160+ Unbiased VPN Reviews
Selecting the right VPN is not easy, that’s why we at VPNRanks have used an exclusive 10 steps process that helps you decide a truly anonymous VPN for you. All these VPN providers are tested through IP, DNS, WebRTC leaks, viruses, and speed testing.
As we head into 2024, online censorship remains a significant issue, affecting 4.24 billion people worldwide. Picking the best VPN to shield your digital life matters more than ever. However, finding the right VPN can be an exasperating journey for many. Countless websites claim to offer insights, yet their recommendations often rest on dubious marketing ploys rather than genuine testing.
This becomes even more frustrating due to the prevalence of paid promotions for subpar services, resulting in wasted time and money spent searching for a secure VPN.
Here at our domain, we operate differently. Our unbiased VPN reviews stem from exhaustive testing based on 10 crucial factors, scrutinizing each service’s ability to protect your privacy and security. We specifically test IP address leaks, DNS vulnerabilities, reliability, effectiveness against geoblocking and censorship, speed, and feature functionality. Beyond the technical aspects, we assess privacy jurisdiction, company policies, trustworthiness, and provider track records.
Our team brings 8 years of hands-on experience in using and rigorously testing VPN services. Even before the inception of our platform, we’ve been at the forefront of evaluating VPNs for their efficacy.
So, if you’re interested in purchasing the perfect VPN for your needs, check out some of our most prominent VPN reviews covered below:
Find the Perfect VPN
How many VPNs have we reviewed so far?
At VPNRanks, we offer 160+ reviews covering a wide range of VPNs, and our collection continues to expand daily. But that’s just the beginning – we consistently update every review, ensuring our readers receive the latest information.
Every VPN provider undergoes our rigorous testing criteria to bring you the most unbiased VPN Reviews. Whether it’s speed tests, IP leak evaluations, or performance assessments across platforms, our team revisits these results periodically, ensuring they remain current and accurate.
How do we conduct VPN Reviews?
VPN reviews are conducted rigorously through a systematic approach that emphasizes thorough testing and evaluation. We purchase premium accounts from VPN providers and rigorously test them over 2-3 months, assessing encryption, server performance, speed, and compatibility across devices.
Our detailed reviews showcase real-time data alongside screenshots, providing concrete evidence of their capabilities or limitations in areas like bypassing geo-restrictions and ensuring privacy. This hands-on approach aims to offer transparent and unbiased insights, helping users make informed choices based on solid testing and comprehensive documentation.
1. Jurisdiction – 5, 9 or 14 Eyes Territory
The jurisdiction of a VPN, whether within the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes territories, significantly influences its logging policies. For instance, VPNs operating within these territories, like the US, are mandated to retain user logs and share intelligence data. Hence, our initial analysis focuses on the VPN provider’s headquarters. If it resides in a country without mandatory data retention laws, it signifies a safer and more trustworthy option for users.
To quickly find out which VPNs are safe to use based on jurisdictions, we suggest using the handy tool below.
2. Security – Logs, Protocols & Encryption
Without analyzing logging policies, you cannot determine whether a VPN provider stores or shares your data. Unfortunately, numerous VPNs do keep some sort of logs. There are two major types of VPN logs. Let’s check out both usage and connection logs, shall we?
Understanding VPN logging policies is important in determining the safety of your data. Unfortunately, many VPNs retain certain logs, falling into two key categories: usage and connection logs, each warranting scrutiny.
- Usage Logs: When assessing usage logs, we investigate whether a VPN service collects browsing history, connection times, and IP addresses. A VPN with a genuine no-logs policy refrains from storing any usage data.
- Connection Logs: For connection logs, our focus lies in ensuring that the VPN doesn’t gather connection timestamps, original or VPN-assigned IP addresses, or data transferred. Connection logs, being less intrusive, pose minimal threat to user privacy.
Encryption & protocols
Our evaluation extends to various VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP, IKEv1, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec. Analyzing these protocols allows us to gauge the VPN’s security.
Moreover, we scrutinize encryption levels like 128-bit and 256-bit, along with algorithms such as AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), 3DES, Blowfish, Twofish, IDEA, MD5, SHA1, HMAC, and RSA Security. This comprehensive inspection helps ascertain the robustness and safety of the VPN service.
3. Leaks – IP, DNS, WebRTC Leaks & Virus Tests
A leaking VPN can be devastating to your online privacy. To deem any VPN safe to use, we inspect VPNs for IP, DNS and WebRTC leaks.
Since a lot of low-end or free VPNs tend to suffer from leakage, we are bound to provide realistic information about any form of leaks we find to our audience.
This should give you an idea about different types of VPN leaks and also a few VPNs that passed our leak test. In addition to leaks, we also test for malicious files hidden inside VPN apps through VirusTotal.
4. Servers – Physical, Virtual & Obfuscated Servers
The backbone of any reliable VPN lies in its expansive server network. A robust VPN service boasts a wide-reaching server park, enhancing its ability to bypass restrictions on heavily monitored websites and services. When assessing the best VPNs with server locations, we prioritize a balanced mix of both physical and virtual networks.
Additionally, we examine the availability of obfuscation features. VPNs equipped with obfuscation technology prove vital in repressive regions such as China, Iran, Oman, and other nations curbing online freedoms for their users.
Furthermore, our scrutiny extends to torrenting support. The best VPNs for torrenting provide dedicated servers tailored explicitly for torrenting activities, ensuring a seamless and secure experience for users engaging in peer-to-peer file sharing.
5. Speed – Connection Speeds on Different Servers
The efficacy of any VPN relies on its speed; without it, the service loses its purpose. Speed holds significant importance in our VPN evaluations. During VPN speed tests, we rigorously connect to diverse servers across various locations, calculating an average VPN speed.
Our assessment includes monitoring for speed fluctuations to detect any indications of throttling. This process allows us to gauge the VPN’s capability in bypassing ISP throttling and its imposed speed restrictions, ensuring uninterrupted and efficient performance for users.
6. Streaming – Netflix & Other Streaming Services
When assessing streaming capabilities, our focus revolves around a VPN’s capacity to unlock leading online media platforms such as Netflix US, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Kodi. Notably, in 2023, only a handful of Netflix VPNs retain the ability to unblock US Netflix. Additionally, we scrutinize streaming speeds and potential buffering problems that users might encounter. For those primarily interested in streaming, explore our curated list of the best VPNs for streaming purposes.
7. Compatibility – All the Major Platforms and Devices
What makes any VPN good is the number of apps it offers for different operating systems. We usually test to see whether or not the VPN service is compatible with famous platforms like Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, iOS, and routers.
8. Pricing – Plans, Payment Methods & Refund Policy
The price undoubtedly plays a significant role in selecting a VPN. When we assess VPN prices, we categorize them into specific brackets such as cheap, affordable, and expensive. Similarly, we classify VPNs based on money-back guarantees, free trials, freemium versions, and available payment methods. This approach helps recommend the most suitable VPN service according to your budgetary preferences.
9. Trustworthiness – Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit Reviews, Warrant Canary & Support
In terms of trustworthiness, we prioritize assessing each VPN’s presence on renowned customer review platforms like Trustpilot, known for its unbiased evaluations of various products and services. Additionally, we extensively review Reddit for firsthand experiences shared by different users regarding specific VPNs.
Our evaluation also extends to rigorously examining the customer support performance of each VPN. This involves a thorough exploration of every section on the VPN provider’s website. During testing, we delve into the details of their customer support category.
Our inquiries cover a spectrum of topics, including VPN performance, general queries, and more, directed to live chat or ticket support. We thoroughly check FAQs, social media pages, and relevant subsections such as contact blogs, and knowledge bases, among others.
Furthermore, our process involves posing tough transparency questions to each VPN provider. Our team delves into inquiries about owners, investors, management, and the board of directors.
Additionally, we seek signs of transparency by evaluating a VPN’s transparency report, also known as Warrant Canaries. This exhaustive process aids us in identifying the most transparent VPN services.
Furthermore, we evaluate VPNs based on their audit reports, GDPR, and CDT compliance, enriching our review process to provide a comprehensive and realistic rating.
Our review process ensures unbiased ratings for every VPN, irrespective of their previous ratings. If you’re considering a VPN subscription, following a similar process can assist in selecting an appropriate VPN offering online anonymity within your budget.
10. Value-added Features – Ad-blocking, Split Tunneling and more
When exploring VPN services, we thoroughly examine numerous value-added features they offer, beyond the basics. Our scrutiny extends to functionalities like ad-blocking, split tunneling, and an array of supplementary options that enhance user experience. Ad-blocking capabilities not only ensure privacy but also contribute to a seamless browsing experience by eliminating unwanted advertisements.
Similarly, we delve into the efficiency of split tunneling, assessing its ability to channel internet traffic through both the VPN and regular internet connection, allowing users to customize their online activities. These value-added features play a crucial role in distinguishing exceptional VPN services, providing users with added layers of security and tailored control over their digital experiences.
FAQs – Unbiased VPN Reviews
Is it worth having a VPN?
Yes, having a VPN is valuable as it shields the contents of your web traffic, making it more challenging for online tracking. However, its efficacy is limited against prevalent online threats like malware, social engineering scams, and phishing sites. While a VPN offers privacy benefits, it’s essential to complement it with additional security measures to combat these common online hazards effectively.
Is it legal to use a VPN?
Yes. In the majority of countries, including the U.S., Japan, and the United Kingdom, using VPNs is legal. However, in certain nations like North Korea and Turkmenistan, using a VPN might result in fines or imprisonment due to specific regulations against their usage.
Should I use a VPN all the time?
Yes, you should keep your VPN connected all the time while online. It serves as a protective shield for your sensitive data, safeguarding it from potential intruders and guaranteeing a secure and private internet connection at all times.
What are the advantages of using a VPN?
Using a VPN comes with several key advantages:
- IP Change: A VPN alters your IP address, enhancing anonymity and enabling access to region-restricted content.
- Data Privacy: It conceals personal data, safeguarding sensitive information from potential cyber threats.
- Online Privacy: By encrypting internet traffic, a VPN shields your online activities, preserving privacy from prying eyes.
- Unrestricted Access: VPNs bypass geo-blocks, granting access to censored or restricted content globally.
- Bandwidth Optimization: They mitigate bandwidth throttling, ensuring consistent and optimal internet speeds for users.
- Cost Savings: VPNs offer enhanced security during online transactions, potentially saving money by securing better deals on purchases.
What can I do with a VPN on different devices?
A VPN offers versatile benefits across various devices, allowing simultaneous usage for multiple purposes. With a reliable and secure VPN, your family can engage in gaming, streaming Netflix, or any other online activities concurrently, ensuring privacy and security for each user. Whether you require five, ten, or even unlimited simultaneous connections, there are VPN options tailored to meet your specific needs. Explore our recommendations to discover the best VPNs adept at accommodating multiple connections, catering to diverse usage scenarios across different devices.
Can a VPN decrease my internet connection speed?
Yes, using a VPN can decrease your internet connection speed. Studies reveal that once you connect to a VPN, Wi-Fi speeds might decrease significantly, with drops of up to 77%. However, the extent of speed reduction can vary based on the VPN service you use. Opting for a reliable, subscription-based fastest VPN can mitigate these speed reductions, ensuring more consistent and dependable Wi-Fi speeds despite using the VPN.
Free vs Paid VPN: which VPN works better?
When comparing free versus paid VPN services, the difference lies in performance and security. While both can mask your data, free VPNs often come with drawbacks. They tend to be slower, less secure, and potentially riskier. Paid VPNs, on the other hand, offer better speed, enhanced security features, and a more reliable overall experience, making them a safer choice for ensuring online privacy.
What is the best and safest VPN?
ExpressVPN is the best and safest VPN, offering a robust blend of essential security features. With military-grade encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and a vast network of high-speed servers across the globe, ExpressVPN ensures your online privacy without compromising on performance. Its user-friendly interface and excellent customer support further enhance the overall experience, making it a trusted choice for millions worldwide seeking unparalleled security and seamless browsing.
Understanding the frustrations of VPN users faced with misleading reviews and subpar apps, VPNRanks is committed to delivering authentic, transparent, and unbiased VPN reviews.
We continually review and update our testing parameters to ensure accuracy. Our recommendations prioritize VPNs excelling in streaming, speed, security, and user-friendliness.
Driven by this mission, our dedicated team tirelessly evaluates every VPN in the market, whether a newcomer or a well-established brand. We thoroughly test their performance and features to offer comprehensive and reliable reviews.