The number of VPN users around the world as exploded. In the year of the COVID, the proliferation of virtual private networks (VPNs) is in part down to an increase in the number of remote workers.
Long before COVID, though, there has been a massive rise in the number of VPN providers as these networks have increasingly become commonplace. This growth is hardly surprising. A VPN’s ability to hide your IP, change your location, and boost online privacy makes it a key tool.
Whatever your reason for using a VPN, making sure you choose the best VPN services is so important. As we have found, some are good, some are really good and some are downright ugly!
To save you reviewing each VPN, we’ve put together a best VPN review that measures the quality of each VPN using a strict and impartial check list. As new information comes to light, we update the list of the best VPN services of 2021 to ensure you aren’t left stranded.
Do you want to: Torrent Safely? Unlock Netflix’s full video library? Stay secure on public WIFI? Bypass online internet censorship? Or just maintain online privacy at no detriment to your internet speed? Then, this best VPN review will give you an idea of which VPN will best serve your needs.
All of the VPN services we’ve reviewed below are super easy to install and use! So, you can be secure online in just a minute!
$2.24/month - 3 year + 3 months
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£2.19/month - 3 yrs plan
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£2.86/month - 2 yrs plan
Save 68%See all plans
$2.91/month - 1 yr plan
Save 76%See all plans
£6.54/month - 12 months plan
Save 35%See all plans
Premium plan - $7.99/month
Save 38%See all plans
£2.50/month - 24 months plan
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$5.83/month - 12 months plan
Save 42%See all plans
€8.95/month - 2 yrs plan
Save 31%See all plans
£1.49/month - 24 months plan
Save 84%See all plans
Short for Virtual Private Network, VPN is an increasingly popular means for providing internet security. Essentially a layer of servers and encryption protocols, a VPN aims to maintain the secrecy of your private network and all of the activities it hosts.
Whether you’re using it as a personal VPN, or it’s an integral part of your company’s network protection, a VPN can serve as a “secure tunnel” through which your internet connection passes.
From the moment your traffic request leaves your PC, the VPN connection protects it until it arrives its destination. During this time, the connection can neither be intercepted, nor can any snoopers identify what site you’re visiting.
This highlights the primary purpose of a VPN – online anonymity. Considering the prevalence of cyberattacks, it’s hardly surprising that the use of VPN connections has gone mainstream.
To understand why you need a VPN, you need to consider all of the uses of a VPN. These include:
Every VPN on the market claims to be the very best of them all. But, we’re sure not to just take their word for it. To identify the 10 best VPNs on this best VPN review list, we’ve taken the time to review and rank over 100 of the available VPNs in the market.
Our comprehensive tests sweep through every aspect of the VPN, balancing out the scores to identify which is best. These tests consider the following factors:
At the heart of most personal VPN purchases is the need for increased privacy and security online. Indeed, the security of your VPN is a key determinant in its ability to serve other purposes.
We consider technologies such as an AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and IP or DNS leaks protection as bare minimum provisions. We also test to confirm that these provisions aren’t just available on paper. Likewise, a no-logs policy is critical to ensuring what you do while on a VPN never gets out.
Everything you do online is impacted by the speed of your connection. If you’re on a high-speed connection, extreme speed loss due to a VPN connection can be disastrous and frustrating, particularly if you’re looking to torrent, stream, or game on your VPN.
This is why we take the time to measure the speed quality of every VPN. The fastest VPN services have very minimal impact on your connection speed. They may also help you bypass ISP speed throttling, thereby making you connection even faster.
A good chunk of persons who turn to a VPN do that to service either their torrenting or streaming needs.
The best VPN providers for torrenting allow P2P connections on their VPN, providing users with a secure tunnel for these connections. The result is the masking of your IP address, ensuring you’re protected from any of the threats of torrenting.
Likewise, VPNs are increasingly employed for streaming purposes. Due to copyright restrictions, streaming platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer make their services/movies/TV shows available to only particular regions. They also deploy strong technologies to ensure this isn’t easily overturned. Nonetheless, the best VPNs are able to get past these restrictions.
For persons in countries where censorship is high, a VPN is a necessity. However, not every VPN successfully gets past these blocks. Countries like China and Russia have gone out of their way to ensure these online blocks are solid. A number of countries with online restrictions also go ahead to restrict VPN usage.
When conducting best VPN reviews, we take the time to confirm the viability of the VPN in these censorship-heavy regions. We try to find out if the VPN provider successfully gets you past these blocks. Typically, VPN providers provide extra obfuscation settings to make this work.
When reviewing available VPN support, we consider everything from the number of devices it supports to the ease of use, and level of customer support. The more devices supported by a VPN, the more useful it’s likely to be to you. These VPN apps should be easy to use.
Similarly, you don’t want to get stuck right after purchasing a VPN. What happens when you need help? We examine the online knowledge base provided, as well as personalized support formats like email and live chat.
As with every other business, setting up, running and maintaining a VPN service is expensive. This means that every VPN provider seeks to get returns on their investment. It’s no surprise, then, that most VPNs charge nominal fees for their services.
As enticing as free VPNs may seem, they aren’t always legit. Many offer limited online security and privacy, little or no protection against malware, and mighty few servers that easily get bugged down with too many connections. None of this is safe.
However, we’ve been able to find some top-quality free VPNs on the market. Although these may have certain limitations, they give you a taste of the benefits of a VPN at no cost.
Although VPNs can be used to hide illicit online activities, they aren’t necessarily deemed illegal. As always, using a VPN – just as using the internet – for illegal activities doesn’t make the activity legal, neither does it shield you from the consequences if caught.
That said, although VPNs are legal in most countries, there are some countries where VPN usage is considered illegal. There are also countries where VPN usage is restricted without any outright ban. This includes China, Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Oman, etc.
The answer certainly depends on the VPN. Once designed for the tech-inclined, modern VPNs are very easy to use. The process is typically the same: download and install the VPN app for your device, select a server, and click the ‘Connect’ button.
Our top 10 VPN services certainly fall into the easy-to-use category. Their user-interfaces are friendly, connect buttons are visible, and server lists are easy to find. Some, like CyberGhost, even go ahead to list the best servers for different purposes.
But this raises questions about the VPN service provider themselves. Can they not simply track your online activities themselves and gain access to whatever data they desire? The answer depends on your choice of VPN.
The best VPNs are designed with heavy-duty encryption to protect your personal information, even from themselves. The best VPNs also keep no logs of your browsing history, are uber transparent about their privacy policies, and take steps to fix any identified data leaks.
It’s important to note that paid VPNs are generally safer than free VPNs, but we’ve still been able to identify certain free VPNs with solid encryption systems, strictly enforced privacy policies, and a proactive approach to the security of their systems.
Regardless of your device type, there’s almost certainly a VPN for you. Most VPN providers design dedicated native apps for everything from Windows to Linux, iOS, Android, and Mac. Many also go ahead to provide apps for routers, as well as plugins for browsers, and apps for TV boxes.
The goal for most VPN services is to ensure their VPN is available on every device. This means you can enjoy a VPN connection whether you use a tablet, smartphone, laptop, desktop, console, TV box, etc. This added flexibility has come to reflect the versatility of the modern VPN.
VPN prices tend to vary wildly. For the most part, there is a trend among VPNs to make longer-term commitments cheaper than short-term commitments. Hence, one-month subscriptions are typically within the £8-12 range. This could drop to just under £2/month for subscriptions eighteen months and over.
However, every VPN’s pricing structure is different. Some like Surfshark are cheaper than most. VPNs often release coupon codes too, to help you find the best VPN deals – such as this IPVanish coupon. We constantly update our available coupons, so be sure to keep an eye out for these.
You may have come across many VPN services, but deciding the VPN provider to stick with is a lot trickier than finding the flashiest VPN. There are hundreds of VPN services available and not all are the best for you.
This review considered attributes like speed, online protection, streaming and torrenting support, and ease of use to determine the best VPN for your unique needs. Of course, CyberGhost remains our number one recommended VPN for its versatility. However, any other VPN on the list could serve.