Using a VPN software is an excellent way to give you privacy and security when you are using the internet, and there a number of VPN providers to choose from when selecting a VPN that is right for you. VPN providers offer different services from one another and some do things better than the rest.
For example, one may be cheaper and one may be more expensive but offer a better client and better control over your security protocols. This article will list the top 5 VPN services that we recommend you try out.
What Does a VPN Do?
A VPN is a virtual private network that takes over your entire internet connection and filters it through a different server, offering you ultimate protection and security when surfing the web. This is achieved through hiding or masking your IP address and by spoofing your geographical location, meaning that hackers and ISPs are seeing a fake IP address that isn’t connected to your system. In addition, the connection between your PC and the server you are using are encrypted with military-grade software and various security protocols that will ensure you are completely secure on the internet. You should definitely consider a VPN is you are:
- Worried about your privacy when surfing the web, and are concerned that ISP and website owners can easily track your searches and see where you’ve been and what you’re doing
- Worried that your security may be comprised by malicious hackers using public Wi-Fi or rogue links to obtain personal information about you and where you live
- Want to have unrestricted access to the internet no matter where you are, as VPN software allows you to bypass content filters and internet restrictions thanks to the geo-spoofing side effect
- Concerned about the internet knowing about your P2P activities and want to download torrents in complete safety
- 140 servers in 94+ countries
- 24/7 support (including live chat)
- Simple and easy client
- Strong encryption with various protocols
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Can connect to 3 devices
- No free trial
ExpressVPN has always been a frontrunner in the VPN industry, and rightfully so. ExpressVPN has worldwide coverage, having 140 servers in a staggering 94+ countries, giving its users ultimate coverage. In addition, ExpressVPN also confirmed that all their servers can handle the bulk of their user base, meaning you shouldn’t experience any disruptions in connection no matter where you are. In addition, their client for Windows is clean and easy to use with plenty of options to choose from in terms of security protocols, and it took under 10 minutes to download and setup. The mobile version was also fantastic and had all the same encryption features as the Windows client. ExpressVPN is well known for it 24/7 customer support as well, which is very fast and professional. The encryption is tough and they offer excellent resolutions for individuals who experience censorship laws with their stealth and dark servers.
The only issue with ExpressVPN was the price, as it’s cheapest plan was priced at $8.32. However, ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee that is truly no-nonsense, unlike many other VPN providers.
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- Rock solid encryption
- 744 server locations in 58 different countries
- Reliable VPN network
- Brand new client that’s fantastic
- Strict no logs policy
- Connects to 6 devices at once
- 24/7 customer care (with live chat)
- Medium/average connection speeds
- A little expensive
NordVPN is one of my personal favourites and is underrated in the VPN industry. Like many of the top VPN services, Nord has a wide server base of over 744 servers in 58 different countries, allowing you to connect from just about anywhere. One of Nord’s strong points is its super tough encryption and the different security options it offers for its users.
Nord is all about security, and this is clearly stated with their strict no logs policy and various server options. One of these server options includes the ability to filter your connection through two VPN servers which double encrypts your data. Another option allows you to filter your connection though a VPN and then the Onion router, giving you maximum security and privacy. They have also released a brand new client that is beautiful and has a whole host of options for servers and security.
The only downside to NordVPN is that their prices start quite high at an annual price of $6.58. In addition, Nord has experienced some connection issues and speeds throughout their career and when using this service make sure to connect to a server that is close to you.back to menu ↑
- Excellent client
- 700 servers in 60+ countries
- 5 connections at once
- Various payment methods
- Zero logs
- Poor customer service
- No free trial
- US based – privacy issues
IPVanish comes in at number 4 and is a great VPN provider. Not only do they have 700 servers in 60+ countries, giving you loads of server options, but also has a particularly amazing client. The client will display your real-time connection metrics and will give you plenty of security protocol options to choose from.
In addition, IPVanish has a strict no log policy and you will not be getting your privacy breached from sneaky ISP and Government agencies. IPVanish also allows you to connect to 5 devices at once, allowing you to keep all of your devices secure without multiple accounts. Bitcoin and P2P are also allowed so this service is great for private payments and torrenting.
The issues with IPVanish, however, are that their customer service was very poor and it took the ages to reply to a simple query regarding their log policy, the reply was also very robotic. In addition, no free trial was found and the company is US based meaning that the NSA can look into your internet searches any time they want.
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Private Internet Access
- Over 3415 servers
- Strong encryption
- Fantastic client
- Cheap price plans
- Speedy connections
- Various security protocols
- 7-day money back guarantee
- Support can be slow
- Only available in 25 countries
- Performance is good, but can vary
Private Internet Access (PIA) is another personal favourite and is definitely underrated in the VPN industry almost as much as NordVPN. PIA has the largest server base of all the VPN providers on this list with a crazy 3415 servers available to be connected too, allowing to you to connect from just about anywhere with great speeds. PIA also has a unique client and is contained in the desktop tray in the start bar of you PC, meaning that no matter what you’re doing on your computer, you will always be able to switch off and change connection.
The client also has a whole host of options that allow you to change your security protocols and the client itself. Another strong point that many of the VPNs on this list don’t have, is cheap prices. PIA starts off at a cheap price of $3.33 a month for their annual plan, which much less than any other VPN. The speeds and security are also top notch, with a security encryption of 256-bit and connection and speeds being pretty consistent.
However, PIA is only available in 25 different countries which is surprisingly low for such a good VPN. In addition, although the speeds are good, they can fluctuate, which can ruin the user experience. Finally, the support was no up to scratch and they took a while to reply to my queries.
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- 700 servers in over 70 countries
- Excellent security
- Speedy connections
- Good 24/7 customer care (with live chat)
- Amazing client
- 5 connections at once
- Free trial
- No P2P
- Hardly any payment options
- Keeps logs for 30 days
- Pricy monthly options
Golden Frog, or vyprVPN as it is also known, is a fantastic VPN provider and one you should definitely look up. VyprVPN has a huge server coverage, with 700 servers in over 70 different countries, so you will definitely find a server that you can connect to that will get you the best speeds.
On the note of connection speed, vyprVPN has very good connection speeds and is better than your average VPN provider, having a baseline of 30MBPS with no drop-offs around Europe. This can be accredited to its network infrastructure which it owns and controls entirely. VyprVPN also has great security with military-grade 256-bit encryption and various security protocols, as well as being based in Switzerland where the privacy laws are very good. The client is great and has all the options you’ll ever need, as well as being slick and easy to use.
One of the issues with vyprVPN is that they are against P2P activity, so if you are after a VPN service so you can torrent, you should look elsewhere. In addition, vyprVPN has hardly any payment options, with only PayPal, Alipay and debit/credit card payments being allowed. Their plans are also fairly expensive if you choose the monthly option. However, they are a brilliant service and you should definitely check them out!
What Should You Consider Before Purchasing a VPN?
A VPN is a great way to increase privacy and security when you’re surfing the web. With the top 5 services listed above, you will be able to secure your internet connection and gain access to a lot of additional features. However, although the above VPNs are all-rounders, the choice will be decided by what you plan on using the VPN for. Some may want to use it for streaming content, whereas others will want to mask their IP to torrent and engage in P2P.
Whatever be your preferences, you will need to get a VPN that correlates with them on a number of levels. Below are some considerations you should make depending on specific VPN uses.
Using VPN for Streaming
VPNs provide the opportunity for people to unblock a lot of global content and bypass geographical restrictions. This is achieved through the ability to geo-spoof your location with another server. One such system that can be unblocked is Netflix or BBC IPlayer. With premium services like those listed above, these platforms can be unblocked and 100% of the content can be made available. However, if you want the best experience when streaming with your VPN, follow these guidelines:
- Speed – You are going to be streaming movies and video through two servers (the VPN and your own) before you can view it. A slow connection speed can ruin the experience and cause severe buffering issues. To overcome poor streaming results identify VPNs with fantastic speeds, like ExpressVPN.
- Server Variety – One of the huge issues with Netflix and BBC IPlayer is they know a VPN server when they see one (because a lot of connections are being made from one IP). This means that a lot of services can get shut down and restricted by these sites. To overcome this, look for services that have a lot of servers and various IP addresses. Again, ExpressVPN is well-known for its capabilities to unblock Netflix.
Using VPN for Torrenting
A lot of you may be looking for a way round copyright laws when torrenting. VPNs are the safest options when it comes to torrenting because they not only mask your IP, hiding you from the trolls, they also do not keep traffic logs (most of the time). This means that if the Government wanted to see the traffic logs (for security purposes) they wouldn’t be able to see anything because nothing would exist.
If you are looking to use your VPN service to torrent and engage in P2P activity, consider these factors:
- Torrent-Friendly – The first thing you should always identify with your desired VPN service is whether or not they allow for P2P activity on their network. A lot of the premium services above do so you should have no issues here. However, always read the fine print and if you’re still not sure contact their support.
- Speed – You will be downloading and (possibly) uploading torrents and shared files so you will want a fast connection. The services above are well praised for their speeds but it is also recommended that you read the reviews before you purchase.
Use VPN for Privacy
The main purpose of a VPN is to keep you private and anonymous online. The majority of you will probably be looking for services that can do this adequately. With their encrypted networks and zero logs, many services can seem appealing but you should always read a review or the fine print before purchasing. Here are some factors to consider if your goal is enhanced privacy:
- Encryption – When you’re on the hunt for privacy, selecting a VPN with tough encryption and security protocols is the right decision to make. Always identify services that have AES-256 encryption and offer OpenVPN as a security protocol, as these are the safest. All the above service provide this level of protection. For more information check out our privacy guide
- Logs – If you are very concerned about your online exposure you will need to assess the service’s log policy. Identify services that keep no traffic logs. This will ensure that Government agencies can’t get their hands on your traffic.
- Additional Features – These include things like kill switches and DNS leak prevention. The more a VPN service has the better. Many of the services above have such features and companies like NordVPN take it even further with double encryptions and dedicated servers.
What about Free VPN Services?
So after reviewing all of the options above, we still commonly get the same question: “Why not buy a free VPN?” There is a simple answer to this and that is premium services are 10x better than free services. Unless you’ve read our guide on free services we recommend you stay away from them.
Free VPN services seem appealing initially but they often have restrictions on certain features and are sometimes littered with adverts. Some encryptions on free services are breakable and many do not allow for P2P activity. Additionally, server locations are severely limited and many restrict the amount of data you can use as well.
Unless you are looking for small, quick fixes and are on a very tight budget, you should opt-in for a premium service. You won’t regret the upgrades and bonus features you often receive.
How Are VPNs Different from a Proxy?
This is another common question we get. There is a lot of difference between a proxy network and a VPN. The main difference being in security and privacy. A proxy will be able to mask your IP address and geo-spoof your location and some premium proxies may also have some level of security on their network. However, a VPN is far superior in many ways.
A VPN has encrypted tunnels that make your traffic invisible to ISPs and Government agencies. They also do not keep any logs of the traffic and normally come with some awesome features like kill switches and DNS leak prevention. Proxies are basic versions of VPNs. They mask your IP but don’t necessarily make you invisible or private. VPNs are the best options if you are looking for ultimate online privacy.
There are many VPN providers to choose from and it is important to choose the right one. You should first ask yourself what your needs are and what you want from a VPN. If you are after speed and ease, ExpressVPN is for you, but if you want tight security and safety, NordVPN has got you covered. IPVanish is great for P2P, whereas vyprVPN is against it. Consider the options each VPN offers, and hopefully, you’ll pick the best VPN for you and your needs.