VPNs (virtual private networks) have many different functions and benefits, including keeping your browsing behaviour private, disguising your geo location, bypassing blocked websites and accessing online streaming services.
There are hundreds of VPNs on the market, and every one of them claims to offer you the best service. So I’ve hand-tested several VPNs for speed, price, features, customer support, as well as, of course, privacy and security. I’ve collected stacks of data to create fact-based reviews.
Rating the best services requires a deep dive into how individual VPNs perform in terms of speed, security, and privacy. It also requires an analysis of usability, the ability to unblock sites, and value for money, among other external factors.
Jurisdiction influences how a VPN service approaches privacy issues. The top VPN services are based in countries that are not associated with mass surveillance. Data laws also favor VPNs that are located in these countries. Many elite VPN providers, like ExpressVPN, come with a strict no-logs policy, ensuring maximum privacy.
Encryptions define how strongly a VPN service implements its security. The stronger the encryption, the better the VPN—if the performance is balanced.Stronger encryptions tend to result is slower VPN connection speeds. PrivateInternetAccess is just one example of a VPN service that can offer great security features that don't affect performance.
This important metric defines how fast the VPN connection is. By default, a VPN should slow your normal internet connection by a small percentage due to encryption overheads. A speed test is used to measure the VPN’s download speed, upload speed, latency, and jitter. The go-to VPN services have consistently high speed test results. ExpressVPN's average speed is approximately 77.14 Mbit/s, making it one of the fasting VPNs in the industry.
A reliable VPN service offers customers help in multiple ways. This includes customer assistance, an oline ticket system, and an email interface. ExpressVPN and NordVPN both offer 24/7 live-chat support, so customers can get support when it is most convenient for them.
A VPN encrypts and protects your data connection online. What you do online is open for prying eyes, but you can protect and hide your IP address and data by using a VPN. A VPN secures data between you and your business, or you can obtain anonymity and protection for your personal information.
There are loads of VPNs to choose from; and quality is on the rise. The process of choosing a VPN starts with a realistic assessment of your needs: if – for example - you only use Apple products, you must find the best VPN for Mac and Apple products.
Not everyone has the same priorities, or uses the internet in the same way. If you want to improve anonymity online, VPN providers give you a way to discreetly access the Internet through a “tunnel” service. This type of access masks your communication and displays the VPN’s IP address when you connect to a website, instead of your own.
This means that your private home IP address is hidden when browsing different websites. Using a VPN service will likely impact your computer speed as well. If you are looking for a fast VPN, make sure that it also keeps your privacy through data encryption between your computer and the target server. By using a VPN, you can improve the protection of your data, and stay anonymous on the internet – all while streaming or browsing at top speeds.
Other benefits of VPN are:
Free VPNs may seem attractive on paper, but they often offer a sub-par service and may have significant privacy issues. Always keep in mind that free services are free for a reason. The best VPNs offer a balance between quality and price, and some can be really cheap.
A VPN keeps you safe online by rerouting your traffic through an encrypted server. If this process is done well, the effect on your connection should be unnoticeable. If, on the other hand, the VPN is poor quality, it may grind your internet speed down to a halt.
If you are looking for the best VPN for streaming, for example, look out for services with 99.9% uptime and no speed or bandwidth caps. This ensures your online experience will be smooth - irrespective of how heavy your internet usage is.
Before you subscribe to any VPN service, there are key factors to consider. These factors seek to answer how a particular VPN will help you. The VPN services that we highlighted were carefully selected based on the following factors:
VPNs are meant to keep your information private from the rest of the world when you surf the internet. The best anonymous VPNs will always have a strict no-logs policy, located in a jurisdiction with no data retention laws. They should also implement security features that protect your privacy.
Security goes hand in hand with privacy. The elite VPN services, like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark, should have strong, unbreakable encryptions. The VPN service should implement other security features such as a kill switch, protection against leaks, a firewall, and obfuscation technology. Robust security features allow VPN services to bypass restrictions easily.
Besides privacy, you might want to use a VPN for speed intensive tasks such as downloading files or even streaming. In this case, the best VPN to consider is one that offers lightning speeds without any buffering. The VPN should also have unlimited bandwidth and should not be laggy or slowing your connection to unacceptable levels. If you don't want to sacrifice performance, check out our guide on