The COVID-19 pandemic caused a spike in an already increasing remote work trend. At the same time, it forced us to spend more of our leisure time at home. That’s why there has never been a bigger demand for a reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN) service.
Whether you’re browsing, streaming, or torrenting, you need a good VPN to protect yourself and unblock your favorite content. In today’s online world, anonymity is in short supply, and we should do all we can to take it back.
Below you will find the top deals for the best VPN services in 2021, with discounts up to 87%.
Picking any VPN from this list, you can be sure that it meets strict quality requirements and has all of the advertised features. If we’re saying a VPN is good for Netflix, that means we’ve tested it ourselves, so you don’t have to. Basically, we’ve tried to make sure that all you have to do is choose the one VPN that seems right for you.
5 Best VPN providers: shortlist
No time to read the whole article? It’s OK. Just pick a VPN from our top VPN services of the quick list below.
The best VPN service
|9.6 / 10|
Best VPN for privacy
|9.4 / 10|
Best VPN for streaming
|9.3 / 10|
Best VPN for security
|9.1 / 10|
Best VPN with unlimited devices
|8.8 / 10|
How to use the best VPN services in 2021
Protecting yourself with top-notch security is a simple three-step process. Here’s how to secure yourself by using the best VPNs in 2021:
- Subscribe to one of the best VPNs overall. Our top choice is NordVPN, currently available for 72% off!
- Install the VPN on your device and connect to a nearby country for optimal connectivity
- Enjoy secure and unrestricted access to the world wide web!
Overview of the 10 best VPNs in 2021
In this section, we will evaluate the key features of each VPN provider. That includes security, privacy, speed, server list, safe torrenting, and price, among other things. We also tested if they can unblock Netflix and other streaming platforms.
All VPNs mentioned below have apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS (iPhone), and most offer even more. Even if there’s no app, you can still configure them on routers and other devices.
1. NordVPN – the best VPN service
- Top-notch security features
- Excellent speeds
- Great for streaming and P2P
- No router app
Imagine you’re looking for a new car. You find one that’s the safest, the fastest, and costs less than the average car does. You try to look for some hidden flaws, ask your friend mechanic, go on internet forums, but you fail to find any serious flaws. Feeling right about your choice, you shake hands with the salesman.
That’s how buying NordVPN for the first time looks.
Simply put, NordVPN is the best VPN service in 2021. Compared to the competition, NordVPN stands out for its security, privacy, and impressive speeds. In fact, it beats other providers in virtually all categories.
It is based in a privacy-friendly location – Panama, which has no data retention laws. Moreover, NordVPN has an independently-audited no-logs policy, meaning it doesn’t collect your data. Your traffic will be encrypted with a military-grade cipher which makes your data incomprehensible to any third parties.
NordVPN has one of the widest networks with 5500 servers in 59 countries. Thanks to its proprietary NordLynx protocol, based on WireGuard, this VPN offers top-notch performance all over the globe. Torrenting fans will also like split tunneling and SOCKS5 proxy features.
Additionally, NordVPN boasts extra features, such as malware protection, multi-hop, and two kill switch types to keep your IP protected. This provider also has user-friendly apps for all popular devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It also supports routers and allows six simultaneous connections.
This VPN will easily unblock various streaming platforms, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. Because of the Obfuscated Servers (Stealth VPN) feature, users will enjoy unrestricted web even in China. Finally, in case you have some issues, 24/7 live chat agents are ready to hear your out.
NordVPN prices start at $3.30/month. There’s a 7-day free trial available on Android that works on all devices. You can also exercise your 30-day money-back guarantee.
To sum up, the only reason why you shouldn’t choose this provider is your personal preference.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – best VPN for privacy
British Virgin Islands (BVI)
- Top-notch security and speed
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Highly affordable
- No-logs policy hasn't been audited
Surfshark is one of the two premium VPNs that come with unlimited devices. That means you can use the same account on all of your devices and even share it with family or friends.
What’s more, it does so for a low price with one of the biggest discounts in the industry. At the same time, there’s not much that Surfshark can’t do, so getting this service before it becomes more expensive is a real steal.
Surfshark VPN is really fast, has a great RAM-only server list (3200+ servers in 65+ countries), and lets you torrent as much as you want and then some. Besides, it has a Whitelister (split tunneling) if you want to protect your P2P activities instead of the whole internet connection.
When it comes to fighting geo-blocking, Surfshark is your elite trooper. You’ll access Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more streaming services. The provider even has a Camouflage Mode, making it a good choice in high-censorship countries, such as China.
You can still grab Surfshark VPN for $2.49/month. There’s a free 7-day trial for all devices and a standard 30-day money-back guarantee.
Is there a reason why you should skip on Surfshark? Well, the only one we came up with is if you’re planning to use a VPN on your computer only. In that case, any cheaper option, i.e., PrivateVPN will do.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
3. PrivateVPN – best VPN for low-priced streaming
- Good security
- Great for Netflix
- 7-day free trial
- macOS and iOS apps have fewer features
If you thought that Surfshark was cheap, check PrivateVPN first. This small provider is well-known for its streaming capabilities. It has dedicated servers for the most popular content platforms and channels. But that’s only a part of the story.
PrivateVPN meets you with bank-grade encryption and a kill switch (not for the iOS, though). There’s also protection against IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. Privacy-wise, expect a no-logs policy, which should negate the issue of Sweden – a Fourteen Eyes alliance member.
At 150+ servers across 62+ countries around the world, this is the smallest VPN on this list. However, given these numbers and its price, PrivateVPN’s performance is simply admirable. Also, its SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding features will sure make torrenters happy.
PrivateVPN will bypass Netflix and other geo-blocking restrictions. You’ll get 20+ dedicated streaming servers that cover Amazon Prime, Disney+, or BBC iPlayer. What’s more, PrivateVPN offers its own “stealth mode” (Stealth VPN), making it an excellent choice for users in China.
PrivateVPN has custom apps for the main platforms, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and a Kodi add-on. It supports other devices as well (such as routers) that you can set up manually. One account gives you a six-device limit.
When writing this review, PrivateVPN is still the cheapest best VPN in 2021. The prices start at $2.08/month but there’s also a 7-day free trial. If that isn’t enough, there’s always a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you’re an avid Apple fan, we’d recommend picking another option, such as NordVPN. Private VPN has fewer features on Mac and iPhone apps, so it’s no point in saving money at the expense of your security.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
4. VyprVPN – best VPN for security
- Excellent security
- Allows torrenting
- Apps for major platforms, Android TV, and routers
- No anonymous payments
As we all know, when it comes to fast cars and sex, safety is first. VyprVPN joins the same gang with excellent security and privacy credentials, which makes it a great option for all types of users.
VyprVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption and a good selection of protocols, including its very own Chameleon. This proprietary technology was created specifically to bypass blocking in China, Russia, and similar countries. As for privacy, be prepared for Switzerland and an independently-audited no-logs policy.
This provider owns all of its 700+ servers in 70+ locations. That’s a rare feature even among the best VPN services. VyprVPN has done a lot to optimize them, achieving brilliant performance and increasing security to the next level.
VyprVPN is great for watching Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and other streaming services. However, this VPN service is strictly against violating copyrights, so torrenting might get your subscription revoked, at least in theory.
It also has top-notch customer support, brilliant apps for a wide range of platforms, and is reasonably priced. VyprVPN prices start from $1.67/month and you get 5 simultaneous connections. Also, you can try it risk-free for 30 days.
To sum up, VyprVPN is rightfully among the best VPN providers in 2021. Not recommended for P2P aficionados (get Surfshark instead) and recommended for everyone else.
For a deeper investigation of VyprVPN, read our VyprVPN review.
5. IPVanish – best VPN with unlimited devices
- Excellent security
- Apps for major platforms, Android TV, Fire TV Stick, ChromeOS
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- No anonymous payment options
IPVanish provides excellent security and torrenting for a decent price. It’s also known for not having a device limit, which is still a rare feature even among the best VPN services.
Like the rest of the best VPNs in 2021, IPVanish uses industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption. There are plenty of tunneling protocols to choose from, but WireGuard is still not among them.
Despite that, IPVanish is still among the fastest VPNs. That’s partially because they own all of their 1500+ servers in 75+ countries. The speed should be enough for both streaming and torrenting.
With IPVanish, P2P fans get to enjoy the free SOCKS5 proxy. In the meantime, streamers can access the Netflix US library. This provider also has apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, so you can easily watch your favorite shows on the big screen.
IPVanish now costs $3.75/month. For those who think that the price could be better, don’t forget that for 30 cents per month, you can add 500 GB of cloud storage. The 30-day money-back guarantee protects all monthly plans.
Finally, should you have any questions or concerns, you can address them with IPVanish’s 24/7 live chat support.
IPVanish is another great VPN on this list with no device limit that we recommend. However, if you need a kill switch on iOS or Linux, we advise picking Surfshark VPN instead.
For a deeper investigation of IPVanish, read our IPVanish review.
6. PureVPN – good range of supported platforms
- Split tunneling
- Good range of supported platforms
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Weak kill switch
PureVPN is a veteran service, known for its temptingly low pricing, and impressive fleet of 6500+ servers in 140+ countries. Even though some of them are virtual, the same can be said about most VPN services.
But wait, there’s more. PureVPN uses military-grade encryption, leak protection, and wi-fi security feature for connecting to public hotspots. It’s based in Hong Kong, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, and has an independently-audited no-logs policy. Therefore, you should feel pretty safe when using PureVPN.
This service is a good option for torrenting. However, it doesn’t allow P2P activities in the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia. Some users who need to upload before sharing will like PureVPN’s port forwarding feature.
Streaming fans will enjoy a huge list of unblocked streaming platforms. Those include Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video, to name but a few. Even without the WireGuard tunneling protocol, the speeds should be enough for HD or even 4K video quality.
Another thing that PureVPN is known for is an extended range of supported platforms, including browser extensions. In addition to the popular ones, this provider has a Kodi add-on, a DD-WRT applet. You can also configure PureVPN to work with routers, ChromeOS, and Raspberry Pi, among others.
The prices start at $2.91/month and have significant discounts. Each account gets 10 simultaneous VPN connections, which should be enough even for your extended family. You can try PureVPN for 7-days ($0.99) or use its 31-day money-back guarantee.
As you can see, there’s no good reason to skip the PureVPN deal. It’s fast, secure, allows P2P and streaming, plus has a 24/7 live chat.
The only reason why you may not like PureVPN is you having to connect more than ten devices. In this case, go with Surfshark VPN or IPVanish.
For a deeper investigation of PureVPN, read our PureVPN review.
7. Ivacy VPN – best VPN with brilliant security features
- Excellent security
- Decent choice for China
- Great for torrenting
- No kill switch for macOS & iOS
Ivacy VPN sets itself from the pack with huge discounts, excellent security, and working in China. It’s one of the best options when you evaluate using the price-for-value ratio. Therefore, if you find a VPN that’s significantly cheaper than Ivacy, that probably means it’s worse as well.
The base of Ivacy is AES 256-bit encryption. Used in banks and the military, this cipher is more than enough to protect sensitive traffic. Plus, there’s protection against IP and DNS leaks, DDoS attacks, and real-time threat detection. The last privacy feature removes malware from all ongoing downloads.
Ivacy is based in Singapore, a partner of the Fourteen Eyes countries. Unless you are a political activist or journalist, this shouldn’t be a concern for you. Besides, you’re protected by a favorable no-logs policy.
This provider offers 3500+ servers in 50+ countries. That’s a great server list, especially if you’re in China or some other Asian country. More than 50 countries have a P2P-optimized servers as well.
Ivacy allows torrenting, and the speeds are quite good. You’ll benefit from split tunneling, port forwarding, and the above-mentioned Secure Downloading feature.
Streaming fans can also expect HD or even 4K video quality and minimal buffering. For them, Ivacy VPN has dedicated servers that unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more. There’s also a Kodi add–on.
Speaking of apps, Ivacy VPN has them for popular platforms, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV Stick. Additionally, there are browser extensions and support for routers. Some users will also love the option to manually configure Roku and Raspberry Pi.
$1.33/month is what Ivacy VPN asks. For that, you’ll get ten simultaneous connections. You can pay anonymously via Coingate with a wide range of cryptocurrencies.
If you want to try Ivacy VPN first, there’s a 1-day free trial. For most users, that may not be enough, so there’s an alternative to get 7-days for $0.99 only. Finally, there’s a standard 30-day money-back guarantee.
Ivacy VPN is a cheap but great option for Windows and Android users. That’s because there’s still no kill switch for Mac and iPhone. If you happen to own one or both of these, consider trying NordVPN instead.
For a deeper investigation of Ivacy VPN, read our Ivacy VPN review.
8. ExpressVPN – the definition of “reliable”
British Virgin Islands (BVI)
- Very fast
- Excellent security
- Great for China and other restricted countries
ExpressVPN is secure enough for both sensitive purposes and powerful enough for entertainment. There’s not much that this service can’t do, but it could definitely improve its pricing to earn a better spot on this list.
The provider offers stellar traffic encryption, a sturdy kill switch, no IP or DNS leaks, and a privacy-friendly jurisdiction (British Virgin Islands). ExpressVPN has the strongest no-logs policy that’s been court-proven and independently audited. In short, one would be hard-pressed to find a safer and more private VPN.
Despite the high level of security, ExpressVPN offers high-octane performance and is one of the fastest providers on the market today. This is unsurprising, considering ExpressVPN has a proprietary Lightway protocol and 3000+ servers in 94+ countries, including some very exotic locations.
You can rest assured that ExpressVPN will protect your torrenting activities. P2P is allowed on all servers, and users can benefit from the split tunneling feature. Port forwarding is also available, but it’s for accessing devices connected to a router.
ExpressVPN is great for streaming. You should have no problem watching Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and content from other platforms. This provider works with Kodi, and its MediaStreamer (Smart DNS) feature will unblock your movies and shows on a variety of devices.
ExpressVPN offers user-friendly apps not only for the main platforms. Additionally, you can install this service on Android TV, Fire Stick, Chromebook, and Kindle Fire. There’s even an app for routers, a rarity in the VPN industry. Any issues you may have with ExpressVPN can be addressed via helpful and responsive 24/7 live chat.
Now comes the least pleasant part. ExpressVPN prices start from $8.32/month. You’ll get only five simultaneous VPN connections, which might not be enough for one household. There’s a free 7-day trial for smartphones and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
All things considered, ExpressVPN is still one of the best VPN services, despite the high cost. If that’s not a problem for you, we are pretty sure you’ll be happy with your selection. Otherwise, consider NordVPN – the top VPN service at an affordable price.
For a deeper investigation of ExpressVPN, read our ExpressVPN review.
9. Private Internet Access – VPN with the biggest server list
- Good security credentials
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Works for torrenting
- Not good in China
It’s not clear how intensely do VPNs battle in the “Who’s got the biggest one?” server fleet contest, but it’s clear that Private Internet Access (PIA), with 29300+ bare-metal servers in 78+ countries, is in another league.
And that’s not the sole asset – meager prices and court-proven no-logs policy are the other two. So even though Private Internet Access is based in the US, you shouldn’t worry much about your privacy.
PIA is a popular provider that has no leaks, uses military-grade encryption, and offers anonymous payment options. Its kill switch is great, and there’s even Handshake Naming System (HNS) for advanced users.
This provider offers good speeds, thanks to its vast server list and the next-gen WireGuard tunneling protocol. That’s one of the reasons why PIA is among the best VPNs for torrenting. That and split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, and port forwarding.
Furthermore, PIA unblocks multiple Netflix libraries, including the US. Depending on your location and internet connection, the speeds should be good enough for streaming in HD or even 4K.
There are apps for major platforms plus browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. You can also configure Private Internet Access on routers. One account has a generous 10 simultaneous connections limit.
You can get PIA for $2.19/month only. While it doesn’t have a free trial, its 30-day money-back guarantee should be more than enough to test everything. Finally, you can purchase this VPN anonymously with cryptocurrencies and even gift cards.
Private Internet Access is a great option, especially if you live in Europe or North America. That’s because most of its servers are on these two continents.
The only places where PIA is not at its best are China and other countries with restricted internet access. If you’re in one of them, go for NordVPN instead.
For a deeper investigation of Private Internet Access, read our Private Internet Access review.
10. CyberGhost – effective, no-nonsense VPN
- Large server list
- Good for Netflix & P2P
- Good for torrenting
- macOS and iOS apps have fewer features
CyberGhost stands out from the crowd of the best VPN services with its super-sleek and easy-to-use client that should be clear even for first-time VPN users. And that’s just one of the great features this service has.
Under the hood, you’ll find military-grade encryption, WireGuard and other tunneling protocols, an automatic kill switch, and leak protection. There’s also a decent no-logs policy that only needs to be audited. As a result, the level of protection is more than enough to feel at ease online.
At 7000+ servers in 90+ countries, CyberGhost has almost unbeatable worldwide coverage. All these numbers translate into good speeds too. Additionally, you can get a NoSpy server that boosts performance and adds extra security.
CyberGhost allows torrenting on select servers that are optimized for P2P. There’s split tunneling for Windows and Android plus a SOCKS5 proxy. And thanks to the global coverage, you can expect fast downloads.
Choosing this VPN for streaming is a great idea. CyberGhost has dedicated servers for Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, YouTube, and other content platforms or channels. Besides, it’s one of those services that work well with Kodi.
You can install CyberGhost on all main platforms plus Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick. There are also extensions for Chrome and Firefox, which are very convenient if you want to protect only your browser. Finally, you can manually configure this VPN on routers.
CyberGhost has been a budget-friendly provider for quite some time. Currently, its prices start from $2.25/month. For that, you get a 7 device limit. Besides, there’s a 1-day free trial plus an extended 45-day money-back guarantee.
All in all, this is another great option that concentrates on Windows and Android users. Its Mac and iPhone apps have fewer features, though, so Apple users would be better off with NordVPN instead.
For a deeper investigation of CyberGhost, read our CyberGhost review.
Best use-case for each VPN
Each VPN on our list has its own number of strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a quick glance at the best unique quality of each VPN.
How we rank the Best VPN services in 2021
We have already reviewed well over two hundred VPNs based on these factors:
- Security and privacy features
- Performance and server locations
- Ease of use and customer support
- Reliability against firewalls and censorship
To be on this list, you have to score well in all categories mentioned above.
A secure VPN must offer military-grade encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch. Bonus points go to those providers with extra features, such as multi-hop, malware protection, or Stealth VPN.
Privacy-wise, we expect a jurisdiction that’s outside of the Fourteen Eyes countries. Bust most importantly, there has to be a no-logs policy. A big advantage if it’s court-proven or independently audited (one VPN has both!).
The next most important feature is the performance which we check with our own speed test. Having a WireGuard tunneling protocol and plenty of server locations helps a lot. Besides, a VPN should combat bandwidth throttling to give faster speeds when the user is downloading torrents or streaming.
P2P activities should be allowed and protected. Extra points go for split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, and port forwarding. A VPN should also unblock not only Netflix but other streaming platforms as well.
Most providers have user-friendly apps, while others don’t bother about fixing UI/UX issues. And speaking of issues in general, a 24/7 live chat or a phone line is what you should seek.
There should be dedicated clients not only for the major platforms but other devices, such as Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick. Router support is also important, just as the Smart DNS feature that bypasses geo-blocking on smart TVs, game consoles, and similar devices with no native VPN support.
Finally, the price should be related to the VPN’s quality. The same goes for the number of simultaneous connections. In the best-case scenario, your chosen VPN won’t have such a limit at all.
How does a VPN work?
A VPN is a service that encrypts your traffic and hides your IP address from third parties. Those can include hackers, ISPs, and even the government. It also protects your personal information and ensures it’s not being collected.
VPNs can be used not only for security and privacy but for changing your location as well. Many users need them for safe downloading and bypassing geo-blocked services, such as Netflix and other streaming platforms. And those who live in countries with restricted internet access can use a VPN to avoid firewalls, such as the Great Firewall of China.
One of the less-known ways to use a Virtual Private Network is getting better prices. Many online shops use different strategies in each country. With a VPN, you can save money by ordering a cheaper option from another location.
Finally, people often ask how to know if the VPN is working. This article explains everything in detail.
Best VPN services in 2021 video review
This time, our spokesperson presents a comparison between NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost. All three are on our list of best VPN providers.
You can also learn more about the Top 7 VPN services and see which providers offer the fastest speeds. Happy watching!
Best VPN for each task
Sometimes you need a VPN for a sole purpose, be it streaming, torrenting, or gaming. While the best VPN services can cover multiple areas, you can often identify the #1 in each case. Below are the links to our task-specific lists.
- Best VPN for Android. A mobile app doesn’t have to be inferior to its desktop counterpart. The VPNs on this list agree.
- Best VPN for iOS (iPhone). Some providers add fewer features to their iOS clients. You won’t find them on this list.
- Best VPN for streaming. Unblocking Netflix is no longer enough. These providers offer more than a few streaming options.
- Best VPN for gaming. These services will help to avoid DDoS attacks and might even improve your ping.
- Best VPN for torrenting. Unprotected P2P activities often result in bandwidth throttling and fines for copyright infringement. Avoiding that is easy with these VPNs.
- Best VPN for public wifi. For quite some time, public wifi has been an antonym of security. And what’s the synonym of security? These providers.
- Fastest VPN services. In the VPN world, speed comes right after security and privacy. We used our speed test and picked these providers for maximum performance.
- Best free VPN. We recommend premium services because free options often collect your data and may contain malware. However, all VPNs in this list a safe to try.
- Best VPN for China. Few services can bypass the Great Firewall of China. And those that do are here for you.
Usually, it will be the best overall VPNs occupying most places. Nevertheless, you will also find some providers that excel in a particular category.
Best VPN deals in 2021
The VPN prices tend to change quite a lot because of various special deals and discounts. It’s pretty hard to follow all of them. That’s why below you will find the best deals currently available:
- NordVPN – $3.30/month for a two-year deal
- Surfshark – $2.49/month for a two-year offer
- PrivateVPN – $2.08/month for the annual plan plus another year extra
- VyprVPN – $1.67/month for 2 years and 1 year free
- Private Internet Access – $2.19/month for a 2-year plan + 2 months free
What is the best VPN for streaming?
If watching Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or other geo-blocked platforms is the reason you’re looking for a VPN, then our recommendation is to get NordVPN as the best VPN for streaming.
NordVPN works with a wide variety of streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other popular services. It also offers the largest selection of specialized streaming servers and supports a whopping six simultaneous devices, which means you can use NordVPN on any desktop or mobile device you own, including Android TV.
NordVPN is a great VPN for Kodi as well and will let you stream safely, no matter which Kodi add-on you choose.
Can I use a VPN to watch Netflix?
Absolutely – the ability to stream your favorite Netflix TV shows and movies from anywhere in the world is probably the best reason to use a VPN. You can easily change the Netflix region by connecting to a server in another country.
Whether you’re on vacation abroad or happen to live in a country with a different Netflix library, you’ve definitely seen your favorite show disappear from Netflix at least once.
A VPN will help you bypass such geo-blocking measures and stream whatever, wherever, on whichever devices you own. By changing your IP address, the best VPNs for Netflix manage to reliably fool the platform, which is notorious for its tireless proxy detection efforts.
Are VPNs safe to use?
Be careful because you cannot trust all VPN services! The market is all about trust – we can never be fully aware of what happens in the data centers around the world. As such, you should rely on the available facts to determine whose trustworthy and who isn’t.
Also, make sure to stay up to date with the goings-on of the service market – it’s constantly in flux, and even incredibly popular providers sometimes get involved in privacy scandals, or VPNs are acquired by less than trustworthy companies.
Those new to VPNs often ask whether they should leave a VPN turned on. The answer to this is nuanced, so we recommend reading our article “Should I leave my VPN on all the time?”
Independent VPN audits, tests of “no-logs” policies in the wild, and independent research are invaluable sources of information to make an informed decision. Remember – using a compromised anonymity tool leaves you exposed to all kinds of risks!
Are VPNs legal?
Mostly yes, but the legal status of VPN services depends on the laws of each country and other contextual factors. For example, VPN use is completely illegal and punishable by law in Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and Belarus. Elsewhere, VPN services are restricted in some way – China and Russia are prime examples of this.
Most countries allow VPN use. However, some actions people use these tools for can be illegal. Copyright infringements or hacking, for example, will get you into trouble regardless of country.
How a VPN protects you on public wifi
With a VPN, one can use public wifi services safely. VPN is a secure network that does several things:
- Hides your identity online
- Allows you to operate online without being detected
- Routes your data through another server to anonymize it
- Encrypts your data to prevent it from being readable by a hacker
When your traffic is encrypted and your IP address hidden, third parties will have a tough time getting anything out of you and your online activities. And here are the best VPNs for public wifi.
How can a VPN help me fight online censorship and harassment?
If you live in a country or community known for restricting human rights – both off- and online – a VPN can be your best bet in terms of protecting yourself from government surveillance, internet censorship, and cyberbullying.
- Hiding your IP address. It’s much harder to harass someone when there’s now a way to find that person online. With a VPN, your IP will be changed to that of a VPN server, which won’t say anything about your true whereabouts.
- Encrypting your traffic. Snoopers like to check what and when you’re doing online. Those can include your ISP and your government as well. VPNs use military-grade encryption, meaning there’s no way to do online traffic scanning.
- Bypass geo-blocking. In some countries, internet access is restricted. A solid VPN will unblock unavailable resources, such as Google or Facebook. The best ones can even bypass the Great Firewall of China.
As you can see, a VPN is a great product that helps against surveillance and governmental blocks. It also ensures that you’re a hard find for the individual predators as well.
How to set up a VPN on a router or Smart TV?
If your VPN supports routers or Smart TVs, you can set it up on your device. Some VPNs that don’t have native support for routers or Smart TVs can provide you with manual instructions on their websites.
That said, it’s always better to use a VPN that has a native app for the device in question. Those are easy to install and user-friendly, requiring minimal effort.
Setting up a VPN on your router is a smart move. That way, you no longer have to worry about your VPN’s limitations on simultaneous connections and extend the protection to all the devices you own. You can learn more about this in our dedicated article.
Setting up a VPN on your Smart TV is also a good idea. This will let you effortlessly stream geo-blocked shows and movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming platforms.
Is a VPN worth it?
Our answer is yes, absolutely. In times when personal data has become an invaluable asset, taking time to protect it should be a priority to all of us. Without a VPN, your location, IP, and traffic are visible to your ISP or even the government.
If you don’t care about your online safety, consider that many ISPs use bandwidth throttling if you’re downloading torrents or streaming Netflix. This means you could have faster speeds with a VPN.
What’s more, VPN is a must if you live in a country where internet access is restricted. Governments such as China use firewalls to prevent citizens from accessing Facebook, YouTube, and many other sites. Many people don’t believe that something like that can happen in their location, but the continuing increase in surveillance shows otherwise.
What is the best VPN for privacy and security?
All of the ten VPN services on this list are great at protecting your privacy and security since they all offer military-grade encryption, safe tunneling protocols, and have no leak problems.
With that in mind, the most advanced tool in the shed security and privacy-wise is NordVPN. There are many reasons why NordVPN is considered the most secure VPN service on the market:
- NordVPN is based in Panama, which doesn’t belong to any intelligence-sharing alliances.
- The provider has an independently-audited no-logging policy, which means that your online traffic data remains yours and yours alone.
- NordVPN’s security and privacy package is unrivaled in the industry and includes advanced features like Double VPN (multi-hop), Onion over VPN, Obfuscated servers, CyberSec, as well as an automatic kill switch and watertight DNS and IP leak protection.
For these reasons and more, we consider NordVPN as the best VPN service for privacy and security.
Which VPN is the easiest to use?
All best VPN services are pretty user-friendly and easy-to-use. Of course, not every provider pays the same amount of attention to user interface and experience. That’s why there’s one service leading the pack and it’s named CyberGhost.
Even if you’re new to VPNs, CyberGhost won’t feel unwelcoming. All settings are explained well and connecting to a server takes just a few seconds.
How should I choose a VPN?
The best way is checking our best VPN services above and picking the one you like most. But generally speaking, you should look at key criteria we described in this section.
Which one is better – NordVPN or ExpressVPN?
Both services are great at all tasks, be it encryption or bypassing geo-blocks. However, the key difference is the price, and that’s why we have NordVPN at the top of our best VPN services list.
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