Best VPN Overall

We consider many factors when judging VPN services and the best VPN providers. Even if multiple VPNs are “worth it” for accomplishing what you want, every service is different, and we need to evaluate factors like privacy policies, the number and location of servers, and even subjective elements of their service when deciding who’s best.

Here are our top three choices among the best paid VPN services. (Later, we’ll get into some free VPN services and why they’re fundamentally not as good as paid services. There’s a reason the best rated VPN will always be paid.)

ExpressVPN

expressvpn

Rating 8 / 10

  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • 3rd Party Audits: Servers audited by PwC, Browser Extensions audited by Cure53
  • Servers Network: 3000+ servers in 94 countries
  • Streaming: Yes
  • P2P & Torrenting: Yes
  • Browser Extensions: Chrome and Firefox
  • Best price: 1 year plan, $8.32 /mo

Pros

Cons

ExpressVPN is an excellent overall service, with various parts of their system audited by different, trusted companies. Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN offers more than 3000 servers across 94 countries and it’s suitable for both streaming and torrenting.

However, the critical factor that makes them a great overall service is their TrustedServer technology. These servers run exclusively on RAM, which means all data is lost when the server shuts down. If someone tries to steal the server, they physically cannot retrieve any data from it.

This service supports many platforms and devices, including options for many gaming consoles that other VPNs don’t necessarily support. This company currently supports up to five devices at a time normally, though it is possible to get more devices if you want to.

However, there are a few things that limit this VPN and stop it from being perfect. First, it only has browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. These are both popular browsers, but Safari users (another significant demographic) are left out.

Express VPN is also more expensive than most other VPNs, with a typical price of more than $8 per month. That adds up over a year, so while they offer great features and support, you’re going to pay more than you would almost anywhere else.

Surfshark

surfshark

Rating 9 / 10

  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • 3rd Party Audits: Only browser extensions are audited by Cure53
  • Servers Network: 1,700 servers in 60 countries
  • Streaming: Yes
  • P2P & Torrenting: Yes
  • Browser Extensions: Chrome and Firefox
  • Best price: 2 years plan, $1.99 /mo

Pros

Cons

Surfshark is a comparatively small VPN when you’re looking at the biggest and the best companies, with 1700 servers across 60 countries. Note that having fewer servers doesn’t necessarily mean a VPN is slower, but it does mean that you won’t have quite as many options if traffic gets particularly heavy.

Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands and works for both streaming and torrenting content. While it has gone through audits, these focus on its browser extensions and aren’t as comprehensive as a full-system audit. That limited transparency stops Surfshark from claiming the top spot, though it’s an excellent VPN regardless.

One area where Surfshark stands out from the competition is its pricing plan. Most VPNs have varying prices and discounts based on the length of your subscription, but Surfshark is only about $2/month if you get their two-year plan. That’s a quarter of ExpressVPN’s monthly cost for competitive features.

Another factor that makes Surfshark worth considering is the number of devices it supports. This VPN lets you use any number of devices simultaneously, where most of its competitors have a limit in the 4-7 range. If you need to protect many devices at once, Surfshark’s flexibility makes it instantly more appealing than the other best VPNs on our list.

Finally, community sentiment towards Surfshark is quite positive, with reviews consistently placing it at or near the top. While people evaluate companies with different criteria, this consistent positivity clearly marks it as a company worth paying attention to.

ProtonVPN

protonvpn

Rating 9 / 10

  • Jurisdiction: Switzerland
  • 3rd Party Audits: Yes, by Mozilla and SEC Consult
  • Servers Network: 1,048 servers in 54 countries
  • Streaming: Yes, in the Plus plan and above
  • P2P & Torrenting: Yes, in the Basic plan and above
  • Browser Extensions: No
  • Best price: 2 years deal, $3.29 /mo

Pros

Cons

Unlike our other two options here, ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland instead of the British Virgin Isles. The Swiss are famous for their neutrality, which extends to the digital realm thanks to their generous privacy policies. They’ve also undergone audits by Mozilla and SEC Consult, both of which are highly-regarded companies.

ProtonVPN is a bit small for a top service, with about 1,100 servers across 54 countries. However, they still provide good speeds for using data, although what you can use them for varies by plan. While Basic plan subscribers can torrent data, you’ll need a better plan to get access to faster streaming.

With speeds up to 10Gbps depending on network connections, ProtonVPN can be incredibly fast. Keep in mind that rates partially depend on your hardware connections, so if you don’t have the right hardware, you can’t make the most of their theoretical speeds.

Unlike some other providers, ProtonVPN offers a free plan with privacy protections similar to those of their paid plans. Although they compensate for the free users by making the paid plans a little more expensive, that’s a strong mark in their favor.

Overall, ProtonVPN has a lot to recommend it, although other top VPNs often have more servers or features for you to choose from.

Best VPNs For Privacy

Privacy matters. Even if you don’t think you’re transmitting sensitive data, you could be giving intruders and other snoops a chance to figure out who you are, where you live, and how they might be able to defraud you. VPNs are a great way to protect your privacy, so here are the best choices if that’s your focus.

VyprVPN

VyprVPN (pronounced Viper VPN) is a fairly small provider with around 700 servers in 69 countries. That’s a nice spread of nations, but they don’t have too many servers in most of them.

While this company isn’t quite as well-known as many others, its jurisdictional base in Switzerland is a strong start for giving users privacy protection. Swiss laws also support sharing content for personal use, making it easier to safely and legally watch movies and enjoy music while traveling.

VyprVPN initially kept some logs of activities but switched to a “No Logs” policy in mid-2018. To help demonstrate goodwill, VpyrVPN had Leviathan Security audit their new setup, and the company fixed all areas of concern addressed in the reports.

This service offers several choices for users, including OpenVPN, as default options for work. While most of their options are open-source software that allows public scrutiny, they do have a few private protocols closed to outsiders to help protect users. These are typically optional, so you don’t have to rely on them.

Their most unique feature is their Chameleon Protocol, which helps prevent Deep Packet Inspection and prevent others from realizing you’re using a VPN. This is particularly useful when you need to ensure your privacy, and it’s the feature that puts VyprVPN at the top of this section.

Pricing is fine here, with the two-year plan costing about $2.50 per month. That’s on the comfortably low end of costs and further establishes VyprVPN’s place as a privacy-friendly VPN.

ProtonVPN

We touched on this earlier, but ProtonVPN is great from a privacy perspective for several reasons. Not least of these is that it shares Switzerland as its home territory, which means it gets to take advantage of consumer-friendly laws and regulations.

As far as privacy goes, ProtonVPN focuses on future-proofing protection problems. They use AES-256 encryption, which is common for this industry. However, they also create new encryption keys for each session. This means that anyone who somehow obtains one key can’t use it to monitor future activity.

ProtonVPN also supports access to the Onion network, which is a series of volunteer-run servers that repeatedly encrypt and decrypt data to make it nigh-impossible for anyone to track. This is incredibly valuable from a privacy perspective, particularly if you suspect someone is snooping on you.

However, depending on the plan you have, streaming speeds can be lower than some other VPNs provide. Many people want both privacy and streaming capability, so that makes ProtonVPN a bit harder to recommend to all users. ProtonVPN’s free option makes it an excellent choice for an emergency VPN, though, so you may want to bookmark their homepage.

ExpressVPN

As we mentioned in our Best Overall reviews, ExpressVPN is particularly good in this area because of its TrustedServer technology. Most people don’t realize how much additional security that technology offers, so we’re going to talk about that now.

With TrustedServer technology, all data runs from RAM. The data is wiped every time the machine shuts down, and it reinstalls the software whenever the server starts up. They never even touch the hard drive, which prevents unwanted data leaks.

RAM is great from a speed perspective, too. In most cases, RAM is an order of magnitude faster than even solid-state drives (SSDs), which means their servers have incredible response times compared to anyone running off of a traditional hard drive.

Another benefit is that this setup helps ensure consistency. In most cases, administrators install updates individually. This means that older servers could run quite differently from how new ones do. TrustedServer technology avoids this by ensuring that every server runs the same software, ensuring consistency no matter where users connect from.

The TrustedServer technology is audited by PwC, which helps ensure that it’s as safe and reliable as possible. While nothing is completely hack-proof, ExpressVPN has hardware setups that are far better than most of the competition and easily deserves a spot as a VPN best suited for privacy-conscious users.

Best VPNs For Features & Software

Outside of price and servers (and we’ll get into the best VPNs for budget-conscious users later), most people judge VPNs by their features and software options. This is an essential area because features can make or break a VPN for your needs.

While features vary, they typically include having native apps on many devices, having browser extensions, and having things like kill switches, split tunneling, and the user’s choice of VPN protocols. Here are the best VPNs by the features they have.

NordVPN

NordVPN is easily one of the largest and most popular VPN services, with over 5,500 servers worldwide. However, they also have more features than many of their competitors, making them worth a look no matter what you want from a VPN. Their notable features include:

  • High-Speed Connections: NordVPN has some of the fastest connections among all VPNs, mainly thanks to their newer NordLynx system. That makes it great for both streaming and torrenting, which are two of the biggest reasons people want a high-speed connection.
  • Privacy Policies: NordVPN specifically does not track, collect, or share private data, and they have multiple audits to prove it. Their no-logs policy should be standard among all VPNs.
  • Number Of Devices: It’s hard to beat the unlimited devices mentioned above, but NordVPN still allows you to protect up to 6 devices at once. It treats a router as one device, so if you install NordVPN there, you can protect every wireless device in your house simultaneously.
  • Kill Switch: NordVPN’s kill switch feature disables your internet access if you lose the connection to their servers. This helps ensure your data is never traveling without protection.
  • Dedicated IP: This is a relatively rare feature that gives you a fixed position, even though that position isn’t quite accurate. Having a fixed IP is extremely useful if you want to connect to banks or other, particularly fraud-sensitive services.
  • Peer Friendliness: Aside from its high-speed connections, NordVPN offers dedicated P2P servers that focus exclusively on transferring files between people. This makes it a great way to torrent data for work or download large online games while you’re on the go.
  • Double VPN: We’ll talk more about this later, but Double VPN offers even more security for your traffic at the cost of some speed, and NordVPN makes it easy to use.

These are only some of the features that NordVPN offers. While they’re comparatively expensive when you look at other services, you’re definitely getting plenty of value for the price with this service. That alone makes NordVPN an excellent option for many users, even if we don’t quite rate it as one of our top overall services.

Surfshark

Surfshark is a low-cost service compared to many other VPNs, but it has plenty of great features that help it stand out from the crowd. Here are some of their top features:

  • Whitelisting: This feature allows specific apps and websites to bypass your VPN. While this isn’t quite the same as a dedicated IP, it’s handy for using mobile banking apps and communicating with other fraud-sensitive sites that might be wary of VPNs. This doesn’t mean VPNs are untrustworthy, just that banks expect certain things.
  • CleanWeb: CleanWeb is an extension that helps stop ads, trackers, malware, and phishing while you’re online. These features aren’t unique to Surfshark, but they’re a nice addition and help provide a cleaner, safer, and frequently faster browsing experience.
  • NoBorders Mode: This part of Surfshark is ideal for accessing the internet in particularly restrictive regions. Whether you reside there permanently or are just traveling on vacation, this feature helps ensure you can stay connected.
  • Choice Of Protocols: Surfshark allows you to use both IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN, which are two of the most popular protocols for VPNs. They do function differently, so having the choice gives you the opportunity to improve your performance based on your needs as a user.

While Surfshark doesn’t have quite as many features as NordVPN, it still has quite a lot of them, and few competitors offer the same mix of features. When you consider its low monthly price for the two-year plan, that makes Surfshark worth considering.

Ivacy

Ivacy is a Singapore-based VPN company with over 2000 servers across 100 locations. With a price that’s competitive with Surfshark’s, it’s also a great choice for budget-conscious users. Ivacy’s notable features include:

  • Smart Purpose Selection: This feature helps you select the reason you’re connecting to a VPN at a particular time. Unblocking content isn’t the same thing as streaming content or downloading material, and if they know more about what you’re trying to do, they can help optimize your experience.
  • Avoiding Throttling: While ISPs may want to throttle content for various reasons, including discouraging competing services, Ivacy helps you hide the fact that you’re even using your ISP. That prevents them from throttling you and allows you to enjoy the full speed you’re paying for.
  • Dedicated IP: Like NordVPN, Ivacy gives you the option to have a Dedicated IP. This means that you are the only person allowed to use that IP address and can help you access sensitive personal or business information.
  • Split Tunneling: Ivacy is one of the earliest adopters of Split Tunneling technology. This allows you to access both local and foreign data, which is extremely useful if you want to stream or download content from one region while still accessing local material.
  • Protocol Options: Ivacy offers many network protocols, including TCP, UDP, L2TP, and IKEV. While knowing which one of these to choose takes further research and is outside this guide’s scope, it’s always better to have choices. Most VPNs don’t offer as many protocol options as Ivacy.

Best VPNs With Custom Protocols

Custom protocols are useful when systems might be able to block regular VPN connections. Here are the services with the best custom protocols, which helps ensure consistent use.

NordVPN: NordLynx

NordLynx is a customized version of the WireGuard VPN protocol, which is itself designed to be faster and easier to use then OpenVPN. If that sounds like a lot of technical jargon, the normal user’s version is “it goes faster.”

NordLynx takes the impressive speed and compact structure of WireGuard and adds security protocols to help keep you safe while you’re online. It works based on a double Network Address Translation system, which creates two local network interfaces for each user. The practical result is that internet packets can get to users without getting mixed up.

This protocol also makes it easier to establish secure connections without needing to store any identifiable data. NordLynx is faster than OpenVPN no matter what you’re doing, but it shows its real value when you’re closer to its connecting servers.

This matters for many users, especially if you’re trying to get involved with gaming or similar time-sensitive activities. As far as custom protocols go, NordLynx is probably the best option currently available. The only real downside is that NordVPN is a bit more expensive than most of its competitors, but it’s the top choice if you like features.

Astrill: StealthVPN

Astrill’s StealthVPN, despite the somewhat generic name, is a proprietary and customized VPN protocol. It provides extra obfuscation of your traffic, which means automated firewalls can’t catch it the same way they can catch most other traffic.

This is important because some parts of the world do lots of Deep Packet Inspection, or DPI, on content. When using that technology, they can limit access to traditional VPN protocols like OpenVPN and IPsec without even needing to compile a list of IP addresses to block.

StealthVPN avoids these while also providing extensive reliability and preventing DNS leaks. It’s all encrypted with AES-256, which is the industry standard because it’s virtually impenetrable to brute-force attempts at hacking.

StelathVPN also allows for application and site filtering, supports fast torrenting, and allows port forwarding for software reliability. Notably, NordVPN does not allow port forwarding despite its otherwise-extensive list of features, so Astrill is a great choice if you require that feature.

Astrill works for both personal and business needs and offers a free version on Android devices. That’s a nice touch and makes it a better choice for users who want to try a system before they buy it.

VyprVPN: Chameleon

VyprVPN is a user-friendly VPN to start with, but their Chameleon protocol helps them stand out from competitors who only use the basic protocols. Essentially, Chameleon scrambles the OpenVPN metadata for packets to prevent Deep Packet Inspections from recognizing the contents. It does this while remaining fast and easy to use.

This service is included in all of VyprVPN’s premium accounts at no extra charge. However, there are a few limits on Chameleon that stop VyprVPN from being higher in this category. First, it’s not available on iOS devices, although it does work on macOS. This is because iOS has VPN restrictions that stop it from functioning there, so it’s not a good choice for all users.

Second, Chameleon is based on OpenVPN. While it modifies OpenVPN enough to get through heavy censorship and firewalls, it is fundamentally slower than NordLynx. To be fair, almost everything is slower than NordLynx, but it’s worth keeping in mind if you want to get ultra-high-definition streams or torrent unusually large files.

Best VPNs With Double VPN

We mentioned this feature earlier, but Double VPN is an extra security measure that functions more-or-less exactly as the name suggests. Instead of connecting to one VPN server before going to your destination, Double VPN sends you to a second VPN server first.

This obscures your data so that people watching any server can’t figure out the full path of your data. Even if they see it leaving to go somewhere, the extra server in the way blocks their sight. This feature is only useful for extra privacy when you need it most, and it’s not suitable for any purpose that requires faster connection speeds.

To elaborate on that point, Double VPN isn’t suitable for streaming live content (especially HD content), playing online games, or doing anything else that’s even remotely time-sensitive. A double VPN is outstandingly secure, but only at the cost of speed.

Companies often refer to Double VPN by different names depending on the precise way it functions in their server network, but the end result is the same for users.

Access to the Onion network, which some VPNs offer, is essentially Double VPN several times over. That bounces traffic between a series of servers while making it functionally impossible for any outsider to track, even if they can view all the traffic for one of the servers.

However, the Onion network is even slower than double VPNs, making it viable only for transmitting data in secret.

ProtonVPN: Secure Core

ProtonVPN’s Secure Core servers are focused around thwarting network-based attacks and spying. Unlike some VPN services, which route traffic between any two services, ProtonVPN’s Secure Core focuses on servers in just three countries: Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden. All three nations have strong privacy laws, which helps a lot.

However, this architecture also helps maximize the speed of a Double VPN system. With three countries geographically close to each other, they can minimize the lag time caused by routing data between to servers instead of one. The entire setup works on a dedicated network, which is far more secure than sharing a network with other services.

ProtonVPN supports this system by only using the most-secure VPN protocols, namely IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN. While these are more expensive to run, they offer better privacy, and that’s what most users care about when choosing a VPN. A service that isn’t secure fundamentally defeats the purpose of using it.

ProtonVPN also has more experience in this area than many other companies. They previously built ProtonMail, one of the world’s largest encrypted email services, and that knowledge carried over to help make ProtonVPN the outstanding service it is today.

IVPN: Multihop

IVPN isn’t quite one of our top services, but it’s still a good choice for many users. However, it’s only available on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. Linux users don’t have as much luck here, which stops it from being quite as accessible as many other services.

IVPN’s Double VPN service is known as Multihop, though it functions the same way as other Double VPNs. However, they advocate ensuring that your entry server is somewhere outside your home country. This provides the highest security level in preventing anyone, anywhere, from tracking you while you’re using their system.

Multihop is supported by open-source software and a strict no-logs policy. IVPN also allows you to use up to seven devices simultaneously, which is relatively high for any VPN. Encryption occurs with AES-256, the industry standard.

Frankly, there’s little about IVPN that’s genuinely unique, which makes it hard to recommend as much as IVPN. However, while it doesn’t stand out with unique offerings, it doesn’t do anything particularly poorly either. That makes it a good choice for regular users who don’t want, or need, anything special. Their straightforward pricing model helps, too.

Surfshark: Double VPN

Surfshark refers to their system as both Multihop and Double VPN, but they refer to the same setup. As they explain on their website, this is exclusively a privacy-focused service, though you can optimize the speeds a little by picking an entry server close to you and an exit server close to your destination.

This is especially useful for journalists and security-conscious individuals. Surfshark’s Double VPN is not suitable for torrenting, streaming, or, frankly, regular internet use. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that companies can do to innovate on this system. Using two servers is enough to obscure your information, and you can’t do much else with the system.

The reason to consider Surfshark for a VPN is primarily for its other features as a company. These include features described earlier on this page, such as cleaner web browsing and the ability to whitelist certain applications or websites. With their affordable pricing, Surfshark is a good choice if you want to keep costs low while getting maximum protection.

Best VPNs With Split Tunneling

So, which VPN is best for split tunneling? That’s a little more complicated than many other features VPNs offer because it works mainly with their software, not their hardware. To put it another way, a company can’t get better at split tunneling just by adding more servers.

Split tunneling is the process of separating data streams, so only some of it goes to your VPN. People asking, “what’s the best VPN service?” don’t usually think about this, but it is fundamentally useful for many people. For example, if you can’t use a VPN while connecting to your workplace, split tunneling allows you to keep working while protecting the rest of your traffic.

Most people don’t pick a VPN based solely on whether it has split tunneling or not; this is sometimes a necessary component of their service, but not a decisive factor on its own. That said, if this is what’s most important to you, here are our top choices for VPNs offering split tunneling.

Ivacy

Ivacy is a pioneer in the field of split tunneling and one of the first companies to allow it. That experience shines through with their setup, which offers a variety of benefits for casual users. There are three main areas where Ivacy works well for split tunneling.

First, Ivacy allows you to access both foreign and local web services at the same time. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to access two region-restricted apps or sites simultaneously. Most websites are available anywhere in the world, but there are times when split tunneling is necessary to get the job done.

Second, Ivacy’s split tunneling drastically reduces bandwidth needs because it does not send as much information out over the VPN. This can maintain high-speed connections and help you if anyone in your household is streaming content or doing other bandwidth-heavy activities.

Finally, Ivacy allows you to access LAN devices while you’re using your VPN service. This means you can still connect to printers and other local household devices, which is essential if you want to print anything off the internet. It’s possible to turn your VPN connection off whenever you need to print, but that’s a hassle nobody wants to deal with.

As a pioneer in split tunneling, Ivacy does this faster and better than almost anyone else, so they’re worth considering seriously for this role.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN offers two forms of split tunneling, which is already better than many of its competitors. As they explain on their site, split tunneling is always fundamentally less secure than using a VPN for everything, but there are times when it can be useful.

The first form they offer is regular split tunneling, where all devices and applications use the VPN unless they’re specifically excluded from its list. Of all the split tunneling options, this is the better choice because it protects you more. Ultimately, this is what most people end up using.

However, for special cases, ExpressVPN also offers inverse split tunneling. In this setup, their VPN only protects the devices and applications you choose. Everything else stays outside of the VPN. This is most useful in bandwidth-sensitive environments where you don’t have as much flexibility as people with better connections.

Cyberghost

Cyberghost isn’t quite as popular as some other VPNs, but they have a particularly interesting setup for split tunneling thanks to their Smart Rules system. The most interesting factor here is that you can select a different server location for every application you add to the list.

Aside from having you automatically connect in that domain, this means you don’t need to switch server locations when running different programs. You can play an online game in one region, access social media in a second region, and stream some content from your local area all at the same time.

Smart Rules also make it much harder for anyone snooping on you to get a full sense of what your traffic is and where it’s going. If regular traffic is like a vine snaking from one place to another, Cyberghost is more like a tree with branches going in every direction.

Cyberghost isn’t quite as good with some of its other features, which is why it’s not one of our top services. However, its Smart Rules system shows that you can do more than have a binary choice of yes/no for each application, and some users will find this useful enough to pick Cyberghost over competitors.

Best VPNs With Ad Blockers

Most people hate seeing ads online, and that’s mainly the fault of advertisers. As one senior employee at a major brand put it in that article, ads are often silly, ridiculous, or stupid. Further, some websites bombard people with so many ads that they feel like they’re under attack when they visit. Frankly, it’s no surprise that people look for ad blockers.

In the interest of transparency, we need to point out that adblockers are not unique to VPNs. That is, you shouldn’t buy a VPN just to get an ad blocker, especially because there are so many high-quality free options out there. However, for users who aren’t tech-savvy, integrating an ad blocker can be a useful feature. Here are the best three VPNs for blocking ads.

Surfshark: CleanWeb

Surfshark’s Cleanweb feature is a robust anti-advertisement system that helps block malware and ads before they have a chance to load on your computer. Notably, this can reduce your mobile data use and increase your browsing speed, allowing you to enjoy more of what you’re paying for.

The main reason to consider using Surfshark over a regular ad blocker is that it also helps block advertisements in apps. This doesn’t usually work if the ads are added manually, such as promotions for in-game content, but it does work on traditional system-chosen ads.

Surfshark also helps block the chance of downloading malware by maintaining a database of over one million infected sites. This helps ensure that you won’t visit one of those sites, even if another site tries to direct you there.

We touched on this above, but reducing mobile data use is especially valuable for anyone using a smartphone. In most cases, advertisements use a lot of mobile data, and that’s data you’re paying for. Telecom companies don’t charge ad companies for using up your data, even if you didn’t ask to see their ads. Blocking that before it loads means you’re not paying to see ads.

The one other thing to keep in mind here is that Surfshark does not enable Cleanweb by default, so you must turn it on yourself.

NordVPN: CyberSec

NordVPN is a feature-rich VPN service, so it’s no surprise that they integrated an ad blocker. However, that’s not the way they describe it. As they explain on their website, the CyberSec suite’s main purpose is protecting you from various cyber threats, including phishing scams.

Just like Cleanweb, this means they have a huge database of blacklisted websites known to host malware and other threats. This gives you a warning anytime you accidentally move towards one of those sites; if you never arrive there, they can’t infect you.

CyberSec also prevents you from unwittingly participating in DDoS attacks against others, even if your device is infected. Most people making DDoS attacks steal power and bandwidth from others to do it, and while participating is rare, the ability to cut yourself off from them helps shut these malicious users down.

Finally, just like CleanWeb, CyberSec hides advertisements like pop-ups, autoplay videos, and similar content. This significantly boosts connection speeds for many sites, reduces mobile data use, and generally improves your overall experience while browsing.

IVPN: AntiTracker

IVPN’s AntiTracker feature isn’t quite as robust as some of its competitors, but it does help prevent corporate snooping. This is particularly true when you’re visiting websites that use data trackers, which is quite a lot of websites. Without protection, social media companies could be tracking you even before you sign up for their services.

AntiTracker interrupts requests for data and works by comparing things to a publicly available, open-source list of companies known to engage in snooping behaviors. This also helps prevent advertisements from following you around the internet. If you’ve ever engaged with an ad a little and suddenly seen it pop up everywhere you go, that’s what AntiTracker helps stop.

However, this isn’t quite as robust as some other ad blockers. AntiTracker does disable most types of ads on most devices, but CleanWeb and CyberSec are fundamentally better at that. AntiTracker is a better choice if, as the name suggests, your goal is to minimize tracking but otherwise maintain the same type of experience.

Best VPNs For Large Server Networks

Size isn’t everything when it comes to server networks, but it certainly helps. More servers mean a company can support local access in more countries, and they can minimize loading times by offering the most direct routes for your data.

The reason we say that size isn’t everything is because most VPNs only add servers when they need to. A network isn’t necessarily slower, or worse, merely because it has fewer servers. If anything, that just means they have fewer customers.

However, low-quality services may oversell their networks. Overselling means they have more users than their servers can handle, which slows everything down and degrades the overall quality of their service. This isn’t a problem for larger companies, but it’s worth noting.

Here are three of the best VPNs for getting access to a large server network.

Cyberghost

Cyberghost offers more than 6300 servers across 90 countries, which is extremely good for any VPN network. However, their servers aren’t always located in the physical borders of that country, even if they can access the content there. The good news is that they’re transparent about this and clearly explain which servers their countries are in on their website.

Like most services, Cyberghost puts the majority of its VPN servers in the United States, Canada, and Europe. However, they have more servers in other countries than most of their competitors, which is the type of thing you can do when you have such a large network. This makes them a better choice for downloading or otherwise accessing those networks.

Cyberghost also offers several types of specialty servers, and these are particularly helpful for users who need to transfer a lot of data.

Their torrenting servers are download-focused, ideal for things like getting massive multiplayer video games or transferring data for work. Thanks to their no logs policy, people who are snooping won’t be able to track your use of their downloading servers.

Cyberghost’s streaming servers do exactly what the name suggests. These servers are optimized to let you enjoy the full catalog of shows from services like Netflix or HBO Now, and they perform better for this than regular VPN servers. Specialization makes a real difference for people.

Finally, Cyberghost’s NoSpy servers offer the best privacy protections. Only Cyberghost’s own employees can access them, which allows them to ensure the highest levels of security. These are useful for journalists and anyone who is looking for privacy.

PIA

PIA, or Private Internet Access, has an astoundingly large network of servers. While they’re only present in 74 countries, which is fewer than Cyberghost, they claim more than 12,000 servers across those locations. They’re not even big enough to need that many servers, which suggests they got a great deal somewhere.

The advantage of having this many servers is immediately obvious. Even unusually heavy load times aren’t likely to burden a network this large, which means you don’t have to worry about planning around common use times or network congestion. It also means the company has plenty of room to grow without sacrificing quality on any level users will notice.

Unfortunately, there are a few details that stop us from wholly recommending PIA despite its genuinely impressive network. The main sticking point is their history. Their owners have created controversial software as recently as a few years ago, and the reported user experience is not always good.

Accordingly, we suggest investigating them more thoroughly before you choose them. That said, if you’re looking for an incredible network of servers, you probably won’t find anyone who can offer more than this company. PIA is genuinely incredible here, and despite a few hiccups with their company, they deserve the credit for having a huge network.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of our favorite services, though it only has around 3000 servers. To be clear, that’s not “low” in the absolute sense. Some VPN services only have a few hundred servers or even a few dozen. More than 3000 is quite large for a VPN, but it does look a little small in comparison to PIA’s behemoth of a network.

Unfortunately, ExpressVPN does not run the exact same technology on all of its servers, though they do clarify things on their website to help you figure out what you can do, and where. Most of their servers allow you to use OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), IPsec, and IKEv2 protocols, but only some of their servers allow PPTP and L2TP/IPsec.

In rare cases, they may only have protocols available for some areas, though they usually try to fix that and ensure it’s fully available for users. Most users are just fine using either version of OpenVPN, but tech-savvy users and those with special needs may want to use different protocols instead.

Unusually, ExpressVPN also allows you to request server locations. They can’t guarantee their ability to install a server in any particular region, but knowing what users want most allows them to focus their growth and create a better service for all users.

Finally, ExpressVPN uses some virtual server locations. This means your traffic will have an IP address registered to that country, but the server itself will be based in a country with a better internet connection. This isn’t as good as having a server physically located in the country, but it’s a nice touch.

Best VPNs For Streaming

While most users care about privacy, finding the best VPN for streaming is the other main reason people look at VPNs in the first place. This is particularly true when people are trying to find the best VPN for Netflix, which remains the service of choice for many users.

Certain features make some VPNs better for streaming than others. The most important of these is having dedicated streaming servers, which VPNs monitor to ensure proper functioning at all times. Dedicated servers are optimized for streaming video, so they can do it faster and better than a regular server.

VPNs that are good for streaming also need a large overall network, which makes it easier to access region-limited content. The best services have a SmartDNS option, which is easier to set up and useful for devices like Apple TVs.

Surfshark

Surfshark shows up on quite a lot of these top-three lists, which just goes to show how good their service really is. While most of their servers run fundamentally similar software, their hardware and connections vary by area. Every Surfshark server has at least 1Gbps for connection speeds, but high-demand locations get up to 2x10Gbps.

For users, what this means is that high-demand locations have faster servers, which reduces server load and increases performance for everybody. This is particularly important because users outside the United States often want to stream content from inside it, and Surfshark works hard to help that happen.

Unfortunately, Surfshark doesn’t have streaming-focused servers, which would allow them to split users by the type of content they’re accessing. You can argue that all of their servers are optimized for streaming, but it’s a point that’s worth bearing in mind. This doesn’t mean that they’re bad for streaming, just that they don’t have dedicated servers.

Speedify

Speedify doesn’t quite offer dedicated servers, either, but it does provide some unique features that make it a good choice for streaming content. First, their system prioritizes streamed content so people can play games, watch live video, or participate in VoIP calls with the highest levels of quality.

Speedify also monitors your bandwidth use and records performance statistics. Some people feel this is uncomfortably close to keeping logs, but using that data allows Speedify to dynamically choose the best routes for you to send and receive data. That makes the overall experience better.

However, the real trick here is their use of channel bonding. In compatible locations, this allows you to use multiple internet connections simultaneously, which provides redundancy and significantly better bandwidth. Channel bonding is particularly good if multiple people want to stream high-definition videos.

This feature alone can make Speedify faster and more reliable for streaming than competitors. If you only want a VPN so you can stream content, consider Speedify over the competitors if you have a network that supports channel bonding.

SmartyDNS

SmartyDNS is more complicated than some other services. Their main service is a Smart DNS system, which is exclusively made for unblocking geo-restricted websites. This does not require accessing servers in the same way VPNs do, which means you can maintain your original internet speeds and enjoy content that way.

VPNs encrypt your traffic to protect your privacy. While this is great for preventing snooping, all VPNs are fundamentally slower than standard connections because your data needs to visit at least one additional server when it’s traveling to or from your devices.

SmartyDNS does offer VPN services, which is why it’s on this list, but their Smart DNS service is better than a VPN if you only want to access content and aren’t worried about protecting your privacy.

Notably, SmartyDNS is also easier to use with many devices that don’t support VPNs as easily, including game consoles. If your router isn’t compatible with VPN services, you may not be able to use a VPN with all devices in your household. SmartyDNS, and similar systems, can at least let you unblock things even if you can’t augment your privacy on every device.

This system works, but it costs about the same as getting a VPN to start with, so it’s usually better to get a streaming-focused VPN. The slight increase in download and buffering times is a small price to pay for improved privacy.

Best VPNs By Price

This is not the cheapest VPNs. We’ll discuss those in more detail below for budget-conscious buyers. Instead, the best VPNs by price are the ones who provide the best value for the money. This is a mix of the actual price of the service compared to the number and variety of features they offer.

Remember, higher prices don’t always mean better services. Similarly, low prices don’t always mean a worse service. For example, some VPNs have other income streams that reduce what they need to charge users. This can make them more competitive on price than their features suggest.

CyberGhost

With a regular price of about $2.75/month for 18 months (with about six months free when you first sign up), CyberGhost is one of the most affordable VPNs currently available. It’s also impressively robust, with more than 6200 servers across 90 countries. That makes CyberGhost one of the largest VPNs on the planet, and its size makes it a strong competitor in this category.

Other features here include a no logs policy, the ability to use it on public Wi-Fi networks, and excellent encryption. However, aside from its price point and network size, CyberGhost doesn’t have much to distinguish itself from other companies. It’s certainly a viable option given the reliability of its service, but you should look at other options if you want more features.

Zenmate

Zenmate, which is part of Kape technologies, is even more affordable than CyberGhost if you get their longer plan. At $2.22/month, it’s near the bottom of what we expect a VPN to charge without getting incredibly suspicious of their motives. This price is low enough for almost everybody, proving that you don’t have to pay a lot to get a good system.

Zenmate’s features include 74+ global locations, the ability to protect any number of devices, and broad compatibility with both devices and browsers. One thing to keep in mind is that Zenmate is very Europe-centric, with many more data centers in close proximity there. They have a presence in many countries, but are better than average on that continent.

VyprVPN

VyprVPN is competitive with other high-value services at about $2.50/month, billed every two years. This includes access to unlimited high-speed service on up to five devices at a time, as well as the use of their Chameleon protocol. That last part is especially useful for anyone living in areas where getting unrestricted internet access is difficult.

Other notable features with this option include their VyprDNS system to help thwart man-in-the-middle attacks and VyprVPN Cloud, which provides extra support when you’re accessing cloud servers. The cloud is an increasingly important resource for businesses, so this feature is useful for anyone who needs to work (and access the cloud) from home.

Best VPN for Torrenting

As discussed earlier, torrenting is an increasingly popular option for businesses and private individuals who need to transfer large amounts of data. The best VPN for torrenting involves a combination of good speed, dedicated servers, and no restrictions on the amount of data you can transfer.

Here are our top three choices for the best VPN for torrents. Keep in mind that the best torrenting VPN services also have dedicated servers in many countries, which can help you access data no matter where you go. In that sense, the best torrent VPN will almost always be a larger network.

Torrent servers are sometimes called P2P servers, which stands for Peer-To-Peer. Torrenting is a P2P service, but it’s not the only P2P service, and most VPNs that support torrenting also support other types of P2P interactions.

NordVPN

NordVPN is a great choice for torrenting because it has hundreds of P2P-dedicated servers, a large network, and the NordLynx network protocol. NordLynx, in particular, helps drastically improve the speed of many connections. NordVPN also supports public distribution of free-access data and pushing software updates to users.

Some ISPs throttle torrenting, but NordVPN can prevent this by preventing your ISP from realizing that you’re downloading torrents in the first place. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to download large files, such as those for some online games.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN doesn’t have as many servers as some networks, but smart deployment of network capacity makes them a good choice for it anyway. Notably, ProtonVPN has a free plan available for some users, which can let you download torrents securely even if you don’t want to use a VPN for anything else. That alone makes them worth considering for some users.

ProtonVPN’s history with ProtonMail is also useful here since people often send pictures, text files, and other sensitive material over email. For users, this is similar to how P2P servers work and provides a useful base of experience for them to use.

Mullvad

Mullvad isn’t nearly as well-known as many of the other options on our list, in part because it’s a European VPN system. It’s particularly good for torrenting things securely because it does not require a name, an email, or a password to log in. This can help prevent snoops from figuring out anything about the user, and it makes Mullvad even more secure than many of its competitors.

Mullvad is also a relatively older service, having started in 2009. More recently, they also joined with popular internet company Mozilla to provide VPN services for them. While their network is comparatively small for a top VPN, with about 670 servers across 36 countries, they accept anonymous payments. Overall, Mullvad is a great option for journalists.

Best VPNs For Gaming

Selecting the best VPN for gaming is both easier and harder than choosing a VPN for many other purposes. The best gaming VPN has high-speed connections, it’s as stable as possible, and it has many locations to help minimize lag times.

Unlike using a VPN for streaming, where delays often mean little other than a few moments of buffering, gaming is often time-sensitive and the difference of a few seconds can mean success or failure for a lot of time and effort invested. Only a few VPNs are genuinely viable for gaming.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield sells itself as the world’s fastest VPN, according to data from Speedtest, which inherently makes it a top choice if you want to use a VPN while gaming. Speed is essentially everything for this purpose, so the fastest VPNs are the winners.

Hotspot Shield uses a customized and patented protocol known as Hydra, which is different from the OpenVPN protocol that most other companies use. This is the only realistic way to beat other providers in terms of speed, so it’s no surprise they use it.

This VPN does have a free model, but it has limited bandwidth, so that option isn’t a good choice for gaming. Their paid plan runs about $7.99/month, which is relatively high for a VPN. Unusually, Hotspot Shield also has a family plan for $11.99/month, which allows for five member accounts and protects up to 25 devices at a time.

NordVPN

NordVPN is a great choice for gaming, thanks to its use of the NordLynx protocol. This is still a relatively new feature for their service, though it’s undergone extensive testing. It’s particularly valuable when you’re connecting to servers that are geographically close to you, since that’s where you’ll see the greatest benefits.

NordLynx isn’t quite as useful if you’re connecting to gaming servers that are too far away. For example, if you’re in the western United States and want to play on a European server, you won’t see the same benefits as you would connecting to gaming servers somewhere in California or Texas.

Aside from its outstanding speed options, NordVPN is also a feature-rich option with many other benefits for users. It might even be faster than Hotspot Shield depending on which gaming servers you connect to, so it’s worth looking carefully at both of these options.

Speedify

Speedify earns its place on this list mainly because of its channel bonding technology. If your household isn’t set up to use that feature, it’s not nearly as good for gaming. However, if you can use it, Speedify might just be the best option you’ll get. This is especially true if other people want to use the internet while you’re gaming.

Pure speed isn’t the only factor to consider when you’re getting a VPN for gaming. You’ve only got so much bandwidth to go around, and if other people are watching high-definition videos or downloading files, that will affect your game unless you have the bandwidth to share. Channel bonding maximizes your bandwidth and speeds, making Speedify uniquely helpful.

Best VPNs For Simultaneous Connections

Some people need to use a lot of connections all at once. If your household only uses one or two internet-connected devices at a time, this doesn’t matter to you. However, if people are streaming content to televisions, playing games, downloading work files to PCs, and hopping onto the internet with both tablets and smartphones, that adds up fast.

Keep in mind that “devices” can be a nebulous term here. Some VPN providers view an internet router as a single device, so if you install your VPN there, it will treat all your Wi-Fi-connected devices as a single device when deciding whether to give them VPN support. Other companies don’t allow you to install a VPN to your router at all.

These VPNs are the best choices if you need to connect as many devices as possible.

IPVanish

IPVanish tops this list for a simple reason: they don’t meter their VPN connections, so you can protect every device you own simultaneously. No setup beats having unlimited connections, which makes this particularly useful for schools, businesses, and other organizations that need to protect many people.

In fairness, IPVanish isn’t the only VPN to offer unlimited connections. However, most of its competitors only allow that on expensive business-oriented plans, leaving regular household users in the dust. IPVanish offers unlimited connections to everyone.

Other features here include 250 GB of encrypted storage and backup, unthrottled speeds, and apps for many types of devices. IPVanish still supports routers, which is both useful and important for protecting devices that you can’t install apps on. Most VPN services don’t offer online storage to users, so this is something of a unique selling point.

PrivateInternetAccess

PrivateInternetAccess, or PIA, has a couple of issues that make it harder to recommend than most other VPN services. However, they allow you to protect up to 10 devices simultaneously, which is objectively better than most of the competition. It’s still not as good as IPVanish, but most households don’t use ten internet-connected devices simultaneously.

Other features here include ad blocking, use of the SOCKS5 proxy, and unlimited bandwidth. PIA also offers encrypted Wi-Fi and rapid setup. The main reason they can offer so many connections to users is the sheer size of their server network. With more than 12,000 servers across 74 countries, PIA has the bandwidth to support heavy use in ways other VPNs can’t.

NordVPN

NordVPN can seem a little low with just six simultaneous connections, but that’s still better than most VPN providers offer. Everything is relative, and this is still enough to let most households manage. NordVPN treats routers as one device, too, which drastically increases the actual number of devices you can connect to at any time.

Furthermore, NordVPN has so many more features than other VPNs that it remains a great value even at its somewhat higher price point. We recommend this above PrivateInternetAccess for most users, although in the end, only you can determine whether a service makes sense for your situation.

Best VPNs For Free Trials

There are plenty of great VPNs out there, but finding a free trial is harder than it looks. Such trials are more common on mobile devices via app stores, where users are much more likely to try free software.

The more-popular setup on computers is offering a money-back guarantee when you first start using their service. These guarantees are usually 7, 30, or 45 days long, which can be useful if you’re going on vacation and want to try a VPN while you’re out. However, a money-back guarantee isn’t the same as a genuinely free trial. Here are the best options for that.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN doesn’t have a free trial, precisely. Instead, it has a free plan that allows you one VPN connection, access to servers in three countries, and medium connection speeds. However, this plan doesn’t support torrenting or TOR, does not provide access to their Secure Core servers and doesn’t allow you to access geo-blocked content.

Free trials are at their best when you can test all of a company’s features, but the fact that there’s no time-limit on ProtonVPN’s free plan means you can experiment with it for as long as you like. That sets it apart from others, and they make enough money from the paid plans that they don’t need to collect and sell your information to support free users.

While the free plan isn’t as good as any of their paid plans, ProtonVPN is still a great service. That makes them a fundamentally better choice than other, less-capable VPNs, and that’s why they’re our top choice if you want a free trial of any VPN.

Betternet

Betternet isn’t one of our top overall choices, but it does have a free plan… after a fashion. It uses a “Freemium” model where the VPN itself contains personalized advertisements from Google, and these ads are removed if you subscribe to their paid model.

This is an awkward spot for a VPN to be in since privacy is the point, but in fairness, you’re not actually paying them for privacy when you’re using their free version. On the bright side, Betternet doesn’t require accounts for the free version, so they don’t collect email addresses, usernames, or other identifying information there.

TunnelBear

TunnelBear is owned by McAfee, a well-known cybersecurity and antivirus company. While their network is comparatively small, with servers located in just 23 countries, they offer 500MB of secure browsing for testing purposes. They also support both individual users and businesses, which is surprisingly rare among VPN providers.

Five hundred megabytes isn’t a lot of data in the modern world. For context, high-definition 1080p video uses about 20-45 megabytes of data per minute, so you’re looking at about 25 minutes of video streaming (and nothing else) before your free trial is up. Casual browsing may eat that up faster than you expect if you see a lot of video ads.

TunnelBear doesn’t offer a lot of free access for testing, but it is genuinely free, and that makes it better in this category than almost everyone else.

Best Free VPNs

We’ll be honest with you: even the best free VPN services usually aren’t a good choice. Every company needs money to buy servers, pay for electricity, and pay their employees. If you don’t know how they’re getting their money, you can’t trust them.

In rare cases, you might be able to get the best VPN free from the provider. Some services do this for journalists, but regular users can’t expect this type of special treatment.

Free VPNs tend to be slower and more-limited than any paid service, often with harsh restrictions on the number of connections and the amount of data you can use. Even the best free unlimited VPN is likely to put the brakes on somewhere. However, a few free services stand out as being better than the rest, even if they’re not as good as a paid plan.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN stands out from the crowd with a permanent free version that’s supported by their other paid plans. As we discussed in the previous section about free trials, this isn’t a great VPN service all by itself. It’s not good for torrenting or gaming, doesn’t provide access to the most secure servers, and doesn’t even help you unblock content.

However, even with all that in mind, it’s free and it can get the job done for basic streaming and web browsing. ProtonVPN is easily one of our favorite services, which you can see from the number of these 3 Best X lists it shows up on, and their free option is a great way to try their service before you upgrade to a better plan.

We can’t call the free version here a good VPN, because it’s not. No free, unlimited-use VPN service is genuinely good. That said, it’s still the best you’re likely to find.

Windscribe

WindScribe is a little-known provider with servers in 63 countries. Like all of the better VPN companies, they don’t keep identifying logs and they use minimalist clients for ease of use. They also have a relatively generous free plan that unblocks geo-restricted content and helps stop advertisers from targeting you while you’re browsing the internet.

Windscribe limits free users to a relatively small selection of its servers, although this won’t necessarily be a problem since they’re still located around the world. They also have an unusual setup for paid plans, which bears mentioning here.

While you can get a monthly or a yearly plan for reasonably-competitive pricing, Windscribe also lets you build a customized plan to protect locations for $1/month each. This offers more flexibility than many other providers, and it’s worth looking at if you want to protect things in multiple homes.

Opera VPN

Opera VPN is essentially unique among all VPN services because it’s browser-based and free for all users. Mozilla’s probably the closest competitor with their (paid) Mozilla VPN service, but Opera completely integrates the VPN with the browser for maximum support and functionality. There are two important things to keep in mind about this.

First, this is a browser-based VPN. It won’t work on any device that can’t run the Opera browser, and it won’t protect any of your data except what goes through your browser. Those are some pretty harsh limits and make it hard to recommend as a full-time option.

Second, a private equity group owns and operates Opera. They have plenty of cash, so they don’t need to charge users for this VPN when they have other ways of making money. This feature is mainly an advertisement and a way to encourage people to use Opera.

Best Cheap VPNs

The best cheap VPN is fundamentally better than basically any free VPN option. Even if you can’t afford one of the best overall services, getting the best value VPN or the best budget VPN can help you protect your data while you continue to use the internet.

That said, similar principles to free VPNs apply here. Even the best cheapest VPN isn’t going to be as good as the best premium service, no matter how hard you look. On the other hand, the difference is usually small enough that the range between cheap and premium is usually just a few dollars per month. If your budget is too tight for that, you may want to get a free VPN instead.

One more thing: most VPNs advertise monthly costs. However, they bill for all of those months at the same time, which means you’ll need to have the money ready when you sign up. If your savings are so low you can’t afford the total monthly cost, free VPNs are the only viable option.

FastestVPN

Every VPN wants you to believe that they’re the fastest provider. This is because speed is a make-or-break issue for most people. If the VPN isn’t fast enough to let you enjoy the content, then there’s not much point in having it in the first place.

FastestVPN stands out from the crowd by offering a three-year plan, which is longer than the one-year or two-year offers that most other companies provide. At just $1.11/month, FastestVPN is one of the cheapest monthly options you’re going to find. Even their one-year plan is only about $2.49/month, which is highly competitive with other services.

FastestVPN doesn’t show up anywhere else in this guide, so we’re going to discuss their features before we move on. Their system includes an ad blocker, anti-malware software, smart tunneling to route data even when you don’t have their app open, and compatibility with devices like gaming consoles, Roku streaming sticks, and Kodi devices.

LimeVPN

LimeVPN is another little-known provider with about 17 locations around the world. Their basic plan goes for about $1.49/month, which is low for any service and allows two concurrent users with access to hotspot Wi-Fi protection. The basic plan uses about 6000 shared dynamic IPs, which isn’t useful if you need to connect to banks or other fraud-sensitive locations.

LimeVPN’s pro plan is, surprisingly, on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. This retails for $14.98 a month, which is almost twice what many other premium services charge, but it also gives you a dedicated private VPN node, 20+ connections, and a static private IP. Most people don’t need the pro version, but it is there if you want to upgrade.

Both of LimeVPN’s plans benefit from a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Surfshark

Surfshark is one of our favorite providers, and it’s probably the best among all cheap VPNs. Their two-year plan retails for $2.49/month with 12 months free after you first sign up, which is comfortably affordable for most users. They also allow several types of payment systems, including Google Pay, Apple Pay and Amazon Pay.

This makes Surfshark relatively easy to pay for when compared to other services, and that’s important when you’re looking at budget-focused options.

With use on unlimited devices and a no-logs policy, Surfshark is worth checking out if you want to minimize costs while still getting great service. It doesn’t have quite as many features as a premium VPN, but Surfshark is still a completely viable choice.

VPNs Offering The Best Deals

Here’s something most VPN companies don’t want to admit: even the best VPN deals are entirely arbitrary. Most companies compete exclusively based on their longest-term contract (usually 1-3 years) with a per-month cost. The prices for individual months of service are high solely to discourage you from choosing them.

However, even with the arbitrary pricing that almost all VPNs share, a few deals and bargains stand out as uniquely worth looking at. Here are the best deals you’re likely to find on a VPN. Note that these deals may be harder to find than the regular bargains.

Ivacy: 5-Year Plan

Ivacy’s 5-year plan is about $1.16/month, a savings of about 88% off of their usual price. It’s still $70 up-front, but this is one of the longest-term plans you’ll find among any VPN provider. It’s particularly good if you’ve already tried their service and know that you like it.

Ivacy isn’t quite one of our top VPN services, but it’s still a good option, and this low monthly cost makes it even more attractive for average users. Their plan includes malware protection, high-speed downloading, access to a network with more than 1000 servers, a kill switch in case you lose your connections, and the ability to connect with up to 10 devices at a time.

Overall, this is a great bargain for a VPN and can save you a lot of money.

VPN Unlimited: Lifetime Account

The only thing better than a lifetime subscription is owning your own server. VPN Unlimited charges about $500 for this, but they give you an entire server and the ability to use it for as long as you want. Since you own the server, there are no specific traffic limits, you can have a static IP, and you never have to worry about sharing the server with others.

If you don’t want a personal server, VPN Unlimited also offers regular lifetime accounts for $200 (supporting up to five devices) or $300 (supporting up to 10 devices). These are one-time, single payments, although they fundamentally rely on the assumption that VPN Unlimited can stay in business for your lifetime.

We need to do some math to calculate the actual value, though. If you live another 50 years, that’s about 600 months of VPN use. With the five-user lifetime plan, that’s about $3/month. The younger you are, the more valuable this plan gets.

Surfshark: 2-Year Plan

Surfshark remains one of our favorite VPNs, and their two-year plan is a pretty good deal for most users. At $2.49/month for that, it’s not the cheapest option, but Surfshark has so many features and good selling points that it’s worth paying a little more each month to get access to them.

For those who didn’t read the earlier descriptions, Surfshark provides an adblocker, allows you to connect on unlimited devices, and even allows you to whitelist specific apps or websites so they bypass the VPN. This is a great alternative to a dedicated IP, especially if you need to access mobile banking services.

The Best VPN According To Reddit Users

We’ve spent more than ten thousand words talking about VPNs and their features, but it’s also worth considering the best VPN Reddit users suggest to people. Companies can claim anything they want, but there’s no substitute for actual user experiences.

NordVPN

NordVPN is relatively popular and has its own subreddit, which makes it easy to find and gather opinions. However, the general consensus from users is that NordVPN can be better, or worse, depending on your configurations. Objectively, their network is great and there’s nothing to complain about.

However, many people don’t know how to optimize their server connections. If you don’t optimize things properly, even the best VPN could end up being much slower than it needs to be. That just goes to show that it’s worth investing the time to totally understand your VPN and how to get the most from it.

If you only want to install it, turn it on, and never worry about things again, you won’t get the best speeds. User-friendliness is important, but set-and-forget ultimately doesn’t work with most VPN services.

CyberGhost

CyberGhost is also quite popular, with one user saying it was their best VPN ever. There are so many VPN services out there that it’s often hard to find discussions that don’t also involve several other services. However, users seem to like it quite a bit, though some reported testing several other VPNs at the same time.

Unfortunately, testing VPNs is harder than it should be. Most services take your money up-front and don’t give you a free trial period, so you’ll have to pay for all of them if you want to try them and compare. Reducing the need for that is part of why we look at comments from other users. The collective opinion of real users is a key factor in rating any VPN.

ProtonVPN

If you ask Reddit best VPN questions, they might bring up ProtonVPN. It’s already one of our favorite services because it’s affordable, offers a lot of features, and actively works to build trust within the community.

However, since their announcement that all of their apps are open-source and audited, they’ve garnered even more support from the community. Most people aren’t in a position to audit open-source software themselves, so the fact that ProtonVPN had someone else do it is a major sign of goodwill and faith in their products.

Considering all of its other benefits, we think it’s fair to call ProtonVPN the best VPN service for most users.

Summary

As you learned in this guide, there are many ways to judge and evaluate VPNs. Whether you’re looking for cheap or even free services, need to connect many different devices, or want to get the fastest connection speeds, no VPN service is a winner in every single category.

Now that you know more about which VPNs are worth considering in each area, and why, it’s time to start narrowing down your options. Think about all of the features and attributes we described above, then rank them according to what’s most important for you and your household.

After prioritizing these features, look at our guide above to see if any VPNs are on multiple lists. For example, ProtonVPN is great for both torrenting and Double VPN, even though it’s not quite as good for simultaneous connections. This can make it a better choice for journalists than IVPN, which isn’t quite as good for transferring large files.

Once you’ve narrowed VPNs down by features, start comparing them by price. Afterward, look at our full reviews for the remaining services to get an in-depth look at how they function. At that point, you’re finally ready to start signing up for a VPN.

They want you to buy quickly, but it’s better to take the time and find the best VPN for your needs. While they look similar from the outside, the guide you just read demonstrates just how many features and services can vary between VPN providers. It’s always better to study services before you buy them, rather than looking only at prices and the number of servers they have.

What Is A VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a mixture of hardware and software that modifies the way your data travels to and from the internet. When configured correctly, a VPN can make you appear like you’re in another part of the world, encrypt your data so others can’t snoop on it, and provide various other services.

Most people who have VPNs use them to either access geographically-restricted services (like some content streaming platforms) or help transmit sensitive data (like anonymous news tips sent to journalists). Most VPNs are paid services and cost somewhere between $2 to $10 per month, although this does vary by service.

While we strive for accuracy at all times, it’s important to remember that VPN companies change things (such as their number of servers, available features, and pricing) regularly.

While all information here is accurate as of the last time we updated this guide, companies may have changed. Always check a VPN’s website to find the most up-to-date pricing information. Even the best VPN review can’t provide live details on changing prices.

Is A VPN Worth It?

Only you can decide if a VPN is worth it. The best VPN services for other people aren’t necessarily the right choice for you, so a lot more goes into this than only looking at reviews and choosing the “best” options.

In this exhaustive guide, we will look at the best VPN choices for many different situations and factors, such as price, server networks, privacy, and streaming. Before we get into those in detail, however, let’s review some of the most common factors people use to decide whether or not a VPN is worth it.

  • Privacy And Security: VPNs support privacy by encrypting your data. VPNs prevent even your internet service provider from tracking this information, which can help you avoid throttling. The best VPN app options have outstanding privacy support.
  • Privacy And Security While Working Remotely: VPNs can also help protect your data while you’re working somewhere outside of your usual workplace. This includes working from home, but it can also include protecting you while you’re on a business trip to practically any world location.
  • Unblocking Streaming: This is the most common reason people get a VPN outside of privacy reasons. Many content streaming services (like Netflix) have limited offerings depending on what country you’re in, so seeming like you’re in a different country can help you access streaming content that’s otherwise unavailable.
  • Unblocking Websites: Most websites aren’t geographically-limited in the same way content streaming services are, but VPNs can help you access these comparatively rare sites. VPNs can also help you access sites that block your IP address, although you can change your IP address without using a VPN if you need to.
  • Torrenting: Some VPNs have dedicated servers that are useful for torrenting files of any size. These are particularly useful for businesses that need to share large files with remote workers, which is common in industries like social media and video game development.
  • Gaming: This is an entertainment-focused use of VPNs. Depending on the game, VPNs can improve response times or help you access different versions of a game, such as those that are region-locked.
  • Cheaper Holidays: Going on vacation can be expensive if you need to connect to the internet, especially if you’re paying for the amount of data you use. VPNs can hide this information, allowing you to avoid predatory pricing practices while still enjoying full access to the internet.
  • Unblocking Social Media: Finally, VPNs can unblock social media in the same way it can let you access websites and content streaming services. This is incredibly helpful if you’re moving to another country but want to keep accessing a social media service to stay in touch with friends or family.

As you can see, people use VPNs for many reasons. Whether it’s privacy, entertainment, or even supporting work activities, there are many reasons that a VPN could be worth it. However, it’s true that VPNs aren’t necessary for everyone. If you’re not sharing sensitive data and don’t need to unblock any content, you may not need a VPN to get the best experience.