Before reviewing of best VPN service providers, we need some intros. The pandemic changed people’s work and forced millions to adapt to new work environments. The best approach to manage privacy and security and tackle other cyber-related issues is to establish a high-level Virtual Private Network (VPN).
What is VPN and Why Do I Need It?
VPN is the abbreviated form of Virtual Private Network. VPN is an application installed on your device that encrypts the connection between the Internet and your device. Besides encrypting the connection, a good VPN also makes your location anonymous online.
By encrypting the connection, you get an extra layer of security. This added security is very important if you use the Internet to send and receive sensitive information or data.
Nowadays, people use VPNs not only to safeguard their data but also to access geo-blocked streaming services or content on websites such as Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, etc. In other words, the top VPNs enable you to explore the Internet content blocked in your country in total secrecy. The best cheap VPN service providers ensure that the Internet is free for you to do what you want and when you want to do it.
VPN Connection and How Does it Work?
A VPN includes a series of virtual connections routed over the Internet to encrypt your data as it travels back and forth between your device and the Internet Service Provider whose services you’re using, such as web servers. Most Internet protocols have built-in encryption, such as HTTPS, SSH, NNTPS, and LDAPS. Using these ports over a VPN connection encrypts your data twice.
VPN protection can be used on any device like a PC, tablet, smartphone, and IoT device. Mostly the client will need a VPN connection application. However, some routers have built-in VPN clients. If many VPN clients use a VPN server, your Internet speed might slow down.
In a VPN connection, data is transmitted from your device to a VPN point in your VPN network. This VPN point encrypts the data and sends it through the Internet. Another VPN point in the VPN network decrypts the data and sends it to the appropriate Internet resource, such as an email server, a web server, or your company’s intranet. Then the Internet resource sends the data back to a point in your VPN network for encryption. This encrypted data is sent through the Internet to another point in your VPN network, which decrypts the data and sends it back to your client machine. So this is how a VPN connection works.
What is the Best VPN Provider?
As many VPNs are available on the market, deciding which is the best becomes difficult. However, there are many things to consider before choosing a VPN. A VPN can be considered the best if it solves its purpose easily for any user, whether he is a VPN veteran or a total novice. Secondly, it should be available on almost every device imaginable and can unblock streaming sites, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ESPN Plus, and more.
And most importantly, VPN protection should be equipped with impressive privacy credentials across the board to keep your data and sensitive information safe online.
How to Choose the Right VPN?
If you think a VPN only creates a secure and encrypted tunnel between your PC – or mobile – and a web server, you have so much to explore. Every best VPN software has something unique up its sleeves.
To rightfully categorize the VPN service providers and give them a sensible ranking, we should consider different metrics, such as speed, reliability, encryption, compatibility, and the number of connections offered.
Parameters to Gauge VPNs
1. Number of Servers and Locations
These numbers extend the scope of a provider’s network, meaning that users will have better access to content from different geographical locations.
It is, however, paramount for users to remember that these are just raw numbers, and they have to focus on checking whether the service provider is giving access to the servers they are interested in or not.
2. Kill Switch
Many providers offer a special feature that instantly disconnects your gadget from the Internet connection. This is called a kill switch. It is like an extra layer of protection to your IP address and will continue to maintain your anonymity.
The way VPN service providers implement kill switches varies. For example, in the case of ExpressVPN, they use desktop software to deploy certain functions. Still, for NordVPN, the desktop software shuts down the functionality of several applications, and the mobile version disables Internet access.
3. VPN Speed & Performance
Speed is overrated for many service providers as everyone claims to be the world’s fastest. This often happens because some locations might have accurate VPN endpoints that give phenomenal results.
However, it is not guaranteed to witness the same or similar results for every location as the speed is relative to a user’s location. It is recommended to value speed and performance in unison.
4. Logging and Protocols
VPN protocols and log policy are two significant factors to consider before choosing a service provider. These protocols ensure that users stay safe from cyber risks and hackers. The protocols should be transparent.
A no-log policy instills confidence in users. Hence, it should be the number one priority. Also, checking VPN reviews of customers before making a purchase wouldn’t hurt.
10 Best VPN Service Providers in 2022
To help you make the best decision, we have tested and looked into several leading VPN services. Our 10 top VPN 2022 recommendations are as follows:
1. VPN Surf
VPN Surf is at the forefront of the entire network provider marketplace. The services offered by VPN Surf meet the requirements of almost every user. With it, you can surf the web privately and secure your browsing activities from hackers.
One major differentiator for VPN Surf is that one can use public Wi-Fi networks while staying distant from the associated potential risks.
- An ironclad security system
- No limitations to accessing foreign servers
- Modern encryption method with 256-bit AES
- Download VPN for Multi-platforms
- Around-the-clock support
- VPN For Routers
- A low number of simultaneous connections.
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ExpressVPN is yet another well-known service provider. It is rated high for its speed and performance. Users with heavy data and web activity requirements should consider using ExpressVPN. It has more than 3,000 servers across 94 countries.
ExpressVPN provides incredible data transfer rates and performance levels but also delivers immense value by adding a no-log policy. The company promises to stay away from one’s IP address and browsing history. They also offer a kill switch (network lock) to remain transparent. The user-friendly interface allows users to get started instantly with a single click.
- Split tunneling
- Works smoothly on all types of devices
- OpenVPN protocols
- Suitable for world travelers
- It can be used only on 5 devices at the same time
- Expensive option compared to its competitors
Another user-favorite VPN service that extensively focuses on double VPN and authentication features. NordVPN has special security tools and privacy measures in place. It is one of the few providers incorporating WireGuard technology into its primary service model.
By implementing WireGuard, NordVPN assures securing data. Therefore, business customers prefer NordVPN as they need a control panel to track server loads and different data types. They also offer a single sign-on feature that aligns with the top-tier VPN standard.
- Split tunneling to stay away from network surveillance and traffic analysis
- Enormous network of servers
- Easy implementation and usage
- Enables Multihop (extra protection layer)
- OpenVPN protocols are not user-friendly
- No split tunneling
4. Surfshark VPN
Have you ever faced problems in the middle of torrenting? You should consider Surfshark as your next VPN service provider if you have one. It is one of the fastest service providers on this list. With a low cost and unlimited connections, Surfshark provides high-end privacy tools from international servers in over 60 countries.
The company dives deep into streaming services like Netflix and allows users to access content restricted in their country. The only drawback of Surfshark’s weaker pick over NordVPN or ExpressVPN is the lack of technical support.
- Unlimited connections
- Well-structured app
- Excellent speed test scores
- Multihop and split tunneling
- Needs to complete a wide range of audits before enabling services
- Not affordable to all demographics
CyberGhost is a reliable VPN provider aiming to provide Internet freedom. The VPN features setting up a defense mechanism to fight against online surveillance. The services provided by CyberGhost are all highly-transparent, and they even include a money-back guarantee.
In terms of key differentiators and unique features, CyberGhost has a no-logs policy in play, plus they also give exclusive access to many dedicated streaming services. By using CyberGhost, users can access the VPN services from 7 different devices at the same time.
- BitTorrent and P2P sharing is enabled with protected Wi-Fi networks
- VPN for PC, VPN for MAC, VPN for iPhone, and other platforms’ applications
- Best VPN for TV, separate applications to run on Android TVs, and Amazon Fire Sticks
- With 6500 servers present across 90-plus countries, CyberGhost increases user anonymity
- Lacks customer support
- Monthly plans are high-priced
VyprVPN is a remarkable service provider with services meeting every requirement thrown at it. The Swiss company, the centerpiece of the VPN industry, focuses on every important aspect of its niche. Recently, the company revamped its service models and made measurable changes to the logging policy. VyprVPN does a fantastic job providing services for streaming- and encryption-based applications by using a kill switch and OpenVPN protocols. It also allows users to engage in P2P torrenting with unlimited data and bandwidth.
- 100% ownership of its servers
- No log policy
- Best VPN for Android, iPhone, and other platforms
- Live support system available 24/7
- Offers a balanced network backed by many lab tests
- Slow network connection
- A bitcoin transaction is not allowed
- A small pool of servers
IPVanish is a commercial service provider, and they are known for the dynamic IP tools that they use for end-to-end encryption. Private browsing and advanced encryption are top-tier services in all levels of protection given by IPVanish. Their main features seem to work well on Android devices.
They also give customization facilities to their clients to secure data and deploy a cloud backup. The cipher algorithms deployed by IPVanish feature 256-bit AES encryption. IPVanish also includes a web proxy in most of its subscription plans.
Although it is a perfect VPN, its performance recedes remarkably regarding Android devices. The integrated cloud device backup is one feature that helps IPVanish stand apart. The company is increasing its subscription value by providing file syncing and other sophisticated data-sharing systems.
- Unmetered device connections (includes IoT devices and smart TVs)
- Ability to add a backup storage facility that is end-to-end encrypted
- Extremely affordable VPN services and cloud storage
- Easy to set up and friendly for new VPN users
- Best VPN for torrenting, Netflix and firestick
- Absence of upgraded servers
- Poor customer assistance
Windscribe is a Canada-based VPN service company that vows to help users worldwide browse privately. The features offered by Windscribe are an automatic kill switch, leak protection, split tunneling, and double hop. Most of these act as a firewall to the main system. The VPN never stores historical records or sources’ IP addresses. The main difference between Windscribe and its peers lies in its unique security suite called R.O.B.E.R.T. This suite is a customizable blocker that allows the user to choose which type of content to block. Most of the time, things related to gambling and other advertisements are immediately blocked. The best part is it’s included on the free plan, although with a limited capacity.
- High ease-of-use
- One of the best free VPN options in the marketplace
- Live chat service
- The mobile app also offers ad blocking
- Server speeds are inconsistent
- The refund policy needs certain changes
9. Hotspot Shield
Who doesn’t love binge-watching Netflix? But wait, what if you don’t have access to your favorite movie or TV show? That’s where Hotspot Shield comes in! This is the best VPN for Netflix to ghost your IP and access every movie and TV shows on Netflix and other streaming platforms. Hotspot Shield also provides free VPN services for devices on Android platforms. Now that is awesome, plus every user can use up to 500 MB daily.
The company, however – hasn’t initiated any no-log policy, so they keep the IP addresses of their users. Keeping aside the no-log policy, the Hotspot Shield is a hyperfast VPN service provider. It has a unique Catapult Hydra protocol that serves to deliver some of the fastest download speeds, and they are consistent on every lab test. Even when the endpoints are distant, the connection speed remains rock solid.
- Record-setting connection speeds
- Foolproof mobile application
- A trial period of 45 days
- No-log policy is not included
- Apps don’t match the desktop-level experience
It is safe to say that TunnelBear is a good VPN for beginners. It is not an advanced VPN with high-level encryption or any authentication features. Hence, it is mostly used by individuals and smaller organizations, not full-fledged enterprises.
The Canadian-based service offers simple but effective tools with a strong emphasis on ease of use. In terms of security and privacy audits, TunnelBear ensures running a public audit on its systems with help from independent specialists. As it is an entry-level VPN service, the performance is not balanced. It also struggles to unlock foreign content and streaming sites.
- Stable security audits
- Mobile applications work across all platforms
- Extremely friendly for first-time users
- Best VPN for Streaming
- VPN for Torrenting is not available
- Not suitable for streamers
- No trial period
VPN products are hard to distinguish because they mostly perform the same functions, i.e., secure user data and hide geolocation and IP addresses. Choosing the VPN provider requires the user to understand the requirements immediately.
VPNs are used for many purposes, such as having a safer public Wi-Fi and torrenting experience, streaming restricted content, and unblocking social media.
The best option for small businesses and enterprises would be VPN Surf or ExpressVPN, as they have better overall functionality. To access the latest TV shows and perform heavy torrenting acts, one should go with either Surfshark or Hotspot Shield.
Frequently Ask Questions
1. What’s the best free VPN?
None of the VPNs available free for use are best as they require major physical infrastructure and hardware to operate and secure. Most of the free VPNs available are malware-laden. However, some VPNs like ProtonVPN offer free (speed-limited) service tiers along with their premium versions. With many VPNs in the race, the competition is tough. Therefore, the burgeoning VPN market is hypercompetitive to stay ahead and beat the competition. The prices for even the VPNs regularly drop to less than $15 a month, with some offering annual deals around $40. So, opt for the VPN that comes in your price range.
2. What is the best-paid VPN?
ExpressVPN is considered to be the best-paid VPN. ExpressVPN has faired well in terms of speed, security, and price. ExpressVPN is not only the cheapest among all the VPNs available on the market, but it is also among the fastest and, so far, is the most secure.
3. How to choose the VPN for Netflix?
If the online streaming service Netflix is censored in your country, you can use a VPN that allows you to manually select the country through which you want to connect. This is called obfuscation. Obfuscation allows you to disguise your VPN traffic as regular Internet traffic. The VPN to access uncensored Netflix is one with many IP addresses. It would be best if IP addresses were 10,000 or more. With so many IPs, you can connect to an IP address that Netflix hasn’t blacklisted or blocked.
Once the VPN is installed, connect to the country whose content you want to view. Restart your browser and go to Netflix. If your VPN is working, Netflix should treat you as a resident of the selected country and present you with the content assigned to that country’s audience. If you still face issues, you can try using incognito mode on your browser or try clearing your cookies and cache.
4. What is a mobile VPN?
A VPN can be used on a mobile device like iPhone or Android is called Mobile VPN. Almost all the popular desktop VPNs have mobile versions. Mobile VPNs have a smaller memory footprint and need less processing power than desktop VPNs, so they yield faster connection speeds and don’t consume battery power quickly. To increase your privacy on mobile phones, go to the VPN apps’ settings and ensure that you use the apps’ strongest encryption.
5. Are VPNs legal?
In most countries, VPNs are legal as users use them to protect their privacy online. But if you are engaging in illegal activities online, whether you are using a VPN or not, it is illegal.
VPNs are banned or illegal in countries like China, Russia, Belarus, Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan, and UAE. In these countries, you’ll need a VPN that offers strong obfuscation to disguise your VPN traffic as ordinary HTTPS traffic.
6. What is the best VPN for working from home?
While working from home, your Internet connection might be connected to multiple devices or shared with other family members. Therefore, using a VPN on such a home network can cause a lot of drag on the network. So the better VPN for working from home is the one that allows you to use one subscription on as many devices as possible and has excellent speeds so that your Wi-Fi isn’t bogged down. Also, it should provide you with the best security as you must also use it for online shopping.
7. What is the best VPN for Gaming?
The best VPN for gaming is the one that offers the best speed. Free VPNs would not provide you with the required speed. All VPNs reduce speed, most of them by half or more. Per various speed tests, Surfshark won the speed race while still being the least expensive VPN. Before choosing a gaming VPN, we recommend you visit the VPN’s official website to check if gaming-specific servers are offered or not in the countries where you most want to connect to other players.
8. Which is the best VPN for Privacy?
The best VPN for privacy from monitoring your online activities by any authority is the one headquartered outside of the country you’re currently in. Avoid choosing free VPNs, browser-based VPNs, and VPNs with jurisdiction in an allied country. Look for encryption also. Your VPN should offer a protocol called OpenVPN TCP.
9. What is a remote-access VPN?
A VPN that uses public infrastructure like the Internet to provide remote users secure access to their network is known as a remote-access VPN. A remote-access VPN enables users to connect to a local private network from anywhere in the world. Companies mostly use it to provide a way for employees to securely connect to their network from remote locations when working from home or while on the go. A remote access VPN works by creating a virtual tunnel between an employee’s device and the company’s network.
10. How do I know if my VPN is working?
The most apparent thing that indicates that your VPN is working is when your IP address changes and your location is registered as that of the VPN server you’re connecting through. This can be checked by visiting the website whatismyipaddress.com.
To ensure that the VPN is protecting your privacy and not leaking any of your data outside of the VPN tunnel, you can check for leaks by going to a site like dnsleaktest.com or ipleak.net. If your location is registered as the VPN server location, and your leak tests turn negative, then you know your VPN is working perfectly to protect your privacy.
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