At VPNSurfers, we’re experts in the field of cybersecurity. We’ve reviewed numerous VPN providers to provide you with facts about the VPN services on offer and our unbiased opinions. However, you may not have a lot of time to read through individual reviews of multiple VPN providers (although, for a better understanding, we recommend you do!) If you want to use a VPN and need to quickly find the perfect provider for you, then you’re in the right place.
Our VPN comparison review is here to give you the scoop on some of our favorite VPNs and present some of their key features so that you can choose the best service for your needs. Read on to learn more about our top VPN picks.
|Type of IP||No. of servers||No. of Geolocations||Max speed||Simultaneous connections||OS support||Amazon Fire TV||Android||AndroidTV||Apple TV||Barnes & Noble Nook HD||Boxee Box||Chromecast||ChromeOS||FireOS||FreeBSD||iOS||Linux||macOS||PlayStation 3||PlayStation 4||PlayStation 5||Roku||Solaris||WD TV Live||Windows||Xbox 360||Xbox One||Functionality||Unlimited Bandwidth||Kill Switch||Split Tunneling||Zero Data Logging||Free Version / Trial||Mobile App||Browser Extention||Netflix Approved||Firestick Compatible||Price Starting At:|
|Ivacy VPN||Dynamic||3500+||61||Unlimited||5||3.5 $ / monthly||Read review Sign Up||Avast SecureLine VPN||Shared||700+||34||2000000 Mbps||5||3.99 $ / monthly||Read review Sign Up||ProtonVPN||Dynamic||1077+||39||300000 Mbps||5||4 $ / monthly||Read review Sign Up||ExpressVPN||Dedicated||3000+||107||58000 Mbps||5||8.32 $ / monthly||Read review Sign Up||NordVPN||Dedicated||5400+||46||115000 Mbps||6||3.15 $ / monthly||Read review Sign Up|
There are so many VPN providers on the market, and it can be difficult to know which are good and which are less so. However, there are some essential services and features that we recommend you look out for when browsing VPN services.
First of all, it is important to make sure that your provider uses secure encryption methods. Military-grade encryption is essential to ensure that your data won’t be easily deciphered by snooping third parties. Besides advanced encryption, it is integral that you choose a VPN with a good choice of secure protocols such as WireGuard, OpenVPN, and SSTP.
Moreover, extra security tools like a kill switch to make sure you never surf the web unprotected or a warrant canary to alert you of potential security breaches on the server network.
There are two things to look out for when considering a VPN’s server network. Firstly, you need to take into account the number of servers. Generally, anything over 1000 is considered large, and anything under that figure is on the small side (although don’t discount VPNs with small networks!)
Secondly, you need to take a look at server locations. Depending on whether you’re using a VPN to access content in certain regions or you want to explore censored websites around the world, you’ll want a VPN with servers in your preferred countries.
It is also important to look out for optimized streaming servers if you’re a Netflix fan and want to watch Netflix in different countries. Look out for special P2P networking and VoIP servers too.
Extra features like split tunneling, the ability to unblock Netflix, and torrenting support are all things to consider when purchasing a VPN. Although you may not necessarily think it, once you’ve gotten to grips with your VPN, you may want to employ more of these additional services to get the best VPN experience possible.
Make sure your VPN provider offers decent customer support. When using a VPN, you can sometimes run into issues, and so you need to have access to an extensive help section with information on how to best use the VPN service.
If a VPN offers live chat support, an email address that you can write to, or a phone number, even better. Look for providers that offer customer support solutions that will help to resolve the problem in real-time.
There is nothing worse than purchasing a VPN and realizing that you can’t use it on half of your devices. Before you click checkout, make sure that the provider offers dedicated apps or support for the most popular operating systems. While there are ways around the lack of apps for certain devices, it makes using a VPN a lot easier.
Pricing is also an important factor to consider when looking for a provider. We all love a good deal, and you can find these with VPNs on their long-term plans. Monthly plans are usually more expensive, but there are some cheaper ones available.
Considering all of the factors above, we have compiled a VPN comparison list of the best VPN providers for this current year. We have separate detailed reviews on all of the featured VPN companies below, but here is a summary of each one to help you choose the best VPN service for your needs.
NordVPN is legendary when it comes to VPN companies. Arguably the most popular VPN on the current market, we highly rate this provider due to its excellent security and feature offerings.
NordVPN excels in all areas, and at VPNSurfers, we believe that Nord offers one of the best VPN services. Firstly, NordVPN really prioritizes user privacy and security. The provider uses military-grade AES-256 bit encryption and offers a whole host of protocol choices, including OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, and NordLynx, the VPN’s proprietary protocol, which is based on WireGuard.
Not only this, but NordVPN offers a kill switch to ensure that your web traffic is never exposed should your VPN connection go down during an internet session. There is also a warrant canary that alerts users if Nord experiences a security breach on its server network.
NordVPN is based in Panama, a region with no links to the 14 Eyes, and enjoys great data retention laws. This, along with Nord’s clear zero-logs policy, makes it a great choice for privacy-conscious users. Since the provider only logs information such as connection times and the amount of data transmitted during each session, you needn’t worry about the provider storing your internet data or anything else.
Another factor that we like about NordVPN is that it uses solely RAM servers. These are great in terms of security since when switched off, they are completely wiped. Nord’s DNS servers are also a great feature since they prevent your data from being shared with third-party companies.
Security aside, NordVPN has a lot of other things to offer its customers. The provider offers the Double VPN feature, which allows you to route your connection through two VPN servers, offering an extra layer of security. You can also choose the Onion over VPN option if you wish to connect to the Onion Network for more anonymity online. Split tunneling allows customers to customize which websites enjoy VPN encryption and which go through their regular internet network.
NordVPN also allows torrenting on its network and is a fantastic VPN for streaming. The provider can provide you with access to foreign Netflix libraries, thanks to its large server network that has optimal locations all around the world. Obfuscated servers make it easier than ever to access websites in restricted regions undetected and can sneakily get past the Netflix firewall.
With each subscription, customers get six simultaneous connections, which is one more than the industry standard. The benefits of NordVPN can be employed on a whole host of devices, and the provider has dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. It also works on Android TV and can be configured to your router for use on other devices such as gaming consoles and Smart TVs. There are also browser extensions available for Chrome and Firefox, which are easy to use.
Customer support is five-star with NordVPN, and we have no complaints. There is a useful help center that has more guides and answered FAQs than you could imagine. An email ticketing system is also available, as is a live chat. The live chat is predominantly in English, but there is the option to speak in other languages with customer agents, which is great since NordVPN has an international client base.
Pricing starts from $2.74 per month if you are willing to sign up for 24 months. However, the monthly plan is a little more expensive, coming in at $11.95 per month. Since NordVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market, we aren’t surprised at its costly monthly subscription. Fortunately, all plans come with a no-strings-attached, 30-day money-back guarantee. The long refund policy gives customers time to test NordVPN before deciding if they want to commit to the VPN service long term.
Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN is known as one of the best VPNs in the industry, thanks to its stellar security and the seamless ease of use it provides users.
ExpressVPN is considered a titan in the world of VPN companies, and deservedly so. With a track record of no security breaches on its network and consistent quality security and privacy features, ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services if you need a VPN to secure your web traffic.
Firstly, ExpressVPN offers its TrustedServer technology. The provider employs RAM-only servers, like Nord, and has a strict no-logging policy to ensure that browsing data, IP address, and personal information are never stored on the servers. ExpressVPN is also based in the British Virgin Islands, a jurisdiction with no ties to the Five Eyes and no data sharing laws.
While you’re using ExpressVPN, your internet activities will be protected by a layer of AES-256 bit encryption, and your VPN connection will be secured by one of the following protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, or Lightway, Express’ very own protocol offering.
There is private DNS on every server, and a Network Lock (ExpressVPN’s version of the kill switch), to keep you safe online at all times. There is also WebRTC leak protection to make sure that you don’t accidentally expose your real public IP address to websites that you visit.
Impressive security isn’t all that is on offer with ExpressVPN. The large server network covers all continents with an awe-inspiring 160 locations worldwide. This is great for several reasons since customers can bypass censorship on the web. If you’re a Netflix fan, then you can enjoy unlimited streaming with ExpressVPN. Fast server speeds and unlimited bandwidth ensure that you can enjoy a buffer-free streaming experience.
The VPN offers five simultaneous connections on each of its plans, with dedicated apps for many platforms. You can use ExpressVPN on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android as well as Linux, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, your router, and gaming consoles. There are also Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browser extensions, which allow you to enjoy VPN encryption in just your browser. The apps are very easy to use and allow for a lot of configuration; users can adjust protocols and switch on and off tools such as the Network Lock.
Customer support is decent with ExpressVPN. While there is no phone number to call, subscribers can enjoy a live chat, email address, and extensive support section. ExpressVPN is the most expensive of the providers on our list, with its monthly plan costing $12.95 and its cheapest option a steep $8.32. However, the VPN company offers a lot in return for your money, and a 30-day money-back guarantee is the cherry on top of a long list of services already on offer.
Romanian-based VPN company, CyberGhost, is one of the best VPNs due to its extensive list of features and first-rate security.
CyberGhost is based in Bucharest, Romania, which benefits the VPN service users greatly since Romania enjoys better data retention laws than its European neighbors. Customers can take advantage of these better laws by using CyberGhost’s NoSpy servers. These servers are managed end-to-end by the provider itself and are located solely in Romania, which means your web traffic is more secure when you connect to one of them. It’s worth mentioning this feature first since it is CyberGhost’s biggest selling point and a great privacy feature.
Aside from the NoSpy servers, CyberGhost also offers a host of other great security tools. Like all of the best VPN services, CyberGhost uses AES-256 bit encryption and supports an array of VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, WireGuard, L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2.
The VPN is also DNS and IP leakproof and has an automatic kill switch. There is automatic wi-fi protection that will kickstart the VPN every time you connect to a new public wi-fi network.
When it comes to privacy and security, we can’t find much fault with CyberGhost. So, what about the other aspects of its VPN service? Firstly, the provider is a great option for P2P networking since it has a large selection of torrenting optimized servers in its network. You can also connect to one of the provider’s many streaming servers to access Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video libraries in different countries.
It’s not just many Netflix libraries that you’ll have access to around the world, but you’ll be able to unblock restricted content on social media platforms or websites available only in certain regions. CyberGhost is great for people who want to bypass restrictions on their work or school internet networks too.
With CyberGhost, customers get 7 simultaneous connections and can use the VPN on many different operating systems. There are apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. You can also use the VPN on your Android TV, Apple TV, or Amazon Firestick. There are also browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, although these only offer access to 8 VPN servers in 4 locations.
Customer service is excellent, as expected. There is a live chat, a help center with guides and announcements, and a ticketed request system. Each plan comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee, which far exceeds most VPN refund policies. While CyberGhost has an expensive monthly plan that costs $12.99, its 2-year plan is great value for money.
Another popular Virtual Private Network is Surfshark. The provider offers unlimited simultaneous connections and has reasonably priced long-term plans.
Surfshark burst onto the VPN scene in 2018 and has gone from strength to strength, making many of our ‘best of’ VPN lists. The provider manages to offer its VPN services at an extremely low cost while still managing to deliver stellar services.
Firstly, Surfshark makes sure that your web traffic and other data remain private. Besides military-grade encryption, the provider offers smart DNS on all of its servers and IPv4 leak protection. IKEv2/IPsec is the default protocol for the provider’s VPN connections, but it also offers the secure OpenVPN protocol.
Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, outside of the Five Eyes alliance, and so enjoys the benefits that a privacy jurisdiction like this provides. The VPN has a strict no-logging policy and has had an independent security audit to authenticate its claims. Moreover, Surfshark only uses RAM servers so that user data is extra safe.
There are a few modes that Surfshark offers that are really great in giving customers more privacy. The first is the Camouflage mode that hides your VPN use from websites you visit and your Internet Service Provider. This is a great feature that you can switch on in the app settings, and allows you to get past VPN blocks online, and ensures that users can access streaming services in other countries. In fact, Surfshark can unblock a jaw-dropping 15 Netflix libraries, which is more than many other providers on this list.
The second notable mode is the NoBorders mode. This mode is mainly for use in restrictive countries such as Russia or China and enables people to access restricted content, giving them a freer internet experience. With more internet censorship occurring, we feel as though this is an essential feature.
Another of Surfshark’s features that we like is the Multi-Hop. This allows customers to route their VPN connection through several servers in different locations, essentially adding extra layers of privacy with each server. This, combined with obfuscation, makes it hard for third parties to find out your real IP address.
The Whitelister feature is essentially split tunneling and permits subscribers to send some internet traffic outside of the VPN encrypted tunnel and through their regular internet network. Surfshark also has a built-in ad, malware, and tracker blocking to protect your devices from malware, thanks to its CleanWeb feature that also prevents phishing attempts.
Surfshark definitely delivers when it comes to offering extra services and creating an overall excellent VPN experience. It also permits torrenting on its network and is a great choice thanks to its unlimited bandwidth and high speeds. Moreover, your VPN traffic will be private, so you don’t need to worry about anyone seeing what you’re downloading.
Each Surfshark subscription allows you to use the VPN across unlimited devices. Only a handful of VPN providers permit the use of their VPN services on unlimited devices, so it is great that Surfshark allows you to protect all of your devices and your friends’ and family member’s devices too.
Surfshark has easy-to-use apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. You can also use it on Smart TVs and on Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. If you choose to connect the VPN to your router, then you can also use the VPN on your gaming consoles, including Xbox and PlayStation, protecting yourself from DDoS attacks.
Customer service is, as expected, excellent. There is live chat support, a support hub on the website, and a ticketed support system. Like the previous VPNs on the list, Surfshark has an expensive monthly plan, costing $12.95, and seems to be pushing people to its longer-term plans, which are considerably cheaper. There is a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans.
HideMyAss! offers one of the best VPN services in terms of its many VPN locations. As well as this, it uses strong encryption methods to secure each user’s VPN connection.
If you want to use a VPN to have access to a large number of IP addresses and bypass geo-restrictions around the world, then HMA is a great choice. One of the provider’s biggest selling points is that it operates across 210 countries, including some of the world’s most restrictive places. Notable countries where you can get an IP address include North Korea, China, Cuba, and Russia.
How does HMA manage to provide IP addresses from some of the world’s most restricted places? The provider makes use of virtual servers, which are physically based elsewhere, but provide an IP address for your country of choice. By employing virtual servers, the provider is able to offer numerous server locations in continents such as Africa, a place that VPN companies often ignore. We love the inclusivity that HMA shows in terms of its VPN server network and the ability it provides users to bypass online censorship.
Server network size and abundance of cities aside, what else does HMA offer to customers? The provider uses AES-256 bit encryption with 4096-bit RSA keys for handshake methods. Protocol choices include OpenVPN over TCP/UDP, IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP, and PPTP. Depending on the app you use, you’ll be assigned a default protocol choice but can easily change this in the settings.
When it comes to VPN privacy policies, many are questionable because they don’t offer any kind of third-party auditing. However, there isn’t this problem with HMA. The provider has a no-logging policy that Versprite has audited. Versprite gave HMA a ‘low-risk’ rating, which indicates that customers don’t need to worry about the VPN company storing or sharing any of their data. This is a relief since HMA is based in the UK, a country that is a member of the Five Eyes.
There is IPv4, IPv6, and DNS leak protection, with the provider owning its own DNS servers to process DNS requests. This gives you extra security and ensures that your IP address doesn’t leak. All good VPNs should come with kill switches, and HMA does. It has a regular kill switch, but there is also the smart kill switch feature which automatically switches on the VPN whenever you have an internet connection. This provides you with constant protection.
In terms of extra VPN services, HMA does not disappoint. The provider has 165 dedicated streaming servers and can unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. Torrenting is also permitted on the server network, and the provider offers extremely fast download speeds to ensure that you can download more files in a shorter amount of time.
We really like HMA’s IP Shuffle since it allows users to change their IP address as often as they want to online. The IP Shuffle is a great way to prevent trackers from following your online footprint and is entirely customizable; you can choose how many times a day you want to change your IP, and HMA does it for you automatically.
The Lightning Connect feature removes the difficulty of choosing which VPN server to connect to and quickly connects you to the fastest and closest server. You can simply click the Lightning Connect button in the HMA app in order to enjoy it.
Each plan comes with five simultaneous connections, and there are apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. You can also connect HMA VPN to your router and bypass the device limit, protecting all operating systems on your home network.
24/7 customer service is available in the form of a live chat, ticketing service, and a knowledge base that is full of comprehensive installation guides and FAQs. There is a 7-day free trial, which is fantastic, especially for users who may be on the fence about the VPN provider.
Subscription plan costs vary, depending on your location, and US and UK customers aren’t privy to the monthly plan. However, they can enjoy reasonable pricing, the lowest of which is just $2.99 each month on the 3-year plan. Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is expected when it comes to a good VPN.
ProtonVPN is one of our favorite providers for numerous reasons: it offers a free version and provides security solutions that work for VPN users who are worried about online privacy.
ProtonVPN offers both a free and paid-for VPN. While its free version is definitely a selling point, it lacks some of the services that are available in the paid Premium plan, which is why we’ll be focusing on this particular plan instead. However, all of Proton’s VPN plans come with AES-256 bit encryption and DNS and IPv6 leak protection. Moreover, all subscribers are privy to Proton’s no-logging policy. Your web traffic and real IP address are safe with Proton since the provider only logs the most recent session timestamp. Since Proton is based in Switzerland, it enjoys the relaxed data privacy laws of the country.
Other security tools include the kill switch and Always-on VPN. As far as kill switches go, Proton’s is good and effectively cuts off your internet connection when necessary. Always-on VPN ensures that users never connect to new public wi-fi networks without VPN protection.
As well as this, there is NetShield adblocker, which is Proton’s built-in DNS filtering tool. It protects customers from malware, malicious ads and stops trackers from following your online movements. On top of this, there is the Secure Core network. This network routes your connection through several servers that are located in privacy-friendly countries like Switzerland and Iceland. This means your real IP address is less likely to be discovered.
One of the services that paid customers on the Premium plan can enjoy is P2P support. In the ProtonVPN computer client or mobile app, you can clearly see which servers support P2P networking and are the best for torrenting. ProtonVPN also offers users the option to choose TOR over VPN, which allows you to route your web traffic through the TOR network, giving your more anonymity on the web.
You can also enjoy fast speeds on the Premium plan, which bodes well for streaming fans who want to access Netflix and enjoy buffer-free video. If you find particularly good servers for streaming or torrenting, then you can create profiles on the VPN app. The profiles are essentially favorite lists that allow you to reconnect to the same servers again and again.
The Premium plan comes with 5 simultaneous connections, and users can enjoy the VPN on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS or connect it to their routers. The VPN desktop computer client and mobile apps are really easy to use and offer a lot of configurability. Customers can toggle features on and off in the settings area and choose from a list of country locations or simply use the Quick Connect button to start a VPN connection.
There are four different plans: the free version, Basic, Premium, and Visionary. We recommend the Premium plan, which is $8 a month, since it offers the best value for money. All plans come with basic customer service in the form of a help section on the website and a customer service email. You can enjoy a pro-rata 30-day money-back guarantee with ProtonVPN, or try out the Premium service for free for 7-days.
If you want to choose a VPN with many server options and that is great for torrenting, you should definitely consider Private Internet Access.
Private Internet Access offers users a jaw-dropping number of VPN server options, with the biggest network on our list. If you want a choice of many different IP addresses, then PIA is definitely the provider to go with, as there is no comparison with the other VPN services on this list.
Let’s start with security. Private Internet Access delivers in this area, offering customers both AES-128 and AES-256 encryption. There is also a choice of SHA1 and SHA256 authentication modes and various handshake encryption options, including RSA-2048 and RSA-4069. Users can customize their VPN security by adjusting the encryption level and choosing from a choice of protocols, including OpenVPN, WireGuard, IPSec, and PPTP.
Like several of the other providers on this list, PIA uses its own DNS servers and offers IPv6 and DNS leak protection to give you more privacy online. The provider also uses RAM-only servers, which bodes well for subscribers who want to make sure that their web traffic isn’t seen by another third party.
PIA doesn’t fall short when it comes to extra VPN services. It has a kill switch and an anti-malware feature called MACE that is designed to block trackers and ads. As well as this, customers can enjoy unlimited bandwidth, which bodes well for streaming and torrenting fans.
The VPN can unblock several streaming sites, including Netflix, in other countries and is one of our top choices for torrenting. PIA offers the SOCKS5 proxy, which provides users with faster download speeds, and the provider supports P2P networking on every single VPN server in its network.
Split tunneling is also available, which allows you to state which websites you want to bypass the VPN encrypted tunnel. The provider allows 10 simultaneous connections and can be used on Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, Linux, or configured to routers with compatible firmware to protect all devices on your wi-fi network. The provider also offers browser extensions.
Customer service is as we expected, with a 24/7 live chat on the website and a support page on the website that contains information about the VPN service and how to make the most out of the VPN to get the best experience online.
There is a 30-day money-back guarantee across all plans, and prices start from as low as $2.69 a month.
Despite its small server network, VyprVPN is an excellent choice for people who want to bypass restrictions on the internet thanks to its advanced VPN technology.
Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that VyprVPN owns and manages its entire server network, which is great in terms of security. It means that the provider doesn’t rent its servers from third parties and reduces the risk of server breaches.
Like the other VPNs on this list, VyprVPN uses military-grade encryption and secure protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard, having removed support for PPTP. As well as these two protocols, it has developed its own protocol, Chameleon, which scrambles metadata which makes it easier for users to get past VPN firewalls online. Want to access Netflix in foreign regions? With VyprVPN’s Chameleon, you can do so.
There are many extra touches that customers can enjoy with this VPN. One is URL filtering, which allows customers to block access to malicious websites. The Connection Per App feature offers subscribers a form of split tunneling, deciding which apps and websites they want to access via their regular network.
Users don’t connect to a specific server in the VyprVPN app but, instead, connect to a cluster. This allows for easy server switching since VyprVPN can connect you to a new server in your cluster should the connection to your current VPN server go down.
Speed is good with VyprVPN, and we recorded good speeds in several locations. It is by no means the fastest VPN on the market, but it delivers good enough speeds.
Customers get 5 simultaneous connections on each plan, and there are dedicated apps for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. The apps are extremely user-friendly and great for VPN novices. You can also configure the VPN to routers with Tomato or other compatible firmware and subvert the device limit and enjoy the VPN on other operating systems like gaming consoles.
Customer support entails email support and a live chat, which the best VPNs should offer. There are two plans: a monthly and yearly plan, and the yearly plan allows you to enjoy all of the great features from just $3.75 per month. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee on both plans.
When it comes to a VPN comparison list, it is important to discuss free VPNs. Everyone loves a free product, but it is important to do your research before signing up for one. Free VPNs come with several risks and limitations. Firstly, there is often a cap on services such as device connection, bandwidth usage, or access to servers. Moreover, free VPNs make a lot of their revenue by selling their customers’ browsing data and personal information.
However, if you want to save some money, then free VPNs are a viable option. At VPNSurfers, we have many reviews about free VPN providers, but here is a short comparison of what we think are the best free VPNs.
ProtonVPN offers one of the best-paid VPN services, but its free VPN is also a great option for users. With fast speeds and excellent security, Proton is our top choice for free VPN customers.
The provider extends the excellent security found in its paid plans to its free version, offering AES-256 bit encryption and DNS and IPv6 protection. Subscribers can use OpenVPN over TCP/UDP to create a secure VPN connection and enable the internet kill switch to ensure their browsing stays private. Doubled with a no-logs policy, Proton really delivers when it comes to user privacy.
One of ProtonVPN’s free service’s best aspects is that it doesn’t have any data limits, although you can expect slower speeds than on the paid plans. However, there are several drawbacks. Firstly, users can only use the free VPN on one device at any given time. Secondly, they are limited to servers in just three countries: Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States.
Hotspot Shield offers a great paid VPN service that includes access to over 3200 VPN servers and lightning-fast speeds, but its free VPN is also pretty good for customers who don’t want to pay anything.
The free Hotspot Shield VPN gives users access to one server in the United States and can be used on one device at a time. There is a data limit of 500MB per day, which is enough to carry out a few light internet activities such as online banking. Unfortunately, speed is slower on the free Hotspot Shield VPN plan with an internet speed of up to 2Mbps. There is also limited streaming optimization, which means you’re better off with the paid Hotspot Shield VPN if you want to watch Netflix.
However, customers on the free plan still get advanced encryption and are privy to a zero-logs policy. This means that their browsing data won’t be stored or shared. However, the free app is monetized through ads, which isn’t great news and infringes on user’s online privacy slightly.
Moreover, the provider is based in the United States. This may be of concern for customers who are concerned about data surveillance. Fortunately, thanks to Hotspot Shield’s no-logging policy, but ultimately it would have to hand over server data to US government agencies if forced to do so.
Another one of the best free VPNs is TunnelBear. Like ProtonVPN and Hotspot Shield, customers can upgrade from the free VPN service and enjoy more benefits on the paid TunnelBear plan. The free plan is similar to Hotspot Shield’s, given that it only offers customers a data allowance. However, TunnelBear only offers 500MB of data per month, which is a meager amount and doesn’t spread far.
To get unlimited data, you’ll need to pay a little more. Fortunately, TunnelBear’s plans start from just $3.33 per month. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep an eye on the data counter at the bottom of the TunnelBear app to ensure that you don’t go over the limit before the end of the month.
Although there are limits to TunnelBear’s free service, we like the fact that users are protected by advanced encryption and enjoy the same quality of security as paid-plan customers receive.
The price of VPNs can vary greatly, depending on the length of the subscription plan you sign up for. If you want to use VPNs on a month-by-month basis, then a monthly plan will suit your needs better. However, these can be a lot more expensive than 12 or 24-month long plans.
On the expensive end of monthly plans are providers like CyberGhost ($12.99), ExpressVPN ($12.95), Surfshark ($12.95), and NordVPN ($11.95). These providers are known to be some of the best in the business, which is why their services are so expensive.
Most monthly plans are costly, and it is hard to find VPNs that offer cheap monthly services. While you can get the basic ProtonVPN plan for $4 per month, this is as low as you’ll find on our list. PIA’s monthly plan is $9.95, and Hotspot Shield charges $12.99 on its monthly plan.
To get a lower price when you’re browsing VPNs, it is best to look at longer-term options. Although we recommend signing up for monthly plans initially to see whether or not you like the VPN service you have chosen, consider switching to long-term subscriptions once you have found a good VPN for you.
For example, a lengthier NordVPN subscription costs $2.74 per month, which is incredible value for money. Likewise, Surfshark offers an excellent long-term deal costing just $2.49 each month. HMA and PIA also offer cheap deals on longer subscriptions, charging $2.99 and $2.69, respectively.
There are many factors that deem whether a VPN is safe or not.
When signing up for a VPN, you give the provider the same access to your data as you do with your Internet Service Provider. Your VPN provider is privy to all of your browsing activity and personal information, such as your name and email address. For these reasons, it is essential only to consider VPNs that have a strict no-logging policy.
Some VPNs log information such as connection and disconnection times, amount of data transmitted during a session, and IP addresses used while connected to a VPN server. Although these factors won’t necessarily give away your identity or reveal anything about your online activity, it’s best to look for VPNs that state in their privacy policies that they don’t log any data. So, which VPN has the best no-logging policy? In our eyes, ExpressVPN is the safest zero-logs provider.
Another factor that affects a VPN provider’s safety is where the headquarters of said company is located. Data retention laws change depending on where in the world you are. With that being said, it makes sense for a VPN company to base itself in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction. This means that the provider will be less likely to hand over data to the government, and therefore has no need to retain any of your data online.
Jurisdictions such as Panama and the British Virgin Islands are some of the best places for VPN companies to base themselves since these countries are privacy-friendly. ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN are based in ideal locations.
A country like the United States offers a less than desirable base for VPN companies due to the US and its internet surveillance. However, if a US-based provider (like PIA) has a good zero-logging policy, then you don’t need to discount it based on where it is located. A privacy-friendly base is simply an advantage.
There are some other factors to consider on top of a no-logging policy and VPN headquarters to decide which VPN is the safest. For example, what measures does the VPN have in place to ensure user safety? All good VPNs should use advanced encryption to ensure that no third parties ever see your web browsing activity. Moreover, there should be security measures in place to ensure that server breaches don’t occur.
You also need a VPN that takes no risks when it comes to server locations. Although more location options are better, VPNs with physical servers in dangerous places are at risk of tampering. This could put your and other customers’ data in serious peril.
While some people are unsure about the use of virtual servers, they are a good idea, especially in the case of certain countries. For example, HideMyAss! uses many virtual servers to offer its users access to Syrian and Libyan IP addresses; placing physical servers in these countries right now would be too risky.
Another factor to take into consideration is whether or not a provider owns and self-manages its server network. For example, the CyberGhost NoSpy server network ensures that there is no third-party involvement, meaning that the provider can better control the servers and keep an eye on issues that may arise.
It’s something that many VPNs aim to provide customers, but sometimes to no avail: bypassing the Netflix VPN firewall. Netflix and VPN providers are locked in a battle, with each one trying to outdo the other. Since Netflix has licensed material that is not available in some countries, it doesn’t want people accessing said content under the guise of a VPN IP address and employs special software to detect IP addresses that are linked to VPNs
Fortunately, several VPNs do unblock Netflix among a whole host of other streaming services. If you want to use VPNs to access more Netflix catalogs, then consider one of the providers from our comparison list above (NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, Surfshark, HMA, PIA, ProtonVPN, and VyprVPN). All of these VPNs employ the necessary technology to bypass the VPN block that Netflix imposes.
Server network size is important but not essential; you can still get a fantastic VPN service on a small network. Take VyprVPN, for example. Despite the company’s smaller-sized network, customers still get access to great services and security.
However, for some people, the larger the number of servers, the better. Here are the VPNs that have the biggest server networks:
So, why does the size of a network matter? Firstly, it gives customers more options when it comes to server locations, which means you’ll have access to a broader range of content worldwide.
Mor servers also equal more IP addresses. This ensures that you’ll more easily avoid the ‘bad neighbor’ effect. This is when a VPN gets a shared IP address blacklisted for inappropriate behavior online, which ultimately affects other people who then use the IP address. If you have more servers, you run the risk of coming across IP addresses blocked by websites or flagged up as VPN IPs.
Third and finally, more servers mean there will be smaller server loads which equal faster overall speeds. If users aren’t all connected to the same server, then you won’t notice as much lag when using the VPN.
If you’re a regular internet user, then you should use VPNs. VPNs aren’t just for large corporations and governments; they can be employed for personal use too and can protect ordinary people in many ways.
Depending on which country you reside in, your internet activity may be under strict surveillance. In the US and the UK, citizens’ data is shared by their Internet Service Providers, and the government keeps tabs on many people. The UK and the US are also two of the countries that make up the Five Eyes, an alliance formed of various countries around the world. The Five Eyes shares citizen data, including your internet activities, and has kept tabs on famous figures such as Nelson Mandela and even Jane Fonda.
You may think that your web data is of no interest to third parties, but advertisers are eager to see what you get up to online in order to provide you with appropriate ads. A VPN doesn’t just protect from ISPs and governments, but from hackers too.
In our view, VPNs are as essential as antivirus software. There aren’t many people who would surf the net without protection from malware like trojans, so why do so many people go online without a VPN? Using VPNs will not only protect your data but opens up a world of possibilities that you didn’t have access to before. If you’re still umming and ahhing about whether to use this essential piece of cybersecurity software, take this as a clear sign: you should be using a VPN, and you should start using one today.