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10 Best VPN Services (2021): Security, Features + Speed

Short on time? Here’s the best VPN service for most users:

  • 🥇 ExpressVPN (#1 in 2021) — it’s got excellent security, ultra-fast speeds, and a great user experience. ExpressVPN maintains a strict no-logs policy, is full of features for streamers and torrenters, and protects all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Get today’s top deal () at: Short on time? Here’s the best VPN service for most users: 


I spent the last several months testing 49 of the top virtual private networks (VPNs) on the market — from well-known brands to unknown brands to a lot of other brands in between. I wanted to find the best VPN for most users in 2021.

I compared, rated, and ranked each VPN I tested based on a variety of metrics — across categories like privacy, speed, and overall functionality — and I have verified through extensive research, testing, and consulting with other security researchers — that the top VPN service providers listed here are:

  • From secure and reputable companies.
  • Able to bypass geo-blocks.
  • Able to stream content from other countries.
  • Designed well enough to maintain fast internet functions.
  • Able to hide activity from hackers, ISPs, governments, and other surveillance agents.

After months of running speed tests, reading privacy policies, and stress-testing all of the features of the many VPN services on the market, I ranked and compared the top 10 VPNs based on security, ease of use, privacy features, and overall value. These are those results.

Quick summary list of the best VPN services in 2021:


Not Everyone Needs a VPN: What Does a VPN Actually Do?

If you’ve read some of the marketing blogs recommending the “best VPNs”, they’ve probably told you that a VPN is ESSENTIAL FOR KEEPING YOU ANONYMOUS ONLINE!!!! 👈👈👈😮💻👉🔒😎

Well, that’s not entirely true… A VPN can help you stay anonymous in certain instances, but there’s no guarantee that it will — most of those claims are just marketing hype. If someone wanted to spy on you, a VPN wouldn’t really do much to protect you. For starters, you’d need to check for spyware or other hidden malware (you’d need an antivirus). And if someone steals the passwords to your online accounts, a VPN wouldn’t do anything to prevent them from harvesting your data and leaking it on the web (but a password manager would).

This is what a VPN can do:

It’s important to note that all of these things are legal if no other law is being broken. Likewise, using a VPN is perfectly legal in jurisdictions where doing so isn’t illegal (most every country in the world). There are some countries where VPNs are illegal, and there are some uses for VPNs that can allow people to break the law. I don’t condone anyone using a VPN for illegal reasons, nor do I condone anyone breaking the law.

  • Change/hide your IP address. A VPN reroutes your internet traffic from your normal IP address to the IP address of the VPN server, thereby obscuring your IP address from whomever is receiving your traffic (like your destination website). It’s important to note that the VPN company can still see your IP address — and only some VPNs won’t store, log, or track your IP information. Private Internet Access is the best for changing your IP address (and comes with a court-tested no-logs policy) >
  • Bypass government restrictions. If you live in (or are moving to) a country that has a government-imposed firewall on internet content, a good VPN will be able to bypass those restrictions, allowing you to access “blocked” content. ExpressVPN is the best for overcoming government restrictions >
  • Access geo-restricted content (like Netflix and Hulu). Online streaming services have different content libraries in different parts of the world. If you want to watch something in the US Netflix library but you’re in the UK, some VPN services will allow you to pretend to be in the US (thereby giving you access to the Netflix US library). ExpressVPN is the best for Netflix, Hulu, and most other streaming services >
  • Hide internet traffic from a hacker, network administrator, or ISP. In the event that your internet traffic gets intercepted in any way, all the traffic going through the VPN gets encrypted, so all of that traffic becomes unreadable. A VPN also hides certain browsing activity from anyone who “owns” a network, like the owner of a public Wi-Fi hotspot or your internet service provider (ISP) — and your ISP likely does see and log all of your user data. This is especially important if you like torrenting, something many ISPs consider to be illegal behavior. ProtonVPN is the best for high-privacy needs >
  • Connect to a home or business network while you’re away. If you’re traveling and need to connect to a home or business network, you can set up a VPN so that it functions as a mobile gateway to your home or business LAN. VyprVPN has the best business VPN >
  • Find the best prices when shopping online. Some online retailers will sell the exact same product on another country’s website for cheaper than on your country’s website. Using a VPN, you can purchase that product while claiming to be in the cheaper country and save a significant amount of money. CyberGhost VPN is the best for online shopping >

So if you still want a VPN, let’s take an in-depth look at the top 10 VPN services in 2021:

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for 2021 Top Security, Speeds & Performance

🥇1. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/1460/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+607681" title="ExpressVPN" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 607681" data-btn-indexed="1">ExpressVPN — <i>Best VPN for 2021</i></a> Top Security,<i> </i>Speeds & Performance

ExpressVPN is extremely fast, has easy-to-use apps, and comes with some excellent security features — high-security standards like 256-bit AES encryption, an independently confirmed no-logs policy, and a flawless kill switch. In terms of security features, it also has a few advanced features like its own VPN protocol, strong security server architecture, and split-tunneling on its Windows and Mac clients.

ExpressVPN even has its own private DNS encryption service, which provides an extra layer of security by encrypting DNS requests running through ExpressVPN’s servers. And ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology stores its server metadata on memory (RAM) as opposed to a hard drive, meaning all of your personal data is scrubbed when the servers reboot.

If you’re looking for a VPN to bypass restrictions, ExpressVPN is the best choice there is. My colleagues in China, Iran, Indonesia, and various other countries with internet limitations have all confirmed that ExpressVPN is able to overcome most government restrictions (confirmed August 2021). And ExpressVPN is also a great option for torrenting, gaming, and streaming — it unblocks all major streaming sites, like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, as well as lesser-known sites like FuboTV, RaiPlay, and Crackle.

And then there’s ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol, which ExpressVPN claims is more reliable, faster, and maintains stronger security over other top VPN protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard. In my tests, Lightway proved to be the fastest VPN protocol out of any other I tested.

ExpressVPN allows 5 simultaneous connections, accepts a wide range of payment methods (including Bitcoin), and it has a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try ExpressVPN (30 Days Risk-Free)

ExpressVPN Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 3,000+
  • Protocols: Lightway, IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP/TCP, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Obfuscated, Split-tunneling, Port forwarding
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv4, IPv6
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

ExpressVPN Speed Tests

With VPN servers located in 94 countries, ExpressVPN offers one of the most expansive networks on this list — and it has at least 15 countries with servers located in multiple cities. For example, the US has 20+ server locations (in New York, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, etc.), while the UK has 4 different locations (Docklands, East London, London, and Wembley). I tested a connection in each country, and I tested each city in countries with multiple server locations.

Here are some highlights:

Location Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed

(Mbps)

Distance (km) Ping (ms)
Home (USA) 130.50 41.00 13
USA server 121.89 (93%) 38.88 103 24
UK server 111.33 (85%) 17.91 6,300 75
Germany server 106.45 (82%) 16.13 8,401 97
Japan server 99.78 (76%) 11.54 10,414 121
Brazil server 95.96 (74%) 12.80 6,036 78

I connected via ExpressVPN’s “Smart Location” tool, which chooses the top server for your location. I was connected to every server almost instantly and maintained extremely fast speeds — even in locations that were more than 6,000 miles (9,000 kilometers) from my home server. These high speeds are due to ExpressVPN’s “Lightway” protocol, which performed much better than any other VPN protocol (including WireGuard). Overall, ExpressVPN only reduced my speed by an average of 15% — substantially better than most competitors.

Try ExpressvPN Now

ExpressVPN Streaming, Torrenting + Government Bypassing

Streaming: Strong

ExpressVPN unblocks 25+ streaming apps — including lesser-known services like Kodi, Sling TV, and FuboTV. I had no problem watching movies and TV shows in HD quality on Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and other streaming apps.

🥇1. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/1460/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+607681" title="ExpressVPN" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 607681" data-btn-indexed="1">ExpressVPN — <i>Best VPN for 2021</i></a> Top Security,<i> </i>Speeds & Performance

Torrenting: Strong

ExpressVPN supports P2P file sharing and torrenting on each of its 3,000+ servers — this is in contrast to many other top VPNs, which only support torrenting on dedicated P2P servers.

ExpressVPN also has split-tunneling — allowing you to have both internet traffic going through a VPN and your local server. I like ExpressVPN’s split-tunneling tool a lot because it’s very easy to use and navigate. Plus, ExpressVPN is the only VPN on this list that provides split-tunneling for Mac devices (macOS 10.15 and below).

Government Bypassing: Strong

ExpressVPN has obfuscated servers that will give you access to the internet in restrictive countries.

Even though many of these countries have “banned” VPNs, ExpressVPN’s obfuscation tool  makes sure that ExpressVPN’s protocols go unnoticed in countries with tightly monitored internet restrictions. My colleagues in China, Russia, Iran, and Indonesia all confirmed that ExpressVPN overcomes internet restrictions in these countries.

With its high security focus, ExpressVPN is the easiest, quickest, and safest way to overcome internet censorship.

Read the full ExpressVPN review >

ExpressVPN Plans + Pricing

ExpressVPN offers 1-month, 6-month, and 12-month plans. Although ExpressVPN is a little more expensive than some providers on this list, it provides the best service with its excellent security, speed, and privacy features (and also its strong streaming capabilities).

ExpressVPN accepts payment in many forms, including 7 different credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and various online banking services — apps like Mint, WebMoney, Alipay, Sofort, and more. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee with each plan.

Try ExpressVPN (30 Days Risk-Free)

🥈2. ProtonVPN — Best High-Privacy VPN Excellent Security & Very Fast Speed

🥈2. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/71018/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+776108" title="ProtonVPN" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 776108" data-btn-indexed="1">ProtonVPN — <i>Best High-Privacy VPN</i></a> Excellent Security & Very Fast Speed

ProtonVPN is an extremely secure, fast, and intuitive VPN developed by the same team that made the encrypted email service ProtonMail. ProtonVPN has a strict no-logs policy that’s been independently audited, and it’s based in Switzerland (which is outside EU jurisdiction).

ProtonVPN’s Secure Core VPN architecture bounces user traffic through multiple ProtonVPN servers (which are located in underground bunkers and data centers in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden) before the data leaves ProtonVPN’s network. And all of ProtonVPN’s apps are open source, allowing anyone to examine the software source code and look for holes in its security or privacy.

ProtonVPN has perfect forward secrecy, offers extras like split-tunneling and ad blocking, unblocks 20+ popular streaming services, and supports torrenting. ProtonVPN also provides access to Tor over a VPN connection, allowing you to browse .onion sites in your regular browser while keeping your IP address hidden from any Tor node.

ProtonVPN offers a free version, as well as 3 paid subscriptions which are backed by a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try ProtonVPN (30 Days Risk-Free)

ProtonVPN Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 1,200+
  • Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Secure Core, P2P, Tor over VPN, Split-tunneling
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv4
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

ProtonVPN Speed Tests

I tested a random server in each of ProtonVPN’s 55 countries to see how the VPN compared to its competitors.

Here are some highlights:

Location Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed

(Mbps)

Distance (km) Ping (ms)
Home (USA) 143.13 42.01 19
USA server 132.21 (92%) 39.89 312 29
UK server 122.45 (85%) 18.63 5,696 100
Brazil server 111.76 (78%) 17.33 7,731 142
Germany server 106.02 (74%) 17.04 6,510 153
Japan server 87.55 (61%) 12.87 10,869 181

ProtonVPN’s speeds were pretty decent in my speed tests. The VPN reduced my download speeds by an average of 35%, though I did encounter a few servers where there was a significant drop in download speed. That said, using all ProtonVPN’s servers, I was able to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, and make VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls even when I was connected to a distant server (and even when my speed tests showed a big drop in download speed).

Try ProtonVPN Now

ProtonVPN Streaming, Torrenting + Government Bypassing

Streaming: Mostly Strong

ProtonVPN provides detailed instructions on how to unblock 20+ streaming services, from popular ones like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO to lesser-known platforms such as Peacock and Pluto TV. However, keep in mind that ProtonVPN is primarily desktop-based, so only some streaming services will work with Android and iOS devices.

🥈2. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/71018/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+776108" title="ProtonVPN" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 776108" data-btn-indexed="1">ProtonVPN — <i>Best High-Privacy VPN</i></a> Excellent Security & Very Fast Speed

Torrenting: Strong

ProtonVPN supports torrenting on dedicated P2P servers — it has 12 P2P servers located in North America, Europe, Iceland, Hong Kong, and Singapore. ProtonVPN will automatically redirect you to one of its dedicated P2P servers if it identifies P2P traffic. I tested each of ProtonVPN’s P2P servers, and I was able to quickly download torrents from all of the popular torrenting clients.

Unlike ExpressVPN, ProtonVPN doesn’t support IPv6 — to prevent IPv6 leaks, ProtonVPN blocks all IPv6 traffic.

I also conducted a DNS leak test on each of ProtonVPN’s P2P servers — each one reported 0 DNS leaks.

Government Bypassing: Weak

ProtonVPN unfortunately doesn’t have obfuscated servers and is not a good choice for overcoming internet blocks in countries that restrict internet access. ProtonVPN admits that it doesn’t work in China and advises users to try to bypass the Great Firewall with a Tor bridge.

Read the full ProtonVPN review >

ProtonVPN Plans + Pricing

ProtonVPN’s free version allows you to connect just 1 device and it gives you access to only 3 servers (in the Netherlands, Japan, and the US). But unlike many free VPNs, ProtonVPN’s free plan includes unlimited browsing data (one of the reasons it ranks among the top free VPNs).

ProtonVPN has 3 premium plans, including Basic, Plus, and Visionary. ProtonVPN Basic includes 2 VPN connections, access to servers in 55 countries, torrenting support, and an ad blocker. ProtonVPN Plus adds up to 5 VPN connections, Secure Core and TOR servers, as well as access to streaming services. ProtonVPN Visionary is the same, but it adds up to 10 connections and a ProtonMail account. All of ProtonVPN’s paid plans are backed by a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try ProtonVPN (30 Days Risk-Free)

🥉3. CyberGhost VPN — High Performance (Good for Gaming) Good Security, Speed & Server Coverage

🥉3. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/1615/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+607700" title="CyberGhost" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 607700" data-btn-indexed="1">CyberGhost VPN — <i>High Performance (Good for Gaming)</i></a> Good Security, Speed & Server Coverage

CyberGhost VPN is very fast, easy to use, and offers a particularly good VPN for gamers. During my speed tests, I maintained an average speed drop of only 30%, which is well above average. And CyberGhost maintains a vast server network (6,600+ servers), so it’s pretty easy to find a fast server in a lot of different locations.

With CyberGhost, I was able to access 40+ geo-blocked streaming services without interruptions (Netflix, Hulu, and many more), and I downloaded torrents using all major torrenting clients without any problems. I particularly like that CyberGhost’s user interface tells you exactly which server to connect to if you’re trying to connect to a server for US netflix or a server for torrenting — this takes the guesswork out of choosing the best server.

CyberGhost’s high performance makes it a particularly good choice for gamers looking for a fast and stable VPN. I connected CyberGhost VPN to my router to cover my gaming consoles (because Xbox and PS4 don’t support VPN connections), and I was able to play fast and smooth games without any buffering.

CyberGhost VPN allows 7 simultaneous connections and comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee on its monthly plan and a generous 45-day money-back guarantee on its 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year plans (this plan also includes 3 months of free service).

Try CyberGhost VPN (45 Days Risk-Free)

CyberGhost VPN Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 6,800+
  • Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: No-Spy (based in Romania), P2P, streaming, split-tunneling
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv4
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

CyberGhost VPN Speed Tests

CyberGhost has 6,800+ servers in 90 countries — more than most other VPN providers. I tested CyberGhost VPN’s connection speed in each country.

Here are some highlights:

Location Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed

(Mbps)

Distance (km) Ping (ms)
Home (USA) 127.70 40.10 13
USA server 118.88 (94%) 37.55 103 28
UK server 106.07 (83%) 20.41 6,715 120
Germany server 98.94 (77%) 19.22 8,266 181
Brazil server 89.81(70%) 15.59 6,211 198
Japan server 75.47 (59%) 16.74 10,814 210

Even though CyberGhost VPN isn’t as fast as ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN only reduced my speed by an average of 32% (about the same as ProtonVPN — which is better than a lot of competitors). And I was still able to play games without any lag on each server I tried (even the most distant ones).

Try CyberGhost VPN Now

CyberGhost VPN Streaming, Torrenting + Government Bypassing

Streaming: Strong

CyberGhost has special servers that are optimized for unblocking 40+ streaming services, and the app tells you which server is good for which streaming service. For example, it tells you if a specific US server is good for accessing Hulu, if a separate US server is good for accessing Amazon Prime, if a certain UK server is good for accessing Netflix, and so on. In my tests, I was able to access streaming services on CyberGhost’s designated streaming servers in several countries. And my videos on Netflix, Hulu, and other services streamed in HD without any interruptions.

🥉3. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/1615/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+607700" title="CyberGhost" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 607700" data-btn-indexed="1">CyberGhost VPN — <i>High Performance (Good for Gaming)</i></a> Good Security, Speed & Server Coverage

Torrenting: Strong

CyberGhost allows torrenting and has designated P2P servers all over the world, so you’ll be able to find a P2P server near your location with fast speeds no matter where you’re located. I also really like that CyberGhost gives you the load percentage (amount of users on a server) for P2P servers — just select the closest server that has the lowest load in order to get the fastest download speed.

Government Bypassing: Weak

Unlike ExpressVPN, CyberGhost doesn’t have obfuscated servers, which means CyberGhost isn’t the best VPN for bypassing internet censorship in restrictive countries (and my colleagues from China confirmed that they were unable to use CyberGhost). But if you don’t live or plan on traveling to a country with internet restrictions, CyberGhost VPN is still really good for unblocking geo-blocked content, gaming, torrenting, and keeping you and your online browsing anonymous.

Read the full CyberGhost VPN review >

CyberGhost VPN Plans + Pricing

CyberGhost VPN offers several plans, but its 3-year subscription offers the best value — it’s cheap and it gives you 3 months of service for free. CyberGhost VPN’s 1-year plan is reasonably priced, but I don’t recommend the 2-year subscription plan because it basically costs the same as the 3-year plan. There is also a 1-month plan, which is pretty expensive.

The 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year plans include a very generous 45-day money-back guarantee. The 1-month plan is backed by a 14-day money-back guarantee. CyberGhost accepts payment with credit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin.

Try CyberGhost VPN (45 Days Risk-Free)

4. TunnelBear — Best VPN for Beginners

4. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/28049/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+607708" title="TunnelBear" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 607708" data-btn-indexed="1">TunnelBear</a> — Best VPN for Beginners

TunnelBear is one of the most intuitive VPNs on the market — it’s very easy to use (even if you’ve never used a VPN before) and it has a really cute design (there are cute bears all over the app).

TunnelBear is also very secure, provides decent speeds, and has all of the standard VPN security features, including a strict no-logs policy that is annually audited and verified by an independent cybersecurity company. TunnelBear also has a kill switch, stealth mode, and split-tunneling (only available for Android).

But unlike top competitors such as ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN, TunnelBear isn’t always able to unblock popular streaming services. And I’m pretty disappointed that TunnelBear doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee. However, if you’re interested, you can try out TunnelBear with a free plan (only 500 MB available per month).

Try TunnelBear Now

TunnelBear Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 1,500+
  • Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Split-tunneling
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv4
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

TunnelBear Speed Tests

TunnelBear has servers in only 26 countries — fewer than many premium competitors, including ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN. However, TunnelBear’s 1,500+ servers are spread out well across the globe in North, Central, and South America, Europe, and Australia, as well as in Singapore, Japan, and New Zealand. I connected to a server in every country to test TunnelBear’s speed.

Here are some highlights:

Location Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed

(Mbps)

Distance (km) Ping (ms)
Home (USA) 150.65 14.90 19
USA server 137.38 (91%) 39.23 514 33
Australia server 130.16 (86%) 30.88 15,310 246
Brazil server (virtual) 123.55 (82%) 12.08 7,400 157
Germany server 102 (68%) 14.88 8,266 107
UK server 75.58 (50%) 14.05 6,715 90

Overall, TunnelBear only reduced my download speed by an average of 38%, which is still pretty good — but slower than ExpressVPN, ProtonVPN, and CyberGhost VPN. When I connected to a local server (USA), my browsing speed remained almost the same as without a VPN, and I was able to stream video without any lag (and my upload speed jumped!). But when I connected to a server in Germany and in the UK, my download speed and ping dropped significantly, which was noticeable during browsing and streaming. On the other hand, my download and upload speeds were pretty good when I was connected to an Australian server — almost as good as when I was connected to a local server.

Try TunnelBear Now

TunnelBear Streaming, Torrenting + Government Bypassing

Streaming: Mostly Weak

TunnelBear isn’t a great choice for unblocking most popular streaming services. My colleagues in the UK confirmed TunnelBear couldn’t unblock Netflix US or Amazon Prime, but they reported that TunnelBear was able to unblock HBO. In my testing, I was able to access Kodi with TunnelBear, but I couldn’t gain access to BBC iPlayer.

4. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/28049/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+607708" title="TunnelBear" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 607708" data-btn-indexed="1">TunnelBear</a> — Best VPN for Beginners

Torrenting: Mostly Strong

Like ExpressVPN, TunnelBear allows P2P sharing on all of its servers. But because TunnelBear doesn’t have the fastest speeds, I recommend that you connect to a server using the Fastest Connection option or manually select a server located in the closest country.

I ran several DNS leak tests and while it passed most of them, on occasion, the IPv6 protocol leaked — TunnelBear has some IPv6 protection, but there are some times when it slips through. But IPv6 is easy to disable.

Government Bypassing: Strong

TunnelBear has an obfuscation tool (GhostBear) which you can enable with just one click. TunnelBear’s obfuscation tool is successful at bypassing government restrictions — and my colleagues in restrictive countries reassured me that TunnelBear is indeed able to overcome government-restricted blocks.

Read the full TunnelBear review >

TunnelBear Plans + Pricing

Unlike ProtonVPN that provides unlimited data for free users, TunnelBear’s free plan includes only 500 MB per month — this is good enough just to try out TunnelBear’s browsing speed (it’s not enough for streaming or torrenting).

The paid Unlimited plan includes 3 subscription options, including 1-month, 1-year, and 3-year plans. All of the plans include up to 5 simultaneous connections.

TunnelBear accepts credit cards and Bitcoin (no PayPal), and according to the company website, you can also pay with jars of honey (but I didn’t test this!). TunnelBear doesn’t have a money-back guarantee.

Try TunnelBear Now

5. PrivateVPN — Good VPN for Streaming

5. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/41563/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+776109" title="PrivateVPN" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 776109" data-btn-indexed="1">PrivateVPN</a> — Good VPN for Streaming

PrivateVPN is fast, secure, and good at unblocking geo-restricted content. I tested PrivateVPN on Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and a handful of other content sites, and PrivateVPN bypassed all geo-blocks with consistently fast speeds.

In addition to standard security features like 256-bit AES encryption, multiple connection protocols, and a kill switch, PrivateVPN also includes extra features like obfuscation for hiding the fact that you’re using a VPN and Tor support for adding an extra layer of security while browsing the Tor network.

One PrivateVPN account covers 6 devices, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, and there are flexible payment options (including payment with cryptocurrency).

Try PrivateVPN Now (30 Days Risk Free)

PrivateVPN Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 150+
  • Protocols: OpenVPN UDP/TCP, IKEv2, L2PT, IPSec, SOCKS5
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Obfuscated, Tor over VPN
  • Leak protection: DNS, IPv4, IPv6
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

PrivateVPN Speed Tests

There are over 150 servers on PrivateVPN’s worldwide network. I tested a random server in each of its 62 countries and measured how much each server slowed down my baseline connection. I connected to each server in the desired country almost instantly.

Here are some highlights:

Location Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed

(Mbps)

Distance (km) Ping (ms)
Home (USA) 118.70 5.58 13
USA server 115.88 (98%) 5.28 513 23
UK server 98.77 (83%) 4.90 15,130 157
Germany server 93.13 (78%) 3.66 7,200 190
Brazil server 81.96 (69%) 4.19 8,215 196
Japan server 65.31 (55%) 4.55 6,625 342

PrivateVPN has really good speeds (especially the L2PT protocol), and during my testing, no server’s download speed dropped below 50% (the general metric for a high-quality overseas connection).

My speed tests show that PrivateVPN is very capable of streaming, downloading, and video calling. There was some slowdown in nearby connections, and there was only a little slowdown in overseas connections.

Try PrivateVPN Now

PrivateVPN Streaming, Torrenting + Government Bypassing

Streaming: Strong

5. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/41563/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+776109" title="PrivateVPN" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 776109" data-btn-indexed="1">PrivateVPN</a> — Good VPN for Streaming

PrivateVPN successfully unblocks Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and many other streaming services. It has pre-configured servers for specific streaming apps. For example, there are 25 dedicated Netflix servers located in 21 countries. And thanks to PrivateVPN’s fast speeds, my videos were always crisp and clear — even when streaming content from the other side of the world.

Torrenting: Mostly Strong

PrivateVPN supports streaming on all of its servers (like ExpressVPN). I tested random servers with all of the major torrenting clients — uTorrent, BitTorrent, Bitport.io, and several more — and PrivateVPN was fully capable of downloading and sharing content from all of these clients.

I also ran PrivateVPN through a series of 10 DNS leak tests and there were 0 DNS leaks.

Government Bypassing: Strong

PrivateVPN is able to overcome government blocks in many countries with a government block on internet content — including China, Turkey, Iran, Russia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

This is due to PrivateVPN’s “Stealth Mode” feature, which is an obfuscation tool that masks your VPN traffic from the government.

Read the full PrivateVPN review >

PrivateVPN Plans + Pricing

PrivateVPN’s 1-month and 3-month plans are a bit on the expensive side, but its 2-year deal is one of the cheapest on this list. PrivateVPN accepts 6 different credit cards (including JCB and Diner Club International), PayPal, and Bitcoin. Each payment plan is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try PrivateVPN Now (30 Days Risk Free)

6. Private Internet Access — Flexible, Fast + Highly Versatile (with a Large # of Servers)

6. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/1119/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+607725" title="Private Internet Access" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 607725" data-btn-indexed="1">Private Internet Access</a> — Flexible, Fast + Highly Versatile (with a Large # of Servers)

Private Internet Access (PIA) has an impressive 35,000+ servers located in 78 countries. Because of its huge server network, PIA is able to prevent the kind of overcrowding that many other VPN services’ servers receive. And in terms of speed, PIA was among the fastest and most consistent.

My favorite thing about PIA is its strong commitment to user privacy — while most VPNs claim they don’t log user data (but can’t really back up that claim), Private Internet Access’s claims of not logging user data have been tested in multiple court cases and verified to be true every time. PIA even releases regular transparency reports where it shows how it regularly doesn’t produce logs to investigators. And since its apps are fully open-source, multiple IT professionals have examined the source code and verified that PIA’s apps are some of the most secure VPNs out there.

Speaking of apps, PIA has the most flexible and customizable apps out of any other VPN on this list. All of its apps are well designed, highly intuitive, and offer tons of customization for advanced users — different levels of encryption, IP and app whitelisting, local port connections, automation rules, and a lot more. And like ExpressVPN, PIA has high-security features like port forwarding and its own DNS — yet another commitment to how it strives to maintain ultra-strong user privacy. It’s clear that PIA’s development team is committed, dedicated, and constantly working hard on making sure they give their users the most private and comprehensive VPN experience possible.

PIA allows up to 10 simultaneous connections and backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Private Internet Access (30 Days Risk-Free)

Private Internet Access Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 35,000+
  • Protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard
  • Data encryption: 128-bit AES, 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Port forwarding, Split-tunneling, SOCKS5
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv4, IPv6
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

Private Internet Access Speed Tests

PIA lists the ping for every server on its network, helping you pick the fastest server. I chose the server with the lowest ping when I tested PIA’s connection speed in each country.

Here are some highlights:

Location Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed

(Mbps)

Distance (km) Ping (ms)
Home (USA) 112.64 17.81 19
USA server 106.87 (95%) 17.11 54 30
UK server 93.15 (82%) 13.90 6,412 120
Germany server 86.02 (76%) 14.23 8,455 153
Brazil server 68.57(61%) 8.69 6,601 201
Japan server 61.49 (54%) 8.02 10,729 234

PIA provides decent internet speed. When I tested PIA, my speed decreased by only 5% on the fastest servers. However, when I connected to PIA servers in Asia and South America, my speed dropped by almost 50%. This isn’t great, but it’s not worse than the average. Overall, PIA slowed down my internet connection by roughly 38%, which is in the same neighborhood as TunnelBear and ProtonVPN.

Try Private Internet Access Now

Private Internet Access Streaming, Torrenting + Government Bypassing

Streaming: Mostly Weak

PIA unblocks only some streaming apps, and not enough for me to recommend it if you’re looking for a VPN to stream content with. During my tests, I was able to access content on popular sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime, but I couldn’t access content on BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, or most other sites.

If you’re looking for a VPN that unblocks more than 20 different streaming services, I recommend ExpressVPN or ProtonVPN.

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Torrenting: Strong

PIA allows torrenting on every single server, so you don’t have to search for or connect to a dedicated P2P server like you do with some other VPNs. I tested random PIA servers all over the world with uTorrent and BitTorrent, and I had no problems sharing files with either torrent client.

I put PIA through a number of DNS leak tests, and PIA passed each one with 0 leaks. I also really like that PIA automatically disables IPv6 traffic — I didn’t have to worry about manually disabling it, like I did with TunnelBear.

Government Bypassing: Weak

PIA doesn’t have obfuscated servers and is unable to unblock content on the internet in restrictive countries.

Read the full Private Internet Access review >

Private Internet Access Plans + Pricing

PIA has 3 payment plans that are all reasonably priced, and you get every feature with each plan (unlike ProtonVPN’s tiered pricing plan). PIA has a monthly plan as well as 1-year and 2-year subscription options.

PIA accepts credit cards, PayPal, and cryptocurrencies like Bitpay, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. I also like how you can pay with an Amazon gift card to remain completely anonymous. PIA covers each plan with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Private Internet Access (30 Days Risk-Free)

7. VyprVPN — Good VPN for Small Businesses

7. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/442/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+607733" title="VyprVPN" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 607733" data-btn-indexed="1">VyprVPN</a> — Good VPN for Small Businesses

VyprVPN is fast, versatile, and offers a paritcularly good VPN service for business users. VyprVPN owns and operates all of its servers, it’s based in Switzerland (which has strict privacy laws), and it doesn’t keep logs of internet activity or files that you or your employees share.

It’s also a pretty good choice for individual users — it supports a wide range of streaming services (including Netflix), allows torrenting, and maintains fast speeds with popular protocols like WireGuard and OpenVPN.

For individuals, VyprVPN provides up to 5 connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try VyprVPN (30 Days Risk-Free)

VyprVPN Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 700+
  • Protocols: WireGuard, IPSec, OpenVPN, Chameleon (obfuscation)
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Split-tunneling
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv4
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

VyprVPN Speed Tests

VyprVPN has servers located in 70+ locations across the world. I tested VyprVPN’s speed by choosing a server in each of VyprVPN’s locations.

Here are some highlights:

Location Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed

(Mbps)

Distance (km) Ping (ms)
Home (USA) 102.41 35.60 21
USA server 99.04 (97%) 34.04 198 30
UK server 75.87 (74%) 20.55 6,502 89
German server 72.32 (71%) 21.60 8,200 111
Brazil server 60.77 (59%) 14.31 6,240 160
Japan server 54.70 (53%) 11.80 10,450 212

VyprVPN provided me with excellent speeds when I connected to servers in the US and in Europe. However, VyprVPN’s speed decreased more than I would have liked when I connected to servers in Asia and South America.

Overall, my average decrease in speed was 35%, but the speed reduction was much less with servers that were located close to my actual location.

Try VyprVPN Now

VyprVPN Streaming, Torrenting + Government Bypassing

Streaming: Strong

Using VyprVPN, I was able to stream content from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, AppleTV, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and ESPN+. Thanks to VyprVPN’s fast speeds, I didn’t experience any interruptions and my videos streamed in HD.

7. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/442/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+607733" title="VyprVPN" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 607733" data-btn-indexed="1">VyprVPN</a> — Good VPN for Small Businesses

Torrenting: Strong

VyprVPN is a torrent-friendly service and it allows P2P file sharing on all of its servers. I had fast speeds and a quick and seamless torrenting experience during my tests. VyprVPN also passed all of the DNS leak tests that I performed with 0 leaks.

Government Bypassing: Strong

VyprVPN has a special protocol called Chameleon that keeps VPN traffic undetectable from countries that restrict access to the internet. While some competitors like ExpressVPN use obfuscation tools or servers to bypass government censorship, VyprVPN hides your connection with a protocol technology — which is also very easy to enable on all of its apps.

My colleagues in restrictive countries reported that VyprVPN’s Chameleon protocol was able to unblock government censorship, and they could visit practically any website they wanted.

Read the full VyprVPN review >

VyprVPN Plans + Pricing

VyprVPN offers three different individual plans with 1-month, 12-month, and 36-month subscription options. You can pay with a credit card, UnionPay, and PayPal (but not with cryptocurrency), and every plan includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

VyprVPN has a VyprVPN for Business plan and a VyprVPN for Business Cloud plan. Both business plans come with a free trial.

Try VyprVPN (30 Days Risk-Free)

8. Mullvad VPN — High Privacy + Strong Security (and Simple Payment Plan)

8. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/28039/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+607743" title="Mullvad" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 607743" data-btn-indexed="1">Mullvad VPN</a> — High Privacy + Strong Security (and Simple Payment Plan)

Mullvad VPN offers a flat monthly rate for its service, regardless of whether you just want to use the VPN for a month, a year, or longer. And Mullvad hasn’t increased the price of its monthly subscription since it was founded in 2009.

Unlike most competitors that ask for your email or other personal information when making a purchase, Mullvad gives you an account number to serve as your ID and password. Also, Mullvad is an open-source VPN, and it doesn’t record or store any of your online activity. Mullvad also has good speed, allows torrenting, and is able to bypass internet censorship — but it’s not a good choice for streaming.

Mullvad allows you to connect 5 devices simultaneously and has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Mullvad VPN (30 Days Risk-Free)

Mullvad VPN Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 760+
  • Protocols: WireGuard, OpenVPN
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Bridge (Double VPN), Split-tunneling, SOCKS5, Port forwarding
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv4, IPv6
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

Mullvad VPN Speed Tests

Mullvad scored well on my speed tests. I was connected to a server in under 10 seconds in each of the 36 countries where Mullvad has servers. And my connection speed never decreased by more than 50%.

Here are some highlights:

Location Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed

(Mbps)

Distance (km) Ping (ms)
Home (USA) 84.27 41.01 17
USA server 77.98 (93%) 38.97 149 28
Germany server 69.35 (82%) 20.14 6,679 89
UK server 67.81 (80%) 18.98 5,408 79
Brazil server 59.66 (71%) 12.15 7,511 121
Japan server 50.72 (60%) 10.62 11,079 161

Mullvad has good speeds — it’s not as fast as ExpressVPN or CyberGhost VPN, but it does maintain decent speeds even when connected to distant servers.

Try Mullvad VPN Now

Mullvad VPN Streaming, Torrenting + Government Bypassing

Streaming: Weak

Streaming is one of Mullvad’s biggest weaknesses. In my tests, Mullvad VPN failed to unblock Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and every other service I tried.

If you’re looking for a VPN that easily unblocks major streaming services, consider ExpressVPN, ProtonVPN, or CyberGhost VPN.

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Torrenting: Strong

Mullvad allows P2P file sharing and torrenting on all of its 760+ servers. During my tests, I was able to download files with fast speed. Mullvad also has split-tunneling, but it’s not as easy to set up as other VPNs on this list. For example, you only need a couple clicks to customize split-tunneling with ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN. But Mullvad requires you to complete a handful of steps that could be difficult if you aren’t tech-savvy.

Government Bypassing: Mostly Strong

Mullvad uses a combination of “Bridge” servers (double VPN) and a Shadowsocks proxy (an open-source proxy designed to bypass internet firewalls) to counter countries that restrict access to the internet. While ExpressVPN provides obfuscation on all of its servers, Mullvad requires you to manually select your “Bridge” locations (but “Bridge” mode only works on desktop, not mobile).

My colleagues in restrictive countries all confirmed that Mullvad allowed them to access the internet and browse the web without any limitations.

Read the full Mullvad VPN review >

Mullvad VPN Plans + Pricing

Mullvad only offers one reasonably-priced monthly subscription — there are no long-term deals. Your payment will automatically roll over each month, or you can pay for a full year in advance at the same monthly rate.

Mullvad accepts credit cards, PayPal, cash, bank wires, and cryptocurrency. Your purchase comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Mullvad VPN (30 Days Risk-Free)

9. CactusVPN — Unlimited Connections on Unlimited Devices

9. <a href="https://www.safetydetectives.com/go/vendor/27898/?post_id=27835&alooma_btn_name=Affiliate+Link+-+607751" title="CactusVPN" rel="sponsored noopener norefferer" target="_blank" data-btn-name="Affiliate Link - 607751" data-btn-indexed="1">CactusVPN</a> — Unlimited Connections on Unlimited Devices

CactusVPN comes with lots of security features and is one of the few VPNs that allows connections on unlimited devices. It also has good speeds, a no-logs policy, and SmartDNS.

During my tests, I connected 8 devices to my CactusVPN account, and I maintained fast and consistent internet connections on every single device. I also accessed geo-blocked content on all major streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc.), and I was able to download torrents without any speed issues.

There are 4 different payment plans, and all of them are backed by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try CactusVPN Now (30 Days Risk Free)

CactusVPN Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 39
  • Protocols: OpenVPN (TCP & UDP), WireGuard, SSTP, SoftEther, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SOCKS5
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Obfuscated
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, and IPv4
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

CactusVPN Speed Tests

CactusVPN provides 39 servers located in 22 countries (high-speed servers only), and I tested CactusVPN’s speeds by connecting to every one of thee servers, including in countries like the US, UK, and the Netherlands that have multiple server locations.

Here are some highlights:

Location Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed

(Mbps)

Distance (km) Ping (ms)
Home (USA) 135.13 42.01 17
USA server 131.95 (97%) 39.44 514 24
UK server 118.93 (88%) 14.65 6,715 92
Germany server 95.01 (70%) 14.34 8,266 123
Brazil server 82.29 (61%) 13.44 7,400 270
Japan server 74.42 (55%) 12.11 10,814 299

CactusVPN has good speeds — almost every server I tried was fast. There were a few times when I tried connecting to the Japanese and Australian servers where I experienced a few interruptions, but overall, my average drop in connection speed was 40% — which is comparable to most competitors on this list.

Try CactusVPN Now

CactusVPN Streaming, Torrenting + Government Bypassing

Streaming: Strong

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CactusVPN claims to unblock 340+ websites from more than 12 countries. In my tests, I also accessed content on Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, TSN, France.TV, Fox Sports Australia, and many other streaming services without any interruptions.

While most videos started without any delay, it took a little bit longer than normal (up to 30 seconds in some cases) for videos to load on Netflix when I was connected to some of CactusVPN’s servers — though the streaming was smooth and uninterrupted once a show started.

Torrenting: Mostly Strong

CactusVPN has dedicated P2P servers in 7 countries (Netherland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Latvia, Romania, and Malaysia). I tested each of CactusVPN’s P2P servers (using all of the major torrenting clients like Vuze, BitTorent, and Deluge) and my files downloaded fast and without any glitches.

I also conducted a handful of DNS leak tests and there were never any leaks reported. But like some other VPNs on this list, CactusVPN doesn’t support IPv6, so you need to manually disable it on your device.

Government Bypassing: Mostly Strong

CactusVPN claims that its VPN over ICMP (Internet Control Messaging Protocol) and DNS feature can possibly bypass internet censorship in countries that use packet filtering to block online content (some networks only allow ICMP and DNS packets to be routed through their servers) — but the results are mixed.

I consulted with my colleagues around the world, and they reported that CactusVPN unblocked government-induced internet censorship only some of the time in China, Russia, Turkey, and a few other countries.

Read the full CactusVPN review >

CactusVPN Plans + Pricing

CactusVPN offers a 1-month, 3-month, 1-year, and 2-year plan. CactusVPN gives you more than 10 different ways to pay for the service,  including credit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrency, and other services such as AliPay and YooMoney (Yandex.Money). Each purchase is backed by a money-back guarantee for the first 30 days.

Try CactusVPN Now (30 Days Risk Free)

10. IPVanish — Good VPN for VoIP Calls

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IPVanish lets you use VoIP services like Skype or WhatsApp without any restrictions. VoIP services are blocked in some countries, and it’s also not uncommon for VoIP service providers to charge different fees for users in different countries.

I have a friend who works in the United Arab Emirates, and she regularly uses IPVanish to talk with family and friends via Skype and FaceTime. The last time I spoke with her, our voice call was pretty good and neither her nor I experienced any interruptions or weak connections.

IPVanish also doesn’t set a limit on the number of devices you can connect, allows torrenting on all of its servers, and has split-tunneling (but only for Android and FireOS). The only thing I don’t like about IPVanish is that it’s not very good for streaming.

IPVanish offers monthly and yearly plans, and its yearly plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Try IPVanish Now >

IPVanish Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 1,600+
  • Protocols: IKEv2, OpenVPN TCP/UDP, L2PT, IPSec, PPTP
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Split-tunneling, SOCKS5, Port forwarding
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv4, IPv6
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

IPVanish Speed Tests

IPVanish has over 1,600 servers in 75+ locations. To choose the best server for you, IPVanish gives you metrics such as the load and ping of every server.

To test IPVanish’s speed, I connected to a server with the lowest load in 50+ countries.

Here are some highlights:

Location Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed

(Mbps)

Distance (km) Ping (ms)
Home (USA) 168.16 41.98 11
Germany server 137.87 (82%) 14.22 7,889 120
USA server 130.93 (78%) 38.67 212 24
UK server 113.24(67%) 17.77 6,514 106
Brazil server 110.96 (66%) 11.08 6,577 164
Japan server 111.36 (66%) 11.83 10,051 189

IPVanish connected me to each server almost immediately, and I maintained above average speeds throughout my speed tests.

Overall, my speed decreased by about an average of 28% — this is comparable to top competitors like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost. So, if you’re looking for a VPN with good speeds, IPVanish is a pretty decent choice.

Try IPVanish Now

IPVanish Streaming, Torrenting + Government Bypassing

Streaming: Mostly Weak

IPVanish successfully unblocked Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and other streaming sites in my tests, but I couldn’t access Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer. There are many other VPNs on this list that do a much better job at unlocking streaming services.

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Torrenting: Strong

All of IPVanish’s 1,600+ servers are P2P friendly. IPVanish also has SOCKS5 proxy servers that give you an even faster download speed because they don’t encrypt your data. But I didn’t need to use a SOCKS5 server — IPVanish’s servers in many countries provided me with plenty of fast speed for torrenting.

Government Bypassing: Weak

Unfortunately, IPVanish isn’t a reliable VPN to access the internet in restrictive countries.

Read the full IPVanish review >

IPVanish Plans + Pricing

IPVanish offers 4 payment plans. You can either get the VPN for a monthly or annual subscription, or opt for the VPN + 500 GB storage, which is also available as a monthly or annual subscription.

IPVanish accepts credit and debit cards and PayPal as forms of payment (cryptocurrency is not supported). You get a 30-day money-back guarantee on the 12-month plans.

Try IPVanish (30 Days Risk-Free)

Top Brands that Didn’t Make the Cut:

  • HMA (formerly HideMyAss!). HMA has good speed, unblocks most of the major streaming providers, and supports torrenting on dedicated P2P servers. However, HMA has a history of logging users’ personal data and handing that data over to law enforcement. Also, in 2017 it was discovered that the Mac version of HMA’s proxy app contained several serious exploits which could allow a third-party to disable a Mac’s firewall and take control over user accounts. While HMA now has a strict no-logs policy and has fixed the bug with Macs, I can’t recommend HMA because of its history of privacy flaws.
  • Hola VPN. Hola VPN is a free P2P VPN which has good geo-unblocking capabilities and fast speed. But unlike most VPNs, Hola routes traffic through its users (instead of private servers) inside a peer-to-peer network — Hola replaces your IP address with another Hola user’s IP address. This means someone can use your IP address to engage in all sorts of questionable or criminal activities. Hola is also a bad option because it doesn’t have 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and it blocks all BitTorrent traffic.
  • Avast SecureLineVPN. Avast is one of the most famous names in the cybersecurity industry, but it was caught selling user data, and for that reason, I don’t really trust it. While Avast used its antivirus software (and not its VPN) to gather user information, I simply can’t recommend any Avast products until the company can earn back my trust. You can read more about the whole scandal here.

What Did I Look For in this VPN Comparison?

  • Strong security. I only recommend VPNs that offer industry-standard security features like 256-bit AES encryption, secure VPN protocols (like OpenVPN and WireGuard), and a kill switch (that prevents your internet data from getting exposed if your VPN gets disconnected). I also look for additional features like split-tunneling (allows you to route some of your traffic through a VPN and some of your traffic through your local connections), an ad-blocker, and more. Not all of my top choices have all of these extras, but all of my top picks like ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN have strong security features.
  • No-logs policy. To stop a VPN from storing your personal information and internet activity (websites you browse and files you share), a VPN must have a strict policy that states it doesn’t record any of your data — and all of the VPNs listed here have strict no-logs policies. And some VPNs (like ExpressVPN, ProtonVPN, TunnelBear, and VyprVPN) have even had their policies independently audited and confirmed.
  • Many worldwide servers. A good VPN provider should have at least hundreds of servers spread out all over the world. All of my top VPNs have a minimum of 700 servers and most have 1,000+ servers (Private Internet Access has the most on the list with 35,000+). Generally, the more servers a VPN has in a location, the faster the internet connection will be. When a VPN has a lot of servers in a location, it reduces the risk of overcrowding on a particular server, allowing for faster speed.
  • Fast speeds. Every VPN will slow down your internet connection, but the best VPNs will minimize the decrease in speed, even when you connect to distant servers. The VPNs on this list reduced my speed by no more than 50% — the fastest VPNs (like ExpressVPN and IPVanish) slowed down my connection by an average of only 15-25%, which is really good. In fact, even in cases where speeds were considerably slowed down, I was able to browse the internet, stream videos, or download files with a fast and stable internet connection with all of the VPNs on this list.
  • Streaming/torrenting/government bypassing. A good VPN should allow you to access geo-blocked streaming services, download files safely, and bypass government restrictions in countries that restrict internet content like China or Russia. Some of the VPNs on this list are unable to unblock streaming platforms or provide unrestricted internet access in countries with severe internet restrictions. But many of my top VPNs (like ExpressVPN) are good for streaming, torrenting, and government bypassing.
  • Great value. All of my choices allow you to connect 5-10 devices at the same time under a single account — and a few (like IPVanish and CactusVPN) even provide unlimited simultaneous connections. Most VPNs offer monthly and yearly subscription plans, flexible payment options (including cryptocurrency), and 30-day money-back guarantees (CyberGhost even has a 45-day money-back guarantee).

VPN Comparison Charts

Although there’s a lot to consider when choosing a VPN, the color-coded charts below will show each VPN provider’s features, privacy, pricing, customer support, and more.

Each column of the charts below represents an important part of each product, and there’s a simplified color-coded system to show how each VPN performs in each of the testing categories.

What does this information show?

  • Virtually everything. Privacy, security, download and upload speeds, pricing, customer support, website usability, government data sharing and cooperation, technical specifications, and more.

There are two charts — a Simple VPN Comparison Chart and a Detailed VPN Comparison Chart.

The Simple Chart is great for non-technical users who want a quick look at what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s ugly. However, the Detailed Chart gives a much more in-depth insight into each VPN service provider.

How to Use the VPN Comparison Charts:

  • Use the color-coded system. The color-coded system is used for both tables, and it helps to give you a quick insight into each aspect of a VPN provider. The simplified chart includes a 3-color system — Red (Major concern), Yellow (Some concerns), and Green (Good). The detailed chart adds two more colors — Orange (Not good) and Light Green (It’s okay) — to make a 5-color system. For those who are color-blind, simply turn on the “▣ Version for color-blind” button.
  • Use filters. By clicking the “Filter” underneath the list of VPN providers, you can select a specific brand that you’d like to assess. By clicking Filter underneath each column, you can rearrange the table to show the best/worst VPNs for a specific feature.
  • Choose the number of entries. Navigate to “Show # ▾ entries” on the top-left of each chart, click the ▾ down arrow, and select the number of entries you’d like to see.
  • See list of term explanations. Underneath both the Simple and Detailed VPN Comparison Charts is a list of explanations stating what each term in the chart means.
  • Horizontal scrolling. Use horizontal scrolling to see each column in the chart. Horizontal scrolling is essential to see all of the columns in the Detailed VPN Comparison Chart.

Simple VPN Comparison Chart

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The chart below gives a brief overview of each VPN brand. The chart shows information such as each VPN company’s jurisdiction, logging policies, pricing, and more.

See the explanation infographics for a list of term definitions and why they’re important.

Simple VPN Chart Terms Green meaning Yellow meaning Red meaning
Privacy: Jurisdiction Not located in Fourteen Eyes (good for privacy) Nine or Fourteen Eyes country (concern for privacy) Five Eyes country (bad for privacy)
Privacy: Logging No-logs policy Logs some data Logs browsing data
Privacy: Activism Complete personal data privacy and anonymity Some personal data privacy and anonymous payment options No personal data privacy protocol, no anonymous payment options
Technical: Service Configuration All secure configuration options Some secure configuration options No secure configuration options
Technical: Security High-level security Mediocre security Poor security
Technical: Availability Large # of servers Decent # of servers Low # of servers
Business: Website Low # of cookies, great server grade, high-level hosting & security Some cookies, mediocre server grade, slight security concerns High # of tracking cookies, poor server grade, unsecure hosting
Business: Pricing Well-priced Fair price Overpriced
Business: Ethics Good ethics Some ethical concerns Poor ethics

Detailed VPN Comparison Chart

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Explanation Infographics

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What’s the best VPN in 2021?

ExpressVPN is my #1 pick for the best VPN in 2021. It has a large network of fast servers, is very easy to use, and has excellent security features (its own DNS encryption service, TrustedServer Technology, and its own ultra-fast, secure protocol “Lightway”). It maintains user privacy with a strict no-logs policy, allows users to pay with crypto, and all of its servers run on RAM (not hard drives) so memory gets flushed often. It allows you to stream in HD on all major streaming sites, it supports P2P traffic on all of its servers, and it successfully unblocks content in restrictive countries like China. You can connect 5 devices at once, and ExpressVPN is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

But all of the VPNs on this list are very good.

I really like that ProtonVPN has tons of privacy features (Secure Core VPN architecture and perfect forward secrecy) to keep user data safe, and CyberGhost VPN provides an overall excellent browsing, streaming, torrenting, and gaming experience. If you have never used a VPN before, you’ll like TunnelBear’s simple interface and user-friendly apps.

Again, all of the top VPNs are the best VPNs out there, so it’s just a matter getting the perfect one for you.

VPNs are legal in most countries around the world. However, a few countries have banned VPNs, including China, Iran, Russia, Iraq, Belarus, North Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. If you are using a VPN in a country that doesn’t allow VPNs, you may be breaking the law. And if caught, you may be prosecuted.

If you plan to live in or visit a country that restricts user content, you should buy a VPN now because you may be unable to access the VPN’s website from inside that country. ExpressVPN is particularly good at bypassing government restrictions.

In countries where VPNs are legal, it is illegal to use a VPN to engage in criminal activity. As long as you follow all local laws, a VPN is a perfectly safe and legal tool to add security, privacy, and versatility to your online experience.

Is using a VPN against Netflix’s ‘Terms and Conditions’?

This is a tricky question, and the answer is yes and no.

In Netflix’s terms and conditions, it states:

“You may view Netflix content primarily within the country in which you have established your account and only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such content.”

So if you live in the US and connect to a VPN’s US server to watch Netflix, you are within the boundaries of the streaming service’s terms and conditions. However, if you’re travelling outside of the country where you have registered your Netflix account, it seems that you’d be allowed to use a VPN to access content available in the country where your account is registered. Netflix also says you can watch in-country content (i.e. if you travel to Germany, you can access German Netflix).

Some VPNs are better than others at unblocking Netflix (and many other popular streaming sites). Most of my top VPNs can — ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, ProtonVPN, and PrivateVPN are all able to successfully unblock Netflix libraries in many different countries.

How does a VPN protect you on the internet?

A VPN mostly protects you in two ways. The most basic way is by routing your internet traffic through one of its own servers — instead of through your local network or a public Wi-Fi hotspot — thereby masking where your traffic comes from.

VPNs also encrypt all of this traffic in a tunnel, obscuring all of your browsing content. VPNs help secure your browsing data against third-parties observers like your internet service provider (ISP), the government, or a hacker. All of the VPNs on this list are capable of doing this.

About the Author

Eric Goldstein
Eric Goldstein
Senior Editor

About the Author

Eric Goldstein is an internet security researcher and IT journalist. He provides updates on the latest trends in cybersecurity so readers can have a safe and secure online experience. In his spare time, he enjoys working out, relaxing on a beach with his family, and playing with his dog.