VPNs are without a doubt a godsend for privacy-concerned online users.
With every other VPN provider claiming to offer the same features, the same level of privacy and the same powerful unblocking capabilities, it can be quite frustrating to pick and choose only the best.
Don’t worry though, I’ve done all the leg work for you.
I’ve spent numerous hours filtering out 100+ Best VPN service and shortlisted only the top 4:
In my quest to suggest you only the best VPN, I’m going to test each of the above-mentioned providers in multiple categories and see how they fare.
So without further ado, let’s begin.
Don’t want to read the whole Article? Use filters instead…
My testing criteria are pretty straight forward.
I’m going to pin above-mentioned VPN providers against each other in a series of categories and pick a winner in each category.
This is by far the most transparent method of testing I can think of. I personally haven’t seen anyone conduct VPN reviews this way.
At the end of the review, I’m going to see how each VPN fared in each category and declare an overall best VPN.
Following are the testing categories for this review:
- DNS / IP address leaks
- User experience
- Netflix unblocking
- Server coverage
- Simultaneous connections
- Device compatibility
- Customer support
- Money back guarantee
Being able to secure multiple devices with just one subscription plan is absolute bliss. You get the freedom to either have all the privacy to yourself or split the bill with a friend or two.
VPN providers either tend to offer 2 to 3 simultaneous connections or none at all.
For instance, the Avast SecureLine VPN doesn’t offer any simultaneous connections. You only get the leverage to secure one device.
That said, the VPN providers I’ve shortlisted in this review actually do offer generous simultaneous connections.
Let’s compare them, shall we?
First up, let’s look at NordVPN. They’ve personally been my favorite for the past two years. Aside from offering tons of features, they also offer plenty of simultaneous connections.
At the moment NordVPN offers 6 simultaneous connections. That’s enough to pretty much secure all the devices you may have laying around.
Next up we have PureVPN.
Although I’ve extensively talked about this VPN in my in-depth PureVPN review, it still deserves a separate shout out in this blog too.
Anyways back to the topic…
PureVPN is not too far behind NordVPN in terms of simultaneous connections, it too offers 5 simultaneous connections.
Although NordVPN and PureVPN both offer plenty of simultaneous connections. They are no match for Surfshark. Let me tell you why…
If you check out their website, they claim to offer unlimited simultaneous connections. They advertise it as “One account for you and your whole family.”
This is great because you’re not limited to a specific number.
Realistically speaking, you won’t be able secure infinite number of devices, but it’s good to see there’s no specific number.
As far as simultaneous connections are concerned, ExpressVPN didn’t wow me at all.
They only offer 3 simultaneous connections at max. That’s half of what NordVPN offers.
Overall they can definitely do better in this category.
Surfshark clearly dominated this category by a long shot. If simultaneous connections are your priority, definitely go with Surfhshark.
No matter how good a VPN service might be, if it’s not affordably priced, it wouldn’t appeal to an average consumer.
Price definitely affects buying behaviors.
VPN providers that usually offer special pricing or discounts are the ones to get.
Despite its massive stature, NordVPN’s subscription plans are very reasonably priced. As of January 2019, NordVPN offers 4 subscription plans, monthly, 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year plans.
Their monthly plan costs around $11.95 and doesn’t come with any discounts. However, the rest of the three plans actually come with 41%, 66%, and 75% discounts respectively.
After the discount, their 1-year plan costs $6.99, the 2-year plan costs $3.99 and their 3-year plan costs $2.99 a month.
Now let’s take a look at the pricing plans of PureVPN.
In comparison to NordVPN, PureVPN doesn’t offer a 3-year plan, yet 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year plans are still offered by PureVPN.
Their monthly plan doesn’t come with any discounts and costs $10.95/mo.
That said, similar to NordVPN, they too offer pretty noteworthy discounts on their 1-year and 2-year subscription plans.
After a 73% discount, their 1-year plan costs $2.95 and their 2-year plan costs $3.29 after a 70% discount.
Next up is Surfshark.
Currently, they offer 3 plans. 1-month, 12-months, and 24-months.
Their monthly plan is by far the least attractive and totally unjustifiable if you ask me.
Their 12-months plan, on the other hand, is fairly priced. It comes with a 50% discount and only costs $5.99 a month. Yet, it is still no match for their 24-months plan.
Well, because it’s the cheapest among all 4 providers and comes with a huge 83% discount. After the discount, their 24-months plan only costs $1.99/mo.
This makes Surfshark the best cheap VPN to get in 2019.
Last up we have ExpressVPN.
To be honest, ExpressVPN is not cheap (well, Kind of…)
They offer 3 plans. 1-month, 6-months, and 15-months. Their monthly plan is ridiculously priced. It costs a whopping $12.95 a month.
I get that their service is great and all but $12.95 is still just not justifiable in my opinion.
Their 6-months plan is also quite expansive. It too costs a staggering $9.99 a month. It also doesn’t come with discounts either.
Their 15-months plan is however reasonably priced. Although not cheap, it does comes with a 49% discount.
After discount, their 15-months plan will end up costing you $6.67 a month. Technically speaking, you’re only paying $6.67 for 12 months, the rest of the 3-months are free.
Yet again Surfshark wins this category. Its 24-month plan is not only the cheapest among its competitors but also in the entire industry.
Powerful features are what make up any premium VPN service. Without them, a VPN app is nothing more than an empty shell.
Kill switch, Powerful encryption, cunning protocols are the must-have features of any VPN service.
If a VPN provider offers extra value-added features, that’s an added bonus.
Feature-wise NordVPN is very well equipped. I mean seriously well equipped.
Check this out:
All of their subscription plans come standard with 2048-bit encryption, simultaneous connections up to 6 devices foolproof DNS leak protection and two separate sets of Kill switches.
And yes, I did say two Kill switches, one that works on system level and the other that works with specified applications.
Pretty nifty right?
Oh yeah! They also offer Double-Hop (Double VPN) and an ad-blocker feature called CyberSec.
Aside from that, I really like their SmartPlay feature. Basically, this feature unblocks a whole bunch of streaming and geo-restricted sites.
This worked as advertised. For instance, I tried unblocking the U.S library on Netflix and it worked perfectly (more on that later on).
PureVPN too offers some very impressive features.
Right of the bat, I really liked their built-in ad-blocker feature.
Normally the browser on my test laptop is filled with annoying ads, so it’s nice to see it included in the PureVPN app.
Security wise they support industry standard 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN among other protocols and a failsafe kill switch.
If you’re particularly concerned about IP leaks, don’t worry PureVPN offers IPV6 Leak Protection too.
One feature that I didn’t find in NordVPN is “Ozone”. This feature basically works as an Antivirus program. Ozone also warns you if you’re visiting a suspicious website.
Pretty handy in my opinion.
Surfshark totally took me by surprise.
Being much smaller and newer than its competitors, I didn’t expect Surfshark to offer similar features as its rivals.
For instance, Surfshark offers a very efficient Kill switch, MultiHop future that’s similar to NordVPN’s Double Hop feature and a CleanWeb feature like PureVPN.
Aside from that, Surfshark offers all the usual industry standard encryption and protocols.
That said, Surfshark still needs to add a lot more attractive features if it wants to compete with the top dogs.
ExpressVPN too had some very awesome features to bring to the table.
Best in class 256-bit AES encryption, OpenVPN among other powerful protocols, Zero-knowledge DNS, Kill switch and VPN split tunneling are all present in ExpressVPN.
Other than that, one thing that I didn’t find in the rest of the 3 VPNs is a built-in speed test feature. This makes ExpressVPN super convenient to test internet speeds without having to leave the VPN app.
So who’s the winner here?
To be honest, it’s quite difficult to pick just one winner.
Let me explain…
NordVPN deserves to be the winner because it offers the most features out of the bunch. However, PureVPN takes the cake with its extra value-added feature called “Ozone”.
Surfshark doesn’t offer as many features as its competitors so I can’t pick it as a winner.
This leaves us with ExpressVPN.
Now ExpressVPN does offer a lot of features and its built-in speed test feature does give it an edge over its competitors.
After careful consideration, I’m declaring both ExpressVPN and NordVPN winner in this category.
Servers are the heart and soul of any VPN service.
The more servers a VPN provider offers the better. If you want to bypass geo-restrictions and fast speeds, you must make sure your VPN provider offers a large and diverse server park.
VPN providers discussed in this review do offer hundreds, in fact, thousands of geographically diverse servers.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
If we talk about servers, no one even remotely comes close to NordVPN.
I’m not even over exaggerating, NordVPN does actually offer the largest server count among its competitors if not in the entire industry.
At the time of this review, NordVPN offers about 5196 servers across the globe. That’s almost twice as much as what other VPN providers in this review are offering.
Region wise NordVPN offers coverage in the Asia Pacific (442 servers), The Americas (2326 servers), Europe (2432 servers), Africa, the Middle East and India (61 servers).
PureVPN also offers a pretty noteworthy server park.
At the moment, PureVPN offers about 2000+ servers in around 140+ locations worldwide.
Although the actual number of servers they’re offering is nowhere as impressive as NordVPN, its server coverage is definitely noteworthy.
Compare to NordVPN, PureVPN offers its services in 140+ countries and 180+ locations. That’s twice as much as NordVPN.
PureVPN also offers its services in one more region than NordVPN. Aside from Asia (321 servers), The Americas (758 servers), Europe (801 servers) and Africa (150 servers), PureVPN also offers its service in Oceania (93 servers).
I’m not going to beat around the bush here, Surfshark doesn’t offer a lot of secure servers. In fact, it is marginally incomparable to Nord, Express, and PureVPN.
At the moment, Surfshark only offers about 500+ servers at max in around 50 countries. Although it might not sound like much, however, considering how new they are, it is still quite good.
Their regional server coverage is fairly good. At the moment they offer coverage in Europe (32), The Americas (6), Asia Pacific (9)the Middle East and Africa (3).
Lastly, let’s check out what ExpressVPN has to offer.
As far as numbers are concerned, ExpressVPN is not too far behind PureVPN. At the moment, ExpressVPN offers about 2000+ servers in 94 countries and in 148 locations.
Although their server count is similar to PureVPN, they don’t offer coverage in as many countries as PureVPN. They also offer lesser server locations than PureVPN.
That said, their regional server coverage is just as good as its competitors. ExpressVPN offers coverage in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa.
I think you already know who the winner is in this category.
NordVPN clearly wins thanks to its massive sever park.
That said, both Express and PureVPN deserve an honorable mention due to their excellent and diverse server coverage.
Torrenting, love it or hate it, you can’t really live without it.
Even if you yourself never downloaded or shared a torrent in your life, every free movie you stream online is probably uploaded through torrents.
Believe it or not, the majority of VPN users actually buy VPN for torrenting alone. If you’re an active torrenter, it wouldn’t kill you to save yourself from the clutches of copyright trolls.
Torrenting is all about anonymity. The fewer breadcrumbs you leave behind the better. NordVPN does just that.
I was blown away by the performance. Right of the bat, the 2048-bit encryption is what caught my eye. It’s nice to see NordVPN using such powerful means of encryption.
Speaking of encryption, the Double VPN feature is also very useful. However, this feature does slow down your torrenting quite a bit.
Nord also offers an extensive array of P2P compatible servers, 4642 to be exact.
NordVPN managed to offer decent speeds, 3.1MB/s download and 3.3KB/s upload.
One feature that I really like about NordVPN is Ad-blocker. I absolutely love this feature. No more obscene and obtrusive ads for me.
Lastly, NordVPN offers a variety of anonymous payment options. I personally use Cryptocurrency for VPN payments, so it’s nice to see that NordVPN offers Bitcoin, Ethereum and even Ripple.
Next up, lets checkout PureVPN.
Let’s start with P2P compatible servers first. Unlike NordVPN, PureVPN only offers secure P2P servers in 84 locations.
That said, the quick selection feature really makes it easy to choose the most optimized P2P servers.
Similar to Nord, PureVPN also offers a very nifty Ad-block, again really helpful in my opinion.
I also really like the Kill Switch feature of PureVPN. I’ve already tested this feature earlier on in this and I must say, it works like a charm.
Upload speed was significantly better than NordVPN. I managed to get about 4.3MB/s download and 6.0KB/s upload speeds.
As far as anonymous payments go, PureVPN is really diverse Bitcoin, Litecoin, XRP and many more are all supported.
Surfshark is my personal favorite VPN for torrenting. Even though it doesn’t offer too many P2P compatible servers, it is way faster in terms of speeds.
Surfshark only offers 2 locations for torrenting, you can either download torrents on the Netherlands server or the Canadian server.
That said, even with just 2 locations, I was able to get about 6.2MB/s download and 1.3MB/s upload speeds. That really took me by surprise.
I also found the Multi-hop feature of Surfshark very useful. Unlike Nord, Surfshark didn’t take a major toll on my speeds.
As far as other torrenting features are concerned, I personally really like the Kill Switch, CleanWeb, and the Whistler feature.
Another reason to choose Surfshark for torrenting is its price. You can’t find a better VPN than this. Oh! Surfshark also accepts anonymous payments.
Last but not least, let’s checkout ExpressVPN.
If there’s a VPN service that I would use other than Surfshark for torrenting, is ExpressVPN.
Speeds are extremely fast and I didn’t notice any IP or DNS leaks either. Speaking of speeds, I managed to get about 4.5MB/s download and 1.1MB/s upload speeds.
ExpressVPN also offers a Network Lock feature just in case you experience a drop in your connection.
One feature that is linked to Network Lock is IP Binding. I personally use this feature with uTorrent and it works effortlessly.
Other than that, Split tunneling and IP address masking work exactly as advertised.
Lastly, ExpressVPN also supports anonymous payment. However, you can only pay through Bitcoin, you don’t get any other option.
So who won in this category? Considering how fast Surfshark is, its torrenting features and its price, Surfshark clearly wins this round.
A VPN app must be compatible with multiple platforms and operating systems.
Since everything is shifting to mobile, you need a VPN that’s compatible with mainstream mobile devices.
If a VPN provider offers support beyond traditional desktops and mobile devices, like for say browsers, routers, casting devices, and gaming consoles, that’s an added bonus.
Note: I’m only going to talk about compatible apps that you can actually download from the provider’s website.
First up, let’s take a look at what NordVPN has to offer. Right of the bat, I really like their iOS app, it is among the best VPN for iPhone.
Taking a look at their website, they do offer quite extensive support for devices and platforms. You can check out the comparison in the images below.
PureVPN also covers a whole bunch of devices and platforms. In fact, more than NordVPN for sure.
Although they do mention support for like 20 different devices, I’m only going to list the ones you can actually download. You can check out all the supported devices in the comparison image below.
I really love their support for Firestick, PureVPN is honestly the best VPN for Firestick you can get right now.
What I don’t like is their lack of support for iOS, even though they mention the iOS app on their website, there isn’t actually one available on the Apple App Store.
That’s something to consider if you’re an iOS user.
Next up, let’s check out Surfshark.
Compatibility wise Surfshark is on par with NordVPN. It’s not only the best VPN for Mac but for a variety of devices alike.
Pretty cool for a newbie.
Last but not least, let’s check out ExpressVPN.
While Nord, Surfshark, and PureVPN did offer quite an impressive array of compatible apps, none of them offer quite support like ExpressVPN.
Like I said earlier, I’m only going to list the compatible apps that you can download, not the ones that you have to set up using tutorials.
On their website, they list all the devices they currently offer downloadable apps for.
Along with the support for traditional devices, ExpressVPN offers excellent support for browsers. It is honestly among the best VPN for Chrome, super-fast and reliable.
So let’s break it down.
To pick a winner in this category, I’m going to exclude both Nord and Surfshark because they only cover fairly standard platform and devices.
On the other hand, both PureVPN and ExpressVPN cover a rather unique set of devices.
For instance, PureVPN gets a point for its dedicated Kodi app. speaking of Kodi, you might find our blog on the best VPN for Kodi helpful.
That said, ExpressVPN clearly wins this category thanks to its awesome support for Nvidia Shield, Nook, Amazon Fire TV, Safari, Kindle Fire and even Blackberry.
Money back guarantee
Refund policies are like the “Get out of jail free cards” of the VPN industry. You get the freedom to walk away from a lengthy subscription plan without risking anything.
It makes sense right? Why would you want to continue using a service if you’re not satisfied with it?
In addition to offering pretty affordable subscription plans, NordVPN also offers very lengthy money back guarantee.
At the moment, all of their plans are covered by a full 30-refund.
Even though the 30-day money back guarantee of NordVPN is pretty lenient, PureVPN ones up NordVPN with it 31-day refund policy.
Although not by a long shot but even an additional day matters.
Keeping itself aligned with the competition, Surfshark also offers a full 30-day money back guarantee.
ExpressVPN also offers a risk-free no questions asked 30-day money back guarantee.
Although all four providers offer a pretty similar refund policy, PureVPN takes the cakes with its 31-day money back guarantee.
Even though it’s technically only a one day difference, but like the great Dominic Toretto once said – “it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning!” 😉
Good customer support is also gruelingly important to ensure reliable service.
I know how frustrating it can be to figure out stuff on your own.
A Fast customer support team and well-documented troubleshooting guides ensure your issues gets resolved on time, every time.
NordVPN offers one of the most extensive customer support systems in the industry.
With NordVPN, there are three ways you can get your issues resolved. You can either check out their comprehensive documentation or contact them through email or live chat support.
Their pre-written documentation is very well defined and neatly segregated into different categories. Personally speaking, I found their answers to be very well written and easy to understand.
Their email support is also super responsive and fast too. They got back to me within minutes.
Same with their live chat support, quick and informative.
PureVPN also offers documentation, short guides, troubleshooting documentation, live chat, and email support.
Although I found their documents very helpful, the same can’t be said for their email and live chat support team.
While both express and NordVPN got back to me almost immediately, I didn’t hear anything from PureVPN for a few hours. However, they did eventually get back to me.
Their live chat support was also not the best. It felt like I was chatting to a robot rather than an actual human.
Their response time was fast though but mostly because they copy/ pasted their answers.
Surfshark also offered both written documentation and email/ live chat support. However, since their new and all, I found their documentation section to be rather empty. They definitely need to add more content.
Aside from that, I wasn’t satisfied with their email support either. Unlike PureVPN that got back to me within a few hours, Surfshark never did.
That said, what did impress me was their live chat support. Their support team was not only polite but also very informative.
Same story with ExpressVPN too. They offer a lot of well-written documentation on troubleshooting and setup guides.
Like I said earlier, their support team was quick and responsive. I got an email response within minutes. Their live chat support was also fast.
The best part, it truly felt like an actual human was answering my queries. That’s something you don’t see every day.
So who won? Well, it’s a bit complicated.
I can’t consider PureVPN the winner because of its robot-like live chat support and I can’t pick Surfshark because of its rather slow email support.
That leaves us with Express and NordVPN.
I like both NordVPN and ExpressVPN because of their extensive documentation and quick human-like email / live chat support
So it’s a draw.
If a VPN provider logs too much user data, there’s no point in getting it. Similarly, there’s no point in opting a VPN service that falls under the jurisdiction of the Five, Nine and Fourteen Eyes.
NordVPN is all about user privacy. They mention no data logging many times on their website.
The fact that they helped law enforcement agency catch a creep is living proof of their checkered past. That said, they’ve certainly come a long way since then.
Taking a look at their privacy and it’s easy to see the staggering difference.
They also explicitly list the information they don’t collect.
- Your browsing activities
- DNS requests
- Origin IP address
- Assigned VPN server IP address
- VPN session timestamp
It’s the same story with Surfshark too. They also claim “no data logging” on their website.
Similar to PureVPN, they also explicitly mention what information they collect about their users.
Aside from that, they store browser cookies and diagnostic information of their apps.
As far as their jurisdiction is concerned, they’re headquartered in the British Virgin Islands.
Lastly, we’ll look at ExpressVPN.
Since I don’t want to bore you with too much information, I’m only going to talk about the information they log.
Similar to Nord and Surfshark, the only personal information they collect about their users is an email address and payment information.
Other than that, they collect cookies and diagnostic information.
Oh! Before I forget, they are headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, same as Surfshark.
- All of the 4 providers offer a true no data logging policy.
- All of them are headquartered in a data retention free jurisdiction
So I guess it’s a tie.
What can I say about speeds? If you’ve ever used a VPN, you’ll likely know that it takes quite a significant chunk out of your original bandwidth. 20% to 30% is the bare minimum.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s see how Nord, Pure, Surfshark and ExpressVPN fares in my quest for the fastest VPN service.
I’ll perform the speeds test of each VPN using my office 100 Mbps connection.
Note: For the sake of keeping things concise, I’m only going to perform the speed test on the U.S server.
Let’s start off with NordVPN.
To be brutally honest with you guys, I wasn’t satisfied with the speeds I got from NordVPN.
Now don’t get me wrong, the server connection time was really fast, it’s just that I didn’t get the speeds I was expecting.
Using my 100 Mbps connection, I only managed to get about 55.3 download and 60.5 Mbps upload speeds.
Ping was also substantially high, peaking in at about 145 Ms.
PureVPN performed much better than NordVPN.
I managed to get about 70.6 download and 75.5 Mbps upload speeds.
Ping was decent this time, peaking in at about 50 Ms.
Surfshark managed to offer just as good speeds as PureVPN.
After connecting to their U.S server, I managed to achieve about 64.4 download and 71.6 Mbps upload speeds.
Ping was also decent, peaking at 78 Ms.
Now, ExpressVPN performed exceptionally well.
After connecting to the U.S server, I managed to achieve speeds of about 80.2 download and 84.11 Mbps on my 100 Mbps internet connection.
The ping was also substantially lower than both Surfshark and NordVPN, maxing in at about 36 Ms.
Fast speeds not only make ExpressVPN perfect for torrenting but also the best VPN for streaming.
Overall, highly satisfied with the speeds of ExpressVPN.
Now I know these aren’t the fastest speeds, and you’re right, they aren’t. However, this is to be expected from overhead encryption.
Taking a look at the speeds of all four providers and we can see a clear winner. ExpressVPN dominated this round. It’s no wonder why ExpressVPN is famous for its speeds.
The user experience
Good user experience is absolutely crucial for a VPN service. If a VPN app is slow, sluggish or too complicated to use, don’t purchase it.
The user experience of NordVPN is rather minimalistic. The application is super clean and lightweight on both mobile and desktop.
I particularly like their mobile version better but I guess it’s just personal preference. In the middle of the app you have your server map and down at the bottom is where you can select a specific country.
I also really like the quick connect option located at the bottom of the app.
Aside from that, the settings option is fairly simple with an option to enable Kill switch, contact support, upgrade plan and log out.
Overall the app is super fluid and dead simple to use.
PureVPN certainly has the best mobile interface out of the bunch. They’ve certainly put quite a lot of work into it.
The app is super snappy and pretty much lag free. I also like the animations they’ve used throughout their mobile application, it really gives it a more modern look.
That said, same can’t be said for their desktop app, particularly their Windows app. I can’t bear to describe how terrible it is.
The app not only looks dated but is also terribly sluggish. Connecting to a server takes excruciatingly long and when it does finally connect, it completely messes up the Wi-Fi settings.
Speaking of delayed server connections, their Android app is also plagued with the same issue. Sometimes it would take too long to connect, other times it would prompt you to an auto-reconnect popup.
Overall their Windows app is terrible and their Android app could use a bit of tweaking.
Overall their Windows app is terrible and their Android app could use a bit of tweaking. If you want something better for your Android device, I suggest you check out my best VPN for Android blog.
Now let’s check out Surfshark.
The user interface of Surfshark is also quite minimalistic. Although it lacks the flair of Nord and PureVPN, it is still a very well designed app. This goes for both mobile and desktop apps of Surfshark.
Similar to NordVPN, you can select various different servers from the bottom of the app. At the bottom is where you’ll also find the optimal location button.
This works exactly like the quick connect option of NordVPN.
That said, their settings section is significantly more comprehensive than NordVPN.
Unlike NordVPN where you only get a couple of basic options, Surfshark gives you the option to enable or disable the Kill switch, CleanWeb, and NoBorders.
There is also a dedicated section for support. I like that I can check out different FAQs, contact support and even check the status of my tickets right from within the app.
Surfshark also took slightly less time to connect to a server than NordVPN.
Lastly, let’s take a look at ExpressVPN.
The ExpressVPN app looks quite minimalistic on the outside but is highly customizable on the inside.
Launching up their mobile app and you’re only greeted with a rather bland looking home screen, however, the settings option is where all the action is at.
You get an option to choose different protocols and even an option to enable the auto-reconnect feature of ExpressVPN.
I particularly like the help & support section of their app. Aside from the contact support option you get in the settings menu, there’s an option to test your IP, DNS leak and even WebRTC leak from within the app itself.
ExpressVPN was also slightly, just slightly faster than the rest in terms of actually connecting to a VPN server.
So who won? Let’s see…
While PureVPN offered the most attractive mobile app, it’s desktop app was really pathetic.
NordVPN and Surfshark both looked quite similar in terms of UI, however, Surfshark’s mobile app definitely packed a few more options in the settings menu.
However, you do have to consider that it took Surfshark slightly less time to connect to a server than Nord.
ExpressVPN’s UI wasn’t all that attractive than both Nord and Surfshark, however, it did offer significantly more customizable options in the settings menu.
Oh! And it also took slightly less time for ExpressVPN to establish a secure connection than its competitors.
Overall it’s a tie between Surfshark and ExpressVPN.
DNS / IP address leaks
DNS and IP address is what uniquely identifies a web user. It’s the fine line between you and your privacy.
Sadly, a lot of the VPNs currently available on the market are plagued with DNS and IP leaks.
With that said, let’s check out how our four providers fare in this test.
For testing purposes, I used IPleak.org.
To test whether NordVPN suffered from the dreaded IP / DNS leak, I connected to a U.S server first and then visited the IPleak.org website.
IPleak.org accurately showed my country and the city I was connected to. It also verified that NordVPN didn’t leak my IP or DNS.
NordVPN passed the leak test without any issues.
To test the IP / DNS leak with PureVPN, I connected to a Canadian server. Sure enough, PureVPN too passed the leak test without any issues.
Now let’s check out Surfshark.
To test the IP / DNS leak with Surfshark, I connected to a German server. As you’ve guessed it, Surfshark too passed the IP / DNS leak test like a champ.
Lastly, let’s check out ExpressVPN.
To test whether ExpressVPN VPN leaked my IP, I connected it to a French server. Sure enough, it too passed without any issues.
Since all four VPN providers didn’t leak IP / DNS, it’s a tie.
Unblocking streaming sites, Netflix, in general, is the number one reason why people even purchase VPNs.
Netflix and a bunch of other streaming sites are unfortunately geo-restricted. If you’re not in a specific region, you won’t be able to enjoy the latest content.
Bummer right? Well not quite.
Let’s see whether our Best VPN Provider is capable of unblocking Netflix or not.
First up, let’s see how NordVPN performed.
For this test, I choose a U.S specific show called “Biggie and Tupac”. Unsurprisingly, NordVPN easily managed to play the show.
Video quality was great and I didn’t notice any lags. I also didn’t encounter the annoying Netflix proxy error, not even once.
Now let’s check out PureVPN.
For testing purposes, I played a show called “The House of Cards”.
Unlike NordVPN, PureVPN didn’t manage to unblock Netflix right away. I did encounter the proxy error at least once before I managed to play the show.
That said, playback was just fine, quality was great and I didn’t notice any lags either.
Surfshark also worked particularly well with Netflix. To test it out, I decided to play “Avengers: Infinity War”.
In my test, Surfshark easily managed to play the movie and that too in high quality.
ExpressVPN wasn’t lucky at first. Similar to PureVPN, ExpressVPN also prompted me to the annoying proxy error.
To test it out, I played “Peaky Blinders”. At first, it didn’t play, however, after switching to a different U.S server, I was able to watch the show without any issues.
The streaming quality was also just as great as the other providers.
While all four VPN providers managed to unblock Netflix, only Surfshark and NordVPN managed to do it without encountering the proxy error.
Both Surfshark and NordVPN are truly the best VPN for Netflix.
Best overall VPN
So which is the best overall VPN? Let’s break it down.
So, we started off with twelve different categories. All four VPNs performed differently in each category.
Let’s start off with NordVPN.
NordVPN managed to dominate in almost every category. In total, NordVPN won in 6 out of 12 overall categories.
Down below are all the categories in which NordVPN won:
- DNS / IP address leaks
- Netflix unblocking
- Server coverage
- Customer support
While PureVPN did exceptionally well in some categories, it didn’t perform too well in others.
Below are the categories in which PureVPN won:
- DNS / IP address leaks
- Money back guarantee
Now don’t get me wrong, PureVPN is still a great service, especially for budget-friendly folks.
Surfshark also performed exceptionally well. Overall it managed to win in 7 categories. That’s seriously a major achievement for a relatively new VPN provider.
Below are the categories in which Surfshark won:
- Simultaneous connections
- User experience
- DNS / IP address leaks
- Netflix unblocking
Even though all four providers performed exceptionally well, ExpressVPN clearly performed better than the rest.
Overall ExpressVPN managed to win in the following 7 categories:
- DNS / IP address leaks
- User experience
- Device compatibility
- Customer support
So there you have it, folks, this was my comprehensive review of the best VPN services of 2019.
To make it easy for you, I’ve spent numerous hours carefully testing every little detail of the above-mentioned providers.
Whether it’s speed test, IP leak or Netflix unblocking, I’ve done it all.
After careful consideration, I’ve declared both ExpressVPN and Surfshark the Best VPN 2019.
That said, both PureVPN and NordVPN deserve an honorable mention.
So what are your thoughts about the best VPN services? Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to add it to my blog.
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