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VPN’s are without a doubt a God sent for privacy-concerned online users.

However, with hundreds of services claiming to be the “best VPN”, and offering the same features, the same level of privacy and the same powerful unblocking capabilities, it can be quite frustrating to pick and choose one VPN that’s suitable for your every need.

Don’t worry though, I’ve done all the leg work for you.

I’ve spent numerous hours filtering out 100+ VPN services with In-Depth Research and shortlisted only top 7 VPNs which we’ll look in to in this blog.

7 Best VPNs for 2019

Following are 7 of the absolute best VPN services that are jurisdictionally secure, affordably priced, leak-proof, and offer tons of security and goe-block bypassing features:

1. ExpressVPN

A bit pricy, but worth every penny.

Based inBVI [SAFE]
Price$8.32/mo
Servers3000+ (94 Countries)
LogsNo Logs
Multi-login5 Devices
Refund30 Days
RecommendedYES
WebsiteExpressVPN.com

 

Pricing:

ExpressVPN offers 3 plans, 1-month plan, 6-months plan, and a 12-months plan.

Their monthly plan and 6-months plan can seem a bit overpriced, however, it is exactly what you pay for.

If you’re on a budget and still want an over the top VPN experience, I highly suggest you opt for their discounted 12-months plan.

After a  35% discount, their 12-months plan will end up costing you $8.32 a month, which is actually a bargain for the service you get.

Here’s a quick rundown of their pricing plans:

Privacy Policy & Jurisdiction:

looking at ExpressVPN’s privacy policy and it is quite thorough. It covers a lot of information about their service.

That said since I don’t want to bore you with too much information, let me make it utterly concise for you.

ExpressVPN is a genuine no-log VPN service. They don’t keep usage logs nor do they store connection logs.

The only things they do collect are cookies and diagnostic information, which is used for marketing and maintenance.

If you’re wondering how is this possible, that’s because the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has no formal legislation for data protection. It will in the future, however as of now, BVI is not mandated to retain any online data.

Oh! Before I forget, they are headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, which isn’t located under any heavy surveillance jurisdiction. In fact, they are out of the reach of the so-called five eyes.

With a data retention free jurisdiction and a solid no logs policy, ExpressVPN is among the most preferred choice for China and other such harsh countries.

Speed:

ExpressVPN performed exceptionally well in my speed test.

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 makes ExpressVPN the perfect companion for torrenting but also streaming Netflix and other popular VOD services. Overall, highly satisfied with the speeds of ExpressVPN.

DNS / IP Address Leaks:

When it comes to VPN leaks, you can be rest assured that ExpressVPN isn’t going to leak your IP, DNS, or WebRTC no matter what. I’ve thoroughly tested ExpressVPN for leaks and it passed without any issues.

User Experience:

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 should be.

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.

Overall ExpressVPN offers a very refined and polished VPN experience.

Features:

ExpressVPN offers some very awesome features. 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.

Built-in speed test feature is also a very handy feature and makes it super convenient to test internet speeds without having to leave the VPN app.

ExpressVPN also offers a pretty hefty server park. At the moment they offer about 2000+ servers in 94 countries.

As far as simultaneous connections are concerned, ExpressVPN can now be used on 5 devices simultaneously instead of just 3, which I think a lot of ExpressVPN users can appreciate.

Customer Support & Money Back Guarantee:

ExpressVPN’s customer support is one of the very best in the industry. Their response time also one of the quickest I’ve personally ever come across. I literally got an email response within minutes.

As far as live chat is concerned, the only gripe I have with it is the lack of availability from time to time. I don’t know why, but the live chat feature is not always available on ExpressVPN’s website.

Lastly, ExpressVPN offers a risk-free no questions asked 30-day money-back guarantee as well.

Based on its features and overall performance, there’s no doubt in my mind that ExpressVPN is probably the best VPN for you.

Interested to know more about this VPN provider, check out our exclusive ExpressVPN review.

 

2. NordVPN

A VPN with the largest server park in the market.

Based inPanama
Price$2.99/mo
Servers5600+ (60 Countries)
LogsNo Logs
Multi Login6 Devices
Refund30 Days Money Back
RecommendedYes
WebsiteNordVPN.com

 

Pricing:

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.

Here’s a quick rundown of their pricing plans:

Privacy Policy & Jurisdiction:

NordVPN is all about user privacy. They mention no data logging many times on their website.

Taking a closer look at their privacy policy and it’s true. Since NordVPN operates from the jurisdiction of Panama, they legally don’t have to abide by any data retention laws. Not only that, but they’re also located away from the grasp of the infamous five eyes.

Now as far as their privacy policy is concerned, the only information they do log is your email address, payment information and cookies to personalize their site experience for you. However, since they don’t collect any usage or connection logs, you have nothing to worry about.

Speed:

Speeds wise NordVPN is beyond decent. Using my 100 Mbps connection, I only managed to get about 55.3 download and 60.5 Mbps upload speeds. However, I did notice a slightly higher Pings when compared to ExpressVPN.

DNS / IP Address Leaks:

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.

Even after testing multiple times, NordVPN didn’t leak my IP or DNS. Overall it passed the leak test without any issues.

User Experience:

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 superfluid and dead simple to use.

Features:

Feature-wise NordVPN is very well equipped. I mean seriously well equipped. The biggest highlight of NordVPN is its servers, which by the way has crossed 5600 in numbers.

Aside from servers, 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 like their SmartPlay feature. Basically, this feature unblocks a whole bunch of streaming and geo-restricted sites.

SmartPlay feature works as advertised. For instance, I tried unblocking the U.S library of Netflix, and it worked perfectly.

Customer Support & Money Back Guarantee:

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. The representative got back to me within minutes. Same with their live chat support, quick and informative; however, the answers can get a bit robotic at times.

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.

Interested to know more about this VPN provider, check out our exclusive NordVPN review.

 

3. Surfshark

The most ultra-affordable VPN in the market.

Based inBVI [SAFE]
Price$1.99/mo
Servers800+ (50+ Countries)
LogsNo Logs
Multi-loginUnlimited Devices
Refund30 Days
RecommendedYES
WebsiteSurfshark.com

 

Pricing:

If you’re running on a strict budget, Surfshark is probably the affordable VPN to get in 2019. They offer 3 plans. 1-month, 12-months, and 24-months. Their monthly plan is by far the least attractive and 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. It is still no match for their 24-months plan.

Why…?

Well, because it’s the cheapest among all 7 providers and comes with a huge 83% discount. After the discount, their 24-months plan only costs $1.99/mo.

Here’s a quick rundown of their pricing plans:

Privacy Policy & Jurisdiction:

Surfshark also has a pretty strict “no data logging” policy. However, it needs to be expected from a top VPN service.

According to their privacy policy, they only log user’s e-mail address, encrypted passwords, Basic billing information and order history. No usage or connection logs are stored what so ever.

As far as their jurisdiction is concerned, they’re headquartered in the British Virgin Islands. Which as I mentioned earlier, BVI is not only free from mandatory data retention but isn’t also under the surveillance of the five eyes.

Speed:

Surfshark managed to offer just as good speeds as some of the other VPNs over covered so far in this list. After connecting to their U.S server, I managed to achieve about 64.4 download and 71.6 Mbps upload speeds on my 100Mbps test connection. Ping was also decent, peaking at 78 Ms max.

DNS / IP Address Leaks:

Being a new provider and you might expect Surfshark to leak. However, you’d be wrong.

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.

User Experience:

The user interface of Surfshark is also quite minimalistic. Although it lacks the flair of NordVPN, it is still a very well designed app. The UI goes for both mobile and desktop apps of Surfshark.

Similar to NordVPN, you can select various 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.

Features:

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 even a CleanWeb feature that you’d expect from more premium VPNs.

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. But from a price and unlimited simultaneous connections standpoint, you just can’t beat Surfshark.

Customer Support & Money Back Guarantee:

Surfshark offers both written documentation and email/ live chat support. However, since they are new and all, I found their documentation section to be empty. They definitely need to add more content.

Aside from that, I’m not satisfied with their email support. Unlike NordVPN or ExpressVPN that got back to me almost instantaneously, Surfshark took days to get back to me.

That said, what did impress me was their live chat support. Surfshark’s support team was not only polite but also very informative.

Lastly, Keeping itself aligned with the competition, Surfshark also offers a full 30-day money-back guarantee.

Interested to know more about this VPN provider, check out our exclusive Surfshark review.

 

4. CyberGhost

A well-specced VPN with tons of powerful features.

Based inRomania
Price$2.75/mo
Servers3800+ (60 Countries)
LogsNo Logs
Multi Login7 Devices
Refund45 Days
RecommendedYES
WebsiteCyberGhostVPN.com

 

Pricing:

CyberGhost is known for its super affordable plans. Speaking of which, you can choose between 4 subscription plans. 1-month, 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year plan.

Here’s a quick rundown of their pricing plans:

I can’t really recommend their 1-month plan. However, the 3-year plan ($2.75) is quite affordable.

Privacy Policy & Jurisdiction:

Coming down to CyberGhost’s privacy policy and things are almost flawless. I say this because although they don’t store usage logs, they do still store connection logs. But to be honest, connections logs don’t matter when it comes to privacy.

As far as their jurisdiction is concerned, you’d be glad to hear that they’re based in Romania and away from the clutches of the five eyes alliances. Romania also doesn’t have any mandatory data retentions laws which are even great.

Speed:

As far as speeds are concerned, CyberGhost’s performance is just about decent. Although not as great as ExpressVPN, it is still a lot better than a lot of VPNs I’ve tested.

But if you’re still curious about numbers, I managed to get about 25.4Mbps download and 32.2Mbps upload speed on my 100Mbps connection.

DNS / IP Address Leaks:

Although speeds might be a minor set back, one place where CyberGhost absolutely shines is leak protection. I ran it through multiple tests and it managed to not leak, not even once.

User Experience:

The user experience is fairly intuitive. I personally really like the black and yellow UI. But aside from the UI, I love how fluid their apps are. The Windows app works flawlessly and so does their iOS app. However, their iOS seems to be much more snappy in my opinion.

Quick connect feature and easy server selection makes It dead simple to use their apps. Besides that, connection latency barely exists.

Features:

To start off, CyberGhost supports industry benchmark protocols and encryption. L2TP, IKEv2, OpenVPN among others are all offered by CyberGhost.

In addition to powerful encryption and protocols, CyberGhost offers a very handy kill switch feature, ability to hook up 7-devices simultaneously, a huge server park ( 3600+) and much, much more.

Customer Support & Money Back Guarantee:

Lastly, let’s talk about customer support.

I’m not going to beat around the bush here, but I don’t like their customer support. Since they’re obnoxiously slow, it takes quite a bit of patience to solve even the most minor of issues.

As far as their money-back guarantee is concerned, they offer a full 45-day money-back guarantee. Literally, no other VPN in the industry offers such a refund policy.

Interested to know more about this VPN provider, check out our exclusive CyberGhost review.

 

5. PureVPN

A budget-friendly VPN with powerful security features.

Based inHong Kong
Price$2.95/mo
Servers2000+ (140+ Countries)
LogsNo Logs
Multi Login5 Devices
Refund31 Days Money Back
RecommendedYes
WebsitePureVPN.com

 

Pricing:

Now let’s check out PureVPN. On the budget side of the VPN industry, PureVPN offers 3 super affordable subscription plans. Their monthly plan doesn’t come with any discounts and costs $10.95/mo.

However, their 1 year and 2 year plans both come with hefty discounts. After a 73% discount, their 1-year plan costs $2.95 and their 2-year plan costs $3.29 after a 70% discount.

Here’s a quick rundown of their pricing plans:

Privacy Policy & Jurisdiction:

PureVPN has been highly criticized for its privacy policy in the past.

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 policy and it’s easy to see the staggering difference.

According to their updated privacy policy, they’re headquartered in Hong Kong and only keep records of your Name, Email Address, and Payment Methods.

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

Speed:

Speed-wise PureVPN performed just about okay. I managed to get about 34.6 download and 28.5 Mbps upload speeds. Although not the fastest, but the overall performance of PureVPN is very consistent.

DNS / IP Address Leaks:

Another thing that PureVPN has majorly worked on is leaks. While PureVPN was prone to leaks a couple of years back, it no longer suffers from DNS, IP and WebRTC leaks. In fact, PureVPN passed my leak test without any issues.

User Experience:

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.

Features:

Right of the bat, I 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 works as an Antivirus program. Ozone also warns you if you’re visiting a suspicious website. Pretty handy in my opinion.

But even handier is the fact that PureVPN offers five simultaneous connections. For a more in-depth look at PureVPN, I suggest you check out my super detailed  PureVPN review.

Customer Support & Money Back Guarantee:

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 ExpressVPN and NordVPN got back to me almost immediately, I didn’t hear anything from PureVPN for a few hours. However, they did eventually got 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.

That said, other than their not so great customer service, I like their 31-day refund policy.

 

6. VyprVPN

A stealthy VPN app with a unique chameleon protocol.

Based inSwitzerland
Price$5.00/mo
Servers700+ servers
LogsNo Logs
Multi Login5 Devices
Refund30 Days Money Back
RecommendedYes
WebsiteVyprVPN.com

 

Pricing:

As far as pricing is concerned, VyprVPN is a bit on the pricier side. Their monthly plan is not necessarily cheap. However, based on the performance, it is totally justified.

As far as pricing plans are concerned, VyprVPN basically offers four plans. Standard, premium, business and business premium.

The standard VyprVPN yearly plan costs around $5.00 a month and covers 3 devices. The premium plan costs around $6.67 a month and covers 5 devices.

Coming over to the business and business premium plans, and they are going to cost you around $299 per year and $349 per year respectively.

Here’s a quick rundown of their pricing plans:

  • Monthly – $9.95/mo – $12.95/mo (premium)
  • Yearly – $5.00/mo – $6.67/mo (premium)

Privacy Policy & Jurisdiction:

Operating under the umbrella of a company called Golden Frog, VyprVPN is based in Switzerland. This is actually great considering the fact that the country is not legally obligated to maintain logs of customer data.

That said, Switzerland is a cooperative of the 5 eyes alliance and therefore can snoop on user’s online activities.

However, according to VyprVPN’s privacy policy, the company neither keeps connection logs nor does it keeps usage logs.

To offer even more concrete proof of their no logs policy, VyprVPN has even published an audit report for complete transparency.

Speed:

As far as speeds are concerned, VyprVPN is just about OK. To be blatantly honest, my overall speeds fluctuated by over 50%.

On my 40Mbps internet connection, I managed to get around 16Mbps download and 12.55Mbps upload speeds.

DNS / IP Address Leaks:

Even though VyprVPN’s speeds are not all that impressive, it certainly makes up for it with its excellent leak protection. VyprVPN managed to consistently pass our leak test.

User Experience:

Coming over the user experience of VyprVPN and it is among the best I’ve tried so far. The performance is on par with ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and PureVPN.

One thing I really like about VyprVPN is the integrated speed test graph. It makes it dead simple to monitor the speeds of the server you’re connected to.

As far as UI is concerned, the VyprVPN app looks and feel quite modern and responsive. The apps are fluid and rarely ever glitches.

Features:

VyprVPN offers some very impressive features. To begin with, VyprVPN supports industry standard encryption and protocols. PPTP, L2TP/IPSec with 256-bit military-grade encryption, OpenVPN are all supported.

Speaking of protocols, VyprVPN even offers a proprietary Chameleon protocol to bypass ISP throttling and DPI.

Other than that, VyprVPN offers a super handy Kill switch and Nat firewall protection to keep you safe and secure.

One additional feature no other VPN provider offers is secure cloud access. With the help of VyprVPN cloud, you can establish a connection between your local network and VyprVPN’s servers and remain secure.

Customer Support & Money Back Guarantee:

Lastly, let’s talk about customer support. VyprVPN offers exceptionally well customer support.

There are essentially 3 ways you can resolve any potential issues with VyprVPN. You can either use live chat, email support or FAQS.

Live chat is support is super-fast and usually takes a few minutes to resolve any issue. The email support, on the other hand, can take a while. I usually got a response from them within a few hours.

The FAQs section is very well documented and is enough to resolve basic issues.

Curious to know more about VyprVPN, why not check out our exclusive VyprVPN review.

 

7. Perfect Privacy

A super secure VPN for ultimate privacy.

Based inSwitzerland
Price$8.95/mo
Servers26 Countries
LogsNo Logs
Multi LoginUnlimited
Refund7 Days Money Back
RecommendedYes
WebsitePerfect-Privacy.com

 

Pricing:

Perfect Privacy is a bit on the expensive side. They offer 3-plans at the moment. A 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year plan.

Coming over to subscription plans and the current pricing plans are as follows:

Here’s a quick rundown of their pricing plans:

  • 1-month – $12.99/mo
  • 1-year – $9.99/mo
  • 2-year – $8.95/mo

If you decide to opt for Perfect Privacy, I highly suggest you go for their 2-year plan.

Privacy Policy & Jurisdiction:

Perfect Privacy is based in Switzerland and does not keep connection and usage logs. The only thing they do keep logs of is username, password and expiry date of a customer’s account.

Speed:

Speed wise Perfect Privacy is absolutely amazing. I ran a test on my 8 Mbps connection and I managed to get around 7Mbps max. The speeds drop was barely noticeable.

DNS / IP Address Leaks

As far as leak protection is concerned, Perfect privacy also performed exceptionally well. I performed multiple DNS, WebRTC and IP leak test and not once did Perfect Privacy disappointed me.

User Experience:

I’m not going to beat around the bush, I absolutely love the user experience of Perfect Privacy. The apps work great, however, it is a bit of a shame that there are no apps for iOS and other platforms like routers.

If you perfect better app compatibility, you’re better off with PureVPN or ExpressVPN.

Features:

Now let’s talk about features. Perfect Privacy offers an amazing bundle of powerful features. Here are all the features I absolutely love about Perfect Privacy:

  • Multi-Hop VPN
  • NeuroRouting
  • TrackStop
  • Stealth VPN
  • Kill Switch
  • IPv6 Support
  • No Logs
  • VPN Protocols

Customer Support & Money Back Guarantee:

The Customer support of Perfect Privacy is not all that impressive. The lack of live chat support is seriously disappointing.

If you wish to contact support, you’re limited to either using contact forms or emails. By the way, both methods are considerably slower.

However, if you’re not the patient kind, you can always refer to the provided manuals or FAQs. Alternatively, you can get answers through their forum page as well.

For more details about this VPN, check out our exclusive Perfect Privacy Review.

The Best VPN Rating Criteria

Unlike other generic reviews, I’ve conducted thorough researches to back all of my suggestions.

Instead of cramming basic and pretty much useless information, I’m going to take a slightly different approach towards suggesting the Best VPN.

My testing and rating criteria included the following parameters:

1) Does the VPN fall under the 5 eyes, 9 eyes, 14 eyes jurisdictions?

2) Does the VPN service keep logs?

3) Does the VPN service leak your identity?

4) Can it bypass impenetrable firewalls (obfuscation)?

5) What kind of servers does the VPN service offer (Virtual or Bare metal)?

6) Is the VPN provider transparent, do they disclose their company information?

7) Does the VPN support streaming & torrenting?

Finally, after filtering out the VPNs that meet my review criteria, I’ll suggest you the top 5 VPNs of 2019.

Sounds good? Let’s dive into the review process.

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction can either be a deal maker or a breaker. When it comes to choosing a truly secure anonymous VPN, experts would suggest that you skip VPNs based in 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes countries.

Since countries with strict data retention laws are obligated by law to comply with law enforcement agencies, any personally identifiable information is at risk of being investigated indiscriminately.

VPN providers operating under the nose of the surveillance alliances don’t have any choice but to comply quietly.

We have seen one too many providers being forced by law enforcement agencies to give up confidential and personally identifiable information of its users.

For instance back in 2011, a member of a hacker group LulzSec was sentenced to 15 years in prison after HideMyAss handed over the logs of the alleged hacked to the law enforcement agency following court orders.

Similarly, PureVPN also had to cooperate with the FBI in the infamous cyberstalking case which led to the arrest of a 24-year-old sick individual by the name of Ryan Lin.

Based on such past cases, I spent 96 hours digging into the jurisdictions of around 123 VPN providers to see which VPNs are safe.

If you don’t want to go through the entire list, you can use the handy tool below to quickly find out if your VPN falls under a safe jurisdiction.

Anyways, after filtering out 100+ VPNs, here are few of my recommended VPNs that don’t operate under the jurisdiction of the FVEY:

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. CyberGhost
  4. Surfshark
  5. Astrill
  6. Avast Secure line
  7. PureVPN

Another reason for choosing these VPNs is because they are fully GDPR compliant.

NordVPN

NordVPN operates from the jurisdiction of Panama. Therefore, they legally don’t have to abide by any data retention laws. NordVPN also follows current GDPR laws.

nordvpn-jurisdiction

PureVPN

PureVPN is also a safe choice for a VPN since it operates from the jurisdiction of Hong Kong. PureVPN is fully compliant with current GDPR laws.

purevpn-jurisdiction

Surfshark

Surfshark is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, which is free from data retention laws. Surfshark is also GDPR compliant.

surfshark-jurisdiction

ExpressVPN

Same as Surfshark, ExpressVPN is also headquartered in the British Virgin Islands and fully GDPR compliant.

expressvpn-jurisdiction

Astrill

astrill-jurisdiction

As far as jurisdiction is concerned, Astrill operates from Seychelles and doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of surveillance alliances. Astrill is also fully GDPR compliant and inspires trust in their service.

CyberGhost

CyberGhost is based in Romania and doesn’t abide by mandatory data retention laws. It also fully operates in compliance with the EU’s GDPR guidelines.

cyberghost-jurisdiction

Logging Policy

“No logs”- sounds great right? But I’m willing to bet you’ve never even gone through your VPN provider’s privacy policy.

Don’t feel bad though, you’re not the only one. Most VPN consumers fall for swift marketing gimmicks. Twist of words is what lures people in.

The truth of the matter is, there’s no such thing as a completely log-less VPN. I know this for a fact as I deconstructed the logging policies of over 100 VPN providers and found that most VPNs do keep some sort of logs.

Whether it’s just usage logs or connection logs, VPN providers can’t operate without them. However, you as a VPN consumer should only worry about usage logs. As long as your VPN provider doesn’t keep records of your online activities, you have nothing to worry about.

Since I don’t feel like cramming this article with too many VPNs, I’ve comprised a short list of VPNs that either does or doesn’t keep logs.

 

VPN providerConnection logsUsage Logs
NordVPNNoNo
SurfsharkNoNo
ExpressVPNNoNo
IPVanishNoNo
ZoogVPNNoNo
AceVPNNoNo
Betternet VPNNoNo
IvacyNoNo
IBVPNNoNo
IVPNNoNo
Cactus VPNNoNo
TunnelBearNoNo
Flow VPNYesYes
FlyVPNYesYes
HolaVPNYesYes
TigerVPNYesYes
UnlocatorYesYes

 

Leak Test

DNS and IP address is what uniquely identifies a web user. Think of it like your home address. In the world of VPNs, 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, IP and WebRTC leaks. In fact, according to one study, out of 150 VPNs tested on the Google Play Store, 25% were found leaking DNS.

Being naturally paranoid, I conducted an in-depth leak test of 52 VPNs so you don’t have to. Down below is a sneak peek of my findings:

 

VPN ProviderDNS, IP & WebRTC leaks
ExpressVPNPassed
NordVPNPassed
SurfsharkPassed
PureVPNPassed
IPVanishPassed
IvacyPassed
VyprVPNPassed
CactusVPNPassed
TunnelBearPassed
MullvadPassed
Betternet VPNPassed
HolaFailed
BTGaurdFailed
Hoxx VPNFailed
Touch VPNFailed
DotVPNFailed

 

Obfuscation – Special Feature for Bypassing Impenetrable Firewalls

While you might have seen advertisements claiming to “unblock everything and anything” on the web, in most cases, it is not true.

You see, some countries use powerful firewalls to block certain content. For instance, China enforces the Great Firewall to restrict all foreign content and actively block VPN services.

Other countries also either block VPNs or have deemed them illegal to use in their respective countries. Breaking the rule can not only get you fined but in some countries, you might even face jail time and legal prosecution.

Under such situations, the obfuscation technology comes in handy. Unlike traditional VPN servers, obfuscated servers are capable of unblocking powerful firewalls by masking encrypted VPN traffic to appear as ordinary internet traffic.

VPN-obfuscation-diagram-explaination

This technology is super effective in countries like China and in many parts of the Middle East where access to foreign content is heavily sanctioned. For instance, if you want to watch Netflix in China, using an obfuscated server can help you bypass the Great Firewall of China (GFW).

But before you get too excited about using obfuscated servers, not many VPN providers support this technology. In fact, after conducting in-depth research of the VPN industry, I’ve managed to find only four VPNs that offer obfuscated servers:

  1. VyprVPN
  2. IPVanish
  3. ExpressVPN
  4. NordVPN

Server Coverage & Types of Servers

Servers are the heart and soul of any VPN service. Choosing a VPN server can make a night and day difference in performance. In addition to that, the more servers a VPN provider offers, the better it is in terms of overall performance.

However, one thing almost no VPN consumer pays attention to is the type of servers being offered by a VPN provider. I’m talking about virtual and physical servers.

Even though you’d see thousands of servers being advertised by VPN providers, in reality, most of them use a combination of both virtual and physical servers.

Sadly though, very few VPN providers like ExpressVPN and PureVPN openly admit to using a combination of virtual and physical servers.

Even VPN providers that claim only to use physical servers aren’t always true to their words. I found out about this when I tested Surfshark’s Indian and Vietnamese servers.

surfshark-virtual-vietnam-server

So which VPNs truly offer bare metal, AKA physical servers?

Well except for NordVPN, CyberGhost, and IPVanish, I haven’t come across a VPN that offers physical servers only.

If you’re curious as to how I tested virtual and physical VPN server, you can check out my virtual servers guide.

Transparency

When it comes to VPN transparency, not knowing who’s behind the company can be quite detrimental to your privacy.

Simple Linkedin profiles can tell a lot about a company you’re dealing with. For instance, VPN providers like CyberGhost and NordVPN among others have completely transparent company Linkedin profiles.

Company address, names of employees and even the names of CEOs and Co-founders is out in the public for everyone to see.

Cyber-ghost-CEO-linkedin-profile

 

PureVPN-CEO-linkedin-profile

TunnelBear-CEO-linkedin-profile

In addition to that, transparency reports are crucial to know what sort of data has been shared with law enforcement agencies – if any.

Things like company address, real names of employees and owners, do make any business a lot more trustworthy.

Despite obvious perks, most VPN providers don’t choose to disclose a lot of information. For instance, when I asked IbVPN about their company owners, they simply answered my question by saying this:

“SC Amplusnet SRL is the company that holds full ownership of ibVPN. The company owners are private persons that are involved in developing and maintaining the ibVPN service”.

They obviously didn’t want to disclose who’s running the company. This is exactly why I decided to reach out to more VPN providers.

To learn more about VPN transparency, I reached out to over 180+ VPN providers to see who’d open up

Surprisingly, only a handful of VPN providers bothered to disclose their company information and that too only a limited basis.

However, here are a few VPN providers that answered all of my questions.

  1. Surfshark
  2. PureVPN
  3. ProtonVPN
  4. ibVPN
  5. me
  6. NVPN
  7. Mullvad
  8. SigaVPN
  9. OVPN
  10. CyberGhost
  11. KeepSolid

Out of the 180 providers, here are some services who are yet to respond to our questions:

  1. Astrill
  2. ExpressVPN
  3. FrootVPN
  4. IPVanish
  5. IVPN
  6. LeVPN
  7. Ironsocket
  8. PrivateTunnel
  9. Private Internet Access
  10. SurfEasy
  11. TotalVPN

Here are a few VPNs that offer updated transparency reports:

  1. CyberGhost
  2. Private Internet Access
  3. AceVPN
  4. Avast Secure line
  5. AzireVPN
  6. Betternet
  7. HideMyAss
  8. Hotspot Shield
  9. IVPN
  10. OVPN
  11. TunnelBear

Streaming (Netflix, Hulu, Kodi…)

If I say Netflix is the world’s most popular streaming platform, I wouldn’t be wrong, would I? In all honesty, Netflix is no short of a holy grail for streaming fanatics.

Despite being super popular, it is not available in some countries. And even in countries where Netflix is available, there is always the issue of the limited content library due to regional licensing.

In order to bypass geo-restrictions or to access a much broader content library, Netflix subscribers use VPNs.

However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Netflix is using powerful algorithms to block VPN services. While it was possible to unblock Netflix with any old VPN, now all you get is a proxy error message.

In addition to Netflix, there are other streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Amazon that are also heavily geo-restricted.

I’ve personally tested the above mentioned for a variety of streaming services and found them all to work flawlessly.

Torrenting

Torrenting and streaming are the number one reasons why people even choose VPNs. However, many VPN providers don’t allow torrenting. Even those that do, only allow torrenting on limited servers.

But limited P2P servers isn’t the only implication you might face when torrenting with a VPN. You might face other issues such as leaks, which VPNRanks has covered in great detail.

Tested VPN’s

For a quick overview of VPN jurisdictions, logs, leaks, GDPR compliance, and transparency reports, you can refer to the sheet below.

What about FREE VPNs, Are They Any Good?

Generally speaking, yes! In fact, there are plenty of reliable free VPNs out there you can rely on. That said, while free VPNs are good for general day to day browsing, they offer limited features.

For instance, free VPNs only offer limited bandwidth and servers. This obviously doesn’t sound like a big deal, however, considering you won’t be able to unblock Netflix, you are going to be seriously missing out.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to stream a lot or play online games, a free VPN might not be a good choice. If your VPN usage is extensive, you’re better off with a premium VPN service.

Factors To Consider When Choosing The Best VPN

Other than what I’ve already discussed above, there are few features you should look at in any VPN for security, price, refund policies, and app compatibility.

Price

No matter what is a good VPN service might be, if it’s not affordably priced, it wouldn’t appeal to an average consumer. Price affects buying behaviors. VPN providers that usually offer special pricing or discounts are the ones to get.

Refund Policy

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?

Generally, VPN providers offer at least a 30- day refund guarantee.

Simultaneous Connection

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.

Generally speaking, VPN providers either tend to offer 2 to 3 simultaneous connections or none at all.

Apps Compatibility

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.

Typically, you must make sure your VPN provider at least offers apps for Mac, Windows, iPhone, and Android.

FAQs

Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN is an amazing technology that’s capable of establishing a secure encrypted connection between your computer and the VPN server. VPNs can be categorized into types, remote access VPN and site-to-site VPNs.

Instead of you accessing websites and services with your original IP, a VPN server does it for you. Your true identity is never exposed and all of the network traffic gets end-to-end encrypted.

This is of course only the jest of VPNs, there are countless benefits of using a VPN. If you’re new to the world of VPNs, I highly suggest you check out our in-depth guide on what is a VPN.

For a comparative analysis of VPNs, I highly suggest you check out our informative VPN Comparison guide and tools.

Yes! VPNs are 100% legal to use. As long as you’re not using it for any illegal activities, you have nothing to worry about.

However, in some countries, you are only permitted to use official or state-approved VPNs. For instance, in countries like China, UAE, Iraq, North Korea, and Russia, only state-approved VPNs can be used.

Violation of the law can obviously result in fines and even imprisonment in some cases. Just for your reference, in Russia, unauthorized VPN usage can result in fines ranging anywhere between 300,000 RUB to 700,000 RUB.

Yes, it is. As long as your device is supported by your VPN provider, you should have no issues. Generally speaking, VPN providers offer dedicated apps for a whole range of devices and platforms.

However, if your specific device is not supported, there is always an option to manually configure a VPN directly on your home router.

If you’re curious about how it works, I highly suggest you check out one of our router setup guide. For gaming consoles like PS4, you would either have to rely on manual setup, as there are no native VPN apps available for gaming consoles.

That said, In the case of smart TVs, there’s almost always an independent app available, which is great if you’re not too great with manual configurations.

However, in case your provider doesn’t offer a standalone VPN app for your smart TV, you can always rely on manual configurations. Here’s a super simple setup guide to get you started.

In all honesty, yes, a VPN is going to slow down your internet a bit. However, not by a lot. With strong overhead encryption, your internet performance will surely suffer.

With premium VPNs, you are going to experience a speed drop of around 25 to 30 percent. To ensure you’re not stuck with a sluggish VPN, It is absolutely crucial to perform speed tests while you’re covered under the refund period.

If you’re curious about numbers, you might want to check out our in-depth VPN speed test guide where we have compiled test results of over 10 mainstream VPN services.

Typically, a premium VPN will cost you somewhere around $3 to $8 a month. If you weigh in the pros, paying a few dollars a month is an absolute bargain.

However, if you’re running on a tight budget, I suggest you go for longer subscription plans as they are quite cheaper.

Compared to a monthly plan which can cost you anywhere between $10 to $18 dollars a month, a 3-year plan would cost you as low as $1.99 a month.

If you’re still on the fence of choosing the right subscription plan, the best option you have is to go for a monthly plan, try it out for a few days, and ask for a refund if it’s not cut out for you.

Yes, a VPN can certainly help, but it can’t guarantee 100% protection from ISP throttling.

With the help of powerful tools designed for peering, your ISP can actually see what services you’re using, or how much bandwidth you’re consuming.

To ensure you’re not consuming too much bandwidth, your ISP might regularly throttle your network speeds to guarantee equal bandwidth for all of their customers.

This can be extremely annoying when playing games online or streaming your favorite shows on Netflix.

That said, a VPN can offer some help. By encrypting your network traffic, you can obfuscate your bandwidth consumption and bypass ISP throttling to a great extent.

No, using a VPN is totally safe and legal. As long as you’re not doing anything illegal, you have nothing to worry about.

However, if you’re distributing or downloading copyrighted content, spreading hate, or conducting illegal activities you can get yourself in some serious trouble.

Aside from legalities, the only thing you should worry about is choosing the right VPN. A sluggish, unreliable or leaking VPN can be an absolute nightmare to use.

Before going all-in with any VPN service, it always a good idea to read a bunch of reviews and opt for a free trial whenever it’s feasible.

A remote-access VPN provides users secure access to private networks through public infrastructure.

Remote-access VPNs are particularly helpful for organizations that don’t want their sensitive data compromised by network snoops.

With the help of remote access VPNs, employees can send and receive confidential work-related documents and emails even on public networks.

How does it work?

A remote-access VPN running on an employee’s smartphone or computer establishes a secure connection to the VPN gateway of the company’s network.

In order to provide access to secure company network and resources like servers and printers, the VPN gateway first authenticates the identity of the user.

If everything checks out, a user can securely access and use the company’s intranet. Kinda like if the user was physically using the company’s local network.

As far as authentication is concerned, there’s no one size fits all strategy. Usually IPsec or SSL is used, however, PPTP and L2TP are just as widely used.

Site to site VPN is used to establish secure a connection between multiple businesses or organizations located at different fixed physical locations through the help of public networks.

The site to site VPNs is used to extend a company’s network by making computing resources available in different locations accessible to one another.

For instance, an employee located in Germany can remotely and securely access computing resources located in the U.S branch and vice versa.

The site to site VPNs is widely used by corporations with dozens of branches and offices around the world.

A mobile VPN is an optimized version of traditional VPN apps that are designed to run on smartphones and tablets. Mobile VPNs are lightweight and are compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems.

Traditionally, VPNs have always been used on laptops and desktop computers. However, as everything is moving towards mobile, VPN providers are offering highly optimized and snappy VPN apps for smartphones.

In fact, according to the global web index, VPN usage on mobile phones is not too far behind desktops. According to stats, while desktop VPN usage is around 20%, mobile VPN usage on mobile phones is at 19%.

Part of the reason why mobile VPN usage has become so popular has to do with ease of use. Mobile VPNs are not only better optimized but also offer a seamless user experience.

Nowadays, mobile VPNs apps are surprisingly lightweight, less power-hungry and generally pretty formidable on your battery life and memory.

Since we’re constantly moving around and hooked to our phones, it makes all the sense in the world to secure our online footprint with a VPN.

Anyone who’s connected to the internet and is privacy-conscious should consider using a VPN. No matter what device you use, be it mobile or desktop, encrypting and anonymizing your online activity can ensure your privacy is never compromised.

Scams like Identity theft, Nigerian scam, and lottery scam are infamous for stealing confidential data and rob people off of their hard-earned money.

Aside from that, government surveillance programs and legislation like the snooper’s charter allow law enforcement agencies to spy on all your online activities.

Bottom line, if you’re least bothered about your privacy and don’t want to fall victim to online scams, it’s better to stay safe and anonymous on the internet.

Choosing which VPN to get is fairly easy. Just make sure to pay close attention to the following features:

  • Is it budget-friendly, are there any special pricing plans or discounts?
  • How reliable is it?
  • What kind of encryption or protocols does it offer?
  • How many devices does it support? What platforms are supported?
  • Does it work with Netflix and other VoD services?
  • How good is the customer support?
  • Are there any bandwidth limitations?

Yes, your ISP can very well spy on you. In fact, you’re probably being spied on right this very moment.

Everything you do online is being monitored, logged and used by either law enforcement agencies or greedy markets looking shove their products down your throat.

According to the internet freedom index presented by Statista, China is the least internet-friendly country in the world and has scored a whopping 88 index points.

Similarly, countries like the U.S, U.K, and Australia have legal rights to monitor all online activities. If you’re curious as to how surveillance works, you’d be surprised to know how easy it is.

You see, whenever you want to access a certain website, you send a request to your ISPs public DNS server which then translates the requested URL into an IP address.

By handling and processing DNS requests, your ISP can not only tell what your original IP address is, but also what sites you’ve been visiting.

And just like that, you’re out in the open, completely naked and transparent.

But all this can be mitigated with a reliable VPN. With adequate encryption and IP masking, your ISP wouldn’t be able to trace your online footprint back to you.

It’s as simple as that.

Verdict

So, which is the best VPN?

Well, after shortlisting and testing multiple VPN services, it’s obvious that no single VPN can be deemed the best.

While some VPNs don’t leak, others might be good for streaming or torrenting. I’m sure you’re getting my point.

So after painstakingly filtering top 7 VPN services for 2019, I leave it up to you to decide which VPN is best suited for you.

For more in-depth knowledge about all of the VPNs discussed above, you might want to read our VPN reviews.