From ExpressVPN, NordVPN, IPVanish, VyprVPN, to BulletVPN, HideMyAss VPN, and Ivacy VPN, when it comes to VPN services, we’re spoilt for choice. Connecting to a VPN server whenever you go online has become a necessity nowadays. But which VPN is best?
EVERYBODY WANTS A PIECE OF YOUR PRIVATE DATA
From big corporations like Facebook and Google to even your ISP; everybody’s after your private data and browsing activities. Government censorship is also on the rise, even if first world countries. There are literally hundreds of different VPNs you can choose from, some are free while others come at a premium. As with everything else in life, there are good ones as well as bad ones. In this comparison guide, I have reviewed the top VPN providers. Hopefully, this review will make it easier for you to choose a VPN provider that best suits your needs, regardless of whether you are looking to browse the web anonymously, protect your privacy or bypass regional restrictions. So here goes the best VPN review.
BEST VPN REVIEW – CONTENT INDEX
- Best VPN In-Depth Review
- Private Internet Access
- Other Top VPN providers
- What is VPN
- VPN Compatible Devices
- 5 Reasons Everybody Needs VPN
- Internet Censorship
- Online Privacy
- Blackout Restrictions
- Public WiFi Hotspots
- Smart DNS Proxy as a VPN Alternative
- Best VPN Review – The Wrap Up
BEST VPN REVIEW – SUMMARY
Before I go into the pros and cons of the top VPN service, here’s a table that summarizes the review below. If you want a more detailed explanation as to why that VPN provider stands out from the rest, scroll down. Keep in mind that all of these VPNs are reliable and trustworthy. If you are looking for freemium VPN services like Hola, I’d advise you not go down that road. Free VPNs are never safe to use.
BEST VPN – IN-DEPTH REVIEW
Here’s a list of the best VPN service providers.
- IP Vanish
EXPRESSVPN – TOP VPN AND EDITOR’S CHOICE
When it comes to VPN, ExpressVPN are the experts. They have VPN locations all over the world and are one of the few VPN services that actually still allow you to change your Netflix region to the USA. Additionally, you can run three simultaneous VPN connections. ExpressVPN follows a ‘No-logs policy’ and offers stellar 24/7 support for all its users.
For the customers who aren’t really sure whether they want ExpressVPN as their provider, there’s a 30-day money back guarantee policy that allows a full refund if you’re not happy about the service you get. If you do sign up, you could participate in their referral program where if you convince a friend, the both of you get a month free of service.
The connections offered by ExpressVPN are relatively the fastest, so both your streaming and movie downloads will be very efficient. Also, download as much as you want since there’s no limit on the bandwidth.
The offers they have, plus the good experience I have of dealing with them, put them at the top of my personal preference list for a reliable VPN service. ExpressVPN users also get access to a complimentary Smart DNS proxy service. Smart DNS helps bypass geo-restrictions imposed on certain streaming channels.
- 30-day money-back refund guarantee.
- VPN apps for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
- 24/7 live chat support.
- Over 136 VPN locations in nearly 90 countries.
- Zero network traffic logging.
- American Netflix.
- Smart DNS proxy.
- Perhaps the only disadvantage ExpressVPN has is that is a little bit more pricey when compared to other top VPN services. But, in the end, you get what you pay for.
A relative new-comer to the VPN service scene, BulletVPN did surprisingly well when we tested their VPN servers. They also offer easy-to-follow guides on how to install VPN on routers as well as setting up virtual routers on your PC/Mac. We experienced minimal Internet speed drops across all of their VPN locations. If BulletVPN add more servers, they will rank even higher on the list of best VPNs in 2018.
- 30-day money-back refund guarantee.
- VPN apps for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
- 24/7 live chat support.
- Zero network traffic logging.
- Not as many VPN servers as other providers on this list.
This is another household name in the world of VPN service providers. As of now, the provider has slightly above 15 million registered users. All these users benefit from a service that offers them a stable connection well guaranteed by over 1000 servers worldwide. With such a large number of servers scattered over more than 30 countries, CyberGhost customers get to enjoy complete anonymity over the Internet. On Google Play Store, the CyberGhost app has amassed over 1 million downloads. With a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, it also is one of the most highly rated VPN apps on Android.
- High-speed VPN servers.
- Protection against malicious websites.
- Automatic Kill Switch
- Unlimited Bandwidth and Traffic
- Simultaneous VPN Connections on up-to 5 devices.
- 256-bit AES Encryption.
- Strict No Logs Policy.
- DNS and IP Leak Protection.
- 30-Day money-back refund guarantee.
- No BitCoin payment method
- No servers in South America
As one of the most popular VPN providers out there, IPVanish are mainly known for their fast VPN server speeds. Their no-logs kept policy means that you get to truly browse the web anonymously. If you’re into Kodi, IPVanish is simply the best VPN to use. However, if you want to watch American Netflix outside the USA, you’re better off using ExpressVPN instead.
IPVanish grants each customer unlimited bandwidth, and a connection that’ll allow them to connect up to 10 devices for the same service. If you run into problems working out anything with their service, you’ll have to rely on emails for your queries. They have no live chat capabilities.
Users hoping to test out the service first can only do so in a week as that’s how long their policy allows for refunds if you’re not impressed with the product.
- Fast VPN server speeds.
- Unlimited P2P traffic.
- 10 simultaneous VPN connections.
- Optimized for Kodi.
- 7-day refund period.
- None of the VPN servers we tested worked with Netflix.
The NordVPN applications for iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, and Mac are possibly the easiest and most friendly I have used. Setting them up takes a couple of minutes. From there on in, you simply launch the app and connect to a VPN server of your choice. It’s safe to say that a lot of effort went into creating these apps. Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN offer a 30-day refund period, more than enough time to fully test their VPN server.
- 30-day refund period.
- Great VPN apps.
- VPN servers in around 57 countries.
- Double VPN.
- While most VPN servers we’ve tried were impressively fast, a couple were relatively slow.
TOP VPNS – NOTABLE MENTIONS
While the VPN service providers listed below haven’t impressed us as much as the other VPNs we have included in this best VPN review, they are still worth trying out. These VPNs in no way ‘poor’, but they do fall behind the likes of ExpressVPN in some aspects. Most of them do not have a refund policy, let alone a 30-day money-back refund guarantee. Support for USA Netflix is hard to find as well. The more VPN locations a VPN service offers, the faster their servers will be. This is due to the fact these servers will not be overloaded. I’m not suggesting that these VPN providers will not get the job done, but you do feel that ExpressVPN has a truly superior product, especially in the long run, in terms of servers, support, and privacy.
VyprVPN is one of the few providers in the industry that happens to own all their servers. This means they are directly in charge of security and speed throughout the server network. The service offers the four main VPN protocols: OpenVPN, IPSec/L2TP, PPTP and IPSec/IKEv2, and still maintain top speeds throughout its connection. It also has user-friendly apps that can run on Windows, iOS, Mac, and Linux so you won’t need to worry about compatibility. Users will also have the option to set up the service on their router, and this is made easier with the VPN router app. VyprVPN is also a top choice service for regions where governments make a concerted effort to discourage their use. This is because the service includes a Chameleon protocol that scrambles OpenVPN metadata to make it unrecognizable through Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). To get a sample of all this, you could sign up for their 30-day money back guarantee and see how well it works to unblock geo-restricted sites.
PureVPN is one VPN provider that has a lot of tools and features designed to ensure that all its customers have a wide range of options whenever they would wish to customize or configure their connection. You’ll find options such as App and URL filtering, where you’ll be able to whitelist the apps or URLs that you wouldn’t want the VPN service to interfere with.
The ability to pay for their service anonymously also does well to encourage even those that would not want their identity known to sign up. Payment is also accepted in various forms, such as through cryptocurrencies such as Etherium and Bitcoin.
In terms of pricing, PureVPN tries a lot to stay within most people’s budget, offering their cheapest plan for $10.95 a month. They have a policy that allows their customers to save up to 18% a month if they opt for the 6-month subscription, or 73% monthly if they go with the annual one.
HIDEMYASS HMA VPN
Boasting of a network of 900 servers and counting, HideMyAss continues to sustain its demanding clientele of subscribers without compromising on the quality of their service. They’ve directed a lot of their efforts towards a marketing strategy that appeals more so to the more youthful segment of the market, especially with their packages and pricing. What they would need to improve on, however, is their response rate when dealing with customer issues. They take quite a long while to reply to queries, though when they do, it’s with a solution that will completely eradicate the problem.
PRIVATE INTERNET ACCESS (PIA)
PIA has some of the fastest VPN server record times in the market, and they encourage anyone thinking about signing up with them to try out their service through their 7-day money back guarantee. They’re also among the few providers who offer a two year subscription period, with a server network of over 3034, present in more than 28 countries. The VPN protocols supported are among the most popular, since they include OpenVPN, PPTP and IPSEC/L2TP.
The service is also very popular for its file sharing capabilities since it includes a variety of features and tools that keep you safe whenever you’re torrenting or streaming. This includes an Internet kill switch that shuts down your connection whenever your VPN protection gets interfered with. This way your privacy is protected regardless of whatever happens.
WHAT IS VPN?
If you are searching for the ‘best VPN’, you probably already know what a VPN is and what it does. In case you need an introduction of what a virtual private network is, read this part. If not, scroll down to the next paragraph.
- A virtual private network, commonly known as VPN, basically is an encrypted private tunnel. If you connect to a VPN server, all your Internet traffic will go through that private tunnel. In such case, nobody, not even your ISP, can eavesdrop on your online activity. This makes VPN a perfect tool to protect your online privacy.
- Additionally, VPN helps you get around geoblocks imposed on streaming channels such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon Prime, CW TV, Showtime, Sky Go, Now TV, BeIN Sports, among others. These channels are all geo-restricted outside USA and UK. If you use VPN, you can get an American IP address which in turn unblocks all of these channels.
- VPN is also extremely helpful for Americans. Blackout restrictions on NFL GamePass, MLB.tv, NBA League Pass, NHL.tv, and MLS are common practice these days. A virtual private network allows you to bypass these blackouts and watch your favorite team live online.
- If certain torrent sites are locally blocked in your country, VPN will not only allow you to access these websites, but you can even download torrent files without being tracked.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT VPN SERVICE?
Choosing the best VPN service means going through a number of checklist items that can be used to measure how well the service might perform. In this guide, we’re going to list 7, and hopefully, they will all give an insight into what you should consider:
Make sure that your chosen VPN service maintains connectivity speeds that either meet or exceed the speed cap that has been listed by your ISP. This way, we’ll be sure that your Internet connection is fully utilized whenever you have your VPN service running.
If you’re among users who tend to stream a lot of HD videos, then you might want to subscribe to a Tier 1 network VPN in spite of such a service being slightly expensive. Looking to a cheaper VPN service as a heavy user might frustrate you due to the slow buffering speeds.
A good VPN service provider has enough trust in their product to offer users a money-back guarantee. It essentially means that you can get your money back in case you’re not satisfied with the service you’re getting. VPNs like ExpressVPN and BulletVPN have 30-day refund policies. IPVanish, on the other hand, offer a 7-day money back guarantee.
You want to deal with a service that has more than enough servers scattered across various countries. This will go a long way towards making sure you’ll easily access geo-restricted content from channels such as BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Go, Netflix US and the like.
A minimum of 100 servers is a good number to start out with as a threshold for your VPN provider. The more the servers a provider has, the easier it becomes for it to manage the large number of users reliant on its service.
Most users turn to VPN because it guarantees them complete online anonymity. This is made possible through various standards of data encryption such as OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and L2TP. OpenVPN and L2TP are considered the most reliable as they’re not susceptible to the kind of attacks that a hacker would use to get to your information.
There are a good number of VPN services that don’t really support peer to peer filesharing. This is because most of the content shared through torrenting is either illegal or pirated. If you’re the type of user that does heavy downloads through torrents, then a VPN service that supports P2P sharing should be one of the items you should look out for. The best service operates without capping your bandwidth, and also allows you to torrent over all its servers.
You’ll find that most quality VPN providers have clients available for a range of device platforms. These include Linux, Mac OS, Windows, iOS, and Android. A few also support gaming consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox. Look through their list of supported devices and ensure all your devices are supported before you pay for that subscription.
If a service has mentioned that it keeps its user logs, then you might want to get back to looking for another ideal provider. Whether or not these records are kept depends on the country in which the provider is based. Try and avoid services based in countries that have aggressive data logging policies.
There are also another group of providers that actually store usage data but do so anonymously. They do this to check on the areas of their service that they need to improve on.
BEST VPN COMPATIBLE DEVICES
- Windows PC
- Mac OS
- Nvidia Shield
- Android TV Box
- Raspberry Pi
- Xbox One*
- Smart TV*
- Apple TV*
* To enable VPN on these devices, you have to setup a VPN connection on your router.
You could alternatively share your PC’s VPN connection with other devices by following these instructions. In case you own a Mac, use this guide to setup a virtual router on it and share its VPN connection.
Alternatively, you can sign up with a VPN service that offers its users Smart DNS proxies which can be directly set up on these platforms. ExpressVPN is a good example.
5 REASONS WHY EVERYBODY NEEDS VPN
REASON 1: BYPASS INTERNET CENSORSHIP
It’s almost impossible to find a single country or government which does not ban access to certain sites. Whether you live in the UK, Sweden, India, USA, Canada, China, Saudi Arabia, or anywhere else, chances are that you are not allowed to visit certain websites. By connecting to a VPN server you get to access a free unlimited Internet.
REASON 2: AVOID GEOBLOCKS
If you’re an expat living abroad, you’ve probably tried to stream your local streaming channels only to get a geo-error that states you cannot watch that channel in the country you currently reside in. VPN is a perfect tool for geo-spoofing i.e. unblock channels that would normally not be available where you live.
REASON 3: EXTRA LAYER OF PRIVACY
Whether you know it or not, Google, Facebook, your local government, and even your Internet service provider is constantly monitoring what you are doing online. This includes which devices you are using, sites you are visiting, and files you are downloading. When you use VPN, you get to encrypt all of your Internet traffic. Thus, keep those prying eyes away.
REASON 4: BYPASS BLACKOUT RESTRICTIONS
American sports fan have suffered for years from blackouts. Blackout restrictions mean that you can not stream your favorite MLB, NFL, NHL, MLS, or NBA team due to the fact their games are being broadcasted by your local cable provider. To avoid these blackouts, use VPN to trick US sports streaming channels that you currently reside in a state where the game is not blacked out.
REASON 5: USE PUBLIC WIFI HOTSPOTS SECURELY
Everybody uses free Wifi Hotspots at a restaurant, school, airport, library, or Internet cafe at some point. What most of us don’t realize is that these hotspots are extremely vulnerable to attacks from hacker and cybercriminals. You can potentially risk having your banking accounts, emails, passwords, and social website accounts stolen when you use public WiFi hotspots to access the Internet. Make sure you are connected to a VPN server at all times to prevent hackers from stealing your private info as all of it will be securely encrypted.
VPN ALTERNATIVES – SMART DNS PROXIES
While using VPN is the best method to unblock geoblocked content, it certainly is not the only one. Smart DNS proxies also allow you to watch geo-restricted channels abroad. The downside, however, is that Smart DNS neither encrypts your traffic nor hides your IP address. So, from an Internet privacy point of view, VPN is the far better option.
- Smart DNS is compatible with all streaming devices. You can set up Smart DNS on PS4, PS3, Xbox, Apple TV, Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Wii, PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android.
- Once you set up Smart DNS, you get access to geoblocked channels from different regions simultaneously. No need to change your DNS configuration each time.
- The channels you can unblock depend on the Smart DNS proxy service you are using. In other words, you only get access to limited blocked websites.
- Smart DNS does not function well in the presence of transparent proxies or DNS hijacking.
If you want to give Smart DNS a try, head over to Unlocator. You can sign up for a completely free 7-day trial. No credit card needed. In total, Unlocator supports unblocking around 220 different channels from across the world.
THE BEST VPN REVIEW GUIDE – VERDICT
ExpressVPN’s 30-day refund period is unrivaled. It literally means that you can give their VPN service a try with zero risks. Don’t like it? Get your money back. VPN locations in nearly 90 countries, as well as excellent customer support, put ExpressVPN at the top of the best VPN providers in this review. Hopefully, this review guide gave you a better idea of which VPN is suited most for your PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Apple TV, FireStick, Roku, PS4, or Xbox. For further info, please leave a comment below.