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The best VPN services of 2019

There are hundreds of VPN providers out there, but which is the best one for you? At BestVPN.com we compare the best VPN services, explain why you need a VPN in 2019 and give you some handy tips on what to look out for when shopping for a Virtual Private Network.

Firstly you may be thinking “why do I need a VPN service?”, well, the best VPNs allow you to:

  • Hide what you get up to on the internet from your ISP.
  • Hide what you get up to online from your government and the NSA.
  • Evade website blocks and other forms of censorship, put in place by your government, school or workplace.
  • Spoof your location so you can watch services such as US Netflix and BBC iPlayer, wherever you live or travel in the world. This trick is also great for accessing restricted sporting events, such as boxing matches and football games.
  • Take part in P2P torrent downloads safely.

So yeah, VPNs are pretty darn useful…

The best VPN service for you

As you can see, VPNs are highly versatile security tools. A decent VPN tends to be pretty good at everything, but it is worth remembering that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all VPN service.

 

What do you need from your VPN?

Answer a few simple questions and we’ll recommend the perfect VPN for your needs

Privacy
Internet access (e.g. Netflix)
Both of the Above

Check out the table below for a quick comparison of the best VPN providers in 2019 for some great all-rounders.

1. From $2.99 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.8 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
2. From $2.75 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
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3. From $6.67 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
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4. From $1.89 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.4 out of 10
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5. From $1.33 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.3 out of 10
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6. From $1.89 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.2 out of 10
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7. From $4.00 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.1 out of 10
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8. From $2.88 / month
BestVPN.com Score 8.9 out of 10
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9. From $2.91 / month
BestVPN.com Score 8.8 out of 10
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10. From $4.17 / month
BestVPN.com Score 8.7 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review

How to choose the best VPN for you

There are several key things to consider when choosing the best VPN service for you, these include:

  • Speed: Using a VPN will slow down your connection, although if connecting to a location nearby, this should be so minimal that you won’t notice it.  A longer distance to the VPN server will slow things down further (blame physics). Check out our Speed Test to find the fastest VPNs on the market.
  • Logs and jurisdiction: This may not matter if all you care about is streaming content, but if you care about privacy then choose a no logs VPN.  For extra peace of mind, select one based in a country that performs minimal mass surveillance on its citizens.
  • Technical security: It’s important to find VPN software that prevents IP leaks and has a kill switch. Even if you don’t care about the NSA, strong encryption is the mark of a good VPN. Avoid being swayed by fancy marketing jargon, simply saying “AES-256 encryption” without context is meaningless.
  • Number of simultaneous connections: The more devices you can connect to the service at once the better. Most VPNs now allow at least 3 simultaneous connections, but many now permit 5 or more.
  • Can it unblock streaming services?: For some this is the most important feature for a VPN, for others it is irrelevant. If it’s Netflix you’re after, this is key.
  • Servers where you want them: Some VPNs offer servers just about everywhere. This is great if you need it, but most of us only want to access servers in a few select locations. The important thing is that any VPN you pick has servers in the countries that you want to connect to.
  • Standards of customer service: 27/4 live chat support is often considered the gold standard, but the quality of support is also important. It is unrealistic to expect live chat support staff to be technical whizz-kids, but they should be able to refer you on to someone who is, and quickly.
  • Permit torrenting: Be aware that not all VPNs allow torrenting, and if they don’t then you can get into trouble for it. It’s best to check before signing up. Remember that at www.bestVPN.com we do not condone copyright infringement.

Choosing the VPN service for you requires some flexibility in terms of speed vs privacy. In theory, using stronger encryption (especially strong OpenVPN encryption) can slow down a VPN connection, but most modern systems (including mobile devices) are fast enough that you are unlikely to ever notice.

Far more important is physical distance to the server, how fast the server itself is, and how many other people are sharing that server. The more people sharing a server’s IP address, the more private your internet surfing is, as it’s difficult to tell which of a server’s many users is doing what.

10 Top VPN Providers in 2019

These are our expert picks for the top 10 VPN services on the market. Not every service is suitable for every user, our descriptions should give you an idea of the strong points of each, allowing you make an informed choice.

We also spend a lot of time and effort researching and writing full VPN reviews giving you all the details of each provider.

1. NordVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.8 out of 10

Summary

NordVPN scooped the prize of Best Overall Service at our BestVPN.com Awards ceremony in Las Vegas this year. With a strong focus on privacy and a willingness to keep innovating in the VPN space, NordVPN is a great VPN at a great price.

Nord offers an industry-leading six simultaneous connections which means that everyone in the family can use the VPN at the same time.

With clients available for all major platforms, the software looks great and works well. A three-day free trial is a nice bonus if you are looking to take it for a test drive, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee gives you plenty of time if you change your mind.

NordVPN permits torrenting, works with all major streaming services (e.g. iPlayer and Netflix) and has robust privacy policies in place to ensure you remain anonymous.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 62
  • Average Speed 59.23 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 6
  • Jurisdiction Panama

Likes

  • Consistently fast speeds
  • Excellent customer support
  • Great value
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Based in Panama (great for privacy)
  • P2P: Yes

Dislikes

  • Two Mac clients is confusing and the new one lacks features
  • No Linux client

2. CyberGhost

BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10

Summary

CyberGhost won the Best Value Award at our annual awards ceremony this year thanks to its low price point and excellent offering. There is no bandwidth limit, encryption is great and setting up the service is easy. CyberGhost’s user-friendly apps makes connecting to the VPN simple and straightforward.

CyberGhost is based both in Romania and in Germany, the latter being responsible for most of the software development. With both teams united by a common credo for internet anonymity, CyberGhost is a major supporter and promoter of civil rights, a free society and an uncensored internet culture. Our kind of folks!

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 60
  • Average Speed 61.97 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 7
  • Jurisdiction Romania

Likes

  • 7 simultaneous devices
  • Great no logs policy
  • Based in Romania, which has no government surveillance
  • Cheap – great value!
  • Servers in 61 countries worldwide

Dislikes

  • No stealth tech for evading VPN blocks

3. ExpressVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10

Summary

ExpressVPN won Editor’s Choice at the BestVPN.com Awards 2019. And with good reason…

ExpressVPN consistently ranks as one of the fastest VPN providers in our official BestVPN Speed Test. This makes it a fantastic option for streaming HD content.

Robust encryption keeps hackers at bay and no usage logs means the company can’t share your personal browsing data.

With servers in plenty of countries around the world, “stealth” servers to help users in China bypass the firewall, and Smart Domain Name System (DNS) service that keeps streaming sites like Netflix running smoothly, you can see why ExpressVPN continues to impress our experts and remains one of our most popular VPN providers.

Try ExpressVPN today with a 30-day, no-quibble, money-back guarantee.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 94
  • Average Speed 77.14 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 3
  • Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands

Likes

  • High speed – great for streaming!
  • Easy setup and easy use!
  • High level of security – 256-bit encryption
  • Unlimited data
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Dislikes

  • A bit pricey – but worth it!

4. PrivateVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.4 out of 10

Summary

PrivateVPN is a zero-logs Swedish provider. It features a firewall-based system Kill Switch and application-level kill switch, which is great. Full IPv4 and IPv6 DNS leak protection is also built-in to its client.

We have been particularly impressed by PrivateVPN’s high level of customer service, which even features remote installation for technophobes! A cracking 6 simultaneous devices, port forwarding, HTTPS and SOCKS5 proxies all make PrivateVPN a very enticing option for those that want to get the most out of their VPN.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 60
  • Average Speed 58.97 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 6
  • Jurisdiction Sweden

Likes

  • Great value for money
  • Excellent customer support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Impressive mobile apps
  • Comprehensive IP leak protection
  • 6 simultaneous connections

Dislikes

  • Still new
  • No stealth technology for evading VPN blocks

5. Ivacy

BestVPN.com Score 9.3 out of 10

Summary

Ivacy VPN is a service based in Singapore that has proven that it is a formidable all-around service. Not only is it cheap, but it was recently awarded Best VPN for Speeds at the annual VPN awards.

This excellent VPN has servers located in over fifty countries, and, because those servers are fast  – this service is ideal for anybody who wants to stream or do data-intensive tasks like gaming.

When it comes to privacy this VPN has got you covered. Its zero-logs policy can be trusted, and its OpenVPN encryption is guaranteed to keep your data away from your ISP’s snooping eyes. What’s more this VPN will keep you secure whenever you use public WiFi.

Overall, Ivacy in a fantastic service with good customer care. Why not give it a try thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 50
  • Average Speed 81.08 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Singapore

Likes

  • No logs
  • Blazing fast speed performance
  • 30-day refund plus 7-day free trial
  • Split tunneling (not Mac)
  • P2P allowed

Dislikes

  • Support wobbles on very technical questions
  • Too much website tracking

6. Surfshark

BestVPN.com Score 9.2 out of 10

Summary

Although new on the VPN scene in 2018, Surfshark hit the ground running. Based in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark is a no logs VPN service with excellent technical security and superb 24/7 support. At our recent BestVPN.com Awards, Surfshark won the Best Newcomer award.

The super-sharp service has 500 servers in over 50 countries. And, because it provides fast speeds, those servers can be used for streaming in HD and other data-intensive tasks.

What’s more, Surfshark unblocks popular services such as Netflix US and BBC iPlayer. We think this VPN offers outstanding value for money and high levels of privacy thanks to strong OpenVPN encryption! Why not give it a try thanks to its 30-day money back guarantee?

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 50
  • Average Speed 32.10 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 1000
  • Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands

Likes

  • No Logs
  • 30-day refund
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Bare metal servers in 50+ countries
  • P2P Allowed
  • Unblocks all major streaming services

Dislikes

  • One month price is high
  • Decent but not amazing speeds

7. ProtonVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9.1 out of 10

Summary

ProtonVPN is a VPN from Switzerland. The software is easy to use and provides all the features necessary to keep your data secure both at home and while on public WiFi. Servers are located around the world, and because ProtonVPN uses a Secure Core network of servers – it will provide fantastic speeds for streaming.

Proton permits P2P for torrenting on some of its servers. In addition, it can be installed and used on five simultaneous devices. That means you can protect all your devices with one account. The VPN is zero logs (it never stores IP addresses) and the time of your last session is deleted every time a new session is started.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 16
  • Average Speed 20.40 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Switzerland

Likes

  • Great speeds offered on all servers
  • Military grade OpenVPN encryption
  • Keeps no logs

Dislikes

  • Only 14 countries covered so far

8. PureVPN

BestVPN.com Score 8.9 out of 10

Summary

PureVPN is a superb VPN that is perfect for most people. Not only is it incredibly cheap, but it provides fast connection speeds that are ideal for streaming. Servers are located in over 90 countries, which means that when it comes to unblocking this VPN has got you covered. While it does keep some connection logs, PureVPN implements strong encryption and has proven that it can keep people’s data safe from ISPs and the government’s prying eyes. Apps are available for all platforms; PureVPN is a pleasure to use and has fantastic features such as a killswitch and DNS leak protection. PureVPN even provides dedicated IPs for steaming, so if subscribers have trouble unblocking something they can contact its 24/7 live chat support.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 141
  • Average Speed 9.10 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Hong Kong

Likes

  • Servers in 141 countries
  • Five simultaneous devices
  • Fast speeds, Peer-to-peer (P2P) permitted
  • Compatible with 50+ platforms

Dislikes

  • IPv6, DNS and WebRTC leaks detected
  • Connection issues on select servers
  • Many complaints
  • Hard to verify security features and claims

9. PrivateInternetAccess

BestVPN.com Score 8.8 out of 10

Summary

PIA is another great option and offers a 7 day money back guarantee. It keeps no logs, which is a claim that it has proved in court! And although optional, its security can be first rate. Its desktop software supports multiple security options, a VPN kill switch, DNS leak protection, and port forwarding.

Up to 5 simultaneous connections are permitted. Its Android client is almost as good, and PIA boasts excellent connection speeds. PIA has servers located in 29 other countries.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 33
  • Average Speed 16.10 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction USA

Likes

  • 7 day money back guarantee
  • No logs – proven in court!
  • Cheap
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • Great OpenVPN encryption
  • Kill switch and DNS leak protection

Dislikes

  • US-based company
  • Apple users not so impressed

10. VyprVPN

BestVPN.com Score 8.7 out of 10

Summary

VyprVPN is one of very few providers to own and control its network infrastructure. Most VPN providers use 3rd-party companies to host their VPN servers, but not Vypr. This is a big draw for privacy conscious users because their data is protected from end-to-end and never leaves VyprVPN’s site.

We strongly recommend avoiding its PPTP-only basic plan, but VyprVPN otherwise offers a great selection of features, such as a SmartDNS service, robust customer support and port selection.

VyprVPNs “Chameleon” stealth technology is great for defeating censorship in places such such as China or Vietnam.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 70
  • Average Speed 31.70 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Switzerland

Likes

  • Very fast and secure due to own infrastructure
  • Servers in over 70 countries
  • Port selection
  • Chameleon stealth servers
  • No usage logs

Dislikes

  • Connection (metadata) logs
  • P2P: no

Why should I get a VPN service?

Using a VPN service is arguably the single most effective measure you can take to improve your online privacy and security. A VPN works by encrypting the user’s data via a secure tunnel between you and the internet.

How a VPN works

This gives the user several great benefits, we have listed some below:

  1. Privacy from your ISP or government
    A VPN will hide your internet activity from your ISP. This also makes it very effective at preventing blanket surveillance of the kind carried out by the NSA and GCHQ.
  2. Privacy when visiting websites
    When you visit a website, that website will see the IP address of the VPN server you are connected to, not your real IP address. This provides privacy when visiting websites and can help prevent you from being tracked as you surf the internet.
  3. Unblock restricted streaming services
    With VPNs you can access streaming services which are usually blocked to overseas viewers. You can do this by simply connecting to a VPN server in the appropriate country. Unsurprisingly, both Netflix and BBC iPlayer attempt to block VPN users. These blocks are often ineffective, and many providers have found ways around them. For more information about unblocking the most common services see our VPN for Netflix and VPN for BBC iPlayer guides.
  4. Evade censorship
    By using a VPN you can connect to a server in a country which does not censor internet content. This allows you to unblock sites censored by ISPs and governments on political, social, religious, or copyright grounds. A VPN is great for accessing Facebook from China, dating or sexual health websites from Iran, or The Pirate Bay from the UK.
    See our VPN for China, VPN for Iran and UK VPN guides for more information.
  5. Stay secure on WiFi hotspots
    A VPN encrypts all your data as it travels between your device and the VPN server. This means that you can use public WiFi networks and hotspots safely. Even if the hotspots themselves have been compromised, your data remains securely encrypted.
  6. You can P2P download in safety
    The ability to hide your IP address and prevent your ISP from seeing what you get up to on the internet makes it possible to download P2P torrents safely. Just be sure to use a VPN service that permits this. See our torrent VPN guides for more information.
    To learn more about VPNs – what they are, what they can do, and what they can’t do, please check out our VPNs for Beginners guide.

Yes. Using a VPN service is legal almost everywhere, and in most free societies is not considered in any way suspicious.

The widespread use of corporate VPN intranets allowing remote workers to access company resources, means that even in more restrictive countries, use of a VPN rarely raises an eyebrow.

Repressive countries such as China, Iran, and Egypt, do attempt to block users from accessing overseas VPN services, but they do not criminalize citizens simply for attempting to do so.

Russia has criminalized the running of domestic VPN services that have not been issued a state license, but again, this does not criminalize those who simply attempt to use them.

See our guide to VPN legality for more in depth information.

Best VPN Software

Almost all VPN services now offer custom VPN apps. These are very easy to setup as they come pre-configured specifically for that that service. They also often include special features that are unique to the software..

That said, there is a strong argument for using open source software such as OpenVPN GU Ifor Windows, Tunnelblick for macOS, or OpenVPN for Android. OpenVPN Connect for iOS is not open source, but it is developed by OpenVPN Inc. and is also very good.

These always use the latest version of OpenVPN and are better featured than many custom VPN software clients and apps – especially custom apps on platforms other than Windows.

What separates a good VPN from the best VPN?

A VPN is a very flexible tool, and each service has strengths and weaknesses. The VPN market space is becoming increasingly competitive. This is great for consumers, as VPN providers are continually being forced to up their game, resulting in better service.

Features that top VPNs offer

In such a competitive market, the top providers have all the basics nailed down. This frequently means that what differentiates them from the competition is the perks and added extras they offer to customers.

Some of the most important extras are:

IP leak protection

Using a VPN should hide your real IP address and any IP address belonging to your ISP from websites you visit. This is not always the case. A good VPN app will include DNS leak protection (preferably enabled by default, or even better yet, not optional). Don’t just take the providers word for it, test it yourself.

Kill switch

It is a fact that VPN connections fail sometimes. This usually happens due to reasons far outside your VPN provider’s control. There is no point in having a super-secure VPN connection, if your real IP address and non-HTTPS encrypted web traffic is exposed the second this happens.

Obfuscation technology

In places where the internet is censored, it is common to also try to block VPN connections that can be used to bypass this censorship. For more information on overcoming VPN blocks, and the features VPN servers offer to overcome them, please see How to Bypass VPN Blocks.

Smart DNS

Smart DNS is a technology used for spoofing your real location in order to access various services. It works by resolving your DNS requests at a specified location, and has the following advantages over using a VPN:

  • It is must faster, as no encryption/decryption is required. This means fewer buffering issues.
  • It can be used with any internet-capable device, including many that cannot run VPN software (for example, smart TVs, games consoles, and Roku devices).
  • It is less likely to be blocked by services that try to ban VPN users (although this cannot be guaranteed).

On the flip side, Smart DNS does nothing to improve your privacy or security. Although stand-alone smart DNS services exist (which often cost as much as a full VPN service), some VPN providers throw in a full smart DNS service for free with a VPN subscription.

Logging policies

Basically, the VPN takes the place of your ISP, as your VPN provider can now see your non-HTTPS encrypted web traffic, which websites you visit, and which non-HTTPS web pages you visit. Please see our Best No Logs VPN guide for a more in-depth discussion on this.

Privacy and security

Having a robust no logs policy is the single most important thing a VPN service can do protect the privacy of its users. Many jurisdictions require VPN companies to keep logs, so companies based in those countries should be avoided if you care about privacy.

Strong encryption, on the other hand, is an odd one. Unless you are doing something very illegal, then even modest levels of encryption will keep your data safe from most threats.

Speed and performance

One of the biggest things that can put people off the idea of using a VPN is that they slow down your internet. This is mainly because you are adding an extra leg to the journey your data must take to reach its destination (via the VPN server). These days good VPN services are very fast and if you connect to a server near to you, you will often get 90% or more of your raw internet connection speed.

See our fast VPN article for more information.

Bandwidth Limits

In the past, some VPN services would offer different pricing tiers, each of which offered a different set of features. One way to separate these pricing tiers was to limit the bandwidth (how much data you can transfer). With premium services, this practice is now almost unheard of, and all of the services we have listed do not limit their users’ bandwidth. Bandwidth limits live on, however, in free VPN services.

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