Online privacy is an issue that is relevant to every individual who uses the Internet.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Recent advancements in technology have made life much more convenient for people all over the world. However, these luxuries come at the cost of reduced control over their own privacy.
Although the diminishing online privacy of users has been a long-running theme in the digital world, the recent Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal was the first exposure of our fragile privacy on a global level.
It is in these circumstances that the search for best VPN services has become our answer to the continually shrinking privacy and security of the average netizen.
This search for the right VPN can be set by the variety of VPNs in the market, each guaranteeing the best overall performance, privacy, security, and speed. What’s more, many VPN review websites are paid by providers to promote their product and dishonesty prevails.
It is no surprise that consumers are at sea when there comes a time to choose a VPN. This is why at VPNRanks.com, we have extensively tested and performed VPN service reviews over 100 VPN services to find the best of the lot.
Its highly understandable to agree on the online threats prevailing in the outside world, but you would also agree that there’s an equal chance of online threats even at your home. With US congress allowing ISPs to collect users’ data and with the ending of net neutrality, the need for best VPNs is becoming a need.
Since we are privacy advocates and VPN users ourselves, it is also in our interest to unbiasedly review VPN providers and critique them fairly.
15 Top VPNs that I am going to list below is simply a condensation of all the effort that I have put over the years reviewing VPN services. But first, let me walk you through the best VPN review criteria that I used to evaluate VPN providers for transparency’s sake.
Note: The VPN providers always comes with exciting deals every now and then, check our blog on Lifetime VPN Subscription.
- Jurisdiction – From the point of view of privacy, nothing is more important than the jurisdiction in which a VPN provider operates.Here’s the deal:VPNs based in countries like the UK, the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have to follow data retention laws and cooperate with agencies for surveillance purposes.However, if a provider truly follows a zero-logging policy, then users can consider their privacy secure even if the VPN is based in one of the countries as above.Nonetheless, given the choice, you should avoid services that fall in the jurisdiction of agencies notorious for their surveillance programs, when searching for the best VPN provider.
- Servers – The number of servers and geographical distribution of these servers is another important factor that determines the quality of a VPN. The greater the server network, the fewer the problems you are likely to encounter in performance, such as overcrowded servers and downtime. A strong server infrastructure signifies a high standard of VPN performance standard.
- Prices – This one is obvious. The desirability of any product depends on its quality and price.That’s a no-brainer.A good VPN service that is too expensive to be beyond the reach of the average citizen will be useless to most. As such, the price is always a criterion when considering VPN services.
- Speed Test – The Internet is only as good as how fast it operates. I recently conducted a research where I tested 15 popular VPN providers for speed, using different servers in major countries. The speed you get on the Internet from a VPN is almost always lesser than what you would get without it. This is simply a result of the way VPNs work. However, the leading VPN services only cause a small reduction in VPN speeds, not more than 30% of your usual connection speed. Thus, speed is one of the main criteria I used to evaluate VPNs here.
- IP / DNS Leak Test – Security is another crucial factor that I consider in my review process of top VPN services, since one of the main purposes of a VPN is to enhance the security of users.Here’s the thing:Some poor VPN services leak the IP or DNS of the user which can expose their activities and identity online. It goes without saying that such VPN services are a waste of money and must be avoided at all costs. These services have no place in VPN rankings of top providers.
- Torrenting/P2P Support – Many individuals use a VPN to download torrents and perform P2P networking. Although we do not encourage piracy, the conscientious personal use of copyrighted files is a bit of a legal and moral gray area. To maintain freedom and neutrality on the web, torrenting should be supported and available to users. As such, support for P2P networking is a feature that the best paid VPN must possess.
- Trustpilot rating – This user review website has empowered consumers to share the feedback about their experience using products of a company. Trustpilot helps put things in perspective and can be used as a great resource for checking anecdotal evidence regarding the quality of a VPN service. VPN ratings can be easily seen on the website, as given by users themselves.
- Compatibility – Device compatibility is something that has become more important with the passage of time. With an increased number of brands of computers and advances in mobile technology, virtually any software today should be compatible with various devices and operating systems. You should always make sure your VPN is compatible with your device before you make up your mind.
- Logging Policy – The logging policy of any VPN provider is the first thing you should read before you decide to purchase it. This is especially true for users whose primary objective for purchasing a VPN is to maintain and protect their privacy.
Many VPN providers deliberately write overly complicated and ambiguous privacy policies to confuse users. Stay far away from such providers as these are most likely trying to hide their actual practices for how they treat their users’ privacy. Always remember that one of the hallmarks of the best VPN service providers is that they value the privacy of their users.
15 Best VPN Detailed Descriptions
The VPN industry consists of a wide array of providers, some of which are widely known, while others are not so well known. To help you how to choose a vpn service, I will analyze 15 of the best VPN apps that passed the aforementioned criteria.
1. NordVPN – Best “All-Around” VPN ($2.99/mo)
NordVPN is a Panama-based VPN provider that took root in 2008. In the span of only a decade, the company has become one of the most widely used VPN services with satisfied customers spread all over the world.
What makes it better than the rest?
Let’s find out!
Jurisdiction – Panama is known as a tax haven, but its heavenliness extends to the domain of Internet privacy as well. Panama has one of the most state-of-the-art e-commerce and Internet banking infrastructure in the world. Since these are institutions that rely on strong security to be successful, Panama is subject to secrecy and privacy laws that favor the people and institutions. NordVPN’s main USP lies in the fact that it is based in Panama and thus can guarantee the perfect privacy of online activities and the identities of its users.
Servers – It is a bad idea to talk about the number of servers under NordVPN at any given point in time.
This is because NordVPN’s server list is like my problems: they just never stop increasing!
Currently, it is offering more than 5,000+ servers, but don’t blame me if it adds a hundred more by the next day. There is no other VPN with a server network as large as this provider’s. As such, NordVPN comfortably ranks higher among top VPN services when it comes to servers.
Prices – NordVPN offer various subscription plans from a simple 1-month subscription to 3-year deals. The cheapest offer is the 3-year plan available for $2.75. This makes NordVPN one of the cheapest VPN providers available.
Speed – It offers one of the fastest average speeds of all the VPNs that I have tested. The best thing about it is its consistency. Many VPN services fluctuate significantly in speeds. However, NordVPN maintains speeds across its large range of servers. This is a testament to the quality and stability of the provider.
IP / DNS leak test – The security of this VPN is one of the strongest in the market. Testing NordVPN for IP leaks revealed that it protects the IP address of users from slipping through the VPN tunnel. Thus, NordVPN can be used without worrying about your IP being exposed on the Internet.
Torrenting / P2P Support – The provider supports P2P networking. There is a list of “Specialty” servers which consists of servers especially optimized for different purposes including streaming and torrenting. This feature directly connects you to the best server for downloading torrents.
TrustPilot Rating – The service is not as well-received, however, on TrustPilot. I must admit this is somewhat puzzling since I have never experienced any troubles with it myself. However, the verdict of the user must be honored, and the 61% of users giving it an excellent rating trumps the 38% who consider it average or below
Compatibility – It is compatible with a wide range of devices including Windows, Linux, OS X, Chrome OS, Android, iOS, and even Raspberry Pi.
Logging Policy – The service follows a strictly no-logging policy. The company has clearly stated that it does not log any session information, browsing history, traffic logs, timestamps, IP addresses, and used bandwidth. Moreover, the ideal jurisdiction of Panama makes NordVPN one of the safest VPNs to use.
Final Verdict – NordVPN is easily one of the best VPN software overall. I would especially recommend this VPN for users that value their privacy. The encryption protocols, jurisdiction, and logging policies of the service make it the perfect VPN for users concerned about their privacy. And its Double VPN feature makes it stand out from the crowd, something I have covered in detail in NordVPN review.
2. ExpressVPN – Best for “China” ($8.32/mo)
Founded in 2009, ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN service providers. It is based in the British Virgin Islands which makes it highly safe for users considering a good privacy-enhancement tool.
What makes it so good?
Jurisdiction – The British Virgin Islands (BVI) falls outside of the jurisdiction of European countries part of the “14 Eyes”. There are no data retention laws in the BVI, which makes it a perfect location that can be trusted for its user-friendly privacy laws. ExpressVPN rightly boasts its jurisdiction as it is one of the main attributes of the provider.
Servers – It has a large server network that spans more than 94 locations across the world. The total number of servers has crossed 2,000. You can connect to servers in available locations in a matter of mere seconds.
The best part?
All servers are encrypted with the AES 256 standard, ensuring the security of user traffic. With these servers, you can gain access to any website, no matter how strong a firewall has been put up to prevent user traffic from accessing it.
Prices – The subscription plans are available in 1-month, 6-month, and 15-month deals. The cheapest, of course, is the 15-month offer which currently costs $6.67. However, this is probably the only downside of the service since it is considerably more expensive than any other VPN service in the market.
Speed Test – ExpressVPN offers some of the fastest speeds on all of its servers. As soon as you connect to a server, you can start surfing the web or use any service at fast speeds. You can stream videos and movies smoothly and download torrents without noticing much speed difference.
IP / DNS leak test – The military-grade encryption and security mechanisms rule out any possibility of an IP or DNS leak. It easily passed the IP leak test when I subjected the VPN to it. This greatly enhances the confidence that a user can have on ExpressVPN and how effectively it guards the identity of users online.
Torrenting/P2P Support – ExpressVPN is the most popular VPN used by pirates for downloading P2P files. You can pass through any torrent website and use torrent clients without any difficulty with this VPN.
TrustPilot Rating – A cursory look at TrustPilot reveals that ExpressVPN has secured the satisfaction of a wide number of users. As much as 83% of the users have rated it as being an excellent VPN. This proves the quality of the service as one of the best paid VPN available to users.
Compatibility – ExpressVPN is compatible with a wide range of devices and operating system. This includes Windows, OS X, Linux, and Chrome OS. In mobile phones and tablets, it is compatible with Android, iOS, Amazon Kindle Fire. It is also compatible with gaming and streaming consoles such as Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox One, and Roku. In short, I don’t think there is any other VPN provider that has such a wide cross-compatibility with different platforms.
Final Verdict – ExpressVPN is a powerful tool that can pass through almost any website anywhere in the world. In fact, it is one of the few providers that work in the censorship-stricken country like China. If you want to have that complete Internet freedom, where you can open any content at a click without facing restriction, then this is the best option for you. Add top-notch security and excellent logging policy to the mix, and you have a complete VPN package right in your hands.
3. PureVPN – Best for “Android” ($1.32/mo)
One of the pioneers of modern VPN technology, PureVPN made its entry into the industry in 2007. It is owned by a Hong-Kong based company, G-Z-Systems. The VPN has enhanced its features over the year and is considered one of the key players in the market.
Jurisdiction – PureVPN has a fairly strong jurisdictional advantage. Hong-Kong is far from the watchful eyes of European governments and the 14 Eyes alliance. The state of the Internet in Hong Kong is one of the freest in the world. The government in Hong-Kong does not sweep online content under the rug of censorship.
How can you beat that?
However, acts like distribution of child pornography are criminalized (as they should) by law and fall under the cloak of censorship. So, the jurisdiction of PureVPN should be a reason enough to compel privacy-conscious users to get this VPN.
Servers – Boasting over 2,000 servers, PureVPN’s network is like a giant tentacle monster with multiple servers located in over 140 countries of the world! Geographically, it covers more locations around the world than any other VPN I have come across.
It gets better:
You can choose to automatically connect to the best VPN server depending on the purpose you wish to use the VPN for or choose your own preferred server manually.
And then it gets a little sloppy:
It takes a relatively long time to connect to the server compared to other VPN providers, which is one of the downsides of PureVPN. But as soon as you are connected, you will experience that joy of having unprecedented freedom on the web.
Prices – PureVPN is currently offering three subscription plans: 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year deals. The cheapest subscription deal is the 2-year plan which you can avail for only $2.49/month. It is always a pleasure to have a great product being sold for so cheap. A new addition that I found during PureVPN review was its bumped-up 31-day money-back guarantee, which means that you can even go for a refund if you are not satisfied with it.
Speed Test – PureVPN beats almost every other VPN out there in terms of speed. Its huge network of servers offers high performance that operates with great speed. This makes it fit for purposes such as streaming and torrenting. Thus, it is also ranked high as one of the fastest VPN providers available in the market. Even PureVPN is one of the best VPN for Kodi on the basis of the speed test.
IP / DNS leak test – PureVPN’s security mechanisms are based on the AES 256 bit encryption. This is the modern industry-standard of encryption that every VPN worth buying uses.
And that is not all:
Together with this mode of encryption and DNS protection features, the possibility of IP or DNS leaks is all but completely ruled out. With security becoming a matter of utmost importance for users all over the world, PureVPN delivers just the right combination of speed and security for the users’ peace of mind.
Torrenting/P2P support – It supports P2P networking and torrents, including the uTorrent, the most popular P2P client. The importance of protection against DNS leaks increases for users that are active on torrents. If your IP leaks during torrenting and you are living in a country with strict anti-piracy laws like the US, you can find yourself in big trouble. PureVPN reduces the likelihood of that happening considerably.
TrustPilot Rating – TrustPilot vouches for the excellent service quality and features of PureVPN. It has an average excellent rating with 6,421 total reviews (as of yet). This demonstrates the level of customer satisfaction that the provider has secured through its services.
Compatibility – PureVPN is compatible with a huge variety of devices out there. This includes Windows, OS X, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Linux, Chromebook, Kindle, Nintendo, PS3, PS4, Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and the list goes on and on.
Logging Policy – This is a tricky subject. The record of PureVPN is not quite clear of controversy, as the company was involved in a case of handing over a particular user’s information LEAs before.
The particular incident in question was an ethical conundrum, where human rights of a bullied individual were at stake.
I can’t really condemn PureVPN for playing its part in helping agencies catch a suspect of reprehensible cybercrimes. In fact, the company has responded admirably to the whole incident with a change in its policies to prevent similar ethical dilemmas in the future.
I guess it’s obvious that the company probably doesn’t enjoy playing Aristotle and resolving convoluted ethical problems for its own sake as well as for its users’.
Final Verdict – PureVPN is an excellent all-around VPN service that works well for just about any purpose you wish to use it for. I would personally recommend it for security, owing to its encryption and other security features. The Android app is particularly brilliant.
4. IPVanish – Best for “Multi-login” Capability ($4.87/mo)
IPVanish has been around the VPN block since 2012. Founded in Florida, USA, the company has quickly established a reputation as one of the leading VPN brands in the market.
Jurisdiction – Perhaps the biggest downside of IPVanish is its jurisdiction.
Think I’m exaggerating?
Well, government agencies in the US are known for their habit of surveillance and intruding the privacy of citizens. With agencies like the FBI and NSA, I wouldn’t really blame a US citizen for going paranoid about his online privacy. IPVanish, unfortunately, gets no points as far as its jurisdiction is concerned.
Servers – IPVanish has a moderate-sized server network of 1,000 servers. Geographically, it covers 60 regions around the world. Although this is relatively small than the VPNs provided above, this is still better than many other VPN providers.
It gets better:
The service provides a lot of control to the user when it comes to selecting a server. You can filter VPNs by country, city, and latency. The best thing about it is that it is remarkably fast in establishing a connection with any server location of your choice.
Prices – The pricing plans offered include 1-month, 1-year, and 2-years. It is considerably cheap if you get the 2-year subscription, which costs only $3.74/month.
Speed Test – IPVanish performs extremely smoothly on all of its servers. It is fast and does not fluctuate noticeably during the time that I have used it for purposes such as streaming and regular web-surfing. Thus, if you are looking for a fast VPN, then it is definitely worth a go.
IP / DNS leak test – IPVanish does not suffer from any DNS or IP leak problems. This is a sign of the strong security and encryption protocols. As such, you can download torrents through it and rest assured that your IP won’t be leaked. However, in spite of the solid security, I still wouldn’t recommend going the torrent route with this VPN for reasons highlighted below.
Torrenting/P2P Support – You should have no difficulty accessing torrent websites and clients. However, the fact that the service is based in the US and subject to its laws makes it a poor choice if your main purpose of having a VPN is to download torrents.
Well, because companies have no power against agencies and if they are trying to monitor a specific user, the company would probably have no choice but to comply and leak user data. In short, do not use this VPN for torrenting to ensure your safety.
TrustPilot rating – TrustPilot loves IPVanish. It has an excellent rating with the majority of the consumers agreeing as to the quality of the VPN.
Compatibility – It is compatible with only the most widely used platforms and devices. Currently, it offers apps for Windows, OSX, Android, and iOS.
Logging Policy – IPVanish has been involved in a case where the company handed over user information to Homeland Security. The user was suspected of involvement in child pornography. Again, commenting on the decision of the company to assist agencies in catching a suspect is an ethical gray area that I would rather leave my readers to discuss in the comments section.
However, the brand has since changed ownership with the company StackPath. The CEO of the company clearly stated that they are committed to the no logs policy. I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt considering that they weren’t a part of IPVanish when the case occurred.
Final Verdict – IPVanish is a decent VPN service with one of the most appealing user-interfaces. It is fast, both in connecting to servers and during actual Internet activity. It uses the modern AES 256 bit encryption and provides up to 10 multiple logins. However, it does not work with Netflix and is not a recommended VPN for torrenting. For everything else, especially on the iPhone, it is a great VPN service. You can get a detailed view in our IPVanish review.
5. Private Internet Access (PIA) Best for General-Purpose browsing ($2.91/mo)
Private Internet Access (PIA), like IPVanish, is based in the US. It was founded back in 2010 and since been delivering consistently good performance as one of the best VPN service providers in the market.
Jurisdiction – PIA is headquartered in the US and is therefore subject to the laws and regulations of the country. This means that PIA cannot protect their users if the government suddenly becomes interested in spying on a user.
Therefore, the greatest drawback of PIA is that it is unfortunately located in the US, the home of mass surveillance.
Servers – PIA has a strong server infrastructure, and it comprises almost 3,200 servers. However, the geographical spread of the servers is limited to only 33 countries.
This is a little surprising since the company has been in the VPN business for over 8 years now and is one of the most reputed brands. Yet, it is understandable since it only uses physical servers in its network, in contrast to other VPNs that use a combination of physical and virtual servers.
Thus, from the performance and security point of view, this is a positive quality of PIA, since physical servers are more reliable and offer stable connectivity in a way that virtual servers simply cannot.
Prices – PIA offers monthly, yearly, and two-year subscription plans. The two-year plan is the cheapest at $2.91/month. PIA is a personal favorite VPN of mine that falls in the cheap category because it is easy to trust this VPN.
Why do I say that?
Well, for one, it does not make any exaggerated claims: everything about the VPN is transparent. Its reliance on physical servers only (which are far more costly than virtual servers) also makes it an appealing choice with its low-priced subscription.
Speed Test – PIA is among the top 6 fastest VPN services that I have personally had the opportunity to test. It provides consistent performances with minimal fluctuations as you switch from one server to another. A large number of servers distributed in a relatively small geographical sphere allows PIA to offer speed with stability.
IP / DNS leak test – The service does not have any IP or DNS leak issues. Whether you are torrenting or performing any activity where caution is required, you can rely on it to keep your traffic and identity safely hidden.
Torrenting/P2P support – Getting torrents to work with PIA is no problem. You can easily gain access to P2P sites and clients with if they are blocked in your region. As with IPVanish, however, PIA complies with the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) which protects the copyrights of content creators. Therefore, PIA should be avoided if you are looking for a safe to torrent.
TrustPilot Rating – Looking at PIA’s page on TrustPilot, it is clear that the VPN is generally liked by the masses. 63% of the users gave it an excellent rating, which proves that more than half of its users are greatly satisfied by the US-based VPN provider.
Compatibility – While performing Private Internet Access review, I found that it is compatible with Windows, OSX, Ubuntu, Linux, iOS, and Android. It is also compatible with some routers such as DD-WRT, PfSense, and Tomato.
Final Verdict – PIA is a reliable VPN service that only uses physical servers in its VPN network. It does not make any exaggerated claims of its qualities and clearly describes its policies and features. Moreover, the low price is another positive attribute of the VPN. In a nutshell, PIA is a VPN you can trust, though it is not an ideal VPN for torrenting. I would recommend it for Windows, with its simple client for this OS.
6. Astrill VPN – Best for “Streaming” ($8.33/mo)
Astrill VPN came into being in 2009 in Seychelles. This VPN is not as widely known as other VPN services mentioned above but works surprisingly well with speeds that are faster than many other VPN providers.
Jurisdiction – Based in Seychelles, the VPN is far away from the reach of Europe and America.
Why is that good again?
Because it lies outside of the jurisdiction of the major surveillance agencies of the world. For this alone, Astrill VPN deserves a 10/10.
Servers – The server size of Astrill is something that leaves much to be desired. It has about 350 servers that are geographically spread across 52 countries. These servers are powerful enough to allow access to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, as well as offering good speeds for torrents.
Prices – Now we come to the greatest drawback of Astrill: price. The company is quite audacious in that, despite being a comparatively obscure VPN provider, it is still priced higher than many of the more popular VPNs. It offers three subscription plans, 1-month, 6-month, 1-year. The 1-year deal can be availed for $8.33.
Speed Test – Though no one would expect it (I certainly did not), Astrill VPN is one of the fastest VPN providers in the market.
Surprised? You should be.
On my 30mbs connection, it clocked an average of 23.68 Mbps. That amounts to a 24% speed drop, which is not bad at all in the world of VPNs.
IP / DNS leak test – Now we come to the second major problem with Astrill VPN review: It failed to pass the DNS leak test when downloading torrents. So if you are located in a country where agencies keep a close eye on torrents, this is not the safest option available.
Torrenting/P2P support – The VPN can grant you access to blocked torrent websites and clients. However, with its failure to protect the DNS and IP of users from leaking, I would not recommend it for torrenting purposes.
TrustPilot Rating – Astrill VPN is not as widely loved by the users, as TrustPilot shows. It has an average rating with three stars, which is somewhat justified by the IP leak problem and the high price of the VPN.
Compatibility – It is compatible with Windows, OSX, Linux, iOS, Android and certain routers.
Final Verdict – Astrill VPN has several flaws. Its true power lies in breaking geo-restrictions and offering fast speeds to the users. I would not recommend it if security and privacy are your priority. I recommend this VPN for streaming owing to its good speeds.
7. CyberGhost – Best for “torrenting” ($3.50/mo)
CyberGhost is a Romanian VPN service founded in 2011. This VPN offers strong security and privacy and enjoys a good reputation in the VPN industry.
Jurisdiction – Romania is another privacy-friendly country with laws that protect user privacy. In my CyberGhost review, I pointed out that the service delivers on its promises of zero-logging and high user-privacy courtesy of its headquarter location.
Servers – There are more than 3,000 servers situated in more than 60 countries. This is a fairly large server network that can assist you to circumvent restricted content with considerable ease from anywhere in the world.
Prices – CyberGhost’s subscription plans include 1-month, 6-month, and 18-month deals. The best value is offered by the 3-year plan which is priced at $3.50/month, making it another VPN considered cheaper than most.
Speed Test – The speeds are average when compared to leading VPN providers such as PureVPN and NordVPN. As a result, for activities that require fast speeds, CyberGhost isn’t really the ideal VPN to have. Nonetheless, it is still faster than many of its competitors.
IP / DNS leak test – The VPN successfully passed DNS leak test on major location servers. Therefore, it is a safe VPN service for torrenting.
Torrenting/P2P support – It is quite a popular VPN service among torrent users. This is due to its ability to anonymize user identity and prevent IP from leaking. Bypassing blocks is also a breeze with this VPN with its strong network of servers.
TrustPilot Rating – The verdict of users is strongly in the favor of CyberGhost. Users have given an extremely positive response to the VPN as can be seen on its truspilot page.
Compatibility – CyberGhost offers good compatibility with devices and operating systems such as Windows, iOS, OSX, Linux, Android, Chrome OS, Raspberry Pi, and certain routers.
Logging Policy – The company follows a no-logging policy and has never been found to have leaked user data to authorities. Therefore, there is nothing against this VPN and the way it handles privacy as of yet.
Final Verdict – CyberGhost is a fairly good VPN service that is available in the low price bracket. It is not the fastest VPN out there, but if you are looking for a cheap VPN to download torrents, then it can do the job for you.
8. Trust.Zone – Best for “USA” ($3.33/mo)
Trust.Zone is another VPN base in Seychelles. It was founded in 2014 and is relatively a new-comer in the field of VPNs.
Jurisdiction – Seychelles in an archipelago of 115 islands in East Africa. These islands are perfect for security and privacy, not only in the real physical sense but also on the Internet.
Servers – Trust.Zone review showed that it has a small server network. Currently, it has about 135 servers located in 107 locations. However, the network does span continents from Oceania to Asia, which makes it good enough to get around restricted sites and content.
Prices – Trust.Zone offers pricing plans for 1-month, 3-months, and 1-year. The 1-year plan is available for $3.33/month. In addition, it also offers a 3-day free test.
Speed Test – Trust.Zone offers average speeds on its servers. It is not as fast as the top providers, but it is not unbearably slow either.
IP / DNS leak test – Trust.Zone uses NAT firewall and strong security protocols. IP and DNS leaks are effectively ruled out by these mechanisms.
Torrenting/P2P support – Trust.Zone supports P2P files and torrenting. Bypassing geographical restrictions on torrent websites is no problem with this VPN.
Compatibility – Trust.Zone is compatible with Windows, Linux, OSX, Android, and iOS.
Logging Policy – Trust.Zone has a zero-logging policy. All the data that reaches Trust.Zone is anonymous and there is no way for the company to associate any kind of real-time activity with any user since there are no connection logs stored.
Final Verdict – Trust.Zone is fairly good VPN with robust security features. It does not have the fastest speeds or the largest number of servers, but it can take care of your privacy and security if these are the top concerns that you use a VPN for. I recommend this VPN for users in the USA.
9. Ivacy – Best for “Netflix” ($2.25/mo)
Ivacy is a VPN service provider that stated in 2007. It is based in Singapore and is one of the longest-running VPN providers in the industry.
Jurisdiction – Singapore is a moderate country where Internet censorship is carried out to some extent to protect religious and political sentiments.
The important thing is:
There are no known surveillance programs for citizens in Singapore. However, the government does have the capability to do so and no laws are in place to protect the privacy of citizens.
Servers – Ivacy review unveiled that it has 450 servers geographically distributed in 100+ locations. Although the server size is quite small, its VPN network has a good geographical distribution.
Prices – The subscription plans are available for 1 month, 1 year, and 2 years. The 2-year subscription costs only $2.29/month.
Speed Test – The speed is nothing to write home about. It offers average VPN speed at best, but decent connectivity across all servers.
IP / DNS leak test – Ivacy has a proper DNS leak protection as a part of its VPN package. As such, it effectively guards against DNS and IP leak.
Torrenting/P2P support – Torrenting and P2P networking are supported by Ivacy VPN. You will not have any difficulty entering the torrent website with Ivacy running at the back.
TrustPilot Rating – Ivacy is a very well-received VPN by the community of users who have had the opportunity to use it. It has an excellent score on TrustPilot.
Compatibility – Ivacy supports various devices and platforms including Windows, OSX, Linux, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Consoles, Routers, Kodi, and more.
Logging Policy – Ivacy has a no-logging policy and guarantees users that no connection logs of users are maintained. This implies that Ivacy is a privacy-friendly VPN.
Final Verdict – While there are certainly faster VPNs out there, Ivacy still delivers great features for a surprisingly low price. Therefore, I would recommend Ivacy to anyone who is strapped for cash and looking for a quality VPN for cheap.
10. ZenMate – Best for bypassing blocked sites ($5.99/mo)
ZenMate was launched in Germany in 2013. It offers both free and paid VPN services. Although a late-comer in the field of VPN, it has managed to quickly rise the ranks among the competition and earn a good reputation for itself.
Jurisdiction – ZenMate is based in Germany, which is a country with one of the freest Internet in Europe.
Yeah, Germany is a pretty cool place.
Online freedom is protected in the country and it does not have a history of persecution against bloggers and social media activists. Nonetheless, Germany part of the 14 Eyes alliance, which implies that users should be careful when considering ZenMate.
Servers – One of the drawbacks of ZenMate is that it has a small VPN server network with only about 30 servers available in 30 different countries. This is one area that the VPN should definitely improve on in the future.
Prices – ZenMate offers three types of subscription plans, 1-month, 6-months, and 1-year. The 1-year subscription offers the best value at $5.99/month, but this is still quite expensive considering the much more powerful VPNs, NordVPN and PureVPN can be obtained for less than $3/month.
Speed Test – ZenMate offers moderately fast speeds. It works better on some servers than others. For instance, its UK and German servers are faster than other locations. Overall, the speed performance is reasonably good.
IP / DNS leak test – Performing the speed test revealed that ZenMate effectively secures the real IP and DNS of users from leaking out on the regular Internet. This indicates good security mechanisms are in place for the protection of the user.
Torrenting/P2P support – ZenMate can easily unlock most of the blocked torrent websites as well as torrenting clients. The decent speeds and DNS leak protection make it a good choice for users that wish to download torrents.
TrustPilot Rating – ZenMate is rated as an excellent VPN service by users at TrustPilot. This should remove any nagging doubts you might have regarding the quality of this VPN.
Compatibility – ZenMate has dedicated apps for Windows, OSX, Android, iOS, and browser extensions for Firefox and Opera.
Final Verdict – After ZenMate review, I can safely say that is a VPN service that can get the job done. It offers good speed and decent security. If you wish to keep your normal browsing and online activities securely guarded and go around prohibited content, then it can be highly effective for these purposes.
11. IVPN – Best for anonymity ($8.33/mo)
IVPN is based in Gibraltar. The company was founded in 2009. The VPN is not as widely recognized in the VPN industry, but it offers some unique features.
Let’s dig deeper..
Jurisdiction – Gibraltar is territory that is controlled by the United Kingdom to some extent. Nonetheless, the internal affairs of the country are governed by itself.
That’s a relief, isn’t it?
Censorship of certain websites is present in Gibraltar. As such, the jurisdiction of IVPN lies in a region with limited online freedom, but privacy in the region is still much better than in Europe.
Servers – IVPN offers 51 servers located in 23 countries. IVPN offers a multi-hop feature for in all of these servers, which basically scatters the traffic of users by moving it through different servers before finally reaching its true destination.
Let’s admit, that is quite nifty!
This serves to enhance the security and helps protect the identity of the user. It is this feature that sets the VPN’s network apart from its competitors, something I found really good during IVPN review.
Prices – IVPN is one of the most expensive VPN services. Its annual subscription costs $8.33/month while the monthly subscription costs $15.
Speed Test – The speed test of IVPN performed on various servers reveals varying results. On the US server, it delivered excellent speed, clocking in 23.89 Mbps. However, at its worst (the Netherlands), the recorded a speed of 14.52 Mbps. The average speed is about 18 Mbps which are only slightly above mediocre.
IP / DNS leak test – The security of IVPN is reasonably strong. Testing it for any IP and DNS leaks during torrent downloads, I found it to protect the real IP address from leaking on the Internet.
Torrenting/P2P support – IVPN offers P2P support on all of its VPN servers. Nonetheless, IVPN discourages its users from downloading torrents since the company complies with DMCA regulation. As such, it is not recommended to download torrents with it.
Compatibility – IVPN supports a number of different devices and platforms including OSX, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and some brands of routers.
Logging Policy – IVPN is arguably one of the few VPN providers that take the privacy and security of their users extremely seriously. The no-logging policy is followed in the best way possible by the company and does not log IP, DNS request, traffic, or timestamps.
A particularly admirable step that IVPN has taken towards its transparency is its monthly publication of a “warrant canary”, which will declare if the company has been served any warrant by the government or other authorities that might threaten the privacy of its users.
Final Verdict – IVPN is an expensive VPN service with a pretty small server network. However, it does offer some unique features such as multi-hop technology and warrant canary that add to the security of the users. If you do not need a wide number of servers and are primarily focused on obtaining rock-solid security online, then this should be your choice. Definitely recommended if you to attain anonymity.
12. ProtonVPN – Best for Privacy ($4/mo)
ProtonVPN has the distinction of being the only VPN service created by Harvard Physicists and CERN scientists…
That was enough to impress me. Kidding!
Founded in 2014 in Switzerland, ProtonVPN offers some interesting features that make it a VPN worth considering.
Jurisdiction – Switzerland is a country that believes in the privacy of individuals and general online freedom. However, Switzerland is a member of the 14 Eyes.
Jeez, these guys are everywhere!
Although it is still probably the safest location for Internet freedom in Europe, the fact that it is a part of the surveillance Eyes alliance leaves me at least somewhat skeptical.
Servers – ProtonVPN offers more than 35 servers located mostly in Europe. This is a small server network when you bear in mind that competitors have thousands of servers operating across continents. Nonetheless, its USP has always been its security rather than a variety of servers.
Prices – ProtonVPN offers a free version with unlimited bandwidth. This makes it one of the few free VPN services with unlimited bandwidth. Its paid versions are categorized as Basic, Plus, and Visionary, each of which progressively offers more advanced features than the one before it.
The basic version costs $4/month, while the Plus and Visionary plans cost $8/month and $24/month respectively.
Yep, it is quite expensive.
Speed Test – ProtonVPN delivers average speeds with a mean of 17.6 Mbps on a 30mbps connection. It is slower than many of its leading competitors, but probably the fast VPN operating on the freemium model that I have ever laid my hands on.
IP / DNS leak Test – ProtonVPN successfully passed the IP leak test. So it is great for pirates looking for a free VPN to protect themselves while they download stuff through torrents.
Torrenting/P2P support – It supports torrenting and can easily grant you access to P2P websites that might not be available for you otherwise.
Compatibility – ProtonVPN has dedicated apps for Windows, OSX, and Android. Its iOS app is still under development.
Logging Policy – Like other reputable VPN providers, it has a no-logging policy. The company does not (as of yet) have a history of invasion of user privacy, and its relatively safe location in Switzerland persuaded me to believe in its no-logging claims.
13. VyprVPN – Best for security ($5/mo)
VyprVPN emerged in 2010. It is owned by an umbrella company called Golden Frog. Based in Switzerland, VyprVPN is another reputed VPN in the industry.
Jurisdiction – The Swiss jurisdiction of the VyprVPN is a positive attribute of the brand since it allows it to provide excellent privacy to its users. In fact, the provider is strongly committed to ensuring maximum privacy for its users.
Servers – VyprVPN has decent server size which is still quite small compared to the main key players in the VPN industry. Currently, it is offering 700+ across Asia, North America, South America, Europe, and Oceania.
Prices – VyprVPN offers two types of annual plans. The basic one offers 3 simultaneous connections and is available for $5.00/month if billed annually, while the advanced subscription is available for $6.67/month billed annually.
Speed Test – VyprVPN review showed it is not a particularly fast VPN service. It recorded its fastest download rate in the US server at 20.15mbps. However, it is quite unstable and speeds fluctuate somewhat from server to server.
IP / DNS leak test – Testing the service for DNS or IP leak, I found it successfully pass this test. This was expected since the company has a good reputation for its robust security protocols.
Torrenting/P2P support – VyprVPN can be used to bypass restricted torrent websites. However, the company maintains that it follows DMCA and strongly discourages copyright infringement through downloads of illegal torrents.
TrustPilot Rating – VyprVPN has received mixed feedback from the community of users at TrustPilot. It has an average overall rating as given by users.
Compatibility – It is compatible on a wide range of devices including Windows, Android, iOS, certain smart TVs, and routers.
14. SaferVPN – Best for Mac ($2.74/mo)
SaferVPN originated in 2013 and was founded by a former Siemens UX consultant. Based in Israel, it is growing in popularity among privacy advocates.
Jurisdiction – Although it is based in the chaotic and conflict-stricken land of Israel, it is actually one of the safest places as far as online privacy is considered.
Here’s the deal:
The laws in Israel do not support the government monitoring the average Joe quite so easily and are more on the side of the user.
Servers – It has 700 servers geographically distributed in 34 countries. This is a moderately sized server network with a small geographical penetration compared to top-rated VPN services in the market.
Prices – SaferVPN offers subscription plans for 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year deals. Its 2-year subscription is rated at $3.29/month.
Speed Test – The VPN was unable to beat any of the VPN providers listed above when it comes to the speed test. This is one of the weakest aspects of SaferVPN that it should consider improving to become a strong competitor in the industry.
IP / DNS leak test – SaferVPN has strong security features which allow it to prevent IP or DNS leak problems. So users can rest assured that their online identity will be kept secure.
Torrenting/P2P support – SaferVPN connects easily to torrent clients and grant you access to restricted P2P file sharing websites with no trouble at all.
TrustPilot Rating – SaferVPN has earned itself a great reputation and is widely trusted by users as evidenced by TrustPilot rating.
Compatibility – SaferVPN supports Windows, OSX, Android, iOS, certain consoles and smart TVs, and routers.
Final Verdict – SaferVPN’s major weakness is its slow speeds. From the point of view security, it is a trustworthy VPN with decent customer service support. I would recommend this service if you want to improve your security while browsing the Internet and get pas geo-blocks.
15. Windscribe – Best for safe browsing ($3.7/mo)
Windscribe began its operations in 2016. It is based in Canada. Windscribe operates on the freemium business model and is quite widely used among free users of VPN services.
Jurisdiction – Canada is one of the partners of the Five Eyes countries. Windscribe, being situated in Canada, is not ideally located as far as privacy is concerned. If authorities wish to put their microscope to your data, then there would be little that Windscribe can do to maintain your privacy.
Servers – The full server list of Windscribe includes almost 500 servers located in 51 countries. This is fairly good, but not high enough as compared to other VPN services in the market.
Prices – The paid version is available in monthly, biannual, and yearly plans. The Biannual plan offers the best value for money at $3.70/month. The free version, of course, costs absolutely nothing.
Speed Test – Windscribe review for speed test showed that it suffers from the problem of slow speeds. Most of the servers deliver slow speeds, making it unsuitable for streaming and torrenting.
IP / DNS leak test – The security features in Windscribe prevent IP or DNS leaks effectively.
Torrenting/P2P support – With servers in several torrent-friendly locations, you can gain access to torrent website without much problems.
TrustPilot Rating – Users have provided good overall reviews to Windscribe. It is rated “Great” on the basis of 78 user reviews.
Compatibility – Windscribe supports OSX, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Blackberry, and certain routers.
Best VPN for Portugal
Portugal is one of the few European countries where citizens have enjoyed considerable digital freedom over the years. However, with the abolition of net neutrality and strictness against online piracy, these freedoms are gradually declining in the country.
For instance, you might find it difficult to access torrent websites and even some gambling sites from a Portuguese IP. Some ISPs are also exercising bandwidth throttling to restrict access to certain services. To break these barriers to your digital freedom, the simplest method that I have found is a VPN.
Gaining access to banned websites and services requires a VPN that has a large diversity of servers available. As such, PureVPN is the obvious candidate for the best VPN for Portugal, since its server network has a reach in more than 140 countries across the world.
PureVPN offers fast speeds and supports P2P networking. Torrenting is something that is frowned upon in Portugal, as is evidenced by the fact that many popular torrenting sites such as PirateBay are blocked in the country.
As such, you need a VPN having servers that support P2P downloading and delivers high download speeds as well. PureVPN is one of the few services that meet both requirements, which is why I recommend it as the VPN to buy for Portugal.
Another issue that you might face in this country is online gambling. In fact, I learned about PureVPN first when I visited Portugal two years back with a gambling-addicted friend (you know who you are). We had hardly settled ourselves in our hotel room before he went into a fit because he couldn’t access some online gambling website.
The next five hours were spent looking for a way to get a pass to that site. That’s when I tried PureVPN which was able to unblock it, and that’s when my friend finally calmed down. I’ll always be grateful for this service for saving my vacation from a potential disaster courtesy of my nagging friend.
FAQs About Choosing a Right VPN
VPNs make you safe by tunneling your data from your device to the server. On the regular Internet, your data is traceable through your IP address and the encryption you are receiving is dependent on the specific website or service you are using.
However, a VPN encrypts all of your traffic before it can communicate with the site you are trying to access. This greatly enhances your security and reduces your digital visibility from the point of view of hackers.
No security mechanism is foolproof. A VPN can ward off novice hackers and even experienced ones and help in protecting your financial data. But a sufficiently skilled and driven cybercriminal can still theoretically find a way to break your defenses and compromise your data.
So, while a VPN does not make it impossible that you might be a victim of hacking one day, it can surely make this eventuality much less probable.
A VPN serves as a secret tunnel that can take you to the prohibited lands of the digital world. Your IP is your identity on the Internet. As long as you are using your native IP as provided by you ISP, you can only access sites that are not within the block list in your country.
VPNs can change your IP (from the POV of third parties) and turn into an IP belonging to a different location than your home. With this simple trickery, it becomes irrelevant whether a website is blocked in your country, as you can enter almost any site no matter where it is based.
Yes, VPNs can make torrenting safe.
However, while performing numerous VPN reviews, not all VPNs allow you to access torrents, but most recognized ones do. All the VPNs listed above work well with torrenting. However, I strongly recommend using those VPNs that are both secure and fast if you want to download torrents, such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and PureVPN.
Not in the majority of countries.
There are no laws that prohibit the use of VPNs in most parts of the world.
However, some countries have restrictions on VPN use and allow only certain providers to be available for their citizens. These countries are:
- United Arab Emirates
Since these governments regulate the VPNs, there is a high chance that the government can access your data at will by requesting it from the VPN provider.
Some VPNs will. Others won’t.
Although every VPN provider claims on their website that they do not log user information, many of them actually do.
All VPNs keep some form of logs for technical purposes. This is not really a problem. It becomes a problem if the VPN stores information such as your IP address, credentials, browsing history, connection time, location etc. This information can be used to reveal your identity and online activities by any party that gets their hands on it.
To see whether a VPN can be trusted with your privacy, I suggest you to always check out their privacy policies. If it is written in a way that makes your head hurt, then this is a sign the VPN probably keeps your logs.
If it simply worded and clearly specifies that no form of information is stored that can potentially be used to learn about your identity or your activities, then you can take a leap of faith and trust the provider with your privacy.
VPNs will slow down your Internet because of the whole process of rerouting your traffic through a secure private tunnel increases the distance your data has to travel to reach the server.
However, a good VPN will not drop your speed by more than 30%. There are some VPNs that can reduce your speed by as much as 50%! Best stay away from these VPNs.
In most cases, the answer to this question is a flat no.
Many free VPNs turn their users into products for sale. They might bombard your device with unsolicited ads or sell your data to ad agencies.
In short, they can seriously undermine your privacy, despite advertising themselves as privacy-enhancement tools.
Therefore, it is better to avoid free VPN services. Your privacy is not cheap.
Unless you are doing something illegal, there are no risks associated with using a reputable VPN service.
If the sole purpose you want to use a VPN is to perform illegal activities such as downloading copyrighted material and bullying users online, then you might run into a problem with authorities.
Also, if you are using free VPNs that look shady, you might expose yourself to malware.
However, if all you want to do is watch region-blocked videos on YouTube or other content on sites, then there is no risk associated with VPNs.
Make sure that you access safe websites, though. Even a VPN cannot protect you if you visit malware-ridden websites.
The search for the best VPN services can easily get very confusing. As the number of providers increases, finding the best ones is like pulling out a needle from the haystack. The list of VPN providers above is simply a condensation of what I have learned from VPN reviews of hundreds of services with my team over the years.
I hope this post will assist in you in your search and give you a better understanding of how VPNs are rated and the steps you can take to make a good decision.