The pandemic changed the way people work and it forced millions of people to adapt to new work environments. The best approach to manage privacy and security, and tackle other cyber-related issues are establishing a high-level Virtual Private Network (VPN).
If you think that VPN only creates a secure and encrypted tunnel between your PC – or mobile – and a web server, then you have so much to explore. Every VPN software has something unique up its sleeves.
To rightfully categorize 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
Number of Servers and Locations
These numbers extend the scope of a provider’s network, as more of it means that users will have better chances to access 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.
Many providers offer a special feature that can instantly disconnect 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 it 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, but for NordVPN, the desktop software shuts down the functionality of several applications, and the mobile version disables internet access.
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 in the world might have accurate VPN endpoints that give phenomenal results.
However, it is not a guarantee 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.
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, it wouldn’t hurt to check customer reviews before making a purchase.
10 Best VPN Service Providers
To help you make the best decision, we have tested and looked into several leading VPN services. Our 10 Best VPN 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 access foreign servers
- Modern encryption method with 256-bit AES.
- Multi-platform implementation.
- Around-the-clock support.
- 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 ExpressVPN. It has more than 3,000 servers across 94 countries.
ExpressVPN provides incredible data transfer rates and performance levels, but it 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 interface is user-friendly, and users can get started instantly with just 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 very few providers that have incorporated WireGuard technology into its primary service model.
By implementing WireGuard, NordVPN assures securing data. Therefore, business customers prefer NordVPN as they would need a control panel to track server loads and different types of data. 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.
Have you ever faced problems in the middle of torrenting? If you have, then you should consider Surfshark as your next VPN service provider. It is one of the fastest service providers on this list. With a low cost and unlimited connections, Surfshark is providing 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 that makes Surfshark a 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 is available.
- 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 are enabled with protected wi-fi networks.
- 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 being 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 the user to engage in P2P torrenting with unlimited data and bandwidth.
- 100% ownership of its servers.
- No log policy.
- A live support system is 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 their 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 web proxy in most of its subscription plans.
Although it is a perfect VPN, its performance recedes remarkably when it comes to Android devices. The one feature that helps IPVanish stand apart is the integrated cloud device backup. 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 services and cloud storage.
- Easy to set up and friendly for new VPN users.
- Absence of upgraded servers.
- Poor customer assistance.
Windscribe is a Canada-based VPN service company, and it vows to help users worldwide browse privately. The features offered by Windscribe are automatic kill switch, leak protection, split tunneling, and double hop. Most of these act as a firewall to the main system. The VPN never collects historical records or source IPThe 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 options in the marketplace.
- Live chat service.
- The mobile app also offers adblocking.
- Server speeds are inconsistent.
- The refund policy needs certain changes.
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 to ghost your IP and have access to every movie and TV shows available 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 every day.
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 the best 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 and not full-fledged enterprises.
The Canadian-based service offers simple but effective tools that come 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.
- Torrenting is not available.
- Unsuitable for streamers.
- No trial period.
It is hard to distinguish VPN products because they mostly perform the same functions, i.e. secure user data, and hide geolocation and IP addresses. Choosing the best VPN provider requires the user to understand the requirements right from the beginning.
VPNs are used for a plethora of purposes, such as having a safer public Wi-Fi and torrenting experience, streaming restricted content, and social media unblocking.
The best option for small businesses and enterprises would be Surf VPN 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.
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