vpn

VPN stands for ‘virtual private network’ and is a piece of software that that helps to make you more anonymous online, encrypts your internet use, and lets you effectively trick your laptop or mobile device into thinking it’s in another location.

That means by choosing the best VPN service out there, you equip your laptop, PC, mobile – even your games console – with a game-changing bit of software.

For many, downloading a VPN service will be all about privacy. You may want to use them to help keep your online life completely safe from hackers – especially now that so many of us are working or being educated at home. Maybe you’re a keen torrenter and you don’t want your ISP to know. Or perhaps its the prying eyes of your government that you want to avoid.

For many of us, working remotely has become the new norm — which means remote VPN access is more essential than ever for maximizing your privacy and security online. But as the market for commercial VPNs continues to grow, it can be tricky to sort through the options to find the best vpn to meet your particular needs.  

That’s where this VPN guide comes in. After researching and testing a multitude of VPN services, we’ve rounded up the fastest and most reliable options. In our current testing and ranking system, we assessed more than 20 factors, including price, security, number of server locations, ease of remote access, bandwidth caps, logging, dedicated and dynamic IP, client software and customer support.

CAUTION

 Do not use free vpn,

You’ll only find paid options below because they’re the only ones we can recommend. 

Look for a no logs-vpn but understand the caveate The best VPNs keep as few logs as possible and make them as anonymous as possible, so there’s little data to provide should authorities come knocking. But even “no-logs” VPNs aren’t 100% anonymous.  

VPN transparency is important:

 Many services use “warrant canaries” as a way to passively note to the public as to whether or not they’ve been subpoenaed by a government entity, as many investigations from national security agencies can’t be actively disclosed by law. But — like the no-logging issue — warrant canaries aren’t always as straightforward as they seem. You should spend more time investigating whether your prospective VPN has cooperated with authorities in the past — and how and when they’ve disclosed that fact.

THE UNDERLISTED ARE THE BEST VPN FOR 2020

IPVANISH best vpn choice for beginners

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IPVanish

  • Number of IP addresses: 40,000-plus
  • Number of servers: 1,300
  • Number of server locations: 60
  • Number of simultaneous connections: 10
  • Country/jurisdiction: US
  • $5:20 a month (57% discount a one year plan

A big win for IP vanish is its fun, configurable interface, which makes it an ideal client for those who are interested in learning how to understand what a VPN does under the hood. Its multiplatform flexibility is also ideal for people focused on finding a Netflix-friendly VPN. 

A unique feature of IPVanish, and one we’re intrigued by, is the VPN’s support of Kodi, the open-source media streaming app that was once known as XBMC. Any serious media fan has used or built Kodi or XBMC into a media player, and the integrated IPVanish Kodi plugin provides access to media worldwide.

At $10 a month or $62 a year, IPVanish is obviously trying to move you towards its yearly program. We’re a little disappointed that it only allows a seven-day trial, rather than a full 30 days, but it does offer a full money-back guarantee. That said, the company gets kudos for its recent increase from five to now 10 simultaneous connections. We also liked its connection kill switch feature, a must for anyone serious about remaining anonymous while surfing. 

Proton VPN High security standards at high speeds

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ProtonVPN

When we speed-tested ProtonVPN, we saw an impressively small 9.6% speed loss compared to average speeds clocked without a VPN. ProtonVPN’s base speeds sent it blazing past most of our roster of tested services and into second place behind Express vpn Even more impressive is Proton’s ability to reach those speeds despite a relatively small fleet of 1,050 servers in 54 countries. Like ExpressVPN, Proton also costs more than most of the VPNs we’ve reviewed. Even so, ProtonVPN’s high security standards and legacy of transparency may make this VPN worth the price. 

Along with its options to send your traffic through a secure bunker of private servers, we love ProtonVPN’s transparency policies: It’s completely open-source with routinly published audits, and includes a built-in route to VPN into Tor servers We’re also confident recommending its mobile app since it has eliminated the use of some weaker security protocols, like PPTP and L2TP, which are still used by some other VPNs. 

On price, we’d like to see ProtonVPN come down a bit. ProtonVPN’s standard package, called Plus, runs $8 per month ($96 charged yearly). That price is higher than our Editors’ Choice VPN, ExpressVPN, whose best plan is priced at $6:67 a month for an annual package ProtonVPN also gets beat on price by Nord VPN’s two-year plan at $5 per month ($60 a year), and Surfshark’s current $6 monthly ($72 a year). While ProtonVPN offers a $4 per month package, that package doesn’t come with enough valuable features to make it competitive against NordVPN. 

Nord VPN Best VPN for reliability and security

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NordVPN

  • Number of IP addresses: 5,000
  • Number of servers: 5,200-plus servers
  • Number of server locations: 62
  • Country/jurisdiction: Panama
  • 62 countries
  • $3.71 a month

Nord VPN is one of the most recognized brands in the VPN field. It offers a generous simultaneous connection count, with six simultaneous connections through its network, where nearly all other providers offer five or fewer. NordVPN also offers a dedicated IP option, for those looking for a different level of VPN connection. NordVPN offers a kill switch feature, and the ability to VPN into Tor. We detected no privacy leaks during our tests.

In our most recent speed test NordVPN’s performance was on par with many of its competitors, reducing our speeds by 53% on average (which is slower than the 32% loss measured in previous speed tests). We found NordVPN’s speeds were reliably fast. There were never any sudden dips or service interruptions, and where we expected the VPN to underperform, it proved itself up to the task.

Surf Shark A speed leader packed with features

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Surfshark

  • Number of servers: 3,200-plus
  • Number of server locations: 65
  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • $2.49 a month

While SurfShark’s network is smaller than some, the VPN service makes it up on features and speed. Let’s start off with the biggest win it offers: unlimited device support. If you want to run your entire home or office on Surfshark’s VPN, you don’t have to worry about how many devices you have on or connected. It also offers antimalware, ad-blocking and tracker-blocking as part of its software.

The company has a solid range of app support, running on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Fire TV and routers. Additional devices such as game consoles can be configured for Surfshark via DNS settings. We particularly like the feature that allows you to whitelist certain apps and websites to automatically bypass the VPN. For some business uses, this can be critically important. 

Surfshark also offers three special modes designed for those who want to get around restrictions and more carefully hide their online footsteps. Camouflage Mode masks your VPN activity so your ISP doesn’t know you’re using a VPN. Multihop jumps your connection through multiple countries to hide your trail. Finally, NoBorders Mode “allows [you] to successfully use Surfshark in restrictive regions.” Just be careful. Doing any of these three things could be illegal in your country and could result in severe penalties. During our testing, we didn’t see a single IP address or DNS leak, and had no trouble accessing Netflix. 

ExpressVPNEditor’s choice for best VPN Blazing speeds proven privacy

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ExpressVPN

  • Number of IP addresses: 30,000
  • Number of servers: 3,000-plus in 160 locations
  • Number of simultaneous connections: 5
  • Country/jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • 94-plus countries
  • 3 months free with 1 year plan

ExpressVPN tells us its network is powered by TrustedServer technology, which ExpressVPN built to ensure that there are never any logs of users’ online activities. In the privacy world, ExpressVPN has a strong track record, having experienced a server seizure by authorities which proved their zero-log policy true at the time. We also like the quality of the VPN’s setup guides, and the detailed information in its FAQ. 

While its speeds consistently compete with heavy-hitting competitors,  

Like the rest of the top five VPN services we’ve reviewed for 2020, ExpressVPN offers a useful kill switch feature, which prevents network data from leaking outside of its secure VPN tunnel in the event the VPN connection fails. Unlike the others, though, Expressvpn gained points from us for its support of bitcoin as a payment method — something not all of our favorites offer, but which adds an additional layer of privacy during checkout.

The company has been in business since 2009, and Express VPN has a substantial network of fast VPN servers spread across 94 countries.Its plan is $7 a month

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