Best VPN Services
Want a good way to stay safe online? Or maybe you’re traveling abroad and need the Internet for work? Or perhaps you just want to access Netflix videos from other countries.
You need a VPN (virtual private network) service.
A good VPN masks your online identity by hiding your IP address, using the IP address of the VPN’s server instead.
This allows you to keep your privacy and sensitive information safe online, and also helps you circumvent the most powerful Internet firewalls. This gives you more access to websites and online content you otherwise wouldn’t get.
Luckily, there are tons of high-quality VPNs out there. Unluckily, there are also plenty of bad ones.
That’s why we created this guide. We want to break down the five best VPN services out there, and give you our in-depth reviews of each one.
What is a VPN service?
VPN stands for “virtual private network.”
The way it works might seem complicated—but it’s actually pretty simple:
VPN services have a network of servers all over the world. Customers access those servers and use them to mask their IP addresses. This allows them to essentially search the Internet as if they were in the country where the server is.
To help protect your identity, VPN services are highly encrypted. This protects your personal identity, and helps secure all of your information while you safely browse.
Think of it like a tunnel. You can hide a tunnel that allows you to travel anywhere you want without anyone knowing. The same is with a VPN.
Now that you know how VPNs work, let’s take a look at the five best ones.
The 5 Best VPN Services
We took a look at dozens of VPNs and have narrowed it down to these five best ones.
#1. ExpressVPN – Best VPN for flexibility
It’s also one of the best (if not the best) VPN service out there.
They offer more than 3,000 servers across 136 locations in 94 different countries. Their plans also come with unlimited bandwidths and lightning fast speeds. In fact, they come with a built-in Speed Test tool that allows you to choose the fastest servers.
Some of their best features:
Perhaps the biggest selling point for me is their fantastic customer support. You don’t want to be in a situation where you can’t get ahold of a representative when you need them. Luckily, with ExpressVPN, they have a world-class team of support professionals on call at all hours to help you with any issue you might have.
Pricing for ExpressVPN starts at $8.32/month. That’s billed annually. If you want their month-to-month pricing it’ll run you $12.95/month.
With it, you’ll also get a 30-day money back guarantee. So if you don’t like their services, you can get your money fully refunded, no questions asked.
#2. NordVPN – Best prices for VPN services
• Best prices out there
In fact, if you act now you can save 51% on your NordVPN service at just $5.75/month (billed annually). That’s a pretty fantastic deal.
On top of a great price point, NordVPN also offers a stellar VPN service. With more than 5,400 servers across 59 countries, you’ll be able to connect up to six devices to their lightning fast connections to any of their servers across the globe.
The devices you can connect include Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, AndroidTV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. They also have a great proxy extension for both Firefox and Chrome for even easier VPN access.
Some other great features:
Due to their fantastic service, they’ve earned themselves a number of ProPrivacy Awards too.
It should be noted that in October 2019, NordVPN was the subject of a cyberattack after one of their servers in Finland was breached. A private server key was leaked as a result. That next month in November, another much more severe cyberattack occurred that resulted in more than 2,000 usernames and passwords being exposed.
NordVPN has dedicated themselves to fix these issues though via internal security audits. They also implemented a bug bounty program that allows others to find and recognize bugs for them in exchange for money.
This can be a dealbreaker for anyone who values security. As such, we felt it was only fair that we call it out. However, we still believe that NordVPN is one of the best out there when it comes to VPN services.
Prices currently start at $5.75/month for an annual contract. However, this is subject to change as NordVPN frequently offers amazing deals throughout the year.
#3. Cyberghost VPN – Most bang for your buck
• Most bang for your buck
With more than 6,500 servers across more than 90 countries, Cyberghost gives you features you won’t find on other VPN services such as:
While they include a lot of great features you might not find elsewhere, they are lacking in a few areas. For one, their customer support isn’t the most robust. While it’s technically “24/7” they don’t have a live call feature if you want to talk to a human. Instead, you can put in a ticket request with your issue, and they’ll contact you when they receive it.
That can be an issue for people who encounter problems that need to be solved as soon as possible, which you want to avoid if you’re traveling abroad or using a VPN for work.
The pricing is very lucrative, though, starting at $2.75/month. However, you’d be locked into an 18-month contract—which can be a deal breaker depending on what you’re looking for.
Their six month plan runs you $7.99/month and their one month plan is $12.99/month, so it’s definitely the pricier option once you’re finished with their promotional deal. However, with their services, it’s really worth it for the money.
#4. Surfshark VPN – Best VPN service for more devices
• Unlimited devices with subscription
But what really separates Surfshark from the rest of the pack is the fact that you can have unlimited devices to one account. This is great for people who want to share VPNs or if you’re just a tech head who loves having multiple devices.
They offer more than 1,700 servers across 63 countries. They also utilize the same AES 256-bit encryption of most all VPN services.
Some other great features:
They also offer 27/7 support through a live chat tool as well as email. If you’re looking to talk to someone though, you won’t be able to get them on the phone–that might be a dealbreaker. But as long as the live chat is working, you should be good.
Pricing-wise, Surfshark is also one of the most affordable ones out there with the current promotion going for $2.49/month. Granted, that’s with a two year contract.
Their six month pricing isn’t too bad either at $6.49/month. And if you’re not satisfied with the service, they also give you a 30-day money back guarantee. Perfect if you want to try it out for a bit while traveling or working from home.
#5. Tunnelbear VPN – Most simple VPN service
• Most simple VPN service
Customers click on the VPN server they want to access, and a little cartoon bear tunnels its way towards that server. Maybe it’s just the kid in me but TunnelBear really makes something as mundane as using a VPN kind of fun.
Aside from their delightful interface, they also offer a great VPN service. With servers across more than 23 countries, TunnelBear gives you what you need at an affordable price.
They do have a few potential downsides though. While TunnelBear is very beginner friendly, they don’t have the features and tools you might find in other VPN services. Things like ad-blockers, Netflix unblocking, and limited devices are all lacking with TunnelBear plans.
However, this could also be a boon for anyone looking for a simple, straightforward (and a little fun) VPN service.
Pricing wise they’re very affordable. They offer a free trial but that only gives you 500MB of browsing. For unlimited browsing and five connected devices, it’ll start (and stay) at $3.33/month. For teams, you’ll be looking at $5.75/month.
These prices aren’t promotional either. This is just how it’ll be until they decide to change it.
Plus, you gotta love that branding.
How to choose a VPN service?
When deciding on a VPN service, your criteria should be unique to you and what you’re looking for.
That said, there are a few different areas that we looked towards when compiling this list. Use them to help guide your ultimate decision when it comes to VPN services.
This is a no brainer. If you’re looking for a VPN, you probably value security more than any other factor.
As such, you want a VPN that comes with what should be standard features by now such as:
On top of that, you should see if the VPN has had a history with cyber attacks and compromised security (cough NordVPN cough). While that might not necessarily mean that they’re a bad VPN, it might be a dealbreaker when considering them and another company.
User interface and functionality
While pricing, security, features, and speed are all important, none of them really matter if you can’t actually use the VPN.
That’s why you want to look for a VPN with a user-friendly interface that allows even the newest VPN user to easily access its services.
You shouldn’t have to have a degree in computer science or cybersecurity in order to use a VPN. That’s why simplicity and intuitiveness are the name of the game when it comes to these solutions.
Tunnelbear VPN stands out for this reason. It’s as easy as pointing and clicking with their service.
Along with the user interface, you’ll want to make sure you get a VPN that doesn’t bog you down with a bunch of features you won’t use and don’t need. Why pay more for Netflix access when you’re just using it to keep safe while you work?
Of course, your VPN should be fast too. You don’t want to spend all day waiting for a Netflix video to buffer or for your page to load just because you’re using a VPN.
This also includes things like torrenting and file sharing. You should expect fast speeds akin to that if you weren’t using a VPN.
Be sure to compare speeds when it comes to your VPN solutions. Surfshark and Express VPN standout for their fantastic speeds without sacrificing security. That’s why they’re recommended on our list.
Here’s our list of VPN services again:
Each VPN service is unique to fit your unique needs. What you ultimately choose is up to you! But keep in mind security, speed, and a user-friendly interface when making your choice.
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September 22, 2020 at 11:00AM