Top 5 VPNs


OK so what is a VPN and why do I need one?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. They are designed as a privacy tool that helps keep you safe and secure when browsing around the internet. You can even use a VPN to stream content you wouldn't typically have access to, for example streaming from another countries Netflix service. VPNs are growing more and more popular with each year, that they are now more mainstream and continue to improve upon some already great tools.

The most popular types of VPNs have different features, they mostly allow you to simply tap a button to connect to a secure, encrypted server, keeping you anonymous and safe, even on public Wi-Fi networks that are notorious for insecurity.

There are literally hundreds of VPN providers to choose from, but we're here to help you pick the best VPN for your needs.

Tips on how to choose the best VPN for me

Finding the right VPN starts by focusing on your what your needs are. Am I wanting to keep myself safe online? Am I looking to be streaming content? Do I want to play online games?

  1. Choose a provider with many locations and as many apps for every platform is as you can. This helps you cover all your needs.
  2. If looking to stream movies or TV shows then look for a VPN which unblocks your favourite services such as Netflix, iPlayer or kodi. If your a torrent user you will obviously want P2P support on as many servers as possible. Having an effective kill switch to keep your identity secret, and no-log policy to make sure all of your online activities stay private is a real good bonus.
  3. Many VPNs also limit you to connecting a specific number of devices at the same time. If you have multiple mobile devices, laptops, smart TVs or other hardware to protect, you will absolutely want to go for a provider that supports more simultaneous connections – or maybe has no limits at all. Also look for those that offer router support as that way you can drop the VPN software on multiple devices when at your home base.
  4. A good way to spot a good (or bad) VPN is to check its support site. Look for lots of detailed and well-written content that would help you in when in need. Live chat support can be a good help and speedy email support can be a life saver.
  5. And of course, there's cost to consider. Though we'd suggest concentrating on functionality first the cost can play a big role in your decisions. Way the providers up, cheap often doesn't mean the best and the same can be said for expensive VPNs.
Please note that all prices listed before are subject to change and were those at the time of the writing of the article so visit their live site to see the latest prices.

1. Proton VPN

  • Awesome free subscription
  • Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer, Kodi
  • Live chat: Yes
  • Refund period: 30 days - free version available
  • Number of servers: 1,700+
  • Server locations: 85+
  • Countries: 63
  • Simultaneous connections: 10
  • Numerous advanced privacy tools
  • Strong customer privacy stance
  • Slick, accessible client
  • Excellent speeds
  • No logs policy
  • Kill switch: yes
  • Awkward Chrome OS implementation
  • Complicated pricing structure
  • 24/7 support: No

Jurisdiction: Switzerland

ProtonVPN does it all. Which is why its our top pick.

It includes multi-hop connections and access to the Tor network via VPN, in addition to the usual VPN capabilities. It also sports a reimagined app interface for a pleasant user experience. While the core product has a dead-on average price, it also has the best free subscription we've yet seen.

The company behind Proton VPN recently revamped its entire product line. Now, an account with Proton VPN will also grant you access to Proton Mail which is their  secure email service. This includes free accounts. It's an excellent value-add. We are also impressed by its recently released Stealth feature, which is designed to provide additional security to particularly endangered users in countries like Iran and Russia.

Proton VPN continues to offer an excellent free VPN subscription tier. This includes just three VPN server locations (Japan, Netherlands, and the US) and only allows one device to be connected at a time. You do have to create an account with Proton VPN to access its free tier, but you also get access to the rest of the Proton product line (Drive, Calendar, Mail).

The free version of Proton VPN is uniquely valuable because it does not limit the amount of data you can use. TunnelBear VPN's free offering limits you to 500MB of secured traffic per month, Hotspot Shield tops out at 500MB per day, and KeepSolid VPN Lite places no data restrictions on its free version but does limit users to a single server. Other free VPNs pile on other restrictions. Because of all that, we recommend Proton VPN over all the other free VPNs we've tested.

It's getting trickier by the day to pick faults with Proton, but there are still a couple of sticking points. Firstly, while some servers do support P2P traffic, there are relatively few compared to the competition, although if Proton detects P2P activity, it'll seamlessly redirect you to a compatible server. Prices have recently dropped across the board, but it's still not cheap. However, sign up for 2 years and you'll get a decent deal, with a generous 10 simultaneous connections at your will.

Proton VPN is good for beginners through to pros.

How Much Does Proton VPN Cost?

2-year plan you get 50% off making it $4.99 /month and you save $120 in total.

1-year plan you get 40% off making it $5.99 /month saving you $48 in total.

1-month plan cost you $9.99 /month.

Of course they also have their free plan.

Checkout their prices here

2. NordVPN

  • Number of servers: 5,500+
  • Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer, Kodi
  • Server locations: 80+ in 59 countries
  • Maximum devices supported: 6
  • 24/7 live chat: Yes
  • 30 day money back guarantee: Yes
  • Excellent focus on security
  • Impeccable streaming performance
  • NordLynx delivers incredible speeds
  • No logs policy
  • Kill switch: yes
  • Renewal prices are high
  • Poor malware-blocking results
  • Occasionally cramped interface

Jurisdiction: Panama

NordVPN has long taken a "kitchen sink" approach to its VPN and includes a little bit of everything. From day one they've included features such as multi-hop connections and access to Tor over VPN, both of which are still rare among competitors.

To their credit, NordVPN have always provided a solid product to use. For years, Nord has kept up a consistent and modern design across all their platforms. And they aren't afraid to shake things up being that they are one of the first VPN companies to fully embrace the new WireGuard VPN protocol and RAM-only servers.

Nord has Meshnet, a secure link to devices anywhere in the world through encrypted NordVPN connections. This is another great feature to their already extensive list of impressive features. Other benefits include two ultra-reliable kill switches (system-wide and application-specific) and strong DNS leak protection.

They have a very capable set of apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chromebooks, Android TV and more. Boosting extras like browser extensions for Edge, Chrome and Firefox. They have the ability to set up NordVPN on compatible routers allows using the service with just about anything.

Nord actually betters Proton VPN on pure server count, taking them up to an eye-watering 5,000+. It doesn't cover quite as many countries, but it's likely NordVPN has servers in all the regions you're going to need. It allows up to six simultaneous connections whereas many other providers like Surfshark have no connection limits.

NordVPN has always had plenty of security features, but the company moved into overdrive after its data breach of a few years ago, and it’s since added layer after layer of privacy-protecting features and technologies. You don't have to take NordVPN's word on its abilities as they now bring in PricewaterhouseCoopers annually to carry out a thorough independent audit of its no-logs policy.

Nord owns and manages many of their servers ensuring others can't access them. Apps use only the most secure protocols with strong AES-256 encryption and they're crammed with high-end privacy features. Double VPN (known as multihop elsewhere) routes your traffic through two servers for extra security, secure DNS shields your browsing, a reliable kill switch protects you even if the VPN fails, and Nord still can scan downloads for malware with its (somewhat limited) Threat Protection feature.

NordVPN has developed its own custom version of WireGuard called NordLynx. The results are impressive, with connection speeds reaching a well above average 820Mbps in our tests. That's not quite the best we've ever seen, a handful of providers have reached 900-950Mbps, but it's still great performance giving more than enough power for most devices and connections.

NordVPN is a extremely easy to set up and operate making it good for beginners. But we noticed some small areas where the apps weren't quite as polished as the competition. Some observations.

  • No Favourites on the Windows app.
  • Recents uses only icons and not names.
  • Longer than average OpenVPN connection times.
  • Disconnects which take two clicks, instead of one to get back online.

Really minor stuff. They don't make these apps bad at all and they're good. But its things you can't ignore at this level because they're part of what makes the difference between a good VPN from a great one.

It's rare that NordVPN causes us any technical troubles, but if you do run into problems, there are plenty of in-depth tutorials and troubleshooting articles (many are available in multiple languages, sometimes eight or more). There's always the intelligent chatbot and helpful, experienced live chat support on hand 24/7 in case of real emergencies.

NordVPN doesn't accept PayPal payments, but you can purchase a subscription with any major credit or debit card, AmazonPay, Google Pay or ACH transfer. If you'd rather pay anonymously, you can pay with a variety of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether and Dogecoin. NordVPN has also partnered with a handful of retail stores like Staples, BestBuy and Walmart where you can even purchase your VPN with cash.

How Much Does NordVPN Cost?

2 year deal is $2.99 per month saving you 63%.

1 year deal is $4.49 per month saving you 45%.

$11.99 per month.

Checkout the prices here

3. Express VPN

  • Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer, Kodi
  • 24/7 support: Yes
  • Refund period: 30 days
  • Number of servers: 3,200+
  • Server locations: 160
  • Countries: 94
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Apps for almost everything
  • Reliable kill switch
  • Solid security and transparency, zero leaks
  • Above-average prices
  • Below-average speeds among top providers

Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands

ExpressVPN's 3,000+ server total isn't the highest around, but they're spread across a vast 160 locations over 94 countries.

With ExpressVPN, you can connect up to five devices simultaneously. Instead of slowly upping that cap, VPNs appear to be moving away from such restrictions entirely. Atlas VPN, Avira Phantom VPN, IPVanish VPN, Surfshark VPN and TunnelBear VPN don't even bother to limit the number of simultaneous connections.

When it comes to security and privacy, ExpressVPN has tight control over their server setup with strong encryption and it's own secure and (uniquely among VPN providers) open-source Lightway protocol. They supply bulletproof kill switches (Express calls it Network Lock), clear privacy policy with in-depth third-party privacy and security audits.

ExpressVPN does provide split tunnelling, which lets you designate the traffic that should travel through the VPN's encrypted connection and what should travel outside it. Split tunnelling is handy for activities like gaming or streaming media as they require a lot of bandwidth but are comparatively low risk.

Unfortunately, that's the end of ExpressVPN's privacy features. The service does not provide push-button access to the Tor anonymization network, which bounces your requests through several volunteer intermediaries for even more privacy. Note that you do not need a VPN to access Tor, it's just very convenient.

ExpressVPN download speeds peaked at an average 560Mbps in our latest tests. We've seen other providers give you more than this, but Express is fast enough to cover what most people's needs.

ExpressVPN excels at unblocking banned websites or bypass streaming hurdles. Not only did the service unblock a number of international Netflix catalogues (although sometimes you'll have to try a few different servers before finding one that sticks), Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and BBC iPlayer in tests.

ExpressVPN's mobile apps are "likeable, easy to use and deliver the functionality most folks are likely to need" according to them and we agree with this. The apps were easy to install and setup, and did the job nicely.

The company accepts payment by all major credit cards, PayPal, and other services such as WebMoney. You can also purchase an ExpressVPN subscription with bitcoin which is a bonus for anonymous users.

How Much Does ExpressVPN Cost?

ExpressVPN has three subscription options: $12.95 billed each month, $59.95 billed every six months, or $99.95 billed annually.

Checkout their prices here

4. Surfshark

  • Number of servers: 3,200+
  • Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer, Kodi
  • Server locations: 160+ in 100+ countries
  • Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
  • 24/7 live chat: Yes
  • 30 day money back guarantee: Yes
  • Eye-catching prices
  • Unlimited connections
  • Pause VPN feature
  • No logs policy
  • Apps can look a little complicated
  • Below-par OpenVPN speeds
  • Windows kill switch still buggy
  • Privacy policy needs clarification
  • High monthly price
  • Confusing long-term subscription pricing

Jurisdiction: Netherlands

Surfshark is a relative newcomer to the scene, but hit the ground running with a very slick product to match other VPNs. While it doesn't have all the features of their competitors, they does offer multi-hop connections and supports the WireGuard protocol.

NordVPN recently purchased Surfshark VPN, but both continue to operate independently. Surfshark VPN has also expanded and now offers antivirus protection but its at an additional cost.

Surfshark have an impressive suite of security and privacy features, with unlimited simultaneous connections, user-friendly interfaces and an expansive global network.

Along with the standard VPN features such as a kill switch and DNS leak protection, we also note some of Surfshark features below:

  • Include camouflage mode (which hides the fact you're using a VPN)
  • Split-tunneling, NoBorders mode (which lets you use Surfshark in regions where VPNs are restricted)
  • Multihop VPN connections
  • You'll also get access to Surfshark's CleanWeb technology that'll blocks ads and malware plus it'll help you avoid phishing attacks

We're excited to see Surfshark roll out is it's Nexus network. It allows you to connect to the VPN's entire network of servers together and allows you to choose multiple servers to route your connection through. The functionality is somewhat similar to Tor, but Surfshark says it's faster. With its Dynamic MultiHop, IP Randomizer and IP Rotator functions, the Nexus network can give you a few extra layers of protection while you use the VPN and this can be particularly beneficial to users with critical privacy needs.

Surfshark says it doesn't log any user activity. And although no-logging claims are virtually impossible to prove with 100% certainty, German cybersecurity firm Cure53 declared Surfshark's security to be "solid" in its 2021 security audit of the VPN.

Surfshark's network has 3,200+ servers, not quite as many as some, but with 160+ locations in 100+ countries they have you pretty much fully covered. A solid range of apps enables accessing the network from Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS devices, along with Amazon Fire and other smart TVs. Surfshark doesn't have any connection or device limits meaing you don't have to keep track of the hardware you've got connected at one time.

Speeds with WireGuard-powered downloads peaked at an excellent 950Mbps but OpenVPN was sluggish by comparison at around 150Mbps. That probably won't be an issue if you're accessing Surfshark from the standard apps as they use WireGuard, but it might affect you if you're installing Surfshark on a router or hoping to use it with a third-party app.

Surfshark's apps look a little more complex than other VPNs out there. But that's no real surprise when they have so many features, and with one or two small usability exceptions (the Windows VPN app doesn't sort cities alphabetically), they're simple enough to operate. The Linux app is now full GUI as well which is certainly a welcomed update.

How Much Does Surfshark Cost?

1 month $12.95 /mo billed every month.

24 months $2.05 /mo billed USD 53.28 now, and annually after the first 26 months.

12 months $3.99 /mo billed USD 59.76 every 12 months.

Checkout their prices here

5. TunnelBear VPN

  • Number of servers: 3,000+
  • Countries: 48
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Excellent privacy policies, very secure
  • Annual independent audits
  • Friendly, approachable design
  • They have Bears!
  • No multi-hop connections
  • Split tunnelling not available on all platforms
  • Little in the way of features
  • Poor for streaming

For those who've never used a VPN before, and perhaps are a little intimidated by options of the others mentioned above, then TunnelBear could be the perfect choice. You can start off with a limited free plan (which admittedly only gives you 500MB of data a month), or upgrade to the full service which gives access to over 3,000 servers in 48 countries.

Network performance has much improved as of late and is now up to a max of 640Mbps. However, the biggest draw is its comprehensive privacy policy and regular audits, which will appeal to you if you're looking for a VPN to genuinely keep your information safe and private.

TunnelBear's simplicity I'm afraid is also their downfall. While it's easy to use, just like most of the other top-rated providers, you'll have the choice to explore in-depth options if you want to. That's not the case with TunnelBear, as there's a dearth of configuration and what new features are being developed are only partially integrated, so there are some considerable inconsistencies.

TunnelBear VPN recently made a major change to its subscription structure that dramatically alters its value proposition. Previously, the company allowed subscribers to connect up to five devices simultaneously. But now, TunnelBear VPN places no limit on simultaneous connections which means families or those with numerous devices can protect everything with a single account.

Unblocking results aren't great, with services like Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, ITV, C4 and 9Now, but Netflix gave issues across the board, as well as BBC iPlayer.

How Much Does TunnelBear VPN Cost?

Unlimited service from $3.33/month.

Teams service $5.75/user per month.

And of course they have a free plan.

Checkout their prices here