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October 10, 2020 13 min read

Are you worried about your online privacy? If yes, then rest assured, you aren’t the only one looking for the best VPNs.

And you have every reason to be skeptical of your online security.

According to the Q2 2018 Threat Report, the number of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks increased in size by 500%.

However, it can be alleviated using a VPN ‘virtual private network.’ A VPN provides an additional layer of security to your networks, whether public or private. As businesses are increasingly becoming digital and people are working remotely from home, everyone is turning to VPNs to protect their sensitive data.

One of the immediate benefits of using a VPN is that your IP address is changed immediately, from the incumbent to the address provided by the VPN. The updated IP address is usually generated from a different city or country because you log in from a different server.

For instance, you may log in from Kyoto, Japan, but your IP address says you’re in New York, New York.

VPN services provide a superior level of encryption that allows you to connect to public Wi-Fi and still engage in sending and receiving sensitive. Browsing privately, escaping internet censorship, and enjoying online privacy are some of the most prominent benefits a VPN provides.

There are many other advantages of using a VPN, including:

  • Access your business network while traveling.
  • Ultra-fast speeds when surfing.
  • Allows you to your home network while on the go.
  • Download unlimited files via Torrent.
  • Access Netflix and other streaming services without geographic restrictions.

Much like using password managers, VPNs have been a necessity for online privacy and data management over the last decade.

However, as the popularity of VPN continues to spread, the number of providers is also growing exponentially.

How Do You Find the Best Free VPN Services?

With hundreds of VPN service providers (open-source or paid) available on the market, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. The task becomes even more taxing due to thousands of biased online reviews.

That’s why I scoured through the internet to curate this of VPN reviews.

Before selecting from these VPN companies, make sure to consider some essential VPN uses, such as:

  • Download speeds
  • Security features
  • Torrenting
  • Netflix Availability and unblocking capabilities
  • Jurisdiction
  • Usability
  • Maintenance and support
  • Number of simultaneous connections
  • Cost

After evaluating all of these factors, you can choose the VPN that best suits you.

This guide includes the best VPN services, ranked and reviewed based on their features, pricing, security features, streaming capabilities, and more.

Let’s get started.

Disclaimer: Please note that this article includes affiliate links which may provide me a small commission at no cost to you. However, these are the best VPNs to use this year. You can read my full affiliate disclosure in my privacy policy.

What Are the Best VPNs?

Here are my top picks for the best VPNs with free options to try as well.

1. IPVanish VPN.

Initially released in 2012, IPVanish is based in the USA. It started with 32 servers per client for Windows OS and further expanded into iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, and Fire TV. It has more than 40,000 shared IP addresses and over 1300 servers that are present in over 75 locations all across the world.

KEY FEATURES:

  • More than 40,000 shared IP addresses
  • More than 1300 VPN servers in over 75 locations globally
  • AES-256 encryption, one of the strongest in the market
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • SOCKS5 web proxy
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Zero traffic logs
  • SOCKS5 web proxy
  • Access to censored apps and websites
  • IKEv2, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec VPN protocols
  • Unlimited server switching
  • 10 simultaneous connections on multiple devices
  • Unlimited P2P traffic
  • Geo-locked content access and no geo-restrictions

PROS:

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Compatible with all browsers and devices
  • One of the fastest VPN service providers
  • Easy installation and ease of use
  • Anonymous browsing experience
  • Access to censored apps and websites
  • 7-day money-back guarantee
  • TOR compatibility

CONS:

  • Third-party reviews are not very promising
  • Allegations of data anonymity compromise for the Homeland Security made in the past
  • No live chat customer support
  • Pricing plans are slightly on the higher side
  • Service is overwhelmingly towards US-based clients

PRICING:

IPVanish VPN offers three basic pricing plans.

  • The first plan is a monthly one, at $10/ month, billed monthly.
  • The second one is a three-monthly plan, at $8.99/ month. With this 3-month plan, you can save 25% and only have to pay $26.99 every three months.
  • The last one is an annual plan and costs $6.49/ month. With this plan, you are billed $77.99 annually and can save 46%.

The payment options are extensive; you can pay by Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, Delta, and PayPal.

2. CyberGhost VPN.

CyberGhost VPN has been in the industry for over 15 years and provides fast and secure VPN services to stream and browse without any limitations.

With their suite of online privacy tools, you can unblock streaming services, stream sporting events, get better deals online, and access blocked websites. Additionally, their platform provides data security by hiding your IP address, securing bank transactions, and protecting your digital identity.

With a single subscription, you can protect up to 7 devices at the same time and mask your server with hundreds of options.

KEY FEATURES:

  • One-click connect to anonymize your internet connection.
  • 120 server locations in over 88 countries for a total of 6,200+ servers.
  • Smart rules and manually-configured privacy triggers.
  • Secure file sharing with no bandwidth limits.
  • Kill switches to make sure your real IP address is never exposed.
  • A strict “no logs” policy so that your data is never stored.
  • 24/7 live customer support.

PROS:

  • Excellent features for Mac users and compatible with all Mac products.
  • A 45-day money-back guarantee.
  • Very fast connection speeds due to their network of worldwide servers.
  • Independently-operated no-spy servers.
  • A fully-dedicated IP address.

PRICING:

CyberGhost VPN has different pricing plans based on your term length. Their best value is the $2.75/month plan, which covers three years (and you get two extra months free).

Get started with CyberGhost VPN and get two extra months free.

 

3. ExpressVPN.

Initially released in 2009, ExpressVPN is a virtual private network service offered by Express VPN International Ltd, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The software is mostly sold as a privacy and security tool, which encrypts the web traffic of users, and masks their IP addresses.

Touted as one of the largest VPN services in the world, it runs more than 2500 remote servers all over the globe, spanning across 94 countries and more than 150 locations. The largest numbers of its servers are located in Brazil, Canada, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Access content, even blocked sites, from anywhere in the world ( even while traveling)
  • 16 server locations across 94 countries
  • Allows anonymous browsing
  • Full IP address masking
  • No data is written to the hard drive, which results in ensuring security
  • No connection and activity logs
  • VPN split tunneling
  • Private, encrypted, zero-knowledge DNS
  • Allows you to stream online sports
  • Protects you against rogue attacks on public Wi-Fi

PROS:

  • Best-in-class security encryption
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Network lock kill switch
  • Extremely reliable
  • Compatible with all devices and browsers, including Windows, iOS, Mac, Android, Linux, routers, game consoles, smart TV

CONS:

  • Little expensive than market competitors
  • Limited settings options
  • Limited configuration options
  • No phone support. You can get in touch only via email or chats

PRICING:

The price is $12.95 for a one-month subscription to ExpressVPN, $8.32 per month for an annual subscription, and $9.99 per month for a subscription of 6 months.

A 100% money-back guarantee covers all plans for the first 30 days of service. Just select your plan, enter your email address, and choose your preferred mode of payment, and you’re up and running!

4. NordVPN.

Initially released in 2012, NordVPN is one of the best VPN service providers available.

As of September 2019, it operates on more than 5500 servers spread across more than 60 countries. The most significant number of servers are located in the USA, UK, France, Netherlands, Australia, and Canada.

Apart from general VPN servers, it offers a diverse range of services, including P2P sharing, double encryption, and connection to the Tor anonymity network.

One of its advantages is its strategic location in Panama. Due to legal reasons, there are no mandatory data retention laws in Panama.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Military-Grade Encryption
  • CyberSec (blocks suspicious websites automatically leading to increased protection)
  • Military-grade security encryption
  • Offers a double VPN feature
  • Fully hidden IP Address
  • Stringent No Logs Policy
  • Bitcoin Payments
  • Automatic Kill Switch
  • DNS Leak Protection
  • Onion over VPN
  • Unblocks difficult countries like China
  • Lightning speed & Live Streaming
  • SmartPlay (allows you to access your favorite streaming sites securely)
  • P2P (Peer-to-Peer) Sharing
  • High-Speed VPN
  • Browser proxy extension

PROS:

  • The entire Signup, set up, and installation process is straightforward
  • User-friendly interface
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 customer support and assistance (Best Customer Service award at 2018 BestVPN.com awards)
  • Extremely reliable
  • Compatible with all devices and browsers

CONS:

  • Performance is heavily dependent on the time of use
  • Servers are clustered in and around Europe, with a lack of diversity in location
  • No service guarantees
  • No customer support via phone

PRICING:

NordVPN offers four pricing plans as of now, including:

  • The first NordVPN plan is a monthly plan, which is priced at $11.95/ month.
  • The second is a yearly plan, where you pay only $6.99/ month. You can save 41% with this plan, which comes to a total of $83.88, billed every year.
  • The third plan is a 2-year plan, where you pay only $4.99/ month. Here you can save 58%, which comes to a total billing of $119.76 for two years.
  • The last one is the most popular plan they offer, the 3-year plan. Here, you pay only $3.49/ month and can save 70%, which comes to a total billing of $125.64 for three years. The 3-year plan is fully refundable for 30 days.

5. StrongVPN.

StrongVPN is one of the oldest VPN providers in the world, having started operations way back in 1994. Now, it is one of the market leaders and global VPN providing giants.

Currently, it is available in more than 25 cities, with more than 950 servers and 59000IP addresses. Backed by excellent infrastructure, it is one of the top choices when it comes to choosing a VPN service provider.

They also provide a dedicated IP address to cater to your needs. Moreover, it is quite easy to use and has two very cost-effective plans that provide optimum value for money.

However, its global presence is not as impressive, especially when you consider the amount of time it has been active in the market.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Zero logging of connections and activity
  • ‘Best Available Location’ option
  • Offers up to 12 simultaneous connections
  • No speed limit
  • Strong DNS
  • Certified no-logs policy
  • Strong AES-256 Encryption
  • L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, IPSec, and IKEv2 protocols
  • Security on public Wi-Fi
  • WireGuard protocol beta

PROS:

  • Works with Netflix and Hulu
  • Professional and prompt customer service
  • 24/7 customer support
  • More than 12000 satisfied customers
  • Compatible with all devices and browsers
  • Excellent infrastructure
  • Superior service all across the world
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

CONS:

  • Slow (on most servers)
  • User-interface is somewhat clunky and not very user-friendly
  • The US government may intervene at any time (due to US jurisdiction at the location)

PRICING:

StrongVPN offers two plans to its users.

  • The first is a monthly plan, payable every month at the rate of $10.
  • The second one is an annual plan, billed at $5.83/ month. Here, $69.99 is payable every 12 months. With this plan, you stand a chance to save up to 42%.

Both plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

6. PureVPN.

PureVPN is another highly transparent VPN service provider, backed by GZ systems. It is based out of Hong Kong and has more than 2000 servers operating out of 180 server locations.

Moreover, it offers more than 300,000 IP addresses and is one of the best in the market right now. PureVPN is also the first VPN service provider that is fully compliant with the newly implemented GDPR.

KEY FEATURES:

  • GDPR-compliant
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Internet kill switch
  • Split tunneling
  • 5 multi-logins
  • Fully encrypted even when you use public Wi-Fi
  • No data stored
  • Port forwarding option (premium)
  • Dedicated IP (premium)
  • P2P protection (premium)
  • Certified no-log policy
  • Kodi and Chromebook solutions

PROS:

  • Supports bitcoin payments
  • High-speed streaming
  • 24/7 technical support
  • 31-day money-back guarantee
  • Unlimited server switching and bandwidth
  • Compatible with all browsers and devices
  • Evenly distributed across the globe for optimum service

CONS:

  • Slow download speed
  • Sometimes faces a streaming error with Netflix USA
  • Complains about the validity of no-log policy claim
  • There are some complaints about customer support

PRICING:

PureVPN provides three pricing plans.

The paid plans start at $10.95/ month (billed every month). If you opt for an annual plan, you can save up to 47% at $5.81 per month. The third plan is a 2-year plan, where you have to pay $3.33/ month for 2 years. With this plan, you can save up to 71%. All the plans come with a 31-day money-back guarantee.

It also offers a wide range of payment options, including credit cards, Paypal, Alipay, Paymentwall, and BlueSnap. On top of that, you can gift 12 free monthly accounts to your near and dear ones.

7. Norton Secure VPN.

Norton Secure VPN is a world leader in security products and solutions. One of the best parts about this VPN service provider is that we know about its ownership, unlike other VPN providers who avoid divulging any information regarding ownership. Its accountability and strong backing make it one of the top choices.

Moreover, with 1500 servers across more than 200 server locations and 30 countries, it offers a wide service area.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Bank-grade encryption
  • Anonymous browsing
  • Access your favorite website, videos, and apps while on the go
  • Blocks unwanted advertisements that may track your activities
  • 100% encryption of data sent and received while using public Wi-Fi
  • Compatible operating systems like iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android

PROS:

  • Transparent ownership
  • 24/7 live customer support
  • Phone support available
  • Compatible with all browsers and devices
  • Available in over 30 countries
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Reasonable pricing plans
  • Backed by the name and brand of Symantec

CONS:

  • Does not support Linux
  • Can’t be used with routers and set-top boxes
  • Does not support P2P
  • No kill-switch feature
  • Does not support BitTorrent
  • Payment only through PayPal and other credit cards

PRICING:

The monthly plans start at $4.99 for one device, $7.99 for 5 devices, and $9.99 for 10 devices.

Annual plans start at $39.99 for one device or five devices and $59.99 for 10 devices. However, the annual plans change after the first year. After 1 year, the pricing is $49.99 for one device per year, $79.99 for 5 devices per year, and $99.99 for 10 devices per year.

The monthly plans, on the other hand, do not change after the first year.

8. Surfshark VPN.

t of its clientele is across Europe. With 800 plus servers across more than 45 countries, it goes above and beyond to ensure the optimum service.

It is decidedly compatible with locations like Australia, Germany, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, and the Netherlands. Although its pricing plans are a little on the higher side, it more than makes up for it with features it provides.

KEY FEATURES:

  • You can effectively hide IP address
  • Allows split tunneling
  • Industry-leading AES-256-GCM encryption
  • Default IKEv2/IPsec secure protocol
  • Camouflage mode for that additional layer of security
  • MultiHop (lets you connect via multiple countries at once)
  • NoBorders mode allows you to use the internet in restricted areas
  • Private DNS and leak protection
  • Kill switch incorporated
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Unlimited device connectivity all at once
  • CleanWeb feature ensures you are free from malware and phishing attempts and surf without any ads or trackers
  • Whitelist feature allows split-tunneling

PROS:

  • Unlimited device connectivity
  • DNS and leak protection
  • 24/7 expert support
  • Very user-friendly interface
  • Not subject to any mandatory data retention laws

CONS:

  • One of the costliest VPN services in the market
  • Speed results vary widely
  • Geographic locations of the servers are not evenly distributed
  • Static IPs may be a turn-off for some customers

PRICING:

Surfshark VPN offers three pricing plans.

  • The first one is a monthly plan, at $11.95/ month( billed every month).
  • The second plan is an annual plan, where you are billed $5.99/ month for 12 months. In this plan, you get the option to save as much as 50%.
  • The last one is for 2 years, billed at $1.99/ month. The total bill payable is $47.76 every 24 months.

With these plans, you also get a 7-day free trial on Google Play and Apple app store.

9. Hotspot Shield.

Hotspot Shield, operated by AnchorFree Inc, was catapulted into international prominence after it was used during the Arab Spring protests to bypass government censorship in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.

Hotspot Shield initially started operations in 2005 in California, USA, and later expanded its services to the parts of Eastern Europe, including Ukraine and Russia. It is currently available in more than 70 countries and has more than 2500 servers and 50,000 IP addresses.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Premium VPN Servers
  • Private browsing and unlimited content access
  • Best-in-class malware, phishing, and spam protection
  • 100% Ad-Free
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Personal Data Security
  • Wi-Fi Security (100% data encryption)
  • Supports Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, along with plugins for Chrome and Firefox
  • Fully supports torrenting
  • 256-bit encryption
  • Support routers and media players
  • Kill switch feature
  • No-logs policy

PROS:

  • Compatible with all browsers and devices
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Phone and online support available
  • Great user experience
  • Netflix compatible
  • HD quality streaming

CONS:

  • Does not support Linux
  • Has been accused of spying on user traffic in the past
  • Does not support P2P
  • Protocol support limited to L2TP/IPSec and Hydra
  • No TOR compatibility
  • DNS leak may occur through chrome extensions
  • Ticketed customer support (which may take time sometimes)

PRICING:

You get three pricing plans with Hotspot Shield.

  • The first plan is a monthly plan, billed at $12.99/ month.
  • The second plan is an annual plan, where you have to pay $7.99/ month for 12 months. The total annual bill payable is $95.88, and you get an opportunity to save 38% with this plan.
  • The third plan is a two-year plan, billed at $6.99/ month for 24 months.

The payment method is secure and brisk. All you need to do is select your plan, enter your email address, and choose your method of payment. You can make the payment using debit cards, credit cards, and PayPal.

10. Private Internet Access VPN.

Launched in 2010, Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the best VPN service providers in the market. Located in the USA, and based out of Colorado, it has servers located 37 locations and has more than 3200 servers worldwide.

It provides value for money, as the price is on par with or less than most of the competitors in the market. One of its advantages is that it has clear ownership, unlike many of its competitors. However, the company has not revealed the number of available IP addresses.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Secure apps (no leaks identified in testing)
  • Excellent privacy and security features
  • Blocks advertisements, malware, and phishing attempts
  • Tested and proven no logs VPN provider
  • Updated, user-friendly apps
  • P2P support
  • PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPSec
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Great for Torrenting
  • Can connect up to 10 devices at one time
  • Port forwarding and DNS leak protection

PROS:

  • Great online security documentation and guidance
  • 7-day 100% refund policy
  • Instant set-up (user-friendly installation and setup procedure)
  • Great user experience
  • Anonymous payment options
  • Payment via bitcoins possible
  • Email customer support
  • Runs a strong affiliate program with good affiliate commissions

CONS:

  • Refund policy is 7-day instead of the usual 30-day
  • No Live chat and phone support option
  • 24/7 customer support only for North American customers

PRICING:

Private Internet Access provides three paid plans.

  • The first is a monthly plan, payable at $6.95/ month. With this plan, you get an opportunity to save 30%.
  • The second plan is an annual plan, which is billed at $3.33 per month. The total amount payable is $39.95 per year. And with this plan, you can save up to 67%.
  • The third plan is a 6-month plan. With this plan, the amount payable is $5.99 per month. The total billed amount is $35.95 after six months, and with this plan, you get an opportunity to save up to 40%.

All the plans offer great value for money. Moreover, you get flexible payment methods, where you can make payments via PayPal, Bitcoin, Visa, Zcash, Litecoin, among others.


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