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10 Best VPN Services (2022): Security, Features + Speed

Eric Goldstein Eric Goldstein
Updated on: June 1, 2022
10 Best VPN Services (2022): Security, Features + Speed

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

  • 🥇 ExpressVPN (#1 in 2022) — 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 (49%) at: Short on time? Here’s the best VPN service for most users:


While many VPNs claim to offer top security and blazing-fast speeds at a cheap price, the truth is that most brands are neither secure nor fast enough for most internet activities.

To save you time, I spent the last several months testing 78 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 2022.

I compared, rated, and ranked each VPN I tested based on a variety of metrics — and I have verified through extensive research and testing — that the top VPN service providers listed here:

  • Are from secure and reputable companies.
  • Provide fast speeds for all online activities.
  • Work with streaming sites and support P2P traffic.
  • Can help you regain your internet freedom in censorship-heavy countries.
  • Have intuitive apps for most platforms.

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.

Quick summary list of the best VPN services in 2022:

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for 2022 Top Security, Speeds & Performance

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for 2022 Top Security, Speeds & Performance

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN in the industry, has some of the most intuitive apps out there, and comes with the best security features — 256-bit AES encryption, an independently confirmed no-logs policy, and a flawless kill switch (it’s one of the few VPNs that has a kill switch for all of the major platforms). In terms of security features, it also has a few advanced features like its own VPN protocol, strong security server architecture, split-tunneling on its Windows, Android, routers, and Mac clients, a tracker and malware blocker on iOS, Macs, and Linux, and a free password manager.

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. 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. And there’s perfect forward secrecy, which changes your encryption key after each session to prevent your future or past keys from being compromised by hackers.

If you’re looking for a VPN to use in restrictive countries, ExpressVPN is the best choice there is — whether you live or are traveling to a country with severe internet censorship, it can help you get around firewalls and regain your internet freedom. And ExpressVPN is also a great option for torrenting, gaming, and streaming — it works with 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. Plus, Lightway is open source, which means anyone can inspect it for security flaws (and it also underwent and passed an external audit). In my tests, Lightway proved to be the fastest VPN protocol out of any other I tested.

Whether you’re trying out a VPN for the first time or are an experienced user, you’ll have no problem navigating ExpressVPN’s intuitive interface. It takes just a couple of minutes to install on any device, it’s easy to find and connect to your desired server, and the features are easy to locate and use. And if you run into any issues, ExpressVPN has excellent customer support platforms, including friendly and helpful live chat representatives, a responsive email team, detailed setup and troubleshooting guides, and thorough FAQs.

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/IPSec, OpenVPN UDP/TCP, L2TP/IPSec
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Obfuscated, Split-tunneling
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, 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) 15.51 25.58 19
USA server 14.97 (3%) 17.49 103 (165) 22
Australia server 14.80 (5%) 8.19 10,610 (17,075) 243
UK server 13.15  (15%) 5.39 6,300 (10,138) 105
Germany server 13.07 (16%) 6.04 8,401 (13,520) 131
Brazil server 12.46 (20%) 6.98 6,036 (9,714) 124

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 10,000 miles (16,000 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). And I really like ExpressVPN’s built-in speed test, which displays an accurate list of the fastest servers based on speed index, latency, and download speed (and you can click on one of them to automatically get connected to that server).

Overall, ExpressVPN only reduced my speed by an average of 15% — substantially better than most competitors.

Try ExpressvPN Now

ExpressVPN Streaming: Strong

ExpressVPN is my top choice for streaming. It works with all popular streaming apps and claims to work with 65+ other streaming services — including lesser-known services like Kodi, Sling TV, and FuboTV. I had no problem watching movies and TV shows in HD and 4K quality on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and other streaming apps. Plus, ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer feature allows you to stream on devices that don’t have a VPN app, such as Roku, some smart TVs (Apple TV), and gaming consoles.

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best VPN for 2022 Top Security, Speeds & Performance

ExpressVPN 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. It also works with all of the top torrenting clients, including BitTorrent, uTorrent, Deluge, Vuze, and more (I had the fastest download speeds with BitTorrent).

You also don’t have to worry about your IP address leaking while torrenting — before I started to download any files, I ran a DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leak test in 20+ countries and never suffered a leak.

ExpressVPN also has split-tunneling — allowing you to have both internet traffic (apps only) 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. I often use the split-tunneling feature while torrenting to direct only P2P apps through the VPN, which increases my download speeds. Plus, ExpressVPN is one of the rare VPNs to provide split-tunneling for Mac devices (macOS 10.15 and below). Private Internet Access is the only other VPN on this list with split-tunneling for macOS (all versions).

ExpressVPN Bypassing Censorship: Strong

ExpressVPN has obfuscated servers that are designed to help you reclaim your internet freedom by getting around firewalls. Thanks to its high-security focus, ExpressVPN is the easiest, quickest, and safest way to overcome internet restrictions and VPN blocks.

TRY EXPRESSVPN NOW

ExpressVPN Plans + Pricing

ExpressVPN offers a couple of monthly plans and an annual plan. Although ExpressVPN is a little more expensive than some providers on this list, it has the best performance with excellent security, speed, and privacy features (and also its strong streaming capabilities). The good thing is you can get 49% off the annual plan so that it’s just $6.67 / month. I’ve also seen ExpressVPN give away 3 months free from time-to-time so you could actually get a total of 15 months.

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

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🥈2. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Flexible, Fast + Highly Versatile Great for Streaming & Torrenting

🥈2. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Flexible, Fast + Highly Versatile Great for Streaming & Torrenting

Private Internet Access (PIA) is secure, maintains fast speeds across all servers, and provides excellent streaming and torrenting support. In my tests, PIA worked with all of the most popular streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and many others, and there was no lag or buffering while the content played.

PIA is also great for torrenting, as it supports P2P traffic on all servers, works with all of the top torrent clients, and also has port forwarding, which allows you to connect directly to peers to get faster downloading speeds. PIA is also very good at bypassing firewalls and restrictions in censor-heavy countries.

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 proven true in multiple court cases. PIA even releases regular transparency reports where it shows how it doesn’t produce logs to investigators, and its apps are fully open-source.

And speaking of security, PIA comes with RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch (including for iOS), and its own DNS. Split-tunneling is available on Android, Windows, Macs, and Linux, and you can exclude apps and website IP addresses (ExpressVPN only lets you exclude apps). PIA also has a very good and user-friendly ad blocker (PIA MACE) that blocks trackers and prevents you from visiting potentially malicious websites.

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.

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: Unknown
  • Protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec (iOS only)
  • Data encryption: 128-bit AES, 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Obfuscated, Port forwarding, Split-tunneling, SOCKS5, Streaming
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv6
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

Private Internet Access Speed Tests

PIA lists the latency for every server on its network, helping you pick the fastest server. I chose the server with the lowest latency 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) 27.22 36.84 10
USA server 25.55 (6%) 36.61 2,721 (4,379) 82
Australia server 22.93 (15%) 31.06 10,478 (16,862) 231
Brazil server 20.40 (21%) 32.22 4,029 (6,484) 201
Spain server 18.08 (33%) 36.16 3,656 (5,883) 120
Germany server 17.21 (37%) 34.71 3,972 (6,392) 153

PIA provides pretty fast internet speed. When I tested PIA, my speed decreased by only 6% on the fastest servers. However, when I connected to some PIA servers in Asia and South America, my speed dropped by about 40%, which is still way above average. Overall, PIA slowed down my internet connection by roughly 22% — slower than ExpressVPN, but still better than most competitors.

Try Private Internet Access Now

Private Internet Access Streaming: Strong

PIA is excellent for streaming. It works with all of the popular streaming services, as well as many other lesser-known ones. During my tests, I was able to access Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, Pluto TV, USA Network, VRV, and many other streaming sites. PIA also has optimized streaming servers in at least 7 countries (including the US, the UK, Italy, and Japan) that are designed to work with specific international streaming apps, including Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer, and with local streaming services like RaiPlay (Italy), Crunchyroll (US), HBO Nordic (Denmark), and Ruutu (Finland).

It also comes with Smart DNS, which allows you to stream movies and TV shows on devices that don’t have a VPN app (it’s very similar to ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer).

🥈2. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Flexible, Fast + Highly Versatile Great for Streaming & Torrenting

Private Internet Access Torrenting: Strong

Like ExpressVPN, PIA allows torrenting on every single server in 80+ countries, so you don’t have to search for or connect to a dedicated P2P server like you do with some other VPNs (PIA is one of my favorite torrenting 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 also like PIA’s SOCKS5 multi-hop tool that routes your connection through a proxy server, which can slightly increase your torrenting speeds.

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 VyprVPN.

Private Internet Access Bypassing Censorship: Strong

PIA uses the Shadowsocks protocol and Multi-hop feature to get around firewalls — this protocol hides that you’re using a VPN so you can freely visit any site that would otherwise be restricted. Shadowsocks is easy to find (it’s listed under Proxy in the Settings menu), and it requires just one click to enable it. PIA gives you the option to connect to one of 7 different countries (choose the one closest to your location) like the US, Japan, and Israel to “hop” around a firewall.

Try Private Internet Access Now

Private Internet Access Plans + Pricing

PIA has 3 payment plans that are all reasonably priced — in fact, PIA is one of the cheapest VPNs out there, with plans starting at just $2.19 / month. The longer-term plans include a free 1-year subscription to Boxcryptor, which is a cloud encryption service. PIA also offers monthly add-ons like an antivirus and a dedicated IP address.

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.

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🥉3. ProtonVPN — Best High-Privacy VPN Excellent Security & Very Fast Speeds

🥉3. ProtonVPN — Best High-Privacy VPN Excellent Security & Very Fast Speeds

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 (audited and verified), regularly issues a transparency report to prove it doesn’t hand over user data to authorities, and it’s based in Switzerland (which is outside the jurisdiction of 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances countries).

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 (the apps have also been independently audited and verified).

ProtonVPN has full-disk encryption (encrypts all of the data on a server so it’s completely unreadable) and perfect forward secrecy, offers extras like split-tunneling and ad, tracker, and malware blocking, works with major streaming services, and supports torrenting. ProtonVPN also provides access to Tor over VPN connections, 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 several paid subscriptions that are backed by a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try ProtonVPN (30 Days Risk-Free)

ProtonVPN Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 1,700+
  • Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, WireGuard
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Secure Core, P2P, Streaming, Tor over VPN, Split-tunneling
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv6
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

ProtonVPN Speed Tests

I tested a random server in each of ProtonVPN’s 60+ 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) 128.43 42.14 23
Brazil server 127.16 (1%) 39.73 7,731 (12,441) 278
Australia server 120.21 (6%) 39.40 10,610 (17,123) 247
US server 101.84 (21%) 38.72 33 (53) 31
Germany server 94.22(26%) 37.92 6,510 (10,476) 194
Italy server 90.05 (30%) 38.93 4,363 (7,021) 202

ProtonVPN’s speeds were pretty fast in my speed tests. While it reduced my download speeds by an average of 24% (a bit slower than ExpressVPN), I was still 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. ProtonVPN also has VPN Accelerator, which is a feature that uses high-tech tools to reduce latency and increase speeds, especially on distant servers (my speeds increased by up to 40% on some servers).

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ProtonVPN Streaming: Strong

ProtonVPN provides detailed instructions on how to access 30+ streaming services, from popular ones like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO to lesser-known platforms such as Peacock and Pluto TV.

🥉3. ProtonVPN — Best High-Privacy VPN Excellent Security & Very Fast Speeds

ProtonVPN Torrenting: Strong

ProtonVPN supports torrenting on dedicated P2P servers — it has 300+ P2P servers located in 16+ countries, including North America, Europe, Iceland, Hong Kong, Nigeria, and Singapore (there are 140+ in the US). 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, and ProtonVPN allows port forwarding for Windows users.

Like ExpressVPN, ProtonVPN provides good DNS leak protection. I conducted a DNS leak test on each of ProtonVPN’s P2P servers — and there were 0 DNS leaks.

ProtonVPN Bypassing Censorship: 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 Tor bridge instead.

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ProtonVPN Plans + Pricing

ProtonVPN’s free version allows you to connect just 1 device and it gives you access to only 3 server locations (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 as the best free VPN).

ProtonVPN has 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year premium plans. The 1-month plan, priced at $9.99 / month, is cheaper than most VPNs, but the 1-year plan ($5.99 / month) and the 2-year plan ($4.99 / month) are a bit more than average — though still a good value. Each plan is backed by a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.

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4. CyberGhost VPN — High Performance with Large Server Network (Recommended for Gaming)

4. CyberGhost VPN — High Performance with Large Server Network (Recommended for Gaming)

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 (8100+ servers), so it’s pretty easy to find a fast server in a lot of different locations.

With CyberGhost, I was able to access 80+ 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 want to stream content or torrent files — 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.

You also get a content blocker that blocks DNS domain names to block ads, trackers, and malware. This feature is really good at making sure you don’t land on malicious websites and it doesn’t let websites track your online behavior (to pepper you with targeted ads), but it isn’t as good at blocking ads as Private Internet Access’s MACE tool (the content blocker only blocked a few ads).

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 yearly plans.

Try CyberGhost VPN (45 Days Risk-Free)

CyberGhost VPN Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 8100+
  • Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: No-Spy (based in Romania), P2P, streaming, gaming, split-tunneling
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv6
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

CyberGhost VPN Speed Tests

CyberGhost has 8100+ 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) 103.60 41.96 21
USA server 99.05 (4%) 39.87 103 (165) 24
Brazil server 85.81(17%) 15.59 6,211 (9,995) 198
Australia server 78.91 (23%) 36.24 10,610 (17,075) 235
Germany server 64.89 (38%) 37.55 8,266 (13,302) 130
UK server 56.00 (45%) 39.64 6,715 (10,806) 92

Even though CyberGhost VPN isn’t as fast as ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, it only reduced my speed by an average of 32% — 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: Strong

CyberGhost has special servers that are optimized for 80+ streaming services in 17+ countries, 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 UK (there are dedicated Netflix servers in 13+ countries), and so on. In my tests, I was able to access US streaming services on CyberGhost’s designated streaming servers. And my videos on Netflix, Hulu, and other services streamed in HD without any interruptions.

4. CyberGhost VPN — High Performance with Large Server Network (Recommended for Gaming)

CyberGhost VPN Torrenting: Strong

CyberGhost allows torrenting and has designated P2P servers in 60+ countries 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 VPN shows how far the P2P servers are from you — just select the closest server to get the fastest download speeds.

CyberGhost VPN Bypassing Censorship: Weak

Unlike ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, CyberGhost doesn’t have obfuscated servers, which means it isn’t the best VPN for getting around internet censorship in restrictive countries. But if you don’t live in or plan on traveling to a country with internet restrictions, CyberGhost VPN is still really good for gaming, streaming, torrenting, and keeping you and your online browsing anonymous.

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CyberGhost VPN Plans + Pricing

CyberGhost VPN offers several plans, including a monthly plan that’s pretty expensive ($12.99 / month) and a multi-year plan that’s one of the best deals out there ($2.23 / month). The multi-year plan isn’t just cheap, but it also often includes several months completely free. The monthly plan is backed by a 14-day money-back guarantee, whereas the long-term plans include a very generous 45-day money-back guarantee. CyberGhost accepts payment with credit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin.

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5. PrivateVPN — Good VPN for Streaming

5. PrivateVPN — Good VPN for Streaming

PrivateVPN is fast, secure, and has good streaming support. I tested PrivateVPN on Netflix, Hulu, and a handful of other content sites, and PrivateVPN was able to access all of them with consistently fast speeds, allowing me to watch videos in HD and without any interruptions whatsoever.

PrivateVPN also supports torrenting on all of its servers, and it works with all popular torrenting clients.

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 getting around VPN blocks and online restrictions in countries that censor the internet, and Tor support for adding an extra layer of security while browsing the Tor network. Unlike top competitors like ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN, PrivateVPN doesn’t have split-tunneling.

One PrivateVPN account covers 10 devices, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, and there are flexible payment options (including payment with cryptocurrency).

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PrivateVPN Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 200+
  • Protocols: OpenVPN UDP/TCP, IKEv2/IPSec, L2PT/IPSec, PPTP, SOCKS5
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Obfuscated, Tor over VPN
  • Leak protection: DNS, IPv6
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

PrivateVPN Speed Tests

There are over 200 servers on PrivateVPN’s worldwide network. I tested a random server in each of its 60+ 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) 28.68 41.26 19
USA server 23.57 (18%) 30.79 111 (178) 22
UK server 21.35 (25%) 28.12 3,810 (10,974) 96
Germany server 20.25 (30%) 27.32 3,980 (6,405) 113
Brazil server 18.69 (35%) 23.44 4,754 (7,650) 161
Japan server 15.34 (47%) 20.95 6,625 (10,662) 188

PrivateVPN has really good speeds (especially the L2PT/IPSec protocol), and during my testing, no server’s download speed dropped below 50% (the general metric for a high-quality overseas connection). However, PrivateVPN lacks WireGuard (like ProtonVPN and Private Internet Access) or its own proprietary protocol (like ExpressVPN’s speedy Lightway).

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.

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PrivateVPN Streaming: Strong

PrivateVPN can access Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and many other streaming services. During my tests, I was consistently able to access all popular streaming sites, and thanks to PrivateVPN’s fast speeds, my videos were always crisp and clear.

5. PrivateVPN — Good VPN for Streaming

PrivateVPN Torrenting: Strong

PrivateVPN supports torrenting 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.

PrivateVPN Bypassing Censorship: Strong

PrivateVPN has a “Stealth Mode” feature, which is an obfuscation tool that masks your VPN traffic, so it’s pretty good at overcoming internet censorship.

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PrivateVPN Plans + Pricing

PrivateVPN’s monthly plans are a bit on the expensive side, but its multi-year deal is one of the cheapest on this list — it costs only $2.00 / month, which is lower than most competitors. 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.

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Read the full PrivateVPN review >

6. TunnelBear — Best VPN for Beginners

6. TunnelBear — 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, obfuscation, and split-tunneling for Android (allows you to exclude apps) — and it’s the only VPN on this list to include split-tunneling on iOS (allows you to exclude websites and even subdomains). Plus, it comes with a free ad blocker (for Chrome only) and a free (but basic) password manager.

But unlike top competitors such as ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN, TunnelBear doesn’t always work with 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: Unknown
  • Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Split-tunneling, obfuscated
  • Leak protection: DNS, WebRTC, IPv6
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

TunnelBear Speed Tests

TunnelBear has servers in only 45+ countries — fewer than many premium competitors, including ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access and CyberGhost VPN. However, TunnelBear’s 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) 148.36 42.07 21
Germany server 141.18 (5%) 14.48 8,266 (13,302) 107
UK server 133.83 (10%) 14.05 6,715 (10,806) 90
USA server 132.41 (10%) 39.31 100 (160) 33
Brazil server (virtual) 91.55 (38%) 9.08 7,400 (11,900) 157
Australia server 30.40 (80%) 6.67 10,700 (17,219) 225

Overall, TunnelBear only reduced my download speed by an average of 42%, which is still pretty good — but slower than ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and ProtonVPN. 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!). When I connected to a server in Germany and in the UK, I also browsed the internet, streamed content, and downloaded files without any problems whatsoever. But my download and upload speeds significantly dropped when I was connected to distant servers in Japan, India, and Australia — it took up to 7 seconds for websites to load and streaming content buffered for about 10 seconds before it began to play.

Try TunnelBear Now

TunnelBear Streaming: Mostly Strong

TunnelBear is a pretty good choice for streaming. In my tests, TunnelBear was able to access Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, as well as lesser-known sites like Pluto TV and Kodi. Unfortunately, TunnelBear doesn’t work on Disney+ and ESPN+.

6. TunnelBear — Best VPN for Beginners

TunnelBear Torrenting: 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.

TunnelBear Bypassing Censorship: Strong

TunnelBear has an obfuscation tool (GhostBear) that you can enable with just one click. Like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, TunnelBear’s obfuscation tool is successful at overcoming internet restrictions and VPN blocks.

Try TunnelBear Now

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 yearly subscription options, and all of the plans include up to 5 simultaneous connections. Starting at $3.33 / month, TunnelBear’s premium plans are a bit pricier than some competitors — although they are worth it if you’re looking for a really simple and intuitive VPN (plus, it has cute bears all over the apps).

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

Read the full TunnelBear review >

7. VyprVPN — Good for Getting Around Internet Restrictions (+ Top Choice for Small Businesses)

7. VyprVPN — Good for Getting Around Internet Restrictions (+ Top Choice for Small Businesses)

VyprVPN is excellent at getting around firewalls and censorship — it’s able to access 45+ streaming services, including all the most popular ones, like Netflix and Amazon Prime. And in my tests, VyprVPN consistently worked with major streaming sites, plus the content started straight away and there was almost no buffering (even on very distant servers).

VyprVPN has its own proprietary Chameleon protocol to bypass VPN blocks — this protocol uses obfuscation to mask your VPN traffic and allow you to surf the internet without any restrictions.

VyprVPN is also a pretty good choice for business users — it 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.

VyprVPN provides up to 30 connections, has monthly and yearly plans, and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try VyprVPN (30 Days Risk-Free)

VyprVPN Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 700+
  • Protocols: WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, Chameleon (obfuscation)
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Split-tunneling
  • Leak protection: DNS
  • 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) 22.05 35.21 19
USA server 19.64 (11%) 34.86 97 (156) 24
Denmark server 17.83 (19%) 25.83 3,798 (6,112) 112
Brazil server 17.11 (22%) 20.82 4,754 (7,650) 160
Japan server 16.81 (24%) 23.55 6,751 (10,864) 220
Australia server 16.52 (25%) 34.56 10,450 (16,817) 302

VyprVPN provided me with excellent speeds when I connected to servers in the US, in Europe, and even in distant locations like Japan and Australia. However, VyprVPN’s speed decreased more than I would have liked when I connected to servers in Asia and South America. But overall, my average decrease in speed was 21%, which is pretty good.

Try VyprVPN Now

VyprVPN Streaming: Strong

VyprVPN works with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, AppleTV, BBC iPlayer, and ESPN+. But if you’re a big fan of Disney and Marvel titles, you’ll be disappointed to learn that VyprVPN doesn’t work with Disney+. To access Disney+, I recommend using other top VPNs like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and ProtonVPN.

During my tests, I was able to access all streaming services, and thanks to VyprVPN’s fast speeds, I didn’t experience any interruptions and my videos streamed in HD.

7. VyprVPN — Good for Getting Around Internet Restrictions (+ Top Choice for Small Businesses)

VyprVPN 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.

VyprVPN Bypassing Censorship: Strong

VyprVPN has a special protocol called Chameleon that keeps your VPN traffic undetectable. Chameleon also regularly refreshes your IP address during the VPN connection to better protect your privacy and protect you from IP blocks.

Try VyprVPN Now

VyprVPN Plans + Pricing

VyprVPN offers several plans, with prices starting at $8.33 / month — this is one of the most expensive VPN options on the market. But like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN, VyprVPN also frequently gives away free months, so you may get up to 12 additional months at no cost whatsoever. 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)

Read the full VyprVPN review >

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

8. Mullvad VPN — 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 speeds, 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, 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 35+ 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 (7%) 38.97 149 (239) 28
Germany server 69.35 (18%) 20.14 4,045 (6,509) 89
UK server 67.81 (20%) 18.98 3,539 (5,695) 79
Brazil server 59.66 (30%) 12.15 4,657 (7,494) 121
Japan server 50.72 (40%) 10.62 6,650 (10,702) 161

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

Try Mullvad VPN Now

Mullvad VPN Streaming: Weak

Streaming is one of Mullvad’s biggest weaknesses. In my tests, Mullvad VPN worked with Netflix, and my colleague from the UK was able to access BBC iPlayer, but we were both unable to access Hulu, Disney+, and every other service we tried.

If you’re looking for a VPN that works with major streaming services, consider ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, or CyberGhost VPN.

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

Mullvad VPN Torrenting: Strong

Mullvad allows P2P file sharing and torrenting on all of its 760+ servers. During my tests, I was able to download files at fast speeds. Mullvad also has split-tunneling, which is very easy to use — I successfully used it to send P2P traffic through the VPN and browse local sites using my ISP’s network.

Mullvad VPN Bypassing Censorship: 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 allow unrestricted 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).

Try Mullvad VPN Now

Mullvad VPN Plans + Pricing

Mullvad only offers one reasonably-priced monthly subscription ($5.28 / month) — 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)

Read the full Mullvad VPN review >

9. CactusVPN — Unlimited Connections on Unlimited Devices

9. CactusVPN — 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 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, SOCKS5
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Obfuscated, Split-tunneling
  • 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 these 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) 145.42 42.06 11
USA server 124.35 (14%) 37.56 121 (194) 25
Germany server 113.01 (22%) 34.34 3,932 (6,327) 123
Brazil server 89.29 (39%) 29.64 4,754 (7,650) 148
Australia server 51.403 (65%) 25.94 10,814 (17,403) 251

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 43% — which is comparable to TunnelBear, but slower than ExpressVPN and, Private Internet Access.

Try CactusVPN Now

CactusVPN Streaming: Strong

CactusVPN claims to work with 340+ websites from more than 12 countries. In my tests, I was able to access Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, 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.

9. CactusVPN — Unlimited Connections on Unlimited Devices

CactusVPN 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. But I think other competitors provide better P2P supportExpressVPN and Private Internet Access allow torrenting on all servers and maintain faster speeds.

I also conducted a handful of DNS leak tests and there were never any leaks reported.

CactusVPN Bypassing Censorship: Mostly Strong

CactusVPN provides obfuscation, but a support rep told me that they can’t guarantee the service works in restrictive countries 100% of the time. Competitors like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and ProtonVPN are able to consistently access blocked sites in countries that censor the web.

Try CactusVPN Now

CactusVPN Plans + Pricing

CactusVPN offers monthly and yearly plans, which start at $3.56 / month and are pretty affordable. 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)

Read the full CactusVPN review >

10. IPVanish — Unlimited Connections + Good for Torrenting

10. IPVanish — Unlimited Connections + Good for Torrenting

IPVanish is one of the few VPN providers out there that allows unlimited connections, and it’s also pretty good for torrenting. I especially like that all of its 2,000+ servers support P2P traffic and that it works with top torrenting apps like uTorrent and Vuze. IPVanish also has 25+ SOCKS5 servers, which provide faster downloads than VPN servers because they don’t use encryption (but they still change your IP address).

In addition, IPVanish also provides good security, including advanced security features like perfect forward secrecy. And its apps are easy to install and have an intuitive design.

But unlike other competitors like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and ProtonVPN, IPVanish is 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 (30 Days Risk-Free)

IPVanish Security Facts

  • Worldwide servers: 2,000+
  • Protocols: IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, L2PT/IPSec, IPSec, PPTP, WireGuard
  • Data encryption: 256-bit AES
  • Specialty servers: Split-tunneling, SOCKS5
  • Leak protection: DNS, IPv6
  • Kill switch: Yes
  • No-logs policy: Yes

IPVanish Speed Tests

IPVanish has over 2,000+ servers in 50+ countries. I like that IPVanish gives you metrics such as the load and ping of every server because it makes it easy to find the fastest servers.

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) 162.19 42.01 11
USA server 139.34 (14%) 39.69 89 (143) 23
Germany server 129.22 (21%) 12.85 3,908 (6,289) 138
UK server 121.24(25%) 11.01 3,869 (6,226) 116
Brazil server 102.96 (36%) 12.08 4,798 (7,721) 164
Australia server 86.36 (46%) 12.51 10,814 (17,403) 233

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 33% — this is comparable to top competitors like CyberGhost. So, if you’re looking for a VPN with good speeds, IPVanish is a pretty decent choice.

That said, I didn’t like that it always took anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds to connect to a VPN server — with top VPNs like ExpressVPN, it always took me less than 5 seconds to connect to a VPN server.

Try IPVanish Now

IPVanish Streaming: Mostly Weak

IPVanish worked with Netflix, but it was unable to access Hulu, Disney+, and other streaming sites in my tests. There are many other VPNs on this list (like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and CyberGhost VPN) that are much better for streaming.

10. IPVanish — Unlimited Connections + Good for Torrenting

IPVanish Torrenting: Strong

All of IPVanish’s 2,000+ servers are P2P-friendly, and it also has SOCKS5 proxy servers that provide even faster downloads because they don’t encrypt your data — I ran tests and usually had 10% faster download speeds when using the SOCKS5 proxy servers.

IPVanish Bypassing Censorship: Weak

Unfortunately, IPVanish doesn’t work in restrictive countries. If you’re looking for a VPN that is consistently able to get around firewalls and censorship, consider using ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access.

Try IPVanish Now

IPVanish Plans + Pricing

IPVanish offers paid monthly and yearly plans, which start at $3.33 / month. The yearly plan includes a free subscription for VIPRE antivirus (available only for Windows and macOS).

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 yearly plan.

Try IPVanish (30 Days Risk-Free)

Read the full IPVanish review >

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, Private Internet Access, 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, Private Internet Access, TunnelBear, and VyprVPN) have even had their policies independently audited and confirmed or proven true by court documents.
  • Many worldwide servers. A good VPN provider should have at least hundreds of servers spread out all over the world. 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 speeds.
  • 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 Private Internet Access) 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/circumventing censorship. A good VPN should allow you to access streaming services, download files safely, and bypass internet restrictions in countries that restrict internet content. Some of the VPNs on this list don’t work with streaming platforms or provide unrestricted internet access in countries with severe internet restrictions. But many of my top VPNs (like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and ProtonVPN) are good for streaming, torrenting, and bypassing firewalls and internet restrictions.
  • 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).

Top Brands that Didn’t Make the Cut:

  • HMA VPN. HMA VPN is secure, has good speeds, and supports torrenting on dedicated P2P servers. However, HMA VPN doesn’t work with a lot of popular streaming sites like Netflix and Disney+, it doesn’t work in restrictive countries, its customer support is terrible, and it’s very expensive.
  • Hola VPN. Hola VPN is a free P2P VPN with fast speeds. But it has a history of leaking user IP addresses, it keeps logs, and it doesn’t use encryption. And because Hola is a P2P VPN, that means you’re assigned another user’s IP address and your IP address is also assigned to someone else. So a malicious actor could use your IP address to engage in criminal activities.
  • 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.

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

VPN Comparison Charts

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

VPN Comparison Charts


Explanation Infographics

VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


VPN Comparison Charts


What’s the best VPN in 2022?

ExpressVPN is my #1 pick for the best VPN in 2022. 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 bypasses firewalls in restrictive countries. 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.

Private Internet Access is an all-around great VPN — very secure, very fast, and very simple to use. It’s also really good for both streaming and torrenting. ProtonVPN has tons of privacy features (Secure Core VPN architecture and perfect forward secrecy) to keep user data safe, and CyberGhost 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 of 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 firewalls and internet 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 traveling 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 registered your Netflix account in the US and travel to Germany, you can access US + German Netflix).

Some VPNs are better than others at accessing Netflix (and many other popular streaming sites). Most of my top VPNs are excellent for streaming — ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and ProtonVPN all provided me with fast and uninterrupted streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime during my tests.

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 hackers. All of the VPNs on this list are capable of doing this.

Are VPNs safe?

Yes, good VPNs have tons of different security features that protect your data and privacy.

All of the top VPNs in 2022 come with industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption (the same encryption used by banks and militaries), a kill switch (automatically disconnects you from the internet if your VPN connection drops to prevent data leaks), protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks, and a strict no-logs policy (to prevent the VPN from recording the websites you visit and files you download). And some VPNs like ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN have even conducted independent audits to verify their no-logs policies, while others like Private Internet Access and CyberGhost VPN issue transparency reports to prove they don’t store or share user data.

Most quality VPNs also include advanced security features like RAM-only servers (data is never stored on the hard drive) and perfect forward secrecy (changes your encryption key to prevent future and past keys from being hacked) and come with cool extras like malware blockers and split-tunneling.

How much does a VPN cost?

A VPN subscription can cost you as little as $2 per month or as much as $15 per month, depending on which plan you choose. The longer-term plans (1-, 2-, and 3-year plans) offer the best value and are typically the cheapest ones, while the monthly plans are priced higher.

For example, Private Internet Access has one of the cheapest plans out there — its 1-month price is a little steep (though still comparable to other top VPNs), but its long-term plan is very budget-friendly at $2.19 / month. ExpressVPN’s prices, which start at $6.67 / month, are a bit higher than average, but it offers exceptional value and the long-term plan usually includes additional months for free. If you’re looking for the best low-cost VPNs on the market, check out our top picks here.

Is it worth paying for a VPN?

Yes, 100%! The top VPNs offer great security, privacy, and value at a reasonable price. My favorite VPNs in 2022 are ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, which are both secure, fast, work with all of the top streaming services (including Netflix), allow torrenting, have easy-to-use apps for nearly every device that has an internet connection, and offer competitive pricing.

Another option you have is to get a free VPN, but I really don’t recommend it. Most free VPN plans set a limit on how much data you can use each day or month, throttle your speeds, limit the number of servers and countries you can access, may interrupt your browsing with ads, or even sell your online data (website you visit and products you purchase) to third parties for advertising purposes.

If you’re only in the market for a free VPN, I recommend ProtonVPN’s free plan, which is one of the rare providers that includes unlimited data, allows access to servers in the US, Japan, and the Netherlands, and has fast speeds (but it doesn’t support streaming or torrenting).

About the Author

Eric Goldstein
Eric Goldstein
Senior Editor
Updated on: June 1, 2022

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.