We even made some calls to Google and PayPal to investigate rumors surrounding some VPNs. learn more
Best VPN Services in 2021
Our online security experts are spread out throughout the world, which allows us to see how each VPN works in different countries. We purchased and downloaded more than 100 premium and free VPNs to find which ones work best in terms of security, privacy, streaming, and bypassing geo-blocks. We used an unbiased testing process to see which VPNs can back up their claims of anonymity, security, good pricing, and more.
In a Hurry: After months of testing premium and free VPNs, I concluded that CyberGhost is the best VPN. It has excellent speeds, excellent security features, and optimized servers for the best performance.
After months of testing VPNs, I found that there are just a few VPNs that excel in all three areas. Some focused on keeping users anonymous, but I could not bypass the firewall at work or stream Netflix US, Hulu, the BBC iPlayer, and other streaming sites.
Some VPNs did a great job bypassing firewalls, but I saw that my real data was exposed when I ran IP and DNS leak tests.
In addition to evaluating the VPNs to make sure that they provide the services I need, I also ranked them based on:
The reputation of the company
Number of connected devices
At the end of the testing period, I had a list of six VPNs that did a great job and had the top grades based on my ranking factors. To round out the top 10, since everyone likes a round number, I included four more VPNs that are good but just missed out on being upper echelon for one reason or another.
I’ve been using CyberGhost for several years, even before I started testing VPNs, and I’m impressed with how it has improved over the years. When I first started using CyberGhost, it took a while to connect, and I would frequently get frustrated by slow connection speeds.
However, these days, it’s a completely different story! It has been remarkably fast and consistent, even when connecting with servers that aren’t close to my physical location. I connected to a US server (I’m located in Europe), and there was no noticeable drop in my speed. It was only when I ran a speed test that I saw there was a slight difference. However, it was minor and didn’t affect the quality of the Netflix stream.
A minor drop in speed when connected to servers far from home
CyberGhost is based out of Romania, which Isn’t a part of the 5/9/14 Eyes agreement, and has a strict no-log policy. I ran an IP Leak test on IPleak.net to see if my real IP or DNS information would appear, or it would just show my remote VPN IP address. I was happy to see there were no leaks and that CyberGhost is protecting my anonymity.
The IP leak test showed a NY IP address and not my real IP address
CyberGhost is always adding servers to its list, and at last check, it was closing in on 8,000 servers in 90 countries. When connecting to the VPN, you can choose a specific country, the best server, or an optimized server based on your needs. They are Netflix servers in 7 countries, plus servers optimized for steaming channels in Germany, Italy, India, the UK, Brazil, Canada, and more.
You can also connect to servers optimized for torrenting, gaming, and special No Spy servers that add an extra level of privacy.
I tested CyberGhost on Netflix US, Disney Plus, ESPN, and Hulu and had no issues accessing the content that’s not available in my country and the quality of the stream.
CyberGhost bypassed the Disney Plus geo restrictions
CyberGhost is an easy-to-use VPN, which doesn’t put limits on bandwidth or speed. You can connect up to 7 devices at the same time, which is convenient since it has apps for all major platforms. I downloaded the Amazon app for my Fire Stick and had no trouble connecting with all my streaming apps.
CyberGhost has several extra security tools to protect your privacy.
Privacy Guard: Adjust your Windows settings to prevent Microsoft from seeing what you are doing/ This feature is included in the basic CyberGhost subscription.
Security Updater: Inspect the apps on your computer or phone and looks for updates. This feature is an addon and costs a couple of dollars extra per month.
Antivirus: CyberGhost has teamed up with Intego to provide protection from viruses and malware. This isn’t included in the basic subscription package, but you can add it to your monthly price.
CyberGhost has 24/7 live chat customer service. I was impressed with the quick and professional responses I received, as I asked them questions about the best servers for different streaming apps.
While they don’t have a limited free VPN or a free trial, CyberGhost has a no-hassle 45-day money-back guarantee. I tested their policy, asking for a refund after 35 days, and received a full refund within a few business days.
NordVPN is one of the most well-known VPNs, but it takes more than just a good reputation to appear on my list. The first thing that strikes me is how easy NordVPN is to use. Instead of scrolling through a list of servers (which you can do if you want), there is an interactive map with location pins everywhere that NordVPN has a server.
You can either click on the location, zoom in for countries with multiple server locations or select a specialty server. I decided to test NordVPN while torrenting, so I clicked on P2P and was quickly connected to the best torrenting server, based on my location.
Connecting a P2P specialty server
The speeds were really good, and the three movies I torrented, each over 2.4 GB, were completed within 25 minutes.
When I was done torrenting, I wanted to see if NordVPN works with the BBC iPlayer. I tried connecting to the iPlayer with no VPN and got an error message saying, “BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to a rights issue.”
However, once I connected to a UK server, I was able to log in and watch without any issues.
Watching the BBC iPlayer with NordVPN
In addition to P2P and streaming, NordVPN has over 2,400 servers in 60 countries that can be used to stay anonymous while browsing online. I tested my connection IP or DNS leaks, but the tester didn’t find any leaks. You can turn on a kill switch to ensure that your personal data doesn’t leak in case the VPN connection suddenly disconnects.
The servers are encrypted with 256-bit encryption, which is perfect for protecting my data and preventing hacking attacks through public Wi-Fi, like Man in the Middle and sidejacking.
NordVPN took the WireGuard VN protocol and added some privacy enhancements and called it the NordLynx protocol. It offers fast speeds and top-notch security, and I find that I used that instead of connecting through the OpenVPN protocol. There are also special Obfuscated servers. These add an extra layer of protection, similar to the CyberGhost No Spy servers, and work in countries like China and Russia, where there is heavy internet censorship.
NordVPN also has a free online security tool called CyberSec that you can turn on to block suspicious websites, and it works as an ad blocker.
You can test NordVPN risk-free for 30 days and see if it’s the right VPN for you. I requested a refund through the live chat, and while they tried to see if there was anything they could do to convince me to stay, they gave me a full refund without any trouble.
IPVanish has no limits on the number of connected devices and offers all users unlimited speed and data. The entire server network covers over 75 countries and is encrypted with an unbreakable AES 256-encryption. It features additional security features such as a kill switch, multiple VPN protocols, including the speedy WireGuard.
I ran multiple IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak tests, and they all came back showing my remote IP address. This let me know that my online identity remained hidden, and I wasn’t being tracked.
I found IPVanish to be an incredibly versatile VPN. It has easy-to-use apps for mobile devices, Amazon Fire Stick, it works well with Kodi in terms of privacy and streaming, and it unblocks most of the major streaming platforms.
While it doesn’t have dedicated servers for streaming and P2P, I didn’t have any trouble connecting and using the random servers when doing data-heavy things. One of the nice perks that come with IPVanish is a SOCKS5 proxy account. The proxy servers are anonymous and fast, but they are not encrypted.
I ran several speed tests and saw a noticeable drop in speed, from a base speed of 46.06 Mbps to 33.93 Mbps.
However, even with these speeds, I was able to enjoy streaming on Netflix without buffering and browsing with quick loading pages. I switched to a US server to see how IPVanish handles the VPN bans of Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming sites and was happy to see that I had access to all my accounts.
IPVanish works with US Netflix and other streaming sites
The one issue for concern with IPVanish is that it’s a US=based company and therefore required to follow US data sharing laws. That being said, the company states that it has a strict no-log policy, and therefore has no user data to turn over to the authorities.
Overall, I was very pleased with IPVanish. I purchased a two-year subscription, so I could test the 30-day money-back guarantee. After 10 days, I logged in and canceled my account. I was happy that I didn’t have to chat with a customer support agent and explain why I wanted to cancel. The refund was processed quickly, and I had the money back in my account within a few hours.
PureVPN was first released in 2007, making it one of the oldest VPNs around. The company has seen its ups and downs over the past 10 years, but I’m happy to see that things have been trending up for more than two years.
From a security standpoint, PureVPN has everything I want in a VPN. Its entire server network is secured with AES 256-bit encryption, allowing you to browse without fear, even on Public Wi-Fi. I ran a test on IPLeak.net and was happy to see that instead of my real IP address, it was showing information for the PureVPN server from Turkey.
PureVPN passes the IP Leak Test
It allows a split tunnel option, which is really helpful when you only want certain apps to go in the VPN tunnel. For example, I was doing some banking and needed my local IP address, but at the same time, I wanted the torrent and to watch Netflix. I used the VPN connection for uTorrent and Chrome and did my banking and online shopping on Firefox.
Customize your VPN experience
One of the ways that PureVPN improved its service over the past few years was to cut out a lot of the virtual servers. When I first reviewed PureVPN in 2018, it claimed over 6,500 servers in 140 locations. These days, while they still have around 6,500 servers, the list of countries has been reduced to 78. This improved the quality of the connections and got rid of the less secure virtual servers.
Officially, PureVPN only supports torrenting in countries where there is no law against torrenting movies, TV shows, music, etc. There are special P2P servers for these countries, that have large bandwidth allowances, making for fast downloads. I also connected with a regular US server and torrented a TV show without any trouble.
PureVPN has a good customer support service. You can open the live chat, open a ticket, or check out the detailed FAQ section directly from the VPN app, as opposed to opening your browser and logging into your account.
When I first started using Surfshark, it was a new VPN that made a splash with unlimited simultaneous connections and crazy low prices. As the company grew and matured, the price increased slightly, but so did the features.
Surfshark puts a lot of resources into protecting your privacy and anonymity. All the servers are RAM-based. This means that all the data is instantly deleted as soon as it shut down. They also offer Private DNS and AES 256-encryption on their server network.
You can add an additional layer of security by connecting to MultiHop servers. This essentially connects you to one server and then connects to a new server in a different country. The idea is that if somehow someone can trace your connection, they’ll be misled to a different VPN server.
Streaming is the one area where Surfshark is not consistent. It used to always work with all my US streaming services, like Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN Plus, and of course, Netflix. To be honest, most of the time, it works, except with ESPN Plus, but sometimes I find myself changing servers multiple times until I find one that will work with Hulu and Disney Plus. It also stopped working with the BBC iPlayer.
Surfshark doesn’t always unblock streaming sites
The Surfshark protection goes beyond hiding your IP address from governments, ISPs, and hackers. It also has a feature calledCleanWeb that you can enable to block ads, trackers, and malware. It also has an advanced split tunnel feature. You can select specific websites, apps, and even IP addresses that you don’t want to be protected with the VPN.
Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all subscriptions. There is also a really helpful and knowledgeable customer service team that can be reached via live chat. My ISP was trying to prevent VPN connections, so I couldn’t connect the VPN. The customer support agent I chatted with walked me through the steps to change the setting on my router, and I was able to connect to the VPN.
If you’re looking for a secure VPN with a fun user interface, TunnelBear is a solid choice. The Canadian VPN was purchased by McAfee, although it continues to operate from Canada. This can be a problem for some users since it’s located in one of the Five Eyes countries. However, to put your mind at ease, TunnelBear undergoes a yearly audit by Cure53, a German cybersecurity firm that inspected all the source codes, apps, and infrastructure to confirm it’s a secure app and doesn’t store any logs on its servers.
The app goes heavy on the bear-related terminology, renaming the kill switch, VigilantBear, and a special obfuscated server called GhostBear.
I didn’t expect that TunnelBear would work with Netflix, as I know they have had a lot of connection issues in the past. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to access US Netflix, and watch without buffering or bad quality streams.
However, I was not as lucky as when I tried watching Hulu. It detected my VPN connection I and received an “Anonymous Proxy or VPN error”
TunnelBear doesn’t have a money-back guarantee, rather they look at each request on a case by case basis. However, they have a free VPN, which allows you to try it out before you buy it. The downside of the free VPN offer is that it has a 500MB monthly data limit, and only a handful of servers are available. It’s only a viable option for light browsing or testing TunnelBear before you buy it.
For many years, ExpressVPN was my number 1 VPN. It has robust security features, including TrustedServer technology, a RAM-based server network that never stores data, a kill switch, 256-bit encryption, internal speed test, and private DNS.
It’s an incredibly fast VPN that allows torrenting on all its servers and never seems to have trouble bypassing geoblocks or accessing geo restricted content.
So, why the fall from the top spot to just outside my recommended VPNs?
There are two answers.
It’s expensive. I know, it’s always been expensive, but I justified that it was worth the extra few bucks a month because it was so good. Well, the truth is, the other VPNs have caught up to it and can match its security, speed, and unblocking skills.
It was recently bought by a company with its fair share of malware and privacy issues. Not only that, but they also bought up several VPN review sites, which makes it very hard to trust them.
So, until I get some new information, ExpressVPN remains a fast VPN that is great for streaming, but I don’t really trust it from a security perspective.
PrivateVPN is a small VPN company that owns and operates all 200 servers instead of leasing them from different server suppliers. The focus of the VPN is privacy, and they have an impressive collection of features to protect user privacy and ensure that it protects the anonymity of its users.
The servers have 2048-bit encryption to secure all data, even on public Wi-Fi and unsecured hotspots. PrivateVPN is owned by a Swedish company, and therefore all user data is protected under strict Swedish laws. Of course, there is a strict no-log policy, so whatever happens on PrivateVPN stays on PrivateVPN.
I found the speeds to be fairly consistent, although not altogether too impressive. I was able to use it for torrenting and browsing on the Dark Web. I ran multiple IP and DNS leak tests, and each one came back clean.
Unfortunately, the streaming side of the VPN can use a little improvement. Most websites immediately identified my connection as VPN and blocked my access to the site. I found it to be very inconsistent with Netflix. Some days, I watched US shows, while other days, I got the Proxy Error message.
PrivateVPN is very easy to download, install, and use, with a single=click connection. It will automatically connect you to the best server, or you can choose a preferred country from the list. You can try PrivateVPN risk-free with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Hotspot Shield is a US-based VPN with servers in over 70 countries. It developed a VPN protocol similar to WireGuard, called Hydra that emphasizes speed without sacrificing security. What is interesting is they don’t offer any other VPN protocols.
They claim that Hydra is the best, so why use anything else. It’s a pretty arrogant attitude and makes me a little nervous when connected to it. I tested the speed, and the Hydra servers were as fast as any other VPN on this list, but they didn’t show any significant upgrade to WireGuard or even OpenVPN.
Hotspot Shield proved to be inconsistent when it comes to accessing geo-blocked or geo-restricted content. I tried ordering something on Amazon, and it recognized my real location and not the VPN location. Netflix and Hulu were also working some days and not on others.
The one area that Hotspot Shield does stand out is its “freemium” offer. You can download their VPN for free, but you’ll only have access to a few US servers and are limited in how much you can use it each month.
Despite being located in the United States, Hotspot Shield claims to have a strict no-log policy. One nice recent upgrade I noticed is they extended the free trial period from 30 days to 45 days. This allowed me to use it for an extended period of time and see if it was the right VPN for me – which it wasn’t.
ProtonVPN is a solid VPN that focuses on online security and privacy. This tracks with the company’s values, as they also developed the most secure and anonymous email client – ProtonMail. All internet traffic is first tunneled through its Secure Core network, which is located in Switzerland and Iceland, two countries that are known for strict privacy laws.
The downside is that while this increases your security, it can have a negative impact on your internet speed. It didn’t affect my web browsing, but I did have some buffering and low-quality videos while watching YouTube or videos on TikTok.
The servers have 2048-bit encryption and combined with the OpenVPN protocol it does a good job of keeping my identity private. In addition to the standard encryption, ProtonVPN uses Perfect Forward Secrecy, which prevents encrypted traffic from being hijacked and decrypted at a later date.
ProtonVPN has added an Adblocker from NetShield that blocks ads, malware, and trackers on a DNS level from following you and accessing your private data.
There is a free unlimited data version of ProtonVPN, although the speed and server selection are severely limited. You can try ProtonVPN free for 30 days with
Why You Need a Trustworthy VPN
As I said at the beginning, there are several reasons that a person would use a VPN. One of them is bypassing geo-restrictions to access streaming sites, like Netflix and Hulu. If this is your only concern, the security features aren’t that important. You just need a fast VPN that can make it seem like you are in another location.
However, if you’re looking for online privacy, anonymity, and protection from hackers, then the VPN company is important.
The concept behind a VPN is really simple. It reroutes your online connection from your ISP’s server to a remote server. It also secures your data with military-grade encryption.
If you just download the first VPN you come across without checking if it’s reliable, you could risk exposing your data and online activities to the very people or agencies you’re trying to hide from.
It is very important only to use a VPN that has IP and DNS leak protection, strong encryption, and a strict no-log policy; otherwise, you’re wasting your money on the illusion of privacy.
After months of testing and researching the company, I’ve concluded that CyberGhost is a trustworthy and reliable VPN.
Do I Really Need A VPN in 2022?
As the internet turns to HTTPS, secure protocols on most websites, the question has been asked, are VPNs still a necessary online security tool? After all, the HTTPS protocol encrypts the connection between your computer and the website. While this might be true, there are still several vulnerabilities to consider.
How do you know the website is secure? Sure, the communication between your server and the websites is encrypted, but what if the website you’re visiting isn’t safe. If it’s been attacked by malware or is a phishing site, it will have your IP address and other identifiable information that can be used in a hacking or scam attempt.
Metadata is still available: If you’re visiting a website on public Wi-Fi, your metadata is still viewable. This includes your IP address and the IP address of the website that you’re visiting, plus some information such as what type of operating system or device you’re using.
Your IP address can be used to track you: A hacker can gran your IP address, and along with other data they have collected on you, trace it back to your Wi-Fi router. This can open all your IoT devices to a cyberattack.
To prevent any of these hacks or cyberattacks, you still need a VPN to change your IP address and encrypt your servers. Now, if a hacker tries to launch a cyberattack based on the IP, it won’t have any connection to you or your physical location.
Online Censorship isn’t Going Away
Typically, when we think of online censorship, we think of totalitarian governments like China, Russia, UAE, and Syria. However, I’m not talking about the need for a VPN when visiting or living in these countries, since that should go without saying,
No matter where you live there is some form of online censorship. I used to work in an office that used a firewall to block all social media and online gaming sites. There are also schools and universities that place these types of filters on their network. A VPN is an easy tool to use that will allow you to bypass these firewalls and censors and access the websites that you want.
Most governments have lists of websites or types of websites that they require ISPs to block or report back when user’s visit the sites. The VPN will allow you to access these types of websites without having that anyone will know what you are doing.
CyberGhost NoSpy Servers Bypass Online Censors
CyberGhost has servers that are designed to bypass online censors, whether it’s from a totalitarian government or an aggressive firewall at your school or office.
As online shopping and global shipping continue to grow, consumers are discovering that the prices for some items vary based on the country. Even when buying from the same site. For some things, this can be connected to exchange rates and local taxes, but in other places, companies use dynamic pricing to adjust prices based on the income rate in that specific country.
Another example where buying something online with a VPN can save you money is the NFL (American Football). I personally saved around $50 USD by purchasing the NFL Gamepass from the website in India than I would have if I bought it in the UK. UFC Fights are the same – the PayPerView price changes by location.
I’ve seen reports that you can also use this trick to buy plane tickets, although I haven’t had any luck finding any significant discounts by changing my location.
Watch Streaming Sites Not Available in Your Country
There are many reasons that streaming sites block restrict their content to users in a specific country. Or in a case like Netflix, change the libraries based on the location of the viewer.
In the case of the BBC iPlayer, the content is free for UK residents since its financed through a TV tax. Netflix has a licensing agreement with all shows on its platforms, and in some cases, the TV show or movie has an agreement with a local distributor, and therefore can’t be on Netflix in your country. Other sites streaming sites are ad-supported, but the ads are local to one country.
This can be frustrating for someone on holiday. They pay for their subscription and there really isn’t any reason the content should be blocked to them. As a Netflix subscriber, I pay the same monthly subscription fee as my brother in the US, but only receive a third of the content.
For some, the only other option is to torrent the TV or movies, but they’re not comfortable pirating copyrighted shows and movies. So they pay for a subscription to a streaming service, it’s only fair they get access to it.
Whatever your reason or justification the only way to access the content you want is through a VPN. Not all VPNs are the same, and these companies have systems in place to try and detect and block VPN traffic. As their technology improves, you need a VPN that continues to invest in upgrading its servers to bypass detection and continue to give you access to your streaming sites.
Get NordVPN to Access the Best Streaming Sites
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for streaming. It’s easy to use, and its NordLynx VPN protocol is fast enough to deliver fast speeds that are perfect for streaming without buffering or low-quality videos.
Don’t get confused. A VPN isn’t antivirus software, although some VPNs have started integrating with VPNs. But, with powerful encryption, they can secure your private data from hackers and scammers. If you ever connect to an unsecured or public Wi-Fi, you are at risk for different types of hacks, such as Sidejacking with Firesheep and Man in the Middle Attacks.
Maximizing your Internet Speed
In addition to tracking and logging every website you visit, your ISP controls your internet speed. Many ISPs have an annoying habit of throttling or slowing down a person’s internet speed when they’re doing data-heavy activities, like torrenting, downloading large files, and streaming. They can also lower your bandwidth limit, which can cause disconnections.
Once you connect with the VPN, the ISP loses sight of what you are doing, and therefore they would have no reason to throttle your speed, so you can enjoy whatever speed you pay for.
How to Choose the Best VPN for you
I tested over 65 VPNs in the past year. With some of the VPNs, I could tell within a day that I wouldn’t recommend them, while others it became clear after a few days. Some of the common problems were:
They slowed down my computer
My internet traffic was blocked
It failed the IP Leak test
Too technical to set up and run
I narrowed down the list and found 6 that I really recommend and 4 that still work. If you read through my top 10 list, you probably noticed that the basics were the same:
Large server network
Works with some streaming sites
It’s no coincidence they all have these features, as they were requirements to be on the list. When choosing the best VPN for you, evaluate the following features and see what works for your needs:
Check server locations: It sounds impressive when a VPN says they have servers in over 100 locations, but it’s meaningless if they’re not in the country you need. If you want a VPN to access Hotstar India, finding a VPN without Indian servers won’t help you out. To add to that, not only do you need servers in India, but they have to work with Hotstar. I’ve found that this is one area where all the customer support teams that I’ve chatted with can be really helpful. Since the VPNs come with money back guarantees, they have no incentive to tell you it works with a streaming site or can bypass censors in specific countries if it can’t.
Know how many devices you need to connect: Are you trying to connect the VPN to your computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet, and Fire TV? What about your spouse or partner’s devices? Before choosing a VPN, figure out how many devices you want to protect. If it’s more than 10., you’ll be better off going with a company like IPVanish or Surfshark that allows unlimited device connections.
Which VPN protocols are available: Most VPNs offer a few options for protocols, like OpenVPN, IKEv2, and IPSec. Some companies have developed their own protocols, which they claim are both fast and secure, like NordVPN with Nordlynx, Hotspot Shield with Hydra, and ExpressVPN with Lightway. If you want to avoid in-house VPN protocols, I recommend going with CyberGhost, which has everything, including WireGuard, the latest VPN protocol that combines speed and security.
How is the VPN interface: Every VPN looks a little different and has different data they’re willing to share. With CyberGhost, you can see exactly how much data is being used, the upload and download speed, your new IP address, ping time, and server load. It also lets you know which servers are best for specific actions, like P2P or which streaming it’s optimized to work with. You can also set specific servers as a favorite, so you can find it quickly the next time.NordVPN doesn’t show all the data, but they have an interactive map. It makes it easy to see exactly which country you’re connecting to, which is nice if you’re not very good at geography. TunnelBear has a fun interface, as you can see the bears digging the secure VPN tunnel as it connects to the location of your choice.
Is price the most important factor, or is it the value for your money: If you’re looking for the best VPN that won’t cost too much, you can just get a 2 year subscription to IPVanish and be done with your search. However, if you’re looking at the value you get for the money, it might be worth it to spend a little more for CyberGhost, so you can get the added features, plus the speedy WireGuard protocols.
How I Ranked and Reviewed the VPNs
Nearly every VPN website I went to claimed to be the best, fastest, and most secure VPN. So, how did I decide which one is the best, middle, and worse?
For starters, I purchased each of the VPNs to get a first-hand look at how they work, whether they could back up their claims of being so great, and see how they responded when I requested my money back.
I used the apps on my Windows laptop and Android phone so I could get a sense of both the computer and mobile apps. Some aspects of the testing process were sent to colleagues who live in different parts of the world to get a better sense of speeds and the ability to bypass different types of geo-blocks.
Speed: Some VPNs can have a significant impact on your internet speed. This is partially because it reroutes your internet connection through encrypted servers. However, the best VPNs I’ve used have an infrastructure that is built to maintain the high-speed connection that people require. In addition to speed tests, which show the actual speed, I judged this based on performance. I checked streaming quality, the load time of web pages, and torrent download speed.
Streaming: If security is the number one reason people use a VPN, streaming is a close second. As a US ex-pat, I have accounts with many US-only streaming services, included a local cable subscription. I used these accounts as the basis for my tests to see whether a VPN could bypass geo-blocks and access the websites. I also tested the UK-based BBC iPlayer, a popular free streaming site that only works in the UK.
Torrenting: I found there are three types of VPNs for torrenting. Some state that torrenting is a cause for termination of the account, others have specific servers for torrenting, and still, others allow torrenting on all servers. I immediately gave failing grades to a VPN that bans torrenting since they are clearly not interested in online freedom. If a VPN has dedicated torrenting servers, I check them out to ensure that there are enough server options to avoid overcrowding and run multiple speed tests.
Servers: Checking out servers is more than just looking at the number of servers and locations. I want to make sure that the servers are distributed across the network, and not a situation where there are 900 servers, with 870 of them in the US, and the remaining 30 spread out across the world. Additionally, I check the security measurements, such as encryption and split tunneling, whether most servers are physical or virtual.
Ease of Use: Ideally, I want a VPN that has minimal setup required. I want to download the app, choose a server location or a specialty server, and click connect. I don’t want to read or watch video tutorials or switch servers multiple times until I find one that is fast enough or good enough to get the job done.
Price: Not all VPNs have the same features, and therefore it wouldn’t be fair to rank them based on the price per month or year. Instead, I look back over the factors listed above and rank based on value for the price. The cheapest VPN doesn’t necessarily get the highest pricing rankings if it can’t bypass Netflix or doesn’t have extras like an Adblocker or malware checker included.
The Top VPNs in 2022
CyberGhost Review: Optimized Servers but Is It Still Secure in 2022?
In most countries in the world VPNs are 100% legal. In countries like China, Turkey, and Oman, where the government restricts access to the internet, VPN use is banned or restricted to government-controlled VPNs.
Outside of these countries, some assume a VPN is illegal because it hides your identity and allows you to do illegal things online. So just to clarify – the VPN is legal, and whatever illegal activity you might do with a VPN is still illegal even when using a VPN.
Are VPNs safe?
Like everything else online, not all VPNs are safe. That’s why I take the time to test and review different VPN apps to find the safe ones.
The biggest concern with VPNs is that they’re profiting from your data instead of protecting your privacy. It can be selling it to marketers or hackers or sharing it with the very people you are trying to hide from, or just using outdated technology that leaves you exposed. For this reason, I suggest you get one of the best VPNs, so you be confident that the 0ne you are using is safe.
Can I use a free VPN?
I haven’t found a truly free VPN that is safe, secure, fast and does a good job protecting my identity. The only good free VPNs are free trials or limited free versions of premium VPNs. The problem with the freemium model is that you’re limited to how much data you can use each day or month, your online speed, and the available servers. That’s because these companies are trying to give you a taste of the VPN so that you upgrade and purchase the premium model.
Do I need a VPN for my phone?
It’s always a good idea to have a VPN on your phone, especially if you connect to public Wi-Fi or an unsecured hotspot, as the encrypted servers will secure your phone. It’s also helpful if you’re going to watch Netflix or try and access other apps that are geo-blocked or blocked by a firewall.
The VPNs that I recommend have lightweight Android and iOS apps that run in the background, slowing down your phone or affecting its regular performance. They also allow for multiple connections, so you can connect your computer, phone, and tablet with just one subscription.
Are VPNs good for online gaming?
There are a few good reasons to get a fast VPN for gaming. Some games only match you up with other players based on your location. However, if you want to play against a friend in another part of the world or try your skill against a new pool of players, you can only do this with a VPN. Another benefit of gaming with a VPN is avoiding overcrowded servers, which can affect the quality of your game.
From a security standpoint, a VPN can also protect you from a Man in the Middle attack that has become more common in the online gaming world.
Beware: Some online games have a VPN block and can suspend your account if you’re caught using one. If you still want to use a VPN, make sure to get a good one, like CyberGhost which has gaming servers that can avoid detection.
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