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The most secure VPN services for 2024

Safe VPNs you can get

The most secure VPN is a must-have. Without one, your browsing, banking, torrenting, or gaming activities are exposed to snoopers and other malicious actors. Which can lead to identity theft or massive financial losses. Luckily, a trusted virtual private network creates an impregnable tunnel that ensures your data’s security & privacy.

Nevertheless, finding a reliable VPN is a pretty daunting task. Some providers offer excellent safety features but lack in the privacy department. While others might ensure your confidentiality but leave you exposed to online threats. We believe these things go hand-in-hand, and the most secure VPN should provide 360° security.

So, let’s delve into the most secure VPNs of 2024. Throughout this article, we’ll review every aspect of what makes a service safe and private. Moreover, with the help of our research team, scientific papers, and real-life feedback, we’ve selected the Top 5 most trusted VPNs. All of them are reliable, easy to use, and provide top-tier features that will fend off any digital threats.

What is the most secure VPN: shortlist

Here’s a brief overview of the most secure VPNs that will shield your privacy and safety online:

  1. Overall the most secure VPN with strong encryption & 4 times audited privacy policy
    9.8 / 10
  2. Most secure VPN that allows most number of devices & excellent speeds
    9.5 / 10
  3. Best and most secure VPN service that doesn't keep logs of connection
    8.6 / 10
  4. Safe VPN with strong DNS leak protection, solid encryption & obfuscated servers
    9.1 / 10
  5. VPN based in privacy-friendly jurisdiction with secure encryption & no-logs policy
    8.9 / 10

Most secure VPNs in a nutshell: 1 minute read

Running short on time? Here’s a quick summary of all you need to know in under 1 minute.

  • The most secure VPN should have AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and IP & DNS leak protection. Some VPNs also provide useful extras like ad blockers, server obfuscation, and double VPN servers.
  • VPNs should not collect data. Therefore, providers go through audits to prove their reliability. For example, NordVPN has been independently audited 4 times now.
  • Secure tunneling protocols will ensure the effectiveness and performance of a VPN. The fastest tunneling protocol to this day is WireGuard. Some VPNs provide their own creations: NordLynx, Lightway, Hydra, and Chameleon.
  • Simply turning on a VPN is usually not enough. Be sure to use anonymous payment methods, turn on the kill switch, and enable auto-connect.

If you want to avoid the hassle and get the most trustworthy and secure VPN, grab NordVPN, which offers a massive 74% discount!

Why you should care about your VPN security

One of the main reasons why you should care about your VPN security is because it stands between you and various digital calamities. According to Surfshark’s research, over 64 million accounts were breached last year in the US alone.

Most of these attacks happen due to criminal hacking, social engineering, or simply human errors. While some of them might not be as severe, others can cost you much money or even your identity. Evidently, the risk of getting hacked is becoming higher and higher each year.

And a weak virtual private network with shabby features won’t help you in these matters. It will leave you exposed when you need it the most. Therefore, you need the best VPN with robust safety attributes:

Things a safe VPN should offer

  • AES-256 encryption. A service should use a robust cipher to scramble your data and make it impossible to crack. Most VPNs use the trusty AES-256 encryption, which is highly resistant to brute-force attacks.
  • No-logs policy. Imagine a VPN as a reliable friend. If it has a strict no-logs policy, it won’t tell anyone about your secrets. Plus, it won’t write them down in its “diary” for everyone to read later. A reliable service should go through independent audits to prove that they are not collecting anything sensitive. A great example is NordVPN, which asked Deloitte to conduct its 4th independent audit.
  • DNS & IP leak protection. Shabby VPNs might disclose your information. Therefore, the safest VPNs implement IP & DNS leak protection to prevent such accidents.
  • Robust kill switch. If someone tries to intercept your session and your VPN connection breaks, a kill switch will instantly close the tunnel. That way, no one will know about your previous and current web adventures.
  • Secure tunneling protocols. Think of them as the blueprint for building your secret internet tunnel. Different protocols exist, like OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, WireGuard, etc. Each has its own perks and downsides. But the ones we’ll look at today provide utmost safety.
  • VPN obfuscation. Some countries and places are against VPN usage. Obfuscation (or Stealth VPN) masks your traffic, making it hard for the other party to understand that you are using a virtual private network.
  • Additional features. The best service should offer a variety of tools to keep you safe. For example, industry-leading services include ad-blockers, password managers, or dark web monitoring tools. Some – like NordVPN – even go as far as giving their users identity theft and cyber extortion protection benefits.

Now that you know the basics, it will be much easier to understand which VPNs are actually secure and reliable.

Most secure VPN services: overview

  1. NordVPN – the most secure VPN worldwide with fastest speeds and best features
  2. Surfshark VPN – most secure VPN provider with safest tunneling protocols and unlimited connections
  3. Proton VPN – safety-focused service that also offers most secure free VPN
  4. ExpressVPN – service that offer the most secure VPN connection in over 105 countries
  5. CyberGhost – effective most secure android VPN that also works perfectly with other OS

Let’s take a deep dive and learn which provider offers the most secure VPN that keeps no logs. Our research team spent countless hours gathering and analyzing the information. The main details we looked into were encryption, data leak prevention, legit privacy policies, and other features that boost your online safety.

1. NordVPN – #1 most secure VPN with a wide selection of tools

9.7
Top VPN provider
Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
111
Number of servers
Number of servers:
6300
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat, Email
  • Best set of security features
  • Offers Cyber Protection Benefits
  • Unmatched performance
  • Only 10 simultaneous connections

NordVPN is the most secure VPN of 2024. It’s highly regarded by the internet community, industry professionals, and independent research. Thanks to many features, it’s the most versatile VPN, too. You can use it for torrenting, banking, gaming, or simply browsing.

Security and privacy. NordVPN uses AES-256 encryption, which is widely recognized as one of the most secure encryption standards available. It’s boosted by the ChaCha20 cipher, which further amplifies the safety of the VPN. The service comes with 2 kill switches that will prevent disastrous data leaks. And we ran multiple IP & DNS leak tests. NordVPN passes each one of them with flying colors.

As for privacy, NordVPN has gone through 4 independent audits, the last one was conducted in January 2024 by Deloitte. Of course, with flying scores. Plus, it’s based in Panama, a country with no data retention laws. Lastly, all of their servers are RAM-only, meaning your data is instantly wiped out after the session is over.

Safety features. One of the best NordVPN extras is Threat protection. It protects your devices against malware and intrusive ads. Moreover, Double VPN servers provide extra safety by routing your traffic through 2 VPN servers. And if that’s not enough, you can check out obfuscated Onion Over VPN and dedicated IP servers. Link Checker scans the domains of desired websites and cross-references them against a list of known scam or malware-infested sites.

Performance. NordVPN ensures secure connections all over the world with the fastest & safest in-house NordLynx tunneling protocol. You can choose from 6300+ servers in 111 countries to find a connection point almost anywhere.

Torrenting. Thanks to various features and solid encryption, torrenting will be much easier and safer with NordVPN. As you’ll be completely anonymous, your ISP won’t bother you about your P2P activities. Additionally, the service will act as a first line of defense if you run into malware or hackers.

Compatibility. The provider has apps for all major platforms, such as Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. If you prefer to use the VPN directly in your browser, you can use Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Opera, and Edge browser extensions. Plus, there are 10 simultaneous connections to secure & protect all of your devices.

Press the NordVPN discount link and get a subscription for as little as $3.09/month. You can always use the 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Surfshark VPN – most secure VPN for Android and other devices

9.4
Top VPN provider
Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
100
Number of servers
Number of servers:
3200
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat, FAQ
  • Solid encryption & tunneling protocols
  • Surfshark One security package
  • Unlimited connections
  • Some features cost extra

Another super secure VPN option is Surfshark VPN. It offers a mind-blowing price-to-feature ratio, many device connections with one account, and excellent privacy. In terms of its toolkit, Surfshark has loads of additional features that will tear apart digital threats and nosy snoopers.

Security and privacy. We tested Surfshark security in real-life situations, and it performed splendidly. The kill switch worked without hiccups, and there were no IP or DNS leaks. As for privacy, Surfshark offers a strict no-logs policy. To prove its effectiveness and legitimacy, the privacy policy has been independently audited by Deloitte. Plus, all servers are RAM-only, so data collection is impossible.

Safety features. One of the most used Surfshark features is CleanWeb. It prevents any malvertising and access to malicious sites. Furthermore, Camouflage mode will secure your internet traffic in highly restricted countries. Plus, double the security by using MultiHop servers. Lastly, you can get a Surfshark One security package, which includes an antivirus, a breach monitor, and a secure browser.

Performance. You’ll have no problems finding a secure connection with Surfshark VPN. The service covers 100 countries with 3200+ servers. Regarding speed and safety, you can enjoy trouble-free performance with the extra-swift WireGuard tunneling protocol.

Torrenting. All Surfshark servers allow P2P, so sharing and downloading files will be a breeze. With all security and privacy features, cyber threats and ISP notices shouldn’t be a problem.

Compatibility. Surfshark is one of the best multi-device VPNs due to Unlimited connections. Not to mention, setting up this VPN on various devices is extremely easy. Surfshark is compatible with all major OS, including Android TVs, routers, gaming consoles, and more. So, you can protect all of your gadgets with one account.

Press the Surfshark discount link and get a subscription for as little as $2.19/month. You can always use the 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. Proton VPN – best most secure VPN with no-logs policy

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
69
Number of servers
Number of servers:
3000
Support
Support:
Email, knowledge base
  • Open-source & reliable
  • Netshield & Secure Core features
  • Excellent compatibility & performance
  • Quite expensive

According to Reddit, one of the most secure VPNs is Proton VPN. Hailing from Switzerland, this provider offers exceptional privacy. With a fantastic arsenal of security features, you won’t have to worry about your security while venturing on the web.

Security and privacy. Proton VPN’s AES-256 encryption guarantees that no one can intercept your traffic. And in case something bad happens, a robust kill switch and IP & DNS leak protection will help circumvent dangers. Furthermore, Proton VPN apps are open source, ensuring transparency. In terms of anonymity, the app has undergone independent third-party audits and passed with no major security issues.

Safety features. To avoid data breaches, you can use Secure Core servers. They route your traffic through multiple servers, making the connection more protected. In addition, NetShield safeguards against unwanted ads and malicious efforts. You can also boost your safety with Tor Over VPN.

Performance. You won’t have to worry about slow speeds with Proton VPN. Thanks to the WireGuard tunneling protocol, it’s among the fastest VPNs on the market. Moreover, the provider has 3000+ servers in 69 countries. Almost all of them are 10 Gbps.

Torrenting. In terms of P2P, Proton VPN wouldn’t be our first choice. It allows torrenting on selected servers only. Therefore, if you’re far away from torrenting servers, you’ll likely be stuck with slow download speeds.

Compatibility. Proton VPN will protect up to 10 devices simultaneously. Furthermore, it works perfectly on all major OS. There are also browser extensions. Lastly, if you have the right router, you should pair it with Proton VPN for ultimate security.

Press the Proton VPN discount link and get a subscription for as little as $4.49/month. You can always use the 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

4. ExpressVPN – most secure VPN service for various uses

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
105
Number of servers
Number of servers:
3000
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat, email
  • Loads of security extras
  • Ultra-fast with Lightway
  • All servers are obfuscated
  • Very expensive

ExpressVPN is another security giant. While it is quite expensive, it ensures excellent protection against breaches, privacy invasions, and other digital perils. Not to mention, it comes with loads of additional features that we’ll explore now.

Security and privacy. ExpressVPN offers advanced security features such as AES-256 encryption, IP & DNS leak protection, and a reliable kill switch. It’s based in the British Virgin Islands, which means it is not subject to data retention laws. The provider has one of the strongest no-logs policies on the market. Additionally, it has successfully proven its policy in court on two occasions. Plus, all of the provider’s servers are RAM-only.

Safety features. ExpressVPN stands out with its password manager – ExpressVPN Keys. On top of that, you can use Threat Manager to avoid malicious software and obnoxious ads. And all of their servers use obfuscation. So they can bypass even the strictest firewalls.

Performance. ExpressVPN uses the proprietary Lightway tunneling protocol. While it’s not as fast as the WireGuard or NordLynx, it provides great levels of security. Furthermore, you’ll find ExpressVPN servers in 105 countries, which makes it an excellent choice for safety-seeking digital nomads.

Torrenting. People who do a lot of P2P file-sharing will enjoy ExpressVPN’s port forwarding. In addition, you can torrent on all servers, so the download and upload speeds should be pretty good.

Compatibility. Like many other VPNs, ExpressVPN works perfectly on all major OS. But it has the upper hand when it comes to routers. ExpressVPN is the only VPN on this list that has a router applet. It makes it a lot easier to protect the entire home network. Apart from that, you can use this service on 8 devices simultaneously.

Press the ExpressVPN discount link and get a subscription for $6.67/month. You can always use the 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

5. CyberGhost VPN – most secure untraceable VPN with special servers

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
100
Number of servers
Number of servers:
11700
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat
  • Issues Transparency Reports
  • Affordable & effective
  • WireGuard-powered speeds
  • Only 7 simultaneous connections

CyberGhost is a cheap yet highly secure VPN. With independent audits and privacy-friendly jurisdiction, you know that this provider will keep your secrets hidden. Plus, there are loads of options to boost your online safety further.

Security and privacy. CyberGhost ensures the security of your data with AES-256 encryption, an automatic kill switch, and IP & DNS leak protection. Their no-logs policy has been independently audited. Plus, the servers use RAM-only technology. Additionally, the provider operates in Romania, a country known for its privacy-friendly practices.

Safety features. Content Blocker is a wonderful extra that will let you browse without visual noise. More so, there are No Spy servers. They are based in Romania and provide more security and privacy compared to regular servers. And Windows users can take advantage of CyberGhost Security Suite. It offers antivirus and security updater to keep you safe.

Performance. CyberGhost offers decent speeds that should be enough for browsing, banking, and other simple yet secure activities. This provider has one of the biggest server networks. You can hop through 11700+ servers in 100 countries.

Torrenting. This provider offers specialized servers for torrenting, which should be optimized much better. There’s a SOCKS5 proxy that comes in handy when torrenting. So, downloading files should be

Compatibility. With CyberGhost, you can protect up to 7 devices simultaneously. Moreover, you can manually set it up on your router. It’s quite user-friendly and offers apps for all major devices.

Press the CyberGhost discount link and get a subscription for $2.03/month. You can always use the 7-day free trial and a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Top 5 most secure VPN comparison

To make it easier for you to device which VPN is the most trusted and secure, you can check out this side-by-side comparison:

💼 ProviderProton VPN logoExpress VPN logoCyberghost logo
🌐 Provider’s websitewww.nordvpn.comwww.surfshark.comwww.protonvpn.comwww.expressvpn.comwww.cyberghostvpn.com
🛡️ EncryptionAES-256, ChaCha20AES-256, ChaCha20AES-256, ChaCha20AES-256, ChaCha20AES-256, ChaCha20
⚙️ ServersRAM-only, all physicalRAM-onlyRAM-onlyRAM-only
🏠 JurisdictionPanamaNetherlandsSwitzerlandBritish Virgin IslandsRomania
📝Privacy policyIndependently-audited zero-logsIndependently-audited zero-logsIndependently-audited zero-logsCourt-proven zero-logsIndependently-audited zero-logs
🌎 Server fleet6300+ servers in 111+ countries3200+ servers in 100+ countries3000+ servers in 69+ countries3000+ servers in 105+ countries11700+ servers in 100+ countries
🔒 Tunneling protocolsNordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2
🥷 VPN obfuscationYes, selected serversYes, selected serversYes, selected serversYes, all servers
🧰 Other security featuresThreat Protection, Double VPN, Onion over VPN, Dark Web Monitoring, Cyber Protection Benefits, etc.CleanWeb, MultiHop, Surfshark One, etc.NetShield, Secure Core, Tor Over VPN, etc.Threat Manager, Trusted Server, ExpressVPN Keys, etc.Content Blocker, NoSpy servers, ID Guard Monitoring, etc.
🏷️ Best deal74% OFF83% OFF55% OFF49% OFF84% OFF

The Top 5 most secure VPNs are viable options to boost your online safety. In addition to the safety features, all providers are excellent for file sharing and unblocking content libraries on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Disney+. Plus, you’ll have access to top-tier free streaming services like BBC iPlayer globally.

Even so, during multiple tests and trials, NordVPN came on top. It’s because all servers are physical & RAM-only. Plus, the service provides fast and highly secure tunneling protocols. It won’t collect any information. That’s due to 4 times independently-audited no-logs policy and privacy-respecting jurisdiction. And with a large variety of safety tools, you’ll be able to protect almost any smart device, including your Apple TV box!

So, no wonder why NordVPN is the cream of the crop in the secure VPN landscape.

Check out NordVPN

Honorable mentions of safe VPNs

Our most secure VPN researchers analyzed over 30 VPNs and their main features. While the Top 5 services stood out for their exceptional safety, there were other lesser-known providers that did a good job of protecting us during the tests. So, let’s see what makes these VPNs sufficient alternatives:

  • Atlas VPN. This service comes packed with security extras that will eliminate various threats. For instance, MultiHop+ servers will route your traffic through 2 servers. SafeBrowse will eliminate trackers, malware, and obnoxious ads. And if that’s not enough, SafeSwap will constantly rotate your IP address, making it impossible to track you.
  • Mullvad VPN. One of the most secure VPNs according to the Reddit community. It has a clean slate in terms of log collecting. With robust security features and the WireGuard tunneling protocol, there is no doubt that you’ll be safe online. Lastly, you can pay in cash and don’t have to provide any personal information, including an email.
  • PrivateVPN. Unlike many other providers, PrivateVPN owns all of its humble server fleet. That means there is a lesser chance of tampering and hacking. Furthermore, Stealth VPN will help mask traffic in highly restricted countries. Not to mention, it has a strict no-logs policy, AES-256 encryption, robust kill switch, and IP leak protection.
  • IVPN. This service is similar to Mullvad: no account, secure payments, and no data collection. Another huge advantage is that IVPN owns all of its servers. Furthermore, the service is open-source and audited every month. Lastly, it’s not a part of any affiliate program, which many Redditors point out as a positive thing.
  • Bitdefender VPN. The provider offers must-haves like a kill switch, split tunneling, and a no-logs policy. Furthermore, it uses the Hydra tunneling protocol, which can boost your security and speed. If that’s not enough, Bitdefender VPN will safeguard you against malware, ads, trackers, and other pesky threats online.

We highly recommend switching your VPN provider if your VPN is not on either list. Your devices store heaps of sensitive information that should stay a secret. Therefore, never opt for a dodgy VPN. Instead, choose the most secure VPN with a flawless reputation and exceptional security features.

Stay secure with NordVPN

Best secure VPN for different occasions

The Top 5 secure VPNs are versatile and you can use them in various situations. Nevertheless, some providers offer extra features that make it safer to do certain things online. So, let’s analyze certain online activities, why they require extra security, and which VPN is the best for the task.

What is the safest VPN for browsing?

NordVPN is the most secure VPN for browsing. While venturing on the internet, you might disclose a lot of personal information. Moreover, the web is filled with pesky and malicious ads that can cause a lot of trouble. NordVPN ensures complete security and privacy while browsing the web. Moreover, Threat protection will eliminate unsolicited ads and malvertising. So you’ll stay secure and private.

Browse securely with NordVPN

What is the safest VPN for torrenting?

Torrenting requires guaranteed safety with no performance issues, so NordVPN should be your #1 choice. It offers a strict no-logs policy, P2P-optimized servers, SOCKS5 proxy, and Threat Protection. Furthermore, a rock-solid kill switch will prevent calamities if your internet connection breaks unexpectedly. Finally, you can enjoy the fastest downloads with the in-house NordLynx tunneling protocol.

What is the safest VPN for hacking?

Ethical hackers should choose NordVPN as the safest VPN. The provider proved that its encryption is unbreakable and that it doesn’t share or keep any information. Therefore, your hacking efforts will stay a secret.

What is the safest VPN for banking?

To protect your financial information, Surfshark VPN should be your first choice. It offers robust protection against unexpected threats. And you can amplify that even further with the Surfshark One package. On top of that, obfuscated servers will help you bypass strict firewalls even in the most restricted countries. That means you can manage your budget securely anywhere.

Check out Surfshark VPN

Are free VPN services safe to use?

We do not recommend using free VPNs for security. Usually, no-pay services have outdated and weak safety features, so they will leave you defenseless against cyberattacks. Moreover, most free VPNs collect your data for profit, which is a huge violation of your privacy.

From a technical point of view, free VPNs lack the infrastructure, so most servers will be packed and slow. Not to mention, there’s no customer support that can help you out in case of an emergency. And if that’s not enough, free VPNs will bombard you with ads or riddle your devices with malware.

Nevertheless, there are a few free secure VPNs that you can use worry-free.

Safest free VPN services

Among the safest free VPNs are Proton VPN and Atlas VPN. They offer freemium versions with excellent security & ensure privacy, but limited features, speeds, and servers. Proton VPN has an upper hand over Atlas VPN, as the former lets people browse the free web in highly restricted countries.

Secure free VPNs

Nevertheless, if you need protection but can’t spare any money, you can always take advantage of free trials and money-back guarantees that premium VPNs offer. That way, you’ll get all features and absolute security without paying a dime.

Get NordVPN free trial

Is Secure VPN brand a reliable service provider?

No, a virtual private network named Secure VPN is neither safe nor private. The company that owns this service is based in the US, meaning all of your data can be seen by intelligence companies. Plus, their privacy policy is quite ambiguous, which means they might collect your data for profit.

Not to mention, it only offers bare-bones services, which is not enough in today’s digital landscape. Furthermore, while running tests, our research team experiences IP & DNS leaks. And there was no kill switch that would help us in case of emergency.

So, don’t rely on the name. Secure VPN brand is not worth your money, whether you’re seeking security or privacy.

How we tested the safest VPNs

The VPNpro research team goes to great lengths to test out and see which VPNs are actually secure. We have analyzed 30+ of the most popular VPN providers and how they perform on various platforms and OS. Apart from that, we created real-life scenarios and challenges to see how effective virtual private networks are. Thus, here’s our methodology:

  1. Checking security features. The first thing we did was only test the VPNs that have the industry-standard essentials: AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and IP & DNS leak protection. Then, we considered other extras like obfuscation, double VPN servers, ad or malware blockers, etc.
  2. Analyzing security feature effectiveness. The most interesting things to test are kill switches and ad blockers. With the former, we simulated the real-life situation of killing the connection to see whether the VPN leaks data after the problem. With ad blockers, we checked how effectively they blocked pop-ups, banners, video commercials, and cookies. Surprisingly, some secure VPNs had a 95% success rate when obliterating advertisements.
  3. Going through privacy policies. We skipped any VPNs that collect more data than they require. Jurisdiction played a huge role, too. And we gave more “karma points” to services that had independent audits in the past.
  4. Assessing servers. Hardware quality is a crucial part of VPN security. We favored VPNs that have self-owned, RAM-only physical servers. Plus, we checked how many locations the VPN covers. That ensures more stable connections globally.
  5. Testing speeds under various scenarios. Connectivity is critical for secure VPN connections. So, we tracked how fast each VPN is under different circumstances. Some VPNs performed splendidly even when connected to far away servers using obfuscation or double VPN.
  6. Evaluating compatibility. We made sure that the VPNs worked flawlessly on various platforms and devices. Ease of use played a huge part, too. What’s the point of a VPN if you can’t find where to turn it on?
  7. Taking into account reviews and reputation. To gain more insight, we went through Reddit, Trustpilot, Quora, and other sites where people share their honest opinions. Moreover, Statista and various research papers proved to be tremendous assets when assessing the most secure VPNs.

As you can see, apart from checking out how robust the security features are, we’ve looked at other aspects as well. They play a huge part in making a VPN versatile and safe. However, not many VPNs passed the test. And even the best one had a few hiccups along the lines.

Nevertheless, the closest one to ticking off all the boxes was NordVPN. With such a robust security toolkit, even the biggest security dilemmas will be a thing of the past.

Get the most trusted secure VPN

NordVPN is the most trusted and secure VPN you can get in 2024. With it, you’ll experience total privacy and security globally. Not to mention, no digital threat will ruin your day. That’s all thanks to robust encryption and in-house cutting-edge technology. So, join millions of other users and enjoy digital safety with NordVPN.

9.6 /10
Malware & ad protection
Robust encryption & other safety features
30-day money-back guarantee

Most secure VPN protocols

VPN tunneling protocols are one of the main components of a VPN. It’s like a set of rules or a specific way that your computer and a server use to communicate securely over the internet. Their main mission is to ensure your data security & privacy when it travels from your device to the VPN server and vice versa.

How VPN tunneling protocols work

The most secure VPNs should have a good selection of modern and reliable technologies for various use cases. For example, some are essential for fast connection speeds, while others are better suited for circumventing online censorship. Hence, let’s take a look at the most used & popular VPN tunneling protocols today.

WireGuard

What our experts like:What our experts don’t like:
✅Open-source
✅Robust encryption
✅One of the fastest tunneling protocols
✅Excellent cross platform support
✅Widely implemented & used by top tier VPN providers
❌Single-tunnel limitation
❌Fairly new

WireGuard is the most secure VPN tunneling protocol today. It’s a modern and innovative piece of technology used by VPNs like Surfshark, Proton VPN, CyberGhost, and many others.

The main reason why it became widely used is its security and versatility. WireGuard works perfectly on various platforms and OS. Furthermore, it utilizes robust encryption to keep users’ data secure and private. What we love the most about this tunneling protocol is its speed. During multiple tests, WireGuard ensured stable connectivity and didn’t slow down internet connection significantly.

Nevertheless, there are a few drawbacks that we want to point out. Firstly, it’s relatively new, so it doesn’t have a highly established reputation like its older counterparts. More so, expert users might be disappointed as there is not much to tinker with due to single-tunnel limitations.

All in all, WireGuard is one of the safest and fastest tunneling protocols in 2024. When choosing a secure VPN, we highly recommend checking whether the service has this tunneling protocol in its arsenal.

Get the fastest VPN

OpenVPN

What our experts like:What our experts don’t like:
✅Secure & customizable
✅Cross-platform operation
✅Audited open-source database
✅Stable & reliable
❌Slower speeds
❌Resource-intensive

Almost all secure VPNs will have OpenVPN. It’s a well-established, reputable, and usually primary tunneling protocol used by most top-tier virtual private networks. You’ll find it in NordVPN, Surfshark, Proton VPN, and many others’ settings.

What makes OpenVPN a secure VPN protocol is its open-source nature and rock-solid encryption. While it is a bit resource-intensive, it works perfectly on an array of platforms and OS. Plus, up until WireGuard came out, it was the fastest tunneling protocol on the market. At the moment, it still provides stable & reliable performance.

Lastly, OpenVPN is a great option if you need to secure your connection and bypass firewalls in highly restricted countries. So, it’s a tremendous tunneling protocol to have in countries like China, Russia, or Pakistan. It’s truly a secure VPN tunneling protocol.

IKEv2

What our experts like:What our experts don’t like:
✅Strong security features
✅Establishes connection quickly
✅Excellent for mobile devices
✅Uses bandwidth efficiently
❌Limited compatibility
❌Not great for bypassing firewalls

IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange Version 2) is a closed-source protocol developed by Microsoft and Cisco. It’s considered faster, more lightweight, and more stable than OpenVPN. However, it’s mainly used on mobile devices nowadays, so it’s not as compatible as the other two tunneling protocols.

One of the main drawbacks we noticed is that IKEv2 is not the best option for bypassing strict firewalls and censorship. Nevertheless, for day-to-day use, it’s an excellent choice. Even if your Wi-fi or mobile data connection breaks, this tunneling protocol will ensure smooth and concise performance.

Proprietary protocols developed by VPN providers

What our experts like:What our experts don’t like:
✅Optimized performance
✅Custom features & functionality
✅Quicker updates & development
✅Dedicated support
❌Usually not open-source
❌Often limited compatibility

Some of the fastest VPN providers go the extra mile and develop in-house VPN tunneling protocols. Usually, they’re not created completely from scratch and instead upgrade existing open-source software. As an example, let’s take a look at the most popular secure VPN services with in-house tunneling protocols:

  • NordLynx. Created and used by NordVPN. It’s built on WireGuard, so you know it’s fast, secure, private, and stable. Actually, because it’s an upgraded version, NordLynx provided faster connections globally during our tests.
  • Lightway. ExpressVPN’s proprietary tunneling protocol was built from scratch. Compared to WireGuard, this tunneling protocol focuses more on privacy and obfuscation.
  • Chameleon. Developed by VyprVPN, this tunneling protocol was specifically designed to bypass internet restrictions and censorship. Basically, it’s based on OpenVPN, so while it can be a bit sluggish, Chameleon won’t compromise your security.
  • Hydra. Created by AnchorFree, this tunneling protocol is also used by Bitdefender VPN. It’s quite fast, so it’s an excellent option for gaming and streaming. While it lacks obfuscation capabilities, it manages to ensure top-tier security.

Of course, closed-source software is a contentious and polarizing topic in terms of cybersecurity. For starters, it isn’t available for public auditing and scrutiny like open-source tech is. However, proponents argue that security by obscurity is a viable strategy.

In our opinion, proprietary protocols are an acceptable choice if they have a solid foundation and strong encryption standards. Most of them provide mind-blowing speeds, solid security features, and excellent dedicated support.

Get a VPN with the best tunneling protocols

How to secure your VPN connection

Sometimes, simply turning on a VPN just doesn’t cut it. You have to tweak some settings to fully secure your VPN connection.

How to make your secure VPN more safe

But don’t worry, we’ll provide easy-to-understand instructions on how to do that. So, press a link and familiarize yourself with security enhancement methods:

  1. Sign up anonymously
  2. Enable the most secure tunneling protocol
  3. Use your provider’s DNS settings
  4. Turn on the kill switch
  5. Enable auto-connect on startup
  6. Connect to double VPN servers
  7. Always check for DNS leaks

1. Sign up anonymously

You can start off things right by using anonymous VPN signup methods. For instance, utilize cryptocurrencies to purchase the service without leaving a trail. However, we noticed that crypto payments are not available everywhere. For example, NordVPN offers this method in the US, but not in the UK. So, if you can’t use crypto, some providers support cash and gift card payment methods.

Use anonymous payments for a VPN

Besides that, it’s also advisable to use throwaway emails to avoid any connections with your other accounts.

2. Enable a secure tunneling protocol

Most VPNs default to automatically picking a protocol suitable for your current situation. Usually, that means enabling the fastest one, not necessarily the most secure option.

Switch tunneling protocols for a secure VPN

Therefore, you should visit the settings menu and switch to a modern, security-focused protocol. WireGuard offers a great balance between performance and security, while proprietary options are better suited for bypassing online censorship.

3. Use the VPN provider’s DNS settings

Some situations benefit from the option to customize your DNS settings. That way, your ISP will have a hard time tracking and logging your DNS queries.

Choose a different DNS server for secure VPN

However, you should let your VPN provider handle things if your goal is peak digital security. Then, you can be certain your DNS requests aren’t forwarded and stored by third parties.

4. Turn on the kill switch

It’s highly recommended to have the kill switch on. Why? Well, software doesn’t work perfectly, and VPN apps are no exception. If something unexpected happens, the kill switch will immediately cut access to the internet and prevent unintended data exposure.

Turn on Kill Switch for secure VPN

5. Enable auto-connect on startup

Free up some headspace and allow your VPN app to boot up on startup and immediately connect to a nearby server. Then, you’ll never be caught without complete VPN protection.

Enable connection on start with secure VPN

Apart from that, auto-launch reduces the likelihood of data leaks, which is especially relevant for services that might start running in the background. Not to mention, it helps maintain a continuous and consistent level of protection, reducing the risk of forgetting to enable the VPN manually.

6. Connect to double VPN servers

Double VPN (also known as multihop or VPN chaining) is a feature that routes your internet traffic through 2 servers. While it may sound like an overkill, it makes it a lot harder to track or hack you online. Moreover, while most VPNs offer multihop presets, services like Surfshark let you customize the servers and countries you want to use together.

MultiHop secure servers with Sufshark

However, our most secure VPN researchers pointed out some drawbacks. As you route your traffic through multiple servers in various locations, you can expect slower connection speeds. Furthermore, double VPN requires more computing resources, so weaker devices might not handle the feature. Considering everything, it’s a small price you have to pay to get ultimate security and privacy.

7. Check for DNS and IP leaks

For utmost online safety, you should make sure that your VPN is not leaking. If there is a breach, chances are that some of your sensitive information is exposed to snoopers and malicious actors. But by performing a test, you’ll verify the integrity of your VPN connection and avoid potential threats.

No Leaks with VPN app

The best way to see whether there is a leak is to analyze your connection with a reliable third-party tool. For example, you can use dnsleaktest.com or IPleak.net. Plus, various VPN providers offer proprietary built-in tools that can help you determine how safe your connection is.

How to check if your VPN is leaking

While VPNs are designed to keep your data secure, shabby services can leak your info. The data can include your IP address, DNS requests, WebRTC information, geolocation, connection timestamps, and more. All of them can be used to track you and compromise your safety.

Surfshark VPN leak detectorHence, here are the main tests you should run to see whether your VPN is disclosing your info:

  • IP leak test. Make a note of your public IP address before connecting to the VPN. Then, find a reputable test tool, such as DNSleaktest.com or IPleak.net. If there is a breach, you’ll see your IP address.
  • DNS leak test. You can use the same websites as you would use for IP leaks. The test results will show which DNS servers your device is using. If it displays DNS servers other than those of your VPN, there might be a DNS leak.
  • WebRTC leak test. Connect to your VPN and run the analysis. If the test reveals your real IP address, your VPN might not be fully protecting against WebRTC leaks.
  • Analyze VPN logs and settings. Check your VPN client’s settings to ensure that features like a kill switch and DNS leak protection are enabled. Some VPN clients provide logs that can be reviewed for any indications of leaks.

If you’re still having second thoughts, get in touch with your VPN’s customer support. And if you detect any breaches consider switching to a more reliable virtual private network.

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Many providers will claim that they offer the most secure VPNs. However, that’s usually not the case. Even well-known services have some skeletons in their closets. Hence, let’s take a look at sketchy popular VPNs that you should avoid:

HideMyAss VPN. The company is based in the UK (one of the main members of the biggest intelligence alliances), so they collect your data. Moreover, there are numerous testimonials on Reddit about data leaks, poor customer support, and scammy subscription plans.

Google One VPN. A recently introduced service. The tech giant collects data willy-nilly, so don’t expect much privacy. There are barely any features (for example, no kill switch for Windows). That means, it could be prone to security breaches.

Hotspot Shield. During our analysis, we noticed that the service is leaking our data. You can find numerous people complaining about it on Reddit as well. Plus, there was a massive scandal a few years back about Hotspot Shield collecting user’s data.

PureVPN. While it’s often listed high in the VPN rating, it has a bit of a shady past. PureVPN faced criticism for its involvement in assisting the FBI in a cyberstalking case, leading to questions about its “no-logs” policy.

While these are the main ruler breakers. Sadly, there are plenty of other VPNs that will compromise your security and privacy. Therefore, we highly recommend getting to know a VPN before you commit. Alternatively, to find a secure VPN, you can trust experts and Redditors’ VPN reviews.

Don’t fall for a scammy and vulnerable VPN. Choose NordVPN, get a massive 74% discount & enjoy unmatched security and privacy wherever you might be.

Conclusion

Traversing through the web safely is pretty much impossible these days. Thus, getting the most secure VPN is a wise decision. It will shield you from hacking attempts, targeted advertising, surveillance, and other perils.

But remember: virtual private networks are not equally equipped. So, when choosing your one and only, look for must-have security features. It could be AES-256 encryption, a no-logs policy, RAM-only & obfuscated servers, reliable tunneling protocols, and extra safety features.

And you shouldn’t compromise your safety with a shabby VPN. So, we recommend getting the crème de la crème of virtual private networks – NordVPN. It’s the most effective service on the market. Not to mention, with a flawless reputation & effectiveness, it’s the most trusted VPN by millions of people globally. So, grab a subscription and enjoy your web adventures freely.

Which VPN is the safest in your opinion? What protocol do you usually use? Let us know in the comments!

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FAQ

What is the most secure VPN to use?

The most secure VPN you can use is NordVPN. Its tunneling protocols and rock-solid AES-256 encryption make it a reliable, safe VPN option. Moreover, it will ensure your privacy with RAM-only servers and a zero-logs policy that has been independently audited 4 times now. Lastly, Threat Protection will eliminate pesky ads, trackers, and malware.

Which VPN is the safest and free?

The best free secure VPN option is Proton VPN no-pay version. It provides AES-256 encryption, secure tunneling protocols, and doesn’t limit usage. However, it lacks other important security features, such as server obfuscation, ad blocker, and Secure Core. Therefore, we still recommend opting for a paid Proton VPN version.

What is the most secure VPN protocol?

WireGuard tunneling protocol is the most secure in 2024. It uses the latest encryption standards and has a relatively small codebase for easy maintenance. Additionally, it’s one of the fastest tunneling protocols. Most popular VPN services, Such as NordVPN, Surfshark, or Proton VPN use WireGuard or iterations of it.

Why do I need a secure VPN?

A secure VPN makes it nearly impossible to steal your data or breach your privacy. Hackers and malicious software won’t be able to bother you. Moreover, Your ISP or advertisers won’t have a chance to gather info about you and sell it to data brokers. So, you can enjoy safer and fear-free web adventures.

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