At Privacy Journal, we’re big boosters of virtual private networks (VPNs). While not the alpha and omega of online security, VPNs probably do more to protect you than any other single step you could take. With just one installation, which can be completely free, you’ll be totally anonymous to your ISP and anyone else trying to track you online.
The best thing about VPNs is their versatility. A password manager is also helpful, but it pretty much does one thing: manage passwords. Meanwhile, a VPN can hide your IP address, break into another country’s streaming libraries, block ads and malware, protect you while you’re torrenting and so much more.
With so many different uses, we couldn’t just put together a list of the best VPNs and call it a day. People need VPNs for a wide range of reasons, and some that fall short in one category might lead the pack in another.
There’s no such thing as the “best car” because one vehicle can’t drive through powdery snow, haul heavy loads, get 40 miles per gallon and look stylish for downtown driving. It’s the same with VPNs — ExpressVPN is the best at a lot of things, but it could never be the best free VPN or the best VPN with IPv6.
In the articles below, Privacy Journal’s experienced reviewers rank VPNs in several different categories. We name a best overall VPN, but we recognize that many of our top choices can be expensive, so we also compiled a list of the best VPNs you can use for free. There’s even a list of the best VPNs for houses with more than five connected devices.
We’ve separated out the best VPNs for various platforms. A provider’s mobile apps often diverge from its desktop clients, with brand-new UIs and features. Choosing a VPN for Android and iOS is very different from picking the best one for Windows or macOS.
Certain VPNs are much better than others at unblocking streaming services, but the top choice varies between sites. We’ll help you find the best VPN for unblocking Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and more.
We’ve gone into even further detail by unpacking which VPNs are best for specific countries, both for spoofing IP addresses in those countries and for people who actually live there. If you want to check out the shows they stream in Germany or Japan, we’ve got you covered.
It’s especially important to pick the best VPNs when you’re planning a trip to China, since experts agree you should enter that country with more than one. We’ll show you which VPNs you can count on for full coverage in China, hooking you up with fast service no matter where you are.
All our category lists are updated regularly to reflect how quickly the products develop. At Privacy Journal, you’re getting the most in-depth, up-to-date, readable VPN category rankings online. Get started below — we guarantee there’s a VPN for whatever you dream of doing.
Best Overall VPN
We’ve tested and reviewed over 60 VPN providers and ExpressVPN is the best service for most categories. We summarize our findings in our best VPN overview guide.