VPN stands for ‘virtual private network’ and is a piece of software that helps to make you more anonymous online, encrypts all of your internet traffic, and lets you effectively trick your laptop or mobile device into thinking it’s in another location. In this article we will talk about Best VPN Services.
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 make use of those encrypt tunnels to keep your online life completely safe from the prying eyes of hackers – especially now that so many of us are working or being educate at home. Or maybe you’re a keen torrenter and you don’t want your ISP to know.
But because the best VPNs also let you effectively ‘spoof’ your IP address to one in a completely different city or country, these services have taken on a much wider use. VPNs are fantastic for streamers, for example, who want to have access to a whole world of shows and films on Netflix and more. While if you’re on holiday and find your favorite app is banned or you just want to get the Google results you normally would at home, an online VPN will let you use the internet in the way you’ve become accustomed. And that’s just for starters…
The first thing we’ll show you in this article is our definitive list of the best VPNs in the world. But keep scrolling and you’ll also discover more top tips to help you make the most of your new bit of kit.
What’s the Best VPN Services?
TechRadar has tested and reviewed over a hundred of the best VPN providers (and the worst!) and the outright number one right now is ExpressVPN. It ticks all of the boxes – its server connections are fast, it has some serious security smarts, and is ridiculously easy to install and use. You can read more about this VPN service and the competition below, and ultimately pick out the option that suits your needs and wallet.
1. ExpressVPN Best VPN Services
A quick read of our ExpressVPN review and it’s not hard to see why we recommend it so highly. The specs make for some pretty eye-catching reading, with 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 94 countries. The service uses AES-256 encryption (just like the US government) to keep your data safe and you can pick and choose between several protocols – it has even developed and is testing its own custom Lightway protocol that seeks to increase speed and reliability even further.
But away from the numbers and specifications, it’s in our real-life testing where ExpressVPN really shines. For starters, it’s fast. Really fast, with fantastic connection speeds across servers in multiple countries.
It’s also exceedingly easy to use. From download and install to everyday use and troubleshooting, Express seeks to make using a VPN as easy as possible for less experienced users. That goes for all of its supported platforms – which include Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and even BlackBerry, as well as dedicated extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
There’s custom firmware for some routers, DNS content-unblocking for a host of streaming media devices, smart TVs and games consoles, and you can get it running on devices such as Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire Stick with ease as well.
Based in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark has laid-back and playful branding. But when it comes to keeping you and your online identity secure, it’s all business.
If you’re somebody who is easily bamboozled and, ultimately, put off by complicated menus and myriad options, Surfshark – like ExpressVPN above – could be the ideal VPN for you. It keeps its interface completely stripped back and free from complications. All you’ll really see are options for ‘Quick connect’ and ‘All locations’, accompanied by a Settings icon, and nothing else at all really. Whether that level of detail (or lack thereof) is a boon or a drawback entirely depends on your perspective.
The basics are all in place for starters. So that includes OpenVPN UDP and TCP, IKEv2 security protocols, AES-256 encryption, and a kill switch ready to stop your details leaking if ever your connection fails. In addition, Surfshark boasts a private DNS and an extra security blanket via a double VPN hop. Not to mention a logging policy whereby only your email address and billing information are kept on record. It’s fast, too, whether you’re connecting to a US or UK server or somewhere further away – say in Australia and New Zealand. Handy if you’re trying to access your Netflix account from abroad.
You get a choice of around 5,000 servers in roughly 60 countries, 2048-bit encryption, 6-device support as standard, strong DNS leak protection, kill switches (application-specific and system wide), proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers, and with payment options that include Bitcoin, PayPal and credit cards.
There’s also a fast, smart DNS-like SmartPlay feature which can be used to get around geo-restrictions and unblock a large number of streaming and other services.
Our performance tests found that Nord has upped its game from previous testing, connecting to all servers each time. And download speeds were well above average on all but the most distant connections.
If we have one quibble, it would be with the user experience that NordVPN supplies. Just little things like the destination cities not being listed in alphabetical order or searching through menus for specialist task functions left us scratching our heads about whether Nord has done enough user testing. But, as we say, these are pretty minor minus points.
The apps are a powerful highlight. Not only are there loads of them (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, even Fire TV), but they’re absolutely stuff with unusual features, options and settings, trampling all over the horribly basic “list of flags and a Connect button”-type apps you’ll usually get elsewhere.
The good news continues when we try some real-world tests. Servers were always up, and connected quickly; download speeds were above average; torrents are supported on every server, and we were able to unblock US Netflix with ease.
There are some issues, too. The apps are powerful, but that means there’s a lot to learn, and we noticed a few small usability issues. A small number of servers didn’t appear to be in the advertised locations, and there is no kill switch in the iOS app.
Overall, if you need its ten simultaneous connections, or the power and configurability of its apps, take the plunge with this VPN service, and if somehow you end up unhappy you’re protected by a 30 day money-back guarantee.
Romanian and German-based CyberGhost is a popular VPN provider whose mix of power and ease of use has won over more than ten million users.
The company covers the basics well, with way more than 6,000 servers spread across 90-odd countries, apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, torrents allowed and speedy live chat support.
The task-based app interface is a major highlight. CyberGhost doesn’t just leave you to guess which server to use to unblock a website, for instance. Just choose a geo-blocked service from the list – Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, more – and the app automatically connects to the best server and opens a browser window at the target site. Now that’s what we call helpful.
There are plenty of extras, too. The service can block ads, trackers and malicious websites. Automated HTTPS redirection ensures you’re always making the most secure connection. Optional data compression can save money on mobile devices.
It’s not all good news. The desktop interface can seem complicated, the support site is poor, and although US and European speeds are good, a few of our long-distance connections barely reached 10Mb.
These were some of the best VPN services that are available worldwide. You can unblock any website using these VPNs. For more information, stay tubes to our channel.