If you spend a lot of time connecting to public networks in coffee shops, using a VPN should be a top priority. Public Wi-Fi is convenient, but it doesn’t guarantee data privacy or security.
The best VPN service will protect the mobile apps on your phone and the websites you visit from using your user information for their own benefit.
Even if you’re only using your home Wi-Fi, it can protect you from DNS leaks and frustrating bandwidth throttling by Internet Service Providers.
Combined with efficient residential proxies, a VPN service with advanced protocols can help you run a stealth eCommerce account and bypass the often unfair restrictions imposed by big websites.
However, with so many VPN service providers available these days, not all of them are the right fit. Therefore, we’ve reviewed eight excellent options to help you choose the best VPN service for your needs.
- Best VPN Services
- Buyer’s Guide
- Choosing the VPN That Delivers
Best VPN Services
Several excellent VPN providers have not only remained on top over the years but always continue to improve their services. That’s precisely the case with NordVPN, a Panama-based company that provides an excellent layer of privacy and a wide range of additional features.
Let’s get the pricing out of the way first. If you sign up for a two-year plan, you’ll pay only $89, which is $3.71 per month. A one-year plan costs $59, which comes to $4.92 per month. If you’re not willing to make a long-term commitment, you can choose a monthly plan at $11.95.
NordVPN is not the most affordable provider, but the wide variety of features backs up the pricing. For example, they accept various cryptocurrencies as payment methods, which is significant. In addition, they are compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices.
You can connect up to six devices simultaneously, a step up from most market offers. In addition, NordVPN provides exceptional privacy to its users and enables multi-hop connections that bypass regional censorship. In terms of VPN protocols, NordVPN has kept the golden standard.
They use their own implementation of WireGuard, state-of-the-art cryptography called NordLynx. Other available protocols are OpenVPN and IKEv2. As for server locations, NordVPN competes with the best. You can connect to servers in 59 countries, primarily located in the United States and the United Kingdom.
But many are in South Africa, South America, the Middle East, and even Vietnam and Turkey, where they have restrictive internet policies. In total, they have around 5,600 servers that run at excellent speeds.
- Multi-hop connections
- A significant number of server locations
- Feature-rich software
- Multiple VPN protocols
- Pretty expensive
Another impressive contender on our best VPN service list is Surfshark. Typically, what you pay for is what you get with VPNs. Hence, Surfshark’s affordable pricing means you shouldn’t expect too much.
A two-year subscription is only $2.49, an 80%-plus discount from the $12.95 you’d otherwise pay each month. In addition, they support unlimited connections across all operating systems and even offer two-factor authentication for extra security.
Surfshark takes the extra step and commissions independent audits to ensure its top-notch services. In addition, the company offers a custom DNS service to protect you from leaks and even has a designated adblocker.
They have several additional features you can pay extra for, such as static IPs. In terms of VPN protocols, the OpenVPN is used for Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux, and the excellent IKEv2 too, which is the default for macOS. When it comes to server locations, Surfshark certainly delivers.
The provider covers 65 countries, which is well over the average. While some VPN services skip covering Africa and South America, that’s not the case here. You can also access servers in Hong Kong, Russia, and Turkey, which all have restrictive internet policies in general.
The lack of ambiguity is a significant advantage because many companies hide behind vague terms to continue logging without explicitly saying so.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Great mobile app
- Excellent multi-hop connection
- Affordable long-term plan
- Varying server speeds
If you’re looking for fast-speed connections and excellent security protocols at an affordable price, IPVanish might be the right choice for you. One of the most notable marks of a high-quality VPN provider is how effectively it bypasses geo-restrictions.
With IPVanish, you can watch U.S. Netflix abroad without restrictions on content or speed. It also supports torrenting but doesn’t allow access to Amazon Prime and Disney Plus.
A monthly subscription to IPVanish is $10.99, but if you opt for a yearly plan, the 65% discount is applied, and you’ll only pay $3.75 per month. In addition, the provider has servers in over 75 countries and very advanced encryption standards.
They also don’t have any VPN caps, and you can secure every device you have. So with IPVanish, you will indeed have safe and fast access to various apps and websites and add another layer of security when managing stealth accounts.
The company doesn’t log user activity and doesn’t sell your personal information. You can also choose a VPN plan with backup features and even opt for antivirus protection.
All connection settings are highly customizable, so this is a great VPN solution for beginners and advanced users.
The mobile apps available for Android and iOS devices are easy to use and quick to install. Finally, you can rely on their exceptional 24/7 customer service, which is available via phone and live chat.
- Excellent geographic diversity
- Customizable connections
- Unlimited VPN connections
- Supports WireGuard protocol
- No ad blocking
It’s impossible to talk about the best VPN service without considering ExpressVPN. The company’s tagline is “the VPN that just works,” which is no surprise as it’s one of the leading brands in the industry. ExpressVPN is active in over 160 locations in 94 countries, placing the company at the top in this category. In addition, they’re open about using virtual servers and their actual locations.
But the number of virtual servers is less than 3%, and they’re all in Vietnam, Venezuela, and Turkey. They have well-designed, easy-to-use apps for all major operating systems and even have a designated router that connects to ExpressVPN automatically.
The provider has a straightforward pricing structure. For a monthly plan, their service will cost you $12.95, and for six months in advance at $59.95. For an annual subscription, that amounts to $99.95. You can pay with a credit card, PayPal, and even bitcoin.
Users can connect to five devices simultaneously and benefit from multi-hop connections that offer better security and more privacy.
ExpressVPN customer service is excellent, and you can reach them during any time of day via email or live chat. They take the time to help their clients resolve any issues and even offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if they’re not happy with the service.
- An impressive number of servers
- Browser extensions
- Excellent customer service
- Strong privacy practices
- Pricier option
In 2017, PureVPN helped the FBI with a cybercrime project. Since then, suspicions have been raised about their privacy policies. However, the company has tried to assure potential clients that protecting their privacy is a priority.
They’ve mostly been successful, as they have consistently found themselves on numerous lists of the best VPN services. A single PureVPN plan covers up to 10 users and allows you to unblock Netflix, Disney Plus, and many other streaming services when abroad.
They offer excellent OpenVPN and IKEv2 encryption, but not WireGuard, which is still in the beta stages. On top of that, you can share these slots with family members, which is something not all VPN providers offer. They also have dedicated apps for all operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, mobile OS, Android, and iOS.
Users can also benefit from browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox and can even set it up on Amazon Fire TV. PureVPN has over 6,500 servers in 86 locations across 78 countries. They used to feature more but have restructured their offer and eradicated slower servers. As a result, users can rely on impressive connection speeds and almost no lags.
Other features include a firm no-log policy, split tunneling that helps preserve bandwidth, and an internet kill switch that protects your privacy if the VPN connection drops. Price-wise, PureVPN charges $10.95 for a monthly plan and $3.74 per month if you pay annually.
However, you can also opt for a two-year plan that will set you back $2.91 per month. For extra anonymity, you can pay with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum.
- One plan for a family
- Unblocks Disney Plus
- Browser extensions
- Accepts cryptocurrencies
- Unclear server locations
TorGuard offers server locations in 44 countries, including numerous areas in the U.S., Europe, South America, and even in places like Turkey and Hong Kong. Even though they rely on virtual servers, they do so minimally, and 90% of their servers are precisely where they say they are.
For individual users, they offer the Anonymous VPN available in Standard, which is $9.99, and Pro which is $12.99 per month. The main difference is the plan supports more devices and adds a dedicated IP. The provider also has a Business VPN that starts at $32 per month, is HIPAA compliant, and allows five users and email accounts.
But users can purchase only a private email that starts at $8.95 per month and 10GB of encrypted storage. TorGuard also comes with a built-in ad blocker which ensures a better browsing experience. Perhaps the only area where TorGuard lacks is the somewhat underwhelming interface. For example, it doesn’t have an auto-select feature or indicate the fastest server.
However, their customer support is very responsive and available 24/7. This is the best VPN service if you’re trying to stay stealthy and need excellent proxy services. To ensure it’s right for your needs, you can take advantage of the seven-day money-back guarantee.
- Excellent subscription options
- A great number of servers
- Built-in ad blocker
- 7-day money-back guarantee
- No third-party audits
One of the biggest complaints people have when searching for the best VPN service is that they don’t offer free subscriptions. Sure, there are many free VPNs, but the focus is on established providers.
Often, even the cheapest plan is too expensive, which can be a deterrent. But this is not the case with Proton VPN, as they offer a quite comprehensive free version of their service. Moreover, if you choose not to pay anything, you can access 24 servers in three countries at medium speed.
But if you choose to splurge on the Plus plan for $8, which is the most popular, you’ll receive access to 1,500 servers in 63 countries, no-log policies, and very high speeds. But they also have a $4 Basic Plan with 400 servers in 40 countries.
In general, Proton VPN has excellent speed scores and a strong privacy stance when protecting its customers. In addition, the VPN provider excels when it comes to VPN protocol availability, as it supports OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard as of October 2021.
The mobile apps are high-quality with a user-friendly interface. Proton VPN is a fantastic option if you need an excellent and affordable VPN that will encrypt your data. The company is Switzerland-based and abides by Swiss privacy laws, which are some of the most robust in the world.
They also offer a designated kill switch to protect your IP address should you lose the connection to the server. This is a critical feature for all those who run stealth accounts and make money selling items online.
- DNS leak prevention
- No-log policy
- Global network
- Free version
- No third-party audit
Many VPN providers specialize in offering services for advanced users. While this is much-needed, especially for those who take protecting their internet activity seriously, it’s not for everyone.
Whoer VPN is meant to accommodate the novice, a person looking for the basic features but doesn’t want to compromise on quality.
This VPN provider keeps things simple and allows you to unlock Netflix wherever you are, even if it doesn’t have an impressive number of servers at your disposal. Still, you can connect to servers worldwide in the U.S., Canada, Russia, Italy, Spain, and many others.
The monthly plan costs $9.90, but if you’re ready to pay for a year in advance, it will cost $47. Many payment methods are available, including Google Pay, PayPal, major credit card companies, and bitcoin. In addition, Whoer is easy to use, offers multi-hop connections, and allows excellent VPN masking.
- VPN masking
- Multiple payment methods
- Great value
- No money-back guarantee
When choosing the best VPN service, users will have to pay attention to several key features. Of course, most people purchasing a VPN will first and foremost search for efficient encryption and anonymity, but there are other important factors to consider. The following features are what the typical user might pay attention to when picking a VPN provider.
It’s no secret that users want the best possible security when using a VPN. However, not all VPN protocols offer an equal amount of protection.
In general, it’s best to avoid providers that focus on Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol or PPTP more than any other. This is because it’s the oldest protocol featuring basic encryptions that hackers can easily crack.
Instead, look for VPN service providers that offer Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol or L2TP/IPSec, a direct replacement for the PPTP. It is widely used and doesn’t have any known vulnerabilities.
Another essential protocol to search for is OpenVPN. It’s an open-source protocol that gives the developers access to code. It has become increasingly popular due to Advanced Encryption Standard or AES-256 encryption. In fact, to this day, it’s considered impossible to crack.
Finally, check if the VPN service provider offers Internet Key Exchange version 2 or IKEv2 tunneling protocol. This type of protocol quickly re-establishes links after momentary connection loss. It’s also incredibly effective in switching from one connection type to another, from cellular to Wi-Fi.
When choosing the best VPN service, most users have specific server locations in mind. Before committing to any VPN monthly or even annual plans, check their list of locations first. A reliable and well-established VPN provider will have a list of server locations available on their website.
They’re typically categorized by continent and U.S. locations by states and cities. But the number of locations is not all that matters either.
Check how many IP addresses are available per server location. That will give you a better insight into what the provider is offering. But, again, a geographically diverse VPN provider should have you covered, no matter your needs.
Again, privacy and anonymity are the main selling points of VPN as a service in general. If this feature is non-negotiable to you, you’ll need to search for a zero-log or logless VPN service. Still, some providers may market as having a no-logs policy but could still carry on with certain types of logging.
For example, connection times and bandwidth usage alone are not enough to identify a user online. Therefore, they may interpret this information as zero logs.
But when these elements are combined with data your ISP has on you, your privacy may be at risk. Furthermore, consider what type of information the provider is asking from you. For example, do you need to give them your email address and phone number?
The speed of the VPN service can be a decisive factor in the purchase process. If the connection remains slow no matter what you do, all the other possibly fantastic features don’t really matter.
The three relevant metrics to look for are the download speed, upload speed, and ping time. If your daily tasks involve downloading and uploading large videos, you probably won’t be able to tolerate slow speeds.
Ping time refers to how long a single unit of data, called the packet, travels from your device to its destination and back. Of course, we’re talking about milliseconds, and lower numbers mean that video calls and other real-time applications will perform better.
It’s essential to remember that a provider may have the fastest servers in the U.S. but slower speeds in other areas. So be sure to check their services thoroughly.
Many people use free VPN services and browser extensions to get around basic geo-specific restrictions. But in terms of security and anonymity, this VPN doesn’t have much to offer. So if you want secure and fully anonymous protection, paying for a VPN subscription is a must.
At the very beginning of the search, you’ll notice that prices can vary drastically. Your budget might eliminate some options right off the bat. Most well-established VPNs have adopted a specific substitution model.
Choosing a six-month or yearly plan comes with significant discounts, sometimes up to 70%. If you’re sure you’ve found the right provider, the savings are impressive. But it can be pretty difficult to pay for a service one year upfront, regardless of how great it seems.
Most top-rated VPN services offer free trials and money-back guarantees with only a few exceptions. Finally, don’t forget to check the payment options the provider offers. Some users are keen on paying with cryptocurrency, Bitcoin in particular.
What Are the Benefits of Using a VPN?
Understanding everything an excellent VPN service offers helps you choose the best possible solution for your needs. There are hundreds of VPNs on the market these days, with nearly all of them focusing on several crucial selling points.
First and foremost, a VPN is meant to secure your network. A website or an app on your mobile device can track your activity online and use it in various ways.
How many times per day does it feel like an ad is explicitly targeting you? That’s no coincidence. Your data has been analyzed and used for that purpose.
A high-quality VPN uses several different methods to hide your information, even from hackers trying to steal it.
Without a VPN, data such as your name, credit card information, and address leave you vulnerable online and susceptible to cyber-attacks.
Another significant benefit of a VPN is accessing geo-blocked services, especially when traveling abroad. You can use a VPN to avoid bandwidth and data throttling from Internet Service Providers and visit websites without compromising your user experience.
However, there are two other relevant advantages to using a VPN that not everyone talks about, but we want to highlight, nonetheless.
VPN as a Supplement to a Residential Proxy
Many people use residential proxies to boost their online business and perform efficient market research. For example, you can create stealth accounts on Amazon or eBay and circumvent their harsh rules about IP addresses and geolocations with a reliable residential proxy service.
However, even though residential proxies perform this vital service, they don’t offer data encryption. Therefore, the proxy service provider and your ISP can track your internet activity. But with the best VPN service added to the mix, you get another layer of security.
Keep in mind that most VPN services don’t work on the browser level alone and can protect you even if the residential proxy connection breaks for whatever reason. So your earnings and stealth accounts remain protected, and you can continue doing business uninterrupted.
VPN Can Prevent DNS Leaks
The Domain Name System (DNS) is a type of internet protocol that interprets internet addresses into data computers can read. It is essential in allowing devices to recognize user location by translating a web address into an Internet Protocol address or IP address.
Unfortunately, a DNS leak is a common security problem due to a lack of net neutrality. Essentially, it means that your Internet Service Provider can monitor, store, and filter traffic, thus infringing on your privacy and worsening your online experience.
There are several ways to protect your device from DNS leaks, such as using firewalls, anonymous web browsers, but an even more efficient solution is using a VPN service.
A Virtual Private Network allows you to set up a private tunnel to the internet that keeps you anonymous the whole time you’re online. Remember that not all VPN services offer excellent protections against DNS leaks, so specifically pay attention to this feature.
Is a VPN Legal?
In short, yes, it is. In the U.S., using a VPN service is entirely legal and comes with no restrictions. Most countries have the same attitude towards VPNs as the U.S., apart from a few notable exceptions, such as China and North Korea.
For example, many corporations use VPNs to provide secure broad network access to their employees. However, some people indeed use VPNs to conduct illegal activities.
The fact that a VPN protects your privacy isn’t an excuse for unlawful behavior. A VPN can’t change the legality of a particular activity – everything illegal stays illegal even if you use a VPN.
Do VPN Providers Keep Log Files?
Nearly all major VPN service providers guarantee a strict no-logs policy to their users. In fact, this feature is often at the top of the list of services they offer. The issue with this claim is that it’s not possible to verify it without risking your security online.
The no-logs policy sounds excellent on paper. But the reality is that many of these providers do hold on to some of your activity records. For example, it might be the websites you frequent or how much time you spend online.
Some will even claim to keep the logs but have strict rules about handing them over to anyone. When buying a VPN plan, make sure to delve into this issue in detail and determine the risks you’re willing to take.
Will a VPN Slow Down Internet Speed?
Understandably, this is one of the biggest concerns many potential VPN users have. In a nutshell, using a VPN can lead to slower speeds.
Keep in mind that your computer connects to server locations situated across the world and that the data must travel further.
That is why choosing the nearest and fastest server while maintaining anonymity and security is the ideal solution. Of course, additional layers of encryption will add a little more lag. However, using a VPN can boost your internet speed as well.
Some Internet Service Providers will throttle your internet connection at specific times during the day. You’ve likely noticed the drops in speed, especially when streaming.
But with the best VPN service, you can bypass these speed limitations and gain faster speeds from what you’d typically expect.
Also, it’s the free VPN service known for slower speeds and poorer internet connection overall. High-quality, subscription-based services are less likely to cause this problem.
How Many Unique IP Addresses and Locations Can a VPN Offer?
There are several important metrics to consider when choosing the best VPN service. One of which is the number of IP addresses the provider offers. Sure, they may claim to have “many” IPs, but what does that mean exactly?
A VPN provider can have a few thousand IP addresses or hundreds of thousands. A lower number indicates that an IP address is likely shared, which isn’t a problem by default. But it’s not ideal in every situation.
Also, a provider can have a few dozen server locations or may offer hundreds of them. The wide range of locations provides better connection speeds and unlimited connections.
Do I Still Need VPN if I’m Using Residential Service?
In all reality, yes, you do still want to use a VPN even if you already have a residential proxy in place. The fact is that residential proxies can fail at any time, and if they do, then you might have an IP or DNS leak on your hands.
A good VPN can help prevent this issue from occurring, so even if your residential service fails, you will still have the VPN as a backup.
With both a VPN and a residential proxy, you have two layers of anonymity. In the event that your proxy suffers from a failure such as a DNS leak, a good VPN can pick up the slack.
Moreover, in terms of various online stealth accounts, residential proxies are always the better option no matter the case.
Choosing the VPN That Delivers
When buying the best VPN service, making the right decision can take some time, especially if you’re new to the process. There are a lot of elements to consider, including the protocols, encryptions, server locations, and logging policies.
All the VPN providers we’ve reviewed are highly recommended, but we consider ExpressVPN the best choice. The impressive number of servers and countries, browser extensions, customer service, are all the features that set this provider apart from the rest.
As runner-up, Proton VPN comes with a free yet excellent subscription plan. Whatever choice you make, ensure it aligns with your needs and budget.