There are many benefits and functions of VPNs (virtual private networks). Some of them include masking your browsing location, keeping your browsing activity private, getting access to blocked websites, and streaming private sites. For you to be able to this very well, you need to have the most up-to-date VPN.
However, when reviewing VPN services, what factors are the most important to consider? I’ve researched and reviewed some VPN providers according to the most important factors like security and privacy, speed, number of servers and locations, supported software, streaming and torrenting, and pricing plans.
Offers great value for quality VPN service
This company is a secure VPN service based in Panama. NordVPN is renowned for its advanced security, complete privacy, and internet freedom. Also, NordVPN keeps no logs, and given its location, there are no laws that require it to do so. Finally, it boasts of the largest server network, with 5,500 servers in 59 countries around the world.
- Has double-hop VPN servers
- It is one of the most affordable VPN providers around
- You can have up to 6 simultaneous connections
- Some of the servers aren’t as fast as others
- There is no live chat support
Has high security standards
ExpressVPN is a common name among VPN enthusiasts. It has a built-in speed test that you can use to select the fastest servers. And since ExpressVPN has over 3,000 servers in more than 94 countries, you have plenty to choose from.
ExpressVPN has 24/7 live chat support, which is a great feature if your VPN stops working, or you need help immediately. Also, you can choose to run only partial device traffic using the VPN with the split tunneling feature.
- It’s a trusted name in the industry
- Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
- Has an easy-to-use app
- It’s more expensive than other services
- You can use it on only 3 simultaneous devices
High-quality VPN service from an industry heavyweight
Norton Secure VPN is part of the Norton brand. This means that you will get the features and customer service from an experienced company in the industry. Norton Secure VPN works well on both mobile and desktop devices.
It has a lower server count than the competition but has other features that make it a top-notch provider in the industry. Features like OpenVPN protocols, no-logging policy, unlimited bandwidth, and a 60-day money-back guarantee show that Norton has your privacy and security covered.
- Norton has been known to successfully unblock Netflix
- Offers unlimited bandwidth
- Offers a 60-day money-back guarantee
- It has fewer server options than the competition
- Has a strict no-torrenting policy
A company that’s serious about security
This company is a fast and secure VPN service owned by a private firm in Romania. It has been in operation since 2011 and really understands what is at stake in the business—internet freedom and privacy.
CyberGhost VPN focuses more on privacy solutions, and it has a strict no-logging policy. It also has lots of other features to show its capabilities.
- The platform is easy to use
- It works well with Netflix US
- Offers low pricing plans
- Does not have solid a reputation
- Not all of its servers work for torrenting
Offers strong security, privacy, and speed
Although Surfshark is a relatively new face in the industry, it has earned its place among the top VPN service providers. Due to its location in the British Virgin Islands, it works without any data retention laws and other favorable data protection laws. These perks ensure that user information is safe and secure.
Also, it has a strict policy of no-logging and also collects no information about the identity of the users.
- Offers the whitelister, multihop, and camouflage mode
- You can unblock Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer
- It has extremely resilient privacy and security features
- Its email support could be faster
- There’s no free trial version
Offers automatic connection upon startup
Although Kaspersky’s VPN isn’t your usual first choice when it comes to its connection network, the VPN gives users the chance of selecting between 26 fast servers, four of which are in the US.
If you want to access US Netflix, this is a great means of doing that. Also, the company didn’t explicitly ban torrenting.
- Has reasonably fast servers
- There’s a free tier that works
- There are multiple servers in the US
- There are no connection protocol options
- Has just 26 servers
A VPN as smart as its name
From its name, HideMyAss is a VPN service that offers an easy-to-use service that focuses on privacy and user experience. This company has more than 1,100 that are spread across all the continents and in 280 locations. This makes for fast and smooth connections. You can also use the HMA to torrent, share files, and unblock Netflix, making it one of the best around.
- Offers consistently fast speeds
- It is unlimited
- There’s a 24/7 support
- You cannot block ads
- It also collects some logs
Offers a customizable VPN experience
PureVPN is currently one of the top VPN services in the market. It’s also the fastest VPN service in the world. PureVPN is located in Hong Kong and this makes it a favorable place for VPN service as it is away from 5 and 14 eyes surveillance.
- Has a kill switch
- It has NAT firewall add-on
- There are 80,000+ IP addresses
- Its download speeds aren’t great
- There can be DNS leak issues
Offers fast and simple streaming and unblocking
This is a very fast, secure, and private service that is owned by Network Protect Limited. Since the parent company is based both in the UK and US, UltraVPN has limited data protection. This is because of the many laws of both countries regarding data retention.
This does mean that UltraVPN does not have any means of giving users privacy. It has a zero logs policy to protect users.
- It has an unlimited bandwidth
- You can unblock Netflix
- Its speeds optimized for streaming, with no buffering
- P2P traffic is supported
- Offers only the basic features
- It doesn’t work in China all the time
Has multiple operating systems and browser options
This company is very strict when it comes to VPN services. It has a high level of encryption and an automatic kill switch. It also has the constantly active GhostBear that masks your identity from governments, businesses, and ISPs all over the world.
This means that whether you’re streaming videos, doing online retail therapy, trying to unblock geo-restricted content, or hiding from persistent marketers, Tunnelbear offers you the tech to keep you hidden.
- Its user-manned logs and annual audits are published
- Offers a free trial account
- There are many features—ad-blocker, kill switch, ghost VPN, and more
- It is not available for routers or smart TVs
- Has fewer server locations than competitors
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the 2021 best VPN?
Currently, the best VPN service providers on the market are NordVPN and ExpressVPN. They come with vast network of servers, great speeds, and reliable privacy policies that protect your identity and ensure your security.
2. Can I leave my VPN on all the time?
This is dependent on your VPN provider. If your plan includes unlimited bandwidth, then leaving it on presents no problems as you won’t be charged more. However if your plan doesn’t include unlimited bandwidth, then it’s best if you turn your VPN off when it’s not being used.
3. Does VPN steal data?
Usually, no. Reliable VPN providers do not steal your data. However, there are lots of free and lesser-known services without clear privacy policies. This is why you should review company policies and reputation before you make a choice.
4. How Do I Choose the Best VPN?
There are lots of options when it comes to choosing a VPN provider. You can make a better choice if you focus on the most important features such as:
- Strong encryption
- Ease of use
- P2P functionality
Choose a VPN service that has fast speeds to make your connection smooth, one that has strong security features to ensure your privacy, one that has easy functionality to make it easy to use.
Additionally, you should select one that offers P2P file sharing, and be sure that the price is fair.
5. What are the advantages of using a VPN?
VPN services are essential for most internet users. Although there are many reasons why people use VPN, some of the main advantages of using one include:
- Online privacy
- Unblocking websites and apps
- Safe torrenting and streaming
- Bypassing censorship
- Saving money online by changing your geolocation
Depending on your reason for needing a VPN service—whether it’s for more privacy, or to share files, stream videos, and games, or access content that is unavailable in your location—it affords you with the benefits you desire.
6. Can you trust a VPN?
Simply put, yes… and no. While a credible VPN can be trusted, questionable services are to be avoided at all costs. How do you tell the difference? Check for privacy and encryption standards. A reliable VPN will have excellent encryption protocols that are clearly mentioned in the privacy policies. It will also have strong security features like DNS leak protection.
7. Is using a VPN legal?
Of course! VPN services are legal to use in many countries of the world. However, the activities you do with your VPN are subject to all laws that operate in your country.
This means that if you are doing something illegal with your VPN, you’re to blame. The usage of VPN is totally legal.
8. How can I use a VPN for streaming?
This is a very simple process.
- Sign up for the service and plan of your choice
- After logging into your account, turn on your VPN
- You can either manually choose a server/country to stream from or let the service choose the appropriate one for you
- Visit your favorite TV show streaming site, and enjoy your show!
9. How can I use a VPN for torrenting?
This is yet another awesome use for VPNs. You can set it up using this method:
- Get the VPN plan that fits your needs and budget
- Log into your account
- Connect to one of the dedicated servers for torrenting, or let the service pick the best server for your location
- Use your regular torrent site or app like uTorrent, and you’ll be completely protected while you download your torrents
10. Are free VPNs safe?
Absolutely not! Free VPN services cannot boast of the resources that ensure that your connections are secure. This means that you’re open and susceptible to spam attacks hackers, geo-restrictions, government agencies, and other issues you want to avoid with a VPN.
You should trust only a dedicated VPN service with credible security protocols. Also, free sites usually have limited bandwidth, making your connections slow and annoying.
11. Can a VPN boost my online security?
When the advantages of VPN services are discussed, the main reason for using them is to shield your computer’s IP address. This is done to increase your privacy and security online.
This is useful if you want to remain anonymous because your IP address can be used to track you down. A VPN can boost your online security in the following ways:
- Ward off fraudsters
- Stay safe on public WiFi
- Sidestep geographic restrictions
- No logging policies
- Avoid malware
12. When Should You use a free VPN?
For instance, when you use public Wi-Fi to shop, your credit card details and other information are vulnerable. However, a VPN will ensure your privacy. Therefore, free VPNs or free trials of the top VPN services are an excellent way to secure your details when you perform activities online.
Generally, they’re easy to download and install and shouldn’t affect the speed of your computer that much. But there are other things a free VPN cannot handle.
13. What are the Reasons for Choosing a Paid VPN provider?
As a free VPN cannot provide all the necessary protection, it’s a good idea to start with the free trial of a paid version. Most of the top VPNs have free versions, like ExpressVPN which has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
And as you upgrade to a paid version, you’ll notice the difference in terms of security protocols and anonymity. Using a paid VPN like NordVPN, you’ll get access to the most common kinds of security protocols like PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP. This makes you to have more freedom and ensures your security and anonymity online.
Finally, a paid VPN will increase the speed and performance of your computer. This is very important if you’re streaming events live or playing online games.