With more and more work being done and entertainment being enjoyed online, getting the best VPN service you can has become one of the most vital things you can do for your PC, Mac and smartphone.
But choosing a virtual private network can feel like a daunting task. With hundreds of different VPN providers out there - all claiming to be the best for online privacy, security and speed - choosing the right one often means searching around to strike the right balance between services, ease-of-use and pricing.
Those looking for a solid VPN service will obviously want to do their due diligence to find the best match.
Luckily for you, ITProPortal has searched the market and tested them out in order to pick out the best VPNs on the web today. Our guide will also be be updated with all the newest VPN information, providing everything you need to know, so keep checking back for all the latest details!
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ExpressVPN has long been recognised as one of the world's top VPN providers, with fast speeds and solid customer support.
With 160 locations in 94 countries and available through plenty of clients, it’s the best services out there. Regardless of your platform, you will find a native client, as ExpressVPN offers clients for Mac, Windows, Linux, but also iOS and Android, and even BlackBerry (albeit limited to a handful of models).
ExpressVPN also offers routers with custom firmware and VPN browser extensions, making it an all-around great service.
A wide variety of simple and useful web-based tutorials will make sure you're up and running in no time. This includes P2P support, a kill switch and generally good performance.
The only negative here is that only five connections can be supported at the same time (at least that's up from three that it was before), and it's hardly the cheapest service out there. There's no demo, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can choose from these packages:
Surfshark's super cheap pricing might be the first thing that attracts you to this VPN, but it's high on quality as well.
Other than the cost, it's the connection speeds that really stand out from our testing. Even connecting to servers in far away locations doesn't seem to slow things down, so Surfshark could be a great option if your main reason for getting a VPN is for connecting back home when away on business or holiday. And we love that one subscription covers unlimited laptops, routers, mobiles and TV streaming devices.
Surfshark keeps things very simple from a user experience point of view. For most people that should be regarded as a pro, as it means there's nothing to faff around with if you just want to get connected quickly. But then those super users who need more options and customisation will probably want one of the best VPN choices above.
It does still feature OpenVPN UDP and TCP, IKEv2 security protocols, AES-256 encryption, private DNS and a kill switch however.
For IPVanish, its key selling point is the quality of service.
The company claims to offer “the world’s fastest VPN”, with more than 40,000 shared IPs, almost a thousand VPN servers spread across 75 countries, unlimited P2P traffic, five connections and lo logs.
If the price is your main concern you might want to look elsewhere, but in other case, IPVanish is a serious contender with fast speeds, plenty locations to choose from and a well-built client (even though its latest Windows client could use a bit more work – it suffers from the odd network issue).
Again, it's not the cheapest product out there, but with this service you get what you pay for, and there is a thirty-day money back guarantee.
One would expect such a powerful solution to be located in one of the world’s largest tech hubs, but NordVPN is located in Central America.
Its key advantages are a large pool of servers (5,700+), and more than 80 locations around the globe. It can support up to six devices at the same time, and the data gets a 2048-bit encryption. Features like DNS leak protection, killswitch, dedicated IP address and being able to pay with cryptocurrency are also very worth mentioning.
Even when it came to the most important part – performance – NordVPN stood strong. Its speeds for short connections were commendable, long-term ones – delicious. It also has a thorough ‘no logs policy’, and audited privacy measures.
Hotspot Shield is another of the market's top offerings, coming with all the necessities at a competitive price and the ability to purchase a lifetime license. Private browsing, “access all content”, and up to five simultaneous devices – those are the aces up Hotspot Shield’s sleeves.
Performance-wise it lacks for nothing, there’s an ever so slight increase in latency, with both upload and download speeds a bit faster after being connected.
What we’d like to see is more freedom for configurations. However, with such high speeds and competitive prices, there’s very little room to feel unsatisfied. At the end of the day, there is a fully free version so you can test it yourself without cost.
With multiple clients, rich with different features, it’s no wonder this VPN service handles more than 10 million users. CyberGhost covers Microsoft’s and Apple’s operating systems, but also iOS and Android. The interface is not the best out there and could definitely use some work, but these disadvantages are easily overshadowed by the awesome features this VPN offers.
One feature in particular, which stands out, is the option of kicking off the VPN when specific apps are launched.
Torrent users will be happy to hear that this service supports them on most of its servers. Performance-wise it is solid.
It offers a free plan that comes with a few caveats, including just one device at a time, being a bit slower than the commercial version, and ads. Data usage is unlimited, and for those looking to buy, they have a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Whenever someone mentions TunnelBear, ease of use is the first thing that comes to mind. This Canada-based VPN offers extremely good user experience, but also plenty of clients to choose from on both desktop and mobile platforms.
Its hassle-free approach is clearly visible from the company's website – the language is as simple as it can be. Experts, on the other hand, might not enjoy not being able to get access to all the nuts and bolts of the clients. So if you're a beginner – this one is for you.
TunnelBear comes with servers in more than 20 countries and offers up to five connections at the same time, which is pretty good, all things considered. It has strong privacy measures and clear policies.
It also performed really well in our tests, even though long-distance connections seem to drop in speed.
There is a free plan limiting you to 500MB per month. But paid plans offer unlimited data and are fairly cheap anyway.
This service offers four native clients – one for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Be advised that the Android one is still new and could be a bit unstable, so proceed at your own risk. There are also solidly built browser add-ons.
Windscribe's strongest selling point is that it offers unlimited connections with its commercial plans, so it can cover everything, regardless of how many machines you throw at it.
VyprVPN looks to stand out from the crowd with a useful unlimited data usage offering.
The service is also based in Switzerland, meaning it can benefit from the country’s advanced privacy laws. There are more than 70 server locations around the world, and comes with cool features like auto-connect or a kill switch.
Clients are very intuitive, especially the Windows offering, and the service includes VyprDNS and the Chameleon protocol to provide extra security.
Image Credit: Flickr / Mike MacKenzie