Nowadays, more and more people are becoming aware and mindful of their internet privacy. It’s understandable considering that countless lives have been affected due to a breach of data privacy. One popular method of protection is VPNs, and with this rising awareness and mindfulness among the population, the competition among VPN providers has significantly grown.
With so many options comes a variance in features and functionality. Some VPNs have servers in more countries than others, while some will have stronger security features, and some might not have both but could be cheaper and perform faster. Considering the number of options, getting confused is an obvious outcome.
What’s important to remember is that there really is no perfect VPN in the market. It really comes down to how every individual uses the internet and how much of their own information they are putting out onto the information highway. To understand how this impacts your choice, you must first understand what goes into judging a VPN. Some of the factors include download/upload speeds, number of servers, number of locations, number of privacy-friendly jurisdictions, protocols and encryption standards, streaming quality and speed, usability, and customer support.
So if you’re new to VPNs, and don’t put out a lot of your information on to the web, then all you need is a VPN that has decent speed, has streaming options, provides customer support, and doesn’t cost a lot of money. However, if your job entails a high level of information and data transfer, then you would need something with incredible speeds, strong encryption protocols, privacy-friendly jurisdictions, and you wouldn’t mind paying for something that sophisticated since your job depends on it (and your employer is paying for it anyway).
However, today we’ll go over some of the “best” VPNs in the market today, and highlight their features and functionalities. We won’t be able to recommend or choose a single winner, but at the very least we’ll equip you with the information you need to make the choice that’s right for you!
Considering it’s one of the most widely used VPN software today, it’s no surprise that ExpressVPN was going to be on this list. We just thought we would get it out of the way in the beginning. ExpressVPN has an impressive network of servers spanning more than 90 countries and 3000 machines! Being founded in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands, it’s no surprise that the company has a no-logging policy and uses incredible standards for its encryption protocols.
The user interface is also very easy to use and has a fresh and clean look. Users have reported very good ratings as far as usability and ease go. Beginners also tend to pick up on the interface very fast because of the way it’s designed. The server performance is also incredibly impressive, and allows P2P traffic and gives you access to streaming services such as Netflix.
ExpressVPN is useful for beginners and professionals alike and, depending on which side of the spectrum you’re on, can be pretty cheap or slightly on the higher side, but only when compared to other options in the market. With the number of features and excellent customer support, ExpressVPN does truly stand out and is worth the money.
NordVPN has one of the best encryption and security protocols of all VPNs in the market right now. Add to that the company’s extremely strict no-logging policy, and you have one of the safest and most secure privacy protection tools at your disposal. NordVPN and its founders constantly strive to promote privacy protection and the same are evident with the number of independent third-party audits they’ve carried out to prove their practices of no-logging and protection of privacy.
The positive aspects don’t stop at the culture of privacy protection though. NordVPN offers access to more than 5000 servers in 59 countries, almost all of them performing at optimum speeds. The user interface is also incredibly easy to use and you can install your subscription on 6 devices at the same time.
With so many features, it’s no surprise that there are almost 12 million users of NordVPN. Also, with so much on offer, the price isn’t very high either.
CyberGhost is based in Romania, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, and has always promoted transparency and privacy protection above all else. Similar to NordVPN, they publish an annual transparency report which verifies their no-logging policy and has impressive security and encryption protocols in place.
Despite the awesome levels of encryption and security, CyberGhost is most known for its performance with streaming services. They go as far as dedicating specialized servers for their streaming features, and these servers definitely do not disappoint in their performance. The user interface is also quite easy to use and you can install your subscription on up to 7 devices at a time.
As for the money, CyberGhost is the cheapest VPN option of all those mentioned in this article. With so many features, great performance and a low price, CyberGhost is one of the more popular options in the market today.
SurfShark is relatively new to the market. However, they have more than enough reasons to set themselves apart! First and foremost is the nifty “Camouflage Mode”, which would keep your ISP from finding out that you’re using a VPN in the first place. The second feature that separates SurfShark from the rest is that you’re allowed to install your subscription on as many devices as you want.
However, the above should not be confused as mere gimmicks. This is a VPN that performs brilliantly, with impressive speeds, reliable connectivity, and strong encryption and security protocols in place. The number of servers isn’t as impressive as the VPNs mentioned above (SurfShark only offers 800 servers in 56 countries), but all these servers perform at optimum levels and provide strong security.
PureVPN is best known for its performance with streaming services. You have access to more than 70 different streaming services and channels around the world, including the US version of Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Each streaming service has a dedicated server, and all of PureVPN’s servers perform at a very high level, allowing usage of P2P software and even online gaming!
PureVPN also sets itself apart from its competition due to the geographically diverse network they have at their disposal. With servers set across more than 130 countries, users have a wide selection to choose from and can opt for various privacy-friendly jurisdictions and a wide range of streaming services. The user interface is also pretty easy to use and comes equipped with a number of security features. Also, the encryption and security protocols in place are state-of-the-art.
However, PureVPN has caused users some concern in the past. Even though they are located in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, the company used to keep user logs in the past and has recently made claims that they have implemented a strict no-logging policy. However, without verifying this claim through an independent audit, there is no sure way of knowing.
Similar to PureVPN, VyprVPN used to keep user logs in the past and have recently implemented a no-logging policy. However, unlike PureVPN, this no-logging policy and its implementation have been confirmed by way of an independent third-party audit. Furthermore, one thing that sets VyprVPN apart from the competition is that they own all their server hardware in all the 64 countries that they operate in. Other VPN providers lease their hardware from local third-party data centres.
While the connection speed on these servers may not be the best on this list, they do perform at a decent speed nonetheless. The speed is enough for users to easily stream content and download torrents. However, one can happily live with the speed when you understand what owning the servers means for a VPN provider. With ownership, the number of people having access to these servers is further limited, ensuring further security.
Even though the speed isn’t the best on this list, the security and encryption protocols are definitely second to none! There’s also the “Chameleon” feature which prevents your ISP from blocking or throttling your VPN performance.
Compared to some of the other options in this article, ZenMate has a very simple set up. It’s designed to ensure the privacy and security of your data and does so with minimal gimmicks. ZenMate has claimed they have a no-logging policy, but they have not provided any confirmation for the same via an independent third-party audit.
However, the security and encryption protocols are top of the line. Add to that the server performance which is fast and reliable, with a network that spans across 30 countries. Their servers allow P2P connectivity and users have access to popular streaming services including the US version of Netflix.
Customer service is a bit of a disappointment as there is no live chat option, and responses you get via email don’t help as much either. However, if you are good with tech, you’ll have user guides at your disposal for any troubleshooting. However, the limited customer service and minimalistic approach to the user interface ensures an inexpensive service, making it more accessible for a wider demographic.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access may not be as big as some of the other names in this article, but by no means does it offer a lower level of security. Even though they are based in the US, which is not a very privacy-friendly jurisdiction, this nifty little VPN has a massive following and has a no-logging policy in place. However, this policy was verified in a much more dramatic fashion than an independent third-party audit. When subpoenaed by a court of law (on two different incidents) the company did not provide any of the user logs, as they did not exist.
Despite the smaller stature, Private Internet Access has brilliant performance results with high speeds and reliable connectivity. With military-grade encryption in place, you can also rest assured of your security and privacy. The entire network of more than 3000 servers in 32 countries allows P2P traffic.
However, that’s the extent of the service. Private Internet Access is not a good option for streaming, and the company itself does not support the usage of the VPN for streaming. However, like ZenMate, this minimalistic aspect results in a lower price when compared to the competition and as far as reliability and security go, Private Internet Access does not disappoint.
Last, but not least, is our most colourfully-named entry on the list. HideMyAss has the largest network of servers out of anybody on this list. Servers are spread across 220 countries and operate at respectable performance levels. The servers allow P2P traffic and the encryption protocols are also pretty decent.
However, that’s where all the positives end. The service is provided from the United Kingdom, which has very disadvantageous data retention laws, meaning your privacy isn’t as secure as you would want. And even though the network may be wide, geo-blocking continues to be an issue for this VPN, rendering it useless for streaming services.
As we mentioned in the beginning, this article was not on the best ranking VPNs in the market today. Rather, the above is merely a guide to educate you on the different options available. If you want to know who the clear winner is, head on over to this top VPN list.
What you should take away from this article is that each of the above VPNs performs at a brilliant level and ensures that your privacy is maintained and your data is secure at all times. With the rise in hacking and privacy breaches in this constantly advancing technological age, measures such as a VPN are becoming more and more important.
What you, as a user, must ensure is that you have the right security options in place at all times. This would depend on your usage of the internet and the amount of data you allow to be present on it. Considering only you would have this information, you yourself would be the best judge.