has been in the industry for more than a decade (since 2011) continued to develop and is making impacts in the VPN space. There’s a lot to tell you about this company, and I believe that you are interested to hear everything in detail.
Hide.me has about 2,000+ servers in more than 75 locations. Although this isn’t large enough to match NordVPN’s 5,200 servers, however, it is powerful enough for immaculate, super-fast connections. Their servers are capable of unblocking geo-restricted content on streaming services.
We were able to access the US Netflix library, as well as unblock Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Funimation, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer. Also, I could access Japan, Australia, Italy, France, Germany, the UK, and the US version of Netflix without any problems.
Hide.me allows up to ten devices to connect simultaneously on its VPN. It also has apps for both mobile and desktop devices, Chrome, Firefox, Amazon Fire TV, and an extension for Edge. These apps contain powerful features, providing many protocol choices to choose from, including split tunneling, DNS protection, torrenting support, and a multi-hop VPN tool. Particularly, the multihop feature helps you establish a double VPN connection for increased privacy.
It has an almost zero-logs policy, they only collect a small number of users’ data, such as:
- Email address.
- Randomly generated username.
- Internally assigned (non-public) IP address.
- The amount of data consumed after every VPN session.
It is imperative to note that Hide.me stores a temporary record of connection data (location, browsing behavior, originating IP address) for troubleshooting reasons. It doesn’t keep sensitive data and also, and details such as your connection data and other information are deleted from its database every few hours. So, it is safe to say that Hide.me is very private and confidential with its customers’ information.
In 2015, they were audited by Leon Juranic, an analyst from DefenseCode LTD, a security-testing firm. At the end of the audit, it was confirmed that Hide.me is safe to use as it doesn’t store users’ IP addresses or log customers’ data.
Moreover, the company is based in Labuan, Malaysia. Malaysia isn’t a member of any of the surveillance alliances, and the Malaysian laws don’t permit VPN companies to keep logs of their customers’ network activity or connection data. Being headquartered in Malaysia makes Hide.me an ideal VPN service for privacy-focused people and everyone.
Most VPN companies collect more personal information from you upon signup but Hide.me requires only your email address to create an account. After that, they encrypt and store your email address for record purposes and can as well use it to contact you if need be. You can opt out of these communications and even delete your email address permanently after subscribing to their service.
In terms of speed, Hide.me gives you speedy connections, even on longer distances. Its WireGuard connections peaked at 900Mbps in our US and UK tests, whereas the OpenVPN speeds were close to 600Mbps, which is better than some of the top VPNs on the market. Although the speeds aren’t the best for gaming, they are decent for streaming and browsing.
It uses industry-standard military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to encrypt all outgoing and incoming data. They make sure your connection is secure on public WiFi networks, and they also ensure that no one – not even your ISP snoop around your files. Hide.me also provides a variety of connection protocols, such as:
- OpenVPN (UDP/TCP).
- SoftEther VPN.
All of the protocols mentioned above offer great security, and they come with fast speeds. Asides from that, this VPN company offers other security features such as Stealth Guard, IPv6 support, custom DNS functionality, and built-in leak protection. Stealth Guard lets you choose applications or services that won’t run unless a VPN connection is established. Our tests proved it doesn’t expose any IPv4/IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC Address credentials. It also comes with a kill switch that shields your IP address in peradventure the VPN connection drops unexpectedly.
You may be thrilled to find a company that gives you more than what the top and average VPN providers are offering. It is safe to say that this VPN is more suited for advanced users or people who have previously used a VPN. Newbies and beginners may encounter some hassles in using this service; however, they will get used to it with time.
We ran a virus test and discovered that Hide.me is malware and spyware-free. It is P2P friendly and is suitable for torrenting. You can also find a SOCKS proxy, which is mostly used for faster peer-to-peer connections. The kill switch appears to be faulty, but luckily, I contacted the company, and it was fixed ASAP.
Hide.me uses TLC-Crypt, which can obfuscate your internet traffic. Ideally, it can be used in China. Although China blocks several VPNs, Hide.me should work in China. Also, it can be used on gaming consoles, routers, and streaming services. This VPN supports these devices:
- Apple TV.
- Amazon Fire TV.
- Android TV.
- Smart TV.
- Asus-WRT Merlin.
- DD-WRT Legacy.
- Mikrotik RouterOS.
- OpenWRT Legacy.
However, there is no SmartDNS functionality. There is a free plan that gives you full customer support and access to all connection protocols (except WireGuard). However, you can only use the free plan on one device at a time and not on 10 simultaneous devices. Moreover, the free VPN plan gives you just five server locations in the Netherlands, Singapore, Canada, the USA (West Coast), and the USA (East Coast). You also get an allocation of 10GB of free data to use every month. Unfortunately, the free VPN cannot stream US Netflix and Disney+, it doesn’t support P2P traffic.
Except you are a starter, I don’t recommend anyone to use the free plan. Hide.me doesn’t offer a free trial. Rather than using the free VPN, subscribe to a premium plan and get value for what you are paying for. This VPN supports more than 70 payment methods (anonymous payment options inclusive). You can pay or renew your Hide.me subscription through any of the following mediums:
- American Express.
- Bitcoin (BTC).
- Ethereum (ETH).
- Dash (DASH).
- Litecoin (LTC).
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
- Ethereum Classic (ETC).
- Dogecoin (DOGE)
- Verge (XVG).
- NEO (NEO).
- Peercoin (PPC).
- ZenCash (ZEN).
- PIVX (PIVX).
- Zcash (ZEC).
Hide.me gives you great value for your money. If you are serious about investing in a top VPN service, you should try out Hide.me today. They have cheaper plans and a 30-day money-back guarantee. We recommend this VPN for anyone who is looking for a secure VPN service to use. If you care about your online privacy, Hide.me will make you invincible on the internet.
12. Kaspersky VPN (Best VPN for Encryption)
- Country of registration: Russia.
- Number of servers: 2,000+.
- Location: 49+ countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: 5.
- Special features: Free daily data up to 300MB per device, unlimited traffic, and streaming support with a paid version.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, and routers.
Having reviewed dozens of VPNs, we came across Kaspersky VPN, and we can attest that this VPN is one of the most controversial VPNs we’ve ever seen. Kaspersky VPN is based in Russia and has been banned by the U.S government. Kaspersky has more than 2,000 servers across different countries, including Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, and France.
As we mentioned earlier, Kaspersky is based in Russia, which is a non-member of the Five Eyes network. That means not even Russia or the United States, or any foreign government can make Kaspersky hand over their customer’s data. If you are going to get a VPN for privacy, it is essential to choose a VPN company that is outside the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes jurisdiction.
Kaspersky uses up-to-date encryption methods like the AES-256 encryption, which is believed to be the best in the industry. Kaspersky offers a kill switch on all their plans. The kill switch feature will disable all your web-related apps and browsers in case the VPN connection drops so that your ISP won’t see your online activity.
What’s more intriguing is that Kaspersky gives you access to geo-restricted access to Hulu, Prime Video, and Netflix. Let’s say you have exhausted your country’s content on Netflix, and you can connect to U.K or U.S servers to access more content. Anytime you connect to the Kaspersky servers, you get a new IP address. Using a dynamic IP address makes it difficult for ISPs and hackers to track your online activity. If you don’t want to use a dynamic IP address, Kaspersky gives you the option to use a static IP address as well.
Kaspersky says it will never log your name, email address, browser activity, or IP address. We checked for this and found no DNS or WebRTC leaks. Unfortunately, Kaspersky allows you to use up to five devices in terms of simultaneous connections.
Additionally, they offer a free data service to their customers. If you are skeptical or doubtful about how KasperskyVPN works, you can test out their free trial version before you invest in the service. However, the free version has limitations – you get daily data of 300MB, and you can only use the free version on a single device, not five. Sadly, there is no kill switch on the Kaspersky free plan.
Kaspersky offers great speeds, which makes it a good VPN for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and downloading. It has other features, such as a strict no-logging user policy and a kill switch. If you have been looking for an affordable VPN service to use, Kaspersky VPN may be the best for you. They protect your web activity and hide your real IP address so that hackers and other third parties will not trace your online activity.
The customer service isn’t too great. However, there is a knowledge base that gives you information about every situation. There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a refund if you are not happy with the service.
13. PrivateVPN (Best Budget VPN)
- Country of registration: Sweden.
- Number of servers: 200+ servers.
- Location: 63 countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: 6.
- Special features: AES-256 encryption, kill switch, HTTP, and SOCKS5 proxies.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with iOS, Windows, Android, and macOS.
PrivateVPN is one of the best VPNs you can get at an affordable price. Although they aren’t popular like the top VPNs on the market, they ensure your online anonymity by giving you good privacy tools.
PrivateVPN uses no-log servers and AES-256 encryption, which is the industry standard right now. They still provide multiple encryption methods for you to choose from. You can use the AES-128 encryption, which is more lightweight, as well as the CBC and GCM modes. You can set up the encryption to your taste.
In terms of streaming, this VPN works smoothly with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, DAZN, Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video. SmartDNS lets you stream unblocked material on devices that don’t support VPN connections, however, this PrivacyVPN lacks the Smart DNS feature. You may have to configure this VPN on your router for you to use it on game consoles, Apple TV, and other devices.
Despite lacking the SmartDNS feature, PrivateVPN is good at beating geo-restrictions as well as unblocking websites, applications, and services. It features the HTTP and SOCKS5 proxies coupled with port forwarding for optimal internet connection. This VPN service also offers the kill switch feature, which stops your internet whenever something goes wrong with the VPN connection. Particularly, this feature can help safeguard your real IP address.
Although PrivateVPN is a reliable VPN service, one of its biggest drawbacks is its small network of servers. The best VPNs typically offer thousands of servers, but PrivateVPN has about 200. My concern is that the small server network may cause congestion issues on the network, which could be why long-distance connections on this VPN are slower than their competitors. If you are streaming US Netflix abroad, don’t expect to view the content in HD quality.
This VPN company provides a reliable service at an affordable price. You can start using PrivateVPN for as low as $2 per month, which is lower and more affordable than some major VPN services. You get up to 6 simultaneous connections, a 7-day free trial, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. It offers a free trial across different devices, including iOS, Windows, Android, and macOS. This VPN is worth considering if you are starting out or looking for a VPN to use at an affordable price.
14. CyberGhost (Best VPN for PC and Wi-Fi)
- Country of registration: Romania.
- Number of servers: 7,700+.
- Location: 500+ locations across 90+ countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: 7.
- Special features: Dedicated IP address, P2P support, AES-256 encryption, free trial, and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Android, Windows, Linux, iOS, macOS, PlayStation, Xbox, smart TVs, and routers.
With more than 7,500 servers and millions of active customers, CyberGhost is one of the leading VPN companies on the market. Apart from having a massive fleet of servers, it features an intuitive interface with powerful tools and features such as privacy-focused NoSpy servers, AES 256-bit encryption, auto-protect, split tunneling, and dedicated server locations for torrenting and streaming.
It supports up to 7 simultaneous connections and offers well-optimized servers for Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, and other major streaming services. One of the main strengths of this VPN company is streaming. CyberGhost can unblock major streaming websites such as US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
It is compatible with different devices and operating systems, including Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, etc. The app has specific locations for streaming content on platforms like Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, etc. For instance, when you launch the Netflix app, the VPN automatically connects you to its US server to access American content on Netflix. If you open your P2P app, you can connect to your location’s nearest server for better speeds.
CyberGhost VPN supports different mobile devices, computers, Amazon Fire TVs, smart TVs, and even gaming consoles. They offer Smart DNS support to set up the VPN on your game consoles. One of the best features of this VPN provider is that it automatically connects you to the best server suitable for what you are doing at that moment. This feature will be vital for bandwidth-heavy activities such as HD streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
CyberGhost has created a name for itself as long as the VPN industry is concerned. Its servers are known to offer better streaming and torrenting performance. They boast impressive speeds on several protocols. In our tests, this VPN delivered speeds of up to 850Mbps for WireGuard connections, while OpenVPN peaked at 400Mbps, two times the speed of some VPN companies.
This VPN will be worthless if it doesn’t provide tools to secure your online privacy. CyberGhost uses the latest industry-standard AES-256 encryption to secure your data. Whenever you connect to a CyberGhost server, you get an anonymous IP address, which you share with other users on the same server. Thanks to the encryption technology implemented here, your real identity is protected, and you can freely use the internet as you like.
One of the things we liked about this VPN company is that it has NoSpy servers. CyberGhost is safe to use because they don’t keep logs of its customers’ data. They are based in Romania, and all their data centers are located there. Romania is outside the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes surveillance network, which makes it a VPN-friendly country. In other words, Romania has almost no data retention laws, which is great news for you, especially if you are looking for a privacy-friendly VPN service. Without a doubt, CyberGhost cares about your online privacy.
Additionally, the CyberGhost VPN supports torrenting. If you are based in a country with internet censorship, it will make sense to Tor over VPN. Possibly, CyberGhost has the largest network of servers in the VPN industry, and this makes it perfect for travelers and remote workers. Regardless of the country you are traveling to, you can always find a server near you. Thanks to the large fleet of servers, you will not encounter slow speed or traffic congestion with this VPN.
If you are in need of strong VPN coverage across the world, CyberGhost VPN is your best bet. Its servers are torrenting-friendly, and they are one of the best for video streamers. It supports peer-to-peer file transfers, which is great for torrenting. Also, it offers a dedicated IP feature, which is ideal for those who want to use a single private dedicated IP address on specific internet websites and services.
Despite claiming to have a no-logs policy, we would like to have an independent security firm verify these claims. Apart from that, it doesn’t offer multi-hop connections. The split tunneling feature is available on Android devices only. That means you can access private networks only if you use a Mac, Windows, or iOS device.
It has a functionality called “Wi-Fi Auto-Protect), which basically helps you identify which WiFi networks are safe and which ones are insecure. So, if you are a fan of free public Wi-Fi in hotels, coffee shops, and airports, you should get this VPN.
They have a dedicated customer support team that is available 24/7. Looking at the features, tools, and functionalities, we highly rate CyberGhost as one of the best VPNs to use in 2023. The company offers a one-day trial along with a generous 45-day risk-free refund guarantee. So, you can try out this service and see how it works without making any payment or commitment.
CyberGhost gives you lots of subscription packages to choose from. The monthly plan is priced at $12.99. However, the one-year, two-year, and three-year subscription plans are discounted. If you are happy with this VPN provider and intend to use it for a long time, get the three-year plan. When you subscribe to the three-year plan, you get 40 months instead of 36 months. CyberGhost VPN is affordable, fast, and reliable. I’m pretty sure that it will meet your needs.
15. BulletVPN (Best VPN for Privacy)
- Country of registration: Estonia.
- Number of servers: 150.
- Location: 54 countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: 6.
- Special features: Supports torrenting, different VPN protocols, kill switch, BulletShield, and SmartDNS service.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Mac, Windows, Dire TV, iOS, and Android.
The main function of a VPN is to protect your privacy – especially if you are staying in a country with tough internet censorship. BulletVPN offers VPN services and gives you tools to protect your online privacy. This VPN company helps you bypass geo-restrictions and unblock content that is unavailable in your region. It gives you a limit of 6 simultaneous connections, but you can easily beat this restriction by installing the VPN on your router.
BulletVPN is a brainchild of Nixworks OU, a company domiciled in Tallinn, Estonia. Presently, they have over 150 servers in 54 countries. This number isn’t considered large enough, considering other VPNs with a fleet of servers running into thousands. However, BulletVPN’s servers are spread across the globe in countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Taiwan, Moldova, the Isle of Man, Serbia, and many others.
This VPN features some high-quality security features. First, it has a built-in kill switch that stops your internet if the VPN connection drops, preventing your IP address and private information from getting seen by anyone. Also, it supports various connection protocols, including L2TP, PPTP, IPSec, OpenVPN, and Ikev2. Moreover, all its servers are compatible with the WireGuard protocol, which ensures secure connections.
Another security technology you can find in this VPN service is BulletShield. The company feels that the kill switch feature isn’t enough to protect you as it deals with server-side disconnections only. However, the implementation of BulletShield will completely disable your internet connection and restrict your internet access through the VPN’s servers.
BulletVPN can be used on varieties of devices, such as iOS, Mac, Windows, Android, and FireTV. You can manually configure this VPN on other devices, such as your router and gaming consoles. It is possible for you to set up BulletVPN on Apple TV, Smart TV, Roku, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. Although it supports P2P apps, not all its servers are P2P-friendly.
Furthermore, BulletVPN has its SmartDNS service, which is a proxy service that helps unblock specific types of online content. It unblocks content on streaming platforms such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix. However, the speed is subpar and may not be fast enough for HD streaming.
The biggest downside of this VPN service is its slow speed. We tested some servers on this VPN network, including the ones close to our location, but we weren’t impressed with the speeds. Nevertheless, it boasts top-notch features and remains a powerful VPN service.
All BulletVPN apps are intuitive and nicely designed. It supports P2P clients and is great for torrenting. They have a responsive customer support team that you can refer to if you have a query or problem that needs to be solved. Customer support can be contacted on the web form, email, online chat, or through the live chat support on their website.
BulletVPN isn’t expensive, by the way; you can start using this VPN for as low as $3.29/month (three-year plan), which is the cheapest you can get from them. Their one-month and one-year plan cost $10.98 and $7.50, respectively. It’s up to you to know which plan suits your needs. The company offers a generous 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee, so you can ask for a refund if it fails to meet your needs. We expect the company to work on improving its speed. BulletVPN has a strict no-logging policy and remains a safe option.
16. Hotspot Shield (Best VPN for Torrenting)
- Country of registration: United States.
- Number of servers: 3,200+.
- Location: 70+ countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: Up to 5, or up to 25 for the Premium Family plan.
- Special features: Free 7-day trial, free speed-capped basic plan, gigabit speeds, and 45-day money-back guarantee.
- Supported Devices: Compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Kindle Fire, Chrome OS, Smart TVs, VPN routers, and gaming consoles.
Despite being a new face, Hotspot Shield has made a name for itself in the VPN industry. Many top VPN services on the market fail in one area – Speed; they don’t just get it right. The owners and creators of this company have one thing in mind when developing this VPN program. Speed has been highlighted as the primary focus objective of Hotspot Shield.
We tested this VPN on Netflix and noticed supersonic speed on our Windows and Mac computers. Similarly, we didn’t experience any lagging issues or delays when we tried streaming Netflix content on our Android devices. If you are looking for a fast VPN for streaming, gaming, torrenting, browsing, or doing anything online, Hotspot Shield has got you covered.
Based on how this VPN works, torrenters and streamers will find it very effective at what they will be using it for. Hotspot Shield offers more than just fast speeds. It features military-grade encryption and unlimited bandwidth at gigabit speeds. It has apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. Moreover, it has a Chrome extension alongside apps for Linux and smart TVs. You can as well set up and configure Hotspot Shield’s VPN on your router.
Hotspot Shield has more than 3,200 servers, which are spread across 82 locations. This VPN service makes it super easy for you to unblock streaming content abroad. For instance, if you are in Dubai and you are looking to access content on the US Netflix library, this VPN will do the job. While most VPNs will expect you to try out different VPN locations until you find the one that works best for you, Hotspot Shield connects you to a streaming location that works. We were able to unblock Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, and US Netflix with Hotspot Shield.
Before now, Hotspot Shield’s selling point used to be its performance. However, in the last two years, a lot of VPN providers have upgraded their technology to the swift WireGuard protocol while Hotspot Shield continues to stick to its proprietary encryption protocol, Catapult Hydra. Apparently, Catapult Hydra doesn’t match the WireGuard protocol, and this is a concern for most users.
The company claims that its custom-built encryption protocol is the reason why its servers are so fast. Looking at their location (United States), 128-bit AES encryption, Hydra Catapult protocol, and a large number of virtual servers, users may find it hard to trust Hotspot Shield for online privacy and may use their competitors instead.
Our area of concern is how Hotspot Shield ensures the privacy and security of its users. Hotspot Shield uses a closed-source Catapult Hydra protocol rather than the transparent, open-source OpenVPN protocol. We would like to see regular independent and third-party audits on Hotspot Shield just the way TunnelBear does.
Another factor we aren’t excited about is the amount of user data collected by Hotspot Shield. It logs a small amount of user data such as your IP address, connection timestamps, approximate geolocation, device-specific information, bandwidth used per user and per session, and even non-personal logs of the websites you visit.
Even though Hotspot Shield is committed to the online privacy of its users, it gathers and keeps much more data about users than other VPNs. However, we are impressed that they don’t have over users’ data when asked to do. In 2019, for instance, Hotspot Shield was asked to hand over its customers’ data 56 times, but it refused every time the request was made. Evidently, this proves that the company is serious about protecting its users’ privacy.
You can connect up to five devices simultaneously per subscription. You can still use this service with these restrictions since it gives an awesome interface with fast servers.
Amazingly, this VPN features an excellent kill switch that is too strong to break, coupled with a password manager, antivirus protection, and a spam call blocker. There is a VPN free trial option for people who don’t have money to spend on a VPN service. However, the free version has strict limitations, such as a 500MB daily data cap, a single device slot, and throttled connection speeds.
If you don’t want to face these limitations, then get a monthly plan, or better still, it will be cheaper to sign up for a one or two-year subscription. The three-year plan offers mouthwatering deals. New subscribers get a 7-day trial and 45-day money-back guarantee to access the quality of this service.
Although this VPN is suited for personal use, we would have loved to see the dedicated IP address feature. Hotspot Shield will make a great choice, especially if you need a fast VPN for Kodi. Overall, it remains a good option for anyone streaming, torrenting, downloading, browsing, or watching TV content on Netflix.
17. BitDefender VPN (Best VPN with Antivirus)
- Country of registration: Romania.
- Number of servers: 1300+.
- Location: 48+ countries.
- Number of simultaneous connections: 10.
- Special features: Split tunneling, Autoconnect, kill switch, Catapult Hydra tunneling protocol.
- Supported Devices: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS.
Bitdefender VPN is designed to safeguard your online activity and keep your identity private. This VPN service is on another level on its own. It comes with an antivirus package and the Catapult Hydra protocol, one of the fastest tunneling protocols in the VPN industry.
Bitdefender is a good VPN for torrenting. It provides the necessary protective measures to keep you safe while torrenting, and the download speeds are fast. Their app is very simple to use; even if you are a beginner, you should be able to find your way around the Bitdefender app. It gives you a lot of servers to choose from and a kill switch to protect you when the VPN connection drops.
You will get good speeds if you are streaming, browsing, and downloading files with this VPN. However, it doesn’t feature port forwarding, so you may be unable to increase your speeds. The Bitdefender VPN isn’t the best VPN for unblocking content on streaming services. It didn’t unblock Hulu, and it failed to show us American content on Netflix. It couldn’t unblock DAZN as well, but it can help unblock other streaming websites such as YouTube and BBC iPlayer.
It gives you the split tunneling feature, which allows you to choose apps and websites to bypass your VPN connection and connect directly. Also, it uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption coupled with SHA-256 hash functions. Another standout feature of this VPN is the Auto-connect functionality. You can configure this VPN to activate this feature if you are connecting to an insecure or public network or if it detects P2P, adult content, banking, dating, and some types of websites.
This VPN company is based in Romania, which is in the EU jurisdiction. Although Romania is not a member of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliances, EU policies could still affect the company. Fortunately, the Romanian Constitutional Court has declared the data retention laws, which are moved by the EU, as unconstitutional.
Bitdefender has a logging policy in place; they do not collect your private information but basic details like your name, email, and payment information. This anti-virus VPN also gives you a decent number of servers to choose from – 1300 servers across 48 countries. They have apps on different operating systems, including macOS, iOS, Android, and Windows. They also have a free plan with a data limit of 200 MB per day.
Bitdefender provides a variety of channels for you to contact them. You can get in touch with them via phone, write them an email or use the 24/7 live chat support on their website. Overall, Bitdefender is a trustworthy tool to use. They have two subscription plans and a 7-day free trial. It gives you up to ten simultaneous connections and some internet security packages.
How We Tested and Ranked These VPNs
There are hundreds of even thousands of VPN services on the internet, offering similar features. Ranking these VPNs is actually a daunting task, so we employed certain variables in testing them out.
Many people rank VPNs based on the pricing or commissions they get, but we don’t do that over here. Regardless of the price of the VPN subscription, we look out for other key areas such as performance, speed, security, and overall quality. Any VPN service that gives you what you need is the one you are most likely to pay for and not the one whose price is the highest.
Our testing was done on a variety of devices, including Samsung Galaxy S7, Lenovo T480, iPhone 12, iPad Pro, Apple TV, Fire TV Stick, Dell XPS, Sony Bravia, iMac, and Macbook Pro. We also tested the VPN on gaming consoles such as the Nintendo Switch console, Xbox One, and PlayStation 5.
Moving on, we tested servers in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Romania, Russia, Italy, Spain, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, Georgia, Norway, and Ukraine. We also tested streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, DAZN, BBC iPlayer, Pandora, Spotify, Peacock, Kodi, and YouTube.
Here are some of the features we look out for in any VPN service:
- Speed as well as latency around the world.
- Customer support and provision of online help guides.
- Torrenting support and streaming ability.
- A no-logs policy.
- AES-256 encryption and other security features.
- Ease of use and responsiveness of the app.
- The number of devices supported.
Below is a more detailed and informed breakdown of how we test Virtual Private Networks.
There are two different types of speed that we use to measure how fast a VPN is – manual and automatic speed tests. To do the manual test, we run the VPN program on a dedicated testing network in our office, from where we connect to other servers around the world. From this, we can see the rate at which they reduce our connection speed.
On the other hand, the automatic test is carried out by a tool that performs the test with and without the VPN. Speedtest.net is the tool we use to record the upload speed, download speed, and latency (ping). The download and upload speeds are measured in megabits per second, whereas latency is measured in milliseconds.
Not to forget, the speed is tested on Macbook Pro, iMac, Samsung Galaxy S7, iPhone 12, and other internet-enabled devices we mentioned above. If you are using a VPN, you can check how it has affected your internet connection speed by performing a test on SpeedTest.net. The result from speed test tools is more consistent than the manual ones.
It is important to know that there are other factors that affect the speed of a VPN, including the operating system, type of device, distance to the server, etc.
2. Encryption and Security Features
When you want to use a VPN, you want to ensure that your online presence and profile are protected. Ideally, people use VPNs to hide their IP addresses and protect internet traffic. We ensured that users’ private IP addresses and other confidential information were not leaked due to WebRTC, allowing internet browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Opera to communicate directly with each other. For the sake of clarity, this feature is set by default on these browsers.
We checked for DNS leaks using a tool – DNSLeakTest.com. All I did was compare my computer or device’s IP address with the IP address displayed on the website. From the results, I can see if there was a DNS leak with the VPN program or not. We also checked for WebRTC leaks. Thankfully, ExpressVPN has a tool on its website for testing WebRTC leaks. By looking at the local and Public IPv4 IP addresses, one can tell if there were any WebRTC leaks.
Apart from the WebRTC and DNS leaks, another important security feature we looked into is every company’s privacy jurisdiction and data-logging policy. Most VPN companies are based in countries that are non-members of surveillance institutions like Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes. The problem with these international surveillance groups is that they can legally force VPN companies to provide them with customer information.
For data-logging, we prefer companies that keep basic account information like name, email, and payment information. We don’t think it is ideal for companies to keep a record of when customers use their VPN services, the duration, and the amount of data transferred.
We inspected the VPN’s encryption methods and internet protocols to certify if they were up to date with the industry standards or not. VPN protocols are an essential security feature that we cannot ignore. OpenVPN and AES-256 and the two most secure VPN protocols around. By default, OpenVPN is the chosen protocol on most VPNs.
Virtually every VPN we listed features a form of AES encryption cipher. Although AES-123 is perfectly secure, we prefer AES-256 for extra security. Today, several VPN companies now offer WireGuard or their own custom-made protocol.
We also verify private domain name servers (DNS) and anonymous and dynamic IP addresses since they are harder to track. Another important factor is the number of servers offered by the VPN service. We would never give an exact figure for the right number of servers, but we recommend companies with a wide and global network of servers.
In the same vein, we checked if the company has enough VPN servers in popular locations to prevent overload, traffic congestion, or lagging issues. We check for any form of obfuscation tools offered by the company, as this is vital in bypassing censorship – be it from your boss, school, or even the government. Finally, the best VPNs have an internet kill switch, which stops all browsers in the event that the VPN program fails.
A lot of people out there do not only subscribe to VPN services for security but also use them to access media content, including movies and TV programs. If you are one of these people, you could be looking for a VPN with Netflix and torrenting access. From time to time, Netflix updates its code regularly to block any VPN connections. Due to this, we can’t really assure you that it will ever work on a VPN.
An ideal VPN should allow high-speed torrenting on many servers and shouldn’t restrict torrenting. In other words, you should be free to torrent on virtually any server you choose. We took note of P2P bitrates for torrent VPNs to enable us to gauge which VPNs are better optimized for increased file-sharing speeds.
The last feature under this menu is split tunneling. Split tunneling allows you to use the VPN and public network simultaneously. It ensures lower bandwidth, which in turn creates faster speeds. Preferably, we recommend double multi-hop VPNs because they encrypt data multiple times through multiple servers.
Access to geo-blocked content on streaming platforms is a feature that cannot be overlooked. We spent several hours checking every VPN to see if it could help us stream the content we wanted.
We have active subscriptions to some of the biggest streaming services, including Spotify, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, DAZN, and Netflix. Every paid VPN service should be able to unblock the US Netflix library for users.
5. Privacy & Logging
I have been using VPN for more than a decade, and I always tell people, especially beginners, not to use a VPN that logs data. It is not far-fetched that a VPN that logs data can actually identify you or see your internet activity.
It is okay to use a VPN that doesn’t retain any logs whatsoever. Never use any VPN that logs your IP address, connection metadata, or DNS requests. It is acceptable if they allow anonymous or aggregated usage data, which can be the total number of logins every month, the total data consumed in a month, or the number of users connected to a server at the same time.
We don’t ignore the reviews and ratings on the app on both Android and iPhone. We look out for both good and bad reviews. If the app has a poor rating, we can’t recommend them to our readers. We do know that some of these reviews can be influenced and bought, so we treat them with a pinch of salt. However, we don’t overlook them.
7. Ease of Use
We test the apps to see how intuitive and user-friendly they are. These apps should be easy to install and easy-to-use for beginners and experts. Connecting to a server should be done after a few clicks.
8. Customer Support
Customer support is a feature that should come with a good VPN brand. What distinguishes the best VPNs from average VPN services is the quality of their customer support. Although many VPN companies have strong customer support, some have an online help center and a 24/7 live chat support system.
The best VPN companies offer 24/7 live chat support and a support email address and also provide you with in-depth how-to troubleshooting guides. A prompt and reliable email support service will surely help you quickly solve any issue and make the experience a great one for you. In addition, having a phone line is a plus.
How To Choose The Best VPN Service
The VPN industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. With growing concerns about online security and cybercrime, it is difficult to distinguish a reliable company from a fraudulent one. There have been reports of fake VPNs on the internet, so you must be careful, especially when choosing a VPN platform for your privacy and security.
Speed and security shouldn’t be the only thing you should focus on when choosing a VPN. Several factors, including your type of device and distance from the local server, influence the speed. Therefore, speed shouldn’t be the only yardstick you use in measuring a VPN’s performance because not even you or the VPN company have complete control over the speed.
Comparatively, all VPNs offer similar or a mixtape of the same features and technologies. So, it would be best if you were looking at getting value for your money. How do you get the best value for your money? Look out for extra features offered by the VPN company, such as split tunneling, P2P support, double VPN hop, multi-hop connections, etc. Even if you don’t need all these features, they are useful when needed.
The best way to know if a VPN service will work well for you is when you try it in your home. With this, you can use the VPN on every phone, PC, laptop, game console, or gadget and access all the sites, products, and services you need. Some VPNs offer free trials, like a 7-day free trial that you can use to see how it works for you, so capitalize on it.
Test if the VPN speeds in your area are great, and see how well you can manage the VPN from the interface. All in all, test out what you subscribed for, and you can get a refund (money-back guarantee) if you aren’t happy with the results.
If you are a beginner, we recommend starting with a short-time subscription, like a week or month, to really have a feel of what you are getting. Then if you are happy with the results, you can extend your subscription up to a year and hopefully get a discount on your purchase.
There are mouthwatering and enticing deals that are hard to resist. At times, a VPN may be added as a bonus to another product. This type of VPN comes with different tools, making it difficult to compare them with the average VPN. For instance, the Google One VPN lacks the features and tools you would want to get from a VPN. However, it does come with 2TB of Cloud Storage – a feat that is unrivaled by any VPN service.
All things considered, getting a VPN that meets your need should be what you should consider. The choice of choosing a VPN differs from user to user. That’s because some want a VPN primarily for gaming or streaming, while others probably want to unblock geo-restricted material or get a VPN for security and privacy concerns. Whichever reason you have in mind, here are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing the best VPN to use.
If your priority is to get a VPN with fast speed, you should definitely be looking at companies that offer the WireGuard protocol. Apart from that, other factors that you should keep in mind include:
- A VPN company with a large server network. Ideally, this will help you connect to any nearby server of your choice for the fastest speeds.
- Features WireGuard or uses any proprietary VPN that is well-optimized for speed.
- A VPN service that provides servers with high bandwidth, such as 20Gbps for great speed performance.
Unless your Internet Service Provider is using bandwidth throttling, your internet connection on a VPN will be slower due to factors such as distance to the server, encryption, device type, etc. Never compromise your internet speed; ensure that you perform VPN speed tests before getting you to think of using the VPN service in the long term.
2. Security and Privacy
Security and privacy are some of the best reasons people consider using VPNs. Knowing the risks of exposing your data to cybercriminals and hackers, you would want to protect your internet traffic while using public WiFi networks.
If security is your major concern, you should prioritize the following set of features:
- IP leak blocking for IPv6 traffic. This is important as most VPNs don’t work on IPv6 connections.
- A kill switch that automatically disables your connection and protects your real IP address from being seen in the event the VPN connection suffers an outage or drops.
- Specialized servers that allow obfuscation, multi-hop, and also torrenting over VPN.
- Secure protocols such as WireGuard, OpenVPN, and AES0-256 encryption.
In terms of security, ensure that the VPN company you will be using offers not only strong but up-to-date encryptions like the AES-256 bit. We recommend AES encryption because they make data unreadable. The kill switch is also crucial as well, but not all VPNs offer this feature. It stops any accidental data leaks and shuts down your connection when the VPN connection goes off.
Based on how well you value your privacy, you would want to get a VPN that is based in a country that doesn’t belong to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes. What this means is that the VPN company cannot be legally forced to hand over your data and that of other customers to the authorities in government. If you are based in a country that isn’t privacy-friendly, your VPN service should have a strict no-logs policy.
Most importantly, always set up two or multi-factor authentication on the online accounts you manage. While it may be easy for hackers to send you phishing emails to gain entry into your accounts, adding a 2FA of multi-factor authentication on your VPN account will prevent them from gaining access, even if they have the right credentials.
Look for VPN services that send a passcode to your device or use facial recognition or fingerprint to log in. Setting up multi-factor authentication will prevent unauthorized access to your account.
3. Location of Servers
The servers closest to you will give you better performance than the servers that are far from your location. Therefore, verify if the VPN has sufficient servers around your location. If you are a gamer and need fast gaming speeds, you would want to use a VPN with servers close to the locations you will be using.
Having several servers in different locations means that irrespective of where you go or travel, you will find a VPN server close by. Some companies concentrate their resources in Europe and North America, but others are building a solid presence in Africa as well as Asia.
The closer the VPN server, the better the speed and connection it offers. You don’t always have to connect to a server far away to protect your identity. Based on your region, connecting to a server some streets away is as safe as connecting to a server in another country.
If you want to unblock or access content from a particular country, ensure that the VPN has servers within that region. Moreover, use a VPN service that has only physical servers with RAM-only storage.
4. Streaming and Torrenting Capabilities
Do you fancy streaming movies, films, and TV shows from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and other streaming platforms? I’m sure you would love that. However, not all VPN servers are able to unblock Netflix and other streaming platforms.
In like manner, some VPNs disallow P2P traffic and this is more reason why you should check for this. Ensure that you choose a VPN that meets your needs and comes up to your expectations.
If your priority is to use a VPN service to get unrestricted access to streaming networks and platforms, look out for these features:
- Fast international speeds, especially if the server is based in popular locations such as the UK and U.S.
- Smart DNS service, Fire TV, and Android TV apps to unblock any material or content on streaming devices.
- Works with Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, DAZN, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and US Netflix.
- 24/7 live and responsive customer support that works towards giving you the best service and experience.
5. Location of the company
The location and base of the VPN company are also important. Would you want to get into trouble or be noticed by the intelligence agencies? I’m sure not!
It will be better when your VPN is in a privacy-friendly area like Switzerland and not in any of the 14-Eyes countries such as Australia, the UK, the US, etc. Worst still, if the VPN is based in a location like China. Choose a VPN that is based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction; otherwise, the government may legally force them to submit their users’ data.
6. Simultaneous Connections
How many devices do you want to connect to the VPN at a go? It will be great to look out for the number of simultaneous connections. This will help you ensure that the VPN offers simultaneous connections to cover your entire gadgets or be enough for your family.
7. Device Compatibility
The VPN service you will be using should have a good list of devices it is compatible with. Most importantly, how well is it compatible with your device?
Ideally, it should support the major OS types as well as other devices. So, if you are getting a VPN subscription, check it supports your phone, PC, smart TV, router, and game console. Some VPN services come with browser extensions. So, if you prefer to use a browser extension rather than the app, ensure that the VPN program supports your preferred browser.
Let’s say you own several devices, or you have a family that has a large number of computers and devices, then you should look at the following:
- Have native apps for Fire TV devices; with an option to configure the VPN on routers.
- Have native mobile apps for iPad and iPhone (iOS), macOS, Windows, and Android devices.
- Have an APK file to help users install the VPN on their Android devices that don’t support native VPN applications.
- Smart DNS service to use the VPN’s DNS on Xbox, PlayStation, and Apple TV.
- Come with Chrome and Firefox extensions to manage the VPN at a browser level and also use it on your Chromebooks.
- Router compatibility to use the VPN on Chromecast, Roku, and other devices you want to use on the WiFi network.
If the VPN permits simultaneous connection of unlimited or a high number of devices, you can always secure every device you own.
8. Split Tunneling
If you want to access a private network while still using Wi-Fi from a public network, getting a VPN with a split tunneling feature should be at the top of your list. With split tunneling, you can set up or allow certain devices to use your internet connection.
Another advanced feature you would want to get from a top VPN service is an ad blocker, which prevents trackers and adverts while you are online.
9. Customer Support
Technical issues may arise at any time, and you want never know when you will run into such problems. If you really need urgent assistance, you will be stuck if your VPN company isn’t responsive enough. Never use a premium VPN service that doesn’t offer 24/7 customer service.
Settle with a VPN company that offers 24/7 live chat assistance. It will help you get fast support from the company.
Apart from the features and functionalities offered by the VPN, it is always important to consider your budget. Not everyone makes big bucks or is ready to break the bank to get an expensive VPN.
Several VPN companies offer similar features at different prices. Be sure to know what you are getting and ensure that you are not overpaying for it. Evaluate what your preferred VPN offers and choose a subscription that favors you.
VPN companies such as NordVPN are budget-friendly; that is, they have plans for people who can afford a couple of dollars every month. Like other VPN companies, they also have long-term plans. Therefore, the longer you commit to using the VPN, the cheaper the rate becomes.
Before you commit to using the VPN for a long time, ensure that it offers a money-back guarantee in case it doesn’t give you what you are looking for. Most VPN providers typically provide a week or month trial for you to test out things yourself.
In terms of price, you can spend anything from $1 to $15 per month for a premium VPN service. The price of VPN services has been grouped into three categories, namely:
- Cheap: You can get a VPN for as low as $2 a month. However, you’ll have to pay at least 2 years upfront. While it is good to get the service at a low price, the biggest drawback is that if the product worsens with time, you won’t get back your money. There are various cheap VPNs to use; however, their features are quite a few.
- Mid-Range: Most VPNs cost roughly $6 a month. You can get a top VPN on a long-term plan or a substandard VPN on a short-term plan. If this is your budget, starting with the initial cost of a top VPN is better.
- Expensive: You will get access to the best VPN if you have a budget to pay a monthly fee of $12 and above. Depending on how you want to pay, you can either pay monthly or make an upfront yearly payment. When you pay every month, you can always switch VPN services easily. On the other hand, if, after paying an upfront yearly fee and the VPN service is no longer satisfactory, the financial loss will be higher.
We recommend users get monthly and annual plans, which give them the flexibility to pay as they want. A trial period or money-back guarantee are great features that shouldn’t be overlooked – especially by novices.
Choosing the right VPN comes down to two basic factors:
- What do you want to use the VPN for?
- How much do you want to pay for the service?
Once you can figure out these factors above, choosing the right VPN for your needs becomes easier. The best VPNs offer several features and functionalities such as fast connection speeds, security, privacy, kill switch, sufficient encryption, enough server locations, DNS leak protection, and don’t log your activity.
Besides, it should be able to satisfy your immediate needs – streaming, torrenting, gaming, and work.
What are the Benefits of Using a VPN?
Using a VPN comes with several benefits. Many people may be wondering if they really need a VPN. The following benefits are reasons why you should start using a VPN today.
1. Hide Your Data and Online Identity
Virtually every good VPN service protect your data and online identity from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Your ISP can spy on your online activity; they can spy on every website you visit and everything you do. Based on the country you live in, your ISP may be authorized to record your browsing history for a year or more.
Sensitive data such as banking details, passwords, and other personal information can be leaked through an unsafe internet connection, but a VPN will help protect it.
Virtually all top VPN services use military-grade encryption, meaning that the information you send over the internet will be unreadable and inaccessible to third parties. We recommend people living in restrictive countries use VPNs to protect their identities and stop their online activity from being monitored.
By the time you use a VPN, you get a new IP address, and even your ISP will find it difficult to spy on you or monitor your internet activity. If you stay in a restrictive country like China, be sure to use a VPN for China. Get a VPN for anonymity if you want to be anonymous while using the internet. In this way, your real identity will be hidden. This can be of help to you, especially if you are using Comcast Xfinity or Verizon Fios.
Regardless of the device you are using, there are VPNs for multiple devices, including Mac, Windows, and Linux. Some of these VPNs have add-ons for internet browsers such as Firefox and Chrome.
2. Protecting Against Hackers and Cyberthreats
The internet is quickly becoming an unsafe place as there’s a hacker attack every 39 seconds. Since your browsing activity can be found on the web, it is likely that your online activity can be tracked and even used against you.
If you are a fan of public Wi-Fi networks, you should be careful about the public networks you use – be it in a school, library, hotel, airport, or café. Airports and hotels offer free but unsecured, unsafe wifi, which can make you vulnerable to hackers. Hackers and cybercriminals can easily use unsecured public WiFi networks to scoop sensitive data like your bank details.
They can also view your internet traffic and the IP address from unsecured WiFI networks. Whenever you are connected to public WiFi, you are putting your sensitive data at great risk.
Fortunately, a VPN masks your real IP address and protects your web traffic, thereby making it almost impossible for hackers to intercept your personal data or steal your information. Thanks to the encryption provided by the VPN, it will be a good idea to pair a VPN with your Android and iPhone devices.
Most VPNs come with their own DNS resolution system. The DNS system works like a phonebook that converts a text-based URL like “techbeastz.com” into an IP address that can only be understood by computers. Some savvy hackers can snoop on your movements and monitor your DNS requests.
These hackers use DNS poisoning to redirect you to harmful phishing pages that they created to steal your data. A VPN’s DNS system provides you with an extra layer of protection. Many websites today now have active SSL certificates to secure the internet traffic of their visitors. Since many blogs and websites have secure HTTPS connections, much of our online experience is encrypted already.
3. Bypass Geo-blocking and Access International Content
Do you know that many streaming websites and platforms have lots of geo-restricted materials? I’m sure that you may have come across a message like “This content is unavailable in your region”. You may see this type of message if the content you want to watch is not available in your country.
Streaming platforms such as Netflix use your public IP address to limit the number of TV shows and movies you can watch. Each country has its own content library, and it is usually different from another. That is why you can find content that is exclusively available in a specific country.
Due to restrictions, you may not see some Netflix shows and TV content that are available in the US. Maybe you want to see the content Netflix has for other countries, or you reside in a country that doesn’t allow Netflix at all. Thankfully, the best VPN services can change your IP and unblock Hulu, HBO, and Netflix on several devices, including Kodi and Amazon Firestick.
Let’s say you are traveling to a country with internet restrictions like China; connecting to a private VPN server in another country can help you bypass the government restrictions and give you access to content on streaming websites.
Similarly, a VPN provider can help you unblock Instagram and Facebook and also help you go to websites that are blocked by your ISP or connection administrator.
4. Safe Torrenting
Although P2P is legal in most countries, it is not a license for downloading copyrighted content. P2P file-sharing is a dangerous risk because your personal IP address is visible to everyone you share files with. Even your ISP can as well monitor your download activity.
Luckily for you, a VPN shields your real identity and IP address. So, your personal IP address will no longer remain visible to your ISP and the people you share files with. If you want to protect your location and identity from the government and your ISP, ensure that you get a VPN for torrenting.
5. Improve Connection Speed
Some ISPs are notorious for throttling the connection of internet users. Also, your ISP could be throttling your connection to services like torrenting and streaming. If you want to solve the problem of throttling or poor connection speeds, get a VPN.
Some VPNs also provide ad-blockers, which can block ads to improve internet speed. If you are a gamer, you can get better connections for streaming and gaming by using a VPN on your Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PlayStation, Nvidia Shield, or gaming device.
6. Access Private Networks
Whether you want to access a network for your home, work, or office, it is worth telling you that a VPN comes with a split tunneling feature that lets you access private and public networks at the same time.
7. Bypass school/office/government restrictions
Lastly, a VPN gives you unrestricted access to the internet. Whether you reside in a country that is blocked from using Twitter or TikTok or torrent files in a country that prohibits torrenting.
Governments around the world can censor what you can view and what you cannot view on the internet. Governments may sometimes shut down access to certain online services like social media.
The best VPNs provide obfuscation tools, which help circumvent any form of censorship. By scrambling your internet traffic and changing your IP address, you can bypass any web restriction and use the internet.
8. Increased security from online shopping
Online shopping can be tricky, especially if you buy stuff from a website you don’t know too well. In case you don’t know, big tech companies such as Facebook (Meta) and Google spend billions of dollars monthly on user data. These companies sell users’ data to third-party advertisers to create targeted adverts.
Connecting to a VPN can help protect your financial information and web activity. It can help you prevent your data from being tracked and sold by these companies.
9. Give You an Anonymous Online Identity
By now, you know your identity and data are at stake just by using the internet. VPNs provide you with tools that help you stay anonymous on the internet. Many whistleblowers, political activists, researchers, and journalists use VPN services to protect their real identities while writing or doing their research.
Also, they use it to bypass government censorship and communicate freely and safely with the outside world. It may be helpful to check for local laws before using a VPN in Russia, China, or a country with tyrannical internet laws. Another place where people may need a VPN for privacy and anonymity is in a war zone like Ukraine, where revealing your location and identity may place your in-between life and death.
For better anonymization of your web traffic, you may want to use the free Tor network. While your VPN tunnels your internet traffic to their servers, Tor bounces around your traffic using different volunteer nodes that make it extremely difficult for anyone to track.
Tor also gives you access to Dark Web sites – which a VPN cannot do. VPNs such as ProtonVPN and NordVPN offer Tor access on some servers. However, it is imperative to know that using Tor will reduce your connection even more than a VPN.
What are the Limitations of VPN Services?
Over time, VPNs have proved to be great tools for improving online privacy, security, anonymity, and connection speeds. However, they don’t protect you from all threats. Although your internet traffic will be safer when you use a VPN, if you enter your sensitive data on any questionable website, your personal information will end up in the wrong hands.
VPNs have their own limitations and disadvantages. To buttress this point, I will tell you some things that VPN software cannot do.
Firstly, a VPN cannot help you if you ignorantly download ransomware or you are deceived into providing your personal information to a hacker after a phishing attack. You can download malware while using a VPN because the software is made to protect your online security and not to check your files.
Always remember to keep your software and apps up to date. We recommend you use a reliable antivirus software program, even if your VPN provider offers a malware-blocking tool. Additionally, enable multi-factor authentication across your devices. Some VPN companies now provide VPN managers, you can use a password manager to create and secure your password for each service, app, or website you use. We recommend password managers such as 1Password or LastPass.
Although a VPN can increase your privacy on the internet, it can’t make you stay completely anonymous. There is a limit to how anonymous you can be on the VPN. Advertisers and online marketers have their way of tracking your online activity and collecting your data.
They use mediums such as traffic analysis, tracking scripts, browser fingerprinting, etc. For this reason, we recommend internet users take advantage of the anti-tracking features in their web browser or install a dedicated ad or tracker blocker.
What are VPN Protocols?
There are varieties of VPN protocols. However, not all of them are used by the VPN providers we reviewed. Most operating systems provide built-in support for at least each of these protocols. In other words, you can use that protocol with the VPN service without client software.
Even if you need client software, there are guides on the internet that instructs you on how to do it. Additionally, they will show you how to configure the routers to connect directly to the services. Below are some of the VPN protocols that you can find:
- Open VPN: OpenVPN is one of the VPN protocols commonly used today. This open-source and secure protocol can be used in UDP (streaming) or TCP (web) mode. Although the UDP mode is sloppier, it is quicker than the TCP mode. You will select either the free alternatives available or use the VPN service’s client software. Regardless of your choice, you’ll still pay for the VPN service.
- Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP): SSTP is a secure Microsoft protocol; it natively supports Windows Vista and newer versions.
- Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP): PPTP is known for its speed. However, it is obsolete and has security flaws. It has native support built into Android, Windows, and older versions of iOS and macOS as Apple stopped providing support to iOS and macOS Sierra. If you want to use this protocol, use it for streaming content only because it doesn’t protect your data.
- L2TP/IPsec: Although Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol is not secure itself, it is combined with the IPsec secure-networking standard. When IPsec is properly paired with L2TP, it becomes very secure. L2TP/IPsec provides native support in Android, iOS, Chrome OS, OS X/macOS, and Windows. Most VPN service providers support L2TP/IPsec, but some will recommend OpenVPN.
- IKEv2: It can be very secure if implemented well. It provides native support for iOS, Windows, and newer versions of macOS/OS X.
- WireGuard: WireGuard is one of the newest and most secure protocols. It comes with great security and speed. Since it is new, it is not yet supported by many VPN services, but it is gaining traction on the internet as more VPN providers are beginning to incorporate it into their systems. WireGuard was built from the ground up; it uses lesser code than its predecessors to give you a better user experience. Some service providers, such as Mozilla VPN, solely use WireGuard.
Getting a VPN by the Number of Simultaneous Connections
Apart from defending against malware and preventing bandwidth throttling, there are other important things to consider when getting a VPN. You need to check for the number of servers the VPN service provider has, the number of simultaneous connections it offers, and the location of its servers.
Generally, most VPN providers will let you connect up to five devices with a single account. Anything below that is short of the industry standard. Before now, people who wished to connect any device to their VPN got 2 or 3 licenses to protect their devices. This is barely enough for just one individual and not even the entire household.
However, there are some changes in the industry as most VPNs offer more than five simultaneous connections, and some companies have taken down the restriction outrightly. VPN companies such as Surfshark VPN, WindscribeVPN, Encrypt.me VPN, Avira Phantom VPN, and IPVanish VPN don’t have a limit to the number of devices you can connect to at the same time. In other words, the number of simultaneous connections is unlimited.
Perhaps, you have a smart home, and you don’t want to protect your smartphones and computers but every device in your home. You could as well protect tablets (including Chromebooks), gaming consoles, and smart home devices, including refrigerators, light bulbs, TVs, and other gadgets that can connect to the internet.
If you don’t know, a large number of these devices don’t natively support VPN, so they won’t be able to run any VPN software on their own. However, some VPN companies will guide you on how to configure a router on a VPN. Doing this could protect all the devices connected to the network.
What Is the Most Secure VPN To Use?
All the VPNs we reviewed are great for security and online privacy. If security is your concern, ensure the VPN company you intend to use provides any or all of the following features:
- Double Encryption: The best VPN services provide a double encryption mode that encrypts your data twice rather than just once. This may be necessary, but it would be a great feature for you if you have concerns about hacking attempts.
- Variety of Security Protocols: In terms of privacy options, a good VPN will give you a variety of security protocols, such as IKEv2 and OpenVPN, to choose from.
- Kill Switches: Whenever a VPN service fails or suffers an outage, a kill automatically stops your internet connection. In this way, it ensures that your data and your location are not accidentally leaked or exposed.
- No-log policies: The most secure VPN do not log the locations or activities of their users. Some VPN providers offer third-party verified audits, while others give their customers detailed information to see that their data and information aren’t logged.
- Location: Some countries have strict regulations when it comes to data retention to enable them to investigate the illegal activities of their citizens. Some VPN providers avoid countries with stringent restrictions by setting up their offices in Panama and the Bahamas.
NordVPN ticks all these boxes, making it the most secure VPN to use right now. Apart from that, they offer advanced features such as split tunneling. Visit the NordVPN website to get the best VPN plans.
Who Needs a VPN?
Virtually every person who uses public Wi-Fi networks needs a VPN. In the same way, VPNs are recommended for anyone traveling internationally who wants to circumvent the government restrictions in that region.
If you want to access a private network in a different region or bypass work or school restrictions on internet usage, you will need a VPN. The privacy and anonymity offered by VPNs make them ideal for political activists, journalists, whistleblowers, or anyone who wants to keep an anonymous online profile.
Should I Use a VPN in 2023?
With large tech firms such as Google and Facebook selling users’ data and several websites on the internet capturing your personal information, it is highly important for you to use a VPN.
A VPN is highly effective for protecting and encrypting your data online. They also help to prevent data throttling by shielding you from the eyes of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you want to beat regional restrictions and access geo-blocked material, VPNs help you by providing you with several servers in those locations.
Some VPNs can help detect malicious websites, restrict web access, split tunneling, and lots of other advanced features.
If you want to use a VPN, use a trusted and reliable company that has been around for a while. Don’t be dazzled by the price of the VPN subscriptions – especially the free and low-quality ones. Some VPNs actually do more harm than good.
We have heard of some VPN companies that log and even sell customers’ data. Some VPNs come with poor systems, which is why they are easily detected and banned by governments and other agencies.
Some VPNs don’t have enough servers to help you unblock Netflix and other streaming websites with geo-restricted material. We care about your privacy and security, which is why we helped you do in-depth, detailed, and informed research on the best VPNs in 2023.
How Do I Get a VPN?
Getting a VPN is very simple and easy as buying a product from a grocery store. You can use the DIY approach by renting a server offshore and self-host a VPN service for yourself. You cannot do this unless you have a cloud hosting provider and some technical know-how.
On the other hand, VPN service providers or companies let you use their servers for a monthly or yearly fee. After paying them, they provide you with access to use their servers in different locations.
As their customer or subscriber, you can visit the website of these VPN companies to download and install their app or client. Once you are logged in, you will see a list of the available servers and countries to which you can connect to. After you have connected to the VPN server, check for your IP address, you will see that it will show you a different IP.
Not all VPNs are created equal. If you are looking for a VPN, consider using any VPNs we recommend in this post.
Free VPNs Vs. Paid VPNs: Which Should I Use?
Free VPNs are very popular and may look attractive. Everyone likes free things. There is no such thing as free lunch, so whenever someone gives you any valuable thing for free – there is something attached. There are lots of free VPN services out there, but it can be risky to use them.
Since these free VPN services do not receive payments from you, how do you think they make money to maintain their servers? These free VPNs could save your logs or sell your activity data.
Free VPNs provide a limited number of servers in just a few locations. Oftentimes, they restrict you to a single device and place restrictions on the amount of data you can consume per day or month. Perhaps, you want to use a free VPN for streaming or torrenting, but monthly data restriction will not make it work since you need your VPN running 24/7 for privacy and security.
The service and quality offered by free VPNs are nothing compared to what you would get from a premium or paid VPN service. You may get a free VPN today if you want to use them causally or in rare situations. However, if you want to use it regularly, you will need a high-quality, premium VPN service.
Free VPN services like ProtonVPN Free and Atlas Free VPN may still work if you want to use free public Wi-Fi networks. However, a free VPN will not do enough to protect your IP address and bypass geo-blocks at fast speeds. Our research has repeatedly shown that free VPNs are insecure, harmful, and ineffective.
In that case, we recommend you try out a long-term VPN service. We have given you the best VPN deals that will not cost you much. We don’t think free VPNs are safe, which is why we recommend paid VPNs.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you won’t find a good free VPN service. The issue is that they will likely have one or two limitations. Some of the common limitations of free VPN services include:
- The number of devices: Most free services limit you to one connection per account. If you have a PC, smartphone, gaming console, and other gadgets, you won’t be able to protect all of them.
- Speed: The connection speed of free services is slow compared to paid ones. Some may allow you to stream in HD; however, you should expect a frequent drop in connection speeds.
- Servers: Free VPNs will not really give you a high number of servers but will give you a few servers in some locations like the United States, Romania, the Netherlands, and maybe some other countries. Another factor to be aware of is that these servers will be overloaded by other people who are using the free VPN service, and this will cause latency, which will be bad for gaming.
- Geo-restrictions and P2P: With free VPN services, you will not be able to unblock geo-restricted material on Netflix and other streaming websites. Moreover, some free VPN services disallow users from torrenting.
- Data limit: Free VPN providers will give you a certain amount of data per day or month. Once you have reached or exceeded the data, you will be blocked from using the service until the following month.
If you use a premium VPN service, you will not face any of the problems mentioned above. You won’t stumble upon ads that will ruin your experience or have your data sold to third parties. What’s more, paid VPNs have responsive customer support to help you solve your queries straight away.
What is the Fastest VPN?
We put several factors in check whenever we are talking about VPNs with the fastest speeds. They include:
- Your baseline internet speed.
- The distance from your location to the VPN server of your choice.
- The used tunneling protocol.
- The VPN server’s load.
- Period of the day.
The abovementioned factors determine the speed of a VPN connection. Some of the fastest VPNs include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, SurfShark, Private Internet Access, and Hotspot Shield.
What is a Mobile VPN?
The mobile VPN is the type of VPN you can use on your mobile devices, such as your tablet, Android phone, or iPhone. Most VPN services offer mobile apps for their customers. If you are looking to protect your personal information, using a VPN will ensure better data privacy on your mobile device.
Mobile VPNs tend to have a smaller memory footprint, requiring less processing power than the desktop model. That means they have faster connection speeds and wouldn’t consume your battery quickly. However, it would help if you kept in mind that many mobile VPN clients typically feature a lighter form of encryption, which is why they have better speeds.
Virtually all the VPNs featured in this review have their custom app, which is user-friendly and easy to use. Some apps are created for a specific platform like Android or iOS, whereas others are universally compatible.
Can I Use a VPN on Mobile Devices?
Most people access the internet using mobile devices. So, if you are wondering if you can use a VPN on your mobile device, yes, you can. Connecting your phone to a VPN is very easy. With VPN enabled on your device, you don’t have to worry about malware distribution or personal data theft when you connect to public Wi-Fi because the VPN encrypts your data and web traffic.
In addition, the VPN can keep your bank statements and financial information, whether audio or video, hidden from the eyes of a third party. A large population of internet users uses their mobile phones to access the internet, which could affect other computers and other devices that aren’t connected to a VPN.
Another thing to take into consideration is that mobile VPN apps are a bit different from desktop models. The process of installing a VPN depends largely on the device you are using. If you are using a computer, get the download link, install the VPN and sign up for the service.
If you are using a gaming console, you can get a VPN company that provides SmartDNS functionality and updates your console’s DNS settings using the details they provide you with. If you can’t find any VPN service with the Smart DNS feature, go to SmartDNSProxy.
To use VPN on Fire TV devices, get a VPN service with the Fire OS application. Then search for the Fire TV app on Amazon App Store, install the app, launch it and sign in.
If you want to use a VPN on your mobile device, head over to your App Store (Apple or Google Play Store) and download your preferred VPN app. After then, create an account or sign in (if you already have an account) and click connect for private browsing.
Are VPNs Really Legit? Can They Be Trusted?
VPNs are not new; millions of people patronize these companies over the world. If a large portion of the internet population can use VPNs to access the internet anonymously, then you can use a VPN without issues.
Still, there are certain factors that you need to take into cognizance. Almost all VPN services profess not to log users’ activity, and this isn’t entirely true. We have confirmed reports of some VPN companies who claim to have no-log policies, leaking and selling customers’ private information.
Also, there are periods when the VPNs had the personal information of their customers stolen. Another factor is that depending on where the VPN is located, the government can legally force them into submitting their customers’ data. So, don’t be too quick to trust VPNs that claim to have no-log policies.
Some of the popular Android and mobile VPNs we found to have logged large amounts of user information include GeckoVPN, ChatVPN, and SuperVPN. In the same vein, several VPN providers log users’ sensitive data, including usernames, email addresses, passwords, payment information, and more.
This is a sad development as people are looking for increased security, anonymity, and privacy when using a VPN. Nevertheless, there are still reliable, trusted, and safe VPN services to use out there.
Below are some of the features you should get from any reliable VPN service:
- Ownership: You can dig for information and check the background history and antecedents of the owners of the VPN service. Check their portfolio and see the record of other products or businesses they manage. If they have been around for a while, check if there is any report you can find on privacy scandals and data breaches. Doing this can help you know how well they’ll treat your data.
- Privacy-friendly location: We previously mentioned some countries that are part of the 5-Eyes, 9-Eyes, or 14-Eyes alliances. These countries have the legal right to make these companies provide them with encryption and users’ personal data.
- Privacy policies: It is a good idea to go through the policy of the VPN service and the information it elicits. The less data it collects, the more secure your privacy is.
Can You Be Tracked If You Use a VPN?
You can still be tracked even if you use a VPN. However, hackers can’t do it, but only the government can do such, and they may not spend a lot of resources to track you – except if you are wanted.
It would not be easy for anyone to track you if you created your account with a throwaway email and an anonymous payment method. Moreover, the tracking becomes very difficult if you use Tor over VPN and your VPN company doesn’t save any logs.
Some VPNs save users’ information, such as:
- The user’s IP address.
- The user’s personal data such as their name, email address, payment details, etc.
- The time and duration of the user while connected to the VPN.
- The amount of data consumed by the user while connected to the VPN.
Are VPNs Legal or Illegal to Use?
Yes, using a VPN is perfectly legal in most countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, certain countries prohibit the use of VPNs. Countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Belarus, Turkey, UAE, Oman, North Korea, China, and Russia have strict laws on using a VPN to circumvent banned websites. If you are living in any of these countries, you may have to read up on their local and national laws before using a VPN.
Surprisingly, the countries mentioned above are the places where VPNs are commonly used. If you are based in any country with internet censorship, you will have to ensure that the VPN you are using provides enough obfuscation so that your VPN traffic will look like ordinary HTTPS. This way, even the government and its agencies will not know you are using a VPN.
Apart from these countries with harsh VPN laws, it is legal to use a VPN for gaming, streaming, or protecting your data from hackers. There is nothing wrong with protecting your data and privacy on the internet. Using a VPN to secure your privacy will never land you in any legal issues. However, doing any illegal activity while using a VPN doesn’t make it legal; it is still illegal.
Illegal activities include cyberbullying, hacking, cloning, and pirating copyrighted content. Therefore, engaging in any unlawful activity is unacceptable because your data is encrypted. Using a VPN is not a crime, but make sure you stay out of trouble. Do not engage in any illegal activity that will cause the authorities to go after you.
Using a VPN isn’t illegal; however, there are certain websites and app that prohibits the use of VPN on their platform. For instance, using a VPN violates the terms of service of Netflix.
Should I be concerned about the consolidation in the VPN industry?
There is a new trend in the VPN industry – and that is the unification of VPN companies. This trend may be worrisome to some people, but it doesn’t look like it is going to be slowing down anytime soon. For instance, NordVPN and Surfshark announced their merger sometime in February, and these companies are among the top 5 best VPN providers. In the same vein, ExpressVPN was acquired by Kape Technologies, the parent company of PIA and CyberGhost.
Well, there may be genuine reasons for the merger of VPN companies. The first and most important reason is the lack of transparency in the VPN ownership structure – which isn’t too good for the customers.
Generally, two critical concerns in the VPN industry are privacy and security. Regardless of why you want to use a VPN, you will never compromise your security and privacy. Ownership transparency is highly important in any VPN company.
When you subscribe to a VPN service, you entrust them with the responsibility of protecting your data and privacy on the internet. Pertinently, you may want to know the people or the corporate entity running the service, how your data is secured, and where it is stored.
The VPN companies involved in these mergers claim that despite the consolidation, they will run independently and will not share users’ data. Even though they don’t share customers’ data amongst themselves, there may be plans to share information in the future.
Suppose the VPN service you are using is consolidated with other products. In that case, it is a great idea for you to check other subsidiary companies, products, and services under the parent company.
What is the Best VPN in 2023?
As it stands, the best VPN right now is NordVPN. This VPN provider is unique and stands out from the crowd. It has several features and outperforms other companies in areas such as top-level security, privacy, compatibility, and speed.
One of the reasons why NordVPN is the preferred choice of most people is that it is affordable, and secondly, it works well with Netflix and other streaming platforms.
What is the Best Free VPN?
There are lots of companies offering free VPN services; however, we can pinpoint ProtonVPN as the best free VPN service to use. It provides military-grade encryption, unlimited bandwidth and data, and access to servers in 3 countries.
You can try out other best free VPN services, include Atlas FreeVPN, TunnelBear, and Hotspot Shield. Since they are free, their features are somewhat limited. For example, TunnelBear gives you only 500MB of data on its free plan, whereas WindscribeVPN offers free users up to 10GB of data every month. Hotspot Shield’s free plan doesn’t come with unlimited bandwidth, 24/7 customer support, access to all servers, and multiple simultaneous connections.
However, ProtonVPN gifts free users with access to three servers, and they don’t place any data restrictions. Rather than using a free VPN service, it is better to pay for it. In that way, you will get the functionalities you paid for. If you feel that the prices of the top VPNs are high, there are cheap budget VPN options for you to choose from.
You may ask, “Is a paid VPN worth it.” Yes, it is worth paying for a VPN service. Free VPNs come with restrictions such as data limits, and they won’t give you all the functionalities you need.
Do I Need a VPN at Home?
Unlike public hotspot Wi-Fi hotspots, home networks are better protected from hackers and cybercriminals. It doesn’t mean that you are completely safe, either. Reports have shown that hackers are not the only people after our web traffic – even your ISP can steal your data.
The U.S Congress has approved Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell the browsing data and information of their customers. I told you that your ISP could be spying on your browsing history and looking to sell your data.
Even if a VPN cannot retrain your ISP from selling your data, it will make it quite difficult for your ISP to sniff through your browsing data.
Even if you want increased privacy from the prying eyes of your ISP, it is necessary to have a VPN at home. Besides, a VPN can help you unblock some websites and access digital content unavailable in your region. Netflix, for instance, has geo-blocked material on its streaming platform. With a VPN, you can bypass these restrictions and watch the best TV shows from your home.
What is the best VPN for working from home?
If you have a home office or are working from home, you may be sharing your internet connection on your own devices, roommates, or family members. Ideally, the best VPNs offer a decent number of simultaneous connections, which could slow down the network speed.
Therefore, you should choose a VPN service that allows connecting as many devices as possible and also provides great speeds so that your Wi-Fi connection doesn’t slow down.
If your job is centered around managing sensitive data such as financial records and medical information, your focus should be on security. Our top picks allow multiple connections. Apart from security, there are other factors that you should consider when choosing a VPN for your home.
Do I Need a VPN for Everything I Use?
If you have a home office or own different gadgets and devices, you may have to protect the data in them from the prying eyes of hackers and your ISP. If your data is very important to you, you would want a VPN to protect the data on these devices.
You can use a VPN to protect your laptop, mobile phone, Xbox console, Macbook, and Smart TV. If you intend to use a VPN to access content unavailable in your country, you would want a VPN to help you unblock geo-restricted material on those streaming services.
You can decide to get a VPN for Amazon Fire TV Stick or a VPN for your Chrome browser. Regardless of the reason for using a VPN, it is very important to ensure that it offers connections to as many devices as possible.
Is a VPN good for gaming?
Before I provide an answer to this question, I would like to know why you are looking for a VPN for gaming. Obviously, the major reason why gamers use VPNs is to increase their connection speeds. Speed is everything!
If you are experiencing latency in your only gaming sessions, the experience will not be too great. To get an enjoyable gaming experience, you may use a VPN. Connecting to a server close to you might be the trick to having superfast gaming speeds.
What is the Best VPN for gaming?
We chose the best VPNs based on their functionality, security, speed, and price. Unfortunately, free VPNs will not perform well in terms of speed. Speed is important in gaming. Ideally, you will want to connect to game servers in another region.
Almost all VPNs reduce speed, and however, you would want to know the one that performs best in terms of speed. Surfshark has one of the best speeds we’ve ever seen and is very affordable. If you want to get a VPN for your game console, you may want to look at the best VPNs for Nintendo Switch, the best VPNs for Xbox, and how to set them up.
Before choosing a VPN for gaming, visit the official website of the VPN brand to check whether they provide servers suited for gaming in the countries where you would want to connect with other gamers.
What is the Best VPN for Streaming and Banking?
Financial institutions and companies take security very seriously and may get confused by your VPN. Logging in from one U.S. state to another or switching to another country entirely can raise eyebrows, and the bank sees it as a potential red flag.
You should expect to see frequent multi-factor requests and captchas while your VPN is turned on. Oftentimes, Netflix and other streaming websites block access by a VPN. Of course, some VPNs help access region-locked content, but from time to time, these streaming services update their platform to restrict VPN users from using their service. So, it is likely that a VPN that unblocks Netflix today may not work tomorrow.
This could be an issue for many VPN users as most of you use VPNs for online privacy and protection while others use VPNs primarily for streaming and gaming. The VPN industry has improved significantly over the years, and we now have VPNs that can unblock content in streaming services.
Before now, it was extremely uncommon to find a VPN that could unblock content on Hulu abroad or stream Netflix outside the United States. However, keep in mind that accessing geo-locked material on streaming services could violate their terms of service.
Finally, since a VPN encrypts your data the way it is transmitted from your device, it may not be possible to use local devices on the same network. Take Chromecast, for instance, wouldn’t let you use it if you have a VPN running. You could also be using a different Wi-Fi network.
Some VPNs provide features like split-tunneling, which lets you designate websites and applications that can move outside the VPN connection.
Which VPN Services Work Best With Netflix?
Beyond reasonable doubt, Netflix is the most popular and common online streaming platform right now. However, it appears that it has been a headache for VPNs. Netflix shows content to users or subscribers based on their location or region.
This means that people in Germany will be able to watch content only available in Germany. If you are in the United States, you will be able to watch TV shows and content that are different from what people in the UK, Australia, South Africa, or France will be getting.
This is where a VPN comes in …
These VPN services change your location virtually to trick the platform into thinking you are from that location. Despite that, there have been new updates and developments as these streaming servers have been able to detect and even block VPN connections effectively.
Of all streaming services, Netflix turns out to be the most problematic for VPN companies. Not all VPNs can unblock Netflix content. You may or may not access content on Netflix even with a VPN, depending on the server you are connected to and, importantly, the company you are using.
At TechBeastz, we use different VPNs, and we continually test these VPNs every month to ensure that our recommendations are not only the best but up to date.
Based on the results from our testing, here are the best VPNs for Netflix:
- NordVPN: US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan.
- ExpressVPN: UK, US, Australia, Canada.
- Surfshark: US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan.
- Proton VPN: UK, US, Australia (mixed results), Canada.
- CyberGhost: US.
- IPVanish: US.
How To Use a VPN for Netflix?
If you live or traveling to a country like China that censors its media, accessing geo-blocked content may be difficult. With a VPN, you can bypass censorship and access the content available in your home country on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and Hulu.
Select a VPN service you can manually choose which country you want to connect to and ensure that they have the obfuscation feature. Even though you wouldn’t be using the obfuscation feature to unblock Netflix at all times (as streaming platforms actively try to detect and block VPN connections), obfuscation can help mask your VPN traffic by disguising it to look like regular internet traffic.
Furthermore, you can try out VPNs that come with a massive number of IP addresses. VPN services have more than 10,000 IP addresses for their users to choose from. One of the ways Netflix and other streaming services block VPN connections is by blacklisting their IPs. So, if your VPN provides thousands of IPs, you stand a better chance of using an IP address that hasn’t been blacklisted.
Before you launch Netflix on your device, connect to your VPN service to ensure that no one sees your internet traffic. With this, you can binge privately. Once you have installed the VPN, connect to a server in the country whose content you want to view. Then, restart your browser and go to the streaming service.
If the VPN is actively working, the streaming service should take you as a resident in your selected country and give you the available content in that region. If you are experiencing issues, consider clearing your cache and cooking or using the incognito mode on your web browser.
How do I know if my VPN is working?
The first and most common way to know if your VPN is really working is if it changes your IP address and location. Apparently, your location and IP address switch to that of the VPN server you are connected to. Websites like whatismyipaddress.com can help you verify this.
Another thing you want to do is to ensure that the VPN service is securing your private website and not leaking any of your data outside the VPN tunnel. In other words, you ensure that your data isn’t exposed to your ISP, hackers, and other nefarious entities who may be snooping on your online activity.
Luckily, you can check for any potential leaks by visiting a website like ipleak.net or dnsleaktest.com. If your location is registered as the location of the VPN server, then your leak tests will be negative. Based on this report, you can know whether your VPN is really protecting your privacy or not.
What is a remote-access VPN?
A remote-access VPN uses public infrastructure like the internet to remote customers, and users gain access to their network service. This type of VPN is particularly vital for institutions, organizations, and corporate networks.
Pertinently, it can be useful when employees connect to a public Wi-Fi network and use the internet for transferring files and other work-related documents.
A VPN client on the user’s device connects to a VPN portal or gateway on the company’s network. Typically, the gateway will require the user’s device to authenticate its identity. A network link will be created and sent back to the device to let it access internal network resources like file servers, printers, and intranets, as though it were on the same local network.
What is a site-to-site VPN?
This is a process when the VPN system uses a gateway device to connect the entire network in a certain location to a network in another location. Most of the site-to-site VPNs on the internet use the IPsec protocol.
Often, the IPsec-based encryption protocols are considered by VPN experts to be less secure against modern surveillance. Instead of using a public internet network, it makes more sense to use multiprotocol label-switching clouds as the primary transport for site-to-site VPNs.
VPNs are mostly determined between specific computers and most times, they are servers in different data centers. However, recent hybrid-access situations have now changed the VPN gateway in the cloud through a secure link from the cloud service company to the internal network.
What is the difference between a personal VPN and a business VPN?
Personal VPNs are designed to protect individuals who use the internet. They ensure that people can browse the internet safely and access content available in certain regions. This type of VPN is cheap and affordable, and sometimes free.
On the other hand, business VPNs are tailored for companies, corporate organizations, and entities. Business VPNs typically provide a form of user management dashboard to their users. For instance, if you are using a business VPN, your online activity is secured from external threats; however, the administrator of the business VPN can track how you are using the VPN service.
Business VPNs are expensive and not recommended for freelancers, individuals, solopreneurs, and small businesses.
Frequently Asked Questions About VPN
Below are some of the frequently asked questions we found relating to VPN:
How much does a VPN cost?
The cost of a VPN will vary based on the package you are subscribing to and the add-ons you select.
What can I access with a VPN?
A VPN will let you access geo-restricted material in other countries. Most people who use VPN for streaming can access international content on streaming websites blocked in their home country. Moreover, they can circumvent any form of government restrictions.
Should I get a dedicated IP address add-on?
If you are serious about using a VPN, having a dedicated IP address is a must. When you use a VPN, you share a random IP address with a bunch of other VPN users. Unknown to you, thousands of people could share the same IP address as you.
Let’s assume one of the VPN users does something that causes that IP address to get flagged, the entire people using that IP address will be affected.
A dedicated IP address is an unchanging IP address assigned for a user to use alone. When you use a dedicated IP address, it becomes yours, and other users will not share it. It is a premium add-on and recommended for people who use a VPN for business or work purposes.
We cannot completely ignore online privacy and security in this digital age. Technology has really changed a lot of things we do, ranging from communication to finance, online banking to working from home, sending sensitive personal data across our devices, and so on.
Much of that data is confidential, and we wouldn’t want it to get into the wrong hands. Ideally, we want to keep our personal information away from cybercriminals and hackers, which is why we need a VPN.
VPN protects our digital lives as well as our online activity. VPN services are worth using. Don’t get skeptical about using a VPN because it helps protect your internet activity from snoops such as your ISP, hackers, and even the government. It also changes your IP address temporarily and helps you bypass online censorship and access region-locked apps and websites.
If you are tech-savvy like me, you don’t need to think twice before choosing a VPN. Thankfully, you can select any of the VPNs I recommended. One of the reasons why you should trust me is that I am not new to this space. I have used almost all the VPNs, and based on my experience; I can tell you which VPN is best for your needs.
I’m sure you know how to set up and use a VPN. If you don’t, you should better read that guide to know the right way to do it. Once you have your VPN up and running, get connected to a fast server and start using the VPN.