Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
Working remotely presents new security and access challenges for businesses that typically rely on network connections to get the job done.
And as you and your team settle into new routines and new work habits, virtual private networks (VPNs) are more important than ever before.
However, the best VPN services provide the security and tech you need to protect your most sensitive data, your company’s network, and your employees’ computers while working outside the office.
Plus, there are numerous benefits of VPN services for personal use as well, including the ability to watch Doctor Who from your couch, regardless of where it’s located.
However, choosing the best VPN service can feel like an impossible task because there are thousands of options to choose from.
Plus, they all seem to be exactly the same.
So to help you out, we researched and tested the top VPN services available and narrowed it down to our top six recommendations.
The Best 6 VPN Services to Consider:
- NordVPN – The most popular VPN service
- ExpressVPN – The most versatile VPN service
- Surfshark – The fastest VPN service
- Cyberghost – The most feature-rich VPN service
- TunnelBear VPN – The best VPN service for beginners
- IPVanish – The best for unlimited device connections
#1. NordVPN – The Most Popular VPN Service
NordVPN is one of the most popular and most affordable VNP services on the market. It’s so popular you may have heard some of your favorite YouTubers or podcasters mentioned it.
Luckily, it’s not just a snazzy marketing ploy for them to make more money. NordVPN actually offers a great VPN service at an amazing price.
Furthermore, it has 5,000+ servers across 59 countries including 2,165 servers in North and South American alone. So, you have a worldwide network you can tap into.
Plus, NordVPN uses AES with 256-bit keys to encrypt your data—the same encryption method the NSA uses to secure classified information.
So, you can securely browse and work without worrying about a thing.
A single user account supports up to 6 devices too, which is perfect for solo travelers looking to stay connected. So, you can use your desktop, laptop, smartphone, and tablet with NordVPN.
NordVPN also offers:
- Kill-switch protection
- 24/7 customer support
- A browser extension for one-click usage
However, keep in mind that ad and malware blockers are not included. So, you’ll need separate software to protect your devices from malicious attacks.
Their pricing starts at $3.70 a month for a two-year plan, making it one of the most affordable options on this list. However, a typical month-to-month plan is $11.95 a month.
So, I highly recommend signing up for the long-term to get the best deal.
NordVPN’s 2019 Security Breach
In October 2019, one of NordVPN’s servers in Finland was breached in a cyberattack. This resulted in a leaked private key. In November of that year, another cyber attack occurred that resulted in the exposure of 2,000+ usernames and passwords.
However, NordVPN dedicated themselves to fixing these issues by severing contact with the data center in Finland where the breach occurred as well as rolling out audits and a bug bounty program to uncover more potential issues in their service.
#2. ExpressVPN – The Most Versatile VPN Service Provider
ExpressVPN is one of our top picks—and with good reason.
The VPN gives you access to 3,000+ servers, with 160 servers in 94 countries and unlimited speeds. Their 24/7 customer support is also on hand to help out, regardless of what time zone you’re in.
Furthermore, support a wide array of platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, and even gaming consoles like Playstation and Xbox.
So, you can securely browse the web and stream your favorite services on any device from anywhere in the world.
ExpressVPN also promises never to log and record your IP address, browsing history, DNS queries, and metadata. Essentially, your privacy stays yours.
If you’re still not convinced, they also offer a network lock (or kill switch).
So, if your VPN connection is ever disrupted for any reason, ExpressVPN stops web traffic coming into or out of your device.
Which means… your IP address always remains safe and secure.
It’s also dead simple to use. With just one click, you can start browsing the web via their VPN. It’s intuitive enough that even non-techy users can quickly get things up and running.
However, there are few drawbacks to ExpressVN. The price is pretty high compared to the others on this list. It starts at $8.32 a month for a 12-month deal.
But there’s also a $12.95 month-to-month plan, and a $9.99 a month price for 6 months in advance. All of which are expensive compared to some of the other choices on this list.
#3. Surfshark – The Fastest VPN Service Provider
Surfshark is perhaps the fastest VPN on this list. In fact, it’ll provide some of the fastest connection times and download speeds of any other service out there.
With 1,700+ servers in 63 countries, they have no problem bypassing country restrictions with ease. Like NordVPN and ExpressVPN they leverage AES 256-bit keys encryption, have a strict no log policy, and come with a kill switch for top performing security. Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox was also approved by Cure 53 (a German security firm) when it was audited.
What sets them apart along with their speed, however, is the amount of devices you can support. Surfshark allows you to have unlimited devices with a single user account. That’s great for anyone who takes security and privacy seriously in their everyday lives.
It also comes with a handy whitelist tool. This allows you to pick and choose the websites and apps you want to bypass the VPN. Very flexible.
There are a few downsides. For one, Surfshark doesn’t have 24/7 customer support like some other competitors on this list. Their online support is a bit lacking too. If you have an issue, you’ll need to consult their help center page. If your issue isn’t there or if you need more support, you’ll have to contact them by either submitting a request or hopping on their live chat.
Pricing isn’t bad. It starts out at $1.99 a month for a two year plan. There’s also options for a yearly plan at $5.99 a month, and a monthly plan for $11.95 a month. Not too bad if you plan on using a VPN for an extended period of time.
#4. Cyberghost – The Most Feature-Rich VPN Service
Founded in 2011, CyberGhost is committed to defending “privacy as a basic human right.” And with 6,500+ servers in 90+ countries, Cyberghost can easily help you remain private and secure while surfing online.
Along with just the massive amount of connection points they have, CyberGhost also offers a wide variety of service features you won’t find with many others such as dedicated video streaming servers, BitTorrent and other P2P sharing through their VPN. There’s also the WiFi protection
Like some of the others on the list, they also have a no-logs policy, a decent amount of simultaneous connections (7), a kill switch, as well as AES 256-bit encryption.
Their services work on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and LInux devices. They also have apps available for Amazon Fire Sticks and Android TVs.
They are lacking in two key areas though: Support and pricing.
There’s no call number and they only offer a support request form that you have to fill out online in case there’s an issue.
There’s also a page with troubleshooting guides. But you need help right away or can’t find their issue in the manuals, and your only option is to fill out a support request form—which can be frustrating when you need help.
Pricing starts at $2.75 a month for an 18-month agreement. For a six-month contract, it’s $7.99 a month, and the month-to-month rate is $12.99.
So it’s definitely more expensive than the other options on the list–which can be a drawback. Keep in mind they also offer more features than other VPN options out there.
There’s also a 45-day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with your service.
#5. TunnelBear VPN – Best VPN Service for Beginners
If an absolute VPN newbie came up to me and asked for my recommendation, I’d point them to TunnelBear. No question.
The Canadian VPN service has a strong focus on providing a simple, easy-to-use experience for their customers. It results in a great VPN for even the most inexperienced users.
The interface is also bear-themed and really fun to use if you’re a big dork like me. Simply click on the country you want your IP address redirected to, watch the bear “tunnel” it’s way to that city, and you’re done. Like I said, real simple.
Simplicity doesn’t mean it’s lacking in the same privacy protections you’d find in other VPNs either.
TunnelBear still offers AES 256-bit encryption, a no-log policy, and WiFi protection just in case you suddenly lose your Internet connection.
However, if you’re looking for more advanced features like dedicated streaming servers, VPN on devices such as gaming consoles, or 24/7 customer support, you’re not going to find it here.
TunnelBear has 1,800+ servers in 20+ countries. It’s a bit on the low end when it comes to VPNs but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. You still get decent speed while surfing. Besides, 21 million+ customers who use TunnelBear don’t seem to mind.
The VPN service is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. It also comes with browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
Pricing starts free. Yes, you read that right. You can just get the service completely free. There is a catch though: You only get 500MB of browsing. After that it starts at $3.33 a month for unlimited browsing.
If you’re a part of a team you can get it for $5.75 a user per month. That comes with a dedicated account manager focused on helping your team as well as centralized team billing.
#6 – IPVanish — The Best VPN Services with Unlimited Device Connections
Best for Unlimited Devices
Have several devices you want to connect at the same time? IPVanish is one of only a handful of VPN services that includes unlimited simultaneous device connections on every plan. Supports smart devices and IoT through an enabled router plus virtually every major operating system to protect all your gadgets. Pricing starts at $27.99 for the first year.
Most VPN services limit the number of devices you can connect at any given time. If you find those limits to be too low, IPVanish is an excellent solution.
It offers unmetered device connections so you can connect every single device in your home, including smart TVs, IoT devices, laptops, mobile phones, and more.
IPVanish manages more than 1,600 servers in 75+ regions around the world, and you can easily connect to any of them with a completely anonymous connection.
It’s also an excellent way to secure public wi-fi hotspots. The service encrypts your traffic to keep unwanted guests out.
Another standout feature is the ability to add integrated cloud storage with end-to-end encryption to protect your device backups.
The add-on is extremely affordable, costing just $0.30 extra per month for that added peace of mind up to 500 GB.
It comes with continuous file syncing, advanced data sharing controls and file organization capabilities, remote device wiping for compromised devices, and automatic backups.
Pricing for VPN services are $3.49 for the first month or $27.99 for the first year. For VPN + cloud storage services, you’ll pay $3.84 for the first month or $34.99 for the first year.
Try it risk-free for 30 days to see if IPVanish is right for you today!
What Is a VPN Service?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a service that creates a private network for you on an existing internet connection. This allows you to browse the web safely, privately, and securely.
For example, you might use a VPN using a public space’s free WiFi knowing that other users won’t be able to access your private information like passwords. It will also hide your IP address to make all of your browsing private.
The way it works seems complex but is quite straightforward: When you log online, it reroutes your internet connection from your internet service provider to the VPN service’s own server. From there, it’ll hide your IP address from any evil doers out there.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Think of it as a mask you can wear to protect your online identity and actions. You’ll be able to conduct your own business online knowing that no one can recognize you through the mask.
You’ll also be able to use it to unlock different websites and web content that might not normally be available to you and your location. For example, some people use VPNs to access Netflix and Hulu content that aren’t shown in their country.
Why Do I Need a VPN Service?
There are many different reasons why you should consider a VPN service. For one, you might be traveling abroad soon. If that’s the case, you’re going to want to be able to access as many public and private WiFi as possible–making VPNs an absolute must have. That way you’ll be able to browse without someone potentially accessing your private information.
And if you’re traveling, you might want to be able to access websites not normally accessible in the country you’re in. For example, the Chinese government has blocked many websites used in the West such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia, and Netflix (just to name a few).
If you want to access those websites in Beijing, you’ll need a VPN.
Perhaps the most important reason you might want to get a VPN is the security. Since VPNs encrypt your private information such as your IP address, you’ll be able to access virtually any WiFi safely with the knowledge that your identity is protected.
This can be very important for anyone who values their security and privacy. For example, VPNs are often used by political activists as well as journalists reporting from high conflict areas. It allows them to spread their message on social media and other websites privately with less of a risk of political repercussions.
Methodology for choosing the best VPN services
When looking for a VPN service, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Here is a list of the three things we were looking for in each of the services we reviewed above:
Since security and privacy is the name of the game with VPNs, we only chose one with one of the strongest encryption algorithms out there: AES 256 bit encryption. While it’s not the strongest encryption methods out there, a 256-bit key will hide your identity sufficiently.
How sufficiently? A 256-bit key has 15,792,089,237,316,195,423,570,985,008,687,907,853,269,984,665,640,564,039,457,584,007,913,129,639,936 combinations.
(That’s 78 digits)
For some perspective, it would take the strongest computer on earth millions of years to guess every possible combination. It’s that secure.
Of course, no VPN service is perfectly safe to cyber attacks (see NordVPN), but the encryption key is a crucial part to keeping your identity secure.
This one is pretty much non-negotiable.
If your VPN company is recording your browsing information and keeping a log of it, that opens the doors to a host of issues including cyber attacks.
So, if the VPN you’re considering doesn’t explicitly state that they have a no-log policy, turn the other way. Your data and identity are not worth the risk.
Additional Security and Privacy Measures
On top of no-logging and encryption, there are numerous other security layers and privacy measures that come standard with a lot of VPN service providers, including:
- A kill switch for automatic disconnects if VPN connections go down
- Split tunneling to split device traffic between two connections
- Anonymous browsing by removing your IP address
However, there are various advanced security measures as well, including things like double-hopping, random port connections, and automatic encryption key randomization.
The level of security you need depends on what you’re doing and the types of data you’re dealing with.
Many providers charge extra for more advanced security, but some don’t.
So, be sure you understand the level of security and privacy protection you’re getting before making any decisions.
If you’re investing in a VPN, you should be able to use it with most of the devices you own. But being able to browse safely no matter if you’re on your desktop, laptop, or mobile device is important.
Most VPN services offer the same level of protection across devices, however, that’s not always the case.
So, don’t forget to look for a free mobile app that extends the same protections and capabilities to your phone before making your final decision.
However, some plans limit the number of devices you can have connected at one time, so watch out for that when making your final decision.
However, if NordVPN or ExpressVPN don’t feel like a great fit, be sure to use the method outlined here to find the best VPN services for your needs.