The Best VPN Services in 2019
Forget what you think you know about VPN because odds are you’ve been misinformed. There’s a lot of misconceptions about how VPN works, what it can do and how it can benefit your daily digital life. Can you tell the differences between a quality VPN service or one that will leave you at risk?
If you’re looking to find the best VPN service, then you’ve come to the right place. On this site, you’ll find expert advice on top VPN services. You’ll learn exactly how a VPN works, why it is important to use a VPN and how we review each service. We will teach you how to find the best VPN service for you and give you recommendations for the best cheap VPN services.
The best VPN that we tested is ExpressVPN.
With this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision when choosing the best VPN service for your needs.
How We Test Each VPN
Our reviewers extensively test each service to ensure it will provide you with the service and features you need. Below is a quick checklist on what we test on each service reviewed.
- Installation – How difficult is it to install?
- Ease of Use – Is the client simple to use or do you need to be a computer geek to use the software?
- Speed – On a fast VPN, you’ll have no problems surfing, streaming or downloading files.
- Number of Countries and Servers – How many servers are available and what parts of the world are covered?
- Log Polichttps://web.archive.org/web/20190301215048/https://securethoughts.com/category/country-vpn/y – Does the VPN have a no-log policy? If a VPN does collect logs, which logs?
- Unlimited Bandwidth and Data Transfer – Will you have to worry about throttling when streaming, gaming or torrenting? We’ll tell you.
- Multiple OS Support – Find out which platforms and devices are supported by the client.
- Multiple Connections Available – Can you connect your computer, smartphone, and other devices at the same time for one fee?
- P2P Capabilities – Find out whether this service allows P2P and torrenting.
- Available for Streaming Platforms – Does this service allow access to Netflix, Hulu, or any streaming content?
- Other Useful Features – Other helpful features offered by some VPN services include an internet kill switch, auto Wi-Fi protection, and IP leak testing.
- Pricing – How much is a VPN subscription? Find out how much service costs and whether a cheap VPN is a good value compared to other services.
- Customer Support – If you have problems, what support options are available. Is the support “do it yourself” or can you actually speak or chat with a support agent?
- Free Trials and Money Back Guarantees – We’ll let you know if you can “try it before you buy it,” and also whether a service offers a money back guarantee.
Anonymous Means 100% Private
Not all VPNs are created equal, and while some hide your IP address completely, others do not. For example, if you are torrenting, an anonymous VPN will guarantee that the seeder you are getting the P2P file from cannot see your original IP address. If your VPN does not offer an anonymous connection, even if you have your VPN running, the seeder will see your true location.
Since its foundation in 2009, ExpressVPN has been a tough one to beat. Not only do they boast some of the fastest speeds, but they also have cutting-edge technology that gives users military-grade encryption and security and one of the most robust privacy policies in the industry.
While most VPNs claim to have a no-logging policy, ExpressVPN’s has been proven time and again, meaning that all your online secrets are safe. With over +2000 servers distributed across 94 countries, the ExpressVPN network gives you access wherever you are in the world.
ExpressVPN is one of the few that have consistently managed to navigate the most advanced geo-blocks, leaping over China’s robust firewall and sneaking into Netflix year after year. ExpressVPN also allows P2P and torrenting on all its servers, while giving users unlimited bandwidth, excellent security, and superfast speeds.
Just as a cashmere sweater will cost you more than a wool one, ExpressVPN is a little pricier than some of its rivals, but its value for money is undeniable.
Price: As low as $6.67
If you thought ExpressVPN had an extensive server network, then NordVPN’s grid of over 5244 servers will blow you away. Not only do NordVPN have coverage all over the world, but they’re also renowned for their cutting-edge encryption and advanced security options. With DoubleVPN, your data will be encrypted not once, but twice, giving you top-grade protection.
Although NordVPN’s speeds can rarely compete with the likes of ExpressVPN, it still does an impressive job and is an excellent choice for those living or working in more remote regions. Combined with their specialty servers which offer both Onion over VPN and P2P streaming, NordVPN is an excellent all-rounder.
Price: As low as $2.99
This is one of the newer VPN companies on the market, being around since 2011. Granted, it may not have as many servers as other VPN companies offer, having just 1,800 servers in 22 countries. However, that is more than enough for the average VPN user. On top of that, although TunnelBear has jurisdiction in Canada, it will not log any of your data which means that any authorities that request your information won’t have any material to work with.
This VPN is compatible with all the leading platforms such as Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS as well as extensions like Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. You have military-grade security as well as OpenVPN protocols, using the most secure tools on offer at the moment.
There is GhostBear, a feature that will camouflage your VPN connection to make it look less like a VPN traffic and will help you get around even the strongest of restrictions like the Great Firewall of China.
There is a one-month plan as well as a yearly plan. The year-long option will ensure you get 50% off what you would normally pay for the monthly plan. When it comes to paying for your service you have the option of all the usual credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, but also you can purchase your subscription with Bitcoin, keeping completely anonymous at all times. You also have the option of paying with jars of honey as is offered on the TunnelBear website, but to keep out of a sticky situation we suggest sticking with the previously mentioned options.
You can also opt for a freemium version which will allow you 500MB of data on a monthly basis. You can extend this offer as many times as you please. It may not be enough to stream your favorite shows, but it will cover you in terms of internet banking and protecting your email communications. To earn an extra 1GB of data all you have to do is say a few nice things about TunnelBear on Twitter.
Price: As low as $4.99
Surfshark is one of the leading VPN providers on the market at the moment for a variety of reasons. We particularly like it for one specific feature that sets it apart from all other providers at the moment. That feature is the company’s decision to allow users to have an unlimited amount of simultaneous connections under just one subscription plan. This makes it ideal for use by families and small businesses – all of whom require the same VPN protection but all of whom have several devices and operating systems.
We also liked the company’s dedication to customer privacy that is demonstrated through its strong encryption methods and OpenVPN protocol, in addition to its kill switch feature and no logs policy. All of these features work in tandem with one another to make it one of the most secure VPNs out there.
Finally, it has such a large and vast network that it, therefore, becomes an ideal solution to working around any geo-restrictions that have been placed on content. It has over 800 servers in over 50 countries so it can provide customers with a connection each time they log on, to a server with a location they need each and every time too.
Price: As low as $1.99
Not only is CyberGhost fast and reliable, but it also allows you to connect up to 7 devices simultaneously, making it one of the more generous VPN providers in this respect. Since its inception in 2011, CyberGhost has gone from strength to strength and now offers one of the world’s leading cybersecurity solutions.
Although their server network is limited compared to ExpressVPN’s, over 3000+ global servers mean you can connect from anywhere in the world… except for China where CyberGhost is struggling to overcome the increasingly restrictive government bans. Having said that, CyberGhost has carefully situated its servers to ensure international coverage, even in often-ignored regions like Africa.
Nevertheless, CyberGhost manages to consistently navigate the advancing geo-blocks of Netflix and the likes, via their streaming-optimized servers in the US. With their base situated in Romania, CyberGhost is also outside the 14-eyes’ countries, ensuring their users’ privacy remains guarded at all times.
CyberGhost has a strong no-logging policy and excellent customer support, making it easily our second choice in the battle of the top VPNs for 2019.
Price: As low as $2.75
Although coming up a little shorter than other VPN services mentioned above, ProtonVPN was established in mid-2017 and has over 450 servers around 34 countries, with that number constantly growing. Supporting all the major platforms such as Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS, you can also hook up this service to your home router.
There are various pricing options to choose from, which start at $4 all the way up to $24 per month, which allows up to 10 simultaneous connections. You can also opt for the freemium service which ProtonVPN offers customers. This will allow you unlimited bandwidth and speeds with three country locations when it comes to servers including Japan, the US, and the Netherlands. You can only use one device with the free version though and it doesn’t support P2P file sharing.
This is one of the few VPN services that have a true zero-logging policy stating, “ProtonVPN respects its users’ privacy and enforces a No Logs policy. This means your VPN connections remain private and we do not store information about your connections or the websites you visit. For the purpose of securing your account and making sure it’s you who is signing in, we store a single timestamp of your account’s most recent login. Again, we do not store any information about where you signed in from or how long you were logged in.”
The most popular plan is the Plus plan and when you sign up for the freemium version you also get a free seven day trial of ProtonVPN Plus which allows for up to five simultaneous connections, Plus Servers, Secure Core, Tor Servers and secure streaming.
Price: As low as $4
Reasons You Need a VPN
As internet technology has grown, so has the need to use VPN to ensure unrestricted access to the web. Below are several reasons why you may need a VPN.
Some websites will geo-restrict content, meaning only those in the same region as the content are allowed access. Streaming sites such as US Netflix and Hulu use geo-restrictions to prevent access to content from outside the United States. The best VPN providers will allow you to bypass these restrictions and allow unrestricted access to streaming content. Other sites that might use geo-restrictions include gaming sites, streaming music, and online sports channels. Using a VPN, you can connect to a server in the country the content is located and unblock the content.
Access Blocked Websites School & Work
Those of you with internet access at school or work will encounter restricted access to websites. This is because local IT has installed content filtering on their systems or network to prevent access to sites they feel will either harm their networks or that are productivity killers. Examples of such sites include social media sites, dating sites, porn sites, websites that match a set of “banned keywords,” streaming sites and more. VPN establishes a tunnel that bypasses the content blockers of the local network and allows you to surf the internet as you desire.
Access Blocked Websites: Country Bans
If you regularly travel on business, then you will run into content blocks established by local governments. These blocks are often used to censor the citizens of a country such as China or Iran, often from content deemed “harmful” to a government. Social media sites are almost always a target of this form of censorship as are news sites, blog sites or any site that doesn’t conform to local regulations. By using a reliable VPN you’ll bypass these restrictions and enjoy uncensored access to the internet.
Surf on Unsecured Networks
Public Wi-Fi is one of the greatest threats to your privacy. The majority of Wi-Fi is unsecured, meaning that anyone with the right technology can intercept your data, steal your identity and even infect your devices with malware. When using a safe VPN over Wi-Fi, you establish an impenetrable secure tunnel that’s used to transmit your data. Your data cannot be sniffed or intercepted and your privacy remains secure.
Prevent ISP Throttling
Some ISPs will slow your internet connection if they feel you’re using too much data or using it too fast. Gamers often have this problem because their games are constantly streaming data over a live connection. Torrent users also have this problem due to the size of downloaded files. If you game or torrent over a fast VPN server, your internet speed is controlled by the VPN server and not your ISP, meaning that your ISP cannot slow your connection.
You may not know this, but what you pay for an item online can be determined by your physical location. If you live in an area of the world where a company feels you can afford to pay more, you’ll often be charged more for flights, hotel rooms, or most anything you shop for online. If you shop online while using a popular VPN, you can choose a server in a less-affluent country or area of your own country and enjoy the discounts associated with that area. It’s one way that buying a VPN subscription can actually save you money.
Stop Identity Theft
In addition to providing a secure tunnel for your internet, VPN also encrypts all of your data both ways. Anyone trying to intercept your data will be unable to decipher it. Top VPN providers use military-grade encryption. This means that you can shop online, pay bills, and check banking statements and more without worrying about someone stealing your identity.
Why You Should Trust Us
What makes us different from the thousands of sites offering VPN reviews? We don’t just say we are experts…we actually are. Our tech experts range from PC technicians to network administrators and IT security professionals.
Every person on our staff knows what to look for when reviewing a VPN and are not simply trying to sell you a product. They thoroughly test each program and provide a knowledgeable review to help you decide which service to use.
What’s the best VPN to use? Find out with our list of the best-rated services. We’ve tested the majority of services on the market and the services on our list can handle anything that you’ll need to do while online.
VPNs to Avoid
Contrary to popular belief, VPNs are not all the same. In fact, there are many that should be avoided. The easiest way to determine whether a VPN should be avoided is by checking to see if it fails to provide any of the basic requirements for modern internet users.
For example, if a service cannot consistently get around geo-blocks, it’s probably not going to be good for streaming Netflix or other sites. If you’re a torrent user and the service blocks P2P ports, then you’re simply wasting your money on the product.
For many, security is a top concern. If your service falls short in ANY area of security, move on. The biggest offenders are VPNs that keep logs of any type. If they are keeping logs, then they will probably turn you in if law enforcement contacts them.
- Other red flags include:
- Bandwidth limitations
- Anything less than 256-bit AES encryption
- Slow speeds
- Very few server locations in popular countries (like the US and UK)
- You’ll also notice several “free VPNs” on the market. While a free VPN sounds like a good option, we want to warn you first. Free VPN services have limitations compared to paid VPN services. These limitations include:
- Slow connection speeds
- Data caps
- Ad popups
- Fewer server options
- Limited customer support
- PPTP connection only (limited encryption)
- Inability to access certain streaming sites
Worse yet, for free VPNs to make money off customers using their free service, they will often sell your browsing data to third-party companies. This means that your data is not 100% private. Do you really want your online history sold off to the highest bidder? Probably not.
While it is always good to “try before you buy,” we highly recommend sticking with a premium VPN service.
Why We Don’t Mention all VPN Brands
You’ll notice that the number of services we recommend is limited despite the fact that there are hundreds of available services on the market. That’s because they have fallen short in one or more major areas and aren’t worth your time.
- If a VPN exhibits any of the following, we cross them off our list:
- Inconsistent Speeds – Common symptoms include users having to switch servers to improve speeds, fluctuating download speeds and the inability to stream high-quality video.
- Small Network – VPNs with small networks will make it difficult to get around some geo-blocks. They also often have speed issues due to capacity issues.
- P2P Not Allowed – Some VPNs actively block ports necessary for P2P.
- Security Issues – If we find evidence of logging, IP leaks, or any type of security problem, we drop them.
- Usability Issues – If there are consistent usability issues with a service, such as an inability to stream on major services, we will drop them. Other usability issues include the inability to get around certain geo-blocks, regular downtime and limited device or OS compatibility.
Wrapping it Up
The internet is not safe, nor is it as free as we all like to think. Every time you log in, your privacy and personal identity are at risk. Furthermore, the web is becoming increasingly restrictive to the point to where a VPN is no longer a luxury but a requirement for everyday web usage.
We can help you find the best VPN to use. By using one of our recommended VPN providers (We suggest ExpressVPN) you’ll enjoy enhanced data security, consistent speeds without throttling, the ability to bypass geo-restrictions and the ability to surf public Wi-Fi securely. However, it is important that you pick the right VPN service. That’s why we’ve assembled a team of computer experts to thoroughly test each VPN service to ensure that each service lives up to their claims.
When you use one of our recommended services you can rest assured that you stay safe and secure and that you will be able to use the web as you see fit from anywhere in the world.