Virtual private networks (VPNs) are programs used to add security and privacy to networks. While best for those who would prefer an added level of encryption surrounding their network activities, VPNs can also be used to circumvent geolocation and censorship protocols, depending on the country of origin.

When selecting a VPN service, make certain that the company in question is right for you. When using a VPN, a certain drop in performance and speed is to be expected, but certain companies advertise less of a decrease than others. Other important factors include the number of maintained servers, and which countries they are located in. Another decision point is how many simultaneous connections are allowed at one time. Typically, basic plans will allow one computer and one smart phone, while higher-level plans offer coverage over a greater number of devices.

Before making a final decision, make sure that the details of the plan correspond to your needs. What is the renewal policy? How long is the service agreement? What are the cancellation and refund policies?  


Top 10 Companies

#1
Our Partner
9.4 / 10
  • Access any website or app without restriction or censorship
  • Encrypt internet traffic and hide IP address from hackers
  • Easy to setup
  • Watch content you want from any country with blazing fast speed
  • 137 VPN locations
#2
Our Partner
9.4 / 10
  • 700+ servers worldwide and 200,000+ IP addresses
  • Up to 5 simultaneous Vypr VPN connections
  • Private encrypted network
  • Unlimited speed, usage and server switching
  • Top choice in China & Middle East
  • Not the cheapest - Designed for the prosumer
#3
Our Partner
9.3 / 10
  • Unlimited usage for just $9 per month
  • 3-day money back guarantee
  • Blocks ads, beacons, and trackers
  • Generates and manages secure links
  • Circumvent censorship
  • Free download
  • IPv6 and DNS leak protection
#4
Our Partner
9.1 / 10
  • Unlimited Speed and Bandwidth
  • 5 Multi Login
  • 290+ Channels Via SmartDNS
  • 500+ VPN Servers in 141 Countries
  • Supports P2P, File Sharing and VoIP
#5
9.0 / 10
  • Free Premium Trial
  • One-Click Connection
  • Fast Encryption
  • Desktop, Browsers, and Mobile Access
  • Online Security for as low as $9.99
  • ZenMate for Personal and Business
#6
8.6 / 10
  • Stream American Netflix Outside US in 2 easy steps
  • Access favorite sites and services worldwide
  • As low as $4.99 per month on annual plans, 24% discount 
  • Prevent hackers stealing personal password, bank account and  credit card details
  • Protect device from malware, phishing and spam sites
  • Safeguard personal information and location (IP address) online
  • Protect websites you visit targeting you with manipulative prices and messages
#7
8.3 / 10
  • Free Download
  • Mobile App
  • Ad Free Browsing Experience
  • Multi-Device Support
  • Masked IP Address for Anonymity
  • Encrypted and Private Communication
  • Secured Gateway
#8
8.0 / 10
  • Bypass Dpi Firewalls and VPN
  • Keep personal identity anonymous and private on Bittorrent
  • Anonymous and encrypted all web traffic through private VPN service
  • Stealth Dedicated IP's
  • Communicate in complete security with OpenPGP email encryption
#9
7.8 / 10
  • Secure web access
  • Access pass to your favorite streaming services
  • 100% online security
  • Prevent getting hacked on public Wi-Fi while traveling
  • Access unlimited global content privately and securely 
#10
7.0 / 10
  • Live Chat Support Available
  • Online and Mobile Security for only $5.83 per month
  • Free Download Offered
  • 654 Servers Available in 30 Countries
  • Available in all devices and major operating systems
  • Safe and Easy to Use
  • Ad-Free Browsing
  • 30-Days Money Back Guarantee
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How We Compare VPN

Cost/Features

25%

Most of the top VPN companies offer price points roughly in the same neighborhood. Some offer the same plan and give you the opportunity to pick the length of the subscription. Longer durations usually end up being cheaper than going month-to-month. Others offer increasing levels of service where the more expensive plans get you more simultaneous connections, bandwidth, etc. 

It's important to note here that almost every VPN provider will set your plan to auto renew as a default. Say you purchase a year term up front, it is in the terms and conditions of most VPN providers that they will automatically charge the same payment method for an additional year at the end of the initial term. Some providers allow you to deselect auto-renewal upon signup (the best option), some allow you to simply notify the company that you do not wish to auto-renew, and still some require you to cancel your subscription altogether in order to avoid being charged. There are also companies who will quote you a low promotional rate, not specify the length of the promotional period, then auto-renew you for the standard, higher rate. We suggest you read all the fine print and enroll slowly and carefully, paying specific attention to what you are agreeing to. If there is any ambiguity, contact the company to clarify.

Here we are looking at the cost of a particular service compared to the features you get.

1) Performance/Speed- In almost all cases, because of the extra security and encryption a VPN is going to be slower than your IP. In determining this we consulted independent speed tests, the average upload/download rate across different servers located in different countries.
2) Encryption Protocols- We like providers that use OpenVPN as the default protocol. L2TP/IPsec works as well, but PPTP should be avoided at all costs as it is the least secure.
3) Connections- How many simultaneous connections do you get with your subscription
4) Servers- How many servers does the company operate and are they 3rd party maintained.
5) Countries- In which countries does the company operate serviers? Essentially, how many options do you have for changing your apparent location.

 


Reputation

25%

To determine a given VPN provider's reputation score we look at several things:

1) History- Length of time in business.
2) 3rd Party Rankings- We pooled together reviews from independent, unaffiliated websites.
3) BBB Accreditation- Where applicable
4) Customer Reviews- We tried to cast as wide a net as possible over web resources with the highest number of customer reviews. We also measured how often (if at all) companies personally responded to complaints and resolved issues.
5) 100% Security- No VPN can guarantee this. At best, a virtual private network protects you from mass data gathering and unscrupulous individuals randomly vacuuming up data. If a government or other determined entity is hell-bent on finding out what you are doing they will. Companies that claim this will get points against them in this category.


Terms of Service

20%

A VPN provider will usually have their terms of service and privacy policies on their website.

1) Availability- Can you access the terms you are agreeing to? Are they easy to understand?
2) Third Party Ads- Does the provider's ToS require you to accept they will deliver third-party advertisements? These can come in the form of unwanted toolbars, links, inline & popup ads, external trackers, etc.
3) Charging Structure- Is the company up front about it's renewal policy or is it confusing or buried in the fine print? How easy does the company make it to choose between auto renew and manual renew? Is it perfectly clear whether you will be paying in advance for the whole term or month to month?
4) Contract Length- Does the company offer multiple contract length options?
5) Cancelation/Refund Policy- How easy does the provider make it to cancel? Within how many days will they provide a refund?
6) Free Trial


Security/Logging Policy

10%

Most VPN providers will claim they have a "no logging" policy. This needs to be explored more deeply.

Logging is keeping information regarding a customer's sessions using the VPN. Since the whole idea of a VPN is that it is supposed to be private why would a provider do this? The truth is most companies will not keep any logs of your activity (the sites you visit). Some, however, will claim they do not log but keep records of the times you used the system, bandwidth, or your IP address. A few truly do not retain any logs of your usage whatsoever.

Furthermore, a company must obey the logging laws of the country in which they are based. For example some European countries employ counter-terrorism measures that require VPN providers to retain and hand over certain usage information on demand. When looking at security/logging we consider these factors:

1) Stated Logging Policy- We look in depth to see if a company claiming no logging is still technically retaining some information, like connection logs and timestamps.
2) Country of Operation- What is the security policy?
3) Shared IPs- Can multiple users use the same IP for added security?


Customer Support

10%

A company with excellent customer service is more likely to get repeat business from customers. Customer service acts as a link between the company and consumer. VPN is not merely a product but a service, so ensuring its availability is paramount for VPN providers.

  • Email
  • 24-Hour Telephone Support
  • Live Chat
  • Social Media
  • FAQs

Payment Methods

10%

Most VPN providers accept credit cards and PayPal. Some, considering the international customer base and desire to remain as anonymous as possible, accept a wide variety of payment methods including Bitcoin and even mailing cash. Still others are so flexible in their accommodation of anonymity they will even accept gift cards or vouchers from other companies.