Protecting your phones, tablets, and computers with a virtual private network (VPN) is one of the easiest ways to reclaim some online privacy and security.
But there are so many VPN services available these days that it has become almost impossible to understand which ones are trustworthy and offer the best service levels.
And the last thing you want to end up with is private internet access that isn’t all that private.
To help you choose the right VPN for your needs, we’ve put together a comparison guide with test results from real-life Internet activity.
5 Best VPN Services
- NordVPN – a fast and smooth VPN operator meeting all your Internet needs
- ProtonVPN – offering a very secure and private network at a good speed
- VyprVPN – no outsourcing to other services nor server logs for top privacy
- SurfShark – giving you access to the location-restricted Netflix content on numerous devices at the same time
- IvacyVPN – supporting up to 10 devices simultaneously on all the major platforms
Our Best VPNs
Based on our testing and reviewing hundreds of customer reviews, we found out that NordVPN offers the best VPN services of them all.
The company offers the most advanced security protocols across one of the largest number of servers available on the market. And there are no server logs to track your activity, so you’re close to being anonymous.
You get to choose from 5,200 servers in 59 different countries, allowing you to get around many kinds of restrictions.
We also found that streaming services work seamlessly with no interruptions. And in many cases, a chosen VPN server may allow for access to more location-restricted content.
It’s also great that you have the option to get your money back if you’re not completely happy with the service within the first 30 days.
The only real downside we saw highlighted by just a handful of users is that setting up an OpenVPN connection isn’t overly user-friendly, but most people won’t need that.
- Choose from over 5,200 VPN servers in 59 countries
- No server logs are kept for more privacy
- Claims to offer great streaming speeds
- Great 30-day money-back guarantee for a risk-free trial
- Advanced OpenVPN setup isn’t the most user friendly
ProtonVPN is a VPN service provider we like a lot because they also offer a limited free service. And the limit is still very generous.
While you only have three countries to choose from, you still don’t have to suffer through advertising, and you’re not taking chances that there are logs about your VPN client activity.
All your internet traffic remains private and protected by Swiss laws, which is where this company is based.
ProtonVPN provides a fully encrypted tunnel and split tunneling for more security and better speeds.
Upgrading from the free version is simple and will give you access to over 50 countries from up to 10 different devices.
The downside is that even with the paid service, you might not be able to protect every device in your home, especially if you have a large family. But it would still be the best free VPN.
- Free for connections to three countries from one device
- No advertisements, data limits, or speed restrictions
- Take advantage of Swiss privacy laws and no logs for more anonymity
- Paid service offers connections in over 50 countries
- You don’t get unlimited simultaneous connections even on paid plans.
We added VyprVPN to this best VPN service list because the company goes out of its way to make sure that all its technical equipment is fully managed in-house.
There is less risk of losing some of the anonymity of using virtual private networks with no outsourced services.
Test results also show that the VPN speeds are fast enough with no real congestion or impact on connection speed to make video streaming work very well.
And like every great VPN, VyprVPN has a policy of not keeping any server logs to give you maximum privacy.
If you’re on a budget, then this could be a great option, and you even get to try it out risk-free for 30 days because of the company’s money-back guarantee.
- Provides maximum security by not outsourcing to other services
- Works great with online streaming providers and offers DNS leak protection
- No server logs are kept making it impossible to provide usage data
- One of the cheapest services with a 30-day money-back guarantee
- No option to pay by bitcoin for more anonymity
SurfShark is an excellent VPN service with two great highlights.
First of all, there is no limitation on the number of simultaneous connections. So if you have a large family and everyone has multiple phones, laptops, tablets, and an Android TV, you’ll be able to secure all of them under one plan.
Secondly, SurfShark offers a number of servers that open up location-restricted Netflix content in the USA. It allows you to transfer your couch to America without having to go anywhere.
People have also commented that they like the ad-blocking tool, which has helped them reduce the number of annoying pop-ups.
- Allows for unlimited devices to be connected at just $2.50 per month
- Has a great ad blocker tool to make sure you reduce your exposure
- Offers server locations that give access to location restricted Netflix content
- Great discounts available when you sign up for a long term plan
- Some people have said that the customer service isn’t that responsive
While most other providers have a limit of 3 to 5 device connections, IvacyVPN has extended that to 10, which should cover most household fixed and mobile devices to gain maximum security.
It has a number of servers in over 100 locations making this a VPN company with possibly the widest server hardware choices.
The company also offers some additional security services for your IP address and port forwarding. If you don’t know what that means, then you probably don’t need it, but it’s a good indication of the advanced technology on offer.
- Up to 10 devices connected at the same time
- Compatible with all major platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, Mac
- Optional extra security with dedicated IP and port forwarding
- 5-year plan signup offers huge discounts
- Some speed tests have shown congestion
How To Choose The Right VPN
There are six main things we looked at in our research that you should always keep in mind.
1. Unlimited Device Connections
It’s important to know how many devices you can connect. Most people have a phone, tablet, and laptop. But what about your Smart TV?
Paid VPN companies usually offer up to five devices which is reasonably good, but if you have a large family, then you may need to choose a service with unlimited connections.
2. Download Speeds
VPN connections will never be as fast as your normal Internet connection because there is an overhead in the data. But you don’t want that speed to go down so far to mean VPN users can’t stream video from Netflix, Disney+, or the BBC iPlayer.
3. Unlimited Data
You absolutely want to stay away from a provider that has a limit on VPN usage. With video streaming now available for ultra high definition and 4K video, you’ll quickly max out any limits and then look at errors when your VPN connection fails.
4. Number Of VPN Server Locations
For a lot of people, it’s the total server locations available that are important. The benefit is that even if one server becomes congested or slow, you can pick a different one.
But many people also want flexibility with how VPN protects your privacy by the option to choose different countries.
5. No Logging Policy
This is why we generally tell people to avoid most free VPNs. Those companies often make money by analyzing and selling your usage data.
With all the above providers, you get VPN software that doesn’t log any data about your usage, which gives you more privacy.
6. Customer Support
Most VPN services offer live chat support, and to be honest, it’s probably the most effective way to get problems resolved. It beats having to wait in a queue on the phone, and by the time you get through, you’ve forgotten what your problem was in the first place.
Why Use VPN?
There are two main reasons why people choose to use VPN for increased security and privacy.
First of all, if you regularly connect to public Wi-Fi networks, then you leave yourself open to many potential hacking risks.
Secondly, your internet service provider often does a lot more than assign you IP addresses and allow you to browse the web.
They often track all your online behavior, including mobile apps, and sell that information to marketing companies. To stop that from happening, you need to take advantage of VPN protocols.
Have You Chosen A New VPN Provider?
All of the above five best VPN providers will give you excellent service.
But for an overall great experience, value for money, and the fastest VPN, we recommend that you choose NordVPN.
The company has advanced the highest levels of encryption with split tunneling and military-grade technology.
And there are plenty of positive testing results for speed and congestion issues.
Set up your account today and see how easy it is to secure all your online activity.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.