Finding a good VPN is important to protect privacy and keep yourself anonymous on the internet. There is a large choice of VPNs available and I did some research to find out more about the different VPN services on offer.
What is the best VPN? The best VPN choices are NordVPN and ExpressVPN as both these are based outside the US with NordVPN based in Panama and ExpressVPN based in the British Virgin Islands. Making it difficult for foreign governments to get information about their customers.
I’m a NordVPN user and love it.
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I’ve listed above the Best VPN choices available today, with ExpressVPN and NordVPN having the highest ratings of the selections below. With additional protections against DNS Leaks, WebRTC leaks, provided by many of these VPN choices listed, along with a no logging policy option available too.
Let’s take a deep dive into the most popular VPN providers.
NordVPN is an extremely popular VPN, a rating of 4.9 out of 5.0 from its users in a VPN Mentor survey putting it at the top of the VPNs surveyed.
Below are the pros for Nord VPN according to PC Mag Reviews.
Nord VPN pros:
- Up to six devices at once can be used
- Excellent IP address protection
- DNS leak protection
- 5,300 servers around the globe
- Application specific kill switch options
- Many payment options including bitcoin
NordVPN has one of the largest number of virtual servers around the globe, standing at around 5,300, more than its competitors.
Find out more: NordVPN Special Offers
Express VPN is perhaps best known for its lightning-fast speed capabilities. Express VPN was given a rating of 4.9 out of 5.0 from its users in a VPN Mentor survey and Express VPN also won the award for “Best Virtual Private Network for Speed”.
Below are the pros for Express VPN according to PC Mag Reviews.
Express VPN Pros:
- Excellent torrenting speeds
- Fast set up of around four minutes
- Easy to use interface
- Options to purchase using bitcoin
Express VPN has over 3,000 servers across 160 destinations in 94 nations, with VPN features like content-unblocking for streaming media devices and smart TVs, along with custom firmware for specific routers, P2P support, excellent encryption, bitcoin payments, DNS leak protection, no logging policy and a kill switch to protect against connection disruptions.
Support comes with 24/7 live chat support for any issues and problems.
Find out more: ExpressVPN Special Offers
Surfshark has a simple branding, but it’s all business when it has to do with securing your online identity. Surfshark features all the basics like TCP, OpenVPN, AES-E256 encryption, IKEv2 security protocols, and a kill switch put in place to restrict leakage of your details in the event of a failed connection.
Additionally, this VPN service boasts an extra security blanket through a double VPN hop and a private DNS. Not forgetting a logging policy that records only your billing information and email address, and it is swift.
If you are the type of person that dislikes ambiguous menus and overcrowded options, Surfshark would be an excellent fit for you. The interface is very straightforward, with the absence of any complications.
One of the most prominent features of this VPN provider is that your subscription covers unlimited services and devices. If you intend to utilize your VPN subscription on your tablet, desktop, smartphone, laptop, and Amazon Fire TV stick for foreign television, one account is sufficient for all of them at the same time.
Surfshark has a 30-day guarantee during which you can get your money back if you are unsatisfied with their service; this gives you ample time to test their service before you settle in the long term.
Find out more: SurfShark Special Offers
4. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access offers a VPN with everything required to get good privacy protection from your VPN without being bogged down with additional features. Users of VPN Mentor have Private Internet Access VPN rating of 4.5 out of 5.0.
According to PC Mag the following specs and pros of Private Internet Access are:
Private Internet Access Quick Specs:
- Monthly, bi-yearly and yearly options – Coupled with a 30-day money-back guarantee, Private Internet Access (PIA) offers three different service length options.
- Multi-device accessible – Access from desktop computers, laptops, smartphones to gaming devices, Private Internet Access has many protection options for connecting any device to the internet.
- Ad blocker – Private Internet Access includes an ad blocker (MACE) so there’s no need to pay extra and buy one of these.
Private Internet Access Pros:
- Market leading VPN with great popularity
- At any one time, up to ten devices can be connected with the same subscription
- Interface is easy to use
- 3,341 servers available worldwide
Private Internet Access coverage extends to over 50 areas across 32 nations. The Private Internet Access VPN features; good VPN protocol support across all servers including P2P support, there are numerous browser VPN extensions with all popular browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome to Opera supported.
The browser extensions offer additional features like protection against microphone and camera usage by applications, cookie clearing to blocking malicious scripts such as those using flash.
Kill switch support is available across the different VPN options for different devices, providing protection against temporary connection interruption.
The Private Internet Access VPN is available for Windows devices, Apple Mac laptops, Linux, Apple iOS devices to Android devices.
There are numerous comprehensive tutorials available from the Private Internet Access website, detailing installation and configuration options as well as tutorials for routers and other devices. With so many options available it’s easy to see how this VPN covers so many options and devices.
Find out more: Private Internet Access Special Offers
5. Strong VPN
StrongVPN can use a number of secure protocols from common choices such as OpenVPN, IPSEC, IKEv2, L2TP and SSTP but unlike most other popular VPN provider choices, StrongVPN also has support for the WireGuard protocol.
Users of the VPNMentor website have rated StrongVPN with a 4.0 out of 5.0 overall, with ease of use being rated at 4.3 out of 5.0. StrongVPN costs more than other VPN providers and this is reflected in the user rating score of 3.4 out of 5.0 from the VPNMentor website.
The WireGuard protocol was designed to be a simpler but still robust protocol for VPN connections made from devices running MacOS, Windows, iOS and Android.
WireGuard unlike other VPN protocols like OpenVPN is easy to set up, maintains better connections without necessarily requiring additional options like a kill switch, has rapid connection negotiation capabilities, doesn’t have outdated ciphers and as there’s less code involved in its design, it’s easier to find bugs in WireGuard compared to the likes of OpenVPN.
The following specs and pros of using the StrongVPN service have been derived from the StrongVPN website:
StrongVPN Quick Specs:
- WireGuard Access – By giving users options to use this VPN protocol, users are open to faster speeds with increased performance without the overhead of extra resource utilization such as memory or CPU.
- Two-tier pricing – Strong VPN comes with two tiers of pricing, with options for a monthly paid service to yearly service contracts.
- SugarSync – Strong VPN offers cloud storage as an add-on provided by SugarSync, allowing data to be securely stored on the cloud
- Up to twelve devices can be connected at anyone time to a single StrongVPN account.
- WireGuard private tunneling provides additional security for VPN connections
- Compatible with Skype calling allowing international calls to be made domestically (by rerouting over the StrongVPN), allowing international call costs to be reduced to just domestic calls.
- StrongVPN twelve device capacity leads other VPN providers, providing ample device protection to a family with multiple laptops, computers, smartphones and tablets.
So, the pricing per subscription may from the outside look expensive compared to other VPN providers but if you have a large number of devices to cover, the cost per device is a lot lower with StrongVPN.
Find out more: StrongVPN Special Offers
With access to over 3,000 servers across 70 countries, HotspotShield provides plenty of coverage in terms of VPN server numbers. With up to 5 devices allowed to connect at any one time using the same subscription account, to 24/7 customer support and the no ads, HotspotShield is pretty cool VPN.
Unlike most other VPN providers which use OpenVPN standards, HotspotShield has its own VPN proprietary VPN protocol called catapult hydra. This protocol provides excellent performance when it comes to super-fast downloading even from distant locations.
As it’s not an open standard, like OpenVPN, the downside of the catapult hydra protocol limits it’s use to devices running MacOS, Windows, iOS and Android. Gaming consoles and routers are not compatible with catapult hydra, making it impossible to HotspotShield to install on these types of devices.
Other issues with the HotspotShield VPN is its lack of support for payments using Bitcoin, inability to block BBC iPlayer content to the application itself not having enough options for configuration.
HotspotShield makes up for these shortcomings through its awesome speed, low pricing and a seven day trial to make sure it’s right for you before deciding to make any long term commitment.
Find out more: HotSpot Shield Special Offers
IPVanish is another one of the US based VPN service providers. They were in the press a few years back for handing over logs to the feds in breach of their no logs policy but since being taken over by new owners, StackPath. There have not been any reported claims about logs being kept or disclosed to government agencies.
IPVanish has the following security features:
- OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec protocols
- SOCKS5 proxy
- HMAC SHA256/SHA 512 and RSA 2048 for authentication
- IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection
IPVanish has a built-in kill switch to ensure your internet traffic is stopped should the VPN connection fail, protecting you against leaking your information accidentally to your Internet Service Provider.
Secure Cloud Storage is also provided within some of IPVanish’s plans using SugarSync encrypted storage and backup. The storage capacity on offer is quite generous at 250GB of space.
Additional obfuscation settings and IP configuration is also available, along with each subscription allowing up to ten simultaneous connections. There’s 24/7 support, with each subscription offering having a seven-day money back guarantee should customers not be completely satisfied.
Find out more: IPVanish Special Offers
Pure VPN has a lot of features for the price paid including DDoS protection to dedicated IP addresses and this certainly helps entice many people to choose Pure VPN over the competition.
Pure VPN was rated at 3.8 out of 5.0 overall, in the VPN Mentor ratings with a rating 4.5 out 5.0 for their pricing and for reliability and support, the rating was 2.9 out of 5.0.
According to VPN Mentor Pure VPN has the following specs, pros, and cons.
Pure VPN Quick Spec:
- Trial period available – a seven day trial period is offered for a small payment of just one dollar.
- Split Tunneling – The ability to control what data customers want to send across their VPN and what data to send without VPN protection across their ISP.
- Hong Kong Based – Pure VPN is based out of Hong Kong, so they are not under any obligation to save any data.
Pure VPN Pros:
- Premium users can gift PureVPN accounts to other users
- A single subscription includes multiple login options, allowing between five and ten devices to connect simultaneously, depending on the subscription purchased.
- Available across 180 countries with over 2,000 servers
- No bandwidth throttling, leaving the unlimited bandwidth available for multiple devices.
Pure VPN Cons:
- Encryption strength can be reduced as choices of having to use weaker encryption protocols to retain speedier connections or to use more securer encryption, albeit with the loss of some speed.
- Connections to the servers in the United States can suffer from latency and become laggy.
Find out more: PureVPN Special Offers
With an overall rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 on the VPN Mentor user satisfaction survey along with 4.5 out of 5.0 for reliability and support, Tor Guard is a solid performer. Even though it’s not as well-known as the other VPN providers, it does have a reputation for having excellent capabilities for torrenting.
According to PC Mag the following specs, pros, and cons of Tor Guard are:
Tor Guard Quick Specs:
- Dedicated IP available – Trying to online banking using a VPN can set off a banks fraud detection system as the IP address is not only continually changing but may be tied to a different location from the one registered with the bank. This add on can be used to ensure online banking fraud detection isn’t alerted when trying to log on, as the same IP address can be registered with the bank as being safe and used for all online banking.
- Different pricing models – Based on length of account, the pricing can become cheaper, so having a Tor Guard account for a longer period, could result in lower subscription costs.
- Different billing options – Options for billing include monthly, bi-annually and annual choices.
- Built-in Ad blocker – There’s a built-in Ad blocker as standard, saving the cost of having to buy one to protect against Ads popping up during browsing sessions.
Tor Guard Pros:
- There’s no limits on bandwidth, with great connection speeds
- Multiple country options available, with over 3,000 servers globally
- Port Forwarding support is available, helping further to increase the rate of data transfer
- An automatic kill switch provides protection should the VPN connection fail, keeping your browsing from leaking
Tor Guard Cons:
- For Netflix access, Tor Guard requires additional purchase of their dedicated IP address add on
- User Interface along with design of their application isn’t quite as intuitive as their competitors
- In 2018 they had a breach which was disclosed quickly as just a server breach without affecting data as there is no logging. The only concern would be if the hacker had access to the server for a prolonged period of time, they could in theory have observed the activity of customers connecting to this server.
- Their United States servers are reportedly not as fast as other servers for download speeds
Find out more: TorGuard Special Offers
VPN.ac is a Romanian based VPN provider that has been around since 2012. It was started by a group of network professionals and since inception, the infrastructure has been upgraded to meet the demands of its customers.
VPN.ac provides the following security encryption standards:
- L2TP with AES256 and RSA-2048
- OpenVPN with 128-bit BF-CBC, RSA 2048 and HMAC SHA-1
- OpenVPN with 128-bit AES, RSA 2048 and HMAC SHA256/SHA 512
- OpenVPN with 256-bit AES, RSA 4096 and HMAC SHA 512
- OpenVPN AES 128, ECC secp256k1 and HMAC SHA512
Perfect Forward Secrecy is provided along with the encryption standards listed above, allowing for greater control over the levels of security that can be configured. Like Strong VPN, there’s also an option to use the WireGuard protocol, that’s been designed to be leaner but just as effective as a secure VPN protocol.
With its own DNS servers, the DNS leaks are eliminated and with no logging taking place either and double-hopping customer connections, ensures VPN.ac is determined to protect the privacy of its customers.
Along with a built-in kill switch and DNS leak protection, their customers can be reassured their privacy is protected. The installation and configuration of their VPN software is straightforward even for novice users with basic IT skills.
The only downsides seem to be the total number of servers provided, in a limited amount of countries, even so, the number of total locations served is still impressive.
Their node status page shows all the locations served, with some countries having a comprehensive set of VPN locations like the UK with seven and the US with over twenty different locations.
Find out more: VPN.ac Special Offers
11. Norton Secure VPN
Norton, a company whose reputation has been built on anti-virus software also provides a VPN called Norton Secure VPN. This has an overall rating of 3.1 out of 5.0 in the VPN Mentor survey, with a rating of 4.4 out 5.0 for the price and 3.2 out of 5.0 for the support offered and the reliability of this VPN.
The following lists highlight the specs, pros, and cons of Norton Secure VPN:
Norton Secure VPN Quick Specs:
- Device tier pricing – Depending on the number of devices requiring VPN software, subscriptions can be tailored according with single device plans to multiple device plans for five and ten devices, each with further options of monthly or yearly plans.
- Anonymous browsing – Browsing activity is protected from tracking by advertisers.
- Travel friendly – VPN anywhere access is available from any device.
- Ad tracking block – Along with anonymous browser protection, there’s also the option of blocking and restricting any websites from trying to track searches so they can tailor their advertisements.
Norton Secure VPN Pros:
- Trust is ensured as Norton has a reputation with many years of expertise in protecting customers from internet threats like viruses
- Anti-Virus options are available at additional cost, allowing Norton 360 standard to be included in the package bought.
- Servers in 29 different countries with 73 locations are available
- Has a no log policy of not logging any web browsing searches and history.
Norton Secure VPN Cons:
- China, Russia and Vietnam are not included in the countries available for VPN servers
- Some information is collected for research, but this is done anonymously, so the number of customers visiting a particular website can be noted but not who those individual users were.
- Has no support for Bit Torrent and will limit access to many torrent websites.
Find out more: Norton 360 Premium with VPN Special Offers
Express VPN, Private Internet Access, Tunnelbear, IP Vanish, TorGuard