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Best VPN Services in 2021 for Privacy, Streaming & Torrenting

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Until a few years ago choosing the best VPN service ⇣ was relatively straightforward. There were just three main contenders and they pretty much offered the same thing.

Today, there are hundreds of VPN services and each VPN has its own strengths and weakness. Fortunately, we're here to make the decision of choosing the best VPN service for you easy.

Quick summary:

  1. NordVPN – Overall best all-round VPN provider in 2021 ⇣
  2. ExpressVPN – Best security and hardware features ⇣
  3. SurfShark – Best cheap VPN service ⇣

NordVPN undoubtedly is one of the best VPN services on the market and if you're looking to get started quickly then don't hesitate to sign up straight away. If you don't mind paying a bit more for added extra security and speed, then ExpressVPN is a great choice.

However, a VPN is somewhat of a personal decision so read the options to see if another option might suit you better.

Best VPN Services in 2021

Let's have a look at the very best VPN services for 2021.

1. NordVPN (Overall best VPN service in 2021)

nordvpn

Price: From $3.30 per month

Free trial: No (but a "no-questions-asked" 30-day refund policy)

Based in: Panama

Servers: 5300+ servers in 59 countries

Protocols / encryption: NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2. AES-256 encryption

Logging: Zero-logs policy

Support: 24/7 live chat and email. 30-day money-back guarantee

Torrenting: P2P file sharing and torrenting allowed

Streaming: Stream Netflix US, Hulu, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and more

Features: Private DNS, double data encryption & Onion support, Ad & malware blocker, Kill-switch

Current deal: Get 72% OFF + 3 months FREE!

Website: www.nordvpn.com

NordVPN's success stems mostly from its feature-rich network design. NordVPN caters to a wide range of consumers' demands, including the ability to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer access, Bitcoin support, and even malware protection.

NordVPN Pros

  • Kill switch prevents privacy compromise
  • Incredibly fast upload and download speeds
  • 5000+ servers in 60 countries
  • Premium Design
  • Double VPN Protection Feature

NordVPN Cons

  • Torrenting is only supported on some servers
  • Static IP addresses
  • Customer service could be made better

NordVPN's unlimited torrent support is a clear plus, and there are lots to like on the privacy front as well, with a slew of clever features to keep you secure and anonymous online.

The download and upload speeds are excellent, and this is one of the fastest VPNs I've ever tested. Consider NordVPN to be a high-end jack-of-all-trades VPN.

nordvpn features

NordVPN is the market leader, with a great no-logging audit and a global presence across servers. With a 30-day money-back guarantee available you should definitely give them a shot today!

Check out the NordVPN website to see more about their services, and their latest deals.

… or read my detailed NordVPN review

2. ExpressVPN (Best VPN for Privacy and Speed)

expressvpn

Price: From $8.32 per month

Free trial: No (but a "no-questions-asked" 30-day refund policy)

Based in: British Virgin Islands

Servers: 3000+ servers in 94 countries

Protocols / encryption: OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, Lightway. AES-256 encryption

Logging: Zero-logs policy

Support: 24/7 live chat and email. 30-day money-back guarantee

Torrenting: P2P file sharing and torrenting allowed

Streaming: Stream Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, and more

Features: Private DNS, Kill-switch, Split-tunneling, Lightway protocol, Unlimited devices

Current deal: Get 49% OFF + 3 months FREE!

Website: www.expressvpn.com

ExpressVPN has a network that is protected by 4096-bit CA-based encryption, which is regarded as the finest in the industry. Users may pick from over 145 VPN locations in 94 different countries for optimal performance.

ExpressVPN Pros

  • Very fast speeds across all server locations
  • No Logging Policy
  • Fantastic Customer Support
  • User-Friendly Interface
  • Unblock streamings sites such as Netflix

ExpressVPN Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Limited Settings & Configurations
  • Slow speeds with OpenVPN protocol

ExpressVPN is a real jack of all trades, capable of unblocking all types of region-locked material, bypassing China's Great Firewall, and downloading large files rapidly.

expressvpn features

When it comes to streaming, it outperforms the competition. I defy anyone to discover a VPN that offers more sophisticated security while being simple and user-friendly.

Check out the ExpressVPN website to see more about their services, and their latest deals.

… or read my detailed ExpressVPN review

3. Surfshark (Cheapest VPN in 2021)

surfshark

Price: From $2.49 per month

Free trial: 7-day free trial (incl. 30-day refund policy)

Based in: British Virgin Islands

Servers: 3200+ servers in 65 countries

Protocols / encryption: IKEv2, OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, WireGuard. AES-256-GCM encryption

Logging: Zero-logs policy

Support: 24/7 live chat and email. 30-day money-back guarantee

Torrenting: P2P file sharing and torrenting allowed

Streaming: Stream Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Hotstar + more

Features: Connect unlimited devices, Kill-switch, CleanWeb, Whitelister, Multihop + more

Current deal: Act fast and get up to 81% OFF!

Website: www.surfshark.com

Surfshark is a unique VPN that is jam-packed with features, works virtually everywhere, and has one of the finest starting offers available. The network includes around 3,200 servers spread over 63 countries.

Surfshark Pros

  • Safe & private connection
  • Smooth streaming of geo-blocked content
  • Safe Access to Restrictive Countries
  • Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
  • Shadowsocks support
  • Superb customer support

Surfshark Cons

  • Worries about high focus on marketing and less on product

The service offers strong AES-256-GCM encryption, WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 support, and Shadowsocks to assist you to get around VPN blocking. This is combined with a no-logs policy, and a kill switch to safeguard you if your connection breaks.

Beyond those fundamentals, though, Surfshark has truly gone above and beyond in terms of features.

surfshark features

GPS spoofing, URL and ad blocking, multi-hop, extensive P2P support, additional password technology that alerts you to leakages, and an ‘unnoticeable to devices' mode that hides your device from other devices on the same network are all features available.

Overall it's a lot of features at an extremely low price. Definitely, a VPN to try today.

Check out the Surfshark website to see more about their services, and their latest deals.

… or read my detailed Surfshark review

4. CyberGhost (Best VPN for Torrenting)

cyberghost

Price: From $3.49 per month

Free trial: 1-day free trial (No-credit card required for trial period)

Based in: Romania

Servers: 7200+ VPN servers in 91 countries

Protocols / encryption: OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, Lightway. AES-256 encryption

Logging: Zero-logs policy

Support: 24/7 live chat and email. 45-day money-back guarantee

Torrenting: P2P file sharing and torrenting allowed

Streaming: Stream Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max/HBO Now + many more

Features: Private DNS & IP leak protection, Kill-switch, Dedicated peer-to-peer (P2P) & gaming servers., “NoSpy” servers

Current deal: Get 83% OFF + Get 3 months FREE!

Website: www.cyberghost.com

CyberGhost is a multi-platform, all-in-one VPN service. The program is compatible with not just Windows and Mac computers, but Linux PCs, as well as Android and iOS smartphones.

CyberGhost Pros

  • 1-day free trial (no credit card needed)
  • Strict No Logs Policy
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Highest possible VPN speeds
  • Automatic kill switch
  • Multi-platform support

CyberGhost Cons

  • Can be pricey if you do not sign up for a long period
  • Dodgy Data Jurisdiction And Anonymity
  • Not a good option for highly censored countries

Their NoSpy servers, according to them, are specifically tuned servers at a high-security server facility in CyberGhost's home country of Romania. Alongside this, CyberGhost offers malware and ad filtering in addition to VPN security.

CyberGhost is a solid VPN service with a highly adjustable Windows client that is plenty of capabilities while being simple to use. 

cyberghost features

The smartphone applications are more standard, but there's still a lot to appreciate here, from Netflix and iPlayer unblocking to affordable three-year pricing and excellent live chat support.

Overall, especially with their NoSpy servers, Cyberghost is perfect for Torrenting.

Check out the CyberGhost website to see more about their services, and their latest deals.

… or read my CyberGhost review

5. IPVanish (Best for Using on Unlimited Devices)

ipvanish

Price: From $3.75 per month

Free trial: No (but no-questions-asked 30-day refund policy)

Based in: United States (Five Eyes - FVEY - alliance)

Servers: 1600+ servers in 75+ countries

Protocols / encryption: IKEv2, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec. 256-bit AES encryption

Logging: Zero-logs policy

Support: 24/7 phone, live chat and email. 30-day money-back guarantee

Torrenting: P2P file sharing and torrenting allowed

Streaming: Stream Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime etc (can be hit-and-miss in unblocking popular streaming services like Netflix)

Features: Kill-switch, split-tunneling, SugarSync storage, OpenVPN scrambling

Current deal: Limited offer, save 65% on the yearly plan

Website: www.ipvanish.com

IPVanish VPN is perhaps the greatest VPN service in the world. Mudhook Marketing, Inc. produced the VPN app, which is one of the oldest. It provides its users with safe and private connections as well as high-speed connections so that they may experience an open internet.

IPVanish Pros

  • User-friendly apps for all of your devices
  • Zero traffic logs
  • Access to censored apps & websites
  • IKEv2, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec VPN protocols
  • Safeguard any connection to handle personal data with uncrackable security
  • Secure every device you own with no connection caps

IPVanish Cons

  • Lack of optimized servers.
  • Based in the US so “Zero Log Policy” is questionable
  • Only some servers work with Netflix
  • Falsely Advertised 24/7/365 Support

With 10 simultaneous connections and a large number of servers, IPVanish VPN is an excellent bargain. However, everything is hidden behind a complex design, and the firm could utilize a more transparent privacy policy.

ipvanish features

IPVanish offers a comprehensive set of basic features, including a kill switch, strong encryption, and compatibility for a variety of VPN protocols. The desktop programs, on the other hand, do not have a split tunneling function.

Overall, IPVanish used to be a top 3 VPN, however, due to slow developments they have slipped somewhat. Despite this, it's still a great VPN service and you should definitely test it out if you would like multiple VPN connections.

Check out the IPVanish website to see more about their services, and their latest deals.

6. PrivateVPN (Best Streaming Option)

privatevpn

Price: From $2.50 per month

Free trial: 7-day VPN trial (credit card details required)

Based in: Sweden (14 Eyes alliance)

Servers: 100+ servers in 63 countries

Protocols / encryption: OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2 & IPSec. 2048-bit encryption with AES-256

Logging: No logs policy

Support: 24/7 live chat and email. 30-day money-back guarantee

Torrenting: P2P file sharing and torrenting allowed

Streaming: Stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, BBC iPlayer and many more

Features: 6 simultaneous connections. Unlimited bandwidth & server switches

Current deal: Sign up for 12 months + Get 12 EXTRA months!

Website: www.privatevpn.com

PrivateVPN, located in Sweden, is a top-notch VPN service provider. Having a simple-to-use interface, it provides maximum anonymity, extremely secure connections, and lightning-fast connections. 

PrivateVPN Pros

  • Unblocks Netflix and other sites and is considered the best VPN for streaming.
  • The highest level of security — whether you’re connected at home or on public Wi-Fi
  • Freedom from monitoring and logging; your personal details are never shared with anyone
  • Live chat and remote control support
  • OpenVPN 2048-bit encryption with AES-256

PrivateVPN Cons

  • Small network of servers
  • Kill switch is available for Windows only
  • Performance issues especially with the mobile clients
  • Sweden is a member of the 14 eyes” intelligence alliance

It gives you limitless bandwidth and unlocks geo-restricted material on any secure server, protecting you from the government and hackers with military-grade encryptions.

PrivateVPN boasts excellent security and privacy features, is simple to use, and offers fast streaming and torrenting speeds. Security features include 256-bit AES encryption, a no-logs policy, and a kill button, among others.

privatevpn features

Alongside this, Torrenting is supported and they even allow for Tor over VPN. On the whole, somewhat limited, but a fantastic VPN service.

Check out the PrivateVPN website to see more about their services, and their latest deals.

7. VyprVPN (Best Security Option)

vyprvpn

Price: From $1.67 per month

Free trial: No (but no-questions-asked 30-day refund policy)

Based in: Switzerland

Servers: 700+ servers in 70 countries

Protocols / encryption: WireGuard, OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, IKEv2, Chameleon. AES-256.

Logging: No logs policy

Support: 24/7 live chat and email. 30-day money-back guarantee

Torrenting: P2P file sharing and torrenting allowed (not on free plan)

Streaming: Stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, BBC iPlayer and many more

Features: Chameleon™ VPN protocal, VyprDNS™ protection, VyprVPN cloud storage. Public Wi-Fi protection, Kill-switch

Current deal: Save 84% + get 12 months for FREE

Website: www.vyprvpn.com

VyprVPN is a fast, trustworthy, and secure VPN company headquartered in Switzerland, a country with favorable privacy laws that protect internet users' rights to the fullest extent possible. The platform's goal is to provide online privacy for everyone, everywhere.

VyprVPN Pros

  • Provides strong security features
  • Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Good at unblocking services & sites!
  • Torrenting
  • No DNS leaks
  • Proprietary DNS servers
  • Split-tunneling on macOS

VyprVPN Cons

  • Relatively small server network
  • Slow connection time
  • Limited iOS app

VyprVPN is a simple-to-use service with a user-friendly interface that crams a lot of features into a compact package. It has an amazing interface that adapts to every device/operating system's screen without affecting the size or arrangement of elements.

vyprvpn features

VyprVPN is also highly safe and simple to use on any device or operating system. VyprVPN also offers a No-logs policy, Obfuscation, and Perfect forward secrecy, in addition to industry-standard security features like 256-bit AES encryption, secure protocols, and a kill switch.

Check out the VyprVPN website to see more about their services, and their latest deals.

8. FastestVPN (Best Privacy Option)

fastestvpn

Price: From $1.11 per month

Free trial: No (but no-questions-asked 15-day refund policy)

Based in: Cayman Islands

Servers: 350+ servers in 40 countries

Protocols / encryption: OpenVPN, IKEv2, IPSec, OpenConnect, L2TP. AES 256-bit encryption

Logging: No logs policy

Support: 24/7 live chat support. 15-day money-back guarantee

Torrenting: P2P file sharing and torrenting allowed (not on free plan)

Streaming: Stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max and many more

Features: Very fast speeds. 2TB of Internxt cloud storage. Connect up to 10 devices. Kill-switch. No IP, DNS or WebRTC leaks. 2TB of Internxt cloud storage

Current deal: Free 2TB of Internxt cloud storage + up to 90% discount

Website: www.fastestvpn.com

With all of the capabilities incorporated in the fastest VPN software, you can control and safeguard your browser. It circumvents limitations and allows users to access geo-restricted website content from anywhere on the internet, providing a continuous online experience. 

FastestVPN Pros

  • Solid security & privacy
  • Supports anywhere-streaming and P2P
  • No international surveillance alliances or data retention laws
  • Torrenting: You’ll be able to torrent files under FastestVPN
  • Kill-switch: even if your VPN fails, your data will still be protected

FastestVPN Cons

  • Only one connection point for Netflix
  • Takes a long time to connect to VPN servers
  • No Split Tunneling

FastestVPN is one of our top recommendations for privacy. Because the firm is headquartered in the Cayman Islands, there's no way they can be forced to hand over client information to the government, and its logging policy only maintains the bare minimum of data to maintain your account, excluding your online traffic and activity. FastestVPN isn't the quickest VPN available.

fastestvpn features

However, if you have a fast base internet speed, you'll find it useful. Although its limited server network limits your alternatives, this flaw may not be an issue in the near future.

It may be less competitive than other VPN services due to the lack of a free trial and a very limited money-back guarantee. However, this isn't always a terrible thing.

Check out the FastestVPN website to see more about their services, and their latest deals.

9. Hotspot Shield (Best China & UAE Servers)

hotspot shield

Price: From $7.99 per month

Free trial: 7-day VPN trial (credit card details required)

Based in: United States (Five Eyes - FVEY - alliance)

Servers: 3200+ servers in 80+ countries

Protocols / encryption: IKEv2/IPSec, Hydra. AES 256-bit encryption

Logging: Some logs stored

Support: 24/7 live tech support. 45-day money-back guarantee

Torrenting: P2P file sharing and torrenting allowed (not on free plan)

Streaming: Stream Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Disney+ and more

Features: Patented Hydra protocol. Unlimited bandwidth. HD streaming with unlimited data. Includes antivirus, password manager, and spam-call blocker

Current deal: HotSpot Shiled limited offer - Save up to 40%

Website: www.hotspotshield.com

Hotspot Shield is a premium VPN program that is widely used on iOS, Android, Mac OS X, and Windows. For a more open internet, the program assists users by allowing them to access regional or geo-locked material.

Hotspot Shield Pros

  • Apps are free of IP, DNS & WebRTC leaks
  • User-friendly VPN apps for popular devices
  • One of the fastest VPN in the world
  • Perfect secrecy with AES-256encryption and a kill switch.
  • No-logging Policy
  • Unblocks UAE, China, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Bahrain

Hotspot Shield Cons

  • Free app shares information with advertisers
  • Hotspot Shield is priced at the premium end of the market
  • Adblocker service is not available.
  • Not compatible with gaming systems

Hotspot Shield allows you to browse the web safely and anonymously, as well as change your browsing location to access material that is blocked in your area.

Hotspot Shield VPN looks beautiful and has a tremendous network of servers to match, but the way it monetizes its free subscription tier on mobile complicates its promise of anonymity.

hotspot shield features

There are compromises with any product, but Hotspot Shield has more than the norm. Although it has good speed test results, it does not include WireGuard on the most common platforms. It's pricey, but there's a free option. 

Although the free membership option is substantial, it limits data and forces advertising on free Android users.

Check out the Hotspot Shield website to see more about their services, and their latest deals.

10. ProtonVPN (Best Free VPN in 2021)

protonvpn

Price: From $4 per month

Free plan: Yes (1 VPN connection, access blocked content)

Based in: Switzerland

Servers: 1200+ servers in 55 countries

Protocols / encryption: IKEv2/IPSec & OpenVPN. AES-256 with 4096-bit RSA

Logging: No logs policy

Support: 24/7 live chat and email. 30-day money-back guarantee

Torrenting: P2P file sharing and torrenting allowed (not on free plan)

Streaming: Stream Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Hotstar + more

Features: Built-in TOR support, Kill-switch. Unlimited bandwidth. Up to 10 devices. Adblocker (NetShield) DNS filtering

Current deal: 33% OFF with a 2-year plan - Save $241

Website: www.protonvpn.com

ProtonVPN has the best free membership levels we've encountered, and its premium tiers provide you access to a variety of privacy features for a fair price. 

ProtonVPN Pros

  • Strong encryption & protocols
  • Torrenting
  • No leaks and Logging Policy
  • Supports Tor browser & P2P
  • User-friendly
  • Flexible, low-cost plans

ProtonVPN Cons

  • Lacks WireGuard support
  • Prone to VPN blocks
  • The servers are sometimes slow

The fact that ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland provides them an immediate privacy advantage over the competition. The country has strict privacy regulations, is independent of the United States and the European Union, and is not a part of the 5/9/14 Eyes intelligence monitoring alliance.

In all of its Android, iOS, Linux, and Windows apps, ProtonVPN says it employs OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) and IKEv2, all of which are great and safe alternatives. Only IKEv2 is supported by the macOS app.

protonvpn features

In conclusion, I would strongly suggest ProtonVPN. It's difficult to find a free VPN that doesn't compromise your privacy and offers unlimited bandwidth, but their Free version provides just that.

Check out the ProtonVPN website to see more about their services, and their latest deals.

What is a VPN? How Does it Work?

If you're already reading this article, then it's likely you already know what a VPN is. So for this reason we're going to keep this section extremely short.

VPN is short for Virtual Private Network. It means that your device privately connects to a server somewhere around the globe. Until a few years ago their main use case was to allow employees to access company computer systems without risking a data leak.

what is a vpn

However, recent years have given rise to commercial VPN services. Their aim is still to keep information private, however, this time it's your own data and information. This is due to the rising displeasure of being constantly tracked and monitored by governments and companies alike.

Additionally, they allow you to appear in a different location from where you are truly based. The benefit of this is that you can access geographically restricted content. Most people use this feature to gain access to a larger range of streaming content.

In short, a VPN provides you with a layer of privacy and access to geographically blocked content.

What Can I Use a VPN For?

When it comes to VPN services, there's a whole range of uses. Despite being a relatively simple technology, an encrypted connection and access to servers across the globe can provide multiple uses.

However, there are three main reasons that people use a VPN.

Stream Globally

Due to copyright and contractual reasons streaming content varies significantly by country. For example, Hulu is only available to US citizens and BBC iPlayer is only available to UK citizens. Additionally, Netflix libraries vary significantly between countries.

With a VPN you can access all of your favorite streaming services.

Amazon Prime VideoAntena 3Apple tv+
BBC iPlayerbeIN SportsCanal+
CBCChannel 4Crackle
CrunchyrollDAZNDiscovery+
Disney+DR TVDStv
ESPNFacebookfuboTV
France TVGloboplayGmail
GoogleHBO (Max, Now & Go)Hotstar
HuluInstagramIPTV
KodiLocastNetflix (US, UK)
Now TVORF TVPeacock
PinterestProSiebenRaiPlay
Rakuten VikiShowtimeSky Go
SkypeSlingSnapchat
SpotifySVT PlayTF1
TinderTwitterWhatsApp
WikipediaVuduYouTube
Zattoo6play

This means that you could be missing out on a huge range of streaming content. While Us citizens have access to the largest streaming libraries, even they could be missing out on content.

By changing your location using a VPN you can appear to be in a different country, and hence access the streaming libraries to them.

However, there are two small (but luckily fixable) issues with this theory.

Some services are actively trying to block VPNs and proxies. This is to meet their obligations. Luckily, VPNs have better network engineers than these streaming services. Therefore any decent VPN service, including the ones on this list, will be able to overcome such restrictions.

The second issue is that most services require a local payment method. While you'd think they were something difficult to replicate, you'd be surprised.

Protect Your Privacy

By hiding your IP address and encrypting your connection you'll gain a layer of privacy. This has many benefits but most people like the fact that it makes it harder for governments and corporations to track you. This means that your activities will be more private and secure.

However, do not for one second think that VPNs provide you with complete privacy. Remaining private online is a lot more difficult, and there are a lot more steps involved. So while a VPN doesn't give you complete privacy, it's a step in the right direction.

Secure Your Internet Connection

Since a VPN tunnel creates an encrypted connection between you and the VPN server everything in between is protected. This is useful as it helps protect your internet connection and reduces the chances of someone hacking you.

Overcome Local Geo Blocking

VPN providers can also help overcome local blockades.

The most common scenario for this is the infamous Great Firewall of China. The Chinese government blocks access to a lot of content for its citizens. This is how to try and bias their views and control them. While this is the most infamous, they aren't the only country to do so.

Additionally, your internet service provider could also be blocking access to some content. For example in the UK many of them block porn, and in other countries they block torrenting. By connecting to a VPN server you can overcome blockades such as this.

Must-Have VPN Features to Look for

VPNs, like many online services, aren't created equal. You wouldn't want them to be either since we all have different needs. Some want privacy over streaming capabilities, others speed over server locations. Since people's use cases vary considerably, it's great that there is a superb range to chose from.

So when it comes to the best VPN services, here are the features to look out for.

As we stated, use cases will vary. Therefore, you might find some of these more important than others.

Speed & Performance

Regardless of what you'd like to use a VPN service for, speed is important for everyone. A slow connection won't allow you to stream, torrent, or in fact, use the internet in any useful way possible.

Therefore, speed is paramount. Luckily, all of the best VPN services we have listed above have great speeds.

However, bear in mind that VPN speeds do vary on numerous factors. Such as where you're based, where you're connecting to, your device, encryption standard, etc. Therefore, if you're achieving bad speeds it might not necessarily be the VPNs fault and you'll get a bad connection with other VPNs too.

If a faster speed is your top priority then you can run speed tests using tools such as TestMy.Net and SpeedTest.Net.

Price

In an ideal world, VPNs would be free due to the positive benefits they provide to the population. However, free VPNs are rarely good – more on this later on.

To make your decision even more difficult VPN prices range from $2 to $20 per month and upwards. To assume that a $2 service will provide you with the same level of service as a $20 is outrageous. However, to assume a $20 per month service is automatically superb is also outrageous.

You'll probably realize that at $8.32/month ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive VPNs on this best VPN services list. Yet it's still ranked 2nd. This is because, in my opinion, price is a very small factor. 

Sure at $2.49 Surfshark is cheaper but drink fewer beers or coffees during the month and you're in the same place. Additionally, with most VPNs it's true what they say – you get what you pay for.

With most VPNs, an annual plan will come out the cheapest compared to a monthly plan. However, some do offer two-year and even three-year plans. We'd recommend avoiding these since technology and companies evolve so fast that you'll never know what the situation will be three years from now.

Luckily, all VPNs also offer a 14- or 30-day money-back guarantee or free trial to try them out. This way you can test a variety of services and decide which one suits you best.

Supported Protocols and Security

When it comes to VPNs security can be extremely important. Of course, if you're only using it to access geo-restricted content and streaming, then this will be less significant to you. For everyone else, it's important to check up on the security details of your chosen VPN service.

The most popular VPN protocols are:

ProtocolSpeedEncryption & SecurityStabilityStreamingP2P File Sharing
OpenVPNFastGoodGoodGoodGood
PPTPFastPoorMediumGoodGood
IPSecMediumGoodGoodGoodGood
L2TP/IPSecMediumMediumGoodGoodGood
IKEv2/IPSecFastGoodGoodGoodGood
SSTPMediumGoodMediumMediumGood
WireGuardFastGoodPoorMediumMedium
SoftEtherFastGoodGoodMediumMedium

OpenVPN is the most popular VPN protocol. There are other ones too, such as ExpressVPN's Lightway (which they have open-sourced).

The biggest and most important factor is the encryption standards. In short, the level of encryption determines how hard it would be for a computer to compute the real data that you're sending. 

Unfortunately, some companies put costs before the customer and will sell any old garbage. Luckily for you, we've tested each of the VPN services on this list and they all have great encryption standards.

A high level of encryption doesn't guarantee excellent security by default. The VPN company also needs to have up-to-date leak protection. Since a VPN connection is built up of multiple layers there are multiple opportunities for your real IP address to seep out. 

The major culprits are DNS and webRTC leaks. Understandably, your real IP leaking out is not good for security. Luckily, all major VPN services prevent these. However, be careful if you're using IPv6 as that's less widely supported.

Alongside encryption security standards and leak protection, it's also important to see what other security features that VPN has. For example kill switches, multi-hop VPNs, and Tor support. You can read more about these on our site, and in our detailed reviews, we cover what additional security features each VPN has.

Logging

One of the reasons why so many people use a VPN is to shield their internet use from unwanted attention. Whether that's governments, ISPs, or just companies, everyone has a reason. In all honesty, we frown upon the saying of “if you've got nothing to hide then why use one”.

So clearly if a VPN kept logs then it would defeat the whole purpose. Luckily most VPN companies only keep connection logs to help improve this service.

Privacy

Alongside logging, you're also giving VPN companies access to your name, bank details, and even address. Therefore it's important that they treat these with respect. Always inspect a companies privacy policies and terms and conditions to see how they handle data. This can reveal a lot about a company.

Supported Devices

If you're using a VPN for privacy then it's important that it should always be connected. As we discussed above, there's a number of security features that are able to help with this.

However, a huge number of security features aren't going to help you if the VPN only runs on your computer.

Therefore it's important that the VPN you choose is able to run on your set of devices. Luckily all of the best VPN services we've chosen have support for all of the major devices and operating systems. This includes Linux and not just Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. In most cases, not just setup instructions but also native apps.

Additionally, all of them allow you to connect at least three devices at the same time. This ensures that you can connect your computer, phone, and tablet all at the same time. Some even allow unlimited devices to be used at the same time, which if you're cheeky could mean protecting all of your friends and family with a single account.  

Streaming and Torrenting

As discussed previously, the two most popular uses for VPNs are safe torrenting and unblocked streaming. Clearly then, you'd want the best VPN services to be able to provide this for you.

In short, all of the VPNs on this list will allow you to torrent safely and securely. Some do have limitations on what locations you're allowed to use for this, so do bear that in mind.

Additionally, the level to that they unblock streaming also varies by not just provider but also date. Therefore, if there's a dedicated channel or service you'd like to unblock, talk to the VPN services customer support before signing up with them.

Extras

Another thing to look out for when it comes to choosing your VPN service is the additional extras that they have on offer. For example, some have now started offering password managers, cloud storage, and similar.

While this is great don't let this be your deciding factor.

Customer Support

Lastly, it's worth looking at a VPN service's support systems. You need to consider the type of support they offer, as well as the timeframe that they offer it in. Having email support that replies to your questions in 3-5 days is not exactly ideal.

Luckily, most VPN services do have 24/7 live chat support. Those that don't, have an email support service usually reply in a timely manner. In all honesty, during years of testing VPNs, we can only recall a handful of times where live chat was truly necessary.

Some companies even have community forums and Wikis to help you with issues. These are great as you'll often find help tips & tricks, as well as answers to common issues.

How We Test VPN Services

Unfortunately, there's a huge number of VPN comparison sites that don't test any VPN services, and simply regurgitate information from across the website. Even worse, we've heard of some that have never even used a VPN service!

We think it's only fair and just that we test each and every VPN service that we have listed. Therefore you won't find a single one on our site that we haven't tested and scrutinized in-depth.

Our testing is relatively simple but at the same time extremely time intensive. We look at all of the features mentioned above in-depth and where possible we don't only take the word of the VPN provider but also test it for ourselves. To get a better picture of how in-depth we go with our reviews, have a look at one of our reviews.

Free VPN Services

In a world where everyone holds onto their wallets tightly, free VPNs have soared. Unfortunately, as the saying goes you can't get something for nothing. This holds true for VPNs true. However, free VPN services can be split into two categories; “scam” and marketing.

Let's start with free VPNs for marketing as it's a significantly easier topic to discuss. A lot of high-profile VPNs, including some on this list, have a free VPN. The purpose of this is to draw in customers, and in the long term convert them to paid users.

To limit their cost on these, and have the chance of making a profit from it, these have restrictions. In fact, most of them only allow you to use them for a limited amount of data transfer. Therefore, these can be great if you only need a VPN for a specific task but definitely not in the long term.

The other category of free VPNs is “scam”. We're using quote marks because not all of them are scams in the strictest of terms. However, 99% of free VPNs in this category will provide a subpar service and steal your data. Even worse some may even put malware on your device.

A famous example of a bad free VPN was Hola. Hola provided you with an unlimited free VPN service. What many people didn't realize is that in return whole was selling your data and using your internet connection for a reverse VPN. Luckily, since then many people have realized that free VPNs, in general, aren't worth it.

What's the Best Free VPN?

If you are tight on money but really need a VPN, then I would recommend ProtonVPN. It allows for unlimited use but it does have speed throttling. This is perfect in that it means that anyone in need can use this service but it can't be abused with torrenting and streaming.

ProtonVPN's free plan offers:

  • 23 servers in 3 countries
  • 1 VPN connection
  • Medium speed
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Access blocked content

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions when it comes to using a VPN, and the best VPN services.

If I have a VPN to my office, do I need a VPN service?

Business and commercial VPNs operate on the same principles. However, the former won't give you any protection, streaming unblocking, or anonymity. In fact, your company would probably fire you if you use their servers for torrenting or watching Netflix.

Are VPNs legal?

In most countries, VPNs are 100% legal. However, there's a shortlist of countries where it isn't. The countries are Belarus, China, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, UAE, and Venezuela.

Can You Trust VPN Companies?

We're 99% sure you can trust the VPN companies on this list. Unfortunately, there will always be a layer of paranoia and it's up to you to decide if you believe in what a VPN company says. Since all of the ones on this list try to be honest and transparent we like to believe that they are trustworthy.

Which VPN is the Best?

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the two leading providers to choose between. NordVPN is one of the best VPN services on the market and if you're looking to get started quickly then don't hesitate to sign up straight away. ExpressVPN is the choice for you if you don't mind paying a bit more for additional features and better functionality.

Which VPN is the Fastest?

From our testing, NordVPN is the fastest VPN. However, all of the VPNs on this list are extremely fast. Your results will vary on a range of factors, but we're 100% certain you won't be disappointed by any of these VPNs.

Can I Build My Own VPN?

Yes, it's possible to build your own VPN. However, its uses would be different from commercial VPN services. This is because there would be no anonymity or worldwide access.

Summary

So there you have it. The best VPN services “in short”.

Hopefully, you've now got a clear picture of what a VPN is, how it works, and the great benefits they pose.

Additionally, our huge selection of the best VPN services with their descriptions should allow you to choose the perfect VPN for you.

Sign up to NordVPN, the best VPN service, today and get access to worldwide content and secure your internet connection at the same. With a NordVPN you've got nothing to lose!