With governments of the world carrying out unjust surveillance on the internet, online privacy and security are impossible to achieve without the best secure VPN. If you are wondering what is a secure VPN? It is a tool that routes your web traffic through an encrypted tunnel, preventing surveillance agencies or your ISP from snooping over your activities.
That said, we found ExpressVPN as the best secure VPN in the entire industry!
However, do remember that not every VPN in the industry provides sufficient encryption to safeguard your privacy. In fact, since encryption depends on the security protocols and not on the VPN service provider itself, you should consider choosing VPNs based on the offered protocols rather than relying on the VPN provider’s name.
So, to help you choose the top secure VPN for your needs, we’ve rounded up the 7 most secure VPN services you can use in 2022. During testing, we found out that ExpressVPN is the most secure VPN, combining top encryption with leak protection and a verified no-logs policy.
Why Do I Need a Secure VPN?
A VPN establishes a secure tunnel between you and the VPN server, disabling hackers, your ISP, and the government from snooping over your internet activities. It also helps protect you from other privacy threats present online. Since your online activity can be tracked every time you visit a website or use an online application, a secure VPN ensures complete anonymity so none of your data can be traced back to you.
Here are some more reasons why you need a secure VPN:
- Ease your fears about using public Wi-Fi networks: Public Wi-Fi networks in cafes, hotels, and airports are plagued with all things dangerous. Individuals with nefarious intentions are always on the lookout for your crucial data, from email credentials to financial information. A VPN makes all of their efforts futile by creating an impregnable tunnel for your traffic to go through. This way, all your data remains protected and you can stay safe at a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Prevent cyberattacks: Hackers require your IP address to launch cyberattacks like DDoS, Man-in-the-middle, and Cookie Theft. A VPN assigns you a new IP address each time you connect to a server, thereby, concealing your actual IP address and online identity in a fell swoop.
- Unblock websites: A VPN lets you change your IP address. Thus, it also helps unblock websites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming sites outside of their service areas. You can also use VPN to dodge government-imposed restrictions on certain websites like Facebook or VoIP services like Skype.
- Protect your IoT network: While smart devices in your home like fridge TV, virtual assistants like Alexa, and automatic security systems are there to make your life easier, they can also be the cause of significant security breaches if hacked. It only takes your IP address for the hacker to take control of these devices and cause damage. However, by configuring a VPN on your router, you can safeguard all of these devices at once and ward off hackers even when you’re not at home.
Top 7 Secure VPNs [2022 In-Depth Analysis]
When searching for the best secure VPN, we tested 50+ VPNs, prioritizing their security protocols and encryption. Out of them, we shortlisted the 7 best VPNs for privacy and security in 2022:
1. ExpressVPN – Overall Best Secure VPN with Fast Speeds
ExpressVPN is the best secure VPN for privacy in the United States. It is based in the British Virgin Islands and offers great privacy features and protocols like OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and PPTP.
ExpressVPN offers an RSA-4096 handshake (a type of link affirmation between the device and a particular VPN server). It also has a PFS (Perfect Forward Secrecy) and SHA-512 hash message authentication code (HMAC), making it one of the most secure and reliable no-logs VPNs in the industry.
When tested for IP and DNS leaks, here’s what we found.
In terms of network coverage, ExpressVPN has 3000+ servers across 94 countries worldwide. Its optimized servers hide your traffic and keep your privacy intact throughout the browsing session. With an allowance of multiple simultaneous connections per account, it ensures equal protection for up to five devices simultaneously.
In terms of security, here’s everything you get with ExpressVPN.
- Lightway Protocol
- AES-256-bit Encryption
- Protection against Log4Shell vulnerability
- Highly functional Kill Switch to automatically shut down the flow of your traffic when your VPN connection weakens.
- RAM-only servers for utmost privacy.
- AES-256-GCM and ChaCha20/Poly1305 ciphers.
- HMAC authentication to prevent data alteration by an attacker.
- Trusted Server Technology
You can also use ExpressVPN to unblock geo-restricted streaming services from abroad. You can watch Netflix US, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and more from anywhere in the world with ExpressVPN.
Moreover, it uses 256-bit military-grade encryption as well as an advanced kill switch feature that keeps you anonymous even during unfortunate connection drops.
That being said, ExpressVPN starts at a price of just $6.67/mo (Save 49% and get 3 extra months FREE with 12-month plan). It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee for users to test the service before investing in it. To know more about the VPN provider, read our detailed ExpressVPN review.
- Highly-advanced Lightway protocol
- Strict no-log policy
- 100% protection against DNS/IP leaks
- RAM-only servers
- Operating from a privacy-focused country
- Require an email to sign up
- No app for routers
2. Surfshark – Affordable VPN with Top Security Features
Surfshark is the most budget-friendly VPN In United States for security and ultimate online protection. It comes at an affordable price of just $2.30/mo (Save 81% on 2 Years + 2 Months Free Plan with Surfshark Antivirus) along with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
It offers top-notch protocols like IKEv2, OpenVPN, Shadowsocks, Wireguard, and L2TP. It works with almost all streaming services and offers a bufferless experience.
Aside from these protocols, Surfshark offers AES-256 secure encryption and DNS leak protection. When tested for IP/DNS leaks, here’s how it performed.
It features a network of 3200+ servers across 95 countries. It offers unlimited multi-logins that allow you to use the VPN service on multiple devices simultaneously and with utmost privacy.
Here are all the security features you get with Surfshark:
- Kill Switch.
- AES-256 encryption cipher.
- WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols are available on all the clients with excellent speeds.
- Obfuscation mode.
- RAM-only servers.
- DNS servers – managed by Surfshark.
- Antivirus, dedicated to malware scanning, prevention, data monitoring, and real-time alerts.
- CleanWeb to block ads and trackers on the IP address level.
- MultiHop feature for double encryption.
Surfshark is compatible with various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox) etc.
Among other security features, this VPN also offers a kill switch feature that activates instantly after it detects a connection failure with your VPN. Its other robust security features include Cleanweb, Whitelister, MultiHop, and much more.
However, if you face any difficulty or issue while using Surfshark, get in touch with its customer support representatives using its 24/7 live chat support. To know more about Surfshark and its features, read our detailed Surfshark review.
- Affordable pricing
- Audited no-logs policy
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- MultiHop feature
- CleanWeb for secure browsing
- Email required for registration
3. NordVPN – Secure VPN with Strong Encryption
NordVPN is another secure VPN provider in Unites States that offers strong encryption and advanced security features for safe browsing. It offers 256-bit encryption and obfuscation technology alongside a Nordlynx feature that can encrypt user traffic while offering great speeds.
When tested for IP and DNS leaks protection, it offered complete security and kept the IP address concealed.
The service offers 5500+ servers in 59 countries worldwide. It is one of the largest server network VPNs in the industry.
If we talk about protocols, NordVPN supports both OpenVPN protocol and IKEv2/IPSec. Moreover, its double VPN technology allows you additional security by routing the traffic through multiple VPN servers. It also offers a kill switch feature, making it one of the most secure VPN.
Check out the list of features offered by NordVPN:
- WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols maintain a rare balance between security and high speeds.
- AES-256 encryption cipher for military-grade protection level.
- Obfuscated servers to dodge the VPN-detection mechanisms on certain websites.
- RAM-only servers.
- Threat Protection works as an ad-blocker, tracker blocker, and malware protection. It also prevents you from pushing scams.
- Dark web monitor to warn about any personal data vulnerabilities.
- Double VPN to add an additional protective layer to your web traffic.
- Onion Over VPN to benefit from both a VPN and Onion Network.
NordVPN comes with multi-logins that you can use to connect up to 6 devices simultaneously, including Fire Stick, Smart TVs, Roku, Kodi, and more. You can also use this VPN with multiple operating systems, including iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, etc.
This super-secure VPN comes at a price of just $3.99/mo (Save 70% on 2 Years Plan + Extra Subscription) along with a 30-day money-back guarantee for users to test the service. You can read our exclusive NordVPN review to know more about this VPN provider.
- Advanced WireGuard protocol
- Extensive security suit
- Six simultaneous connections
- RAM-only servers
- Double VPN
- Windows client has an annoying interface
4. IPVanish – Fastest VPN with Advanced Security Technology
IPVanish offers PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 VPN protocols with AES 256-bit encryption across all servers. Take a look at its highly advanced tunnelling protocols:
In terms of security features, here’s what you get from IPVanish:
- Military-grade AES 256-bit encryption.
- OnDemand feature that works the same way as auto-connect.
- WireGuard protocol for reliable speed connections.
- Traffic obfuscation through XOR cipher.
- Customizable kill switch.
- SHA-512 account authentication.
- Forward Secrecy that makes your VPN sessions more secure.
- DNS/IP leak protection.
IPVanish is known for its internet Kill Switch, port forwarding, split tunneling, IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS leak protection. After performing IPVanish leak tests using ipleak.net, we didn’t experience any leaks.
Aside from offering powerful encryption, IPVanish keeps no logs and offers affordable subscription plans. For the cheapest plan, IPVanish only charges $3.99/mo and offers unlimited multi-logins with a 30-day refund period. To know about this encryption VPN in detail, read our IPVanish review.
- Next-gen WireGuard protocol for fast speeds
- Customizable kill switch
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Forward Secrecy
- IP/DNS Leak Protection
- Doesn’t work in China
5. CyberGhost – User-friendly and Secure VPN
CyberGhost is another most secure VPN service In United States with user-friendly apps for all devices. For encryption, this VPN offers 256-bit military-grade encryption to ensure complete anonymity and security over the internet.
Moreover, CyberGhost supports three powerful protocols: OpenVPN (TCP / UDP), IKEv2, and L2TP/IPSec. CyberGhost’s Data channels use AES-265-CBC cipher with SHA256 hash authentication. Similarly, its control channel uses AES-256 cipher, with SHA384 hash authentication and RSA-4096 key encryption.
We also tested CyberGhost for IP/DNS leaks and found it fully protected.
It features network of 7700+ servers across 90 countries. All of its servers are fully optimized to ensure complete security and privacy. We were impressed by how fast its Kill Switch reacted during the temporary shutdown of our VPN connection. It instantly halted our activities to maintain complete privacy until we regained our VPN connection.
Here are all the security features that come with CyberGhost.
- 4-in-1 security suite for Windows client: A VPN, Antivirus, Security Updater, and Privacy Guard to prevent Microsoft’s data collection.
- World-class protocols and military-grade AES-256-bit encryption.
- Dependable Kill switch that cuts off your web activities to ensure your data is never exposed.
- No Spy-servers to get absolute privacy over the internet.
- Password Manager to protect your valuable credentials in an encrypted vault.
- Private Browser that blocks unwarranted ads and prevents online surveillance.
If we talk about simultaneous connections, CyberGhost offers 7 multi-logins. Not only that, it offers a 45-day money-back guarantee – the only VPN on our list that offers such an extended free trial period. Learn more about this VPN with our CyberGhost review.
- User-friendly interface
- Dependable kill switch
- Seven simultaneous connections
- No-spy servers
- Password Manager
- Slow connections oftentimes.
6. Private Internet Access – Secure VPN with Massive Server Network
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a secure VPN In United States with a massive server network across the globe. With around 35000+ secure VPN servers available in 80 countries, PIA ensures utmost security throughout the globe.
In addition to 256-bit encryption, the provider lets you choose between a myriad of tunneling protocols including, OpenVPN protocol (TCP / UDP), PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, IKEV, and IPSEC. It also hosts a top-notch kill switch feature to protect your online activities even during uncertain times.
Here’s what we found in our IP/DNS leak test.
With this military-grade encrypted VPN, you can also choose different data authentication methods, including RSA-2048 and RSA-4096. It also features its own DNS server for maximum security and privacy. However, you can easily change it whenever you want.
Here are all the security features that PIA offers:
- Open Source VPN, which means code is available for everyone to inspect and analyze.
- Strict no-logs policy – they even have the court records to back it up.
- Advanced encryption standards – users can choose between 128-bit and AES 256-bit encryption ciphers.
- WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols – two of the most secure tunneling protocols out there.
- Antivirus program that provides Web Shield updates, Cloud-based virus definition, Max-security quarantine, and detailed security reports.
- Kill Switch that instantly activates upon a VPN connection drop.
- Dedicated IPs to fully encrypt your connection with a static IP address.
You can get PIA at a cost of $2.19/mo with a 30-day refund policy for users to test the service beforehand. Last but not least, it’s a VPN service that offers 10 simultaneous connections and protects multiple devices at once.
You can read our exclusive PIA Secure VPN review to know more about its other features.
- Largest server network across the globe
- Open Source VPN
- Offers dedicated IPs
- WireGuard Protocol
- Kill switch
- Operates under US jurisdiction – a known member of Five Eyes International Surveillance agencies.
7. PrivateVPN – Solid VPN Option for Security
Based in Sweden, PrivateVPN is a solid VPN option in United States with security features including military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. When it comes to the best VPN encryption protocols, PrivateVPN offers PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2/IPSec, and the most effective OpenVPN protocol.
Based on our research, we discovered that PrivateVPN has robust encryption and security standards. It establishes the OpenVPN connections through an RSA-2048 handshake. It offers Perfect forward secrecy via an ECDH key exchange, which ensures that your encrypted data does not get decrypted later even if an encryption key is hacked or compromised.
When tested for DNS & IP leaks, the VPN provider did not disappoint.
PrivateVPN ensures best-in-class online security through the following implementations:
- Open Source VPN, which means code is available for everyone to inspect and analyze.
- Strict no-logs policy – the VPN never handed over users’ data to anyone, despite being asked by law enforcement several times.
- Military-grade encryption standards – All their servers use military-grade AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) 256-bit encryption code with a 2048-bit DH key.
- OpenVPN protocols with UDP/TCP permit various kinds of authentication methods and utilize a secure SSL/TLS protocol for key exchange.
- Guaranteed protection on public Wi-Fi networks.
- Reliable Kill Switch that instantly halts your activities if your VPN connection drops at any point.
- Dedicated IPs allow you to have complete control over your data over the internet.
PrivateVPN offers 10 multi-logins, an ad-blocker, and DNS leak protection to all of its subscribers. It is available at a price of $2.50/mo that comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can learn more about it in our PrivateVPN review.
- Strong security features
- Open Source VPN
- Offers dedicated IPs
- Strict no-log policy
- Kill switch
- Windows app needs improvement.
Methodology – How do we choose the best secure or encrypted VPNs?
VPNs are meant to protect your online activities and keep you anonymous while browsing. Therefore, it is important to look for certain factors when choosing the best secure VPN. All of our above-discussed VPNs are verified on basic testing criteria as given below. You can also use these factors as a guide for choosing the best encryption VPN.
1. DNS Leak Test
DNS (Domain Name System) is used to provide easy access to websites by translating domain names to corresponding IP addresses. This job is usually done by your Internet Service Provider, meaning your ISP knows what websites you’re visiting. But with a VPN, your DNS requests remain hidden, preventing others from tracking your location.
However, sometimes, these requests leak outside of the encrypted tunnel, exposing your location to your ISP or website owners. Therefore, we run individual DNS leak tests to ensure each of our selected VPNs is fully protected.
2. IP leaks
First and foremost, we tested all the VPNs for IP leaks. After all, if the VPN is giving away your information as basic as your IP address, then it’s simply not worth investing in. All the VPNs listed above have been tested for this and found fully protected from IP leaks.
3. Kill Switch
A kill switch is another significant consideration to ensure complete online security. All of the above-listed best-encrypted VPN apps (especially, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN) offer an effective kill switch feature that you can use to stay secure even during unexpected connection drops.
4. Encryption Protocol/Algorithm
Your VPN provider should support the strongest encryption to make your data unreadable and impossible to intercept. AES-256, ChaCha20, and quantum-resistant encryption standards are considered the strongest encryption ciphers in today’s age. In addition to strong encryption, a secure VPN should also offer the most secure VPN protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2, or even better, WireGuard.
If you are looking for a VPN that fully meets our basic testing criteria, we highly recommend subscribing to ExpressVPN.
Are secure VPNs fast?
Yes, all of our recommended secure VPNs offer fast connection speeds. Since VPNs work by routing your web traffic through an external server, it maximizes the distance between you and the VPN server, resulting in slower connections or extra potential latency.
However, there are some secure VPNs that maintain the rare balance between security and speed. With the help of advanced tunneling protocols, our selected VPNs ensure that you get the best security without compromising your connection speed. To help you get an idea about the top safe VPN speeds, we ran speed tests to show you which of the secure VPN is the fastest.
Here’s the breakdown of speed results we achieved from our fastest VPNs that are also utterly secure:
Note: All VPN testing was performed on a base Internet speed of 100 Mbps.
|Secure VPN Services||Average Speed||Maximum Speed|
|ExpressVPN||85.61 Mbps||89.64 Mbps|
|Surfshark||80.00 Mbps||85.12 Mbps|
|NordVPN||83.73 Mbps||86.64 Mbps|
|IPVanish||84.98 Mbps||87.01 Mbps|
|CyberGhost||79.13 Mbps||81.46 Mbps|
|Private Internet Access||70.09 Mbps||78.47 Mbps|
|PrivateVPN||65.18 Mbps||75.91 Mbps|
Which VPN protocol is the most secure?
Let’s have a look at some common VPN protocols and find out their security standard.
|VPN Protocol||Security Level|
|OpenVPN||Low to high (configurable)|
1. IKEv2 – Suitable option for Android and iOS devices
This protocol is technically more stable than an OpenVPN connection. It is usually referred to as IKEv2/IPSec because it is never implemented without an IPSec encryption. However, this protocol is only available over UDP.
2. OpenVPN – Highly recommended security protocol
This VPN protocol is highly recommended to be used and is available with all of our listed VPNs. It is known to be the most encrypted VPN protocol for users.
3. WireGuard – Next-gen protocol with top-notch security and fast speed
Despite being in the development stage, WireGuard is regarded as the most secure VPN protocol – a better version of OpenVPN. Equipped with a relatively less number of line codes, WireGuard makes the auditing process much easier and more straightforward. The protocol should be available in all the best-encrypted VPNs for Android and other mobile devices, as it is capable of switching mobile networks and Wi-Fi quite seamlessly.
Best free encrypted VPN (2022)
There are some best free VPN services in United States that offer encryption, crucial for spoofing your online locations. However, we do not recommend them all for various reasons.
Firstly, free VPN services usually do not provide adequate encryption and security. Secondly, with a free VPN, you might experience data leaks, including your IP address, email address, etc. However, there is one VPN provider that is providing excellent services and encryption for free: ProtonVPN.
ProtonVPN is a Switzerland-based VPN provider that offers unlimited bandwidth and high-security encryption. It uses the AES-256 encryption standard, which effectively secures user data from leaks or interception. This is why we recommend ProtonVPN as the best VPN for encrypted surfing that you can have for free.
How to set up a secure and best-encrypted VPN to gain online security?
Follow these five simple steps to set up a secure VPN and gain online security and privacy with just one click:
How to test for IP Leaks?
There are multiple ways to test your VPN for IP/DNS leaks. You can use websites like IPLeak.net, DNSLeak.com, Hidester DNS Leak Test, or DNS Leak Test.com to determine whether your VPN is leaking your IP address. These websites will help you get instant results about your IP address and details of the DNS server you’re currently using.
In case you find a leak, you have a couple of options to fix it. One, upgrade your VPN to one that particularly works to prevent IP leaks. All our editors’ top picks – ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN – were found to be leak-proofed.
Second, you can manually try changing your router’s DNS servers, which are used when you send requests to the internet. The process can be a bit tricky as it requires you to tweak your router settings – only recommended for tech-savvy individuals.
How do I secure my VPN connection?
Here are some tips to secure your VPN connection:
FAQs – Best Secure VPN
Now that you have an idea about encryption and why is it so important, let’s go through some of the most frequently asked questions about Secure VPN:
Does a VPN use encryption?
Yes, VPNs do use encryption to protect your privacy and ensure security. In fact, the most reliable and secure VPNs offer 256-bit encryption for maximum privacy.
Which VPN has military-grade encryption?
ExpressVPN offers AES 256-bit military-grade VPN encryption that encrypts your data so it doesn’t leak to any third party. This efficient industry-standard encryption works best to keep users safe from any kind of snooping.
Can an encrypted VPN be hacked?
No, an encrypted VPN cannot be hacked easily. Hacking encryption needs a lot of knowledge and expertise. Even the best of hackers would only try to break a VPN encryption if the data is extremely significant to them. However, this only applies to our recommended secure VPNs.
If you’re using a VPN service with weak encryption standards, hackers can intercept your data when using a VPN. They can easily break its encryption, steal its data logs and force you into clicking on malicious ads.
Is a VPN connection encrypted?
Yes, a VPN establishes a secure connection between you and the internet. With the VPN, all your web traffic is routed through an encrypted virtual tunnel. This conceals your IP address when you browse the internet, making you anonymous to everyone. A VPN connection is also well-protected against external attacks such as DDoS attacks, Man-in-the-Middle, and other cyberattacks.
How do I know if my VPN connection is actually encrypted?
Wireshark provides accurate results about whether your VPN is encrypting data as it inspects the actual data packets sent and received by your device. You can verify this from your naked eyes to see if the data is obfuscated or in a readable form.
Are VPNs secure by default?
Yes, VPNs are always secure and encrypted by default. This is one of the fundamental functions of a VPN. However, in some instances, your VPN may leak your information such as your IP. However, if you opt for our recommended secure VPNs, you will have your data encrypted by default.
Final Thoughts – Best Secure VPN
Unfortunately, you cannot secure your online privacy in this day and age unless you use the best secure VPN to protect your online activities. Fortunately, after going through this guide, you now know the VPNs that offer industry benchmark encryption and protocols.
However, our top choice for the best encryption VPN remains ExpressVPN, thanks to its robust security features and top-notch encryption protocols. Along with that, it also offers a 3-month free subscription on its annual plan for its users’ complete satisfaction.
We hope you find this blog informative. Do opt for our best-encrypted VPN services in United States (2022) to achieve utmost online protection and anonymity at all times. Lastly, which encrypted VPN did you find most secured in United States? Let us know in the comments section below.