best vpn

The 10 Best VPN Services 2024: Cost, Streaming & Security

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Last update: February 14, 2024

If you’re short on time, my top VPN pick for pretty much any online activity is ExpressVPN. You can find out for yourself if it’s the best VPN for your needs with the safety net of a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Overall Rating 9.5 / 10
Get 49% Off ExpressVPN

If you’re like me, you’ll do anything to help keep your sensitive data and devices safe while online. Hackers, your internet service provider (ISP) and even the government can get hold of your personal information — excuse me while I adjust my tinfoil hat — so it just makes sense to stay secure and anonymous online. The easiest way to do that is to use one of the best VPN services.

Here are my top 10 best VPN list.

  1. Best overall
    Overall Rating 9.5 / 10
    Get 49% Off ExpressVPN
  2. Overall Rating 9.2 / 10
    Visit NordVPN
  3. Overall Rating 8.9 / 10
    Visit Surfshark
  4. Overall Rating 7.5 / 10
    Visit CyberGhost
  5. Overall Rating 8.8 / 10
    Visit Proton VPN
  6. Overall Rating 8.7 / 10
    Visit Private Internet Access
  7. Overall Rating 9.2 / 10
    Visit VyprVPN
  8. Overall Rating 8.7 / 10
    Visit Windscribe VPN
  9. Overall Rating 8.6 / 10
    Visit hide.me VPN
  10. Overall Rating 8.4 / 10
    Visit Mullvad

There are so many VPN companies jumping out like “pick me, pick me,” it can be hard to distinguish which ones are good and which ones are, well, not so good. Any online privacy nerd will feel like a kid in a candy store, but it’s important to know that some virtual private networks can do more harm than good — I’ll talk more about that later, though.

In this article, I’ll go over what a VPN is, how it works and why you should use one. I’ll then talk about what VPN features you should look out for and list my 10 best VPN services so that you can make an informed choice. 


The Best VPN Services: What You Need to Know

First, I’m going to cut to the chase by listing the 10 best VPN services before diving into some VPN basics. That includes how a VPN works, why you need a VPN and what to look for in a VPN service. Then I’ll give more detail about each of the 10 VPNs I’m recommending — but you can always look at our VPN reviews and comparison guides for more details. Strap in for the ride!

The Top 10 Best VPN Services

  1. ExpressVPN — Fastest speeds, great security, accesses all streaming services, but pricey.
  2. NordVPN — Top security with added features, best choice for torrenting, inexpensive.
  3. Surfshark — Great features, unlimited connections, good for streaming, but can be slow.
  4. CyberGhost — NoSpy servers, VPN automation settings, not great for streaming, inexpensive and free trial. 
  5. ProtonVPN — Free version, Secure Core servers, accesses streaming services, but slow speeds.
  6. Private Internet Access — Cheapest VPN, great security, but inconsistent speeds and streaming success.
  7. VyprVPN — Big on privacy and security, good for streaming, variety of native VPN apps, inexpensive.
  8. Windscribe — Free plan, strong security but cramped UI.
  9. Hide.me — Free plan, great privacy and security, trouble with some streaming services and slow.
  10. Mullvad — Extremely private, cheapest monthly plan, but a limited server network and complicated UI.

What Is a VPN and How Does It Work?

A VPN — virtual private network — is the key to online privacy and anonymity. Using one creates a private network over a regular internet connection, whether that be at home or on public WiFi.

Usually, you would connect to your ISP’s servers and be granted access to the World Wide Web. A VPN kind of acts like a middleman — you connect to one of its servers instead, and that ensures your connection is private.

Once you’re connected over that private network, everything is anonymized. Your connection is completely secure and everything that travels along it is encrypted, meaning your sensitive information is protected from anyone, including your ISP. That, coupled with a no-logs policy, means your browsing and search habits stay private, too.

The beauty of VPNs is that they can be used on almost any device, too. Everything about you and what you’re doing online stays safe.

Anyone trying to spy on you will only see the VPN details. That’s because your internet protocol (IP) address — which acts as an online identifier — is masked with a new IP address. That not only stops snoopers from tracing it back to you, but it can also help you bypass geoblocks. Snoopers or hackers see whatever you want them to see, via the VPN. 


What Should I Look for in the Best VPN Services?

Although a VPN may seem like a one-size-fits-all tool, there’s a lot of features that make up the service, and different use cases to think about when you’re choosing a VPN. In this section, I’ll talk about all the different VPN features there are and what you should look for.

Security

Security strength is one of the most important features — if not the most important feature — I consider when choosing a VPN. When you look at a VPN’s security, there are a few things to note, one being the choice of protocols on offer. Different VPN protocols provide different levels of security, but higher security can affect speed, so it’s good to have a few options available. 

A kill switch is a great security feature because it will cut your connection if the VPN fails, making sure you and your information stay safe. Other features include obfuscated servers, and ad and malware blockers. It’s also important that the VPN doesn’t suffer from IP, DNS or WebRTC leaks. If it does, it’s not doing its job and you should stop using it.

Privacy

Privacy can often be confused with security, but it’s a separate feature that’s just as important. Privacy is upheld in the form of a no-logging policy, which basically ensures that none of your online activities are recorded. Everything you do online is private and cannot be traced back to you.

Many, if not all, VPNs have some sort of privacy policy. It’s important that you actually read it, though — or at least put your faith in me to tell you whether a service is good or bad. Some VPN services do collect some information, though it may not be traced back to you; other VPNs, well, they just don’t honor their own privacy policy!

Number of Servers & Locations 

It’s necessary to look at the number of servers a VPN has, as well as its server locations. Whether a VPN is suitable in this respect will depend on your needs. For instance, some VPNs only cover a small number of countries, whereas others reach farther afield to countries that haven’t been touched by competitors. 

On top of that, there are the types of servers offered by VPNs, such as streaming-optimized or obfuscated servers, which completely disguise the fact that you’re using a VPN, and peer-to-peer (P2P) servers, which are optimized for file sharing, such as torrenting. 

Speed

As I said earlier, having a more secure VPN means that your connection speeds can be compromised. However, that doesn’t mean you’re confined to a life of slow download speeds or poor streaming performance. Many VPNs are capable of providing top security while only affecting performance a teeny bit — so much so that you probably won’t even notice. 

Still, speed can often vary on different servers. The main goal here is to end up with a VPN that closely matches your unprotected speed while also ensuring you have decent security. 

Streaming Capability

I love streaming and often do so with a VPN so I can access geoblocked content. The problem, though, is that VPNs can often struggle to get into such services without getting an error thrown at them. 

To be classed as one of the best VPN for streaming, a VPN needs to be able to bypass errors, such as the Netflix proxy error code, and fool the service when connected to another country’s server. 

I can’t test every single streaming service out there, but by focusing on the main subjects — Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video — I can get a decent look into a VPN’s streaming capability.

Here, I want to see consistency with unblocking and a decent streaming performance overall. It’s also a good idea to choose a VPN with unlimited data so you can stream as much as you like.

User-Friendliness

A VPN should not be hard to use. Sure, techies might like to tweak the settings here and there, but in general, the user interface should not be overwhelming. It should be a simple process from sign-up to installation to connection. 

That also means its default configurations should be good enough so your average Joe can simply click “connect” and get on with his day. Choosing a different server location should be simple, too.

Device Compatibility and Simultaneous Connections

Most VPN apps are compatible with the major operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Some also have apps for routers, smart TVs and game consoles, and many have browser extensions. However, only a few offer a dedicated Linux app, so check that the VPN supports your device. 

Another thing to keep in mind is how many devices the VPN lets you connect at a time. If you want to keep your whole household protected, you need to make sure it allows enough simultaneous connections to keep everyone happy.

Customer Support

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been thankful for a VPN’s support team. Sometimes problems arise out of nowhere, so it’s handy to have good customer support behind you when you need it. 

Many VPNs have a knowledgebase that you can refer to on the website, and some even have setup guides, FAQs and forums. For straight help, though, it’s good to have a few options, such as live chat, email or ticket support, and perhaps even phone support. Some have chatbots, but they’re not usually great with complex issues. 

Price

VPNs usually offer one plan with multiple durations. The price you pay will depend on the duration you choose, and the longer that is, the cheaper it works out to be in the end. You also want to look at the payment options; for instance, you may want to use cryptocurrency or even cash. 

Plus, most VPNs offer a money-back guarantee, though the length can vary. Some have a free plan, and a few offer a free trial. That said, it’s wise to steer clear of free VPNs unless it’s a reputable company, but I’ll talk more about that later.

Overall, though, you want to measure the features the VPN offers against its cost, because good value is more important than saving a little bit of moolah.


Top 10: Best VPN Services of 2024

In this section, I’ll recommend my top 10 VPNs. Remember that VPNs can differ in performance or features, so some VPNs are better than others for certain tasks. I’ll start the list with my favorite provider, n n86 6t52cfg, which is actually pretty good for any online activity.

1. ExpressVPN

Overall Rating 9.5 / 10
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Our ExpressVPN score
  • Features
    9.8 / 10
  • Pricing
    8.5 / 10
  • User-friendliness
    9.5 / 10
  • Speed
    9.5 / 10
  • Security
    9.7 / 10
  • Privacy
    10 / 10
  • Streaming
    9.7 / 10
  • Servers
    9 / 10
  • Service
    9.5 / 10
  • Apps Support
    9.9 / 10
Pros
  • Extremely fast & easy to use
  • Servers in 105 countries
  • Kill switch, split tunneling & no logs
  • Unblocks all major streaming services
  • Excellent security record
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Uses some virtual servers
Money-Back Guarantee
30 Days
Worldwide Server Amount
Over 3,000 servers in 105 countries
Streaming Access
logo-netflixlogo-iplayerlogo-hululogo-prime-videologo-disney-pluslogo-hbologo-apple-tv-plus

ExpressVPN is my favorite VPN of all. It excels in all areas, no matter what you want to do online. It has top security, is free of leaks and has a kill switch, as well as a solid no-logging policy.

Something that makes it truly shine above its competitors, though, is its speeds. It’s so fast, it’s like I’m not even connected via the VPN. It has low latency times, too, meaning gamers will experience fewer delays. 

Add ExpressVPN’s fast speeds to the fact that it can get me into any streaming service I want and it’s a top choice for any hardcore streamer. Plus, it has more than 3,000 servers in 105 countries, so I can easily bypass geoblocks and other restrictions. It’s compatible with almost any device and allows up to eight simultaneous connections. Customer service is great, too, and includes 24/7 live chat.

best vpns expressvpn
ExpressVPN is a great all-round VPN that will suit any use case.

Top-Notch Security

Like I said, ExpressVPN has excellent security which is set at AES 256-bit encryption and uses the OpenVPN protocol right out of the box. That means beginners don’t need to worry if their connection is secure from the get-go.

There are other protocols available, though, including ExpressVPN’s own answer to the fairly new WireGuard protocol, Lightway. It’s built with your privacy and security in mind, but doesn’t sacrifice performance. 

Other security features are available, too, such as split tunneling, which lets you choose which apps connect through the VPN, and you can set it to launch at startup.

ExpressVPN really does have it all, but it comes at a pretty high price. That said, you get a lot for your money. Plus, you can save some money by opting for the 12-month plan and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee to fall back on.

Check out ExpressVPN’s pricing here.


2. NordVPN

Overall Rating 9.2 / 10
Visit NordVPN
Our NordVPN score
  • Features
    9.5 / 10
  • Pricing
    8.5 / 10
  • User-friendliness
    9 / 10
  • Speed
    9 / 10
  • Security
    9.5 / 10
  • Privacy
    9 / 10
  • Streaming
    9.5 / 10
  • Servers
    9.5 / 10
  • Service
    9 / 10
  • Apps Support
    9.2 / 10
Pros
  • Easy to operate
  • Unblocks every major streaming service
  • Great savings on one- & two-year plans
  • Includes a kill switch & ad blocker
  • Strict no-logs policy
Cons
  • Suffered a security breach in the past
  • Split tunneling isn’t available on all OSes
Money-Back Guarantee
30 Days
Worldwide Server Amount
Over 5,400+ servers in 59 countries
Streaming Access
logo-netflixlogo-iplayerlogo-hululogo-prime-videologo-disney-pluslogo-hbo

To be fair, NordVPN isn’t far off ExpressVPN’s highly set bar — and it’s also more affordable. It has a strict no-logging policy and uses the same security level as ExpressVPN — though there are some extra security features included, which I’ll get into in a minute.

It’s super easy to use, with its map-style interface, and it can be installed on many device types with up to six connections at a time. 

NordVPN’s server count is huge, with more than 5,000 servers in around 60 countries — not quite the coverage of ExpressVPN, but still great. Its speeds are good overall, but I’ve found some servers to be a little slow. Simply connecting to a different server can sort that issue out, though, and the same goes for accessing streaming services, which it excels at.

On top of that, NordVPN is a top VPN for torrenting due to its obfuscated servers that totally hide the fact that you’re using a VPN. I found downloads to be faster when using NordVPN’s default NordLynx protocol, which is NordVPN’s own take on the WireGuard protocol.

screenshot of the nordvpn desktop client
NordVPN is an affordable VPN that has extra security features.

Extra Security Features

NordVPN has some handy security features under its hood. Split tunneling is one of them, and there’s also a kill switch. For the most part, NordVPN’s kill switch is system-wide, meaning that your device will be cut off from the internet if the VPN fails.

However, NordVPN offers an app kill feature on desktop, where you specify which apps should be terminated in such a situation.

On top of that, NordVPN has double-hop VPN servers, which basically encrypt your connection twice over if you use them. NordVPN can be enabled at device startup and it passes any DNS leak tests thrown at it. Plus, it also comes with an ad blocker.

Customer service is great and offers a quick response via live chat or email. The live chat option starts with a chatbot that redirects you to relevant sections of NordVPN’s knowledgebase, but you can easily switch to a live agent.

NordVPN’s price is much more budget-friendly than ExpressVPN, though most of the savings are seen in its multiyear plans. Plus, there’s a 30-day refund window in place.

Check out NordVPN’s pricing here. See how it compares to the top pick in my ExpressVPN vs NordVPN article.


3. Surfshark

Overall Rating 8.9 / 10
Visit Surfshark
Our Surfshark score
  • Features
    8.5 / 10
  • Pricing
    8.5 / 10
  • User-friendliness
    8 / 10
  • Speed
    9 / 10
  • Security
    9.5 / 10
  • Privacy
    9.5 / 10
  • Streaming
    8.5 / 10
  • Servers
    9.5 / 10
  • Service
    9 / 10
  • Apps Support
    9 / 10
Pros
  • Very good price-performance ratio
  • High security level
  • Netflix-compatible
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Great support with live chat
Cons
  • No information on individual servers
  • Can have issues establishing a connection
Money-Back Guarantee
30 Days
Worldwide Server Amount
1700+ Servers in 63 Countries
Streaming Access
logo-netflixlogo-iplayerlogo-hululogo-prime-videologo-disney-pluslogo-hbo

Surfshark is one of the newer VPNs on the block, but that doesn’t mean it can’t compete with the top providers. I’ve found Surfshark to be reliable in all of my testing, with top-notch security and privacy. It’s also great at getting into any streaming service and has decent speeds to provide a good streaming quality, though some servers can be slow. 

Its server network boasts 3,200 servers in 65 countries, and some of those are in locations that its competitors haven’t touched. Connecting to one of those servers is easy, thanks to Surfshark’s easy-to-use interface. It’s compatible with most devices and — like Windscribe — it allows any number of simultaneous connections on all of its plans. 

Customer service is responsive and provides good advice. There’s a handy knowledgebase, live chat and a ticket system. 

surfshark ui uk
Surfshark offers great security and streaming capability, but it can be slow.

Extra VPN Features and Security

Surfshark implements extra features like an ad blocker, but there are some other features that aren’t available in my top choices. You get the use of CleanWeb, which blocks anything like pop-ups, trackers, malware and more. There’s also a feature called NoBorders, which can help users in restrictive countries to bypass censorship, and its MultiHop is similar to NordVPN’s double-hop encryption feature. 

Pricewise, Surfshark is cheap, especially for a well-balanced VPN that provides a decent streaming experience. However, you only see that “cheapness” if you opt for the 24-month plan. You can also add Surfshark One on to your VPN package, which provides extra features, such as antivirus, security alerts and secure search, for $1.49 per month. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Check out Surfshark’s pricing here.


4. CyberGhost

Overall Rating 7.5 / 10
Visit CyberGhost
Our CyberGhost score
  • Features
    9 / 10
  • Pricing
    9.8 / 10
  • User-friendliness
    9.5 / 10
  • Speed
    8.5 / 10
  • Security
    9.5 / 10
  • Privacy
    9 / 10
  • Streaming
    9.5 / 10
  • Servers
    10 / 10
  • Service
    9 / 10
  • Apps Support
    9 / 10
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Thousands of servers including streaming servers
  • Strong encryption
  • Doesn’t keep logs
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Cheap only with long-term subscriptions
Money-Back Guarantee
45 Days
Worldwide Server Amount
7,300 Servers worldwide
Streaming Access
logo-netflixlogo-iplayerlogo-prime-videologo-disney-plus

CyberGhost is one of the cheapest VPN options with strong security. It has top security features, such as strong encryption, a kill switch, a malware/ad blocker and split tunneling.

You can choose from a few different protocols, too, including its fast and secure WireGuard protocol. However, there are some areas that let the service down, which I’ll point out along the way.

First of all, CyberGhost’s server network is massive, with almost 7,000 servers in around 90 countries. Plus, CyberGhost has optimized servers which it handily sorts into categories for gaming, torrenting, streaming and its “NoSpy” servers. 

The NoSpy servers are independently operated with the highest security measures, which makes it a great feature for high-risk countries like China. They’re also located outside the Five Eyes jurisdiction, so they’re perfect for evading surveillance and prying eyes in countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

However, in my testing, CyberGhost’s streaming servers didn’t work as intended. Speed isn’t an issue for most servers, and although I could access Netflix U.S., it struggled in other areas. It can’t unblock other Netflix libraries or major streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. If streaming is a top priority, CyberGhost isn’t the best VPN for you.

Another concern is that CyberGhost’s parent company is known for writing malicious software. Yep, that’s right, Kape Technologies used to be known as Crossrider. Still, CyberGhost claims it does operate independently and maintains a strict privacy policy.

netflix proxy error cyberghost
CyberGhost is a cheap VPN with great security, but it doesn’t cut it for streaming.

Smart Automation Features

CyberGhost knows how a VPN should work and proves that in its design and unique features. Its user interface is easy to use, but it still offers enough customization for those who are more tech-minded. CyberGhost also has what it calls “smart rules,” which allow you to automate certain VPN settings, such as connecting to a specific server or launching with particular apps.

You can install it on many different device types and have up to seven devices connected at a time. If you run into trouble, you can use the live chat or email support, and there’s a large knowledgebase with information for setup, troubleshooting and FAQs.

CyberGhost is super cheap, so long as you sign up for one of its long-term plans. If you want to take CyberGhost for a spin first, though, it offers a free seven-day trial on mobile (24 hours on desktop). Plus, there’s a generous 45-day money-back guarantee (14 days on the monthly plan).

Check out CyberGhost’s pricing here.


5. ProtonVPN

Overall Rating 8.8 / 10
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Our Proton VPN score
  • Features
    9.5 / 10
  • Pricing
    9.5 / 10
  • User-friendliness
    9 / 10
  • Speed
    6.5 / 10
  • Security
    9 / 10
  • Privacy
    9.5 / 10
  • Streaming
    8 / 10
  • Servers
    8 / 10
  • Service
    8 / 10
  • Apps Support
    8.5 / 10
Pros
  • Fast download & upload speeds
  • Impeccable security
  • Unblocks all streaming services
  • Unique quality-of-life features
  • Servers in oft-ignored locations
Cons
  • High latencies on most servers
  • No live chat support
  • Overpriced plans
  • Few servers overall
  • Manual router installation only
Money-Back Guarantee
30 Days
Worldwide Server Amount
1500 Servers in 61 Countries
Streaming Access
logo-netflixlogo-iplayerlogo-hululogo-prime-videologo-disney-pluslogo-hbo

ProtonVPN is similar to Windscribe in that it offers both a free and paid version. It has lots of features, its security is excellent and it has a solid no-logs policy, earning it the title of best free VPN. It is a great option if you need free protection.

It has more than 1,200 servers in 55 countries, which isn’t as many as some competitors, but should be enough. That said, how many you have access to will depend on the plan you choose, which I’ll get to in a minute. It’s also easy to use and can be downloaded on many device types.

ProtonVPN’s speeds are what truly let it down, though. It’s not the slowest VPN service I’ve come across, but it’s not great. So although it can access streaming services easily, it’s not great for the task as a whole.

Plus, its customer service could be improved. There’s a decent knowledgebase and email support, but there’s no live chat option, and email support takes a while to respond in my experience.

ProtonVPN works with netflix
ProtonVPN has a limited free plan, but its speeds aren’t great.

Multiple Plan Options

Something that’s not often seen with VPN providers nowadays is multiple plan options. There are four plans altogether — including the free plan — but as the cost goes up, you get a bigger slice of the cake. On the free plan, you get access to 23 servers in three countries, can have one device connected and the speeds are capped. 

The Basic plan gives access to more than 350 servers in over 40 countries, allows two simultaneous connections, has better speeds and also has an ad blocker and P2P servers. 

Next is the Plus plan, where you get to use all of ProtonVPN’s servers, up to 10 simultaneous connections and you’ll benefit from the best speeds. You also get to use its Secure Core servers and its Tor over VPN option for better protection. 

Lastly, there’s the Visionary plan, which includes everything above and the use of Proton Mail — its own encrypted email service. All of ProtonVPN’s plans are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee, too.

Check out ProtonVPN’s pricing here.


6. PIA

Overall Rating 8.7 / 10
Visit Private Internet Access
Our Private Internet Access score
  • Features
    9 / 10
  • Pricing
    9 / 10
  • User-friendliness
    8 / 10
  • Speed
    8.5 / 10
  • Security
    9.5 / 10
  • Privacy
    9 / 10
  • Streaming
    7.5 / 10
  • Servers
    9.5 / 10
  • Service
    7 / 10
  • Apps Support
    9 / 10
Pros
  • Affordable plans
  • Servers in 84 countries
  • Streaming-optimized servers
  • Obfuscation with Shadowsocks & SOCKS5
  • Unblocks Netflix & Hulu
  • Highly customizable split tunneling
Cons
  • Desktop app often lags
  • Uneven download speeds
  • Can’t access HBO Max or Disney+
  • No live chat customer support
  • Many countries have only virtual servers
Money-Back Guarantee
30 Days
Worldwide Server Amount
84 countries
Streaming Access
logo-netflixlogo-iplayerlogo-hululogo-prime-video

Private Internet Access (PIA) is the cheapest full VPN package you can get — at least that’s actually decent. For the same price as Surfshark’s two-year plan, you could get another year of PIA. 

However, if you want to access multiple streaming networks, I suggest you skip back to Surfshark at least. Although PIA can unblock Netflix, it struggles with other major streaming services like Hulu and BBC iPlayer, which is why it didn’t make it onto the list of the best VPN for BBC iPlayer.

Still, it’s a great choice if you either only want to watch Netflix or don’t want to stream at all with its strong security and honorable privacy policy. Plus, PIA’s server network is pretty good. The server count isn’t as high as its competitors, but it still has more than 28,000 servers across 78 countries (a large portion of those are located in the U.S., though).

PIA’s customer support is solid, offering everything from a knowledgebase and other self-help resources, to a ticket form, live chat and a subreddit.

screenshot of the pia desktop client
Private Internet Access is a super cheap VPN that comes with top security and privacy.

Ease of Use and Added Features

Private Internet Access is super easy to use, even giving ExpressVPN a run for its money in that area. It can be installed on different device types and also allows up to 10 simultaneous connections. It also comes with an ad blocker called MACE, split tunneling and the use of Shadowsocks proxies, which add another layer of protection to your encrypted tunnel.

Like I said earlier, PIA is cheap. As with many other VPN providers, you only see the savings on longer plans, but with its 30-day money-back guarantee, there’s nothing to lose.

Check out Private Internet Access’ pricing here.


7. Windscribe

Overall Rating 8.7 / 10
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Our Windscribe VPN score
  • Features
    9 / 10
  • Pricing
    10 / 10
  • User-friendliness
    9 / 10
  • Speed
    7 / 10
  • Security
    9.5 / 10
  • Privacy
    9.5 / 10
  • Streaming
    8.5 / 10
  • Servers
    8 / 10
  • Service
    8 / 10
  • Apps Support
    9 / 10
Pros
  • Dedicated streaming servers
  • File sharing services allowed
  • Anonymous payment via BitPay
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Browser extensions
  • Free account with up to 10 Gigabyte per month
Cons
  • Slow speeds
Money-Back Guarantee
3 Days
Worldwide Server Amount
Servers in 55 Countries
Streaming Access
logo-netflixlogo-iplayerlogo-hululogo-prime-videologo-disney-pluslogo-hbo

Windscribe is a bit like a fine wine — it just keeps getting better with age. OK, so it’s not quite in the same bracket as ExpressVPN and NordVPN, but it’s pushing for a top-level seat, that’s for sure. A major factor in its rise is the fact that it offers a decent but limited free plan. 

There’s a 10GB data cap on the free plan, but it’s a great choice if you’re totally strapped for cash. Plus, Windscribe’s total server count isn’t as high as my top picks, but it still covers 63 countries. However, its full network is only accessible on the paid plan. Free servers are available in 10 countries, including the U.S., Canada, the UK, Europe and Hong Kong.

Its security is great, using the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption, and there’s a no-logging policy in place too. Windscribe also includes its own take on a kill switch, naming it a “firewall.”

Windscribe’s customer service is OK. It uses a live chatbot called “Garry,” which is pretty good at pointing you to relevant self-help guides, but it’s just not the same as speaking to a real human. Still, you can type “agent” into the chat box and Garry will happily escalate your issue to a human. There’s also a handy Windscribe subreddit.

Windscribe is a great VPN that has both a free and paid plan.

Free Plan With Streaming Capabilities and Unlimited Connections

Windscribe used to have streaming-optimized servers called Windflix servers, but they were only available on a paid subscription. However, due to Windscribe’s near-constant improvements, I’ve found that it can access the major streaming services on most of its servers — even free ones. That’s a huge accomplishment, especially since that includes Netflix.

That said, the free servers’ speeds aren’t always great and you might need to try a couple of servers before you find a suitable one. Of course, my streaming addiction sucks up that 10GB data cap like a hungry vampire, but you can enjoy unlimited data by choosing the full paid plan or its build-a-plan option.

Windscribe’s build-a-plan option lets you add paid servers to your account for just $1 each per month, and unlimited data can be added on for another $1 per month. So you could potentially pay just $2 per month. 

Windscribe’s easy-to-use app can be installed on many device types, and it lets you simultaneously connect an unlimited number of devices on any of its plans — including the free one. Plus, there’s a three-day refund window.

Check out Windscribe’s free plan and pricing here.


8. VyprVPN

Overall Rating 9.2 / 10
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Our VyprVPN score
  • Features
    9 / 10
  • Pricing
    7.5 / 10
  • User-friendliness
    9 / 10
  • Speed
    6.5 / 10
  • Security
    9 / 10
  • Privacy
    9 / 10
  • Streaming
    9 / 10
  • Servers
    7 / 10
  • Service
    9 / 10
  • Apps Support
    9 / 10
Pros
  • Excellent security protocols
  • Easy setup on every app
  • Great at unblocking streaming sites
  • Affordable prices
  • Exclusive DNS infrastructure
Cons
  • Slow speeds with faraway servers
  • Relatively small server network
  • No anonymous subscription options
  • No Firefox browser extension
Money-Back Guarantee
30 Days
Worldwide Server Amount
700+ Servers in 64 Countries
Streaming Access
logo-netflixlogo-iplayerlogo-hululogo-prime-videologo-disney-pluslogo-hbo

VyprVPN is a great VPN service when it comes to security and privacy, and its parent company, Golden Frog, is always looking to improve it. You’re protected by high security — it’s so focused on privacy that it got its privacy policy independently audited. However, one area that seems to get left behind is speed, but even then, it’s not a total off-put. 

You see, on paper, VyprVPN’s speeds can look terrible. In practice, however, they’re fine. Although VyprVPN sometimes lacks actual speed, its speeds are reliable. So for activities such as streaming, it’s pretty good — plus it can access all the major streaming platforms.

Compared with other VPNs, VyprVPN has a small number of servers, with only a little over 700 servers in just over 60 countries. You should still find one that suits your needs, though. Customer support is good, with a handy knowledgebase, a community forum, email support and live chat available.

best vpns vyprvpn
VyprVPN is known for its top-notch security and privacy, but its speeds can let it down.

Support for Different Device Types

VyprVPN supports a wide range of platforms, with apps for the usual Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, but it also has native apps for less-common devices, such as Android TV and routers. Weirdly, though, there’s no Linux app, so if you’re a Penguin fan, you’ll need to set the VPN up manually.

Whatever app you choose, it’ll be very easy to use and you can have up to 10 simultaneous connections. Its price is friendly, too, with its three-year plan working out the cheapest. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Check out VyprVPN’s pricing here.


9. Hide.me

Overall Rating 8.6 / 10
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Our hide.me VPN score
  • Features
    9.5 / 10
  • Pricing
    8 / 10
  • User-friendliness
    9 / 10
  • Speed
    7.5 / 10
  • Security
    9.5 / 10
  • Privacy
    9.5 / 10
  • Streaming
    4 / 10
  • Servers
    8 / 10
  • Service
    8.5 / 10
  • Apps Support
    8.5 / 10
Pros
  • Performs well in speed tests
  • Provides a user-friendly interface
  • Unblocks Netflix & BBC iPlayer
Cons
  • Can’t unblock all streaming services
  • Often fails to explain features
  • Has a small server network
Money-Back Guarantee
30 Days
Worldwide Server Amount
2,000 servers in 75 countires
Streaming Access
logo-netflixlogo-iplayer

Hide.me is a great VPN service. However, it doesn’t quite compete with the likes of ExpressVPN, and its high price makes it difficult to recommend against cheaper VPNs like Private Internet Access and Surfshark. Still, it gets a mention here due to its great service and excellent free plan. 

Its free plan is similar to Windscribe’s in that you get a 10GB per month data cap, but you can only use it with one device. Its paid plan allows 10 simultaneous connections and unlimited data. Hide.me’s speeds are decent if you connect to a server close by, but once you connect to servers farther away, it becomes sluggish. 

Aside from slow speeds, though, Hide.me has issues with unblocking certain streaming services. It can get into Netflix U.S. and even BBC iPlayer, but it struggles with Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

best vpns hide.me
Hide.me has a limited free plan and although its paid plan is better, it’s a bit pricey.

Security and Ease of Use

Hide.me has strong security and an independently audited privacy policy, for extra peace of mind. There are more than 1,800 servers available in over 50 countries; however, the free service is limited to five locations. It can be used on most devices and is easy to use. 

There are lots of options available on the interface. It’s not overwhelming for beginners, but more experienced users will enjoy the extra details that have been added. For instance, you have access to leak tests and customer support directly through the VPN app — something I don’t typically see with many providers. 

Hide.me offers a great service, but with its high price, I can’t recommend it above services such as ExpressVPN. Of course, there is the free plan, but Windscribe is a better option for streaming and includes more server locations. If you decide to try Hide.me, though, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee to fall back on.

Check out Hide.me’s free plan and pricing here.


10. Mullvad

Overall Rating 8.4 / 10
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Our Mullvad score
  • Features
    7 / 10
  • Pricing
    9 / 10
  • User-friendliness
    9 / 10
  • Speed
    8.5 / 10
  • Security
    9 / 10
  • Privacy
    10 / 10
  • Streaming
    5 / 10
  • Servers
    7.5 / 10
  • Service
    7.5 / 10
  • Apps Support
    8 / 10
Pros
  • No email address required to subscribe
  • Speeds are highly consistent
  • Has the cheapest monthly rate
  • More privacy-focused features than most VPNs
Cons
  • Split tunneling isn’t available on all OSes
  • Few servers available outside Europe & North America
  • Firefox only browser extensions
  • Can’t get into all streaming services
Money-Back Guarantee
30 Days
Worldwide Server Amount
Over 760 servers in 63 countries

Mullvad VPN is a service less interested in being the best overall than in filling its particular niche. It’s the most private VPN I recommend, with no required email address, no info-gathering cookies anywhere (including on its website) and even the option to pay in untraceable cash.

Security is airtight, of course, with no DNS leaks, no prior hacks and even forward-looking IPv6 protection. OpenVPN and WireGuard are the only protocols, but that’s all you need.

However, other aspects of Mullvad suggest that it’s made trade-offs in its focus on privacy. Its server network is highly concentrated in the U.S. and Europe, and it has a poor record of unblocking streaming services, usually only making it into half the platforms I test (and not always the same half).

It’s also available on a limited range of platforms, and its interface is less than user-friendly. Its control panels are packed with options that do nothing but clutter the experience for almost all users. Still, if privacy is your main concern, you can hardly do better than trusting Mullvad.

mullvad vpn basic features
Mullvad VPN comes with ad and tracker blockers that neutralize a long list of threats.

Unique pricing system

Mullvad’s other most unique characteristic is its payment system, which has only one price: 5 euro for a month (prices outside Europe depend on exchange rates). You can put as much money into your account as you like, and it will continue paying for Mullvad until the money runs out. It makes this the cheapest of any VPN at the monthly level.

Check out Mullvad’s pricing here.


Do I Really Need a VPN?

If the words “hackers” and “snoopers” haven’t swayed you to use a VPN yet, then I’m not sure what will! Seriously, though, while you don’t necessarily need a VPN to browse the web or access online content and services, you really should use one.

Like I said in the last section, a VPN will secure your connection and keep you anonymous. For instance, let’s say I’m inputting my credit card details online while connected to public WiFi. The VPN will stop hackers and scam artists from seeing those details. 

Your identity and online activities are totally secret when you use a VPN, and that can stop hackers, the government and any other malicious entity from snooping on your internet traffic. If you like to torrent, a VPN is essential when it involves copyrighted material, since it’s illegal in most countries. I’m not condoning it, but torrenting with a VPN stops anyone from being able to prove it.

On top of that, a VPN can help you bypass geo-restrictions or censorship. You can choose which country’s VPN server you want to connect to, and doing so will mask your true location and make it appear like you’re somewhere else. 

However, a VPN can’t directly protect you against a virus or malicious software. Even a website with the cutest cats can have malicious software hidden in the background.

Plus, downloading anything from the web can result in your computer or mobile device becoming infected — and you can’t fix that type of infection with some antibacterial cream. That’s why it’s also a good idea to have antivirus software installed.


Learn More About the Best VPNs for Specific Countries

Conclusion: The Best VPN

Choosing the best VPN service can be a huge task, but knowing what your main use case will be can help. I’ve recommended 10 top VPN providers in this list, but not all of them are good for the same tasks. Some are better for streaming, some are better for torrenting and so on.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN you can get, though, because it excels in all use cases. You can stream, stay protected in the strictest of countries and just do anything with the knowledge that your activities are private. Still not convinced? Take advantage of ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee to see for yourself.

Do you agree with my choice of the best VPNs? What’s your best VPN provider? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Thank you for reading.

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