Best VPN Service for 2024 – Top VPNs Tested & Compared by Experts

Having a reliable VPN service in this digital age is crucial. A VPN secures all your online activities, making it much more difficult for hackers, advertisers, and third parties to access your personal data. In addition to security, the best VPN will help you get around geo-restrictions and unblock content on your favorite streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, no matter where you are.

To present our readers with informative and realistic recommendations, we have tested over 20 of the most popular VPN providers on the market. After analyzing security features, performance, and pricing, we have shortlisted the best VPNs in 2024.

ExpressVPN
Editors' Choice
Surfshark
NordVPN

The Best VPNs At a Glance

  1. Surfshark –  Overall best VPN due to its superb pricing, excellent speeds, modern UI, and streaming quality
  2. ExpressVPN – Ideal VPN for torrenting because of its vast P2P server network and fast connection speeds
  3. NordVPN – Feature-rich service that’s ideal for privacy-conscious and advanced VPN users
  4. CyberGhost – Reliable VPN with exceptional encryption and an audited no-logs policy
  5. PureVPN – Reliable gaming VPN that lets you play region-locked games and prevent ISP throttling
  6. IvacyVPN – VPN for smooth streaming and geo-restriction bypassing
  7. TotalAV – Secure VPN service complemented by an antivirus and online protection features
  8. PrivadoVPN – Robust ad and third-party trackers blocking capabilities and parental controls
  9. IPVanish – Speedy VPN for iPhone and iPad users with a user-friendly interface

Reviews of the Best VPNs for Complete Online Security

With so many options, picking the best VPN service can take time and effort. After analyzing hundreds of virtual private networks, we’ve selected a shortlist that excel in security, speed, pricing, server pool size, and user-friendly policies. Read on and find the most suitable VPN for you.

1. Surfshark – The Overall Best VPN


Best For Overall
Server Network 3,200+ servers in 100+ countries
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
Max Devices Unlimited
Price Starting from $1.99/month

Surfshark is the overall best VPN on the market, offering an excellent mix of features, budget-friendly pricing, and support for unlimited devices, making it an ideal choice for families and friend groups.

Security and Privacy

To ensure top-level security, Surfshark uses highly secure AES-256 encryption and a speedy WireGuard tunneling protocol. The service operates on RAM-only servers and has a strict no-log policy that has been independently audited by Deloitte. The third party has consistently confirmed that no user data is being stored.

Additionally, Surfshark has numerous other features to enhance your online security. Providers CleanWeb tool allows secure ad and malware-free web search for more private browsing. The alternative ID feature enables you to create and use an alternative email and persona online. NoBorder mode supports internet access around the globe, even where VPN use is limited or restricted. And Nexus technology automatically rotates your IP address in the chosen VPN country.

Features

Alongside the security features, Surfshark also includes a reliable kill switch that, during our testing, successfully stopped our internet connection when the VPN went down. Another notable Surfshark feature is Camouflage, which makes it seem like you’re not using a VPN. You also get features like split tunneling, P2P-friendly servers for torrenting, a MultiHop – a double VPN connection for added security, and GPS spoofing on Android.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

Surfshark offers 3,200+ servers in over 100 countries worldwide. Such a large server fleet enables users to access content from anywhere.

During our testing, we’ve tried streaming content on the most popular platforms, like Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and more. After testing numerous locations, like the US, Europe, Australia, and Japan, we have not encountered any difficulties and were left pleasantly surprised.

Performance

During our latest tests performed in January 2024, Surfshark has demonstrated very consistent performance. When using the WireGuard protocol, on average, the provider managed to retain 73.43% of the original dowload and 79.82% of the upload speed. This makes Surfshark one of the fastest VPNs on the market.

Pricing

Surfshark is one of the most affordable premium VPN services on the market, offering three different plans. Regardless of which plan and billing term you choose, each subscription you to secure an unlimited number of devices.

Plan Starter One One+
1 month $10.99/month $14.99/month $21.99/month
1 year $3.49/month $4.09/month $6.49/month
2 years +4 free months $1.99/month $2.69/month $3.99/month
  • Surfshark Starter – The starter pack comes with a VPN, adblocker, and an alternative ID.
  • Surfshark One – In addition to the Starter pack, the plan also includes antivirus, data breach alerts, and CleanWeb.
  • Surfshark One+ – Featurewise, you get everything from Surfshark One, plus Incogni data removal service Incogni.

It’s important to note that once the billing term ends, prices will go back to the standard monthly rate. However, if the service is not quite what you’ve expected, Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full Surfshark review.

Pros

  • Excellent speed results
  • Extensive package of security features
  • RAM-only servers
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections

Cons

  • No free plan
  • Belongs to the 14 Eyes Alliance (Netherlands)

2. ExpressVPN – The Best VPN for Gaming


Best For Gaming
Server Network 3,000+ servers in 105+ countries
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
Max Devices 8
Price Starting from $6.67/month

ExpressVPN is one of the biggest names in the industry. And for good reason. The provider offers reliable security features like a kill switch and guarantees online privacy with its strong no-log policy. This and many additional features have helped the provider land on our best VPN list.

Security and Privacy

While WireGuard is a popular protocol option, ExpressVPN uses an in-house-developed alternative, Lightway. The protocol uses the market-standard AES-256 encryption and is just as fast as its counterpart.

Furthermore, just like Surfshark and NordVPN, ExpressVPN also has an independently audited no-log policy. PwC and Cure53, third-party audit firms, have confirmed ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology, which runs on RAM-only servers, does not collect user data.

The only skeleton in the closet here is that ExpressVPN is owned by Kape Technologies, a company known for previously creating malicious adware. However, it seems that currently the company is heavily focused on cybersecurity and has left its sketchy activities in the past.

Features

ExpressVPN has many security features that help to keep users’ online activities secure. You can expect to find a reliable kill switch (Express calls it Network Lock) that has successfully passed our testing. There’s also split tunneling, pre-installed Keys (password manager), and a Threat Manager that helps block trackers and malicious sites.

More so, the provider has its own router applet and MediaStreamer feature that enable you to stream content on devices that aren’t typically compatible with a VPN. While these functions aren’t vital, they do add to your convenience.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

ExpressVPN comes with more than 3,000 servers in 105 countries all over the world. While some competitors, like NordVPN, offer a larger server fleet (6,000+ servers), ExpressVPN covers more countries (105, compared to 61 with NordVPN).

To test providers’ geo-unblocking capabilities, we tried accessing different content on the most popular streaming platforms. like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and more. Throughout the testing, we have not encountered any issues and managed to access different streaming libraries in the US, the UK, Australia, and more.

Performance

In January 2024, we put ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol to the test. And I must admit, the results weren’t very impressive. On average, the provider kept only 49.91% of the original download and 52.55% upload broadband speed. What made these results fairly conflicting was that the provider retained over 75% speed in some locations, while in others, the number dropped to just 36% at times.

Pricing

Similarly to Surfshark, ExpressVPN offers additional months free of charge when you subscribe to its long-term subscription plan at $6.67, or you can try it for 1 month for $12.95. Yet, unlike Surfshark, which comes with unlimited connections, ExpressVPN caps simultaneous connections at eight devices.

Plan Standard
1 month $12.95/month
6 months $9.99/month
12 months +3 months free $6.67/month

Be mindful that these rates are available for the initial VPN service purchase, and after the renewal, prices will go back to a standard monthly rate.

So if you want to test the provider risk-free, it offers a 7-day free trial for Android and iOS mobile devices only. Plus, there’s a standard 30-day money-back guarantee in place.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • Audited no-logs policy
  • Strong geo-bypassing capabilities
  • No IP leaks were detected
  • Free password manager and threat manager

Cons

  • Free trial available just on mobile devices
  • Eight devices cap
  • Owned by Kape Technologies

3. NordVPN – The Best VPN for Privacy


Best For Privacy
Server Network 6,000+ servers in 60+ countries
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
Max Devices 6
Price Starting from $3.99/month

NordVPN remains a solid choice among countless VPN users. The provider is highly security-oriented, offering many additional tools like dark web monitoring, threat protection, dedicated IP servers, and more to guarantee top-notch online security.

Security and Privacy

The provider uses NordLynx, an in-house-developed protocol built on the backbone of WireGuard. Additionally, the provider uses RAM-only servers and AES-256 and ChaCha20 (with NordLynx) encryption. To prove its commitment to its users’ safety, NordVPN has an independently audited no-log policy in place.

Other notable features include a Dark Web Monitoring tool, which scans the internet for any personal information leaks. Provider’s Threat Protection provides real-time protection against malware, ads, and more. Plus, a fully functional (yes, we did test it!) kill switch is in place.

Features

In addition to its Threat Protection and Dark Web features, NordVPN also offers a functional kill switch that worked perfectly for us. Plus, you can choose from many kinds of servers, like P2P (great for torrenting), double VPN (for added security), obfuscated (to hide the fact you’re using a VPN), and dedicated IP (for a dedicated connection).

However, one exclusive feature stands out the most. NordVPN includes Meshnet, a virtual network that lets numerous remote devices connect and communicate with each other from anywhere in the world. Simply put, it allows users to access files on each other’s devices.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

NordVPN comes with a very large server fleet of 6,000+ servers worldwide. Said servers are located in 61 countries and are mainly owned by NordVPN, making them that much more secure.

The VPN offers obfuscated servers, making it seem that you’re not using a VPN at all. This helps in connecting to streaming platforms like Netflix, which may be limiting VPN use. Additionally, due to Smart DNS technology, it is possible to enjoy geo-unblocked content on devices that typically don’t support VPN apps.

Performance

NordVPN boasts about being blazing fast, so we put that claim to the test. We performed extensive speed testing in January 2024 using the NordLynx protocol. During our testing, we registered a stable 5-10% drop in speed in the nearby locations. Servers located further away saw a bigger drop of up to 20%. However, on average, NordVPN retained 73.37% of the original download and 73.39% of the upload speed. Overall, NordVPN proved to be the fastest VPN that we have tested.

Pricing

Just like Surfshark, NordVPN also offers three different tiers and multiple billing periods. While each tier offers additional features, the number of simultaneous connections remains the same, allowing you to secure up to six devices.

Plan Standard Plus Ultimate
1 month $12.99/month $13.99/month $15.99/month
1 year $4.99/month $5.99/month $7.99/month
2 year $3.99/month $4.99/month $6.99/month
  • Standard – This plan comes with an ad blocker and malware protection.
  • Plus – This option includes everything in the Standard plan, plus a password manager and data breach planner.
  • Ultimate – Includes everything in the Plus plan, alongside 1TB of file storage and NordLocker file encryption.

Unlike ExpressVPN or Surfshark, NordVPN doesn’t include any additional months for free. However, just like with the other two, you’ll be able to make use of its 30-day money-back guarantee if needed.

Read our full NordVPN review.

Pros

  • Extensive security features
  • Excellent connection speeds
  • RAM-only servers
  • Diverse server locations

Cons

  • No free plan
  • Servers in 60 countries
  • Protects only six devices per subscription

4. CyberGhost – The Best VPN for Encryption


Best For Encryption
Server Network 11,000+ servers in 100+ countries
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
Max Devices 7
Price Starting from $2.19/month

CyberGhost is a decent choice if you’re looking for a reliable VPN that secures your data and offers just enough features for daily use.

Security and Privacy

Just like our top 3 VPN providers, CyberGhost also uses military-grade AES-256 encryption and provides users with multiple protocol options, including WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. In addition, its no-log policy passed an independent audit, confirming that the VPN is not collecting any user data.

Additionally, the provider uses RAM-only NoSpy servers that are fully managed by CyberGhost and are regularly wiped of any user data. However, be mindful, that just like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost is also owned by Kape Technology.

Features

CyberGhost offers quite a few security features, like an automatic kill switch, which we have tested and faced no issues with, an adblocker, and a dedicated IP. Additionally, this VPN has many types of servers to offer, so users looking to torrent, game, or stream content will definitely have options.

Previously, CyberGhost used to have a password manager too. However, due to user inactivity regarding the tool, eventually it was scrapped. Instead, the provider has developed something much more unique: Smart Rules. This feature enables users to configure the VPN to their liking. You can make exceptions for sites or apps you’d like to use without a VPN connection. More so, it’s possible to set up an automatic connection to a chosen site whenever you open a particular app or page.

Server Fleet and Geo-unblocking

CyberGhost has one of the largest server fleets available on the market, with over 11,000 servers in 100 countries worldwide. On top of that, a large number of them are optimized for streaming specifically.

So we’ve put the streaming servers to the test and managed to successfully unblock content on Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney+. However, it’s worth noting that, due to significant speed reductions, we’ve experienced lagging when streaming HD videos.

Performance

We tested CyberGhost’s connection speed when using the WireGuard protocol. During our examination, we’ve registered consistently good speeds from close-by locations (85-90% of the original speed), while farther away servers struggled to provide good results. Overall, on average, CyberGhost managed to keep 62.73% of the original download and just 26.33% of the upload speed.

Pricing

You can gain access to CyberGhost’s impressive server fleet of nearly 10,000 servers for just $2.03/month if you opt for its two-year-long plan. Like Surfshark, CyberGhost rewards first-time users with four months free of charge when they subscribe to its long-term plan. In addition, the plan allows for seven simultaneous connections.

Plan Standard
1 month $12.99/month
6 months $6.99/month
2 years +2 months free $2.19/month

Overall, the provider is fairly affordable. Especially when compared to ExpressVPN. However, if you’d like to test the provider before making the commitment, it offers a free trial. Multiple options, actually – 24-hour trial for Windows and macOS, 3-day free for Android, and 7-day for iOS.

Now, if you did make the commitment, yet CyberGhost didn’t live up to your expectations, there’s a 45-day money-back guarantee. What’s very unique is that even its 1-month subscription has a money-back guarantee of 14 days.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

Pros

  • 11,000+ servers worldwide
  • Optimized servers for gaming, streaming, and torrenting
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Significant speed reduction
  • Limited features
  • Owned by Kape Technologies

5. PureVPN – Best VPN for Bypassing Geo-Restrictions


Best For Worldwide server coverage
Server Network 6,500 servers in 65+ countries
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
Max Devices 10
Price Starting from $1.96/month

PureVPN is a feature-packed VPN service with over 6,500 servers in 65+ countries and offers access to 300,000+ IP addresses for guaranteed anonymity. With it, you can connect up to ten devices simultaneously, including PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux.

In addition, it has extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox and provides plenty of walkthroughs to help you connect to devices such as routers, Android TV, Kodi, and Amazon Firestick.

PureVPN is among the few VPN providers that offer Peer-to-Peer (P2P) optimized network connections integrated into apps for each major platform. It provides a virtual IP for P2P traffic that keeps your identity confidential, even from your ISP, since the files shared with you go through your VPN-provided IP instead of the ISP-provided address.

That makes it easy to get around regional limitations and avoid bandwidth throttling, and it increases your security while downloading files over the P2P networks with the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption.

Regarding its speed, PureVPN is a futureproof VPN service, thanks to its 20Gbps servers in various locations. All of its servers in France, Germany, and the Netherlands are ready for the advancement of 5G technology and hypersonic speeds, as well as Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City US servers.

Besides its superb connectivity, PureVPN keeps you safe with its DNS and IP leak protection, Internet Kill Switch (IKS), and no-log policy.

Pricing

Paying for a 24-month subscription that costs as little as $1.96/month nets you four additional months free of charge.

Plan Standard Plus Plus
1 month $10.95/month $16.95/month $20.95/month
1 year $3.74/month $5.82/month $6.24/month
2 year +4 free months $1.96/month $3.21/month $3.85/month

Stream content from Netflix and other popular platforms, connect to 6,500+ servers on up to 10 devices simultaneously and stay anonymous while browsing with this affordable VPN service. Try it risk-free today, thanks to its 31-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full PureVPN review.

Pros

  • Passed an independent audit
  • Easily accessible on various devices
  • Intuitive interface
  • Numerous cheap add-ons
  • Great pricing

Cons

  • Android and iOS apps lack some advanced features

6. IvacyVPN – Best VPN for Streaming


Best For Fast, buffer-free streaming
Server Network 6500+ servers in 60+ countries
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
Max Devices 10
Price Starting from $1.00/month

IvacyVPN is a Singapore-based VPN service provider with over 15 years of experience with internet privacy and malware protection. Besides the traditional payment methods, like PayPal and Visa, you can purchase IvacyVPN with cryptocurrency via Coingate or Bitpay, allowing you to start your VPN journey anonymously.

With its Smart Purpose Selection feature, you can specify if you want to unblock regions, download files securely, or stream your favorite shows and movies. Picking one of these options allows IvacyVPN to connect you to the fastest server for the selected purpose.

IvacyVPN unlocks everything you might need for TV streaming, including BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. Furthermore, it allows you to access all major Netflix libraries, including the US, UK, Japan, and Australia.

While most of its servers are in the US and the UK, IvacyVPN also covers South American and African countries, regions often ignored by other popular VPNs. It also has servers in countries like Turkey, Vietnam, Russia, and Hong Kong, known for their repressive internet policies.

It allows you to divide your internet traffic and select which parts get encrypted by the VPN using its reliable split tunneling feature. For example, you may want to securely stream a show on Netflix while allowing your other apps to connect normally.

Pricing

With its 5-year plan, you can get outstanding value for your money, saving up to $537 as you pay only $1.00/month for 60 months.

Plan Standard
1 month $9.95/month
1 year $3.99/month
5 years $1.00/month

With its no-logs policy and cryptocurrency payment options, you can achieve complete anonymity using this VPN. Try it risk-free for a month, thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full  IvacyVPN review.

Pros

  • Cost-effective long-term plans
  • Feature-rich
  • Diverse and numerous server locations
  • A good number of protocols
  • DNS and IPv6 leak protection

Cons

  • Outdated interface

7. TotalAV – Best VPN With Antivirus


Best For Top security
Server Network 50+ servers in 30+ countries
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
Max Devices 5
Price Starting from $39.00/year

TotalAV provides its VPN service in a convenient package that contains one of the best antiviruses, ad-blocker, and malware blockers. In addition, you’ll gain access to its data breach-checking features and comprehensive password manager.

It’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever fall victim to a cyber threat with all of these additional tools, and its VPN does a terrific job at keeping your data hidden from third parties.

The TotalAV Safe Browsing VPN has tons of features that’ll help you rest easy since no malware, spyware, or trackers can harm you. It uses the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption, usually found in bank and government software, to render your data unreadable to third parties.

Beyond this, Total Webshield is a filter designed to prevent access to malicious websites, such as phishing websites and crypto-mining URLs. Plus, you’ll appreciate its built-in Total Adblock, which prevents advertisements and third-party trackers from showing and gathering your data.

To top it off, this VPN boasts excellent speeds on nearby servers and helps you avoid bandwidth throttling by your ISP provider by hiding your activity. That means you can watch TV shows and movies online without being limited by your provider, as they sometimes slow down your internet connection when you use a high amount of bandwidth.

Pricing

TotalAV offers a single subscription option to its users, although it’s well-priced at $39.00/year. It’ll send you an email 30 days before it charges you again, making it easy to cancel its renewal.

Plan Internet Security Total Security
1 year $9.95/month $3.99/month

You’ll appreciate that TotalAV allows up to five simultaneous connections, ensuring all your devices are protected. It’s compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try its services risk-free.

Pros

  • Comes as a part of an all-in-one security package
  • User-friendly apps and interface
  • Robust encryption methods
  • Data breach monitoring
  • Great customer support

Cons

  • Very limited server fleet

8. PrivadoVPN – Best Free VPN


Best For Less-experienced users
Server Network 300 servers in 47 countries
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
Max Devices 10
Price Starting from $1.48/month

PrivadoVPN stands out from the rest of the crowd with its wide coverage, and it offers stable speeds and above-average protection.

Right off the bat, you’ll be welcomed with a brief but detailed tutorial. The quick tour explains the basics and helps you to get the most out of PrivadoVPN. This is especially great for beginners, as they don’t have to be afraid of whether they’ll click the wrong button.

With that said, PrivadoVPN is the go-to solution for anyone looking for the best free VPN. The free plan comes with premium security and a handful of servers – perfect for testing the waters before deciding whether to upgrade your subscription.

PrivadoVPN’s premium plan offers slightly above 300 servers. Moreover, this provider owns most of its servers, and although it’s a small fleet compared to rivals, all of them are high-quality.

On top of this, PrivadoVPN is a solid no-log company based in Switzerland. This means the provider isn’t obligated to share information about your browsing history and sessions with anyone.

Pricing

You’ll probably be faced with the dilemma of whether to go for the free or paid versions. With the free plan, you can have 1 connection and use up to 10GB of data. For a periodic user, this might be enough.

Plan Standard
1 month $10.99/month
1 year +3 months free $2.00/month
2 years +3 months free $1.48/month

On the other hand, for only $1.48/month, you can get up to 10 connections and unlimited data. Not to mention you’ll have virus protection. If you need a stable and secure connection with almost zero to no drops, then PrivadoVPN will be worth your buck.

Pros

  • Great for beginners
  • No-log policy
  • Has its own servers
  • Streaming and torrenting at reasonable speeds

Cons

  • Only 300+ servers

9. IPVanish – Best VPN for iPhone


Best For Speed
Server Network 2,200+ servers in 52+ countries
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
Max Devices Unlimited
Price Starting from $3.25/month

IPVanish allows you to organize and adjust the user interface to get the maximum pleasure while streaming and torrenting. Also, it’s one of the best VPNs for iPhone and offers a responsive app. On the other hand, no dedicated app is available for Linux users.

With IPVanish, you get a VPN with a split tunneling option that allows you to choose which apps you visit through VPN and which through ISP.

When you combine the split tunneling option with great speeds and Socks5 proxy, you get an ideal VPN for torrenting. With that said, we haven’t experienced any major speed drops, and the VPN has done a fantastic job maintaining high performance.

Pricing

With IPVanish, you can connect to over 40,000 addresses for as little as $3.25 for a 2-year subscription. On top of that, you get a 30-day refund guarantee. So, if there’s anything you don’t particularly like about this VPN, you can get your money back with no fuss.

Plan Standard
1 month $12.99/month
1 year $4.33/month
2 years $3.25/month

When it comes to torrenting, PrivadoVPN may seem like a better choice. However, with IPVanish, you can connect an unlimited number of devices at a decent speed for a significantly lower price.

Read our full IPVanish review.

Pros

  • Adjustable app
  • Great for mobile device users
  • Connect an unlimited number of devices
  • Fast download speed

Cons

  • Lacks Linux app

Top VPN Service Providers Compared

Here we compare top VPN services in terms of key features, price, and server availability. Take a look at how our top VPN providers fare against each other:

Provider Best For Cheapest Plan Server Network Max Devices Free Plan
Surfshark Overall $1.99/month 3,200 servers in 100 countries Unlimited No
ExpressVPN Gaming $6.67/month 3,000+ servers in 105+ countries 8 No
NordVPN Privacy $3.99/month 6,000+ servers in 60+ countries 6 No
CyberGhostVPN Encryption $2.19/month 11,000+ servers in 100+ countries 7 No
PureVPN Worldwide server coverage $1.96/month 6,500+ servers in 65+ countries 10 No
IvacyVPN Fast, buffer-free streaming $1.00/month 6,500+ servers in 60+ countries 10 No
TotalAV Top security $39.00/year 50+ servers in 30+ countries 5 No
PrivadoVPN Less-experienced users $1.48/month 300+ servers in 47+ countries 10 Yes
IPVanish Unlimited $3.25/month 2,200 servers in 52+ countries Unlimited No
Methodology

How We Review and Test VPN Services

20

VPNS TESTED

25

DATA POINTS MEASURED

300+

HOURS TESTING

500+

USER REVIEWS READ

To provide our readers with accurate and well informed recommendations, we tested 20 leading VPN services to find the best in the market. Our methodology consists of the following criteria:

  • Security Features: We made sure that the provider uses standard security features and a secure tunneling protocol.
  • Privacy Policies: We looked for VPNs that come with a no-logs policy, and verify the extend to which user privacy is upheld.
  • Speed: We run speed tests three times a day and draw an average of the result to see how much of the original broadband speed is retained.
  • Compatibility: We ensure the VPN provider offers multiple simultaneous connections and is compatible with the most popular operating systems.
  • Geo-unblocking: We test whether the VPN service can unlock different libraries (content available in different countries) on the most popular streaming platforms.
  • Customer Experience: When researching products and services, we read real user experiences and test out their customer support channels ourselves.
  • Price and Value for Money: We set out to recommend reasonably priced products that offer value for money.

What is a VPN?

A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is a service that protects your online activities and personal data when browsing the web.

By creating a secure encrypted tunnel a VPN service guarantees that no hackers, third party snoopers, or advertisers cannot steal your data and use it to their own benefit. Additionally, it allows you to change your original IP address, meaning you will be able to access news or geo-restricted content from anywhere in the world.

How Does a VPN Work?

In essence, a VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the internet.

Once you connect to a VPN server a secure between your device and the server is established. All the data that travels through this “tunnel” is encrypted and gets decrypted only when it reaches the server. From there, decrypted request gets sent to the internet and once the response is found, the gets encrypted on the VPN server and sent back to your device. To learn a little more about the encryption process, check out our article on how VPNs work.

Free vs. Paid VPNs

Free VPNs come at a competitive price point, but they typically also have some major drawbacks. Free services often require you to watch ads, while others have limited features and are intended to encourage you to upgrade to a paid service. This may mean you have a bandwidth cap or are only able to access a small handful of servers and server locations.

This will be a showstopper if you need to view pages or resources from specific geos or a wide range of locations around the world, and it makes these services broadly unsuitable for streaming or torrenting.

From our research, we identified PrivadoVPN and ProtonVPN as candidates for the best free VPN. ProtonVPN likely comes out ahead, though, offering access to servers in the US, the Netherlands, and Japan, and with no limitations on data use.

Even better, is the fact that the provider includes a VPN kill switch with the free service – immediately cutting data transfer in the event that the VPN connection drops, meaning your connection remains secure and private whatever happens. This is a great feature and impressive with a free plan.

Nevertheless, while free virtual private networks can do an adequate job of hiding your IP address when visiting sites, they fall short when compared to VPN plans, so it’s better to look for an affordable plan rather than a free solution. Subscribing to a cheap VPN service will generally give you access to thousands of servers spread around the world – including for countries like Turkiye, Russia, and China.

Why Do I Need a VPN?

You may be thinking that if you have nothing to hide, you don’t need a VPN – but they can actually still provide some extremely useful services for you without going anywhere near anything shady. At its core a VPN – a virtual private network – allows you to anonymize your web activity by masking your IP address and making it invisible to your internet service provider (ISP). This stops hackers and advertisers from tracking your connection, keeping your traffic private and secure.

Many people use public Wi-Fi without knowing their data can be easily compromised. A VPN can keep your information away from any potential intruders. If you use restricted networks, a VPN can also help you to bypass firewalls and access blocked content.

On top of this, popular streaming networks like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer are unavailable in many countries. A top VPN service helps you navigate geo-restrictions and access your favorite streaming content and content libraries that are unavailable from your location. And it can do all this without having any impact on your connection speed.

In an age where online privacy is increasingly under threat, a VPN stands as a crucial guardian of anonymity in the digital realm. By masking your IP address and encrypting your internet traffic, a VPN shields your online activities from prying eyes. The best VPN solutions provide a vital layer of protection, preserving your right to privacy in an ever-evolving online landscape.

How to Find the Best VPN Provider

VPN service providers typically offer their customers a variety of privacy options and VPN security features, including the ability to connect to servers in specific countries and support for different encryption protocols.

The effectiveness and reliability of a VPN service can vary based on several factors, including the provider’s VPN hardware and the network infrastructure they are using. When evaluating a VPN service provider, there are several key features to consider:

SecurityLoggingPerformanceDevice Support

Security

The VPN service should include a VPN firewall and use strong encryption protocols, such as AES-256, to protect data from unauthorized access. The best VPN providers use VPN tokens to provide an additional layer of authentication and security within a VPN. Many enterprise versions also provide leak protection features to prevent client IP addresses from being exposed.

Logging

The VPN service should have a strict no-logs policy that clearly states the provider does not keep information about user activity. The best VPN providers are transparent about their quality assurance tests and have their logging practices independently audited by a reputable third-party company.

Performance

The VPN service should provide fast speeds so that users don’t experience latency issues when they are streaming video, torrenting files, or playing online games. The best VPN services have a wide range of server locations, provide unlimited bandwidth, and use VPN concentrators to create and manage multiple VPN connections efficiently.

Device Support

The VPN service should be compatible with computers, smartphones, and tablets. The best VPN services have a user-friendly interface and provide good customer support.

Are There Drawbacks to VPNs?

Using a VPN is a great way to browse the internet securely and privately and to get around surveillance and censorship from your government and your ISP. That said, there are some small downsides to using a VPN.

Firstly, it does cost money – and we really don’t recommend using “free” services that come with severe usage restrictions or, in the worst cases, may otherwise expose your data to malicious actors. This is obviously the exact opposite of what you want to happen if you’re seeking to secure your connection.

Due to the technicalities of re-routing your traffic, you may also have a slight reduction in your connection speed – though the best VPN providers offer lightning-fast services that are ideal for gaming and streaming.

You should also consider the law around VPN use in your region. They’re unfortunately banned entirely in Belarus, Iraq, North Korea, and Turkmenistan, and there are restrictions around usage in India, Russia, and China – though they’re entirely legal for the most part in North America and Europe.

Conclusion – What is the Best VPN Service 2024?

There are a whole range of virtual private networks to pick from today, and the best VPN service providers face some tough competition. Nevertheless, there are a handful of market leaders that deliver a truly outstanding service when it comes to points like speed, safety, security, and trustworthiness.

We’ve picked the VPN best for each use case and created a list that caters to distinctive tastes. You can select different VPN types depending on your personal needs and goals. But one thing is certain – whichever you choose, you won’t regret it.

So, what is the best and most trusted VPN? Based on our research, we can’t recommend Surfshark highly enough. Try it risk-free now with the money-back guarantee.

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Aleksandar Stevanovic
Software Reviews Expert

Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto, and cybersecurity industries. He covers a multitude of topics, writing factual and informative articles, helping individuals better understand the intricacies of the online world. Over the last two years, his research focus shifted more towards tech and software content, as evidenced by his publications on CEX.IO, Business2Community, and Techopedia. He believes in simplifying complex topics and bringing them closer to like-minded individuals. His work is as detail-oriented as it is creative, and is designed to…