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The best VPN service 2021

best VPN service
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Ensuring your online safety is more important than ever these days – and 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!

1. ExpressVPN – The best VPN bar none

1. ExpressVPN – The best VPN bar none
For just about every user, ExpressVPN is the best VPN. You'll have stellar security, excellent support, over 3,000 servers to choose from and access to tons of geo-blocked streaming sites. You'll also be covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee, plus ITProPortal readers can claim three months free.

2. Surfshark – It may be cheap, but it's the full package

2. Surfshark – It may be cheap, but it's the full package
If you don't want to spend a fortune on a VPN but still want online anonymity and access to restricted streaming content, Surfshark is the perfect choice. While it's not as flexible as more expensive rivals, it's powerful enough for most, and has been very reliable in our testing.

NordVPN – Big name offers serious security

3. NordVPN – Big name offers serious security
Hugely popular across the world, NordVPN is a real contender for best VPN. With tons of additional security features alongside the basics, it's a great middle ground between the more expensive options and the bargain basement.

ExpressVPN best VPN

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

The best VPN for just about everything

Number of servers: 3000+ | Server locations: 160 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 5

Admirable scope of quality apps
Excellent for streaming blocked content
Responsive customer support
Plenty of servers
Not the cheapest

Get 3 months free with an annual plan on our #1 rated VPN
ExpressVPN has long been recognised as one of the world's top VPN providers, with fast speeds and solid customer support.

itproportal editor's choice

With over 3,000 servers spread over 160 locations in 94 countries and available through plenty of clients, it’s one of the best services out there. Regardless of your platform, you'll find a native client, as ExpressVPN offers intuitive apps 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. Plus, you'll also be able to use its dedicated MediaStreamer (Smart DNS) function on devices like Apple TV and PS4 that don't support true VPN connections to spoof your location and access overseas streaming content.

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 real negative here is that you'll only be able to use one plan on up to five devices. However, you can still log out on one and log in on another – licences aren't restricted to individual devices as with some other providers. Prices are on the higher end, but signing up for a year-long plan will get you a good discount – and you really do get what you pay for here. You can choose from these packages:

surfshark - best vpn

(Image credit: Surfshark)

2. Surfshark

Fast and its namesake

Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 100+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

Use one plan on unlimited devices
Seriously good value
Excellent for streaming
Fewer additional features 
Not independently audited yet

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, connection speeds really stood out in our testing, and that's incredibly important if you're looking for a VPN to access more shows on Netflix or share P2P swiftly. 

What adds true value to Surfshark, though, is the fact that you can install apps linked to your single plan on as many devices as you want. That means you can let your family or partner in on the game, and subsequently keep everything in your home absolutely safe.

While it doesn't offer quite as many options as more technical VPNs, in the last year or so Surfshark has upped its game in terms of functionality. You'll get a kill switch, split tunneling, full WireGuard support, private DNS, and attractive apps on just about every device.

For the price, it's a very tempting offer for a simple, secure, and effective VPN.

nordVPN - best vpn

3. NordVPN

Security is its middle name

Number of servers: 5,400+ | Server locations: 59 countries | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6

Supports up to six devices
Strong performance and security
Unblocks all streaming services we tested
Regularly audited
Some UI issues - especially on mobile

One would expect such a powerful solution to be located in one of the world’s largest tech hubs, but NordVPN is actually located in Central America – and that's thanks to the favorable data laws in Panama which don't require companies to log user data. 

Its key advantages are a large pool of servers (5,400+), and more than 80 locations around the globe. It can support up to six devices at the same time, and the data gets a 256-bit encryption. Features like DNS leak protection, kill switch, 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-distance ones – delicious. It also has a thorough ‘no logs policy’, and audited privacy measures. To top it off? It's also able to unblock regional Netflix libraries, and plenty of other services, too.

IPVanish - best VPN

4. IPVanish

Great for P2P and torrenting

Number of servers: 1600+ | Server locations: 75+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 10

No traffic logs
Decent download speeds
Configurable software
User interface could be improved
Relatively poor for streaming

For IPVanish, its key selling point is the quality of service. 

The company claims to offer 'online security made simple', and with more than 40,000 shared IPs, over 1,600 servers spread across 75 countries, unlimited P2P traffic, unlimited connections and no logs, it appear to have a good foothold in the market. 

IPVanish used to be on the expensive end of the VPN scale, but recently it's begun an introductory offer that delivers serious savings on your first month or year. Its month-long plan is especially attractive, as most other providers charge three or more times the price for the luxury of flexibility.

IPVanish's apps are very configurable, and display a ton of data to the user. We're not sure if this really is 'online security made simple', but if you like to see what your software is doing you'll be glad to have it. It's also not the most modern when compared to, say ExpressVPN or Surfshark, but it functions very well.

Hotspot Shield - best vpn

(Image credit: Future)

5. Hotspot Shield

Incredibly fast, and reliable too

Number of servers: 1,800+ | Server locations: 80+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5

Incredibly fast
Intuitive to use
Offers fully featured free version
Some minor logging issues

Hotspot Shield is another of the market's top offerings, coming with all the necessities at a competitive price, packaged with class-leading speeds. And that's Hotspot's real selling point.

Thanks to its in-house Catapult Hydra protocol, Hotspot Shield can outperform just about any VPN we've tested in terms of sheer speed.

However, those seeking ultimate security may want to check out its privacy policy, as it logs more 'non-identifying' data that its rivals. We're confident this isn't a danger to users, but if you want maximum protection we'd recommend ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

We’d also like to see more freedom for configurations, but with such high speeds and competitive prices, there’s very little room to feel unsatisfied. And, at the end of the day, there is a fully free version so you can test it yourself without cost.

CyberGhost best VPN

(Image credit: Future)

6. CyberGhost

Rich clients and awesome configurability

Number of servers: 6,700+ | Server locations: 110+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 7

Advanced features
Tons of servers
Supports torrents
Doesn't work for all streaming service
Interface isn't perfect

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. CyberGhost also offers dedicated servers for different purposes like torrenting and streaming, although in our testing not every streaming server actually delivered.

In terms of price, though, CyberGhost is very impressive, and it also boasts a 45-day money-back guarantee that blows the competition out of the water.

TunnelBear VPN

7. TunnelBear

Easy to use VPN

Number of servers: 1,000+ | Server locations: 20+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5

Great user experience
Plenty of clients to choose from
Solid privacy policy
Long-distance connections can slow down

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 may be 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 well in our tests, even though long-distance connections seem to drop in speed.

There is a free plan limiting you to a distinctly ungenerous 500MB per month, but paid plans offer unlimited data and are fairly cheap anyway.

Windscribe - best VPN

8. Windscribe

A VPN which gives you unlimited connections

Number of servers: 400+ | Server locations: 100+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited

Unlimited simultaneous connections
Great free plan
Tough privacy policy
Could be speedier

This service offers four native clients – one for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. 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.

With a clear-cut privacy policy and a simple, powerful Windows client, it’s easy to see why Windscribe made it to this list. Performance might disappoint you a bit as we can only describe it as average, but it's able to unblock a good number of streaming services.

VyprVPN best vpn

(Image credit: VyprVPN)

9. VyprVPN

Great choice for those looking for security

Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: 300,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5

High performance
Competitive pricing
Easy to use interface
Monthly plans can be expensive
Apps look dated

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

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in writing various types of content, from blogs, whitepapers, and reviews to ebooks, and many more, across sites including Al Jazeera Balkans, TechRadar Pro, IT Pro Portal, and CryptoNews.