A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a privacy solution that keeps you safe while using the internet. Even streaming content that you wouldn’t typically have access to is possible using a VPN. VPNs are becoming more and more popular every year, and they keep enhancing some of the already excellent technologies.
Even though the most well-known VPNs have a variety of capabilities, most of them let you connect to a secure, encrypted server by simply pressing a button. This keeps you safe and anonymous, even on dubious public Wi-Fi networks.
There are literally hundreds of different VPN service providers to pick from, but we’re here to assist you in finding the finest VPN for your requirements. We’ll also explain in detail how a VPN operates and how to select one.
We’re here to assist you in selecting the finest VPN for your needs out of the literally hundreds of VPN companies available. Additionally, we’ll explain how a VPN operates and how to pick the best VPN provider for you.
Also, check: 7 Most Popular Free VPNs This Year
Top 3 Selections for the best VPN services this year
We’re prepared to tell you what’s hot and what’s not in terms of security, privacy, and online content streaming now that we’ve finished our most recent round of in-depth VPN testing. Here are our top picks for the top three VPNs available right now if you want to get started with little to no hassle.
1. ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN service this year
Overall score: 5 out of 5
Editor’s Pick. ExpressVPN has everything to offer. High speeds, clever security features, astounding user-friendliness, round-the-clock customer assistance, and even cost-free cloud backup are all included. Although it is a little more expensive than some of the competition, you can try it risk free for 30 days to discover why we gave it such excellent marks in our thorough testing.
2. NordVPN – is the biggest brand in the industry
Overall score: 5 out of 4.5
Fast server speeds, additional privacy benefits including “Double VPN” encryption, and an independently certified no-logs policy are all features of NordVPN, a longtime favorite of users. A very close second to our top recommendation, NordVPN is packed with features. Despite the high level of service provided, rates are more affordable if you choose a multi-year plan.
3. Surfshark – a cost-effective and simple-to-use VPN
Overall score: 5 out of 4.5
Surfshark continues to give us reasons to recommend it despite recently increasing the speed. It still has a tonne of functionality and is very effective at opening up blocked services in 99 different countries. This is a remarkably cheap solution that is incredibly simple to use, costing just $2.05 per month.
How to pick the best VPN
Starting with your fundamental requirements will help you find the best VPN. Are you going to stream anything? Protect yourself on the Internet? Are you into games?
Location: Selecting a supplier with numerous locations and apps for each platform is a fine place to start, but ultimately, the only thing that matters is whether it supports the places and platforms you’ll really use.
Trick: Find a VPN that unblocks your preferred services like Netflix or iPlayer if streaming movies or TV is your top priority. Users of torrents will, of course, want to support P2P on as many servers as they can, as well as have access to a reliable kill switch to protect their identity and a tried-and-true no-logs policy to ensure that all of their online actions remain hidden.
Connections: You may only connect a specific number of devices concurrently with many VPNs. Choose a provider that permits more simultaneous connections, or even has no limits at all, if you have several mobile devices, computers, smart TVs, or other equipment that needs to be safeguarded.
Support. Examining a VPN’s help page is one of the greatest ways to determine whether it is reliable (or not). Look for a lot of in-depth, well-written stuff that you believe will guide you through any challenging circumstances you might run across. Support for chat is also appreciated but not necessary. Certain service providers react to email support requests astonishingly quickly, within minutes in some cases.
Price: While it goes without saying that you should take price into account, we suggest putting functionality first.
Find a VPN that can perform all you need it to, in other words. There are some fantastic discounts on this list, so it doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can always use the price to eliminate options from your list afterward.
The best VPN providers for this year are:
A 5-star VPN service will be the finest VPN service this year for most buyers.
Countries: 94 | Server locations: 160 | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 5
With recent significant network upgrades (servers from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps, and from 4 cores to 20/32), ExpressVPN now has all the tools necessary to grab the lead and maintain that position in the incredibly competitive field of top VPN providers. All the power and privacy the majority of people require are provided by strong core features. It consistently unlocks practically everything that the majority of users require and operates in 160 locations across 94 countries. Its apps are user-friendly and easy to use, and its customer support is unmatched. Additionally, more sophisticated features are always being developed.
ExpressVPN has around 3,000 servers, which is not the most, but they are distributed throughout 160 sites in 94 countries (as opposed to Nord’s 80 or Surfshark’s 65).
One of its highlights is its high-quality apps: ExpressVPN has the best router app, downloads for Chromebooks, Amazon Fire TV, and Kindle Fire, as well as simple setup instructions. It also supports Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. for practically all other purposes. For best speed, their Mac programs are now also natively supported by the Apple M1/M2.
In comparison to most other premium providers like Surfshark and IPVanish, who go all out with unlimited connections, the Express subscription only supports five simultaneous connections. However, five is probably sufficient for the majority of subscribers given only one in ten VPN users really use more than five, according to our own survey data.
Usability: ExpressVPN excels for us in terms of its careful attention to usability. The majority of popular programs have at least minor drawbacks, such as an unsorted list here or a time-wasting extra click there, but Express’s creators not only stay away from these blunders but also come up with cleverer alternatives, streamlining processes and enhancing the VPN experience. experience that is simpler and more fluid. Now that his Mac app is natively supported by the M1/M2 processor, performance has significantly improved.
Performance: In our most recent thorough tests, ExpressVPN’s download speeds averaged 560Mbps. Although this is a little slower than our previous test (630 Mbps), we are certain that this is the speed you can reasonably anticipate. Even though we’ve encountered other providers more frequently, Express is actually quick enough for most consumers’ needs.
Streaming: We have good news if you require a VPN to unblock restricted websites or get around streaming restrictions: ExpressVPN excels in this area as well. In our most recent tests, the service not only unblocked a number of international Netflix catalogs, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer (although occasionally you’ll have to try a few different servers before finding the right one), but it has also been running the same way for a very long time, which is a strong indication that it will continue to function for the foreseeable future.
Features: It has powerful VPN protocols, encrypted DNS, leak protection, network blocking, split tunneling, and more, all of which we found to function excellently. With the Aircove router, it also entered the hardware market.
A customizable toolbar that launches your preferred programs or websites from within the ExpressVPN app is one of the few elegant yet straightforward features (no more fiddling with your browser or Windows Start menu). With every review, there’s nearly always something bright and new to add to the list, such as Threat Manager to monitor for and stop malware and Parallel Connections to speed up connections.
Customer Service: The quality of VPN service is influenced by a number of variables, and ExpressVPN oversees them all. There are pages on the help site that answer almost every query you might have in clear, thorough detail. They contain a lot of extremely helpful information; for instance, they list all potential protocols in order of greatest performance, which is exactly what you need to know, rather than simply suggesting that you try a different protocol to achieve the best speed. Finding what you need is made simple by the website’s careful organization. If the support site is unable to assist, there is a live chat option, and we found that responses to our queries were quick, and knowledgeable agents did a great job answering our questions, such as which servers are best to use for various streaming services.
Price: Compared to most other providers, ExpressVPN is still more pricey. Yes, the price is higher, but you can see exactly where your money is going: to maintain speed, provide greater features, update the software frequently, provide dependable unlocking, and provide incredibly helpful chat support.
Another question: We would be negligent if we did not discuss the fairly “interesting” week that ExpressVPN had in August 2021. First, it was announced that it was acquired by Kape Technologies, the company that owns CyberGhost and PIA below and has a rather contentious status. narrative. Then, a few days later, it came to light that his CIO had received a fine for prior hacking claims. Although we can see why they rocked certain VPN industry cells, none of the occurrences seem particularly significant, according to TechRadar, and we currently see no cause to discontinue recommending this provider on that basis.
Our Report: ExpressVPN may not be the best in every category (price is a huge concern and speeds are slower than in the past), but it excels in the majority of them. The overall excellence and careful attention to detail really stand out, guaranteeing that you receive a dependable and ultra-reliable service that goes above and beyond to safeguard your online privacy. Our sole VPN provider with a 5-star rating.
Due to its amazing security features, NordVPN comes in second place.
Countries: 60 | Server locations: 80+ | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 5,500+ | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 6
There are still many things to like about NordVPN, despite the fact that it has dropped to second place in our rankings. It is the obvious pick for your VPN list since it is quick (up to 820Mbps instead of 760Mbps), incredibly strong, still represents an excellent bargain, and goes above and beyond to demonstrate its privacy credentials in every way.
Servers, connections, & apps: In terms of raw server count, Nord surpasses ExpressVPN, bringing it to an amazing 5,000+. Although it only covers a small number of nations, NordVPN probably has servers in any country you’ll require. Although it supports more simultaneous connections than ExpressVPN (up to six), many other services, such as Surfshark and Windscribe, do not have a connection cap.
For Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chromebook, Android TV, and other platforms, the appropriate apps are available. You can use NordVPN with just about anything thanks to the welcoming add-ons, which include browser extensions for Edge as well as Chrome and Firefox. You can also set up NordVPN on compatible routers. A redesigned Raise Ticket screen is among the usability upgrades included in the Windows app.
Security and Privacy: NordVPN has always had a lot of security features, but after a data breach a few years ago, the company took it to the next level, and since then it has added layer upon layer of features and technology to protect privacy. You also don’t have to take NordVPN’s word for it because it now engages PricewaterhouseCoopers every year for a thorough, independent audit of its no-logging policy.
For instance, Nord controls and oversees many of its servers, preventing outside access. The apps are brimming with excellent privacy protections and exclusively employ the most secure methods, including AES-256 encryption. A solid kill switch protects you even if the VPN fails, dual VPN (also known as multihop) transmits your traffic through two servers for increased protection, secure DNS secures your browsing, and Nord can still analyze downloads for malware using its (rather constrained) Threat Protection feature.
Performance: NordVPN has created NordLynx, a variant of WireGuard. The findings are outstanding: in our most recent evaluation, the connection speed was far higher than the industry standard of 820 Mbps, and in earlier tests, it was 880 Mbps. Although other providers have reached 900-950 Mbps, this performance is still excellent and provides more than enough power for the majority of devices and connections. It’s not the greatest we’ve ever seen.
Usefulness: Due to major usage flaws and the fact that NordVPN is often difficult to set up and use, you won’t make it to number two on our charts. However, there were a few minor flaws that set the apps apart from the competitors. No favorites in the Windows program, recent only utilizes icons rather than names, connections to OpenVPN take longer than typical to establish, disconnects require two clicks rather than one, and so on. These are minor issues, and they don’t detract from the overall quality of the programs. However, we also can’t disregard these particulars at this level because they play a role in what makes an excellent VPN into a great one.
Streaming: For years, NordVPN has been a reliable tool for unblocking a variety of apps and streaming services, such as WhatsApp, YouTube, Disney Plus, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, C4, 9Now, and others.
Features: Through NordVPN’s encrypted connections, devices anywhere in the globe may communicate securely with Nord. This adds to the long list of features already present. We’ve already highlighted some of NordVPN’s security features, but further benefits include robust DNS leak prevention, two ultra-secure kill switches (system-wide and app-specific), and support for crypto payments, as well as PayPal and cards.
Customer Support: Technical issues with NordVPN are rare, but if they do arise, there are a tonne of thorough instructions and troubleshooting articles available (many available in multiple languages, sometimes eight or more). Additionally, a clever chatbot and 24/7 friendly, knowledgeable chat support are available for actual situations.
Price: Although NordVPN’s monthly plans are slightly more expensive than some, the yearly package is excellent value. In contrast, the two-year package (see below) outperforms most first-term suppliers if you’re interested in signing up. NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you wish to test the service before signing up. Please be aware, nevertheless, that their renewal costs are a little higher than typical.
Our Report: NordVPN apps lack a little bit of ExpressVPN’s polish and attention to detail, but the differences are negligible. Furthermore, if speed or affordability are your top goals, this can be a wiser decision.
Excellent, cost-effective VPN service that performs well across the board.
Countries: 99 | Server locations: 100+ | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 3,200 | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
When you visit the Surfshark website, the first thing you notice is its market-breaking price. Although this is a very exciting deal, don’t just think in terms of money. There is so much more to Surfshark.
Servers, connections & apps: Surfshark’s network has 3200 servers, which is less than some, but with more than 100 sites in over 99 countries, there is a good probability that it will cover the places you want. You can use a variety of programmes for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices, as well as the Amazon Fire and other smart TVs, to connect to the network. And because Surfshark has no connection or device limit, you don’t need to keep track of the hardware you’ve connected concurrently, unlike most of the competition.
Security & Privacy: Are well-covered by Surfshark apps, which use secure protocols like WireGuard and OpenVPN, robust encryption, and a kill switch to stop your traffic from being exposed in the event of a VPN outage. But this is just the start. Additionally, the service uses Multi-Hop VPN to make it even more difficult for others to monitor you, private DNS to safeguard your online activities, and malware to stop advertisements, trackers, and other dangers to your privacy.
Performance: Speed hasn’t always been Surfshark’s strongest suit, but we noticed some significant improvements in our most recent assessment, with WireGuard downloads reaching 950 Mbps at their peak, up from 790 Mbps in our previous test. Compared to about 150Mbps, OpenVPN was slow. If you’re accessing Surfshark from regular apps, this usually won’t be a problem (you’ll just configure them to utilise WireGuard), but if you’re installing Surfshark on your router or wanting to use it with a third-party programme, it might.
Usability: Surfshark apps have tabs, sidebars, and buttons to investigate, making them appear a little more complex than the competition. But given their extensive feature set and generally straightforward use (the Windows VPN software, for example, doesn’t sort cities alphabetically), it’s not surprising. The addition of a full GUI to the Linux app is a much-appreciated improvement.
Additionally, various features of Surfshark can significantly simplify your life. Set up Surfshark Bypasser to utilise the VPN exclusively for browsing, streaming, and maybe P2P, and everything else will use your regular connection.
Streaming: Surfshark can help if you’re fed up with streaming services blocking access to international material. This instantly connected us to Netflix in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and Canada, as well as Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, C4, 9Now, and BBC iPlayer.
Customer Service: The support site is available if you need assistance installing Surfshark or if it isn’t quite what you were hoping for. The articles you receive are quite thorough, though not quite to the extent of the two suppliers mentioned above. You won’t find much information when you open the “How to Install” tutorial for certain VPNs other than “follow this link in the app store and install it like you normally would.” If you do this in Surfshark, you’ll get screenshots for each stage of the installation process, a thorough explanation of how to use every function of the software, links to further useful information, and even a video tutorial if you’d like.
You could also just start a live chat session if that sounds like a lot of work. After a minute or two, we normally speak with an agent, and the majority of the test questions were swiftly addressed with helpful and accurate responses.
Surfshark’s monthly pricing plan isn’t the cheapest among the competition, but if you sign up for a two-year contract, the actual monthly cost drops to just $2.05, which is an excellent price given what you get.
What else?: Surfshark has started distributing Surfshark Nexus, a new smart network technology that, according to the firm, will enable it to “stabilise and speed up your VPN connection” in addition to enabling it to introduce new privacy features. We can’t judge Nexus because these additions won’t be available until 2022 and 2023, but it’s encouraging to see the vendor is so committed to coming up with fresh, inventive ways to enhance the service.
Our Report: A VPN doesn’t make our list of the top three unless it’s a fantastic option, so our minor issues with Surfshark aren’t likely to deter many potential customers. This is a fantastic VPN and may be your best option if cost is a top consideration.
4. Private Internet Access
Strong VPN that is affordable and keeps getting better overall.
Countries: 84 | Server locations: 100+ | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 10,000+ | Streaming sites unblocked: US Netflix, Amazon, Disney | 24/7 support: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 10
Because the cheapest VPNs frequently make compromises to achieve these objectives, picking a VPN based solely on pricing can cause issues. However, Private Internet Access (abbreviated as PIA) is an uncommon exception. Unbelievably low pricing are offered without compromising the high quality, feature-rich service.
Servers, connections, and apps: With 10,000 massive, fast servers dispersed over 84 nations, PIA offers more advanced networking capabilities. Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux are more often supported platforms, but the Chrome extension stands out for its cookie blocking and other additional privacy measures. Whatever you use, the high 10-device limit enables you to connect more of your devices to the PIA simultaneously.
Security & Privacy: Using the incredibly secure OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, PIA protects your privacy, while MACE thwarts advertisements, trackers, and malware (217/1650 new dangerous URLs, 111/150 trackers stopped). In order to allow interested parties to test the code and ensure that the applications function as promised, the company has also made its applications open-source. Large-scale service audits have not yet been conducted, although we have heard that they will soon.
Performance: The speed wasn’t the best in the past, but it does earn some marks this time. According to our most recent benchmarks, WireGuard speeds can reach 450–510 Mbps, up from 200–250 Mbps when we last tested it. But let’s be honest, too. While speed can be a problem when playing games, downloading files, or utilising other speed-critical apps, PIA should be more than fast enough if you mostly browse or watch.
Usefulness: Because PIA programmes have so many capabilities, some users may find it difficult and crowded to navigate the sheer amount of panels. However, uniquely, you can alter them to highlight your preferred traits and conceal everything else. The best of both worlds are combined: specialists get the necessary power, while everyone who prefers simplicity can reduce the software to a single connect button.
Streaming: The service enabled us to access Netflix in multiple areas, Amazon Prime Video, iPlayer, C4, 9Now, and Disney Plus. PIA meets the usual unlock fee.
Customer Help: PIA has an adequate support website, but if it is unable to resolve your issue, you can now speak with a live chat agent right away. Our experience has shown that helpful and competent agents are quick to reply, pay close attention to the problem, and are informed and skilled enough to identify complicated problems and offer reliable guidance.
Price: If you’re as thrilled by PIA’s capabilities as we are, you should know that you can get it all for a fraction of what the competition charges. Their monthly plan has increased by a few dollars, but these are simply really attractive prices and not core costs that double on renewal.
Another thing?: When you sign up, you’ll discover that many of the smart features developed by various providers are only compatible with Windows. PIA? Not really. Its Mac and iOS apps contain a tonne of settings and choices, and the Android VPN app is more potent than the desktop software from other providers.
Our Report: Even the most demanding users may have trouble with PIA’s slow speed. However, the service offers a tonne of potential to everyone else while also being incredibly reasonable for people who are new to VPNs and offering some of the greatest data plans.
5. Proton VPN
VPN with a lot of features and a fantastic free version you may try.
Countries: 63 | Server locations: 85+ | Refund period: 30 days – free version available | Number of servers: 1,700+ | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: No | Simultaneous connections: 10
Proton VPN continues to excel in our in-depth testing despite recent significant improvements in its network, applications, streaming ratings, performance, support, and other areas. It’s still one of the finest VPN companies for a variety of reasons thanks to its excellent free plan, open source software, and extensive network coverage.
Servers, connections, & apps: . A few years ago, there were just a few hundred servers in 14 countries, but today there are more than 1,750 servers spread across 63 countries, making the Proton VPN network more larger and more competitive. Numerous programmes for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and Chromebooks allow you to access these servers. Additionally, you should be able to connect and utilise all of your equipment simultaneously thanks to the generous ten-device limit, which is higher than that of the Express or Nord.
Security and privacy: Choosing a VPN provider that you can trust is crucial, and Proton VPN goes above and above the norm to protect your privacy. Bitcoin and even cash can be used for anonymous payments. The Proton VPN apps have been independently reviewed and are open source, allowing anybody to evaluate the code.
Strong encryption and the strongest protocols are the foundation of technical privacy and security features (WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2). For enhanced security, MultiHop VPN distributes your traffic over many VPN servers. A reliable kill switch protects your identity in the event that the VPN goes down.
Performance: The high-speed WireGuard protocol and some of Proton VPN’s own intelligent low-level technologies, such the VPN accelerator, which makes use of many clever Windows settings to enhance your connection, help the VPN maximise performance.
According to the results of our tests, Proton VPN achieves a peak speed of 510 Mbps, which is above average (WireGuard’s highest speed is 670 Mbps). Although it’s not the best, the majority of users may still access speeds that are far higher than the average OpenVPN speed of 440Mbps.
Usefulness: Proton VPN apps show your position on a well-designed map that you can travel and zoom in on. All you need to do to connect is click (or tap) on the map. Although the locations list isn’t as well structured and the sheer number of options can occasionally be overwhelming to new users, with a little bit of time spent exploring, you’ll immediately feel at home.
Streaming: Proton VPN may concentrate on its ability to preserve your privacy, but it also knows how to have fun. In our most recent tests, this enabled us to easily access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer material from the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. Although it should go without saying, the streaming features are exclusive to the premium Proton Plus plan and not the free tier.
Customer care: Although Proton VPN has incorporated live chat, agents aren’t always available, and the company’s support website still has several too technical material. However, if you can hang on to someone, we’ve seen that they may offer excellent counsel, and email inquiries typically receive beneficial responses within a day or two.
Price: The Proton VPN Plus full-featured package, which includes everything we’ve discussed here, is very pricey. With a long-term plan, the cost is currently $5 per month.
Another thing? Need to test out certain features? With over 100 servers across three countries and no bandwidth restrictions, its market-leading free VPN is a terrific way to test out apps and see how the service performs for you.
A 30-day money-back guarantee is also provided by Proton VPN, however there is a catch: refunds are only given for unused subscription time. For instance, if you ask for money after 15 days, you will only get 50% of your commission.
Our Report: Proton VPN is expensive, but it’s open and transparent, has a tonne of features, and it has excellent unblocking abilities. We strongly advise you to look if these are your top concerns.
Reputable VPN provider you may test out for free.
Countries: 66+ | Server locations: 110+ | Refund period: 3 days – free version available | Number of servers: 400+ | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: No | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
With a variety of fascinating features that will interest practically any user type, Windscribe is a strong Canadian VPN.
many pieces of protective gear? As well as functional browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, there are attractive open source applications for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. In addition, the subscription allows for the connection of an infinite number of devices, so you should be able to use one Windscribe plan to connect your entire house.
You’ll appreciate Windscribe’s capability to unblock American Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer if watching international material is a top priority. Notably, we failed to unblock Netflix Japan on our most recent test.
Special advanced features are accessible to experts. For instance, Windscribe can block trackers, spyware, fake news, porn sites, and more in addition to basic ad blocking, and you can modify every setting to achieve the precise level of protection you require.
Windscribe’s speed jumped from 490 Mbps to 700 Mbps in contrast to our previous test, which helped them move up even farther in our ranking.
Unfortunately, there is no 24/7 live chat assistance, although you can write emails or utilise the company’s own subreddit. And while Windscribe just made a significant move in the direction of transparency by making its desktop programmes open-source, we’d like to see it go even farther by carrying out an impartial security analysis of the service.
Our Report: Windscribe has certain drawbacks, but it is still a good bargain, and professionals in particular get access to a tonne of interesting options. Additionally, the free plan offers you access to all key services and 10 GB each month, so if you’re persuaded, you may test the service right now without any risk to see what it can do for you.
High-speed connections, cutting-edge security, and round-the-clock customer service.
Countries: 50+ | Server locations: 75+ | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 2,000+ | Streaming sites unblocked: US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney | 24/7 support: Yes | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
IPVanish is a powerful VPN that outperforms expectations in a few key areas while falling short in others. The company does not simply rent its 2,000+ servers; it owns them in order to have complete control over how they are managed. There are no device restrictions, so you can have as many concurrent connections as you need. And it recently passed a no-log audit, which is a reassuring sign that the company is properly protecting your privacy.
While a capable kill switch is always on hand to protect you in the event of a VPN drop, and the ultra-efficient WireGuard protocol is available on all platforms, the desktop apps stand out for their intuitive and easy-to-use card interface, even though it appears to have fewer features than previous testing. Additionally, IPVanish makes the most of it, ranking among our top 5 fastest VPNs thanks to outstanding test results.
Currently, the service unblocks American Netflix, BBC iPlayer, C4, ITV, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video (but we discovered it had trouble with other regions). No success with Netflix in Australia or Canada, though.
Despite the fact that the apps are loaded with functionality, we believe that this may cause the UI to become cluttered, and the desktop versions may have some usability concerns. Just that they are not as polished as we would want, nothing extraordinary.
Similar stories can be found elsewhere: in most cases, IPVanish provides what is necessary, but there are a few minor flaws that just diminish the impact. In addition to OpenVPN’s poor performance (720 Mbps vs. 890 Mbps), WireGuard’s speed has decreased. Although the support site cannot be compared to the top, the live chat support is quite beneficial. Although the prices are reasonable, you cannot use bitcoin to pay.
Our Report: As long as you aren’t worried by sporadic unlock troubles, IPVanish can be a wise alternative for individuals who have a lot of security equipment and can benefit from its incredible WireGuard speeds. You can learn more risk-free during the 30-day return period, but keep in mind that this only applies to yearly plans; monthly users are not protected.
Feature-rich VPN with outstanding configuration flexibility.
Countries: 91 | Server locations: 115+ | Refund period: 45 days | Number of servers: 8,900+ | Streaming sites unblocked: US Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 7
For instance, CyberGhost maintains a robust network of 7,000–8,000 servers, largely for torrenting, spread throughout 115 nations. Applications are available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, and other smart TVs, and gaming consoles with Smart DNS compatibility can also be configured.
Applications contain one or two significant omissions despite being generally powerful. You won’t know for sure when you’re connected or disconnected by the VPN unless you’re staring at the app window, for instance, as the Windows programme still doesn’t show a notification when you join or disconnect.
Another highlight of streaming was how easily CyberGhost unblocked American Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer (but not Netflix from other countries’ catalogues). This time around, CyberGhost was unable to unlock Disney Plus and UK Netflix. The apps also include specific sections for Hulu, HBO Max, and other streaming services.
WireGuard’s connection speeds are around 730Mbps (up from 850Mbps in our most recent tests), while OpenVPN’s approach 400Mbps and above. CyberGhost’s “peak speed” is remarkable, but substantially slower than in our previous testing. Prices are a bit steep for monthly plans as well, but you can get a great deal by committing for three years and paying less than $2.50 per month.
Our Report: CyberGhost is more correct than incorrect. If speed and streaming are your main objectives and you can live with the device capping system, then it’s worth taking a closer look at, even though the support site isn’t as comprehensive and helpful as we had hoped.
A quick VPN that places security before streaming.
Countries: 38 | Server locations: 68 | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 800+ | Streaming sites unblocked: None | 24/7 support: No | Simultaneous connections: 5
Although every VPN makes the promise to care about privacy, Mullvad goes above and beyond. For instance, you can open an account without providing any personal information, pay with cryptocurrency, or even mail an envelope with cash (no, honestly!) to make sure the business doesn’t know anything about you.
Mullvad is also open, putting its whole infrastructure—including all applications, servers, websites, and more—undergoing thorough security audits and vowing to do so repeatedly.
Not all of this is good news, though. Mullvad was unable to unblock American Netflix or any of our test streaming sites; there is no live chat or 24/7 support; its single plan for €5 per month is great if you’re happy with monthly billing, but there is no discount if you’re willing to sign up for a longer term. Applications are also somewhat simplistic in many areas.
The Mullvad’s 770Mbps peak speed (down from 820Mbps when last tested) is nearly twice as fast as the competition, but, if performance is your top priority. Port forwarding, a trustworthy kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and other hidden options are among the useful features. Additionally, to guarantee our safety in any circumstance, the applications are of the best calibre, completely leak-proof, and furnished with a dependable kill switch.
Our Report: It’s not a VPN for the typical user due to its poor unblocking capabilities and minimal support. However, Mullvad is a terrific option for P2P or for people who wish to be as anonymous as possible online because to its fast speeds and excellent privacy.
Advanced security, bypass censorship, digital privacy, faster and safer VPN.
Countries: 48 | Server locations: 75+ | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 2,000+ | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 10
Hide.me offers advanced features like split tunnelling and MultiHop VPN, over 2000 servers spread across over 75 countries, specialised streaming servers to help with unblocking, up to ten simultaneous connections supported, apps for mobile devices, desktop computers, Amazon Fire TV, Chrome, Firefox, and even an extension for Edge.
Particularly, the Windows application has lots of configuration options. For instance, if the VPN goes down, the kill switch doesn’t merely restrict your internet access. You may also run your own script to automatically open or dismiss apps, send yourself email alerts, or do whatever else you want.
However, Hide.me goes above and beyond the VPN technology you have seen elsewhere and develops intriguing original concepts. It’s a collection of technical adjustments made to Windows to speed it up and make the most of your connection, similar to the company’s Bolt product.
Hide.me In our tests, WireGuard’s connections hit 880Mbps, placing it among the top three fastest service providers. Even OpenVPN regularly attains 450–550 Mbps. In terms of streaming, we’ve been able to unblock Amazon Prime libraries abroad, Disney Plus, C4, ITV, 9Now, and Netflix pretty much everywhere (which isn’t always the case these days).
Hide.me’s score is affected by a few problems. It’s great to see a company that offers more than just a VPN, but there are so many features, choices, and settings that it can be a little overwhelming for people who are just getting started online.
Our Report: Experts who plan to use Hide.me’s cutting-edge capabilities or who can benefit from its lightning-fast performance may find it to be a wise decision. It’s time to investigate them as well. However, if you don’t require so much power, you can find simpler, more dependable, and more affordable VPNs elsewhere.
A convenient VPN service that offers some pleasant privacy benefits.
Countries: 48 | Server locations: 50+ | Refund period: None – free version available | Number of servers: 1,000+ | Streaming sites unblocked: US Netflix | 24/7 support: No | Simultaneous connections: 5
Are you sick of using complicated VPN programmes that are crammed with features you will never use? Similar in its thinking is Canadian business TunnelBear, which has developed a VPN service with some of the most straightforward apps (and mobile VPN builds are especially beautiful too).
This news is largely positive. The programme has useful features including a kill switch to protect you in case your connection drops and GhostBear to assist you in connecting in nations that do not permit VPNs. Most importantly, TunnelBear analyses its whole service yearly, in contrast to many providers who still take a “maybe one day” approach to privacy auditing. If only the rest of the sector displayed such audacity. Recently, they also made WireGuard support available, albeit just for Windows at this time.
Sometimes the company’s emphasis on simplicity goes too far, and TunnelBear lacks certain very standard functions. For instance, PayPal is not supported. no wire fence. Simple support page; no live chat. Even though you can at least test out the restricted free version before to joining up, it doesn’t even issue refunds.
The unblocking outcomes are also subpar: we try Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, ITV, C4, and 9Now, but Netflix consistently has issues, as does BBC iPlayer. Having saying that, there is obviously no chance that TunnelBear will ever be on our list of the top streaming VPNs.
Our Report: TunnelBear is certainly worth a look if your VPN demands are simple (or you simply enjoy the transparency of inspecting everything). However, it lacks the power, speed, and unblocking capabilities for demanding users.
12. Atlas VPN
Features that are above average for mid-range requirements.
Countries: 38 | Server locations: 44+ | Refund period: 30 day | Number of servers: 750+ | Streaming sites unblocked: BBC iPlayer, US & UK Netflix, Disney Plus, iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video | 24/7 support: No | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
Atlas is an excellent VPN because it is simply excellent at what it does. It does not attempt to be the fastest or the most secure, but the middle approach provides you with a dependable provider that will be more than adequate for many people. Everything we tested – speed, unlocking, privacy, and support – put them above average and helped them beat some other providers, but it wasn’t enough to get them into the top names.
Despite occasionally running into complications, we were able to unblock US and UK Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, and ITV with relative ease (such as password issues). However, we had issues with Netflix in Australia, Japan, and Canada. While we’re still getting used to using Atlas to unlock, everything are going well so far.
There are undoubtedly even more affordable solutions available because Atlas has increased the price of its monthly plan and added support for cryptocurrency payments. However, the speed went from 740 Mbps to 780 Mbps, a tiny improvement. During testing, the support site’s UI has also undergone a number of changes, and new and improved material has been introduced.
There are some deserving drawbacks in addition to the above-average advantages. Some users might be dissatisfied with a poor support website, relatively simple apps, and a limited (by comparison) network of servers. Despite a few minor mistakes, the information was sufficient.
Our Report: Atlas is generally appropriate for a wide range of users. There isn’t much that sets it apart from competing providers, and factors like the limited number of servers and app capabilities don’t help. That said, Atlas VPN can work if you choose modest range.
A mediocre VPN provider with amazing discounts.
Countries: 78 | Server locations: 95+ | Refund period: 31 day | Number of servers: 6,500+ | Streaming sites unblocked: BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 10
A seasoned provider, PureVPN offers a variety of features at the most affordable rates. With over 6,500 high-speed servers spread over 78 nations, it ranks among the best in just those parameters. With support for 10 simultaneous connections and apps for computers, mobile devices, and even smart TVs, it’s likely that the entire family may use PureVPN without violating irksome device restrictions.
The fact that PureVPN’s no-log credentials are also audited is encouraging. The highlight is performance: PureVPN achieves speeds that are twice as fast as some rivals. And occasionally there are discounts that offer five years of coverage for less than $100.
What makes PureVPN last (but not last) on this list? Application problems are a factor. By default, they will add the Chrome extension; you might not even notice. They transmit crash reports without obtaining consent. When using PureVPN on different systems, the kill switch has a number of platform-specific limitations and doesn’t always function as intended.
Whereas Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus were once difficult to access when streaming, PureVPN now does so without any hassle.
Our Report: PureVPN offers a lot of value for your (minimum) money if you’re on a tight budget and don’t need an unblocker. However, PureVPN can’t match the top VPNs in the industry for quality alone.
14. Hotspot Shield
A reliable VPN service that was surpassed by others.
Countries: 80+ | Server locations: 125 | Refund period: 45 day | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Streaming sites unblocked: US Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 5
Hotspot Shield has a network of 3200+ servers, which is about typical, however they are evenly scattered throughout 125 cities and 80+ countries. Everywhere supports P2P, and dangerous and phishing websites have been blocked.
The company offers apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac, but it doesn’t end there. Additionally, there are Smart TV and Linux apps, a Chrome plugin, and support for setting up the service on different routers.
The apps are simple to use even though they lack the strength of their greatest rivals and have numerous unneeded platform incompatibilities. To maximise efficiency and cope with websites that don’t function normally when the VPN is on, Smart VPN, for instance, allows you specify which websites and apps won’t be routed over the VPN.
It’s really simple to unblock foreign streaming material with Hotspot Shield. For instance, most VPN software anticipate that you would switch between VPN locations until you discover the one that allows you to access American Netflix. Once you connect to one of Hotspot Shield’s dedicated streaming locations in each nation, the service immediately begins. Without any issues, we unblocked Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.
Performance was always Hotspot Shield’s strongest point, but in recent years, as more service providers have migrated to the fast WireGuard protocol, the adaptable Catapult Hydra Hotspot Shield has not been able to keep up. Although this isn’t strictly a problem because most connections and devices can handle download rates of approximately 300Mbps, it’s still less than half as fast as most services, so we’d like the corporation to fix this.
We would like Hotspot Shield to conduct routine independent evaluations, as other providers are progressively doing. This is a clever technique to demonstrate transparency while also demonstrating a sincere desire to enhance the service.
Our Report: Hotspot Shield is still a good option if ease of use, greater streaming compatibility, and the security of doing business with a reputable company are on your list of considerations. The three-year plan has many wonderful features, and you have enough time to decide without taking any risks thanks to the 45-day money-back guarantee and 7-day trial.
Strong VPN service that lives up to its name.
Countries: 40+ | Server locations: 60+ | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 950+ | Streaming sites unblocked: US Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 12
StrongVPN goes to considerable measures to demonstrate in advance with stunning statistics that “strength is in the numbers.” You may connect up to 12 devices concurrently, surpassing the five-device limit of other providers, including our most popular ExpressVPN, and they offer 60,000 VPN IPs, support for six protocols, including lightning-fast WireGuard.
Other aspects of the service seem less potent, and StrongVPN lacks the endurance to maintain this pace. no security assessment There are times when changes to mobile apps take a year or longer. And while its 450Mbps download speed may be sufficient for many, it is just half of what Hide.me and TorGuard display in our speed tests.
StrongVPN does particularly well in a few key areas, though. We discovered that StrongVPN makes it simple to unblock American Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer if you wish to view your preferred services from abroad. Without installing any programmes, Smart DNS can provide the same unlock success on game consoles, set-top boxes, and smart TVs.
Cost is still another crucial factor. You will receive 250GB of secure cloud storage from the SugarSync file backup and sync service when you sign up for any plan, even for a month. This incentive is worth around $10 per month on its own.
Our Report:: StrongVPN is a wise choice if you need to safeguard a lot of equipment or watch content from abroad, especially if you plan to use 250GB of cloud storage.
VPN that prioritises privacy and transparency.
Countries: 32 | Server locations: 45 | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 70+ | Streaming sites unblocked: None| 24/7 support: No | Simultaneous connections: 7
Despite being the smallest VPN on this list, IVPN has gained a lot of attention for its open and transparent operations. Just take a look at the website; there isn’t any aggressive marketing to be found there; only factual information about the service, the people who run it, their morals, and their beliefs.
Of course, deeds speak louder than words, but even here, IVPN is improving. Anyone can see what it’s doing because its apps and website are open source, and yearly security assessments determine whether the company upholds its privacy commitments.
The Mullvad-like IVPN’s ability to register an account without requesting your email address or any other personal information has a significant anonymity benefit. (Bitcoin can also be used to make payments for added invisibility.)
Stream leaves much to be desired. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and all of our test services were all blocked by IVPN. However, the performance is superb, earning IVPN a spot in the current top ten fastest with peak download speeds of 810Mbps. The apps are reliable and contain a tonne of helpful functions for both desktop and mobile platforms, despite some minor usability concerns.
If you do, be aware that IVPN has a small network and that its fully loaded Pro package is more expensive than most. However, if privacy is more essential to you than cost and you don’t want an unlock, this seamless and expert service may be ideal.
How we check VPNs: Our Process
Our VPN reviews begin at the provider’s website where we go into the specifics to learn more about the service. We test all the biggest and finest VPNs every six months. What choices does the supplier provide? Is it more realistic or does it guarantee peace? Does the privacy statement describe how your data is processed in detail? In the small print, are there any catches? Are prices transparent and equitable?
We install and test VPN apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS after purchasing a plan. The Windows software undergoes the most testing as we check for data leaks, test the kill switch, and generally make sure everything operates as promised. However, we will investigate every application, do typical tasks, use various protocols and settings, test unique features, and assess usability.
With a 1 Gbps connection, we test VPN speed between a US residence and a UK data centre. The speed of each VPN is tested at least 120 times over two sessions using different protocols, websites and speed testing tools, and we take the average of the best session as the provider’s peak performance.
Multiple streaming services should be able to be unblocked by a reliable VPN. In order to test this, we are attempting to unlock BBC iPlayer, access Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix’s geo-restricted material, as well as repeat the test from three other places to get a sense of how the service functions in practise.
Depending on the situation, we could do a wide range of additional tests. For instance, we don’t only rely on our gut feelings when a programme behaves strangely; we also examine its RAM and, in some cases, decompile and examine its source code to see what is going on.
How does VPN work?
By sending web traffic via a secure connection to its own server, a VPN stops outsiders from monitoring your online activities.
That is, as opposed to contacting the website directly, for instance:
Your device <<<——>> Website
Your traffic is routed as follows: First, it goes to the VPN server, then to the website, then back to the VPN server, and finally to you.
Your device <<<——>> VPN server <<<——>> Website
All that a passing hacker, a bad Wi-Fi hotspot, or even your ISP will be able to see is the connections your device is making to the VPN server. Additionally, with good traffic encryption, spies won’t be able to see nearly as much about your online activities as they would about the websites you visit.
Although this greatly enhances privacy, there may be a downside. Your internet speed may probably decrease slightly as a result of the additional work involved in encrypting and decrypting your communication and routing it through an additional server.
However, the top providers employ well-designed apps and the most effective protocols to limit any performance decrease (the rules that the VPN application and server use to transfer data). If you pick your service provider well, you might not even notice the speed difference.
What is the best VPN for this year?
The best VPN at the moment is ExpressVPN. The benefits are numerous (and covered in detail in this article), but in short, they include the fact that it offers a dependable and quick connection to the server, is packed with security intelligence, is easy to use on desktop, mobile, and other devices, has a track record of unblocking restricted websites and streaming services, and offers fantastic human customer support that is available around-the-clock.
The 30-day risk-free trial period is made possible by the 100% money-back guarantee. A full year of safe, limitless cloud backup is also included when you join up for an annual plan right now, courtesy of Backblaze.
What Is A VPN Used For?
Despite all the technical jargon, VPNs are surprisingly simple to use and offer a variety of advantages to even the most inexperienced online users.
Stay safe and anonymous online
Using public Wi-Fi can put you in danger in a variety of ways, from snoopers monitoring your internet activity to rogue hotspots that send you to risky websites. Your traffic will be encrypted once you’ve connected to a VPN, ensuring that no one else can see or affect how you browse. This is also the rationale behind the widespread use of VPNs for torrent downloads.
A few networks restrict your access to websites like YouTube, social media, and others that they don’t want you to visit. The network won’t be able to block you if you use a VPN because it won’t be able to tell which websites you are accessing.
Bypass government censorship
The government of China and other non-privacy nations is attempting to restrict specific websites nationwide. Although it doesn’t always work, you can acquire access by connecting to the VPN first: Only the greatest Chinese VPNs can get past China’s Great Firewall, which is particularly diligent about detecting and banning VPNs.
Have you ever encountered a streaming website error saying “not available in your region”? If you are not in an accepted country, many websites will prevent access. However, you may frequently access US-only content even when you are travelling if, for example, you connect to a VPN server in New York. If you want to view TV episodes and movies that are only available on foreign streaming services or if you want to watch a live broadcast of a sporting event that is not broadcast where you are, this is quite practical. In addition to being useful for streaming BBC iPlayer from overseas, VPNs for Netflix have recently contributed to the spectacular expansion of software.
Avoid price manipulation based on cookies
There are further advantages to being able to appear as though you are in another nation. The cost of lodging, travel, and several other goods and services can vary widely from country to country. Looking abroad can result in significant savings and enable you to fully recover the cost of a VPN if your region is on the more costly end of the spectrum.
Even without these particular advantages, using a VPN when browsing gives a number of privacy advantages. For instance, it is more difficult for websites and advertisers to track you, and even your ISP cannot view or store your browser history when using a robust VPN encryption to safeguard your activities.
How do I get the best VPN?
The next step is simple after you have selected the best VPN for you from the list above. Follow the simple instructions on the website to join up using the payment option that best suits you by clicking the link for the one you choose. Some sites these days even let you pay with cryptocurrency.
Long-term savings come from switching to a longer-term subscription, but it’s important to remember that even when costs are listed in monthly terms, you still have to pay the entire sum upfront.
You can download clients and applications to whatever devices you wish to utilise the new VPN on after registering. So, to connect quickly on a mobile device, visit the App Store or Play Store, download, and then install.
Once set up, you may add extensions to your preferred web browser to enhance the functionality of a variety of devices. Your computer, phone, tablet, game console, TV streaming equipment, and even your internet gateway are all included in this.
The ideal moment to purchase a VPN is when?
The short answer is that there is no perfect timing. Basically, you can ensure that great VPN deals are always available all year round.
Yes, most providers have now caught the Black Friday bug, which is why November and December tend to have attractive prices. But NordVPN, Surfshark, and PIA often have discounts here and extra months of free usage there.
Which VPN is fastest?
It’s a common sales tactic for VPN services to boast about having the fastest speeds, but obviously not all of them can be. We therefore examine the speeds provided by all the top VPNs using various international servers and protocols.
The speed findings for the top VPNs in our most recent analysis at the end of 2022 are listed below:
|PureVPN||180-640 Mbps||120 Mbps|
Paid VPNs vs free VPNs: which should I get?
When selecting a VPN, there are several aspects to keep an eye out for, but one word stands out more than all the others combined: “free.” And it’s clear why. Who wants to fork over $50 to $100 when the identical service is available without charge?
The issue: It won’t appear to be the same service. A decent VPN costs money to operate since it needs fast servers, skilled developers to create and update reliable programmes, and a knowledgeable support staff that is available around-the-clock to assist you. All of this is not truly free.
In most cases, you receive a simple app that may not have been updated in years, which connects to slow servers and then inundates you with adverts, putting you at risk for the exact privacy threats you hoped a VPN would stop.
Some free services offer a lot more. One method we’ve seen allows the developer to view the websites and apps you use by sending screenshots of your smartphone back to them. There is not a lot of privacy protection.
This does not imply that a gift is always undesirable. You might not care if it shows advertisements when you login and detach if all you need is to unblock a streaming website. However, we advise against using them frequently or for private information. Particularly when you can subscribe to a top-notch paid service for $2–3 per month, it isn’t worth the risk. If you decide to take the free route, make sure to first review our list of the top free VPNs before downloading anything.
Are VPNs legal?
In the Americas, Western Europe, Oceania, and the majority of the rest of the world, VPNs are legal; but, in some nations, the situation is far more problematic.
For instance, VPN use is permitted in China and Russia, but only through providers that are approved by the government. The current prohibited list in Russia includes ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Proton VPN, IPVanish, and more. To cheer you up, they also blocked practically everyone else.
In a similar vein, Turkey has not attempted to outright outlaw VPN services, but it has the authority to restrict access to websites or servers operated by companies that do not adhere to its regulations. There are laws in the UAE and Oman that could be problematic for you when using a VPN. More extreme countries that outright forbid VPN use are Turkmenistan, North Korea, and Iraq.
This is a complicated topic where new regulations from several nations could cause the situation to shift at any time. It’s doubtful that you’ll get in trouble for, say, using Twitter from a hotel room abroad because authoritarian regimes already face enough criticism for their restrictions on free speech. However, it can’t be fully ruled out either. The excuse “But I didn’t know” is not very persuasive, so if you’re driving somewhere where you could run into difficulty, make sure to conduct some research beforehand and learn what you can and cannot do. I cannot.