Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (2024)

There are hundreds of VPNs out there, from big names like ExpressVPN and NordVPN to lesser-known brands such as UltraVPN. And the truth is, many of them are good options. We should know; we’ve personally tested over 50 of them! But there’s no such thing as “the best VPN for everyone.” The user experience, speed, features, and cost vary. So rather than giving you one option, here are the highest-rated VPNs we’ve personally tested.

What’s a VPN? A VPN is a digital tool for improving online anonymity and privacy. VPNs create an encrypted tunnel through which all of your internet traffic is routed. It bypasses monitoring tools such as the ones used by ISPs, government agencies, and hackers. So when you use a VPN, no one besides you will know what you’re doing online.

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (1)

The Best VPN Services of 2024

  1. NordVPN - Best VPN for Privacy
  2. Surfshark - Best VPN for Security
  3. Hotspot Shield - Best VPN for Netflix
  4. Private Internet Access VPN - Best VPN for Windows
  5. UltraVPN - Best for Day-to-day Use
  6. Norton Secure VPN - Best VPN With Dynamic IP Addresses
  7. IPVanish - Best Customer Support
  8. ExpressVPN - Best Encryption
  9. CyberGhost - Best VPN for Mac
  10. Proton VPN - Best VPN for Work

How to Find The Best VPNs

There are so many factors to consider when choosing a VPN. How many servers does it have? What type of encryption does it use? On which devices does it work? Does it log or record browsing history? Can it hide IP addresses well? We consider all those things when comparing VPNs. When it comes to finding the best VPNs, it all boils down to just three crucial factors: privacy, speed, and security.

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (2)

As we discuss our recommended VPNs, we’ll give you an overview and rate how each of them did in those three areas (Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Bad). We’ll also relay our user experience and detail why we picked each option. To start with, check out the comparison chart below.

Comparison of the Best VPNs



Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (3)

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (4)


Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (5)

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (6)

Hotspot Shield

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (7)

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (8)

Private Internet Access VPN

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (9)

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (10)


Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (11)

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (12)

Norton Secure VPN

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (13)

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (14)


Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (15)

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (16)


Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (17)

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (18)


Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (19)

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (20)

Proton VPN

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (21)

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (22)

Ranking 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Ratings 9.7/10

Best for Privacy


Best Security


Best for Netflix


Best for Windows


Best for Day-to-day Use


Best VPN with Dynamic IP Addresses


Best Customer Support


Best Encryption


Best for Mac


Best VPN for Work

Best Monthly Price $3.99 $2.49 Free $2.19 $1.99 $1.67 $2.49 $8.32 $2.19 Free
Maximum Monthly Cost $12.99 $10.99 $12.99 $11.99 $7.99 $4.99 $12.99 $12.95 $12.99 $12.00
Encryption 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 128-bit to 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 128-bit to 256-bit AES
Server locations 60 countries 100 countries 35 countries 84 countries 125 countries 31 countries 75+ countries 105 countries 91 countries 66 countries
Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes Member? No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Read Review NordVPN Review Surfshark Review Hotspot Shield Review Private Internet Access VPN Review UltraVPN Review Norton Secure VPN Review IPVanish Review ExpressVPN Review CyberGhost Review Proton VPN Review

Taking A Closer Look at the Best VPNs of 2024

  • 1. NordVPN - Best VPN for Privacy

    Editors Rating:

    9.7 /10

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    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (23) Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (24)

    How We Review

    Product Specs

    Multihop Yes
    Camouflage Mode Yes
    Kill switch Yes
    Split Tunneling Yes
    Netflix Yes
    Torrenting Yes

    Why We Picked It

    Our NordVPN subscription came complete with standard VPN features, like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and reliable VPN protocols. We also enjoyed useful extras like Threat Protection that blocked malicious websites and ads. That one was complimentary, but it wasn’t unique to NordVPN. Surfshark (our 2nd pick) had CleanWeb and Private Internet Access (our 3rd pick) had Mace. Both worked similarly to NordVPN’s Threat Protection.

    Ultimately, it was NordVPN’s overall reliability, ease of use, and privacy-focused approach that sealed the deal. It didn’t need any special setup to secure our online data. It worked fresh off installation, and with stable speeds to boot.

    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (25)
    What We Like
    • Based in Panama, a privacy-friendly country
    • Offers multi-hop/double hop for extra privacy
    • Up-to-date encryption and VPN protocols
    • Can access blocked website and streaming content
    • Strict logging policy
    • User-friendly apps
    What We Don’t Like
    • Steeper prices than the competition
    • Hard to reach customer support
    • Limited P2P servers (used in torrenting)
    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (26)

    NordVPN Privacy – Excellent

    NordVPN didn’t log any of our IP addresses and usage data (visited sites, downloaded files, etc.). We didn’t need to adjust any settings or manually opt out of data logging either. It was a ‘no-logs’ VPN right from the start.

    Feature-wise, NordVPN gave us everything we needed to protect our privacy. We liked the automatic kill switch feature in particular. It paused our internet connection when NordVPN disconnected unexpectedly twice during our testing. It made sure we didn’t accidentally access the internet without NordVPN’s cloak of privacy.

    We also liked that there was a Double VPN option, also known as multi-hop. With this option, NordVPN doubled our encryption for additional security. It slowed down our internet and it required some setup, but it was a breeze to use overall for a feature that greatly boosts online privacy.

    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (27)

    NordVPN Speed – Very Good

    Our NordVPN speed tests averaged 225 Mbps for downloads and 218 Mbps for uploads. Those were about 90-percent of our 250 Mbps connection. So overall, NordVPN was fast. It was also reliable and consistent. We didn’t notice any abrupt speed drops or delays. At times, it didn’t even feel like we were using a VPN because of its speed. It’s thanks to that and NordVPN’s consistency that we consider it one of the fastest VPNs.

    Just like the privacy features, we didn’t have to tinker with NordVPN’s settings to enjoy fast speeds. Any of the nearby servers we connected to gave us good results. Even distant servers gave us stable speeds, although the exact readings understandably dipped at times (see the screenshot below).

    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (28)

    >> See More: Download Torrent Privately with The Top VPNs

    NordVPN Security – Excellent

    NordVPN offers industry standard 256-bit AES like the rest of the VPNs on this list, but it also gives users access to a private DNS server. We used a DNS checker tool to confirm this. A private DNS protects you from DNS leaks, a critical security flaw that could reveal your real IP address when using a VPN. Those NordVPN security features (encryption and private DNS) work in the background. You never really see them in action. Having done our own tests, though, we can confirm that they work.

    Pro Tip: You can check if a VPN has a private DNS server using a DNS leak test tool. Those tools will try to retrieve your IP address from your DNS queries. If the detected IP address matches your real IP address, your VPN doesn’t have a private DNS. That also means your connection is not secure. NordVPN passed our DNS leak test.

    OpenVPN and NordLynx

    NordVPN offers two of the fastest, most reliable, and most secure VPN protocols: OpenVPN and WireGuard in the form of NordLynx. Here’s a quick comparison, and for a more in-depth look, here’s our comparison of the top VPN protocols.

    OpenVPNNordLynx (based on WireGuard)
    Up to 400 MbpsUp to 1,200 Mbps
    Flexible encryption via OpenSSLNon-flexible (ChaCha 20 only)
    Adds up to 20% overhead data usageAdds up to 4% overhead data usage

    NordVPN worked well with OpenVPN and NordLynx. We used OpenVPN mostly for privacy-sensitive tasks because of its more robust encryption. On the other hand, we used NordLynx mostly on mobile devices. It was more lightweight than OpenVPN, which means our phones’ batteries lasted longer while connected. It was also faster than OpenVPN. Our average download speed on Android was 225 Mbps with NordLynx and 216 Mbps with OpenVPN.

    FYI: Keeping a mobile device connected to a VPN will drain your batteries faster than normal. That’s more true with OpenVPN than any other VPN protocols because it has to keep some network ports open to maintain a VPN connection.

    Good Price-to-Feature Ratio

    NordVPN isn’t exactly cheap. It costs about a dollar more per month than Surfshark (our #2 pick) if we compare their best prices. However, NordVPN has a good price-to-feature ratio. It’s a little more expensive than others, but it offers more features as well. Some of those features are also quite rare, like Double VPN and Onion over VPN (VPN for Tor). We’d happily pay the $1 per month extra cost to get access to those features.

    Take a look at NordVPN’s pricing:

    Features and PriceStandardPlusComplete
    Monthly plan$12.99$13.99$14.99
    One-year plan$59.88$71.88$83.88
    Two-year plan$95.76$119.76$143.76
    Included featuresAccess to NordVPNAccess to NordVPN and NordPass (password manager)Access to NordVPN, NordPass, and NordLocker (secure cloud backup)

    FYI: NordVPN occasionally includes free months with its one-year and two-year subscriptions. Check out our page on NordVPN deals to learn about any on-going deals and upcoming sales.

    User Benefits of NordVPN

    NordVPN is a good all-around VPN if you want to prioritize privacy and security. It works exactly as a VPN should. It also provides additional safety features to further boost your online security. Threat Protection blocks harmful sites and ads, Meshnet enables secure file-sharing, and Dark Web Monitor checks for personal information leaks on the dark web. You don’t get those features from run-of-the-mill VPNs. On top of all that, NordVPN’s performance is high-grade. You can get good speeds wherever you are thanks to it having over 6,000 servers in 60 countries around the globe.

    Who It’s Best For:

    With its feature-set, NordVPN is a powerful VPN for power users – those who need endless customizations and access to a rich catalog of features. Even so, it’s easy to use. Even novice and casual VPN users can benefit from NordVPN.

  • 2. Surfshark - Best VPN for Security

    Editors Rating:

    9.5 /10

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    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (29) Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (30)

    How We Review

    Product Specs

    Multi-hop Yes
    Camouflage Mode Yes
    Kill switch Yes
    Split Tunneling Yes
    Netflix Yes
    Torrenting Yes

    Why We Picked It

    Surfshark is our top pick for overall digital security. It’s a feature-rich VPN by itself, but it stands out taller as part of a Surfshark One bundle. Surfshark One is a toolset that includes Surfshark’s other digital security products. It has antivirus software, a data leak detector, a secure search engine, and webcam protection.

    It’s clear that Surfshark isn’t just aiming to provide privacy but also online security, and it’s doing great. It made our 2024 list of the best antivirus software and as you can see now, it also made our top VPN list. With both Surfshark software in our toolbelt, we enjoyed enhanced online privacy and security. You can read our full experience in our Surfshark One review.

    What We Like
    • Camouflage mode
    • Unlimited devices per subscription
    • Low costs with one or two-year subscriptions
    • 30-day trial period
    What We Don’t Like
    • No phone support
    • Have to set up kill switch manually on Windows
    • Dedicated IP address costs extra
    • Not the fastest
    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (31)

    Surfshark Privacy – Good

    Surfshark’s practice of logging IP addresses at the beginning of each session and its Netherlands location might raise some eyebrows. The Netherlands isn’t the ideal homebase for a VPN company because it has laws that could undermine VPN confidentiality. Truth be told, we were skeptical about Surfshark because of that, especially after testing NordVPN – a true “no-logs” VPN based in the privacy-friendly country, Panama.

    Actually testing Surfshark cleared our doubts. We saw features similar to NordVPN. Surfshark has an automatic kill switch and a multihop feature. We also learned that logged IP addresses are removed after 15 minutes. This was later confirmed by Cure53 through an independent audit report. Surfshark isn’t the most ideal privacy-wise, but it’s far from bad.

    Surfshark Speed – Good

    The speed we got from Surfshark was a mixed bag. The download speed was excellent. It averaged 228 Mbps on our 250 Mbps network. However, the upload speed dipped to as low as 91 Mbps on one occasion. That’s only about a third of our network upload speed. Most times, though, Surfshark’s upload speed was fairly decent. It averaged 167 Mbps. We’d say that Surfshark is fast, but not always stable.

    Surfshark Security – Excellent

    Surfshark made sure to keep our VPN use covert through Camouflage Mode. It was a feature enabled automatically on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Camouflage Mode made our encrypted traffic seem like normal traffic. That’s handy if you’re in a country like China and Russia that restricts or monitors VPN usage. A colleague traveled to China recently and used Surfshark with no issues, despite it not being a government-approved VPN. We should mention that Surfshark is one of the best VPNs that work in China because of that.

    >> Learn More: Must-Have VPNs for Traveling

    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (32)

    User-Friendly Apps

    We appreciated Surfshark’s usability despite its long list of features. It makes connecting to a VPN a simple task. The Fastest Server option in the server list automatically finds the fastest server near you. On the other hand, the Nearest Country option connects you to the fastest server outside your location if you need to unblock a website.

    We also liked how all the VPN features were neatly tucked away in the settings menu, unlike the Total VPN app we tested recently that had features all over the place. If you need to use a specific Surfshark feature, you’ll know where to find it.

    Streaming Services

    A nice little side-effect of using a VPN is gaining access to streaming content available outside your country. For instance, you can use it to unblock Hulu if you’re outside the U.S. or access Disney+ shows not available in your region. Surfshark made both our lists of the best Disney+ VPNs and best Hulu VPNs. It also worked well with other streaming services we tested, like Netflix, Max, Spotify, and even YouTube. So if you’re shopping for a VPN for any streaming service, consider taking a look at Surfshark.

    FYI: Learn more about the best VPNs for Youtube TV. Surfshark is also great for streaming devices. It’s one of the best VPNs for Apple TV and a highly-rated VPN for Fire TV.

    User Benefits of Surfshark

    Surfshark offers a long list of security features that are readily available to any user. CleanWeb blocks malicious sites and pesky ads just like NordVPN does; there’s an IP rotator feature that changes the VPN address every five to 10 minutes for extra security; you can make your device invisible to other devices in your networks (useful on public Wi-Fi); you can even override your device’s GPS location if you’re using an Android, a feature unique only to Surfshark.

    If you’re willing to splurge a little more on Surfshark One, you can also get a full-featured antivirus software plus additional premium features like webcam protection and a secure search engine.

    Who It’s Best For:

    Surfshark’s numerous security features makes it a great VPN for users who want to overhaul their online and digital security. It’s also highly-recommended for users living in restrictive countries thanks to Camouflage Mode.

  • 3. Hotspot Shield - Best VPN for Netflix

    Product Specs

    Multi-hop Yes
    Camouflage Mode No
    Kill switch Yes
    Split Tunneling No
    Netflix Yes, but not in all regions
    Torrenting Yes

    Why We Picked It

    Hydra’s speed played a huge part in why we picked Hotspot Shield. When it came to Netflix-watching parties, Hotspot Shield had us covered with fast speeds on our Mac and Windows computers. We also didn’t experience huge delays or lags on Netflix when we used the app on our Android devices, which came in handy during commutes.

    Of course, its fast speed was advantageous in more ways than just watching Netflix. Hotspot Shield kept our data safe whether while downloading, streaming, or just browsing in general.

    Money Saver: To get discounts, sign up for long term lengths. One-year and two-year plans are typically cheaper than monthly plans.

    What We Like
    • Fast speeds
    • Free option
    • Netflix access
    • Torrenting access
    What We Don’t Like
    • Five simultaneous connections
    • Based in the U.S.
    • Unresponsive customer support
    • Keeps IP address

    Hotspot Shield Privacy – Very Good

    A lot of VPNs say they have a “no-logs” policy but with no data to back it up. Hotspot Shield actually has proof in the form of a transparency report. That report shows how many subpoenas and government requests Hotspot Shield receives. It received 56 in 2018, for example. The report also says how many times it released requested data. For the 56 requests in 2018, it released none. That because, again, it doesn’t log VPN usage and IP address information.

    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (35)

    Hotspot Shield Speed – Excellent

    As you might remember, Hotspot Shield created the Hydra protocol used by UltraVPN. It’s supposed to be fast, but UltraVPN wasn’t. We only saw Hydra’s true speed potential when we tested Hotspot Shield. It had the fastest download speed among VPNs we tested, averaging 242 Mbps. That’s only four-percent less than our baseline internet speed.

    Hotspot Shield Security – Very Good

    Hotspot Shield delivers security through a number of built-in app features. For one, it has IP leak protection that prevents DNS and WebRTC leaks by offering a private DNS. This was enabled by default, so we didn’t have to do anything to enjoy this feature. As soon as we connected to Hotspot Shield, it kept our IP address private.

    The protocol also plays a big role in Hotspot Shield’s security. It offers Hydra to all platforms (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android), but it also offers WireGuard to Android users. We’d still recommend Hydra in this case though. While WireGuard is secure, it doesn’t support 256-bit AES encryption (it uses the not-as-proven ChaCha20). Hydra does.

    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (36)

    Hydra Catapult Protocol

    These days, we see a lot of proprietary VPN protocols — VPN protocols made and developed by a VPN company — from the best VPN brands. Not many of them, however, can claim to be as fast as Hotspot Shield’s Hydra Catapult VPN protocol. Thanks to Hydra, we notched record-high download speeds during our recent VPN speed testing (more on that below).

    Hydra is also plenty secure. It’s based on OpenVPN, one of the most secure VPN protocols. With a few tweaks, Hotspot Shield made it into a speedy protocol without compromising security.

    Super-Fast Speeds

    Hotspot Shield’s speed was right up there with our fastest VPNs. We were particularly impressed by the download speed. We lost only 3.17 percent of our regular internet speed after connecting to the VPN. Our download speed averaged 242 Mbps. The upload speed was abysmal, though. It averaged 50 Mbps, just 20-percent of our network speed.

    Hotspot Shield Speed TestsOur regular internet speedHotspot Shield speed
    Download250 Mbps242 Mbps
    Upload250 Mbps50 Mbps
    Latency2 ms79 ms

    >> Related: What Is ISP Throttling?

    User Benefits of Hotspot Shield

    Hotspot Shield provides useful security and privacy features via its apps. It has IP leak protection, auto-connect, and the Always-On feature on iOS. IP leak protection prevents IP address leakage due to DNS or WebRTC leaks. This ensures your IP address is always private when connected to the VPN. Auto-connect lets you establish rules that, when triggered, will force the VPN to connect. For example, when you connect to a public Wi-Fi or when you connect to mobile data. Lastly, the Always-On feature on iOS is one we’ve rarely seen. It prompts the VPN to reconnect automatically when disconnected unexpectedly.

    Who It’s Best For:

    Hotspot Shield has strong streaming potential. Plus, Hotspot Shield is affordable. It’s best for folks looking to expand their entertainment options without spending much.

  • 4. Private Internet Access VPN - Best VPN for Windows

    Editors Rating:

    9.4 /10

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    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (37) Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (38)

    How We Review

    Product Specs

    Multihop Yes
    Camouflage Mode No
    Kill switch Yes
    Split Tunneling Yes
    Netflix Yes
    Torrenting Yes

    Why We Picked It

    Private Internet Access’ speed on Windows was one of the reasons we considered it one of the best VPNs for Windows. We enjoyed nearly loss-less speeds.

    On top of that, we liked the customizability of the Windows app. It gave us endless options to customize how the VPN connected, how it encrypted data, and how it tunneled traffic. That flexibility allowed us to optimize our VPN connection for different activities, whether simple browsing, work, or even online gaming.

    >> Related: The Top VPNs for Online Gaming

    What We Like
    • Strict logging policy
    • Fast on Windows
    • High app reviews
    • Netflix access
    What We Don’t Like
    • Based in United States
    • Split tunneling unavailable for iPhones
    • Slow on Mac
    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (39)

    Private Internet Access Privacy – Very Good

    Private Internet Access is based in the U.S.. That’s arguably worse than Surfshark’s location in the Netherlands. The U.S. is far from privacy-friendly. Unlike Surfshark, though, PIA doesn’t log IP addresses.

    We also liked that Private Internet Access doesn’t automatically log usage metrics. Most VPNs log anonymized data like device identifiers and connection timestamps to improve their services. Even NordVPN does that, and it’s our top-pick no-logs VPN. With PIA, usage metrics are not recorded by default. You’d have to go to the settings to allow it to log that information. But our advice? Don’t. While usage metrics are usually harmless, the less data collected by the VPN, the better.

    FYI: VPNs collect usage metrics to gather data like peak VPN usage hours and amount of bandwidth used in a certain time frame. That information helps them improve their services, so we’re not completely against logging usage metrics as long as IP addresses and websites visited are not logged.

    Private Internet Access Speed – Excellent

    Private Internet Access’ Windows speeds were fast during our tests, averaging 236 Mbps for downloads and 223 Mbps for uploads. It’s one of the fastest VPNs for Windows. Its macOS and smartphone connections were also decent (200+ Mbps average). Overall, we’re happy with how PIA’s speed turned out. Here’s our PIA speed test results:

    Download speed average236 Mbps219 Mbps221 Mbps215 Mbps
    Upload speed average223 Mbps208 Mbps201 Mbps203 Mbps
    Latency average64 ms72 ms80 ms81 ms

    Private Internet Access Security – Very Good

    One of our favorite things about Private Internet Access was the option it gave us to adjust the security of our connection. It offers the industry standard 256-bit AES encryption by default, but 128-bit AES is also available if you’d rather prioritize speed. It’s in the settings under the ‘General’ option.

    128-bit AES is less secure than 256-bit AES, but it tends to be faster – by almost four-percent on average, to be exact. That’s why we prefer 128-bit AES for less privacy-demanding tasks like streaming Netflix and online gaming.

    >> See More: Best Xbox VPNs

    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (40)

    Encryption Options

    A stronger encryption can slow down your network, so it sometimes makes sense to use a lower standard for not-so-sensitive tasks. With Private Internet Access, we had the option to switch gears between 256-bit AES (the default after VPN installation) and 128-bit AES. There’s also an option to turn off encryption altogether (proxy mode), which came in handy when we just wanted to change our IP address location to the Netherlands.

    » Read More: Best Proxy Servers

    Encryption OptionsVPN Protocol Options
    256-bit or 128-bit AESOpenVPN
    256-bit AES with GMCIPSec
    No encryptionSOCKS5 proxy

    Highly Efficient Apps

    You need an app to use most VPNs, and Private Internet Access’ app is hands-down one of the most user-friendly out there. It’s easy to learn to use. Even our office intern who was new to VPNs when he started learned to use it in no time. And the app’s ratings back up its user-friendliness.

    iOS app rating4.7 out of 5
    Android app rating4.5 out of 5
    macOS app rating4.4 out of 5
    Windows app rating4.4 out of 5

    More than that, Private Internet Access’ app provides flexibility. We got the most out of our Private Internet Access subscription because of that. Just take a look at the split tunneling feature for example. PIA offers standard split tunneling and the less common inverse split tunneling (see our split tunneling guide for a detailed explanation). We used the former to exclude apps and URLs from our VPN connection – like Zoom to improve video call quality. As for inverse split tunneling, we used it to set apps that could connect to the internet only via PIA. For this, we set apps like browsers to make sure we’re always on a secure line whenever we’re browsing.

    >> Learn More: Are Private Browsers Really Private?

    User Benefits of Private Internet Access

    Private Internet Access’ advanced customizability was on full display during our tests. The adjustable encryption and the standard and inverse split tunneling options were the main highlights. There were other convenient features too. For example, you can automate the app. You can set it to connect to the fastest server or a specific server as soon as you turn on your desktop. You can also set it to connect to the VPN when you’re on a public or unrecognized Wi-Fi network. Minor but thoughtful features like that make PIA one of the most user-friendly VPNs.

    Who It’s Best For:

    We recommend Private Internet Access to folks who mostly use desktops, either for work or play. You can tailor it to how you use your desktop, especially if you’re a Windows user.

  • 5. UltraVPN - Best for Day-to-day Use

    Editors Rating:

    9.2 /10

    See Pricing

    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (41) Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (42)

    How We Review

    Product Specs

    Multi-hop No
    Camouflage Mode No
    Kill switch Yes
    Split Tunneling Yes
    Netflix Yes
    Torrenting Yes

    Why We Picked It

    VPNs need not be complicated. Sometimes, a simple option like UltraVPN can do the job. Add to that the fact that it’s affordable and easy to use. That’s why we think UltraVPN is the best day-to-day VPN.

    While it lacked the advanced features and customizations we saw from Private Internet Access, UltraVPN’s performance as a VPN was rock-solid. It gave us decent speeds, a bug-free app, and a respectable number of VPN servers to choose from (1,000 servers in 125 locations). For its price – $7.99 monthly or $1.99 per month if you sign up for two years – it’s definitely a cost-effective solution for online privacy.

    What We Like
    • Simple to use app
    • Affordable monthly and yearly subscriptions
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    • Strong IP address protections
    What We Don’t Like
    • No real kill switch on Android
    • Can’t pick VPN protocol on mobile
    • Higher-than-average speed loss
    • Limited VPN protocol options

    UltraVPN Privacy – Very Good

    UltraVPN’s privacy policy discusses how it doesn’t log data, but without third-party audits like we saw from Surfshark, there’s no way to concretely prove or disprove it. However, we noticed one thing that seems to indicate UltraVPN’s commitment to privacy. When India passed a law requiring VPNs to collect user data, UltraVPN was among the first to pull out from the country. It still offers India IP addresses last time we checked, but those are from virtual servers located in Singapore.

    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (43)

    >> More Options: The Best VPNs for India

    UltraVPN Speed – Fair

    UltraVPN underdelivered in this area. It should have been fast because it uses Hydra, the proprietary VPN protocol of Hotspot Shield. And as you’ll see under our Hotspot Shield section (#6 on this list), Hydra is capable of blazing fast speeds. Instead, we got a disappointing 160 Mbps average speed from UltraVPN. That’s a 40-percent drop from our 250 Mbps network speed. UltraVPN was still fast, but not nearly as fast as Hotspot Shield’s 240+ Mbps average upload speed.

    UltraVPN Security – Very Good

    Despite UltraVPN’s poor utilization of the Hydra protocol speed-wise, it used Hydra well to provide online security. It checked for and blocked malware-ridden websites. It also encrypted traffic using the 256-bit AES standard and it protected us from IP address leaks. Like NordVPN, UltraVPN gave us access to a private DNS server.

    Even just the fact that it uses Hydra makes UltraVPN a secure option. Cyberattackers are more likely to try to target widely-used protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard. Using a proprietary protocol used by only a handful of VPNs is a good move by UltraVPN.

    Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (44)

    Hydra Protocol

    UltraVPN makes use of a VPN protocol called Hydra. Originally developed by Hotspot Shield, Hydra promises to deliver fast speeds, agile connections, and good security. It’s actually one of the best VPN protocols after OpenVPN and WireGuard.

    We especially liked UltraVPN’s agility when using the Hydra protocol. It reconnected automatically and swiftly even when we changed Wi-Fi networks or switched from mobile data to Wi-Fi and vice versa on our phones. It left very little opportunity for attack. It also made day-to-day use a little bit easier as we didn’t have to check our connection as often as we did with less agile protocols like OpenVPN.

    FYI: Hydra proved great at protecting IP addresses. It passed our three sets of tests for DNS and WebRTC leaks, two common types of leaks that could happen to VPNs. So even though UltraVPN lacks the commonly offered protocols OpenVPN and WireGuard, Hydra is a great alternative.

    >> See Also: What Can Someone Do With My IP Address?

    Flexible Pricing

    UltraVPN can be quite affordable in terms of pricing. Even its monthly subscription costs only $7.99. Just for comparison, our top-pick NordVPN costs $12.99 with a monthly subscription.

    If you’re looking for a VPN for long-term use, UltraVPN’s pricing gets even better. You’ll pay only $47.76 to sign up for two years. That’s an average of just $2 per month. See the pricing breakdown below.

    DurationTotal costCost per month (averaged)
    2 years$47.76$1.99
    1 year$35.88$2.99
    1 month$7.99$7.99

    The bottom line is, whether you’re looking for a short-term or long-term VPN, UltraVPN is a practical choice.

    User Benefits of UltraVPN

    Features aren’t the only benefits you can get from a VPN. A streamlined user experience is also an advantage, and it’s certainly UltraVPN’s biggest flex. The app is easy to use; it’s not feature-rich, but it’s not lacking anything critical either. It has split tunneling, a kill switch for Windows (and a makeshift kill switch for Android), and one of the best VPN protocols in Hydra. Best of all, it’s affordable. With prices starting at $2 per month and with a 30-day money-back guarantee, UltraVPN offers good value if you’re looking for something more straightforward than NordVPN and our other top picks.

    Who It’s Best For:

    With its affordable pricing and user-friendly apps, we recommend UltraVPN to students and casual internet users looking for a day-to-day VPN. It’s not the fastest, but it’s reliable for daily use.

  • 6. Norton Secure VPN - Best VPN With Dynamic IP Addresses

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    How We Review

    Product Specs

    Multi-hop Yes
    Camouflage Mode No
    Kill switch No
    Split Tunneling Android and Windows only
    Netflix Yes
    Torrenting No

    Why We Picked It

    Norton is most famous for its Norton antivirus software and LifeLock. (LifeLock is one of the best identity protection services; read more in our LifeLock review). Adding the Norton Secure VPN to the mix makes it even better. It’s not just a VPN app, but an all-in-one digital security app.

    We particularly liked the VPN’s dynamic shared IP addresses, which are more preferable than static IP addresses. Dynamic shared IP addresses are shared among multiple users. They also change every time you connect to the VPN. Both of those can give you more online anonymity.

    » Learn more: Static vs Dynamic IP Addresses

    What We Like
    • AES-256 encryption
    • Different IP addresses every time you connect
    • Affordable
    • 10 devices maximum
    What We Don’t Like
    • Based in the U.S., a Five Eyes member
    • No split tunneling on iOS devices or Macs
    • Netflix isn’t available everywhere
    • Kill switch isn’t available on Macs or iOS devices

    Norton Secure VPN Privacy – Fair

    We bought out Norton Secure VPN subscription as part of our Norton antivirus bundle (we also tested the Norton antivirus). We loved that we could access both products through the same app. Unfortunately, that also made it more difficult to nail down Norton Secure VPN’s privacy policy. The privacy policy within the app didn’t explain separately what the VPN logs and what the antivirus logs.

    Digging deeper though, we found Norton Secure VPN’s logging policy. We found that it collects more information from users compared to other VPNs. For example, it logs mobile device data and aggregate bandwidth usage. It’s still a “no-logs” VPN. It doesn’t log IP addresses and websites, but it collects aggregate data.

    Norton Secure VPN Speed – Good

    Norton Secure VPN ranked 12th in our VPN speed comparison, which is still decent considering we tested 35 VPNs in total. The download speed was impressive. It kept the speed loss to less than 12-percent. However, the upload speed (averaged 84 Mbps) and latency (averaged 120 ms) could be improved.

    Norton Secure VPN Security – Very Good

    Norton’s app improved our digital security in more ways than one, but we liked one nifty security feature in particular. The app automatically detects if we’re connected to a suspicious Wi-Fi network, such as password-less coffee shop Wi-Fi. When it does, it automatically connects the VPN to the fastest available server.

    We do have to point out that Norton Secure VPN doesn’t offer as many servers as other VPNs. It has servers in only 29 countries. That’s less than a third of ExpressVPN’s 105 countries and Surfshark’s 100 countries. Just something to keep in mind.

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    Affordable Prices

    How much does the Norton Secure VPN cost? Well, that depends. The VPN comes complimentary with most Norton antivirus subscriptions. The cheapest antivirus subscription costs $49.99 for the first year, or about $4 per month. That’s one of the best VPN deals we’ve seen.

    You can also buy a subscription to just the VPN, but it can be pricey. Weirdly, it costs more to buy just the VPN than to bundle it with other Norton products. One month of Norton Secure for one device costs $4.99. We strongly recommend going for the 10-device plan for one year though. It costs $59.99 in total or about $5 per month.

    Maximum number of devicesContract lengthAmount billed
    11 month$4.99
    11 year$19.99
    51 month$7.99
    51 year$29.99
    101 month$9.99
    101 year$59.99

    Strong Encryption

    Norton Secure VPN encrypted our web activity and hid our IP address using 256-bit AES. But that’s nothing new. Most VPNs use that same encryption standard.

    What we really loved was the fact that Norton Secure offers multi-hop – a feature only the top-tier VPNs like NordVPN and Surfshark offer. By connecting to a multi-hop server pair, Norton Secure encrypted our traffic and changed our IP addresses twice. It’s impressive that Norton Secure even has this feature, considering how small its server network is.

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    User Benefit of Norton Secure VPN

    You get the most benefit from Norton Secure VPN if you get it as a part of Norton’s antivirus bundles. That way, you enjoy all-around digital protections. And really, that’s the only way we recommend using Norton Secure. By itself, it’s not a feature-rich VPN. It offers split tunneling and a kill switch (Windows and Android only), but not much else. If you use it through an Antivirus subscription, you can also keep your devices malware-free.

    Who It’s Best For:

    Norton Secure is best for those who are just starting to utilize cybersecurity tools to protect themselves online. Besides being easy to use, Norton Secure is from a brand most famous for its antivirus software.

  • 7. IPVanish - Best Customer Support

    Editors Rating:

    9.3 /10

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    How We Review

    Product Specs

    Multi-hop No
    Camouflage Mode No
    Kill switch Yes
    Split Tunneling Yes
    Netflix Yes
    Torrenting Yes, with uTorrent

    Why We Picked It

    What sets IPVanish apart from other companies is its commitment to customer service. We can’t tell you how much trouble we have sometimes getting companies to respond to our technical questions. Many VPNs don’t offer phone support, and a fair number don’t provide answers 24/7.

    IPVanish has friendly customer service agents you can talk to any time, via both phone and online chat. Yet, the company doesn’t charge any more than other VPNs. A one-year subscription, for example, is just $2.99 a month.

    IPVanish Customer Support OptionsAvailability
    Email support24/7 (48-hour response time)
    Phone support9 AM to 5 PM (UTC-6), Monday to Sunday
    Live chat support24/7
    What We Like
    • Fast download speeds
    • Streaming and torrenting-safe
    • Split tunneling
    • Unlimited number of connections
    What We Don’t Like
    • History of sharing customer logs
    • Based in United States
    • Slow speeds on Windows, but has recently gotten much faster with WireGuard protocol

    IPVanish Privacy – Good

    Back in 2016, IPVanish faced backlash after providing the U.S. government with data that helped in the arrest of a child predator. Nobody’s saying the company should have helped a criminal. We just want to be clear about that. But the data IPVanish provided showed that it was, at the time, making records of user activity.

    Fortunately, IPVanish has updated its privacy policy since then. It now says that it doesn’t log IP addresses, connection timestamps, and browsing histories. IPVanish also enlisted the help of independent firms to audit and verify its privacy policy. The results have been positive.

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    IPVanish Speed – Excellent

    IPVanish was the second fastest VPN we’ve tested overall. It had impressive upload and download speeds plus a very low latency that was kept below 80 ms. We measured a decrease of only four to five-percent in download and upload speeds. We tested IPVanish on a Windows laptop and subsequently named it one of the best Windows VPN because of its speed.

    IPVanish Security – Very Good

    IPVanish security doesn’t stand out in any particular way, but it’s admirable that it comes complete with all the features we’re looking for in a secure VPN. It has a kill switch, it offers several VPN protocol options, it uses 256-bit AES encryption, and it passed our DNS and WebRTC leak tests. All things considered, it’s a solid and secure VPN.

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    Kill Switch

    All VPNs can fail at any time without warning; that’s just the reality. That’s also why we recommend looking for a VPN with a kill switch just like IPVanish. It’s not that IPVanish is unreliable. It only ever got disconnected unexpectedly once due to server maintenance. But thanks to that, we saw the kill switch in action. After the VPN got disconnected, our internet stopped working. That alerted us that something was wrong. Without it, we would have continued browsing thinking we were safe. Since we knew the kill switch might have been the reason for the lost connection, we knew how to fix it. We reconnected through a different server and got back online moments later.

    An Audited Privacy Policy

    Most VPNs have privacy policies that outline the types of data they collect, why they collect them, and how they use them. Not all VPNs, though, have been audited like IPVanish.

    The Leviathan Security Group audited IPVanish’s privacy and security practices just this year. They’ve found that IPVanish’s claim that it doesn’t log browsing and usage data is true. The firm also determined that IPVanish is non-invasive to its users’ privacy, making it a solid VPN for privacy-conscious users.

    User Benefits of IPVanish

    While it doesn’t offer a long list of features, IPVanish includes thoughtful features that make the app easy and convenient to use. For example, the server menu on Windows shows the speed (measured in latency) of each server location. That can make it easier to pick a fast server when you’re gaming or streaming. Speaking of streaming, you can also connect to streaming-optimized servers, like to access a different Netflix region. Again, you won’t see a lot of features from IPVanish, but those that it does include are designed with user experience in mind.

    Who It’s Best For:

    IPVanish has great mobile apps and it’s also affordable. Students looking to improve their digital security and privacy and access blocked sites on their school’s network, could benefit from this VPN.

  • 8. ExpressVPN - Best Encryption

    Editors Rating:

    9.1 /10

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    How We Review

    Product Specs

    Multihop No
    Camouflage Mode Yes
    Kill switch Yes
    Split Tunneling Yes
    Netflix Yes
    Torrenting Yes

    Why We Picked It

    ExpressVPN excels at doing the one thing every VPN should be able to execute well: Encryption. It uses 256-bit AES as the standard, and then improves on that by offering a swath of secure VPN protocols. ExpressVPN even came up with its own VPN protocol that is both well-encrypted and agile.

    Another reason why we like ExpressVPN is how easy it was to install on our Firestick. With the VPN installed, we were able to stream different media libraries from all over the world.

    Sure, the slightly higher cost of ExpressVPN may be a bit hard to swallow, but ExpressVPN is nothing if not one of the most secure VPNs around.

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    What We Like
    • No data retention laws
    • Great app ratings
    • Netflix access
    • Fast speeds on Windows
    What We Don’t Like
    • No phone support
    • Slow speeds on Mac
    • Five simultaneous connections per subscription
    • No browser extension for Internet Explorer

    ExpressVPN Privacy – Excellent

    Privacy is ExpressVPN’s bread-and-butter, and it made sure to use state-of-the-art technology to remain a top option. It has invested in making its VPN servers run on RAM. RAM-based servers offer more privacy than traditional VPN servers. If you remember, another VPN that offers RAM-only servers is Surfshark, which is number two on this list. That speaks to how high-quality ExpressVPN’s network is.

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    ExpressVPN Speed – Good

    ExpressVPN was middle-of-the-pack in terms of speed. It wasn’t great, but it also wasn’t bad. It was speedy enough to let us stream movies in 4K resolution. Our download speed averaged 230 Mbps while our upload speed averaged around 210 Mbps.

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    ExpressVPN Security – Very Good

    ExpressVPN combines its 256-bit AES encryption with its fast and lightweight protocol called Lightway. It’s a solid pairing. We found no IP address leaks when we did DNS and WebRTC leak tests. The Lightway protocol was also quick to establish VPN tunnels. It takes ExpressVPN less than five seconds to connect, which means you can connect to it anytime without hassle. It’s our favorite VPN to use when commuting because of its convenient quick-connect function.

    Lightway Protocol

    ExpressVPN is at the forefront of VPN technology.It developed a proprietary protocol that is both secure and fast, called Lightway. This VPN protocol runs on only 2,000 lines of code, much less than protocols like OpenVPN. And as a result, it’s lightweight and it provides a smooth user-experience.

    Here’s how it compares to OpenVPN:

    Year established20012020
    Battery consumptionLowMid to high

    IP Leak Blocking

    We’ve encountered more than a few VPNs that have an “IP leak protection” feature, and for some reason, you can turn it off. We’re not sure why that is an option in the first place, because IP leak is something you’d want to avoid at all cost.

    With ExpressVPN, though, all connections come with IP leak protection. It efficiently blocks DNS and WebRTC leaks. In fact, once you’re connected to ExpressVPN, you can go to its website to check if there are any WebRTC leaks. We did that, and found no leaks whatsoever – just the result we were hoping for.

    User Benefits of ExpressVPN

    ExpressVPN offers the most number of server locations, with servers in 105 countries. That alone is a huge benefit to users. It gives you access to numerous locations, making it easier to access content from all over the world. With its impressive speed, privacy features (RAM-based servers, LightWay and OpenVPN protocols, etc.), and encryption, can use ExpressVPN for pretty much any task. And of course, ExpressVPN is easy to use. The app works fresh off installation and you need not make any adjustments to make it secure.

    Who It’s Best For:

    ExpressVPN offers agile data protection, which is particularly ideal for frequent travelers. It has strong privacy features. Its lightweight proprietary VPN protocol also makes it a good travel companion, as it runs fast on most mobile devices and computers.

  • 9. CyberGhost - Best VPN for Mac

    Editors Rating:

    8.9 /10

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    How We Review

    Product Specs

    Multihop No
    Camouflage Mode No
    Kill switch Yes
    Split Tunneling No
    Netflix Yes
    Torrenting Yes

    Why We Picked It

    CyberGhost’s app excelled on Mac. It provided us easy access to top-quality features like split tunneling (Smart Rules), a kill switch, and several auto-connect options. It also features over 10,000 servers in 100 countries – one of the largest networks we’ve seen – to provide secure connections wherever you may be.

    CyberGhost’s Mac speed also stands out, particularly the download speed. Our download speed on Mac remained above 230 Mbps after connecting to CyberGhost. That’s a speed loss of less than 10-percent, which is one of the best speeds we’ve seen on our Macbook.

    What We Like
    • Non-member to Five eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes
    • Great customer support
    • Affordable costs
    • Thousands of servers around the world
    What We Don’t Like
    • Logging policy
    • Split tunneling available for Android only
    • Static IP addresses
    • Slow performance on Windows

    CyberGhost Privacy – Good

    In our previous tests of CyberGhost, we found that it logged IP addresses in an anonymized format. It logged IP addresses, but they weren’t tied to specific users. This raised concerns from us, but fortunately, CyberGhost adjusted its privacy policy. Last we checked, they no longer store IP addresses. They store only the country of origin of connection requests now. That’s an improvement.

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    CyberGhost Speed – Good

    CyberGhost provided fast download speeds but significantly slower upload speeds. It’s just like Hotspot Shield and Norton in that regard. Our upload speed went down by 70-percent, which meant we only got about 75 Mbps from our 250 Mbps network. Fortunately, the download speed remained high with an average reading of 223 Mbps. Both upload and download speeds are important, but the latter usually matters for for streaming and downloading.

    CyberGhost Security – Very Good

    In terms of security, we liked CyberGhost’s IP address masking in particular. Normally, when trying to access sites like Netflix and Disney+ that block VPNs, they’d occasionally detect that we’re using VPNs. For example, in our X-VPN review, while we were eventually able to stream Netflix, two of the 10 servers we tried were detected. With CyberGhost, we connected to 10 different servers in different locations, and all of them worked. That was, to some degree, proof that CyberGhost was hiding our IP address well.

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    Discounts Available

    CyberGhost offers a wide array of subscriptions to choose from, and this makes the VPN very flexible. You can sign up for a month subscription to try things out, or go all-in on a one-, two-, or three-year subscription. The best part is, you’ll get a discount depending on the length of your plan.

    The highest discount is over 80-percent off, which you can get by signing a three-year subscription. All in all, you’ll pay only $56.94 every three years, which breaks down to just over $2 per month.

    CyberGhost Pricing1 Month6 Months2 Years
    Total subscription cost$12.99$41.94$56.94
    Average cost per month$12.99$6.99$2.19

    NoSpy Servers

    CyberGhost, like most of the VPNs we review, doesn’t keep logs of its users’ browsing data. Bur CyberGhost takes things up a notch with its NoSpy servers. These data centers operated by CyberGhost itself are located in Romania, which is outside the reach of the 14 Eyes alliance.

    Romania’s laws also make it VPN-friendly. It doesn’t require data retention and mass surveillance tactics used by other countries. When you connect to one of CyberGhost’s NoSpy servers, you can rest assured that your data is safe.

    User Benefits of CyberGhost

    CyberGhost offers several features designed to benefit users. It has RAM-based servers, for example, that gives you more privacy and assurance than traditional VPN servers. It also provides NoSpy servers, as detailed above, to give privacy-conscious users extra privacy. It’s also worth noting that CyberGhost has a deep network. It has servers in 100 countries, almost the same as ExpressVPN 105 locations, but the total number of CyberGhost’s servers is over 10,000. A network that large gives CyberGhost users access to content, webpages, and services all around the globe.

    Who It’s Best For:

    It’s true that the longer subscriptions offer the best prices, but CyberGhost’s flexibility makes it a great-value VPN for pretty much anyone.

  • 10. Proton VPN - Best VPN for Work

    Editors Rating:

    8.8 /10

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    How We Review

    Product Specs

    Multi-hop Yes
    Camouflage Mode Yes
    Kill switch Yes
    Split Tunneling Yes
    Netflix Yes
    Torrenting Yes

    Why We Picked It

    ProtonVPN is now Proton, which seems like an ignorable change, but is actually big for the VPN company. As Proton, it now includes the entire Proton suite of cybersecurity tools. That includes ProtonMail, ProtonCalendar, ProtonDrive, and ProtonVPN. As such, Proton is a good personal VPN to use at work.

    What We Like
    • Fast speeds
    • Free option
    • Netflix access
    • Torrenting access
    What We Don’t Like
    • Relatively high prices
    • Customer support limited to tickets
    • No browser support
    • Relatively few servers

    Proton VPN Privacy – Excellent

    Proton is a privacy-focused company. It offers privacy tools like a secure email (that detects phishing email well) and calendar, an encrypted cloud drive, a password manager. And of course, there’s Proton VPN.

    The company Proton is also based in Switzerland. It’s a privacy-friendly country with no mandatory data retention. That means Proton can legally maintain a “no-logs” policy not just for its VPN, but all its privacy tools and products.

    Proton VPN Speed – Very Good

    We’ve seen a fair share of VPNs with good download speed but disappointing upload speed. If you’re looking for a VPN with fast upload speeds, though, we can recommend Proton. It topped our ranking in terms of upload speed, notching just a four-percent decrease compared to our baseline speed. The average upload and download speed were both 240 Mbps. That’s why we used it a lot for Zoom meetings and other work tasks that require good upload and download speeds.

    Proton VPN Security – Excellent

    Though fast, Proton VPN was plenty secure as well. Notably, we discovered that it uses perfect forward secrecy encryption. VPNs use keys to decipher encrypted traffic as it passes through a server. If not secured, these keys can be stolen to decrypt subsequent traffic. With Proton VPN, it generated a different cipher key for every session. It’s unlikely, but even If a key is stolen, it can’t be used to decrypt future encrypted traffic. Another VPN that offers perfect forward secrecy is NordVPN, which as you might recall, is our top-pick for privacy.

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    Stealth VPN

    Proton recently joined the growing number of VPNs with their proprietary VPN protocols. Proton’s VPN protocol is called Stealth, and it has one special feature: obfuscation. Basically, it encrypts your traffic, but it also makes it look like regular traffic, hiding it from network, ISP, and government filters. Obfuscation is particularly useful in countries where the use of VPNs is highly controlled or monitored.

    Right now, Stealth is only available for Android, iOS, iPadOS, and macOS users. Windows support is still in the works.

    Fast Upload Speeds

    At work, we need fast upload speeds and low latency so our meeting software works smoothly. There’s nothing more embarrassing than when you laugh at someone’s joke but they don’t hear it until two minutes later. ProtonVPN was one of the fastest VPNs we tested on our Windows and Mac computers when it came to both upload speeds and latency.

    Proton VPN Speeds

    Upload speed difference, Macs11 percent slower
    Upload speed difference, Windows4 percent slower
    Download speed difference, Macs87 percent slower
    Download speed difference, Windows42 percent slower
    Latency speed difference, Macs20 percent faster
    Latency speed difference, Windows10 percent faster

    User Benefits of Proton VPN

    Proton’s main advantage for users is it being an all-around privacy solution. The VPN is just one of the many privacy-focused products from Proton. It also offers ProtonMail, Proton Drive, and Proton Pass. Focusing on just the VPN, Proton offers rarely-seen features such as NetShield (ad-blocker), private DNS, and Tor over VPN. Proton is one of the only two VPNs we tested with Tor over VPN, the other being NordVPN (our #1 pick). While Proton offers only a decent 3,000+ servers in 70+ countries, it more than makes up for that with its advanced security and privacy features.

    Who It’s Best For:

    Digital privacy is Proton’s main priority, with a whole suite of privacy-focused online tools. So if your profession calls for extra privacy, like if you’re a journalist, you should consider Proton.

Video Breakdown

We made a video review so you can see the VPNs for yourself! Watch it below or on our Youtube channel (and be sure to subscribe once you’re there).

How These Top-Rated VPNs Keep You Safe Online

VPNs provide online safety by connecting you to a private server. Normal networks are subject to monitoring by the internet provider or someone with administrative access to the network. In contrast, a private network offers encryption that obscures the content of online traffic. This makes your online activity harder to track.

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The top VPNs in the industry (i.e. the ones we tested and ranked above!) offer tried and tested encryption standards. Many of them offer 256-bit AES encryption, while others use the equally secure ChaCha20.

In addition, VPNs hide users’ IP addresses. Any website you visit can see your IP address. That’s not very private. When you connect to a VPN, they’ll see only the IP address of the VPN server. It acts as a stand-in for you, making sure websites can’t easily track your information.

Most VPN companies have servers all around the world so users can connect as locally as possible.The closer the server, the faster the speeds while connected. Some VPNs even encrypt users’ traffic multiple times through multiple servers, a process called “multi-hop”.1

» Check Out: Learn How To Fix Common VPN Issues

The Fastest VPNs On This List

The protection that VPNs provide doesn’t come without tradeoffs, most notably of which is reduced network speeds. Encrypting your network traffic and routing it through a server can cause your internet speed to dip a little. That’s why we make it a point to test and compare the speed of each VPN we recommend.

“Speed” is such a broad term. Objectively, it’s measured using three metrics: The download speed, upload speed, and ping or latency. And we do measure those. However, reliability and consistency also factor in. A fast VPN should be able to produce good speed readings and load websites, download data, or stream videos at a consistent speed.

These were the most consistently fast VPNs we tested:

  • NordVPN: NordVPN offered balanced upload, download, and latency, coupled with incredible stability even on distant VPN servers.
  • Hotspot Shield: Hotspot Shield provided great speed on desktops and smartphones powered by the lightweight Hydra protocol.
  • Private Internet Access: Capitalizing on its app’s customizability, Private Internet Access offered agile connections that could be fine-tuned to get the best speeds possible for different tasks.
  • IPVanish: We saw impressive download and upload speeds from IPVanish, making it great for transferring data (e.g. torrent downloads, seeding, etc.).
  • ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN excelled on desktops, providing us stable connections with above average download and upload speeds.
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How To Get One of These Top VPNs

You don’t need much to get access to a top VPN, or any other VPN for that matter. You simply need an account from the VPN provider and the VPN app on your devices.

First, go to the VPN provider’s website and create an account. Most VPNs require a paid subscription, so make sure to choose a plan that works for you. They typically offer monthly and annual plans.

Next, install the VPN app into your devices. Download VPN apps only from official sources. For example, for smartphones, download from the App Store or Google Play Store. For Windows and macOS, try the Microsoft Store or the Mac App Store. If the VPN’s app isn’t available from there, go to the VPN’s website and look for the “Downloads” page.

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Lastly, install the app and connect. The best VPNs really make it that easy, but before you buy just any VPN subscription you could find, take a quick pause and consider this next section.

Can You Trust The Top VPN Services?

VPNs are meant to hide users’ web traffic, but what if the VPN itself isn’t trustworthy? Sadly, not all VPN companies are trustworthy. Remember that they have access to your traffic. While they shield you from external threats, VPNs can actually monitor your traffic if they choose to. You should stay as far away as possible from VPNs that do that.

Here’s how we determine if we can trust a VPN service or not:

  • Company headquarters: Where a VPN company is located is one factor, because some countries have laws that could compromise VPN integrity. For example, in India, VPN companies are required to log usage data (IP addresses, websites visited, etc.). In China, VPNs are required to provide the government backdoor access to their server infrastructure. VPN companies based in those countries should be avoided at all costs.

FYI: There’s also an influential surveillance alliance of countries called the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes. These alliances give member countries deep access to digital communications monitoring. But while VPN companies based in member countries are riskier, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not trustworthy. As long as they have a verified “no-logs” policy, VPNs in Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes countries can be trusted.

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  • Privacy policy: Nearly all VPNs claim they have a “zero logs” policy, but that’s not the case for the majority of them. While most VPNs don’t log web traffic, many log other user information like IP addresses, times and durations of visits, the amount of data used, and more. We read their privacy policy to determine exactly how much data they collect. The best ones only log data necessary to maintain user accounts, like email addresses and payment information.
  • Third-party audit: While we can easily access and read a VPN’s privacy policy, we have no way to actually verify its truthfulness. That’s where third-party audits come in. Trustworthy VPNs would submit themselves occasionally to independent security audits to prove that they are following their privacy policy and that their networks and apps are secure. Audit results are often published online.

There’s a lot more to consider besides a VPN’s trustworthiness, though. For more information on how we ranked VPNs, check out the Methodology section below.

The Best VPNs Around The World

We conducted a comprehensive study on how adults in the United States use and shop for VPNs, and we found that 68% of the survey respondents use a VPN. That said, the importance of using a VPN isn’t exclusive to the U.S. or North America alone. Everyone who uses the internet can benefit from VPNs. As such, we made a list of VPN recommendations for specific countries where VPN use is high, such as in Asia Pacific countries where 30% of internet users utilize VPNs2:

  • Best VPNs for Spain
  • Best VPNs for Japan
  • Best VPNs for Hong Kong
  • Best VPNs for Singapore
  • Best VPNs for South Korea
  • Best VPNs for the Netherlands
  • Best VPNs for Mexico
  • Best VPNs for the United Arab Emirates
  • Best VPNs for Australia
  • Best VPNs for France
  • Best VPNs for Germany
Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (70)

Don’t see your country in the list? No worries; in our experience, you can easily find a good VPN for your locality by looking at three key factors:

  • Number of servers: How many servers a VPN has can affect your speed and access to the private network. Look for a VPN with at least a few thousand servers, as those are more likely to provide better speeds where you live. Private Internet Access (12,000+ servers) and NordVPN (6,000 servers) are great options for this.
  • Server locations: More than the size of the network, check the location of the servers. You’re most likely to get fast connections if you connect to a server near you, so look for a VPN with servers in your country. However, it’s also beneficial to have servers in other countries/regions so you can unblock content and get around internet censorship.ExpressVPN leads this category, as it has servers in 105 countries around the globe.
  • VPN cost: Lastly, consider the cost. VPN subscriptions can cost anywhere from a few dollars per month to over $10 per month. A long-term subscription is more likely to get you the best price. They sometimes cost as low as $2 per month, as is the case with Private Internet Access. If you’re looking to save money, we recommend Private Internet Access’ three-year subscription ($79) or CyberGhost’s two-year plan ($56.94).

Looking at those factors will help you narrow down your options, but if you want to find the best VPN for you, you can use our methodology below as a guide.

How We Test VPNs: Methodology

Testing, comparing, and ranking VPNs is an arduous task, but even if you’re not a VPN expert, it’s not impossible to do tests on your own. Take a look at our methodology, and you’ll be testing VPNs like a pro in no time.


Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (71)

Speed is a crucial factor. Generally, using a VPN will slow down your device’s internet access. So testing VPN speed is a matter of measuring how much it slows down your network.

To do that, we do a simple comparison of our original internet speed and our internet speed when connected to a VPN. We do all our tests using our 250 Mbps office network as the control. First, we test our current internet speed, and then we connect to the VPN and check our speed again. We use Ookla’s speed test tool for both tests.3We then compare VPN speeds by converting the rate of the drop into percentage points using this formula:

  • (Current Speed – VPN Speed) / Current Speed * 100
  • Example: (250 Mbps – 225 Mbps) / 250 Mbps * 100 = 10% speed drop

FYI: The lower the rate of the speed drop, the faster the VPN.


Security is another crucial factor, especially if you’re using a VPN to hide your browsing activity. To see how secure a VPN is, we do various IP address leak tests and check the privacy policy of each VPN.

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (72)
  • WebRTC leak tests: This ensures that the VPN can block IP address leaks from browsers’ WebRTC feature.
  • DNS leak test: This checks that VPN is using a private DNS server and not the public DNS server from our internet provider.
  • IP address checker: This checks that the VPN has successfully changed our IP address through tunneling. Learn how you can check and find your IP address.
  • Privacy policy check: We also dig into the privacy policy to see what types of data do and don’t collect and what they use collected data for.

Pro Tip: Ever get stuck coming up with strong passwords? Head over to another tool of ours, our Random Password Generator, to help you shore up your digital security (and it’s actually really fun to use!).

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (73)


Some use VPNs to torrent anonymously, while others use VPNs to access region-blocked Netflix content. While those are far from being the only uses of a VPN, they are two of the most common, so we also test VPNs if they can serve either purpose. For this, we try to download torrent to check if VPNs are compatible with peer-to-peer (P2P) connections and access Netflix U.K., Australia, and Japan to see if they can access different Netflix regions.


Cost is another notable factor we consider. Besides just checking how much a VPN costs – they range from $2 to $15 per month – we also take into account buying policies like how long subscriptions are, whether or not there’s a free trial for the VPN or a free version, and how easy it is to cancel. Most VPNs offer a money-back option, through which you can get your money back if you cancel within a specified trial period, usually 30-days.

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (74)

Customer Support

VPNs are simple to use but they’re a complex technology, so it’s vital to know you have access to technical support when you need it. For this, we check which customer support channels are available. Some offer phone support or live chat support that is available instantly. Others offer email support that usually takes days to respond. We prefer the former.


Finally, we review the user experience by testing the VPN apps. This is all subjective to the user, so we try to detail our app experience in every VPN review that we make. Essentially, though, what you want to see is a VPN app with intuitive controls, easy access to connection options, and all the necessary app features such as a kill switch and split tunneling. We also take a look at user reviews from the Google Play Store and App Store to see what others think about the apps.

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (75)

Pro Tip: Connecting to a VPN on your mobile device is easy. Just go to the Apple or Google Play store, depending on the make of your phone, and download the VPN’s app. From there, you just have to sign in and click connect for private browsing.


  • What is the best VPN?

    The best VPNs are NordVPN, Surfshark, Private Internet Access, UltraVPN, Norton Secure, Hotspot Shield, IPVanish, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Proton VPN.

  • Is it worth paying for a VPN?

    It is worth paying for a VPN. VPNs that are “free” typically limit the time you can use them and the amount of data you can use while connected, which is pretty limiting for most people. If you’re consistently on public Wi-Fi networks or want to access a private server, VPNs are worth shelling out a few dollars a month.

  • Are VPNs trustworthy?

    In general, VPNs are trustworthy, as nearly none of the companies we review logged our web traffic or activity. However, some VPNs are definitely more trustworthy than others; we prefer companies based in countries that are non-members to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes, international surveillance alliances. We also look for VPNs with strict logging policies that only keep the minimum amount of customer data to run their services; these kinds of VPNs are more trustworthy than most.

  • Can you be tracked if you use a VPN?

    Typically, you can’t be tracked if you use a VPN. VPNs hide your web traffic and activity and replace your real IP address with a stand-in. However, some VPN companies do keep your real IP address along with your device type, the times you went online, and more information that could be used to track people. That’s why it’s important to look at the VPN’s privacy policy and make sure that it’s strict.

  • Which free VPNs are best?

    The best free VPNs, which mostly offer limited versions of their premium VPNs, are Hotspot Shield, Privado VPN, AtlasVPN, Surfshark, and TunnelBear.

Best VPN Services of 2024: Reviewed by Experts (2024)


What is the most trustworthy VPN provider? ›

The Best VPN Services of 2024
  • NordVPN - Best VPN for Privacy.
  • Surfshark - Best VPN for Security.
  • Private Internet Access VPN - Best VPN for Windows.
  • Hotspot Shield - Best VPN for Netflix.
  • Norton Secure VPN - Best VPN With Dynamic IP Addresses.
  • IPVanish - Best Customer Support.
  • ExpressVPN - Best Encryption.
May 17, 2024

What VPN do security experts use? ›

NordVPN is the most secure VPN. From two kill switches and modern tunneling protocols to an independently audited no-logs policy and basic anti-malware Threat Protection, NordVPN essentially has all the components for a fully secure VPN.

What is the best VPN in April 2024? ›

The best VPNs in 2024
  • NordVPN: the best VPN overall.
  • ExpressVPN: the best VPN for ease of use.
  • Surfshark: the best cheap VPN.
  • The best VPN for torrenting.
  • Other quality VPNs I've tested.
5 days ago

What is the top 1 VPN? ›

  • Best VPN overall: NordVPN.
  • Best for beginners: ExpressVPN.
  • Best cheap: Surfshark.
  • Best for Linux: PIA.
  • Honorable mentions.
May 1, 2024

How do you know if a VPN is trustworthy? ›

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your VPN program doesn't contain any malware: Choose a secure VPN. Check your VPN provider's reputation before purchasing a service. Read some reviews and comments, and check its privacy policy, no-logs policy, and encryption methods to ensure the VPN is trustworthy.

Are any VPNs trustworthy? ›

VPNs are entirely safe, legal, and accessible—so long as you choose a reputable provider with strong encryption, IP masking, and transparency around logging and pricing.

Which is the strongest VPN in USA? ›

The best US VPN services in 2024
  • Private Internet Access (PIA) The best US VPN overall—a great pick for VPN newcomers and experts alike. ...
  • NordVPN. An all-in-one security suite that's wickedly fast. ...
  • The easiest to use US VPN—a premium service packed with features. ...
  • Surfshark. ...
  • IPVanish.
Apr 15, 2024

Which is better, NordVPN or ExpressVPN? ›

NordVPN's NordLynx protocol offers superior download speeds, making it the faster and better-performing option. While ExpressVPN outshines NordVPN in some server locations for upload speeds, overall, NordVPN emerges as the clear winner in the comparison of download and upload speeds.

What is better, NordVPN or Surfshark? ›

In short, NordVPN has a larger server network, offering over 6,000 servers in 111 countries, while Surfshark has 3200 servers in 100 countries. However, Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connected devices, while NordVPN caps the number of devices at ten. Pricing-wise, Surfshark costs less across all plans.

How to pick a VPN? ›

6 things to consider when choosing a VPN
  1. A free VPN is, in fact, not free. ...
  2. Security experience of the vendor. ...
  3. All reviews are not independent. ...
  4. VPN provider's home country matters. ...
  5. Check your VPN's privacy policy. ...
  6. Thousands of servers may be a security risk.

Who owns NordVPN? ›

NordVPN is developed and owned by Nord Security, also known as Nordsec Ltd, a Lithuanian cybersecurity software company. Nord Security is also the developer and owner of other cybersecurity products such as NordLayer, NordPass, NordLocker, and Surfshark VPN.

Who owns ExpressVPN? ›

As of September 2021, ExpressVPN is owned by Kape Technologies and reportedly has 4 million users.

What is the safest free VPN to use? ›

The best free VPN services in 2024
  1. PrivadoVPN Free. The best free VPN—it even unblocks Netflix and iPlayer. ...
  2. Proton VPN Free. Unlimited data allowance and advocates for digital privacy. ...
  3. Windscribe Free. Powerful and secure with a generous data cap. ...
  4. Free VPN. ...
  5. Hotspot Shield Basic VPN.
Apr 11, 2024

Is NordVPN safe to use? ›

Is NordVPN safe? NordVPN is a secure and reliable VPN provider trusted by millions of users worldwide. Let's look at what makes NordVPN so valued and the security features it offers. NordVPN uses robust protocols (like OpenVPN and NordLynx) to give you a fast and secure internet connection.

What is the best and safest free VPN? ›

The Best Free VPNs of 2024
  • NordVPN - Best Full-Featured VPN with Free Offers.
  • Surfshark - Best VPN Free Trial.
  • Hotspot Shield - Fastest Free VPN.
  • PrivadoVPN - Best Free VPN for Unlimited Devices.
  • Atlas VPN - Best Free VPN for Privacy.
  • TunnelBear - Best Server Network.
Apr 26, 2024

Is there a downside to VPN? ›

Slower connection

The encryption process and routing your traffic through remote servers can slow down your internet connection. However, premium VPN services usually have fast protocols and a powerful infrastructure that make the speed drop barely noticeable.

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