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 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.
Choosing the best VPN isn’t easy. That’s why after checking hundreds of services, we’re giving you the top ten best VPN services in 2021.
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.
Top 5 Best VPN for 2021 shortlist:
All-around leading VPN
|9.6 / 10|
Forward-thinking and cheap
|9.4 / 10|
|9.3 / 10|
Cheapest streaming VPN
|9.1 / 10|
Popular cheap VPN
|8.9 / 10|
The best VPNs in 2021 overview:
- Top-notch security features
- Excellent speeds
- Great for streaming
- No router app
Compared to the competition, NordVPN stands out for its security. This is the best protection on the market and easily meets our quality standards for the best VPN service.
It is based in a privacy-friendly location – Panama, and has one of the widest networks with servers in 59 countries. Thanks to its NordLynx protocol, this VPN offers some of the best speeds.
NordVPN boasts bank-level encryption, malware protection, and two types of kill switch that will 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 provides manual setup instructions.
This VPN allows torrenting and will unblock various streaming platforms, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. Finally, because of the Obfuscated Servers feature, users will be able to enjoy an unrestricted web even in China.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark VPN
British Virgin Islands (BVI)
- Top notch security features
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Highly affordable
- Weak self-help support section
Surfshark is the only premium VPN that comes with unlimited simultaneous connections. What’s more, it does so for an absurdly low price. There’s not much that Surfshark can’t do, so getting it is a real steal.
This VPN offers great security features: military-grade encryption, a kill switch, leak protection, and multi-hop (cascading connections through two VPN servers) are just some of them.
Surfshark VPN is really fast, has a great RAM-only server list (3200+ servers in 60+ countries), lets you torrent as much as you want, and unblocks Netflix. The service even has a Camouflage Mode, making it a good choice in high-censorship countries, such as China.
The worst thing you could do is wait until Surfshark VPN raises its prices.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
- Excellent security
- Allows torrenting
- Apps for major platforms, Android TV, and routers
- No anonymous payments
This provider owns all of its 700+ servers in 70+ locations. VyprVPN has done a lot to optimize them, achieving brilliant performance and increasing security to the next level.
VyprVPN has strong encryption and a good selection of protocols, including its very own Chameleon protocol. This proprietary technology was created specifically to bypass blocking efforts in places like China, Russia, or Iran.
VyprVPN is good for bypassing Netflix’s geo-blocking measures. However, this VPN service is 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.
For a deeper investigation of VyprVPN, read our VyprVPN review.
- Good security
- Great for Netflix
- 7-day free trial
- macOS and iOS apps have fewer features
At 150+ servers across 60+ countries around the world, this is a smaller VPN than any on this list. However, given these numbers and its price, PrivateVPN’s performance is simply admirable.
PrivateVPN has strong security credentials and few blemishes. Their encryption is sound, the service has a reliable kill switch, proxy servers, and a good selection of security protocols.
This provider allows torrenting and will bypass Netflix restrictions. PrivateVPN offers its own “stealth mode” (stealth protocol), which makes it a very good choice for users in China as well.
PrivateVPN has custom apps for the main platforms and also a Kodi addon. It supports other devices as well (such as routers) that you can set up manually.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
5. Private Internet Access
- Good security credentials
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Works for torrenting
- Not good in China
While Private Internet Access (PIA) is based in the US, you should worry much about your privacy – their no-logs policy has been proved in court in 2015. This service has no leaks, uses military-grade encryption, and offers anonymous payment options.
PIA is a great VPN that has above-average speeds, unblocks Netflix, and allows torrenting – no wonder it’s one of the most popular services in the world. This also has to do with its low prices and a generous 10 simultaneous connections limit.
If you live in Europe or North America, where Private Internet Access has most of its 24500+ servers, then this tool might be just for you.
For a deeper investigation of Private Internet Access, read our Private Internet Access review.
- Excellent security
- Apps for major platforms, Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick, Chromebook, and routers
- 10 simultaneous connections
- No anonymous payment options
IPVanish provides excellent security for a decent price. This service also unblocks Netflix, allows P2P, while also being fast. Notably, you can use it on 10 devices simultaneously that should be more than enough for an entire family’s household.
This VPN has 1500+ servers in over 75 countries which should be enough for most uses. What’s more, IPVanish provides users with an impressive array of apps, including those for Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick and Chromebook.
Finally, should you have any questions or concerns, you can address them to IPVanish’s 24/7 live chat support.
For a deeper investigation of IPVanish, read our IPVanish review.
- Split tunneling
- Good range of supported platforms
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Weak kill switch
PureVPN is a veteran service, known for its excellent security, independently-audited no-logs policy, and impressive fleet of over 6500 servers in 140+ countries.
But there’s more to it. PureVPN provides good speeds, unblocks Netflix, and allows torrenting in most countries. There’s also a speedy 24/7 live chat support, ready to address your concerns.
Given PureVPN’s temptingly low prices, five devices per account, and a wide range of supported platforms, it’s hard not to recommend this provider for most users.
For a deeper investigation of PureVPN, read our PureVPN review.
8. Ivacy VPN
- Excellent security
- Decent choice for China
- Great for torrenting
- No kill switch for macOS & iOS
Ivacy has brilliant security features, including a great selection of tunneling protocols and encryption levels. It also has a strict no-logs policy, no leaks, and protects your connection with an in-built kill switch.
Although Ivacy doesn’t have a stealth protocol, its great server list (1000+ servers in 50+ countries) makes it a decent choice for users in Asian countries, such as China. The speeds should be more than enough to stream Netflix, while torrenting users will be glad to find P2P-optimized servers in 50+ countries.
But most importantly, the prices are absurdly low, especially when you get five simultaneous connections.
For a deeper investigation of Ivacy VPN, read our Ivacy VPN review.
- Mostly privacy-friendly
- Good for Netflix
- Good for torrenting
- Owner Kape Technologies has poor reputation
CyberGhost stands out from the crowd with its super-sleek and easy to use client that should be clear even for first-time VPN users. Under the hood, you’ll find military-grade encryption, modern tunneling protocols, an automatic kill switch, and leak protection.
At 6400+ servers in 90+ countries, CyberGhost has almost unbeatable worldwide coverage. All these numbers translate into above-average speeds too.
You can do most things with CyberGhost – unblock Netflix, use torrents, bypass most geo-blocking measures, etc. In case you run into some issues, CyberGhost has great 24/7 live chat support. One of the potential problems, shared by many VPNs, might be getting the service to work in China.
For a deeper investigation of CyberGhost, read our CyberGhost review.
British Virgin Islands (BVI)
- Very fast
- Excellent security
- Great for China and other restricted countries
- Very expensive
ExpressVPN is secure enough for both sensitive purposes and simple entertainment. The service offers stellar traffic encryption, a sturdy kill switch, no leaks, and a no-logs policy proven in the wild.
Despite the high level of security, ExpressVPN offers high-octane performance and is one of the fastest VPNs on the market today. This is unsurprising, considering ExpressVPN has 3000+ servers in 90+ countries, including some very exotic locations.
ExpressVPN offers user-friendly apps for the main platforms. Any issues you may have with the service can be addressed by reaching out to customer support via helpful and responsive 24/7 live chat.
This VPN is a very reliable service for Netflix and torrenting. Also, you’ll be able to connect 5 different devices simultaneously.
For a deeper investigation of ExpressVPN, read our ExpressVPN review.
How we rank Best VPN services in 2021
We have already reviewed well over two hundred VPNs based on these factors:
- Privacy and security features
- Ease of use and customer support
- Reliability against firewalls and censorship
The criteria can certainly be contested, but these are the ten best VPN services we value the most.
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, most of the time, you can identify the #1 in each case. Below you will find the links to our task-specific lists.
- Fastest VPN services
- Best VPN for streaming
- Best VPN for Netflix
- Best VPN for torrenting & P2P
- Best gaming VPN
- Best VPN for Amazon Fire Stick & Fire TV
- Best VPN for China
Usually, it will be the best overall VPNs occupying most places. Nevertheless, you will also find some providers that excel in that particular category.
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, 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.
Here are some simple step-by-step guides for streaming the most popular geo-blocked TV shows and sports events:
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.
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.
How to choose a VPN service?
Learning how to choose a VPN service is essential because making a mistake can cost you both financially and in terms of online security.
If you’re on the lookout for a secure and reliable VPN service, there are multiple factors to consider. Here are the main criteria we use to evaluate VPN providers:
- Server count and global spread: the more servers, the merrier
- Speed and performance: good VPNs tend to have a smaller impact on your connection speeds
- Encryption and tunneling protocols: look for AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocols
- Jurisdiction: be wary of VPNs based in Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes countries
- Geo-unblocking capabilities: the best providers can reliably unblock Netflix
- Multi-platform support: if you plan to use your VPN on more than one device, make sure it’s compatible
- Value for money: pricier doesn’t necessarily mean better – always check the feature list
- Customer service: solid and established VPNs always offer live chat support.
Should I trust VPN service providers?
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 VPN’s are acquired by less than trustworthy companies.
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.
Will a VPN protect me on public wifi?
If you choose to use a VPN, public wifi services can be used safely. VPN is a secure network that does several things:
- It hides your identity online
- It allows you to operate online without being detected
- It routes your data through another server to anonymize it
- It encrypts your data to prevent it from being readable by a hacker.
What does VPN stand for?
“VPN” is the abbreviation of “Virtual Private Network.” It’s a set of technologies that allows linking computers to create a private network as if they were nearby, but their actual locations could be thousands of miles apart. This means that you’re not connected to the Internet directly, but through intermediary means, i.e. a server in a foreign country as if you were there. Hence, it offers anonymity by hiding the user and making it very hard for anyone to track them.
Does a VPN protect my online privacy?
Yes – besides being great for streaming, VPNs also enhance the security of your online connection. When you connect to a VPN server, it acts as a secure and encrypted tunnel between your network and whatever online service you’re using.
This means that potential attackers (or your ISP) can’t intercept or identify your online traffic, which makes VPNs some of the safest and most reliable tools for protecting your connection while you’re browsing, shopping online, or even torrenting.
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 browser security suite, as well as an automatic killswitch and watertight DNS and IP leak protection.
For these reasons and more, we consider NordVPN as the best VPN service for privacy and security.
Can a VPN help me fight online censorship and harassment?
Yes! 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.
VPN security and privacy measures offered by top-notch VPN services help to bypass geo-blocking and online traffic scanning. These techniques are often used by both individual predators and organized government agencies alike.
To learn more about how a VPN can help you stay safe and regain your freedom online, check out our guides on the following subjects:
Can you 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 to do so.
That said, it’s always better to use a VPN that has a native app for the device in question.
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. If you’re thinking about pairing your router with a VPN, here’s an in-depth guide on how to do just that.
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. We have a guide for that, as well. You’re welcome.
Is a VPN worth it?
The short answer is – definitely! The main benefits of using a VPN are:
Improved security: the major reason for using a VPN is the extra security it offers. You have no fear of being hacked as your data is secure.
Bypassing restrictions: some contents are restricted to a particular region, this can be seen on Netflix and some other streaming platforms. Using a VPN may give you access to this content even if you are not in the right country.
Buying cheap products: big e-commerce businesses like Amazon have different prices for different countries. When shopping, use a VPN, and connect with different servers to check the price difference of a particular product, then shop using the location with the lowest price.
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