When it comes to protecting your online privacy, you need a virtual private network, or VPN, to make your web activities and transactions anonymous. But several companies are offering VPN services today. Most of them share the same features, while a few have distinct advantages that set them apart from the competition.
With so many great options, choosing the best VPN service is a crucial and game-changing decision in keeping your online activities safe from hackers and online spies.
To help make your decision easier, we have curated a list of the best VPN services, including an overview of their features and subscription plans.
But first things first.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network or VPN is a security app or software that you can download and install on your electronic device. The primary purpose of a VPN is to encrypt all your web traffic by cloaking your actual IP address and replace it with a temporary one.
When you connect to a VPN server, your web data goes through a secure tunnel that online snoops or even your internet service provider (ISP) cannot track or have access to. A VPN service provides complete privacy and anonymity, so you can perform online transactions such as paying bills, purchasing goods and services, streaming content, or accessing geo-blocked websites without having to worry about exposing personal or confidential information from hackers.
How Do You Choose the Right VPN?
In selecting the best VPN, you need to consider a few factors, including:
A VPN’s ability to keep your connection and data secure and private at all times is a crucial factor. This gives you peace of mind that you can freely go to any website you want safely. You need to look into features such as the VPN’s log policy and data encryption technology. The location of the company’s main headquarters may also matter, specifically, if it is in a country under the jurisdiction of surveillance or intelligence-sharing agencies.
When shopping for a VPN service provider, you also need to look at where they have remote servers running. Choose a service that has servers covering areas where you plan on visiting frequently, whether for business or vacation. Some service providers have thousands of servers located in different parts of the world.
Speed is another crucial factor in your buying decision. As much as possible, you would want to get the fastest connection as possible, so you can get the most out of your investment.
Some VPN companies offer a free version of their software, while others don’t. Pricing, discounts, and payment methods also vary from one service provider to another. It is advisable to use the free version (if they have it) or pay every month first, so you can test the VPN features. This way, you can cancel the trial or change subscription plans, whether you are happy with the service or not.
Keep in mind that not all VPN apps run on all types of devices. Check whether the VPN company can support the device you are using. If you use multiple devices, it is also essential to look into the number of simultaneous users VPN companies allow.
Whether it’s your first time using the service or otherwise, you may need to get in touch with their technical or customer support teams for help. Most service providers have customer support representatives working 24/7, which you can contact via chat or call to address your needs.
Top VPN Service Providers on the Market
As we mentioned above, you have hundreds of VPN service providers to choose from. Keep reading below to discover which top 21 VPN companies made our list.
ExpressVPN tops the list among the many VPN companies on the market. It uses groundbreaking TrustedServer technology and runs a private DNS on each of their servers, so your data does not go through any third party. This also means quicker connection speeds as DNS requests stay within an optimized network and do not leave the encrypted tunnel. ExpressVPN uses 256-bit data encryption, and it also ensures there is no DNS blocking, filtering, or hijacking.
Just like other top VPN companies, ExpressVPN has the Kill Switch feature, which disconnects the device from the internet when the connection to the VPN server suddenly drops. ExpressVPN also provides Split Tunneling, a feature that allows you to select which device or website are routed to the VPN server or the internet. In terms of data privacy, ExpressVPN implements a strict no-logging policy. It does not log information such as IP address, browsing history, traffic destination, metadata, and DNS queries.
ExpressVPN is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and routers. Chrome, Firefox, and Edge extensions are also available. You can connect up to five devices simultaneously, with unlimited bandwidth.
ExpressVPN has 160 server locations in 94 countries. Its customer support team is available 24/7 via live chat.
You can get their service by choosing one of three plans, with the lowest plan at a discounted rate of $6.67 per month for 15 months. All their subscription plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN is one of the most trusted brands, both by consumer and tech experts, with over 14 million subscribers. It uses AES256 encryption, and all DNS queries remain within a secure tunnel. It also uses double encryption technology or VPN chaining that allows you to change your IP address twice and hide all your web activities behind two IP addresses.
One of the unique features that NordVPN has is that its Kill Switch comes in two versions. One version lets you assign which applications are blocked when the VPN server connection drops, while the second version activates a system-wide network lock.
NordVPN does not collect logs, and the company’s no-logs policy is audited and reported by Pricewaterhouse AG, Zurich, Switzerland.
NordVPN runs on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and AndroidTV, and it also has proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Its round-the-clock customer support team may be reached via email and live chat.
With over 5,000 P2P-optimized servers in 56 countries, you can enjoy fast connection speeds for up to 6 devices at a time. You can also choose to connect your device either to a regular server or a specialty server. You can also connect to an Obfuscated Server, which bypasses network firewalls.
NordVPN provides a 30-day money-back guarantee on their subscription plans. Its monthly plan costs $11.95. Nord VPN also offers 1-year and 2-year plans.
Surfshark is relatively new on the market, being established in 2018. However, it continues to grow in popularity both because of the features of its VPN service and its affordable subscription plans, which start at $12.95 monthly. Surfshark also offers a 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee on all their paid plans.
Its VPN servers by AES-256-GCM encryption for protection and has several protocol options, including IKEv2, OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, and Wireguard®. It offers the Whitelister feature, also known as Split Tunneling, a feature that lets you choose the websites that go through the VPN tunnel and directly to the internet. Surfshark’s Adblock VPN with CleanWeb blocks pop-up ads, preventing malware and adware from invading your browser.
Surfshark also does not record and store its subscribers’ logs like timestamps, browsing history, or bandwidth usage. Once you disconnect from the VPN, the RAM-only server wipes out all information from the server. Similar to most VPN services, Surfshark also has a Kill Switch and server obfuscation features.
You can download Surfshark VPN on any Android, iOS, or macOS device, and what’s unique to its service is that you can use the VPN service on as many devices as you like simultaneously. Surfshark has over 1,700 servers located in 63 countries worldwide.
CyberGhost is a VPN service provider owned by Kape Technologies, a well-known distributor of digital products. It has one of the biggest server networks in the industry, having over 6,800 NoSpy servers in 90 countries. A strong advocate of online privacy and supporter of internet freedom, CyberGhost does not collect subscriber logs and is not part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances.
Your data is protected with military-grade 256-AES encryption and protocol options of IKEv2, OpenVPN, Wireguard®, and L2TP. Its servers also provide Kill Switch, DNS, and IP leak protection to keep all your web activities secure.
CyberGhost offers three different subscription plans. Its monthly plan comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee and costs $12.99 a month. You can also opt for its 2-year or 3-year subscription, and both come with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Once you become a subscriber, you can connect up to seven gadgets at a time. Its service runs on Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux and Xbox, PS4 devices, and many more. If you need assistance or encounter any issues with its VPN service, you can inquire or contact its support team via email or live chat.
Singapore-based Ivacy VPN is the very first VPN that introduced Split Tunneling. For 2019, ProPrivacy awarded Ivacy VPN the Best VPN for Speed award. IvacyVPN also emerged as a runner-up for Best Value and Best Overall VPN.
While Ivacy VPN does not have a free version, you can opt for a 7-day trial at only $0.99 to test its service. If you want to subscribe to a longer plan, you can get the monthly subscription for $3.99 or the annual subscription for $47.99.
Ivacy VPN uses 256-bit encryption, IPv6 Leak Protection, Kill Switch, and secure DNS for data protection. It has multiple protocol options, including TCP, UDP, L2TP, and IKEV. You can download data while connected to the VPN, knowing all your activities are secured from malware and scans by state-of-the-art threat detection technology and DDoS protection.
Its VPN service is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and many more. Chrome and Firefox extensions are also available. You can connect up to five devices at the same time.
IPVanish VPN belongs to the Highwinds Network Group, a global provider of IP services and Content Delivery Network (CDN). IPVanish VPN lets you choose among three paid subscription plans, the lowest of which is at $5.00 per month. All its paid plans come with a 45-day risk-free money-back guarantee.
For data encryption, it has 256-AES CBC/GCM and uses Open VPN UDP as the default protocol. Other protocol options include Open VPN TCP, IKEv2, SSTP, PPTP, IPSec, and L2TP. Just like most VPN companies, IPVanish VPN comes with Split Tunneling and Kill Switch features. IPVanish VPN shows that it has a zero-logs policy, however, note that its headquarters is in Florida, USA, which is a member of the 5 Eyes Surveillance Alliance.
With over 1,300 servers in 60 countries, you can enjoy unbuffered streaming and fast connectivity. You can use up to 10 devices simultaneously with one license. Its VPN service runs on Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and Mac, and you can also set it up on Ubuntu, Chromebook, and routers.
IPVanish VPN has a highly responsive customer support team that you can reach by phone, email, or 24/7 live chat.
Private Internet Access (PIA) was acquired by Kape Technologies, the company that also runs CyberGhost VPN. It doesn’t offer a free version, but you can choose from its monthly ($11.95), annual ($39.95), or 3-year ($79.00) subscription, which all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you subscribe to the 3-year plan, you also receive a Boxcryptor Cloud Security License.
PIA uses OpenVPN and Wireguard® and offers PPTP, IPSec/L2TP, and SOCKS5 as protocol options. It uses AES-256 and AES-128 for data encryption and SHA1 or SHA256 for data authentication. As an additional layer of protection, PIA also uses Kill Switch and Handshake Encryption to safeguard data from trackers, malware, or pop-up ads. PIA does not keep logs of its user’s activity. Even if the company may be legally required by the government or other authorized agencies to submit data, they cannot provide any information.
PIA’s over 3,000 servers are accessible in 76 countries. Its servers are compatible with plenty of devices, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Debian 9+, Mint18+, and many others. You can connect up to 10 devices at a time. You can contact its support team 24/7 via chat or email.
Pango-owned Hotspot Shield (HSS) VPN offers a free version of its VPN service. This free version lets you connect one device to the VPN server, but you can only enjoy limited features such as 2 Mbps connection speed, limited streaming access, and a 500 MB data limit.
If you want access to more features, you can get the Premium versions, which come with a 45-day money-back guarantee. The premium versions let you use at least five and up to 25 devices, depending on the plan you will get. They also include advanced features such as Smart VPN and Malware Protection, and Security Suite features such as Identity Guard, Password Management, and Spam Call Blocking.
HSS VPN uses Hydra protocol, which is like open SSL, for data protection. To ensure data security, HSS VPN also uses AES-256 for data encryption and DNS leak protection. Its network of servers includes over 1,800 ultra-fast servers that are accessible in 80 countries, including China.
Similar to most VPN companies, HSS VPN also has 24/7 chat support. You can also send requests or inquiries through email or online ticketed form.
Canada-based Windscribe VPN focuses on providing VPN services, but it also offers software solutions that block ads, malware, and phishing. For light internet users, they have a free version that allows usage of 10 Gb per month and access to 10 server locations. Paid subscription plans, costing $9.00 per month and $49.00 per year, are also available. You can also customize your plan and pay for only the service locations you need. Add-ons, such as Static IP and Team Accounts, may also accompany the paid plans for a minimal fee.
Windscribe VPN uses powerful double encryption, AES-256 AES-256 cipher with SHA512 authentication, and a 4096-bit RSA key if you’re using a desktop. For browser extensions, it uses TLS 1.2, ECDHE_RSA with P-256 key exchange, and AES_128_GCM cipher. Protocol options include IKEv2, OpenVPN, WireGuard®, and SOCKS5. Windscribe VPN also offers DNS/IPv6 leak protection, Kill Switch, and Split Tunneling features.
Windscribe VPN also has a strict no-logging policy. However, it stores information such as the date when you last connected to the server and your bandwidth use, which they keep for 30 days.
One of the unique features that Windscribe VPN provides is R.O.B.E.R.T, a domain and IP-blocking tool that not only reduces tracking activities and blocks ads, but also saves data limit usage and improves browsing speeds. Windscribe VPN also offers ScribeForce, which is a team account for business.
Windscribe VPN has more than 500 servers in 63 locations. The app runs on Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, and iOS, and Chrome, Opera, and Firefox browser extensions. Requests and inquiries may be coursed via email, live chat, or ticketed form.
TunnelBear VPN is a member of the McAfee group, a global leader in providing anti-virus software and solutions. It offers a trial version that allows 500 Mb of secure browsing. After trying the free version, you can opt for one of their paid subscription plans. The monthly subscription costs as low as $9.99 per month, while the 1-year plan costs $59.88 and the 3-year plan costs $120.00. All three plans come with unlimited secure browsing, five connected devices, and priority customer service.
TunnelBear VPN also offers team accounts for at least three users, which start at $5.75 per month. You can try this service for free for seven days, and it includes unlimited secure browsing, five connected devices per user, a dedicated account manager, and centralized billing and management.
As default encryption, TunnelBear VPN uses AES256-bit. It uses Open VPN for Android, macOS, and Windows devices, while for iPhone app, Windows, and macOS clients, it uses IKEv2. TunnelBear refers to the Kill Switch feature as VigilantBear, which currently runs on Windows, macOS, and Android devices running on Lollipop 5.0 or later versions.
TunnelBear VPN has a no-logs policy, but since it is based in Canada, it is under 5 Eyes Alliance jurisdiction and may be legally required to share information.
TunnelBear VPN has one of the largest networks of servers, having over 4,000 servers in 23 countries. It also has 24/7 chat support, but you can also send requests and queries through email or by accomplishing its online form.
ProtonVPN is a VPN service developed at CERN by scientists, engineers, and software developers. It started as a crowdfunded project aiming to protect journalists who use ProtonMail.
ProtonVPN offers a free trial that provides connectivity for one device, access to three server locations, medium speed connectivity, and no logs/no ads. If you one to use more features, you can choose among three paid subscriptions, the Basic Plan ($48.00), the Plus Plan ($96.00), and the Visionary Plan ($288.00). All three plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The Secure Core architecture of Proton VPN’s service ensures security, protecting your data from network-based attacks because it goes through multiple servers before leaving the network. Proton VPN’s are under tight security. For example, its infrastructure in Switzerland is housed in a former army fallout shelter a thousand meters below the ground surface. For data encryption, ProtonVPN uses AES-256, while it uses 4096-bit RSA for key exchange and HMAC with SHA384 for message authentication. IKEv2/IPSec and Open VPN are protocol options. ProtonVPN implements a no-logs policy for all subscribers, even if you use the free version.
Additional security features include DNS Leak Protection, Kill Switch, Always-On VPN, and Perfect Forward Secrecy, which prevents encrypted web traffic from being decrypted if your subsequent log-in gets compromised. ProtonVPN also allows access to dark web or onion sites via the Tor anonymity network.
You can connect up to 5 or 10 devices at a time, depending on the plan you have. The app supports Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux devices, as well as routers. ProtonVPN is accessible in 54 countries, with over 1,000 servers that have a minimum of 1 Gbps bandwidth and 10 Gbps connection. It also provides customer support via online ticketed requests.
Swiss-based VyprVPN is operated by Golden Frog GmBH. It offers three paid subscription plans, all of which come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Plans cost $12.95 per month, $155.40 for the annual plan, and $466.20 for the 36-month subscription. One license allows up to five simultaneous connections. The app can run on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, QNAP, Blackphone, Anonabox, and TV and routers.
VyprVPN uses a self-developed OpenVPN protocol called Chameleon Protocol. It uses 256-bit data encryption that prevents DPI, VPN blocking, and ISP throttling. However, it also offers other protocol options, including WireGuard®, IPSec, and Open VPN. VyprVPN also has a Kill Switch feature.
Other proprietary features of VyprVPN are:
- NAT firewall – This is a default feature that requires no configuration. It blocks unrequested web traffic, preventing hackers from installing trackers and spyware. This is a default feature that requires no configuration. It blocks unrequested web traffic, preventing hackers from installing trackers and spyware.
- VyprDNS™ – This is also a default feature that prevents DNS filtering and man-in-the-middle attacks.
- VyprVPN Cloud – This feature provides a dedicated IP and server, seamless connection, and secure access points for businesses. It supports DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services, and Virtual Box. Businesses can try this feature for free for seven days.
Like some VPN companies, VyprVPN has a strict no-logs policy audited and verified by a third-party.
VyprVPN has over 200,000 IP addresses, and 700 servers in 70 locations around the world. It also provides dynamic server switching that avoids VPN overload or server unavailability.
If you need to get in touch with the customer support team, you can reach a customer service specialist via 24/7 live chat, forum, or email. You can also browse its Help Center, which is available in multiple languages.
StrongVPN started way back in 1994, as a PC-selling company, before turning into a dial-up internet service provider. Years later, it began offering colocation services and dedicated servers. It launched its VPN service in 2005. The company is based in Florida, USA, which is under 5/9/14 Eyes jurisdiction.
StrongVPN provides a 30-day money-back guarantee and 250 GB of SugarSync® Secure Storage on both its paid subscription plans. The monthly plan costs $10.00, while the annual plan costs $69.99. It also offers Team plans, in collaboration with Encrypt.me, for businesses and teams with at least two members. This service costs $7.99 per user per month. However, the cost may be lower if there are more team members.
For data encryption, StrongVPN uses 256-bit AES. It offers Wireguard®, IKEv2, OpenVPN, IPSec, and SSTP as protocol options. Similar to other VPN companies, other security features that StrongVPN provides includes Kill Switch, access to geo-blocked sites, and fast connection speeds.
StrongVPN claims not to keep logs, and only collects information used for account creation, such as your name, payment mode, and email address.
StrongVPN supports macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, FireTV, Linux, and more. With one subscription, you can connect up to 12 devices at a time. Its servers are located in over 30 countries, including China and Turkey. StrongVPN also has a 24/7 support center you reach through email or live chat.
Thunder VPN is a service developed by Signal Lab, the same developer as Secure VPN. This free-forever VPN service is downloadable via Google Play. However, it also offers paid VIP plans starting at $5.99 per week. The VIP plans feature no ads, faster connection, and worldwide server location.
The Thunder VPN app is compatible with Android 5.0 devices with Wi-Fi, LTE/4G, 3G, and all mobile data carriers. It provides unlimited bandwidth for free, which is a plus because other VPN companies offer this feature at a cost.
Another factor that others might consider a downside is that Thunder VPN is only accessible via Google Mail, should there be inquiries about its services.
Avast SecureLine VPN belongs to the many services provided by leading anti-virus company Avast. It offers a seven-day free trial that doesn’t require account creation or credit card information. If you want to continue using its VPN service, you can choose to subscribe to its paid plan. Avast SecureLine servers are accessible in over 30 countries, including Russia, China, and Turkey.
Unlike most VPN companies that offer monthly and annual subscriptions, Avast’s pricing is based on the number of devices you wish to connect to its servers. Cost is as low as $2.99 per month for one device and $3.99 for five devices. The VPN service is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. It also runs on and Android TV devices, Nvidia Shield TV, and Mi Box.
SurfEasy VPN is a Canadian-based VPN once owned by Opera Software and purchased by Norton Life in 2017. It offers a monthly subscription plan at $5.99, while its annual subscription plan costs $29.88. Both subscription plans come with a 14-day money-back guarantee, no data limit, ad-tracker blocking, torrent compatibility, region selection, and dedicated customer support.
SurfEasy is an open VPN and uses AES-256 as the default for data encryption. It has over 2,000 ultra-fast servers in 31 countries and claims to maintain 99.9% uptime.
It supports multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOs, and Android. It also offers Opera and Chrome extensions. You can connect up to 5 devices at a time.
If you have any issues with their service, you can contact its customer support via phone, email, or chat. But take note that its website indicates that its chat support is available seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm EST.
Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client is a VPN service offered by Cisco Systems, one of the leaders in providing internet solutions in the world. This VPN service is suitable for organizations of any size and remote workers needing data protection. It is used by organizations such as Boston University.
It has a free version that you can try for 30-days. If you want to continue using the VPN service, you can choose between term (1, 3, and 5 years) and perpetual licenses.
AnyConnect runs on Android and iOS devices. Some of its features include:
- Cisco Identity Service Engine (CISE) – prevents non-compliant devices from accessing the network
- Multi-factor Authentication – used in verifying used identities
- Umbrella Roaming – a cloud-delivered security service that protects users even when they are off the VPN
Next VPN is a VPN app developed by VPN makers. It supports Android 4.1 or higher devices. Next VPN may also be downloaded for Windows and Mac using an Android emulator.
This app uses multiple protocols including Cisco OpenConnect, OpenVPN, and sslVPN for VPN-based protocols. For proxy-based protocols, Tunnel+ and sslProxy are the option protocols. It also includes UDP and TCP. For data encryption, Next VPN uses 256-bit encryption.
Hi VPN is a free VPN app that can be downloaded on your PC, Windows, Mac, and IOS device. It works with all mobile cellular data carriers and on Wi-Fi, LTE, 4G, and 3G devices. It requires no registration or log-in.
Using Hi VPN lets you experience smooth and high-speed connections as it has tens of thousands of servers all around the globe, including countries like the US, the UK, Brazil, India, Japan, and Singapore. For extra security, Hi VPN also does not collect logs or track your network access.
3 Monkey VPN is a VPN service provider based in Switzerland. It offers a free trial option but you can also get the yearly plan that you can pay for only $7.07 per month.
It uses OpenVPN and has over 300 servers in 20 countries. You may think twice about using this app as it has no Kill Switch feature, and it does not have its own DNS server. Little is known about its logging policies, but it does store information such as IP address, timestamps, and bandwidth consumption.
StarVPN is the largest residential VPN service provider in the world. It offers a free version that includes features such as 1,000 Mb data limit, access to worldwide locations, no speed restrictions, Smart Streamer (Unblocker), and Country/Region updater. You can also upgrade to a paid subscription if you want to get the benefits of other features such as unlimited bandwidth, multiple device connections, and more.
All their VPN plans include the following features:
- Choose DNS Server Location
- Select TCP or UDP connections to the server
- Smart Streamer to unblock geo-restricted sites
- BitTorrent Servers for safe and secure downloads
- Connect on Start based on last VPN configuration
- IPv6 and DNS Leak Protection
- Kill Switch
- WebRTC Protection from 3rd party API detectors
StarVPN runs on multiple devices including Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, Android, and through FoxyProxy.
Why Get a VPN?
While the primary advantage of using a VPN is to protect your online privacy and security, it also offers many other benefits. A VPN lets you connect to a public Wi-Fi safely, access geo-blocked websites, stream your favorite content at lightning-fast speeds regardless of your location, and share files without the risk of data being stolen.
With the companies offering the best VPN service now at your fingertips, you can choose which one will suit your budget and needs.