How would you feel if someone followed you to the supermarket every day, carefully scribbling down your every purchase, making a detailed list of everything you’ve ever bought?
What if someone lurked in the bushes every night, waiting for an opportunity to rob you blind because you left your doors and windows open?
Far-fetched? Not at all. This is life on the web, where your activities are an open book. If you want to protect yourself from curious eyes and malevolent fraudsters, you need the best VPN the internet has to offer.
VPN stands for virtual private network. It’s implemented as a little utility program and a network of servers that preserve your anonymity and security while offering you full access to the web.
Anonymity – VPN hides your IP address so you get complete privacy during internet sessions. You can explore any web page you want without people looking over your shoulder or tracking you down.
Security – All of the best VPNs use the best data encryption software to make sure you can’t be targeted by hackers or fraudsters. With a good VPN, you get both the protection you need and the privacy you want.
Access – One of the main reasons people use VPN services is to gain access to location-restricted content that isn’t available in their country. With VPN, the internet suddenly gets a lot bigger.
NordVPN’s main focus is your protection on the web. This provider’s weapon of choice is AES 256 encryption and a DNS leak-protection system that makes sure none of your data bypasses VPN protection, which also provides ID theft defense. For VPN users who prefer extra protection, this provider offers Double VPN, which basically sends your connection through two separate private servers. With those two layers of protection, you’ll be doubly safe.
Nord also offers the NordVPN CyberSec feature, an ad-blocker that blocks malware too.
With nearly 5,800 servers in 60 countries, NordVPN is the leader of the pack when it comes to availability. The website gives you a complete list of all available servers with their specific locations, available features, and detailed recommendations. This is why NordVPN is also the best VPN for torrenting. When it comes to speed, NordVPN is fairly good, but not the best – especially when the Double VPN option is engaged.
NordVPN has four main subscription plans with substantial discounts for long-term users. The basic one-month plan costs $11.95, which isn’t exactly affordable. But if you opt for a one- or two-year plan, you can pay $6.99 or $3.99 per month.
The company offers additional deals for long-term contracts, usually on a temporary basis. For example, a current promotion offers a three-year plan for just $2.99 per month. Be sure to snatch these VPN subscription deals as they appear. With a 30-day money-back guarantee, you’ll have more than enough time to test the product before paying.
We start with what may be the brightest star in the world of virtual private networks – ExpressVPN. This provider uses high-end AES 256-bit encryption, which is basically uncrackable, while dynamic IP addresses ensure stability and anonymity. In addition, ExpressVPN supports a no-logging policy so you don’t have to worry about your browsing history ending up in the wrong hands. As an extra layer of security, ExpressVPN also has a VPN kill-switch feature that cuts off any traffic in case VPN comes offline. Without this feature, terminating the VPN program would leave all your communications channels exposed.
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest service providers on the web and, for many users, the best VPN in 2019. Choosing a server near you will reduce your internet speed only five to 10%, which is rather impressive. The situation is not much worse for long-distance connections, where you can expect a maximum drop of 15%. This VPN provider connects you to a network of more than 3,000 servers in 160 countries, so there’s no waiting in line or overcrowding. You’ll get a fast, reliable connection in no time.
There are three ExpressVPN plans. Subscribing for a single month costs $12.95. Commit to six months and you’ll pay just $9.99 per month. A year-long subscription costs $8.32 per month. Payments can be made with credit cards, e-wallets, or even Bitcoin. There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can try ExpressVPN for free. With every ExpressVPN subscription you get support for all the major operating systems, so you can use the service on any device you want.
IPVanish uses IPv6 with DNS leak protection to guarantee the safety of your data on the web. Like other VPN providers, it also uses high-end AES 256 encryption.
The company has a no-logging policy, but it has been criticized for revealing customer information to government authorities in the past despite the policy. The whole operation is under new ownership, however, so it shouldn’t be an issue anymore. Unlike NordVPN, IPVanish VPN doesn’t offer malware or virus protection. Complete and unhindered privacy is its sole concern.
IPVanish lets you use more than 1,700 servers around the globe. On average, your internet connection is slowed by about 20%, though the difference can be quite a bit more for long-distance servers. As long as you choose the closest server, you won’t see much of a drop – though it significantly limits your choices. If you tweak the settings a little bit, you can create a configuration that works best for you. For example, since IPVanish offers both TCP and UDP versions of the OpenVPN protocol, you could opt for the latter and improve your speed dramatically.
The one-month subscription costs $10 and there are discounts if you choose to stick around longer. The $8.99-per-month three-month subscription doesn’t save you much, but the one-year plan might be worth considering. At $6.49 per month, it is a fairly cheap VPN. All of these plans have the same features and your VPN can be used simultaneously on 10 devices.
When it comes to security, CyberGhost goes beyond the basics. Besides industry-standard AES 256 encryption, the provider includes additional features to help keep you safe online. The software automatically connects to the HTTPS versions of websites, for example, and restricts access to content that might be harmful. An integrated malware feature protects you from viruses. It scans every website you visit for tracking scripts. If you’re worried about data usage, try the special feature that compresses files and offers much smoother VPN browsing.
CyberGhost has about 4,000 servers in 60 countries around the world. This is not the highest number we’ve seen, but it is impressive. The company encourages customers to request specific locations they want so you can expect this number to keep getting higher. That being said, the speed seems to be an issue for many users as the drop can reach 50% at times. Still, sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the perfect server for your specific needs. Some servers work great as Netflix VPN servers, while others are focused on smooth browsing.
The one-month subscription plan costs $12.99. The annual plan is a bargain at $5.99 a month, and a two-year plan costs $3.69. The greatest value is the three-year plan, which costs just $2.75 a month. If you’re in need of a dedicated IP VPN, that will cost you $5 more per month. CyberGhost is open to major credit cards, PayPal, and even BitCoin.
Surfshark is a somewhat new VPN company that has already managed to make a name for itself. In addition to AES 256 encryption and secure protocols, this provider has an amazing collection of features that improve your safety and privacy on the web. The CleanWeb feature blocks ads, malware, and trackers while you’re browsing; Whitelister allows for split-tunnelling, so certain trusted apps can bypass VPN. There is also Camouflage Mode, which hides the fact that you’re using a VPN – a useful feature for certain streaming services.
Many VPN companies swear on no-logging policies; Surfshark’s is a little different. The website has a Warrant Canary page that basically proves that the company doesn’t give your personal information to anyone, including the government. As long as the page is there, you have nothing to worry about.
Surfshark offers more than 800 servers in 50 countries, which isn’t really an impressive number. That said, the provider gives you a lot of options so you can choose between physical and virtual locations, P2P servers, and those specifically created for “double-hops.” This option – Multi-Hop – is similar to the Double VPN feature offered by NordVPN. It’s intended for people who desire an extra layer of protection. On average, you can expect the speed to drop about 25% when this feature is engaged.
The one-month subscription for Surfshark probably isn’t your best VPN service plan because it costs $11.95. The one-year plan costs $5.99 a month, and you get the biggest savings with the 24-month option: just $1.99 per month. For an additional $0.99, you get two more features – Hacklock and Blindsearch. There are a number of payment methods you can use, including cryptocurrency.
One of the main reasons people love Windscribe is that it offers a lot of great features for free. It is a great way to get to know a product before going pro. Like other services, Windscribe relies on AES 256 encryption. It offers a variety of additional security features, however.
The biggest advantage is the R.O.B.E.R.T. tool, a fully customizable ad blocker that guarantees smooth, safe browsing. It lets you control access to websites you want on devices you want. The desktop version of the Windscribe VPN service also includes a firewall and hotspot security that turns your computer into a completely protected router.
Although Windscribe doesn’t offer many servers, they are quite disperse. Free users can choose among 10 locations, while pro users have six times as many options. Online tests have shown that the servers reserved for pro users achieve higher speeds and are more reliable. We should mention in this Windscribe review that the provider also offers the option of double hopping with any two servers you want. However, this feature might further slow down your connection.
A monthly subscription costs $9, while the yearly plan gives you a huge discount – $4.08 a month. If you have a specific figure in mind, you can also create your own custom plan where you pay a dollar per location. Students get a 40% discount.
One of the best things about PureVPN is that it uses its own Ozone-ready servers that are completely protected from malware, ads, and all forms of tracking. The mechanism within the servers automatically detects threats before they get to your computer, so there’s no need for additional anti-malware software. As if that’s not enough, there is an additional layer of protection with PureVPN’s NAT firewall. Of course all of your data is protected with AES 256 encryption, so you’re covered from all sides.
PureVPN lets you choose from over 2,000 servers in 140 countries. Pure lets you select servers manually to fit your specific needs. While some servers are the best VPN for streaming, others are perfect for torrenting or unblocking location-restricted content. The number one concern for many users on the web is speed. Although the provider claims to be the fastest VPN on the market, the numbers aren’t that clear.
The price of a one-month subscription plan is $10.95 but there’s no reason to go for that. Every package has a 31-day money back guarantee, so if you’re looking to try it out, you might as well go with the more affordable one- or two-year plans that cost $5.81 and $3.33 a month. Keep in mind that the two-year subscription price is just a limited-time offer, so the full price could be higher. All things considered, the VPN prices are a bit steep.
TunnelBear goes through an independent audit every year, sharing the results publicly to prove the effectiveness of its US VPN service. That shows a commitment to keeping everything transparent and user-centered. The company’s no-log policy is similarly constructed for users’ benefit. The only problem is that TunnelBear is located in Canada and is, therefore, susceptible to that country’s laws.
TunnelBear combines strong AES 256-bit encryption with its very own malware blocker. It safeguards you from email infections, ultrasonic tracking, Adobe Flash corruption, and browser tracking. It is a perfect combination that caters to all your online needs.
TunnelBear’s 1,800 servers are located in 22 countries around the world, which means you probably won’t see any spectacular speeds once you’ve hooked up. The provider is quite consistent with connection quality, however, and manages to achieve some impressive results when it comes to upload speed. Although it’s far from being the best VPN provider, the fact that the company never brags about speed somehow makes the results commendable.
There are three main subscription plans for TunnelBear. The first is a free option that’s limited to 500 MB a month. You won’t get far with this plan, especially if you’re using a VPN for torrenting or streaming. The $9.99 one-month plan will give you all the data you want to use on five devices. The one-year subscription gives you all the same features for a significantly lower price – $4.99 a month. Curiously enough, the provider accepts only credit cards and Bitcoin payments.
Avast is one of the best antivirus programs in the industry, so you know there won’t be any flaws in the company’s VPN security tools. With AES 256 encryption, OpenVPN, and DNS leak protection, you won’t encounter any security problems with this package. Avast also has a kill-switch mechanism that immediately terminates your browsing session if the VPN fails. In terms of security, Avast can easily be considered one of the best VPN providers on the market
There is one slight problem in Avast’s no-logging policy. The company says it keeps no logs of your browsing, but it does record how much time you spend online and how much bandwidth you use. It is possible that this provider shares these statistics with third parties, which is a bit of a disappointment.
Avast only has 55 servers, which is not nearly enough for a company competing to be among the best VPN services, especially since Avast has been around for years. The servers are optimized for torrenting, which is the main concern for millions of users on the web. Many companies avoid P2P VPN sharing options because they’re often used for the distribution of copyrighted material, so this is certainly a plus. On the other hand, the servers don’t work with one of the biggest streaming services in the world – Netflix.
Unlike other VPN providers, Avast doesn’t base prices on duration. Instead, subscriptions are based on the type of device you’re using. PC and Mac subscription plans cost $59.99 a year, while Android and iPhone subs cost $19.99. If you want to use this VPN on various devices (up to five), you can opt for a mixed plan at $79.99 per year. There doesn’t seem to be a VPN lifetime subscription.
Every VPN provider should use AES 256 encryption, and most do. It’s a little bit more complicated when it comes to protocols. OpenVPN is the best choice most of the time, but what about devices that don’t support it? Perfect Privacy offers OpenVPN as well as IPSec and SSH, together with SOCKS5 and PPTP proxies. If you have an older laptop or an iPhone, you will appreciate the numerous options you have here. With DNS leak protection and a reliable kill-switch, you’re all set.
Perfect Privacy might be the best VPN for torrents and Netflix, but your biggest concern should be speed. Tests have shown that Perfect Privacy offers somewhat mediocre internet speed. With barely 60 servers in total, you really can’t expect a congestion-free online experience. It certainly isn’t the best VPN for beginners, considering all the problems it has.
The one-month subscription is not cheap – it’s $12.99. What’s strange is that discounts for one- and two-year subscriptions aren’t that great. The one-year option ($9.99 a month) is apparently the most popular offer, though there is also the unimpressive two-year deal at $8.95 a month. On the bright side, you have more than 60 payment methods, including PayPal and Bitcoin.
Our quest to discover the ultimate VPN service begins with our unique evaluation system, a methodology based on the main elements that make a successful VPN.
First we examine the two most important aspects of the best VPN service: security and privacy. We check to see how your data is being encrypted and what other security features the product has to offer. When it comes to privacy, it’s important that the provider adheres to a no-logging policy. This means there are no saved records of your browsing anywhere, including on the vendor’s servers, so your anonymity is guaranteed.
Your computer or mobile device shouldn’t have to suffer slow internet access because of your need for protection. A good VPN will not significantly affect your internet speed. It might even make pages load faster through the use of less cluttered servers. Speaking of servers, you’ll want them to be as numerous and widely dispersed as possible. Their number affects VPN speed and the stability of your connection, while geographic dispersion means you’ll have access to different parts of the world and therefore more location-limited content.
Finally, we evaluate VPN price plans. We will present you with all the subscription offers the provider has to offer, plus time-limited special deals that you shouldn’t miss. If a subscription costs too much, an otherwise top-rated service plunges dramatically in our ratings. If a VPN service doesn’t fit your budget, it doesn’t matter how many fancy features it has.