At times finding a reliable VPN in order to keep your identity safe online feels impossible. There are several thousand VPNs in the market and all of their claims are to be the best. We spent months testing top VPN services in order to determine which of them do what they claim for staff – and do it well.
This research included us connecting to all these VPN services from all across the globe, and running tests within internet-restricted nations such as Russia and China. Moreover, we have also checked their reliability, security, and speed.
This VPN guide will help its readers in picking the right VPN service for themselves. Whether they wish to get around government censorship, stream seamless videos online or stay anonymous for personal reasons, we have got everything covered.
What Is a VPN?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a technology that establishes a secure and encrypted connection between your device and a remote server on the internet.
This connection routes your internet traffic through the server, hiding your IP address and encrypting your data in the process. VPNs serve multiple purposes, including:
- Enhanced Privacy: By masking your IP address and encrypting your online activities, VPNs protect your privacy from prying eyes, including ISPs, hackers, and government surveillance.
- Security: VPNs add an extra layer of security when using public Wi-Fi networks, preventing cybercriminals from intercepting your data.
- Access to Restricted Content: With a VPN, you can bypass geo-restrictions and access content that may be blocked or limited in your region.
- Anonymity: VPNs allow you to browse the web anonymously, making it difficult for websites to track your online behavior and serve you targeted ads.
- Torrenting and P2P: Many VPNs support peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing and torrenting, providing a secure and anonymous way to share files.
- Business and Remote Work: VPNs are essential for secure remote access to corporate networks and resources, enabling employees to work from anywhere while maintaining data security.
Now, let’s delve into what makes a VPN the “best.”
What Defines the Best VPN?
When searching for the best VPN, you’ll encounter a multitude of options, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Here are the key factors that define the best VPN services:
- Security Features:
- Strong Encryption: The best VPNs use top-tier encryption standards like AES-256 to safeguard your data.
- No-logs Policy: A reputable VPN service should have a strict no-logs policy, ensuring they don’t retain any records of your online activities.
- Server Network:
- Extensive Server Coverage: A broad network of servers in multiple countries allows you to access content from around the world and ensures better performance.
- Speed and Performance:
- Fast Connection Speeds: The best VPNs provide minimal speed loss, allowing you to stream, game, and download without interruptions.
- Ease of Use:
- User-Friendly Interface: An intuitive and user-friendly VPN client or app makes it easy for anyone to use the service, regardless of their technical expertise.
- Device Compatibility:
- Cross-Platform Support: The best VPNs offer apps and compatibility for a wide range of devices, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, routers, and more.
- Customer Support:
- Responsive Support: Reliable customer support via live chat, email, or phone is crucial for addressing any issues or questions promptly.
- Price and Plans:
- Affordable Pricing: The best VPNs offer transparent pricing with various subscription plans to accommodate different budgets.
- Privacy and Jurisdiction:
- Strong Privacy Laws: A VPN should be headquartered in a country with robust privacy laws to protect your data from government surveillance.
- Advanced Features:
- Split Tunneling: Allows you to route specific apps or websites through the VPN while others access the internet directly.
- Kill Switch: Automatically disconnects your internet if the VPN connection drops, ensuring your data remains protected.
- DNS Leak Protection: Prevents DNS leaks that could reveal your true IP address.
- Unblocking Capabilities:
- Effective Geo-unblocking: The best VPNs reliably bypass geo-restrictions on streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
Choosing the Right VPN for You
To determine the best VPN for your needs, consider the following steps:
- Identify Your Priorities: Determine your primary reasons for using a VPN, such as privacy, streaming, torrenting, or security.
- Research and Compare: Explore different VPN providers, read reviews, and compare their features, performance, and pricing.
- Free vs. Paid VPNs: While free VPNs exist, they often come with limitations and may not offer the same level of security and privacy as paid options. Evaluate your budget and requirements to decide which suits you best.
- Trial Periods and Money-Back Guarantees: Look for VPNs that offer trial periods or money-back guarantees, allowing you to test their services risk-free.
- Check Jurisdiction: Ensure the VPN is headquartered in a country with strong privacy laws.
- Customer Support: Test their customer support responsiveness and reliability.
5 Best VPN For 2023
When we talk about the best VPN services, small size is never an issue. In fact, some of the smaller VPNs easily outperform brands that claim to be the biggest ones in the market. The only difference here can be the marketing budget. But the performance depends on entirely different factors.
We put many VPN services to test only to find out that most of the popular VPNs are worthless and even dangerous! After this rigorous review, we enlisted the top 5 VPNs that you can use to protect your data, get fast streaming speed, and keep yourself safe online. Let’s have a look at them!
ExpressVPN is a solid and reliable option. It can be used for routers, iOS devices, and torrenting which is why it is at the top of our list. ExpressVPN has over 3000 high-speed servers located at 94 different locations worldwide.
It is to be noted that ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN that we have tested. Connecting to a nearby server gives the fastest possible speed. Moreover, it can give you access to your favorite content online even from websites that are not supported by VPNs.
We were successful in watching Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Netflix from 6 countries over Amazon Fire TV stick, gaming consoles, smart TVs, Apple TVs, and other such devices courtesy of its ability to blast through any geoblocks.
Another excellent VPN service that offers apps for MacOS, Android, Windows, Linux, Android TV, and iOS. NordVPN requires a manual setup for NAS devices, wireless routers, and other such platforms. In its application, NordVPN employs Internet Key Exchange v2/IPsec and OpenVPN technologies.
Along with the general use of VPN services, NordVPN also gives services to carry out double encryption, P2P sharing, and connection with the TOR anonymity network. Users can get their monthly or yearly subscription plans to avail its services.
It is another great VPN and happens to be one of our most favorites. Its combination of security, reliability, price, and ease of use is what makes it a smart choice. It is a Romania-based VPN provider which comes with all basic essentials like zero logins, solid encryption, and a network of approximately around 7327 servers located in 91 different countries.
Furthermore, its extra kill switch and leak-proof applications make it even more stable and secure. Its one-click setup up and automatic connection to its fastest server definitely adds up to its value.
With the help of CyberGhost, we were able to unblock BBC iPlayer, Facebook, Netflix, Crunchyroll, and many more. Although CyberGhost is not nearly as fast as our first VPN provider, but it still provides excellent speed and buffer-free streaming.
If security is your priority, then IPVanish is the ideal option for you. You can play games, stream videos, and use torrents without worrying about your safety. All of this is done using its AES – 256 type encryption which happens to be the strongest one available.
IPVanish gives its users a choice between its 5 security protocols – IKEv2, IPSec, PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP. Using IPVanish will ensure that your computer is safe and you are anonymous online. Moreover, it is quite simple to use and offers useful settings.
Users can choose their location and IPVanish will provide them with its best server in the best location. IPVanish can unlock almost all of the popular streaming platforms by bypassing any regional blocks via a simple process.
PrivateVPN has a compact network of self-owned 100+ servers. These servers are located in 63 different countries and are excellent for gaining access to content from all across the globe. With PrivateVPN, users can easily unlock Sling TV, BBC iPlayer, and Netflix US.
While performing the speed test, we observed that it gives the fastest speed when connected to the nearest server. Users will experience drastic speed loss as they move to distant servers.
However, it is to be noted that even after being connected to the most distant server, the speed was still adequate for high-definition streaming and high-speed browsing. Its Sweden-based provider is dedicated to working meticulously towards the user’s security and privacy.
It is easy-to-use application comes with AES-256 type encryption which supports L2TP, IKEv2, OpenVPN, and PPTP protocols.
Cybercriminals are also always looking for obtaining personal details from innocent users to steal their identity or money, using advanced tools. That’s not all, many companies track internet users to reach their wallets with dynamic pricing that ultimately benefits them.
Moreover, the government also sensors what internet users can or cannot access. Amidst all of this, a VPN proves to be a very valuable tool to protect oneself along with enjoying internet freedom.
But with thousands of VPNs in the market that aims to be the ideal choice for you, it becomes very difficult for commoners to pick one. This is the reason why we came up with this list so that we can make this choice easier for you.
All the VPN services enlisted above are safe and reliable. Where some VPN services are great for seamless streaming of online videos, some are very reliable for security purposes. Keeping your preferences in mind, go through our list and then make a decision.
Thank you for reading!