The best VPN service 2021 | TechRadar
A VPN helps to make you more anonymous online, encrypts your internet use and lets you effectively trick your laptop or mobile device into thinking it’s in another location it’s the versatility of the best VPNs that have made them such a game-changing bit of kit for laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, streaming devices, smart TVs – even games you’re already in the know about what VPNs are and so, this is the place to discover mini reviews of the best VPNs in 2021 following our most recent round of in-depth testing… 2021’s best VPN services1. ExpressVPN – best VPN service in the world
ExpressVPN just can’t be knocked off its perch at the head of the top VPN table. It ticks all of the boxes: fast server connections, serious security smarts, ridiculously easy to use, ace customer support – even free cloud backup thrown in. It’s the very best around and you can try it for 30-days risk-free.
View Deal2. NordVPN – the biggest name in the business
NordVPN is jam-packed with features, unblocks loads of streaming services and boasts extra privacy perks like ‘Double VPN’ security and an independently audited no-log policy. And despite the quality on offer, the pricing gets really reasonable if you sign up for a multi-year plan.
View Deal3. Surfshark – easy to use VPN that’s great value
If you’re more concerned about grabbing a bargain than going for the all out best above, then Surfshark should be on your shortlist. From just $2. 50 USD/£2/$AU3. 50 per month it’s a fantastic, premium option that’s super simple to use and has become a TechRadar favorite.
View DealWhile if you’re entirely new to the world of VPN services, you’ve come to the right guide. Here, you’ll get a full explainer of what they are, what they do, how they work and why they’re such handy, affordable everyday tools for your computer, smartphones and is a VPN? VPN is short for ‘virtual private network’ and is a piece of software that allows you to use the internet via secure, encrypted many, getting a VPN service will be all about privacy. You may want to use them to help keep your online life completely anonymous from prying eyes of your ISP (handy for keen torrenters) or even your because the best VPNs also let you change your IP address to one in a completely different city or country, these services have taken on a much wider use. VPNs are fantastic for streamers, for example, who want to have access to a whole world of shows and films, or want to watch a sporting event somewhere you ordinarily can’ if you’re on holiday and find your favorite app is banned (think about some of the internet censorship in Cuba, Turkey, China – even Canada), an online VPN will let you use the internet in the way you’ve become you’ll find handy VPN reviews of all the best services on the market – with services like Netflix and states such as Russia getting increasingly aggressive against VPNs, it’s imperative to know which provider is strongest. While further down the page there’s stacks more information about the best VPN services of 2021 in full:(Image credit: ExpressVPN)1. ExpressVPN The outright best VPN service for speed, privacy and unblockingWorks on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 3, 000+ | Server locations: 160 | Countries: 94 | Maximum devices supported: 5Top marks across the boardEasy to run on almost any platformEnterprise-level encryptionSpeedy VPN servers in 90+ countries Superb 24/7 live customer support Fewer simultaneous connections than someSome recent controversyGet TechRadar’s #1 rated VPN risk-free and with 3 months extra freeWhen we completed our latest round of in-depth VPN reviews this year ExpressVPN once again came out on top of the pile. It impressed in every test we threw at it and the 5-star rating we’ve given the VPN service is testament to the fact it can barely be improved let’s get in to some specifics. It starts well right from the off, as you you’ll immediately note that ExpressVPN gives you the choice of over 3, 000 servers in 160 locations across 94 five simultaneous connections will be more than enough for most subscribers (although most other VPN services on this list to permit more) and in addition to fantastic apps on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux (and dedicated extensions for Chrome and Firefox), it’s also really easy to use on the likes of Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, smart TVs, PlayStation, Xbox and routers, service already used industry-standard encryption and a choice of various other protocols (including IKEv2, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec) to keep your data safe. But perhaps most exciting is that it has now begun rolling out its very own Lightway protocol that seeks to increase speed and reliability even away from the numbers and specifications, it’s in our real-life testing where ExpressVPN really shines. For starters, it’s fast. Really fast, with fantastic connection speeds across servers in multiple countries. And that’s even when we’re using the default OpenVPN protocol in our tests – they get even quicker with the aforementioned Lightway option turned also love just how easy to use this service is. That might seem obvious, but not every VPN provider out there has worked out how to make its tools intuitive, regardless of what device you’re using it on. From desktop and mobile, to TV streamers and browser extensions, ExpressVPN is a doddle to set up and operate for both pros and inexperienced users. For many people looking for a VPN, it all comes down to how good a service is at unblocking banned websites/services and getting around TV streaming hurdles. So we check to see whether they can unblock geo-restrictions that stop you watching services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and Disney+ from abroad – ExpressVPN unlocks them all without a hint of terms of additional features, ExpressVPN goes above and beyond. Bitcoin payments, P2P support, kill switch, DNS leak protection, solid and reliable performance and a clear no-logging policy that’s been verified by independent auditors. It’s all ’s really worth knowing about this VPN provider’s excellent levels of customer support. Its support website is stuffed with detailed guides and tutorials to get you up and running. And if you do have any trouble, 24/7 live chat support is on hand to answer your questions. It really works, too – we got a helpful response from a knowledgeable support agent within a couple of minutes of posting our ankly, we don’t mask the fact of how highly we rate ExpressVPN. It’s very simple… it is the best VPN you can get in virtually every scenario. That said, it would be remiss of us not to talk about ExpressVPN’s rather exciting few days in August 2021. First, it announced that it had been acquired by Kape Technologies, the company that owns CyberGhost and PIA below and has a somewhat chequered history. Then it was revealed that its CIO had been fined for previous hacking allegations. TechRadar’s initial view is that neither incident feels particularly major – although we can see why they could call the provider’s trustworthiness in to question – but we’ll naturally be keeping a vey close eye on things as/if the stories way, you can always take advantage of ExpressVPN’s quibble-free 30-day money back guarantee that you can use like a free trial – not that we imagine you’d need to use the best overall VPN 2021 with 3 months FREE
Our #1 recommended VPN is the one we use ourselves. And the great news is that TechRadar readers get three extra months free when they sign up for an annual plan, as well as a year’s access of unlimited Backblaze cloud backup (worth $60). Plus, you can also give it a try with a 30-day money back guarantee.
View Deal2. NordVPN The biggest name in VPNs is a very close secondWorks on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 5, 100+ | Server locations: 80+ | Countries: 59 | Maximum devices supported: 6NordLynx protocol is a game changerUnparalleled security smartsBrilliant at unblockingSome great value subscription optionsUser experience could still be improvedNordVPN’s current product matches or beats virtually all of the competition in just about every area. When it comes to our overall title for the best VPN, ExpressVPN should watch its back! For starters, the levels of security NordVPN has to offer have been impressing us for some time now. While it too offers AES-256 as standard, you also have the option to turn on its Double VPN system where all your internet traffic is encrypted not once, but twice. Handy to know where your internet anonymity is paramount like when you’re on public Wi-Fi or, perhaps, actually bests ExpressVPN on pure server count, cranking things up to an eye-watering 5, 000 (in roughly 60 countries) and it allows for one more simultaneous connection at its main competitor above, other features include strong DNS leak protection, kill switches (application-specific and system wide), proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers, and payment options that include Bitcoin, PayPal and credit cards. And it is also strong on unblocking Netflix and other services – although Brits abroad do have to resort to a workaround to access steps to take are all explained out in one of NordVPN’s myriad troubleshooting articles. Not only are they plentiful, these guides are also really useful. And there’s always chatbot and excellent live customer support on hand 24/7 if you’re still also have a lot of love for Nord’s dedication to putting the tarnishing news of historic data breaches behind it. It now brings in PricewaterhouseCoopers to carry out a thorough audit of its no-logging policy every year’s introduction of the provider’s custom NordLynx protocol was certainly eye-catching. It has helped to make Nord’s connection speeds even faster and more reliable, even from servers that are further afield. That said, this is one category where Express pips it to the we have one other quibble, it would be with the user experience that NordVPN supplies. Just little things like the destination cities not being listed in alphabetical order or searching through menus for specialist task functions left us wishing for tweaks. That’s especially the case when it comes to its otherwise effective mobile apps. But, these are pretty minor minus points and, as with any reviews you’ll find on the internet, we understand that this ultimately comes down to personal rdVPN has a few options available included monthly subscriptions and an excellent value two-year special offer. If you want to give the service a whirl before you commit, NordVPN provides a 30-day money back guarantee. 3. Surfshark One of the best value swimmers in the ocean of VPN servicesWorks on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 3, 200 | Server locations: 100+ | Countries: 65 | Maximum devices supported: UnlimitedEye-catching priceUnlimited devices coveredA dream to useExcellent unblockingLacks the speeds of the top threeSome functionality missingSurfshark is a VPN service we really like and with a couple of very attractive ‘ll come on to features, spec and the like in a moment. But there’s no getting away from the fact that the main draw here is Surfshark’s scarcely believable pricing. Sign up to its annual plan and the effective monthly cost comes in at less than $2. 50 USD / £2 GBP / $3. 50 that’s for unlimited connections, too. So if you plan to use your VPN on your laptop, desktop (compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux), tablet, a couple of mobile phones (iOS and Android both covered) and Amazon Fire TV Stick for watching overseas TV, the one account will cover you on all of them simultaneously. And theoretically you could even let friends and family members use your sub, the success of this VPN isn’t exclusively based on cost. We’d also let Surfshark’s laid-back and playful branding take some of the credit, which helps to make a potentially scary sounding bit of software look like a really user-friendly you’re somebody who is easily bamboozled and, ultimately, put off by complicated menus and myriad options, Surfshark – like ExpressVPN above – could be the ideal VPN for you. It keeps its interface completely stripped back and free from complication. All you’ll really see are options for ‘Quick connect’ and ‘All locations’, accompanied by a Settings icon, and nothing else at all really. Whether that level of detail (or lack thereof) is a boon or a drawback entirely depends on your all said, when it comes to keeping you and your online identity secure, Surfshark is all business. It has now added the new protocol in town WireGuard to its OpenVPN UDP and TCP and IKEv2 options. In addition, Surfshark boasts a private DNS and an extra security blanket via a double VPN hop. And we found it successfully gets to grips with unblocking geo-restricted access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+ and rfshark offers a 30-day money back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to give it a try before committing for a longer where does it lose marks? Not too many places, but competition is tough these days – especially when Express and Nord have managed to improve their server speeds so substantially, while Surfshark’s have remained merely ‘good’. But it always feels like Surfshark is trying to raise its game, and in May 2021 it let independent security consultants Cure53 complete a security assessment to “to thoroughly examine and evaluate the security posture exposed by the Surfshark server” – it ultimately confirmed that there was “a very solid security premise at Surfshark” we’d certainly say that a place in the top three out of the 200+ VPNs we’ve reviewed isn’t bad going, and the above considerations are unlikely to put off the bargain hunters among you. (Image credit: Hotspot Shield)4. Hotspot Shield Massively improved VPN service that has some of the fastest speedsWorks on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 45 days | Number of servers: 1, 800+ | Server locations: 110+ | Countries: 80+ | Maximum devices supported: 5Rapid connection speedsSuper-easy to useBetter and better for streamingExcellent exclusive pricingiPhone app could be improvedWould welcome more privacy peace-of-mindHotspot Shield is a premium package gives you full access to 1, 800+ servers in more than 80 countries, support for connecting up to five devices, 24/7 customer support and, of course, absolutely no ads at all. It’s yet more evidence that taking the plunge and paying just a few dollars a month gets you a far superior VPN experience – especially when you read more below about its exclusive pricing just for TechRadar, some of those specs on paper are fairly unspectacular in the context of what some other providers give. But it’s what our in-depth testing revealed that really stands out – and that’s pure speed. If your main consideration when picking a VPN is speed (perhaps you’re a gamer, streamer or torrenter) then Hotspot should be towards the very top of your rformance was a big highlight in our tests, with Hotspot Shield’s proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol helping to deliver some of the fastest and most consistent download speeds we’ve seen and an average of 360-380Mb when using US or UK servers. Speeds remain high to some of the most distant locations, too. Exclusive price: sign up from just $2. 49 / £2. 29 per monthAs well as being able to run the service on devices where you can use its native Windows, Mac, Android or iOS apps, Hotspot has added functionality to support use on routers, Linux and TV streamers, too. A SmartVPN feature – that let’s you select websites on which the VPN will be bypassed – is another welcome addition, especially if you only really wanted to keep your VPN on when shopping, banking, streaming, just want a VPN to help you stream more and varied content? Then this is another area that Hotspot really impresses. In our testing, we found that this service is pretty much on a par with Express and Nord when it comes to unblocking geo-restricted apps and services. So from watching foreign Netflix catalogs, to accessing HBO Max from outside the US, to using social media apps that your school or office might block, Hotspot Shield is a reliable Hotspot uses 2021 to bring in some independent auditors to verify its logging practices, we’d be happier still. Especially as the provider does admit to logging VPN sessions, bandwidth, domains accessed and IP addresses. All of these are reasoned out on Hotspot’s website, but we’d welcome an auditor’s view on things. There’s also room for improvement on its iOS app, which just doesn’t quite match the high quality desktop or Android bscribe for more than just a month at a time, and Hotspot Shield becomes one of the best priced premium VPNs on the market. And if you try it and still aren’t impressed, then there’s a generous 45-day money back guarantee that will let you get your money back without big with TechRadar’s exclusive pricing
You can try one of our current favorite VPNs for 45 days risk free to discover for yourself why we rate it so highly. The biggest savings kick in if you choose to sign up for three years, as it brings the effective monthly cost down to a mere $2. 49 USD / £2. 29 – a price you won’t find anywhere else on the webu0021
View Deal(Image credit: Private Internet Access)5. Private Internet Access A strong all-round VPN with a huge number of serversWorks on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 10, 000+ | Server locations: 100 | Countries: 78 | Maximum devices supported: 10So many serversu0021Feature-filled appsGood valueNo security auditWireGuard speeds inconsistent in our testingIt may not be quite the fastest VPN, or the cheapest, or the most powerful, but Private Internet Access (often stylized as simply PIA) is still a likeable VPN provider with more than enough features to justify a place on your most notable claim of recent VPN reviews is a huge increase in PIA’s server count. It took things from a mediocre 2, 000ish to an almost unfathomable 30, 000+. The latest count we’re told is more like 10, 000, which still puts it way ahead of the rest when it comes to pure server sure sounds impressive, but it wouldn’t be worth a thing without the usability and security aspects. Fortunately, PIA offers a healthy mix of privacy features and security protocols (including WireGuard) – this extends to its first rate Chrome extension, which adds in the option to block location access, third-party cookies, website referrers and more. Whether you’re intending to use your VPN mostly on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux or maybe a mix, they’re all reliable, easy to use, with more features than most. That’s not just us saying that either, as the user reviews on the App Store and Play Store are generally really positive. And there’s support here for up to 10 simultaneous connections, so it’s easy to cover pretty much all of your devices on one reasonable subscription. Speaking frankly, in its current state PIA will never get near featuring on our list of the fastest VPNs. It isn’t the slowest around and won’t significantly hold you up for most ‘normal’ web activity. But for gamers looking for an edge, streamers who hate the merest hint of buffering and torrenters not wanting to hang around, maybe you should go from one of the better/faster options on this PIA still does plenty to stand out from the crowd and the pricing beats a lot of the competition – often throwing in free extra months or additional security licences when you sign up for more than a year. (Image credit: CyberGhost)6. CyberGhost Feature-packed clients and impressive configurabilityWorks on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 45 days | Number of servers: 7, 000+ | Server locations: 105+ | Countries: 91 | Maximum devices supported: 7Desktop apps have plenty of featuresExcellent performance levelsTorrents are supportedThe odd streaming hiccupNo auditVPN service CyberGhost has been a firm favorite of ours for some time now, and it’s no surprise that it has a user base of over ten million subscribers. The company covers the basics well, with more than 7, 000 servers spread across 90-odd countries, apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, torrents allowed and speedy live chat you’re somebody who will largely be using your VPN on a Windows desktop or laptop, that’s where CyberGhost really shines. Beneath its clean, easy to follow interface lies a sea of fantastic features and functionality. It will quickly connect you to the right server for you if you’re specifically looking to stream or torrent, for extra touches like its Smart Rules panel shows that the engineers at CyberGhost have really put some thought into the user experience. It allows you to automatically connect to your preferred server launch a particular app (such as your default browser in incognito mode) when you boot up your computer. A genuinely useful added need to spend just a bit of time mentioning the speeds CyberGhost demonstrated in our most recent tests. Even before we jumped on the WireGuard protocol, we witnessed some connection speeds that give the likes of NordVPN and ExpressVPN a run for their money. Although further afield (like in New Zealand), these began lagging behind a unblocking has historically been another string suit of CyberGhost’s, but it has been somewhat patchy in recent times. Yes, it can get around geo-restrictions on certain services like Netflix US and Disney+. But it can’t handle others like BBC iPlayer, nor can it get access to exclusive Netflix content in other regions like Canada and the with a meaty 45-day money back guarantee and fair pricing (especially if you’re willing to commit), CyberGhost is still well worth a closer look. With parent company Kape showing more and more ambition in this cybersecurity field, you should be in capable hands of an organisation that continually seeks to push the envelope. (Image credit: Shutterstock)7. Windscribe Reliable VPN service keeps improvingWorks on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu | 24/7 support: No | Trial period: N/A – free version available | Number of servers: 400+ | Server locations: 110 | Countries: 63 | Maximum devices supported: UnlimitedUnlimited device connectionsReliable security featuresSpeedy WireGuard protocol supportedFewer servers than competitionWhere’s the live chat support? Windscribe is a trusted name in the realm of VPNs and it delivers a high quality product with plenty going for it. You get clients for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux, for instance, as well as slick browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera extensions. A single subscription covers unlimited devices, too, so you can cover them all with reaming Netflix (in some regions), Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and YouTube via Windscribe was also possible. That makes the provider a sound option for streamers that want to watch overseas content or their own programming from abroad. While Windscribe seems to have put plenty of effort in to maintaining high VPN server speeds, network has locations in 110 cities spread across more than 60 countries, but its 400-odd servers in total are far fewer than what most other providers have on unfortunately, there’s no 24/7 support, so any questions you have might not get answered for a while. That seems like a big miss these days, with all of the big competition offering an on the spot advisor to pick up queries. Similarly, it’s high time it joined the likes of ExpressVPN and NordVPN and got an independent eye in to verify its privacy dscribe doesn’t tick every available box then, then, but the service does have a lot of interesting features. If you’re looking for a new VPN, use the free plan to find out what Windscribe can do for you. The free plan limits you to ten locations but gives you a generous 2GB-10GB data allowance a month. (Image credit: IPVanish)8. IPVanish A really solid VPN solution – but streamers should look elsewhereWorks on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 1, 600+ | Server locations: 75+ | Countries: 50+ | Maximum devices supported: UnlimitedOwns and manages its own serversPowerful, configurable appsReliable security featuresPatchy streaming unblockingBelow average speedsIPVanish has been a reliable performer in our VPN tests for years. The service has some impressive stats: 40, 000+ shared IPs, 1, 600+ VPN servers in 70+ locations, unmetered P2P traffic, unlimited simultaneous connections and 24/7 customer support. On the subject of support, we really like that you can access it directly from your Android or iOS app on ‘s something about IPVanish that just feels immediately comforting when you get started. It’s probably the reassuring graphs and charts in the desktop app that does it. But rest assured, it’s not just about looks as IPVanish has the security smarts (AES-256 encryption, kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection) to fit the bill as a great choice for the privacy the Android and iOS apps don’t seem to get updated or refreshed that often, there’s probably a good reason for that – they function really well. The Android VPN app is a particular feather in IPVanish’s cap, with more settings and options than most of the competition and the ability to really configure it to your ideal set the likes of Nord, Express and Hotspot all rolling out their own proprietary security protocols, IPVanish is beginning to look a little bit left behind in terms of modernisation and speeds as we plough on into the 2020s. It doesn’t even offer WireGuard yet. And our latest round of testing showed struggles to unblock Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and large swathes of Netflix shows, which makes it hard to wholeheartedly recommend if you’re looking to uncover a new world of content to overall, if you need its unbarred simultaneous connections or the power and configurability of its apps, take the plunge with this VPN service. And if somehow you end up unhappy you’re protected by a 30 day money-back guarantee. (Image credit: ProtonVPN)9. ProtonVPN A VPN that does things a little differentlyWorks on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu | 24/7 support: No | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 1, 200+ | Server locations: 55+ | Countries: 55 | Maximum devices supported: 5Loads of featuresFree plan with unlimited bandwidthImproving all the timeNot as fast as mostNo live chat support availableProtonVPN is a VPN service that continues to grow in terms of servers (almost doubling its network in the last year), making notable improvements to its clients and apps, and adding new features and all only adds to our opinion of a VPN provider that does things a little differently. There’s nothing revolutionary here, but the service does have plenty of appealing aspects to help it stand out from the crowd. And it’s even begun auditing its apps to show they comply with today’s rigorous privacy standards. On to your desktop clients next please, ‘s based in Switzerland – already feels safer, right? – and offers really stylish apps that are a joy to use and are enhanced by working kill switches and desktop-like features. Pay by Bitcoin, if you like, and enjoy solid P2P support for torrenting and a range of streaming services has also started to improve its streaming skills, too, becoming a reliable provider for getting around geo-restrictions when you’re abroad. It breezed past BBC iPlayer, aces Amazon Prime Video and netted us access to foreign Netflix catalogs without much trouble at all. Although it should be noted that this is only the case if you have a Plus subscription – you won’t get this kind of quality from its free or Basic all ProtonVPN’s plus points this year, it has begun lagging behind the rest when it comes purely to server speed, and it’s yet to adopt WireGuard to help it compete. And, like Windscribe above, it’s high time it hired a few customer support staff to answer queries readily at all times of the day. We also feel just a little bit irked that the 30-day money back guarantee works on a pro-rata basis – if you use it for 15 days, say, you’ll only get a 50% return. Feels like poor form, although at least Proton has a very useful free VPN if you do want to give it a try without any cost ProtonVPN isn’t perfect. It still doesn’t have that many servers or locations, and it’s quite expensive if you need all the features we’ve described here (though a basic plan costs less than $5 a month). This is a powerful and trustworthy service, though, and if that’s your top priority, we’d recommend you take a look. (Image credit: Future)10. StrongVPN Strong by on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 950+ | Server locations: 59 | Countries: 30+ | Maximum devices supported: 12Can be used on loads of devicesReally tempting cloud storage freebieWireGuard on all devicesVariable speedsFewer server options than mostWell you can’t accuse StrongVPN of being vague when it comes to its name. Unlike premium services such as CyberGhost and Windscribe, there’s no doubt left in anybody’s mind what StrongVPN is all the similarities with those bigger names doesn’t end there. StrongVPN offers a litany of protocols (L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, IPSec and IKEv2) including the super speedy WireGuard on all of its apps, and an impressive roughly 60, 000 VPN IP addresses. Outside sheer brawn, StrongVPN takes something of a minimalist approach, favouring strength over style. But what it does, it does with aplomb. For starters, you have to applaud the decision to include the ability to connect up to 12 of your devices at any one time. So that will cover your desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet, streaming device, a fair few if your primary aim is to find the perfect piece of software to help you stream all your favorite services, we found that StrongVPN easily unblocked streaming sites like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video from overseas (although we had no luck with BBC iPlayer) it comes up short in other areas – read up and down this page and the 900-odd servers, 50-something cities and 30 countries perhaps feels somewhat behind what the others on this list offer. And our latest set of speed tests weren’t overly encouraging either. But see for yourself – StrongVPN still has a lot going for it, as well as that familiar 30-day money back guarantee. And, as an extra added perk, it will throw in 250GB of free secure cloud storage from the reputable SugarSync when you sign up for one of StrongVPN’s already-reasonable annual plans. (Image credit: HMA)11. HideMyAss! (HMA) VPN A quality VPN from antivirus vendor AvastWorks on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, YouTube | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 1, 000+ | Server locations: 290+ | Countries: 210+ | Maximum devices supported: 5Huge breadth of server locationsReally handy live supportAudited no-log policyNot the service for streamersOnly basic online supportOf all the VPNs on this list, it’s HideMyAss! that tops the lot when it comes to server location numbers. It’s somehow scouted out servers in around 200 locations across more than 200 countries worldwide. And so while other providers might give you just a handful of locations outside Europe and North America, HideMyAss! manages 14 locations in the Middle East, 50+ in Africa, and more than 55 in Asia course server variation is far from everything (in fact, it’s a fairly minor ‘win’ in the grand scheme of things). but the jocular provider has been around a while now and is owned by reputable cybersecurity company Avast. It clearly takes privacy very seriously, and joins the list of VPN providers that have brought in independent auditors to confirm that it’s firing on all security apps are easy to use and cover the basics very well. You can use Hide
Best VPN Service of 2021 | The Top Virtual Private Networks
Our experts did the heavy lifting of testing out dozens of VPNs, and these services worked best.
We’ve all thoughtlessly joined a public Wi-Fi network before, whether it’s standing in line for coffee and checking our emails, hopping onto the subway’s public network to see if it was still raining or logging into the library’s Wi-Fi to catch up on some work. But browsing the web on public Wi-Fi networks is not the safest practice when it comes to digital security. It actually makes it much easier for hackers to access your device, which could lead to some of your sensitive information being stolen, like usernames, passwords, bank account information, and so on. Fortunately, VPNs encrypt your web traffic in a tunnel and replace your IP address, making it safe to join public Wi-Fi networks. We’ve tested out dozens of VPNs for their speed and security, and here are our top recommendations.
Fortunately, VPNs encrypt your web traffic in a tunnel and replace your IP address, making it safe to join public Wi-Fi networks. We’ve tested out dozens of VPNs for their speed and security, and here are our top recommendations.
With over 2, 000 servers in 148 locations around the world, ExpressVPN’s large network ensures fast speeds, wherever you are. They do not keep track of what users do online or their private IP addresses.
Eight million people use NordVPN to encrypt their web activity on up to six devices at a time. Torrenting and Netflix restrictions are no match for NordVPN, a great option for entertainment and streaming.
IPVanish will replace your devices’ IP addresses with one of over 40, 000 new ones, making you untraceable online. With access to ESPN, HBO, MLB TV, and NBC Sports, entertainment and sports fans will appreciate the flexibility that they have with IPVanish.
PureVPN is one of the best VPNs for travel, with more than 6, 500 servers in over 180 countries including the U. K., Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Based out of Romania, CyberGhost can never be legally forced to share user data. Shared with thousands of other users, our IP addresses were untraceable when we connected to the CyberGhost VPN.
Hotspot Shield works with macOS, iOS, Android, and Windows devices, with up to five allowed per subscription. Their 45-day money-back guarantee takes the risk out of purchasing a yearly or even a monthly plan.
Protect your Zoom calls with this Switzerland-based VPN, which only collects your email address and payment information, not your web activity or IP address.
Mac-users in particular will appreciate Surfshark for its fast speeds; when we tested it we saw a difference in latency of only two percent with the VPN connected and not connected.
Private Internet Access is one of the only VPNs that lets you choose your encryption method based on whether you want speed, safety, or both.
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The Best VPN Service for 2021
ExpressVPN – Best VPN Overall
NordVPN – Best Encryption
IPVanish – Best VPN for Android
Ivacy VPN – Most Affordable VPN
PureVPN – Best VPN For Travel
CyberGhost – Best VPN for Mac
Hotspot Shield – Best VPN for Netflix
ProtonVPN – Best VPN for Zoom
Surfshark – Best VPN for Torrenting
Private Internet Access – Best VPN for Windows
Norton Secure VPN – Best VPN With Dynamic IP Addresses
Comparison of the Best VPNs
Private Internet Access VPN
Norton Secure VPN
Best for Android
Most Affordable VPN
Best VPN for Travel
Best for Mac
Best for Netflix
Best VPN for Zoom
Best for Torrenting
Best for Windows
Best with Dynamic IP Addresses
Maximum Monthly Cost
1 month, 6 months, 1 year
1 month, 1 year
1 month, 1 year, 2 years
1 week, 1 month, 2 years
Yes* on Windows, Android and Android TV only
Android and Windows Only
Yes but not in all regions
Yes *with uTorrent
Dynamic, shared with other users but can pay for dedicated address
Static, but dedicated available for $0. 99
Shared with other users
Dynamic or static
Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes Member?
Hotspot Shield Review
Private Internet Access VPN Review
Norton Secure VPN Review
A Detailed List of the Best VPNs
1. ExpressVPN – Best VPN Overall
It’s no big surprise that most of our digital security expert team members have iPhones; after all, we’re young and live in Brooklyn, where we’re constantly joining public Wi-Fi networks. ExpressVPN easily connected us with fast speeds, and with a kill switch, if our connection was lost, we were still protected. Aside from our iPhones, ExpressVPN also worked quite well on our Mac and Windows computers, and best of all, we could be on public and private networks at the same time, which came in handy when we were multi-tasking, which is pretty much all the time.
What We Like
No data retention laws
Great app ratings
Fast speeds on Windows
What We Don’t Like
No phone support
Slow speeds on Mac
Five simultaneous connections per subscription
No browser extension for Internet Explorer
When it comes to VPN software, OpenVPN is the gold standard, a crowdsourced option that’s being constantly updated to avoid surveillance. ExpressVPN defaults to OpenVPN, which required us to download third-party software. We agree with ExpressVPN when they say it’s the “ideal combo of speed, security, and performance”!
Strict Logging Policy
Of course, ExpressVPN didn’t keep our web traffic or activity, which is the most basic thing we expect from VPNs meant to give us privacy. But they also didn’t keep much more of our information than necessary; they only knew which app and version we used, when we used it, the server we connected to, and the amount of data we transferred in MB. Our traffic, metadata, and DNS queries weren’t logged, thankfully.
Sometimes when we were working, we had to be on a private and a public network simultaneously. With most VPNs, that meant switching off the connection when we had to access files on the public network, but that wasn’t the case with ExpressVPN. That’s because they have split tunneling, which let us access both networks simultaneously. Some of our traffic went through ExpressVPN’s encrypted tunnel, while some connected with the Internet directly like usual. We loved the convenience of split tunneling, which prevented us from having to do too much toggling.
2. NordVPN – Best Encryption
NordVPN has over eight million customers around the world making it one of the most popular VPNs, so we were excited to test it. Overall, it performed swimmingly; we used to it torrent films and watch TV on Netflix with pretty insignificant slowdowns. Plus, we love that NordVPN is based in Panama, a non-member of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes. Legally, the company can never be forced to hand over data, so NordVPN is a great choice for those concerned about privacy.
Non-member to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes
Strict logging policy
High app ratings
Static IP addresses
Hard to reach customer support
Kill switch doesn’t shut off all applications with iOS app
We loved watching Netflix from other countries on NordVPN; did you know that the TV shows and movie options are different depending on where you watch? NordVPN let us watch Netflix on Linux, Mac, or Windows computers. Or, if you want to watch on the go like we did, do so on Android or iOS devices; it also works on smart TVs and TV devices. But note that Netflix only works on servers from the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, or Japan, so it may not work for all users.
Double The Encryption
In our full NordVPN review, we go deep into its encryption methods. One of the things we liked most about NordVPN is its use of double-VPN, meaning that our web traffic was encrypted not once but twice through multiple servers. This is ideal for anyone super-concerned about privacy; activists, bloggers, journalists, or anyone working in a place filled with surveillance and censorship, we’re talking to you!
When we were testing out NordVPN, we signed up for a month, which cost us $11. 95. However, if we signed up for longer, we could’ve unlocked some amazing discounts. The monthly rates if we signed up for one year or two years would’ve gone down to only $6. 99, or $3. 99, respectively. That’s discounts of up to 75%! It pays to commit long-term, in sum.
3. IPVanish – Best VPN for Android
IPVanish worked really well on our Android devices, with strong encryption methods, great download speeds, and split tunneling, which really helped us out when we were working from home. Plus, unlike many other VPN companies on the market, IPVanish has really fantastic customer support, available 24/7 over email, phone, or live chat. This is a rarity, as most VPNs only have email support for a limited number of hours per week.
Fast download speeds
Up to 10 simultaneous connections
History of sharing customer logs
Based in United States
Not all servers work with Netflix
Slow speeds on Windows
While a kill switch doesn’t sound pleasant, it’s actually a pretty essential part of a VPN. We used IPVanish at the library one day, and when the VPN failed, all of our Web windows were closed automatically, ensuring that our IP address and web traffic weren’t exposed. This was a lot better than the alternative, although we had to reopen the windows that were “killed”. But when we were downloading large files and didn’t want to be interrupted even if the VPN failed, we simply turned the kill switch off.
Robust Customer Service
IPVanish wins when it comes to helping customers with problems, as well. Not only does it have 24/7 live chat and a comprehensive FAQ section, but also a phone line, a huge rarity for VPN companies. We got responses within five minutes, and other customers had similar experiences according to reviews on Amazon and Trustpilot, four out of five and 4. 6 out of five respectively.
User-Friendly iOS App
We’re constantly on public Wi-Fi networks on our iPhones, so we liked connecting to IPVanish from their iOS app. Connecting was super easy and intuitive, and we didn’t experience any bugs or glitches. Other IPVanish iPhone-users seemed to agree with us, as the app has a 4. 5 rating from over 42, 000 reviews at the App Store.
4. Ivacy VPN – Most Affordable VPN
Of course, Ivacy VPN protected us when we were surfing the web. Its strict logging policy ensured no one could gain access to our IP addresses or browsing histories. We expect that kind of service from a top-notch VPN, though. What we didn’t expect was how easy it was to stream Netflix and other content services from Ivacy VPN. Nor did we realize just how affordable Ivacy VPN would be. All in all, we had no complaints.
What We Liked
Affordable long-term subscriptions
What We Didn’t Like
Poor Mac app
Kill switch only for Mac and Windows
Relatively slow download speeds
Located in Singapore, a Five Eyes member
All VPN companies have to keep some information if only to conduct business. Ivacy VPN, though, keeps as little of our information as possible. Yes, it does keep our:
Crash event reports
Failed connection attempts
Aggregated bandwidth use
It would be hard to operate a successful VPN without this information, though. More important is what Ivacy VPN doesn’t keep:
As long as it’s not tracking any of this data, we feel pretty safe and secure.
Ivacy VPN Windows Screenshot
Netflix and Other Streaming Services
Not everyone understands why a VPN can be so useful for accessing Netflix. Sure, you can hide the fact that you’re a “Bridgerton” fan. More than that, though, a VPN lets you access streaming libraries from all over the world. It turns out Netflix Canada has a few titles we just don’t get here in the States. Just as good, when you’re overseas, you can pull up the U. S. library any time you want to. We were able to access way more streaming services than just Netflix though. In addition, we had access to:
That’s a lot of entertainment, all with one VPN.
Low Prices Plus Discounts
Ivacy VPN offers one of the lowest prices of any VPN on the market. That’s true especially when it comes to long-term subscriptions. For a single month of the service, we paid $9. 95, which is quite affordable when compared to other companies. Ivacy VPN also offers a one-year subscription that runs $3. 99 and a two-year subscription for $2. 25. If you’re willing to make a serious commitment though, you can sign up for five years for just $1. 16 a month.
As if those prices weren’t enticing enough, Ivacy VPN offers lots of deals and discounts throughout the year, whether it’s Christmas or Halloween, Boxing Day or the Fourth of July. Last year, it offered 87 percent off for Green Day. That’s a lot of savings options.
5. PureVPN – Best VPN For Travel
PureVPN is one of the best VPNs for travel, with more than 6, 500 servers in over 140 countries including the U. K., Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. This made it easy for us to travel without joining shady Wi-Fi networks and running into internet censorship. PureVPN hid our browsing history and IP address so we could be more anonymous online.
Over 6, 500 servers in more than 140 countries
Based in Hong Kong, a Five Eyes non-member
Torrenting doesn’t always work
Latency on Windows and Macs
No free trial
Huge Global Network
PureVPN has one of the largest global networks of servers and is available in more than 140 countries. Specifically, the VPN has servers in:
Servers and locations
147 in Manchester, 18 in Gosport, 399 in London, 3 in Maidenhead
128 in Sydney, 79 in Melbourne, 76 in Perth, 77 in Brisbane
24 in Paris, 18 in Roubaix
63 in Frankfurt, 54 in Munich, 12 in Nuremberg, 54 in Berlin, 18 in Hessen
316 in Amsterdam
90 in Madrid
110 in Tokyo
14 in Seoul
20 in Mexico City
142 in Singapore
United Arab Emirates
33 in Dubai
No wonder PureVPN is one of the best VPNs for Australia, the best VPNs for France, the best VPNs for Germany, and more.
While we were jet setting and connecting to international PureVPN servers, PureVPN hid our IP address, along with our browsing history. In fact, the VPN only collected our:
Total bandwidth consumed.
Everything we did online, on the other hand, was ours to keep. And since PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, a Five Eyes non-member, the company can’t be forced, legally, to give any of our information to the government. Add in some AES-256 encryption, the highest standard around, and PureVPN is certainly trustworthy when it comes to privacy.
PureVPN Kill Switch
Dedicated IP Address Available
With PureVPN, we got the same IP address every time we connected, shared with thousands of other PureVPN users. For some websites that recognize these shared IP addresses, that was an issue and we got blocked. That’s why we were happy that, in addition, PureVPN offers dedicated IP addresses for only $2. 91 a month with a two-year subscription. We were the only ones using this IP address, which made it easier for websites to remember who we were.
6. CyberGhost – Best VPN for Mac
CyberGhost has over 7, 300 servers in 91 different countries, so although we only tested it out in the United States, wherever in the world you are, you shouldn’t have trouble connecting. The company is based in Romania, not a member of those international surveillance networks we keep mentioning; plus, Romania as a country has almost no data retention laws of its own, making CyberGhost a great pick for privacy.
FYI: CyberGhost doesn’t have split tunneling, so if you’re connected, you’ll only be able to access private and not public networks.
Non-member to Five eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes
Great customer support
Thousands of servers around the world
No split tunneling
Slow performance on Windows
CyberGhost uses AES-256, which is the current industry standard when it comes to encryption. Whenever we connected, we got an anonymous IP address that we shared with other CyberGhost users on the same server. Combined with the encryption, we felt confident that our identities were hidden when we used CyberGhost to browse the Internet.
We’re always looking for a great deal, which is why CyberGhost appealed to us so much. While we signed up for a month for $12. 99, a pretty standard price compared to other VPNs, we could’ve signed up for six months or two years plus two free months. With these plans, our monthly rates would’ve gone down to $6. 39 and $2. 25, respectively, which is pretty incredible. Each subscription lets us connect to seven devices with unlimited data. Not too shabby!
Great Customer Support
We’ll be honest with you: most VPN companies seriously skimp when it comes to customer support, with few options available and unresponsive agents. However, CyberGhost doesn’t fit the mold in that respect. With 24/7 live chat, we got answers in just a few seconds, that is, if we couldn’t find what I was looking for in their extensive blog and FAQs.
7. Hotspot Shield – Best VPN for Netflix
When it came to Netflix-watching parties, Hotspot Shield had us covered with fast speeds on our Mac and Windows computers. We also didn’t experience huge delays or lags on Netflix when we used the app on our Android devices, which came in handy during commutes. Plus, Hotspot Shield has a free option for those that don’t want to spend money on a VPN; however, you’ll be limited to a daily data cap of 500 MB, which may make watching movies and TV shows on Netflix and other streaming services a bit difficult. We went with the monthly plan, which cost us $12. 99 a month, although there were cheaper options if we had signed up for one or two years.
Money Saver: To get discounts, sign up for long term-lengths; typically, one or two-year subscriptions are cheaper than monthly plans.
Five simultaneous connections
Based in U. S.
Unresponsive customer support
Keeps IP address
Regular Transparency Reports
Clearly, we don’t love the fact that Hotspot Shield is based in the United States. However, we were impressed that they have annual transparency reports to prove that they don’t hand over customer data, even when asked. In 2019, for example, they were asked to hand over users’ data 56 different times, refusing every time. Clearly, Hotspot Shield is dedicated to protecting users’ privacy, and their transparency reports prove that.
Free VPN for Android
They say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but with Hotspot Shield, there is a free option that works on Android. It has a bandwidth limit of 500 MB daily, which means it’s not ideal for watching Netflix or torrenting files, but for those quick Internet users searches, this option will work for many users. However, note that there will be ads, but they’re a small price to pay for a free VPN, in our opinion at least.
Hotspot Shield was one of the fastest VPNs we tested on our Windows and Mac computers. Download speeds decreased by 30% and 18% while upload speeds decreased by 0. 2% and 26% on Mac and Windows, respectively. Although the latency was a bit more than we would’ve liked, Hotspot Shield is a great option for torrenting files or watching Netflix.
8. ProtonVPN – Best VPN for Zoom
When it came to using Zoom and other meeting software, ProtonVPN had us covered with fast speeds on our Mac and Windows computers. Also, we didn’t experience huge delays or lags on Zoom when we used the app on our Android devices, which came in handy during the pandemic when we were working from home. Plus, ProtonVPN has a free option for those that don’t want to spend money on a VPN. There are no data limits with this free plan, but you can only connect through one device. We went with the monthly plan, which cost us $10 a month, although there were cheaper options if we had signed up for one or two years.
MONEY-SAVER: To get discounts, sign up for long term-lengths; typically, one or two-year subscriptions are cheaper than monthly plans.
Relatively high prices
Customer support limited to tickets
No browser support
Relatively few servers
ProtonVPN App on iPhone
We were impressed that ProtonVPN has annual transparency reports to prove that it doesn’t hand over customer data, even when asked. The company is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and isn’t subject to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or 14 Eyes surveillance agreements. Even so, we liked having additional proof that the company collects the bare minimum about us, only our email addresses, payment information, and timestamps. At our last check, the only significant activity on the transparency report was a 2019 data request for information from the Swiss courts. Since ProtonVPN doesn’t collect IP addresses or online activity about any of its users, it had nothing to turn over.
They say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but with ProtonVPN, there is a free option and it works with Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Linux. There are a couple of downsides to this free version, though. You can connect only through a single device, and there are only servers in three countries: the U. S., Japan, and the Netherlands. Still, the free version has no speed limits and no data limits, so you can Netflix to your heart’s desire.
Fast Upload Speeds
With more of us working from home than ever, we need fast upload speeds and low latency so our meeting software works smoothly. There’s nothing more embarrassing than when you laugh at someone’s joke but they don’t hear it until two minutes later. ProtonVPN was one of the fastest VPNs we tested on our Windows and Mac computers when it came to both upload speeds and latency.
Proton VPN Speeds
Upload speed difference, Macs
11 percent slower
Upload speed difference, Windows
4 percent slower
Download speed difference, Macs
87 percent slower
Download speed difference, Windows
42 percent slower
Latency speed difference, Macs
20 percent faster
Latency speed difference, Windows
10 percent faster
9. Surfshark – Best VPN for Torrenting
Surfshark made it easy for us to torrent and download movies and TV shows without fear of retribution. With unlimited devices per subscription, this VPN gave us a different IP address every time we connected, which makes tracing much harder; however, if we wanted to stick with the same IP address, that was an option as well. In addition to that, Surfshark is based in a country that’s a non-member to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes, and it allows for Netflix in addition to torrenting.
Based in Virgin Islands outside of surveillance alliances
Unlimited devices per subscription
Low costs with one or two-year subscriptions
30-day trial period
Have to set up kill switch manually on Windows
Not the fastest
Virgin Islands Location
Based in the Virgin Islands, Surfshark will never be forced to hand over customer data, as these islands aren’t members of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes. Although they’re a territory of the United Kingdom, the Virgin Islands are self-governed and have their own laws. Plus, they have no data retention laws of their own, and surveillance isn’t legal, even when it’s the government. It sounds like the perfect place to start a VPN company, in our humble opinion!
While we only connected to Surfshark from the good old U. S of A, they have options in over 60 countries, from Vietnam to Albania. In the U. S, there are servers in over 20 cities, including L. A, Chicago, Dallas, Boston; you get the picture. The closer we were to the server, the better our connection would be, so when it came to server locations from Surfshark, we were more than satisfied.
It’s no secret that we love streaming, and what was awesome about Surfhsark is that we didn’t have to try out a bunch of different servers to stream on different platforms. Let us give you an example. We were dying to watch National Treasure on Disney+, for obvious and Nick Cage-related reasons. Normally with VPNs, we have to try connecting from a few different servers before we find one that the streaming service hasn’t blocked, but Surfshark actually did that work for us, automatically finding the right server for the right streaming service. Aside from Disney+, we also streamed from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Spotify, and Youtube, although the VPN works with even more services. Learn more about the best VPNs for Youtube TV. Surfshark also works with Apple TV, making it one of the best VPNs for Apple TV, as well.
10. Private Internet Access – Best VPN for Windows
Fast on Windows
High app reviews
So-so customer support
Slow on Mac
Private Internet Access
Most VPNs didn’t give us many choices when it came to encryption methods, authentication modes, and handshakes, but Private Internet Access actually let us customize how their VPN worked. We had four options: the default, recommended protection, an option that was more focused on speed, an option more focused on security, and an option with no authentication whatsoever. While we went with the recommended option, we could see the other options being useful if we weren’t concerned about speed or security.
Dynamic IP Addresses
We got a new IP address every time we connected to Private Internet Access, which is definitely preferred over static IP addresses. That made us harder to trace, ensuring our anonymity online. Think of it like wearing a mask; if you wore the same mask every time, people would eventually start to catch onto your identity. With Private Internet Access, we got a fresh new mask every time we logged on, which kept any potential hackers guessing.
11. Norton Secure VPN – Best VPN With Dynamic IP Addresses
Norton, perhaps most famous for its LifeLock identity theft protection (read more in our LifeLock review) and its Norton antivirus software, also has a VPN, and it’s not half bad. Every time we connected to the macOS app, we got a different IP address, which made it difficult to trace us online. Since online anonymity is what we’re after, we were satisfied with this VPN app.
Different IP addresses every time you connect
10 devices maximum
Based in the U. S., a Five Eyes member
No split tunneling on iOS devices or Macs
Netflix isn’t available everywhere
Kill switch isn’t available on Macs, iOS or PC devices
How much does the Norton Secure VPN cost, you ask? Well, if you only sign up for a month on one device, it’s $4. 99. However, for 10 devices for a year, the cost is only $59. 99, which amounts to only about $0. 50 a per device per month. If you need a VPN for the whole family, this plan is incredibly affordable, one of the best VPN deals we’ve seen in a while (and that includes VPN Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, as well! ).
Maximum number of devices
Norton Secure VPN encrypted our web activity and hid our IP address using AES-256, the same encryption that the U. government and military use, so you know it’s secure. Beyond that, in some locations, the VPN encrypted our web activity and changed our IP addresses multiple times, a process called multi-hop or double hop. That made it that much harder to track us online, from our personal emails to the items we bought on Etsy. No one needs to know about our obsession with vintage cookie jars, after all.
Speed Test on Windows Without VPN
Speed Test on Windows With VPN
User-Friendly Mobile Apps
We all know that using a public Wi-Fi network directly is a great way to get hacked, which is why we always connect to a VPN like Norton Secure while we’re checking our phones in line for croissants. Fortunately, Norton does mobile apps well, specifically the Norton Secure VPN— Security & Privacy WiFi Proxy Android app and the Norton Secure VPN & Proxy VPN iOS app. After we downloaded the apps, we connected to nearby servers in seconds without any bugs or glitches. Other Norton customers agree with us, as the Android app has a 4. 4 rating and the iOS app has a 4. 2.
Aside from our best VPNs list that you’re currently reading, we’ve also reviewed the best VPNs for gaming, iPhones, and Androids, plus the best free VPNs and the best VPNs for Xbox. Most of the above VPNs are on these lists, along with a few other options that we tested out and liked.
We made a video review so you can see the VPNs for yourself! Watch it below or on our Youtube channel (and be sure to subscribe once you’re there).
What is a VPN? How VPNs Keep You Safe Online
VPNs, otherwise known as Virtual Private Networks, is a piece of software that allows users a “private” Internet connection, meaning that their web traffic and activity will be hidden in an encrypted tunnel and their IP addresses will be replaced. By connecting to private servers, people can make sure that their web traffic isn’t easily hackable for someone on the same public Wi-Fi network. Since all of their traffic will be encrypted, no one will be able to access the websites they’ve visited or your credentials like their usernames, passwords, financial account information, and other sensitive personally identifiable information (PII).
VPN Consumer Usage, Adoption and Shopping Study
conducted a study on how adults in the United States use and shop for VPNs, and we found some interesting bits of information:
Nearly half of respondents said that they used VPNs for general security reasons, while 40% said they use VPNs for general privacy.
38% of respondents between the ages of 45 and 60 said that their jobs paid for their VPNs, while only 14% of those aged 18 to 29 had their companies pay.
68% of the survey respondents say that they use a VPN, either free or paid, for personal or work use. Altogether, that’s about 142 million users in the U. S alone.
The survey also touched on VPN’s costs. The plurality of respondents, 28%, said that they paid anywhere from $5 to $10 a month for their V
Best fast VPN 2021: which provider is fastest? | Tom’s Guide
(Image credit: Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock)
A fast VPN is absolutely essential if you want to stay protected online without an adverse effect on your connection speeds. While the best VPN services should all be fairly speedy, torrenters, gamers and streamers won’t be satisfied unless they have the very fastest VPN on the ‘s worth noting that every VPN has an impact on your connection thanks to the simple fact your traffic is going further, so making sure that slow-down is as minimal as possible is a top priority. Without subscriptions to all the fastest VPN services yourself it’s impossible to test this, so that’s why we’ve put together this list to help you make an informed makes a great fast VPN? In this guide we’re prioritizing speed over everything else. However, every fast VPN service here will also deliver top-quality privacy and security too, so to max out your connection there shouldn’t be too many sacrifices to be those interested in the tech behind it, you’ll notice that most of the fastest VPNs use protocols other than OpenVPN. While the old favorite is still swift and reliable, new protocols like list-topper Hotspot Shield’s Catapult Hydra and the burgeoning WireGuard are leading the way in terms of sheer you’ve got a pretty standard Internet connection that tops out below 100Mbps, it’s unlikely you’ll notice any difference in speeds between the fast VPN services below – and in that case we’d recommend our overall best-rated VPN ExpressVPN. However, for those on ultrafast lines, there are a few other blistering options to pick from. 1. ExpressVPN – the best VPN overall is incredibly fast
If you need a fast VPN, we’d recommend ExpressVPN over all others. Its maximum speeds of over 600Mbps are more than enough, and as the full package it’s great for streaming and security. Plus, Tom’s Guide readers can now claim three months free.
View Deal2. NordVPN – an excellent choice for VPN speed
NordVPN’s introduction of the WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol has sent its speeds skyrocketing to up to 800Mbps in certain circumstances, which is seriously fast. Plus, excellent privacy features and additional functionality make it excellent value for Deal3. Hotspot Shield – very fast and simple to use
Hotspot Shield is super simple to use, and its incredible connection speeds are tough to beat. While a select few have managed to overtake its top speeds, it’s still well worth considering thanks to its low price DealThe best fast VPNs available today(Image credit: ExpressVPN)The most reliably fast VPN money can buySpecificationsNumber of servers: 3, 000+Server locations: 94 countriesMaximum devices supported: 5Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, HuluWireGuard or alternative modern protocol? : Yes, LightWayMaximum tested US speed on 1Gbps line: 630MbpsReasons to buy+Super fast connections+Plenty of servers for global speed+Excellent apps for everything+Brilliant support teamReasons to avoid-Maximum of five connectionsExpressVPN is an excellent fast VPN, and out of all the fastest VPN services on the market, none come close to Express’s versatility and ease of use. And, since our last review, it’s overtaken the previous leaders and earned itself top spot in this average speeds of around 600Mbps it’s incredibly fast, and the current integration of the proprietary LightWay protocol has seen these speeds ramp up in the last few VPN makes it super simple to install and get access to these great speeds, plus you’ll have great streaming performance – Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu and the rest are all no match for apps themselves are more comprehensive that Hotspot Shield’s, and include some really nifty features like a built-in speed test, DNS and WebRTC leak detectors, as well as an effective kill switch and split tunneling. If anything ends up not working as it should – or you’ve got any questions about how to use it – ExpressVPN’s support is also unrivalled. In all of our testing the live chat operators have been very knowledgeable and quick to respond, and it boasts the best library of setup and troubleshooting articles in the, if you’re after a fast VPN with all the bells and whistles, ExpressVPN is the one to go 49% off plus three months free of ExpressVPN
Tom’s Guide readers can claim an extra three months free if they sign up for an annual plan – that’s 15 months for the price of 12. If it’s not to your liking, you’re covered by the 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk if you just want to try it out before Deal(Image credit: NordVPN)Privacy giant delivers excellent speedsSpecificationsNumber of servers: 5, 000+Server locations: 59 countriesMaximum devices supported: 6Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, HuluWireGuard or alternative modern protocol? : Yes, NordLynx (WireGuard)Maximum tested speed on 1Gbps line: 820MbpsReasons to buy+Great top speeds+Tons of servers+Security-focused experienceReasons to avoid-Some fluctuation in speedsIf you’ve heard of just one VPN, it’ll be NordVPN. The old favorite is practically a household name now, with a huge public presence gained from television advertising and, frankly, a great overall those looking for a fast VPN, NordVPN can provide. Using the WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol in our NordVPN review, speeds reached an unrivalled 820Mbps, However, in our testing OpenVPN connections did seem to suffer, with some fluctuations hitting single digits. If you think you’ll ever need to use OpenVPN instead of NordLynx, be aware that it’s not as stellar as than its excellent connections, you might be drawn to Nord because of its security-focused service. With its powerful and additional features like Onion over VPN and Double VPN it’s a hacker’s nightmare, and is all but guaranteed to keep you anonymous online. A slight issue we have is with the layout of the otherwise polished and exceedingly usable mobile apps – the interface is taken directly from its desktop counterpart, and while it works well on larger screen, the map-based design is a bit awkward on phone screens. However, that’s unlikely to truly put anyone off, as you’ll only be in the app for a minute or two to select a server or adjust rdVPN is one of the fastest VPNs around, and with great security paired with top-tier streaming performance, it’s well worth a up now on the NordVPN websiteIncredibly fast, but not the leader it used to beSpecificationsNumber of servers: 1, 800+Server locations: 80 countriesMaximum devices supported: 5Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, HuluWireGuard or alternative modern protocol? : Yes, Catapult HydraMaximum tested US speed on 600MB line: 380MbpsReasons to buy+Great raw speeds+Good selection of servers+Excellent for streaming+Useful free versionReasons to avoid-Not as flexible as othersHotspot Shield is one of the best fast VPN services available today, and it’s evident from the numbers that it’s perfected the art of the unfettered VPN connectionThe (not so) secret lies in its use of the proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, which trounces OpenVPN-based services, and is still considerably faster than some that have adopted WireGuard. However, in our most recent Hotspot Shield review we did notice that while this provider’s speeds have stayed much the same, others improved and closed the fact Hotspot Shield only supports Catapult Hydra does present a couple of issues – most notably the fact that you won’t be able to manually set up VPN connections, and you’ll be limited to Hotspot Shield’s own apps. However, for the vast majority, that won’t be a problem at terms of making use of these speeds, you’ll be able to access just about any online streaming service you can think of, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and more. This is a great improvement since our last testing of the software, in which it struggled to access a couple of sites. And, on top of that, a good range of server locations means you’ll also be able to watch tons of overseas spot Shield doesn’t offer the greatest amount of in-depth features, but for most people that’ll be a non-issue – and if you’re looking for the fastest VPN speeds money can buy, it’s a great up now on the Hotspot Shield website(Image credit: Future)4. Bitdefender Premium VPNCatapult Hydra-using newbie is seriously fastSpecificationsNumber of servers: 1, 300+Server locations: 30 countriesMaximum devices supported: 10Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, YouTubeWireGuard or alternative modern protocol? : Catapult HydraMaximum tested US speed on 600MB line: 420MbpsReasons to buy+Cheaper than Hotspot Shield+10 simultaneous connections+Incredibly fastReasons to avoid-Bare-bones apps-Poor streaming performanceWhat’s this – another VPN using Catapult Hydra? Yep, that’s right. Antivirus stalwart Bitdefender’s foray into VPN is getting in on the incredible speeds on offer from Hotspot Shield’s homebrew protocol, and the tempting thing is that Bitdefender Premium VPN is a fair bit cheaper than the original, speeds topping out at over 400Mbps, it’s clear that Catapult Hydra has something special going on, so if you’re after incredible speeds at a bargain price, this might be a good ever, that’s where the similarities end. Unfortunately Bitdefender doesn’t share Hotspot’s excellent streaming power, and can only really access Netflix and YouTube. If you don’t have an Amazon Prime or Disney+ account, and don’t want to watch iPlayer, that’ll be fine, but for many it’s a deal, if you can look past that and the admittedly simplistic apps, Bitdefender is a properly affordable way to get some of the fastest VPN speeds available today – and as the brand establishes itself in the VPN area, we can only see it getting up now on the Bitdefender website(Image credit: Speedify)Very fast but let down by streaming supportSpecificationsNumber of servers: UndisclosedServer locations: 50 countriesMaximum devices supported: 5Streaming sites unblocked: YouTubeWireGuard or alternative modern protocol? : No, but combines connectionsMaximum tested US speed on 600MB line: 403MBReasons to buy+Great speeds +Useful free plan+Good value longer plansReasons to avoid-Poor streaming support-Not much configurationThere’s a lot in a name. Speedify is just that – very speedy – and it’s evident that being a fast VPN is provider’s main reach speeds of up to 403MB on a 600MB line, Speedify uses some very clever tech which can combine any and all connections it has at its disposal. While other fast VPNs might only use your regular internet connection, or your mobile data when out and about, Speedify can tap into all of these and deliver searing speeds – at the expense of any data cap you might have, that you just want swift day-to-day browsing Speedify will do the job well, but if you’re looking to stream geo-blocked content you’re out of luck. It’s unable to access any streaming site except for the virtually unprotected YouTube, and it’s telling that there’s a dedicated option to route streaming traffic through your unprotected connection if the VPN is turned on. If they’ve made the effort to do that, it doesn’t look promising that this issue will be fixed any time ever, for a relatively cheap yet seriously fast VPN, Speedify is a great option – just make sure you can live with its up now on the Speedify websiteWhat is the best fast VPN? For outright speeds, we rate ExpressVPN as the fastest VPN today. Its Lightway protocol is even faster than WireGuard, and with its great streaming support you’re pretty much guaranteed never to be left buffering with this fast do I need a fast VPN? While a VPN is a security tool first and foremost, usability shouldn’t fall by the wayside in the process. A fast VPN means you can realistically use the service 24/7 without having any of the downsides commonly associated with VPN usage – poor streaming abilities, low connections speeds…
If you use a fast VPN, it makes it an easier transition from never having used one before, and for those who may have had bad experiences years ago or with crummy providers recently, any of the services on this list are sure to reinvigorate your trust in VPNs.
In essence, if you can get a fast VPN that does the job properly as well as delivering excellent connection speeds, why settle for anything else? Why are some VPNs so slow? Using a VPN put extra steps between your device and the sites you’re visiting. That includes encryption, redirection to VPN servers and then on to the site you were initially heading for.
A fast VPN negates much of the slow-down by using modern servers and having massive bandwidth to share between its users. In many cases you’ll now be limited by your own internet connection rather than your VPN provider.
While it’s true that some VPNs still suffer from low connection speeds and struggle for bandwidth at peak times, top fast VPN providers like ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield really can be relied to deliver superfast speeds at any time of the day. Plus, by avoiding throttling, you’ll be able to use your connection for anything without being held a fast VPN as safe? Well, if you choose ExpressVPN, the answer’s a big yes! However, it’s understandable to worry about this, as surely to get great speeds means you’ve got to sacrifice something, right?
In truth, most VPNs run on very similar architecture, utilise the same AES-256 encryption and use protocols such as OpenVPN or IKEv2. The biggest difference is the server number, capacity and maintenance, all of which contribute to how fast any individual connection will be.
However, Hotspot Shield stands out here as it has arguably sacrificed some privacy for speed – but not nearly enough to put users at risk. While it does support 256-bit encryption, out of the box Hotspot Shield makes do with 128-bit. That’s still practically impossible to decode but, along with its Catapult Hydra protocol, gives it the edge over pretty much every other provider.
Overall, in our eyes if we’ve included a VPN on any of our guides, we’d recommend it as safe for anyone to of cash? Check out the best free VPN servicesIf you stream on the go, explore the best Fire Stick VPNsApple users should see if they need the best Mac VPN
Mo is eCommerce Editor at Tom’s Guide. Day-to-day he oversees privacy and security content, and his product guides help his readers find the best software and products for their needs. When he’s not testing VPNs, you’ll find him working on his classic car or plugged into a guitar amp.
Frequently Asked Questions about best ip service
Who has the best VPN service?
Comparison of the Best VPNsSystemExpressVPNNorton Secure VPNRatings9.5/10 Best Overall8.4/10 Best with Dynamic IP AddressesMaximum Monthly Cost$12.95$9.99Contract Length1 month, 6 months, 1 year1 month, 1 yearSplit TunnelingYesAndroid and Windows Only6 more rows•4 days ago
Which VPN service is the fastest?
The best fast VPNs available todayExpressVPN. The most reliably fast VPN money can buy. … NordVPN. Privacy giant delivers excellent speeds. … Hotspot Shield. Incredibly fast, but not the leader it used to be. … Bitdefender Premium VPN. Catapult Hydra-using newbie is seriously fast. … Speedify.Sep 15, 2021
Are VPNs good?
A VPN can help secure that critical connection. … VPNs are good for when you’re out and about, using Wi-Fi networks that aren’t your own. A VPN can also help protect your privacy at home, and it may also let you access streaming content that would be otherwise unavailable.