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Best VPN 2020

Last updated: June 30 2020 By Dean Chester

We didn’t just choose the 10 best ones. We checked them with the fine-tooth comb, intercepted and analyzed their traffic, studied hundreds upon hundreds of customer reviews. The result of our work will be really useful to you.

Best VPN services

The Top 10 VPNs

 

Do you know that virtual private network (or VPN for short) is the most efficient and multifunctional restriction bypassing and privacy providing technology?

Indeed, this technology was associated with hacking very recently. Today, however, it’s an important part of life for hundreds of millions of people.

What does a VPN provide us with?

  Traffic protection
  Privacy protection (prevents determining the location and identity via the IP)
  Protection of the addresses of visited websites
  Restrictions bypassing (such as unblocking Netflix)
  Blocks bypassing (as in censorship and other prohibitions)

Can one use the internet without all of these? Sure enough! But does a VPN open new opportunities and give access to more information while protecting us at the same time? Of course, it does.

There is a considerable problem, though.

VPN providers can be vastly different and most of them do not quite reach even the average level, not to mention the top one.

Using top-class VPNs definitely makes sense!


10 best VPNs tested on every platform

 

The best VPN providers

  1. ExpressVPN: The best service for any tasks that VPN technology solves. Fast, powerful, multifunctional.
  2. NordVPN: The world’s most popular service. Has more than 5600 servers and continues to develop.
  3. Surfshark: The cheapest professional VPN. Prices start at $1.99 per month. Works even in China.
  4. CyberGhost VPN: An all-around VPN targeting US, UK, and FR Netflix.
  5. Mullvad: The best service to implement the progressive WireGuard tunneling protocol.
  6. PIA: A very popular provider that allows fine-tuning the VPN connection.
  7. IPVanish: An American service that claims it works with its own (non-rented) servers.
  8. ZenMate: A simplified, cheaper version of CyberGhost VPN.
  9. ProtonVPN: Swiss quality and servers buried 1000 meters into a rock.
  10. Perfect Privacy: Advanced features but no Netflix support.

 

How the best VPNs differ from regular ones

 

This table showcases the main differences between the providers of three quality levels: professional, average and low. There are no specialized or private services on this list that work with corporate networks or with the users of the darknet.

  Top level Average level Low level
Has its own apps: for every platform for some platforms none
Number of servers: 500+ (up to 7000) 30-500 <30
Number of countries: 25+ 10-25 <10
Keeps logs: definitely not usually not usually does
Support of Netflix, etc.: usually has doesn't have doesn't have
Speed, Mbps: More than 50 10-50 Lower than 10 (often lower than 3)

These are just the most important differences. There are many more subjective important ones to which dozens of factors contribute.

For example, a good VPN shouldn’t be an obstacle in your work. It has to work stably and without issues. An average one can let some disconnections, connectivity failures, and occasional slow speeds. Working with a VPN of the lowest level is a struggle for at least a little convenience.

  • My advice. If you need an all-round multifunctional VPN for everyday use, pay the closest attention to the top 4. The services below it are more specialized ones.

 


 

The best VPN for regular use

 

VPN-Review.com conducted a new 6-month long research of VPN providers and ExpressVPN scored the highest among them.

It was found to be the best service in terms of privacy and security as well as providing access to Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming content of any region.

NordVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost VPN, Mullvad, and other services are just as good but have certain peculiarities. Read on to choose the perfect VPN for you.

 

VPNs: Characteristics comparison

Service Ranking (out of 10) Speed, Mbps Number of countries Netflix Price (monthly)
ExpressVPN 10 More than 100 94 + $6.67-12.95
NordVPN 10 60-80 58 + $3.49-11.95
Surfshark 10 50-80 61 + $1.99-11.95
CyberGhost VPN 9 40-70 90 + $2.75-12.99
Mullvad 9 60-80 38 - €5
PIA 8 70-90 32 - $2.42-$8.45
IPVanish 7 40-70 50 - $6.49-$10*
ZenMate 7 10-50 27 + $1.64-$9.99
ProtonVPN 7 10-80 42 + $4-$24
Perfect Privacy 7 More than 100 26 - $8.95-$12.99

*- Has several sales per year when the price is halved for the first-time buyers


ExpressVPN has the best combination of technical characteristics, software quality, and extra functions. It can be rightfully called a premium VPN.

The provider fully protects private data and traffic and almost doesn’t affect the speed. It’s equally effective on desktops and mobile platforms.

ExpressVPN is also the best VPN service to bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions.

 

  Main advantages:
Very high speeds
Works on every platform
Locations in 94 countries
Supports Netflix and Hulu
     Main characteristics of the provider:
  • Speeds higher than 100 Mbps
  • Supports every platform
  • Has passed security tests on every platform
  • A lot of positive reviews
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

 


NordVPN has been the most popular VPN service according to Google Trends for three years now. It also used to be the largest provider with more than 5600 servers on board.

The service is oriented towards multipurpose usefulness but its features go far beyond the regular boundaries. It supports double VPN, has servers with protocol obfuscation, and continuously supports streaming.

 

  Main advantages:
More than 5600 servers
Double VPN
Support of all Netflix regions
Servers with obfuscation
     Main characteristics of the provider:
  • Proven security even with the default settings
  • Support of all Netflix regions
  • Obfuscation
  • Double VPN
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

 


Surfshark’s features are shocking while its price is extremely low. And there are no tricks here: our test and long-lasting use of the service confirm its high quality, streaming support, and convenience for torrenting.

Server speed is almost as good as that of ExpressVPN. The ability to add (for an extra payment) tracking protection makes this service even more functional.

 

  Main advantages:
Powerful functionality
MultiHop VPN
Very low price (starting at $1.99)
Netflix support
     Main characteristics of the provider:
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Has passed all the security tests
  • Dedicated IP, double VPN, safe torrentingon every platform
  • Support of all platforms including Chrome and Firefox
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

 


#4. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN can be called the fastest-growing VPN. Last November, its owner company Kape Technologies acquired the giant Private Internet Access. And, judging by the sharp increase in the number of servers, it added the latter’s technical infrastructure to that of CyberGhost VPN.

Now almost 7000 servers are united into one – and the most large-scale one – network.

 

  Main advantages:
Special servers for streaming and torrenting
Kill switch always on
Locations in 94 countries
Merger with PIA
     Main characteristics of the provider:
  • Support of all platforms
  • Split tunneling
  • 7 simultaneous connections
  • Servers for streaming and torrenting

 


#5. Mullvad

Mullvad is distinguished by its unsurpassed anonymity during the sign-up process. Besides, it supports WireGuard – arguably, the most advanced tunneling protocol, as well as the Shadowsocks proxy together with VPN technology.

However, Mullvad can’t unblock famous streaming services.

 

  Main advantages:
High speeds
WireGuard support
Ease of use
No email required to register
     Main characteristics of the provider:
  • Support of all OSs
  • Has passed all our security tests
  • WireGuard protocol
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

 


#6. Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access or PIA has had a deserved flawless reputation for the last 10 years. Lately, the service markets itself not only to customers with basic needs but also to professionals who have experience with setting up rarely used parameters of the VPN connection.

Despite its numerous pros, PIA doesn’t support US Netflix.

 

  Main advantages:
Good reputation
Rare options
Shadowsocks support
High speed
     Main characteristics of the provider:
  • Support of all OSs
  • Has passed all our security tests
  • Shadowsocks
  • DHCP, encryption and authentication standard, DNS, etc. settings
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

 


#7. IPVanish

IPVanish is a slightly controversial service. On the one hand, it has a large following but on the other, somewhat lags behind the customers’ needs in terms of functionality.

Nevertheless, IPVanish is a good choice for those who need access to many countries.

 

  Main advantages:
Convenient choice of servers
Frequent sales
1300+ servers in 75 countries
Obfuscation
     Main characteristics of the provider:
  • Support of all OSs
  • Attractive app interface
  • Doesn’t keep logs
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • 7-day money-back guarantee

 


#8. ZenMate

ZenMate is a cheap and simple VPN that supports a lot of devices. It “inherits” parts of its infrastructure from CyberGhost VPN. In fact, one can look at it as a simplified version of its powerful older brother (both providers are owned by the same company).

While not guaranteed, it supports Netflix of certain regions most of the time.

 

  Main advantages:
CyberGhost VPN’s infrastructure
Netflix support
Low price
Good for torrenting
     Main characteristics of the provider:
  • Support of all OSs and some TV platforms
  • Has passed all security tests apart from the DNS one
  • Good selection of countries
  • Claimed 30-day money-back guarantee (can be only 14 in reality)

 


#9. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is a relatively new service. It was founded in 2017 by the developer team of a popular email service ProtonMail.

The provider’s aim is to ensure security. It even offers a subscription that gives access to the extra protected servers in a data center located 1000 meters deep inside a Swiss rock.

 

  Main advantages:
Has trial and free versions
Ease of use
Extra protected servers
No email required to register
     Main characteristics of the provider:
  • Support of all OSs
  • Has passed all our security tests
  • Has a free plan
  • Safe VPN + safe email
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

 


#10. Perfect Privacy

Perfect Privacy doesn’t support every platform but has three useful features: the “invisible” tunneling protocol, multi-hop (double) VPN, and automatic selection of multi-hop chains to maximize security without the user’s direct involvement.

The provider has high speeds but no Netflix support.

 

  Main advantages:
High speed
NeuroRouting
Stealth VPN support
IPv6
     Main characteristics of the provider:
  • High speed
  • Has passed all our security tests
  • Stealth VPN protocol
  • Multi-hop
  • 7-day money-back guarantee

 


 

1. ExpressVPN

 

Pros Cons
Very high speed No specific server choice within a location
100% privacy  
Confirmed No-Logs policy  

 

Overview

ExpressVPN is the best VPN to be used on a device of any type. We gave it the highest mark based on the results of 6-month multilayered research.

Besides, we conducted a large-scale study of real customer reviews (most of all, from Reddit) that confirmed the supremacy of ExpressVPN in many areas where VPN can be implemented.

ExpressVPN has such important features as a kill switch and split tunneling, allows choosing a tunneling protocol, supports both UDP and TCP connections.

 

 

Features

  • 3000+ servers in 94 countries.
  • Hides the IP address. Only the IP address of the VPN service will be visible to any visited resource. It allows “changing” one’s country to any of the 94 supported ones and protecting the real location data.
  • Traffic encryption and disguising the visited sites’ addresses. The entirety of your traffic including DNS queries that contain the names of visited websites is protected reliably by the unbreakable AES-256 encryption.
  • Protection in public network and while torrenting. Thanks to encryption, hiding the IP address, and the kill switch function, it is safe to use torrents and access the internet in public places.

How the kill switch works

Kill Switch

  • Streaming. ExpressVPN can bypass geo-restrictions of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, and TV channels. This ability is not a short-term one like with many other VPNs but is supported consistently. We’ve been testing streaming support for more than two years now and ExpressVPN has always coped with this task.
  • The best Chrome and Firefox extensions.
  • VPN for routers, TV, and other devices.

Supported devices

ExpressVPN offers apps and manual settings for any device with virtual private network support. Moreover, there are detailed manuals on how to set them up and use them for almost all of them.

  • Opportunity to try the service out for free. I can’t help mentioning the wonderful opportunity to test the performance of ExpressVPN. It is present in the Android app.

Prices and plans

 ExpressVPN offers 3 tariff plans with identical features:

New users get additional 3 months free of charge when subscribing for one year

       Payment methods accepted:

Credit cards

PayPal

Bitcoin

 

       Others:

AliPay

UnionPay

Mint

OneCard

WebMoney

etc

How does the price of ExpressVPN compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on our Top 5 ranking that are of the same lengths)

Provider 12 month (monthly) 6-month (monthly) 1 month
ExpressVPN $6.67 $9.99 $12.95
NordVPN $6.99 - $11.95
Surfshark $5.99 - $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $5.99 - $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA $2.42 $4.49 $8.45
IPVanish $6.49 - $10.00
ZenMate $4.49 - $9.99
ProtonVPN $4-24 - $5-30
Perfect Privacy $9.99 - $12.99
ExpressVPN Preview
ExpressVPN serves to unblock Netflix notwithstanding your location.

 

What are the main characteristics of ExpressVPN?

Our research of the provider’s features confirmed many positive customer reviews that mentioned high speeds. Our results showed not only that it exceeds the speed of most competitors in the 50-100 Mbps range, but also that a few servers have a speed of more than 130-150 Mbps.

The combination of the high speed with the support of American Netflix is extremely rare. Generally, with other providers, the US locations capable of streaming are noticeably slower than the rest. ExpressVPN is not like that.

Good news for those who strive to achieve maximum anonymity and privacy. ExpressVPN has replaced its regular services with diskless ones. Now the already good reputation of the service in terms of keeping no logs became unquestionable.

Besides, legally this service is based in the BVI offshore zone. It makes it invulnerable to political or economic pressure.

 

ExpressVPN - “Premium” VPN

 

 


 

2. NordVPN

 

Pros Cons
5600+ servers in 58 countries Slow speed on some US servers
100% security  
No-Logs policy  

 

Overview

NordVPN isn’t only the most popular VPN service in the world but also the largest one among those that have ways of extra protection of the connection.

But should you prefer it to ExpressVPN? You should if you live in China or need double protection (double VPN).

The provider has powerful modern functionality which includes a kill switch (traffic blocking during an unexpected disconnection of the virtual network), support of all the Netflix regions, torrenting, etc.

 

Features

  • 5600+ servers in 58 countries.
  • IP address hiding.
  • Traffic encryption and hiding the addresses of visited websites. The most effective encryption standard AES-256 is used.
  • Protection in public networks and while torrenting. I made sure that all the addresses of visited websites as well as transmitted and received data are reliably packed into a secure VPN channel.
  • Streaming. The provider bypasses geo-restrictions of popular video streaming services for all the regions we’ve tested including the US and the UK.
  • Use of the VPN on routers, TV, and other devices. You can install apps on TV platforms and set up routers and gaming consoles.
  • Chrome and Firefox extensions.
  • Free trial. There’s a 7-day trial version for mobile platforms. It is available with the 1-year subscription.

Prices and plans

NordVPN has 4 plans with the only difference between them being their length:

NordVPN offers a 70% discount on the 3-year subscription.

       Payment methods accepted:

Credit cards

3 cryptocurrencies

3 cryptocurrencies

 

       Others:

Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay

AliPay

UnionPay

How does the price of NordVPN compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 12 year (monthly) 2 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
NordVPN $3.49 $4.99 $6.99 $11.95
ExpressVPN - - $6.67 $12.95
Surfshark - $1.99 $5.99 $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $2.75 $3.69 $5.99 $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 - €5
PIA - - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - - $6.49 $10.00
ZenMate $1.64 - $4.49 $9.99
ProtonVPN - $3.29-$19.96 $4-24 $5-30
Perfect Privacy - $8.95 $9.99 $12.99

nordVPN Preview
NordVPN: 24/7 efficiency

 

I’d like to mention another important difference NordVPN has compared to most other providers including ExpressVPN. It is the ability to access any specific server instead of just a country or city.

It’s extremely useful if your internet is unstable and prone to disconnections or if you need to browse the internet with the same IP address.

Otherwise, your IP will be different every time (including addresses from different subnetworks) you connect.

NordVPN has a lot of positive reviews. The analysis of the mentions of it on Reddit showed that the service is often used to provide privacy as well as for streaming and torrenting.

NordVPN is based in Panama, a safe jurisdiction outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliances.

 

NordVPN

 

 


 

3. Surfshark

 

Pros Cons
Torrenting on every server Not suitable for Linux
Proven security  
No-Logs policy  

 

Overview

Surfshark combines its top-level quality with a super-low price. It’s the most powerful VPN among the top-tier services that cost less than $2 a month.

The provider was founded in 2018 but has already earned the reputation of a reliable multifunctional service that supports streaming, torrenting, and expanded methods of confidentiality protection.

It doesn’t keep logs and is located in the safe BVI offshore zone.

 

 

Features

Surfshark VPN has the following features:

  • 1000+ servers in 61 countries.
  • IP address hiding.
  • Traffic encryption and hiding the addresses of visited websites.
  • Protection in public networks and while torrenting.. I’d like to emphasize the provider’s performance on mobile platforms. Surfshark works more stably than other VPNs and protects the user’s traffic even if they forget to turn the app on.
  • Streaming. Surfshark is a great fit to watch Netflix and other services.
  • Use of VPN on routers, TV, and other devices.
  • Chrome and Firefox extensions.
  • Free trial. A 7-day trial version is available on mobile platforms. No credit card required.

Prices and plans

Surfshark VPN has 3 plans and some additional security functions (for a surcharge):

All tariffs include the NoBorders features that allow bypassing censorship.

       Payment methods accepted:

Credit cards

PayPal

Google Pay

Google Pay

 

       Others:

3 cryptocurrencies

3 cryptocurrencies

Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay

How does the price of Surfshark compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 2 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
Surfshark $1.99 $5.99 $11.95
ExpressVPN - $6.67 $12.95
NordVPN $4.99 $6.99 $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $3.69 $5.99 $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - $6.49 $10.00
ZenMate - $4.49 $9.99
ProtonVPN $4.29-$19.96 $4-24 $5-30
Perfect Privacy $8.95 $9.99 $12.99
Surfshark
Surfshark: All you need from a VPN

 

Indeed, as of today, Surfshark offers the most lucrative conditions for the 2-year plan. Are its customers satisfied with the quality of its services?

I analyzed more than 50 reviews and posts on Reddit and made the following conclusion:

  • Most Redditors praise its price.
  • The service is rapidly gaining popularity.
  • Users trust the safe jurisdiction and no-logs policy.
  • It’s often used for torrenting (all servers) and streaming.
  • Is a good fit for bypassing Chinese censorship.

Our 6-month testing confirmed the positive reviews.

Some other results we got:

The speed is mostly high but there are some relatively slow locations. Netflix is available for most regions but DE. You can double the security of your torrenting activities by setting up the torrent client (read more in the Surfshark review.

 

Surfshark VPN

 

More about Surfshark:

 


 

4. CyberGhost VPN

 

Pros Cons
Special servers for streaming and torrenting 3 Netflix regions available
App Split Tunneling Hulu doesn’t work
No-Logs policy Heavy load on the CPU

 

Overview

In 2020, CyberGhost VPN broke all records in terms of the number of servers and offers around 7000 of them in 90 countries.

Unfortunately, it’s the only parameter the provider was able to significantly improve over the past 6 months. That’s why we shifted CyberGhost VPN from the third position to the fourth.

At the same time, it’s undeniable that the service has 100% security (it was the first one to implement the constantly active kill switch) and supports entertainment content.

 

Features

  • 7000 servers in 90 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption.
  • Effectively hides the IP address.
  • Expanded functionality. Split tunneling, adblocker, etc.
  • Netflix support. US, UK, and FR regions.
  • Chrome and Firefox extensions.
  • Safe torrenting. Encryption and the permanently active kill switch reliably protect the traffic from being analyzed by the ISP.

Prices and plans

CyberGhost VPN has 4 subscriptions and the ability to buy dedicated IP addresses:

  • $2.75 monthly on the 3-year subscription
  • $3.69 monthly on the 2-year subscription
  • $5.99 monthly on the 12-month subscription
  • $12.99 on the 1-month subscription
  • + (optionally) $5 monthly per dedicated IP address

All first-time users of the 3-year subscription get 2 extra months for free.

       Payment methods accepted:

Credit cards

PayPal

Bitcoin

 

How does the price of CyberGhost VPN compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 3 year (monthly) 2 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
CyberGhost VPN $2.75 $3.69 $5.99 $12.99
ExpressVPN - - $6.67 $12.95
NordVPN $3.49 $4.99 $6.99 $11.95
Surfshark - $1.99 $5.99 $11.95
Mullvad €5 €5 - €5
PIA - - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - - $6.49 $10.00
ZenMate $1.64 - $4.49 $9.99
ProtonVPN - $3.29-$19.96 $4-24 $5-30
Perfect Privacy - $8.95 $9.99 $12.99

 

As you can see in the table above, CyberGhost VPN is one of the cheapest providers if you buy a long-term subscription.

But should you commit to using a VPN service for so long?

Both yes and no.

CyberGhost VPN has proved itself as an extremely reliable service. There were no scandals or reputation-damaging incidents in its 9-year history.

At the same time, I don’t see much advancement in how the app functionality develops. There is Netflix support but only for three regions. Some rare but demanded features are missing.

So, CyberGhost VPN will best suit those who need an exorbitant number of servers and supported countries. It’s unsurpassed in this regard.

 

CyberGhost VPN

 

More about CyberGhost:

 


 

5. Mullvad

 

Pros Cons
WireGuard protocol No streaming support
Anonymous registration No manual settings
High speed  

 

Overview

The most interesting thing about Mullvad is that it uses the fast and technologically advanced WireGuard protocol.

Thanks to its light load on the CPU, WireGuard allows the provider to be one of the best solutions for mobile platforms as well as Windows.

Another advantage is that you can register without providing your email.

 

Features

  • 430+ servers in 38 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption.
  • Effectively hides the IP address.
  • Has its own servers. The provider doesn’t only rent equipment from hosting-partners but also owns its own servers. It allows decreasing the risks of third parties gaining access to the data.
  • Extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Prices and plans

Mullvad has a single plan:

  • €5 per month

During the registration, a user gets a coupon they must clear and enter its number into the app.

       Payment methods accepted:

Credit cards

PayPal

Bitcoin

 

       Others:

bank wire

bank wire

Swish

Swish

cash

cash

 

How does the price of Mullvad compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 1 month
Mullvad €5
CyberGhost VPN $12.95
ExpressVPN $12.95
NordVPN $11.95
Surfshark $11.95
PIA $8.45
IPVanish $10.00
ZenMate $9.99
ProtonVPN $5-30
Perfect Privacy $12.99

 

Mullvad is, without a doubt, one of the most anonymous providers. You don’t have to give any private data to subscribe. Additionally, there’s a possibility to pay with an anonymous cryptocurrency.

The provider fully satisfies all the current requirements for a VPN service except for streaming support.

Our tests showed that Mullvad can’t unblock Netflix and Hulu.

 

Mullvad VPN

 

More about Mullvad:

 


 

6. Private Internet Access

 

Pros Cons
Finest parameter settings Poor Netflix support
App Split Tunneling No Hulu support
No-Logs policy Too few countries

 

Overview

PIA is one of the first powerful VPN services. It has earned a flawless reputation as a provider that respects privacy and maintains its high level of services.

Private Internet Access is characterized by its incredible number of VPN connection settings. Arguably, it’s the only provider that provides an opportunity to completely turn off encryption to maximize the speed and minimize the CPU load.

 

 

Features

  • 3300+ servers in 30 countries.
  • Several types of encryption including AES-256. Kill switch (except on iOS), port forwarding, DHCP, etc.
  • Safe torrenting.
  • Extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Prices and plans

PIA has 3 tariffs:

  • $2.42 monthly on the 1-year subscription
  • $4.49 monthly on the 6-month subscription
  • $8.45 on the 1-month subscription

The provider has 2 prices: the initial one and the one with a discount. The prices are listed with the 20% discount.

       Payment methods accepted:

Credit cards

PayPal

Bitcoin and anonymous cryptocurrencies

 

       Others:

Amazon Pay

AmazonPay

Beam

Beam

Mint

How does the price of PIA compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 12 month (monthly) 6-month (monthly) 1 month
PIA $2.42 $4.49 $8.45
ExpressVPN $6.67 $9.99 $12.95
NordVPN $6.99 - $11.95
Surfshark $5.99 - $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $5.99 - $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
IPVanish $6.49 - $10.00
ZenMate $4.49 - $9.99
ProtonVPN $4-24 - $5-30
Perfect Privacy $9.99 - $12.99

 

In late 2019, Private Internet Access was bought by Kape Technologies – the owner company of CyberGhost VPN and ZenMate (more on it later). The PIA user community slammed this fact as the end of the service and the loss of its independence. Time will tell if it is so, but as of this day, there are no negative consequences observed.

At the same time, we can see a certain relation between the rapid growth of the technical basis of CyberGhost VPN and the acquisition of PIA. It seems obvious that server integration in favor of the bigger “brother” is taking place.

 

Private Internet Access – Advanced American VPN

 

 


 

7. IPVanish

 

Pros Cons
Convenient server selection No Netflix and Hulu support
Support of 75 countries Overcomplicated pricing
No-Logs policy Slow speeds

 

Overview

IPVanish offers access to 75 countries, has apps with convenient server selection but doesn’t support streaming and pays too much attention to marketing ploys.

The price of IPVanish fluctuates so much it managed to drop by the factor of two while I was writing this article. But don’t hurry to subscribe before you find out more about the finer details. This price is only effective if you’re paying for the first time. After that, it becomes “regular”.

 

 

Features

  • 1300+ servers in 75 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption..
  • Hides the IP address.

Prices and plans

IPVanish has 3 plans:

  • $6.49 monthly on the 1-year subscription
  • $8.99 monthly on the 3-month subscription
  • $10.00 on the 1-month subscription

There are often discounts that halve the price for first-time subscribers.

       Payment methods accepted:

Credit cards

PayPal

 

How does the price of IPVanish compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 12 month (monthly) 3-month (monthly) 1 month
IPVanish $6.49 $8.99 $10.00
ExpressVPN $6.67 - $12.95
NordVPN $6.99 - $11.95
Surfshark $5.99 - $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $5.99 - $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA $2.42 $4.49 $8.45
ZenMate $4.49 - $9.99
ProtonVPN $4-24 - $5-30
Perfect Privacy $9.99 - $12.99

 

The seventh spot given to IPVanish is more of a tribute to how popular it is than anything else. It does solve the basic tasks of VPN technology well, though. It supports a lot of countries and most platforms.

At the same time, our testing showed that there were some flaws and even problems.

First of all, the provider’s speed on most locations we’ve tested is slow or, at least, insufficient.

Secondly, it has no streaming support.

Thirdly, the service hasn’t been developing in any noticeable capacity lately: no new modern functions of the virtual network were added. Sometimes, access to cloud storage is added but it’s just marketing and not any meaningful technological development.

 

IPVanish

 

More about IPVanish:

 


 

8. ZenMate

 

Pros Cons
Support of all platforms Unstable Netflix support
Unblocks Streaming Limited functionality
Torrenting Can load the CPU too much

 

Overview

ZenMate can hardly be called an independent VPN. It uses the software of another, larger service – CyberGhost VPN. Their server bases also intersect. ZenMate, however, is a more affordable service.

I will enumerate all the main positive sides of this provider and then compare its characteristics with those of its “big brother”.

 

 

Features

  • 3600+ servers in 73 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption.
  • Hides the IP address.
  • Unblocks US streaming. I should note that this function did not work in a few cases during our tests.
  • 7­-­day free trial.
  • Free Chrome and Firefox extensions. The provider has free versions of the browser extensions limited by 4 locations and 2 Mbps.

Prices and plans

ZenMate has 3 plans

  • $1.64 monthly on the 3-year subscription
  • $4.49 monthly on the 12-month subscription
  • $9.99 on the 1-month subscription

A 7-day free trial available with no credit card required at the signup.

How does the price of ZenMate compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 3 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
ZenMate $1.64 $4.49 $9.99
ExpressVPN - $6.67 $12.95
NordVPN $3.49 $6.99 $11.95
Surfshark - $5.99 $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $2.75 $5.99 $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - $6.49 $10.00
ProtonVPN - $4-24 $5-30
Perfect Privacy - $9.99 $12.99

 

So, let us compare ZenMate and CyberGhost VPN.

Pros:

ZenMate has a relatively long trial period of 7 days (unlike CyberGhost VPN’s 24 hours). It also provides fully free extensions for Chrome and Firefox. The last advantage is the lower prices of every tariff.

Cons:

Our testing showed a problem with the DNS servers: in some cases, the website you’re visiting can easily determine your country and ISP while your ISP can see the names of the domains you’re visiting.

Also, there’s no split tunneling function, a narrower choice of countries, and no access to specific servers.

Speed tests did not show any great difference in the highest values but you can feel instability because of significant speed fluctuations.

The jurisdictions of the two services are also different, although they both belong to the same company. In ZenMate’s case, it’s Germany which is not such a good country for a VPN to be based in as Romania.

 

ZenMate - Simple VPN for torrenting

 

More about ZenMate:

 


 

9. ProtonVPN

 

Pros Cons
Apps for all platforms The full plan’s long-terms subscription is pricier than competitors’
Unblocks streaming  
P2P/Torrenting  

 

Overview

Unlike most other VPNs, ProtonVPN has different subscriptions in terms of not only their length but also functionality. Besides, it offers a free plan.

This provider is based in Switzerland and is widely known as a safe and privacy-conscious service.

Its technical characteristics are some of the best in the market. However, the choice of countries is slightly lacking. Moreover, the most in-demand features are only available on the more expensive subscriptions.

 

 

Features

  • 700+ servers in 45 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption.
  • Hides the IP address.
  • Unblocks streaming. Only available on the Plus and Visionary plans.
  • 7­-­day free trial.
  • Free trial and free subscription.

Prices and plans

ProtonVPN’s plans differ by length and functionality: from a free one to the most multifunctional one that includes a special email account.

The Plus plan is the optimal one:

  • $6.64 monthly on the 2-year subscription
  • $8 monthly on the 12-month subscription
  • $10 on the 1-month subscription

The cheaper Basic plan doesn’t support streaming while the pricier Visionary one’s only advantage is the number of simultaneous devices and an email account.

       Payment methods accepted:

Credit cards

PayPal

Google Pay

Google Pay

Bitcoin

cash

Cash

 

How does the price of ProtonVPN compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 3 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
ProtonVPN - $4-24 $5-30
ExpressVPN - $6.67 $12.95
NordVPN $3.49 $6.99 $11.95
Surfshark - $5.99 $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $2.75 $5.99 $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - $6.49 $10.00
ZenMate $1.64 $4.49 $9.99
Perfect Privacy - $9.99 $12.99

 

ProtonVPN is characterized by having extra protected servers in a special data center in Switzerland. Its peculiarity is that it is buried 1000 meters deep within a rock.

I cannot speak as to what cataclysms it can survive and whether it’s necessary to go at such length but, at the very least, it’s reliable. The fact that ProtonVPN owns these servers plays a much bigger role in reality because it prevents third-party access to the extra protected data.

Other locations are the same as those of different VPNs.

As for the speed, it depends on the location but is generally good.

The Swiss jurisdiction, although not perfect, is unlikely to cause any problem for the users. Additionally, the provider doesn’t keep logs.

 

ProtonVPN - Swiss quality

 

More about ProtonVPN:

 


 

10. Perfect Privacy

 

Pros Cons
Apps for all platforms A long-term subscription of the fully-featured plan is pricier than competitors’
Unblocks streaming  
P2P/Torrenting  

 

Overview

The most expensive VPN on our Top 10 is Perfect Privacy. What do we get for its minimal price of $8.95 per month?

We get servers on a 1 Gb channel (though this fact doesn’t guarantee high speeds and I’ll explain why later), standard VPN protocols, and only 26 countries available.

Doesn’t sound too impressive, does it? However, the service also offers NeuroRouting technology, IPv6 support, tracking protection, and port forwarding.

 

 

Features

  • An undisclosed number of servers in 26 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption.
  • Hides the IP address.
  • Advanced methods of providing security and privacy.
  • Configuration on any device.

Prices and plans

Perfect Privacy has 3 tariffs:

  • $8.95 monthly on the 2-year subscription
  • $9.99 monthly on the 12-month subscription
  • $12.99 on the 1-month subscription

More than 60 payment methods are supported including cryptocurrency.

How does the price of Perfect Privacy compare to that of the other VPNs?

(the comparison is drawn to the same-length subscriptions of the other VPNs on our Top 10 list)

Provider 3 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
Perfect Privacy - $9.99 $12.99
ExpressVPN - $6.67 $12.95
NordVPN $3.49 $6.99 $11.95
Surfshark - $5.99 $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $2.75 $5.99 $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - $6.49 $10.00
ZenMate $1.64 $4.49 $9.99
ProtonVPN - $4-24 $5-30

 

The most peculiar thing about Perfect Privacy is its advanced privacy features. There are a few of them: the use of VPN server cascading and its automatic routing that takes the maximum efficiency into account (NeuroRouting), Stealth VPN, port forwarding, etc.

And they are really powerful functions!

But there are certain weaknesses as well:

The provider claims that it rents servers on a 1 Gb channel. However, it hardly assures high speeds. If 100 customers at once use such a server for torrents or video streaming, each of them will have a speed of no more than 10 Mbps. That’s why it’s not only the channel capacity but also the number of servers to distribute users between that is important.

Perfect Privacy doesn’t disclose the size of its technological infrastructure.

As to its software, its tests showed generally positive results. It’s a shame, though, that the full functionality is only available on desktops.

Therefore, this provider offers some advanced technologies but doesn’t quite reach the leaders’ level of technological infrastructure.

 

Perfect Privacy

 


 

VPN technology

Virtual Private Network  is a virtual network created over the existing network (for example, Internet) with the aid of special software and that connects the other devices of the network via a virtual channel (tunnel). Access to this tunnel is either impossible from the parent network or administered by the settings of the virtual network.

VPN technology

VPN consists of at least two devices (primarily connected to the parent network) and one of them is usually a server.

The technology allows protecting transmitted data efficiently due to any encryption standard. The most popular in 2020 is AES-128/256. It’s used when maximum protection is required.

VPN technology can:

  • Change your real IP address into a virtual one. The virtual IP address is the IP of the VPN server you use. All sites visited by a VPN user will see it.
  • Bypassing blocked sites. In case some sites are blocked in your network or country, VPN will help to gain access to them. An encrypted tunnel leads not to the site you want to visit but to a VPN server. That’s why a network filter doesn’t identify a user visiting a blocked site and doesn’t block it.
  • Data protection. 1/3 of Internet users say they stopped engaging in certain online activities because of privacy concerns. With a VPN, any inbound or outbound traffic, including the IPs of sites visited are protected. That’s possible because all data is encrypted and goes through the tunnel. Today’s encryption standards are unbreakable even by supercomputers.
  • Bypassing geo-restrictions. Thanks to changing an IP, you can gain access to geo-restricted content, for example, unblocking Netflix for any region.
  • Safe torrenting. It is no secret that torrenting is banned in many countries. A VPN can hide your network activities, including P2P connections.
  • Creating independent private networks of any complexity.
  • Providing connections between private networks, including other VPNs.

 


FAQs

FAQs

How to choose the best VPN?

You aren’t the first who asks this question. Users can’t understand on their own what VPN is the best. In fact, a user doesn’t even know what to look at and what to take into account. That’s why there are so many reviews on the network. ‘’Honest and unbiased’’.

So that we could answer this question, read the next two parts of this section.

Why isn’t free VPN included in your list?

Let’s compare the process of choosing a VPN and choosing a rental car. Let’s say that you have never done it before.

What will you start with?

The first thing that comes to your mind is going to a rental place and speaking with its consultants.The first thing that comes to your mind is going to a rental place and speaking with its consultants.

When we deal with VPN, that’s us, the authors of reviews. We have long-term experience of using different cars VPNs.

So, you will be asked what cars you prefer. You’ll answer: ‘’What’s the difference?’’ They say to you: ‘’In prices and opportunities’’. ‘’Really?''  - you’ll be offended, - ‘’I need a car for free!’’. You’ll be sent to the bus stop. And they will be right.

Now imagine a bus travel on dirt roads

Now imagine a bus travel on dirt roads; it’s rush hour, and you are constantly shown different ads; the bus stops from time to time. There are few routes, and buses simply don’t go to many locations.

And now imagine you are going in a speedy comfortable sedan along a wide smooth road. You can arrive at any location; the speed is much higher; music is without ads.

The difference between a free and good paid VPN is the same. Using a free VPN, you are limited in speeds, choosing locations, you watch ads, minimum security or VPN simply doesn’t run when you need it.

So what means of transport VPN is better?

  • fast;
  • reliable and secure;
  • convenient;
  • anonymous;
  • able to perform your unique tasks;

In reality, we haven’t found such free VPNs (to find out more, read what users say about free VPNs on Reddit).

What tasks does VPN perform?

When choosing an ideal VPN service, you have to define what tasks you need to perform.

Here is the list of all opportunities of VPN services:

1. Masking your geo-location (hiding your IP and DNS).

2. Data protection – encrypting and tunneling of information to bypass devices that can intercept it. (For example, in public Wi-Fi networks criminals can intercept your logins, passwords, and other sensitive information; your Internet Service Provider (ISP) probably collects and keeps information about all sites you visit; in some countries, the authorities can monitor your activities on the Internet).

3. Privacy Policy (No logs are kept on servers, no registration).

4. Unblocking sites on the Internet (Bypassing geo-restrictions and censorship).

5. Bypassing geo-restrictions of streaming services (For example, watching Kodi or US Netflix from other countries, and others.)

6. Anonymity when using torrents (P2P).

If you know about these opportunities, you can ask an exact question and make a decision. We’ll answer them one by one.

 

What VPN is the best for hiding IP address?

Masking IP address is the main opportunity of Virtual Private Network. But the best ones are those VPN providers who have developed apps to prevent:

  • IP leaks (via WebRTC technology and IPv6).
  • DNS leaks (via DNS requests from your computer to the DNS server of your Internet Service Provider and further to the network).
  • leaks of your geo-location when a connection to a VPN server is dropped (Kill Switch technology).

The VPNs from our list hide the user’s IP to the maximum.

 

What VPN is the best for data protection?

Another major opportunity of VPNs is encrypting traffic. The best ones are those VPN providers which:Here is the list of all opportunities of VPN services:

  • Encrypt data with the most advanced methods (As a rule, it’s AES encryption).
  • Pass it via a VPN tunnel created based on the best technology (OpenVPN or IPsec).

In this guide, we collected VPNs only with AES-encryption and OpenVPN or IPsec tunneling protocols.

 

What VPNs are better for privacy?

The protection of clients’ personal data is not limited in masking IP addresses. It’s obvious that the VPNs at least know about your geo-location and what sites you visit. Good VPNs don’t have to keep this kind of information about you.

Unfortunately, we can’t directly influence it. In most cases, we have to trust everything we are promised. That’s why you need to carefully read the Terms of Service.

Besides, there are 2 factors that influence (but not directly) whether the service keeps logs about users’ activities or not.

Jurisdiction. Depending on the laws of the country where a VPN provider is registered, it may be obliged to collect and hide logs in a transparent or secret way. That’s why if confidentiality is important to you, we don’t recommend using VPN services located in 14 eyes.

Background of a VPN service. Mass media sometimes publish reports about VPNs that are suspected of compromising their users’ data. (Such services aren’t included in our VPN list.)

Important: Free services always collect and keep all possible information about you with the purpose of maximum efficiency of advertising or selling it to advertising networks and other third parties.

 

What VPN is the best for unblocking sites?

On the one hand, any VPN that hides your IP can bypass blocking. But in practice, there are 2 factors that are too much for some VPNs.

1. There are many resources containing blacklists of proxy servers and IP-addresses of free and some paid VPN providers.

2. Sites are often blocked by the authorities, and they use special devices to monitor connections to VPN and block them. There is such a problem, for example, in China and Egypt. It is more difficult to find a VPN that works in China, and similar countries (or doesn’t work, like GreenVPN).

To consider the 2 factors, you need to analyze hundreds of reviews left by users who faced problems with unblocking. We have done it instead of you, but we can’t guarantee that the situation won’t change while the review is published.

 

Is using VPN legal everywhere?

Millions of people and companies have been using VPN for many years. The technology itself is legal and used everywhere, but there are countries where it’s banned to use VPN for bypassing censorship, for example, in the UAE or China.

VPN plays an important role in many companies’ security, including state-owned ones, that’s why this technology is going to be developed and widely used, including the countries where VPN is ‘’banned’’.

In China, the UAE, Oman, Iran, and Russia you can also use VPN approved by the government, but you won’t see the ones with servers located abroad on the list.

In Egypt VPNs aren’t banned, they are technically blocked.

 

What is OpenVPN?

It seems that OpenVPN is the best protocol today. It’s implemеnted on the basis of OpenVPN software and many virtual networks are based on it. It’s commercial open-source software developed by James Yonan according to a free GPL license.

OpenVPN allows you to apply the latest encryption standards, three types of authenеntication, hardware acceleration, data contraction, it works with computers located out of NAT, supports TCP and UDP transport, and etc.

OpenVPN is easy to be launched on any port that allows masking it, for instance, for https traffic. Many VPN services using this protocol allow choosing TCP or UDP and a port that will be used to connect a device.

Thanks to an easy VPN setup and configuration of the server part, it’s considered that public VPN services based on OpenVPN are safer than the ones using other protocols that require more advanced skills.

What are the specialties of OpenVPN?

OpenVPN pros:

  • High efficiency;
  • While using VPN services, the highest possible number of locations is available (PPTP and L2TP can be not on all servers);
  • Support of almost all data protection standards (encryption) as it applies the OpenSSL library. Further, we’ll tell about data encryption in details;
  • An opportunity to be installed on most Internet-enabled devices (many routers have a built-in feature of OpenVPN support);
  • Due to an open-source nature, all vulnerabilities are eliminated.;

OpenVPN cons:

  • In most cases, additional software is required for its work (it is not built in Windows, macOS, or Linux. It’s not a disadvantage while using VPN services that offer their VPN apps with the built-in OpenVPN software.

Due to its easy setup, multitasking, flexibility, reliability and opportunity to create its own protocols, OpenVPN is a good choice for a modern VPN.

 

What is IPsec (IKEv2)?

IPsec is a set of protocols and authentication methods developed for data protection just at the dawn of the Internet. It is often used on the basis of the built-in functions of operating systems.

It has a lot of modifications. Today the IKEv2 protocol, which is IPSec with the definite set of key exchange algorithms according to Diffie-Hellman, is widespread.

IPsec/IKEv2  is considered to be fast, modern (developed in 2005, updated in 2014) and with correct configurations, it is a VPN protocol with good protection. It’s believed that IKEv2 doesn’t overload a processor too much that’s why it is good for mobile devices.

Still, a great number of parameters makes it is more difficult to configure the security of IPsec/IKE than of OpenVPN. It’s a hidden risk of using VPN with IPSec.

IPSec is available on all platforms even without additional software.

What are the specialties of IPsec?

IPsec pros:

  • High efficiency;
  • IPsec is available on all platforms without additional software;
  • Support of modern encryption standards;
  • Reliability;
  • The processor is used efficiently.

IPsec cons:

  • IKEv2 is not supported by iOS <9 versions, and IKEv1, which is supported by them, is considered to be out of date;
  • Works only with UDP which can be blocked by an ISP/administrator;
  • Doesn’t have an open source, so it’s not used for creating ‘’invisible’’ custom protocols.

Thus, IPsec is a modern multifunctional set of protocols applied in VPN as encryption and IKE key exchange algorithm technologies in the tunneling mode on the network level. It’s a non-commercial product that’s why it’s built in all operating systems. It’s efficient for a processor but used only with UDP.

IPSec is widespread on Apple devices.

 

What is PPTP?

PPTP is a standard VPN protocol of the Point-to-Point type which was developed by Microsoft and primarily used on PC and Android.

The distinctive feature of PPTP is its simplicity which is good for its speed and processor load.

It’s believed that PPTP is vulnerable. In 1999 it was hacked for 2 hours, and in 2019 it was for 23 hours. Even Microsoft recommends using another VPN protocol.

What are the specialties of  PPTP?

PPTP pros:

  • Major distribution;
  • High-speed performance;
  • Low requirements for processors.

PPTP cons:

  • Numerous vulnerabilities detected;
  • Apple devices don’t support it.

The use of PPTP is reasonable when the data you transfer doesn’t require reliable protection. The protocol is fast and doesn’t require strong computational performance.

PPTP is not built in iOS and Mac that’s why it is not used for them.

 

What is L2TP?

One of the first protocols that were used for virtual private networks was L2TP. It’s based on PPTP and has no disadvantages as PPTP has. Still, the structure of L2TP is more complicated and it requires two simultaneous connections on different ports (one connection is managed by another which serves for data transmission. What is more, one of the ports is permanent, which makes L2TP easier to detect and block.

L2TP can work in the IP, ATM, Frame Relay and X.25 networks. It’s believed that the use of L2TP in commo VPNs of the client-server type is not reasonable as it doesn’t work at capacity and its efficiency and security are worse than it is with OpenVPN and IPsec/IKEv2.

L2TP doesn’t encrypt the data transferred that’s why it’s used along with IPsec. This increases the processor load and makes it hard to implement.

Two simultaneous ports and compatibility with IPSec require additional ways to protect the process of authentication and synchronization. That’s why it’s more vulnerable than other protocols.

What are the specialties of L2TP? (for a common VPN)

L2TP pros:

  • Built in major operating systems;

L2TP cons:

  • Requires more computational performance than OpenVPN or IKEv2;
  • Uses two simultaneous connections on two different ports;
  • Port used;
  • Considered to be very secure.

The use of L2TP is reasonable when you need to implement a complicated structure of interaction of some networks and a client with each other or the Internet. It’s not recommended to use it for a common VPN because of the vulnerabilities detected.

 

WireGuard

WireGuard is a new protocol that has amazing capacity and simple configurations.

WireGuard as OpenVPN is a free commercial product published according to the GPL license. It was developed as OpenVPN and IPsec are too complicated for using them for a traditional client-server VPN.

The developers of WireGuard managed to implement the functionality in 4000 lines. OpenVPN and IPsec have 100 times more lines.

The distinctive feature of WireGuard is the operation in the Linux server. Combined with a simple code, it has fantastic speeds and minimal processor load.

Today the project is funded by Private Internet Access that is going to add this protocol in the future. ProtonVPN is also interested in developing it. WireGuard is also known on the higher level.)

Today such providers as Mullvad, AzireVPN, VPN.AC, IVPN, and WireVPN apply it.

What are the specialties of WireGuard?

WireGuard pros:

  • High efficiency;
  • Maximum speed;
  • Simple in use.

Cons WireGuard:

  • Rarely offered by;
  • No final secure version which is proven.

As it is not widespread, WireGuard is considered to be invisible for most filters (for example, the Chinese firewall). Still, there is no final version of this protocol and its full security is not proven.