Picking a VPN service is a daunting task. With 300+ VPN providers out there, choosing the right one means striking the right balance between services, ease of use and obviously – pricing.
Those looking for a solid VPN service will obviously first do their due diligence to find the best match. If that’s you – you’ve come to the right place. Why, you might ask?
Because we took the time to review close to a hundred VPN services out there. Some were amazing, other not so much. What matters to you is that in this article, you will find the best VPNs out there, and we’ve sorted them out in different categories.
What’s also important for you to know is that this article gets updated frequently with new information, so you can be sure that whenever you stumble upon this piece – it’s valid.
We’ve listed prices in US Dollars as most VPN services are global and they charge in that currency. Some will, however, display the price in your home currency.
So let's get down to it.
- This guide was originally published on Techradar under the title the best VPN services of 2018
The best offshore VPN for privacy and unblocking
Number of servers: 1800+ | Server locations: 145 | IP addresses: 30,000 | Maximum devices supported: 3
First on the list is ExpressVPN and well-deserved position, at that. Its biggest selling points are great speeds on our tests, as well as solid customer support. With 145 locations in 90+ countries, paired with plenty of clients, it’s among 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 fireware 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.
The chocolate sprinkles on top of this cake comes in the form of P2P support, a kill switch and generally good performance. The only negative here is the fact that it only supports three connections at the same time, 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:
Great for P2P and torrenting
Number of servers: 950+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: 40000+ | Maximum devices supported: 5
For IPVanish, its key selling point is the quality of service. It's not the cheapest product out there, but with this service you get what you pay for. The company claims to offer “the world’s fastest VPN”, with more than 40,000 shared IPs, almost a thousand VPN servers spread across 60 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 contester with awesome 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).
If quality is what you seek, consider this service. Worst case scenario – you can get your money back after the first seven days.
Best choice for those looking for security
Number of servers: 700+ | Server locations: 73 | IP addresses: 200,000+ | Maximum devices supported: 3-5
The best thing about VyprVPN is the unlimited data usage offering. Another great thing about this service is that it’s 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 killswitch.
VyprDNS for extra security, as well as the Chameleon protocol should also be mentioned as a significant bonus.
Clients are very intuitive, especially the Windows one.
There are no refunds, but there is a three-day trial. When it comes to subscribing, you can choose either a monthly or an annual plan, be it either Basic or Premium.
Here is what it offers:
Security is its middle name
Number of servers: 2029 | Server locations: 61 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
One would expect such a powerful solution to be located in one of the world’s largest tech hubs, either the Silicon Valley, London or Tel Aviv, but it turns out – NordVPN is located in Central America. Still, this hasn’t stopped it from being among the best, if not the best service out there.
Its key advantages are a large pool of servers (2,000), and more than 60 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.
There are three different packs to choose from, although the one-year deal seems the best one. Here is what’s on offer:
Easiest to use VPN
Number of servers: ~1,000 | Server locations: 20+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
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 read all the tiny details. They might also not enjoy the fact that they won't have access to all the nuts and bolts of the clients. So if you're a beginner – this one is for you. The rest of you might want to look elsewhere.
Going don to the nitty-gritty, 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 (fairly common, to be fair).
There is a free plan limiting you to 500MB per month. Paid plans offer unlimited data and are fairly cheap.
A VPN which gives you unlimited connections
Number of servers: 348 | Server locations: 50 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
This service offers four native clients – one for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Be advised that the Android one is still considered freshly out of the oven and could be a bit unstable, so proceed at your own risk. There are also solidly built browser add-ons.
The VPN’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.
Still, it offers a free plan with 10GB monthly data (albeit for one device only).
The Pro plan offers unlimited data, and can be bought either as a monthly or a yearly plan, with the yearly one obviously being a bit cheaper.
Awesome solution for online browsing
Number of servers: 2000 | Server locations: 20 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
Even at first glance it’s easy to see why Hotspot Shield Elite is considered an awesome solution. It comes with all the necessities, offers a competitive price and spices it all up with 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 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, and more locations. 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 seven-day trial for everyone to see for themselves.
Just as with other VPN services, the one-year subscription is the best overall offer, unless you want the lifetime pack. Be advised that there’s been some talk over the free version redirecting traffic to sites like online ad firms. Still, the provider denied the accusations and the Center for Democracy & Technology kept them at the free version.
The jack of all trades VPN
Number of servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
If you want a VPN service that will not affect your download speeds, consider KeepSolid. It offers a wide variety of clients, covering Windows, mac, iOS, Android, Linux as well as Windows 10 Mobile. Other devices can be set up, too, as the service offers clear instructions for other users.
KeepSolid does not support torrents, so file sharers might want to look elsewhere.
Things could be a bit better in terms of privacy, though. Our testing has shown that the service does some session logging, and there have been a few DNS leaks.
Those interested in giving it a shot will be pleased to see a seven-day trial and a seven-day money back guarantee. There are also three different price plans, with the annual one being quite competitive. Here’s what it offers:
Rich clients and awesome configurability
Number of servers: 1109 | Server locations: 44 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
With multiple clients, rich with different features, it’s no wonder this VPN service handles more than 10 million users. It 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. Nothing too fancy, but you’ll probably be satisfied.
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 30-day money-back guarantee.
The service offers four different plans:
· Bi-yearly plan (Best buy, 2.37 Euros / month, saves you 74 per cent) - 69.90 Euros
· Yearly plan (4.99 Euros / month, saves you 50 per cent) - 59.88 Euros
· Six-month plan (7.99 Euros / month, saves you 33 per cent) - 47.94 Euros
· Monthly plan - 10.99 Euros / month
Number of servers: N/A | Server locations: 30+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: N/A
Similar to TunnelBear, ZenMate tries to cater to the newbies in the VPN world. The website is stripped clean of technicalities and tries to be as simple in its language as possible.
This idea has been transferred to the software as well, with the Windows client being extremely simple to use and very streamlined. There really isn’t much to it – just a few clicks and you’re done. Setup is also easy, which is always a plus.
Yet, as with all things that cater to newbies, advanced users probably won’t find anything to their liking here. A lack of controls (you can’t choose security protocols – just L2TP) is a major turn-off for expert users.
However, if you’re not in the expert realm, this VPN service will probably be great for you. There is a 14-day money-back guarantee, and a free offering through browser add-ons. Be advised – these are a bit slower than their commercial counterparts.
And those commercial plans are:
Image Credit: Flickr / Mike MacKenzie