Best VPN Service: Torguard vs PIA vs ExpressVPN vs IPVanish vs PureVPN vs NordVPN vs CyberGhost & More

To sustain this free service, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Our review process.

Express VPN logo
PIA logo
NordVPN nobo
Best For Business
Perimeter 81 logo
Compare All Products

Who’s really watching you when you’re online? These days, it’s virtually impossible to know. So what can you do to protect your privacy and identity? Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service on your computer and mobile devices is a no-brainer, especially when you’re on public WiFi or traveling.

But the VPN market is hot, and in addition to the number of services competing for your business, some work a lot better (and cost less) than others. We bring you the best providers in our comprehensive review.

New To VPN’s?

If you’re new to the world of VPN’s, you may want to browse through our comprehensive VPN guide to get your feet wet first. We cover how they work, why you need them, FAQ’s, setup and installation, interviews with top company CEO’s, terminologies explained, and more.

Article Overview

Top 3 VPN Providers

The best VPN services have high encryption levels, solid performance that doesn’t slow down your internet connection, are easy to install and use, and have a transparent privacy policy.

Other factors include reputation, price, customer service and additional features. And if you need help understanding some of the VPN industry lingo, jump to the terminology & protocol section in our main guide.

ExpressVPN Review


Visit Website

ExpressVPN has become a major contender in the VPN space over the past few years and has a lot going for it, with 3,000 servers scattered across 94 countries, solid security and unlimited server switches. It’s one of the most robust, speedy and user-friendly VPN services we’ve seen. ExpressVPN consistently excels in tests of performance and reliability, speed, no DNS leaks and seamless torrenting and Netflix access.

Their 24/7 customer service has a widespread reputation for being the best in the industry. And their British Virgin Islands location also gives them a leg up. With no data retention laws to follow, ExpressVPN sticks to its no activity or connection logs policy.

The only downside to this service is its higher than average price that only gives you simultaneous connections on 3 devices. But based on its privacy features and unparalleled performance, we think ExpressVPN is worth the investment.



  • No traffic logs (they don’t store any of your online traffic)
  • Easy setup and very user-friendly
  • High 256-bit encryption
  • Among the best speeds in the industry
  • Compatible with a huge variety of devices
  • Unlimited server switching and split tunneling (you can have your VPN connection for what you need, but faster speed for streaming or other unsecured needs)
  • Widespread global coverage and 3,000+ servers
  • Kill switch to disconnect immediately
  • DNS and IPV6 leak protection
  • Torrent/P2P friendly
  • Consistently unblocks Netflix and Hulu
  • Runs its own private, encrypted DNS on every server
  • Accepts Bitcoin and many other anonymous payments
  • Reliable, award-winning 24/7 live chat customer service
  • On the pricey side
  • Can only use on 3 devices simultaneously
  • No NAT firewall protection


ExpressVPN offers a full-featured 30-day free trial and a 30-day money back guarantee.

  • $12.95/month for month-to-month
  • $9.99/month for 6 months
  • $8.32/month for 12 months


Get 35% off your ExpressVPN subscription when you pay for a year in advance, just use this link to get started.

Private Internet Access Review


Visit Website

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a well-establisged VPN service and the only one in our top ranked companies that is based in the USA (Denver, Colorado). PIA’s reputation is excellent, with top kudos from the likes of Forbes, CBS News, WIRED, and Lifehacker to name a few. They offer more than 14,519 servers (including 56 Gen4 servers) in 74 countries and deliver an impressive 10 simultaneous connections for a ton of different devices. This is the service we have used for several years at SafeSmartLiving.

With an unbelievably simple interface, high encryption level, nearly anonymous sign-up, and much more, PIA lives up to its reputation. In addition to the app’s protection icon, you can visit the website once connected, and it will show your protection status. This service focuses on data security, so if you wish to improve your access to Netflix this may not be the VPN for you.



  • Lowest pricing among our top ranked companies
  • No traffic logs
  • Simple interface and easy to install and get working
  • High 256-bit encryption level
  • Use up to 10 devices simultaneously on one account
  • U.S.-Based
  • Kill switch
  • DNS and IPV6 leak protection
  • Supports Torrent/P2P
  • Accepts hundreds of payment types, including Bitcoin and other anonymous payments
  • Almost anonymous sign-up (all they require is an email address)
  • No NAT firewall
  • Hit or miss with unblocking Netflix
  • No statistics in Smartphone app (data sent/received, etc.)
  • Customer support via website FAQs and email tickets only


Private Internet Access offers a 100% money-back guarantee for the first 7 days of service.

  • $9.95/ month for month-to-month
  • $3.33/month for 1 year
  • $2.69/month for 2 years


Our readers can save up to 77% on PrivateInternetAccess plans when you pay for a full year via this link (no promo code needed).

Read Our In-Depth PIA Review

NordVPN Review


Visit Website

NordVPN is loaded with amazing features and has some of the best security measures on the VPN market. Unique to NordVPN is their double encryption system, which applies military-grade encryption twice, for inbound and outbound data. DoubleVPN, however, is only available on select servers.

This service boasts the most servers in the industry at 5,500 in 59 countries. Having more servers means less load for more reliable performance; however, NordVPN falls in the average range when it comes to speed.

Panama-based NordVPN also offers a strict no log policy and security extras like secret notes, encrypted chat and web proxy extensions.



  • Strict no traffic logs policy
  • Among the easiest set up we’ve seen
  • Extremely high military-grade encryption level
  • Use with up to 6 devices simultaneously
  • Choose server location and type of server (DoubleVPN, Tor over VPN)
  • Good global coverage and number of servers
  • DNS and IPV6 leak protection
  • Automatic kill switch
  • Allows Torrent/P2P
  • Consistently unblocks Netflix and Hulu
  • Accepts Bitcoin and other anonymous payments
  • Speeds can vary
  • No NAT firewall
  • No split tunneling
  • Some users complain about long customer support wait times


NordVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

  • $11.95/month for month-to-month
  • $4.92/month for 1 year
  • $3.71/month for 2 years


Get 52% off your NordVPN subscription when you pay for a year in advance, just use this link to get started.

Best VPN For Small Business

Perimeter 81 logoVisit Website

We recognize that businesses require VPN protection as well to keep their data safe. But, VPN for business services differ from the personal VPN services we review above. Perimeter 81 wins our top spot as the best small business VPN, but there are a variety of options available.

Why A VPN Is Critical For COVID-19 & Remote Work

With an increase in mandatory work-from-home time due to COVID-19, workers may use less secure WiFI networks, putting company data at risk. Make sure your workforce’s systems are secure. Use a VPN service to encrypt files and lock down your precious information. The last thing we need during a pandemic is another reason to panic due to a digital security lapse.

Comparison Table

 1st Place: ExpressVPN2nd Place: Private Internet Access3rd Place: NordVPNCyberGhostHotspot Shield VPNIPVanishPureVPNSaferVPNTorguardVyprVPN
Monthly Cost (Basic Plan)$12.95$9.99$11.95$12.99$12.99$5.00$10.95$5.49$9.99$9.95
Annual Cost (Basic Plan)$99.95$71.88$83.88$71.88$71.88$39.00 (1st year)$48.96$65.88$59.99$45
Free Trial30 DaysFree Version7 Days3 Days
Money Back Guarantee30 Days7 Days30 Days45 Days45 Days7 Days31 Days30 Days7 Days
Company LocationBritish Virgin IslandsU.S.Panama RomaniaU.S.U.S.Hong KongIsraelU.S.Switzerland
Unlimited BandwidthCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
No User Traffic LogsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Anonymous Payments (Bitcoin)CheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Encryption Level256-bit256-bit2048-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit
NAT FirewallCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Number of Simultaneous Connections35671 (Free Version) or 5 (Paid)105553 to 5
Number of Countries943360+902560+140+3450+64+
Number of Servers3,000+3,200+5,300+6,100+2,500+1,200+2,000+700+3,000+700+
Number of IP AddressesUnlistedUnlistedUnlistedUnlistedUnlisted40,000+300,000+UnlistedUnlisted200,000+
Server Location ChoiceCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkOnly with paidCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Split TunnelingCheckmarkCheckmark
Router CompatibleCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
PPTP ProtocolCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Supports Torrent/P2PCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkOnly on 1 serverCheckmark
SOCKSCheckmarkCheckmarkAdded fee
Kodi CompatibleCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Unblocks Netflix CheckmarkUnreliableCheckmarkCheckmarkUnreliableUnreliableCheckmarkCheckmarkRequires $7.99/mth for dedicated IPCheckmark
Customer Support24/7 live chat, email ticket24/7 email ticket24/7 email ticket24/7 live chat, email ticket Email ticket only24/7 live chat, email ticket24/7/365 via live chat, email, ticket24/7/365 live chat, email24/7/365 via live chat, email, ticket24/7/365 via live chat, email
1st Place: ExpressVPNPrivate Internet Access2nd Place: NordVPNCyberGhostHotspot Shield VPN3rd Place: IPVanishPureVPNSaferVPNTorguardVyprVPN

Other VPN Service Reviews

Several other VPN services deserve mention that didn’t make it into our top categories. Each has its strengths, and we encourage you to consider all your options. Note that we only review the top 10 here. For other companies that didn’t make this cut, we invite you to visit our overflow review.

CyberGhost | Hotspot Shield VPN | IPVarnish | PureVPNSaferVPN | TorGuard | VyprVPN

CyberGhost Review

CyberGhost logo

Visit Website

Romania-based CyberGhost used to offer the best free VPN plan available, but alas times have changed. With no free plan available, is CyberGhost still worth consideration? Yes; CyberGhost is a reliable option with a long-standing solid reputation. Cyber Ghost offers many of the robust features top VPN’s provide, but their price tag is, unfortunately, higher than most.



  • No traffic logs
  • High 256-bit encryption
  • Use up to 7 devices simultaneously
  • Choose server location
  • Good global coverage
  • DNS and IPV6 leak protection
  • Kill switch
  • Supports Torrent/P2P
  • Unblocks Netflix
  • Accepts Bitcoin and other anonymous payments
  • Anonymous sign-up
  • Live chat is available 24/7 in 4 languages (German, English, French and Romanian)
  • Pricier than most
  • No NAT firewall
  • Some consumers report slow speeds
  • Email ticket isn’t 24/7


CyberGhost offers a 45-day money back policy.

  • $12.99/month for month-to-month
  • $5.99/month for 1 year
  • $3.69/month for 2 years
  • $2.75/month for 3 years


CyberGhost is offering 57% off Premium Subscriptions when you pay for a year in advance. Just use this link to get started.

Read Our In-Depth CyberGhost Review

Hotspot Shield VPN Review

Hotspot Shield logo

Visit Website

U.S.-based Hotspot Shield gets good reviews from customers who’ve signed up for their free plan for its speed and ease of use. But Hotspot’s free and paid plans have definite limits. Server coverage is low compared to most other VPN services, and, even with their paid plan, you can’t select specific protocols. This means that Hotspot Shield only works on devices where you can run its Windows, Mac, Android or iOS apps.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use VPN for free, Hotspot Shield could be just your ticket. But their paid plan is expensive compared to many other VPN services that give you a lot more for less money.



  • Free plan available
  • No traffic logs
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Paid plan allows for 5 simultaneous devices and server selection
  • Kill switch
  • Supports Torrent/P2P
  • Unblocks Netflix (but inconsistent and can be too slow)
  • Accepts Bitcoin and several other anonymous payments
  • Expensive
  • Free plan only allows one device at a time and no server choice (only available in U.S.)
  • Fewer locations globally than other VPN providers
  • Can’t select specific protocols so works on limited devices
  • No NAT firewall or DNS and IPV6 leak protection
  • Customer support limited to email ticket


Free Plan

Hotspot Shield’s Free plan only gives you access to their U.S. virtual server, and there are daily bandwidth limits. It’s also slower than the paid version, and you’ll have to put up with a lot of ads.

Paid Plan

Hotspot Shield offers a 45-day money back guarantee.

  • $12.99/month for month-to-month
  • $5.99/month for 1 year
  • $2.99/month for 2 years


Get 80% off your Hotspot Shield subscription when you pay for a year in advance, just use this link to get started.

IPVanish Review

IPVanish logo

Visit Website

U.S.-based IPVanish claims to be the only tier-one VPN network (which means it owns and operates its own infrastructure) with fast and reliable speed. This VPN service is easy to use, has a robust set of features.

IPVanish ran into an unfortunate period of less-than-stellar service in 2017, but, based on numerous expert and customer reviews, they appear to have resolved their previous problems. Their plans also include 250 GB of storage from SugarSync for sharing files on the cloud securely.



  • No user traffic logs
  • High 256-bit encryption level
  • Easy to use and install
  • Offers dynamic IPs to users
  • Supports 10 connections simultaneously
  • Choose server location
  • Good global coverage
  • VOIP support included
  • NAT firewall
  • Supports Torrent/P2P
  • Accepts Bitcoin and other anonymous payments
  • No kill switch on mobile apps
  • No DNS leak or IPV6 protection
  • Very unreliable when trying to unblock Netflix
  • Several consumer complaints about slow customer support


IPVanish doesn’t offer a free trial, but they do have a 7-day money back guarantee.

  • $5/month for month-to-month
  • $4.50/month for 3 months
  • $3.25/month for 1 year
New IPVanish users can save up to $50 off on one-year plans. No discount codes needed, use this link to take advantage of this offers.

Read Our In-Depth IPVanish Review

PureVPN Review

PureVPN logoVisit Website

An old-timer (for a VPN service) at more than 10 years old, Hong Kong-based PureVPN continually adds more features and apps, but they’ve fallen in performance and dropped out of our top 3 this year. PureVPN is still a good VPN (just not the best).

You get a lot of features with this VPN, including split tunneling, added security, tons of protocols and even an automatic protocol selection feature. Their “Virtual Router” feature within its Windows application, lets you convert your Windows-based desktop or laptop into a virtual router and use it to connect up to 10 devices.

However, PureVPN’s speeds have slowed when put to the test by many users over the last year. They also claim to unblock Netflix, but, again, multiple user reviews show that they don’t. We also found multiple complaints about features not working in many of their apps. Again, these issues aren’t necessarily dealbreakers, but it’s enough to drop out of our top 3 picks in a very competitive industry.



  • No traffic logs
  • High 256-bit encryption level
  • Simultaneous use on up to 5 devices
  • NAT firewall
  • Select best server feature & unlimited server switching
  • Split tunneling
  • DNS leak protection ensures all DNS requests go through VPN
  • Kill switch
  • Supports Torrent/P2P
  • Accepts Bitcoin and other anonymous payments
  • 24/7/365 fast customer support via live chat, email and ticket
  • A bit more difficult to install & get working, especially on Mac
  • User interface is confusing
  • Slow speeds
  • Unreliable for unblocking Netflix and other streaming services
  • Multiple complaints that some of its features don’t work consistently, e.g., kill switch, usability issues with various apps


PureVPN offers a 100% money-back guarantee for the first 31 days of service.

  • $10.95/month for month-to-month
  • $4.08/month for 1 year
  • $2.88/month for 2 years


Save up to 50% per month on PureVPN plans when you pay for a full year via this link.

Read Our In-Depth PureVPN Review

SaferVPN Review

SaferVPN logo

Visit Website

SaferVPN gets overall excellent user reviews, and they offer a solid, highly encrypted service with good customer service. Another plus — they’re located in Israel, which has very strict privacy laws.

Besides its VPN service, SaferVPN commits itself to freedom of speech and information — so much so, they helped launch an online movement, called Unblock the Web, to give dissidents, who live in blocked societies around the world, uncensored internet access and to help defeat mass surveillance attempts.



  • No traffic logs
  • Quick, easy setup
  • Fast speed
  • High encryption level at 256-bits
  • Can run 5 simultaneous devices
  • Unlimited server switching
  • Kill switch
  • Pretty consistent with unblocking Netflix (but currently only unblocks U.S. Netflix content)
  • Accepts Bitcoin and other anonymous payments
  • Many users report excellent customer support 24/7
  • Fewer servers than many other VPNs
  • No NAT firewall
  • No DNS or IPV6 leak protection
  • Limited torrent/P2P support
  • No split tunneling


Safer VPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

  • $12.95/month for month-to-month
  • $5.49/month for 1 year
  • $2.50/month for 3 years


Our readers can save up to 81% SaferVPN. No promo cod needed. Use this link to take advantage of this deal.

Read Our In-Depth SaferVPN Review

TorGuard Review

TorGuard logo

Visit Website

A solid but basic VPN service, TorGuard’s strengths lie in its other services available for purchase. If you’re a Torrent/P2P user, give TorGuard some serious consideration. For an additional $1.55 per month, you can get a bundle that gives you VPN, BitTorrent optimization, HTTP and SOCKS5 proxies. TorGuard, which is based in the U.S., also offers a secured private email address with unlimited storage as a separate service.



  • No traffic logs
  • Uses highest TSL encryption tunneling
  • Choose your server location
  • Private email option (additional fee)
  • Simultaneous use on up to 5 devices
  • DNS and IPV6 leak protection
  • Kill switch
  • Specializes in Torrent/P2P
  • Accepts Bitcoin and 80+ payment types
  • Users report excellent 24/7 customer support
  • Setup can be confusing
  • No NAT firewall
  • Only works with Netflix if you buy their $7.99/month dedicated IP
  • Some user complaints about slow speeds


TorGuard has a 7-day refund policy, but it’s only valid if you don’t go over 10GB.

  • $9.99/month for month-to-month
  • $19.99 for 3 months
  • $29.99 for 6 months
  • $59.99 for 1 year


Save up to 50%  on Torguard plans when you pay for a full year instead of paying monthly via this link.

VyprVPN Review

Vyprvpn logo

Visit Website

Switzerland-based VyprVPN has some unique features, namely its own encryption technology called Chameleon that uses OpenVPN 256-bit encryption and scrambles the metadata to prevent DPI and VPN blocking.

Their parent company, Golden Frog, owns all their DNS servers, which are built into VyprVPN, so you get even more security and anonymity. Vypr VPN is a solid service, but they didn’t make our top three because they’re not as easy to set up and customer complaints about account blocking.



  • Free 3-day trial and competitive pricing
  • No traffic logs
  • Excellent security features with Chameleon encryption and VyprDNS servers (high 256-bit encryption)
  • NAT firewall
  • Unlimited server switching
  • 200,000+ IP addresses and good global coverage
  • DNS and IPV6 leak protection
  • Kill switch
  • Reliably unblocks Netflix
  • 24/7/365 customer support with live chat and email
  • Offers Cyphr, encrypted messaging plan
  • Set up isn’t as intuitive as may other VPNs
  • Basic plan only supports 3 connections at a time
  • Many users have had their account blocked if they torrent (although they claim to support P2P)
  • No Bitcoin or anonymous payment methods
  • No refund policy


VyprVPN offers a 3-day free trial.

  • Basic Plan (3 connections) – $9.95/month or $3.75/month for annual subscription
  • Premier Plan (5 simultaneous connections) – $12.95/month or $5/month for annual subscription


Our readers can get 25% off any annual plan (which is already a savings of 50% per month) at VyperVPN via this link.

Want even more reviews? We’ve got you covered – we review even more VPN providers that readers requested we checkout in our overflow review.

Best VPNs For Netflix

Netflix logoWant to stream your favorite TV when you’re overseas? It’s become much harder in the last couple of years. Why? For two main reasons:

  • Netflix is actively blocking most VPNs (ever gotten the dreaded proxy error?)
  • Many VPNs are too slow to stream effectively (you’ll experience a lot of buffering and videos timing out)

Here are are our picks for the best vpn service if you want to unblock Netflix:

  1. ExpressVPN (our #1 pick)
  2. NordVPN (our #3 pick)
  3. VyprVPN (read review)
  4. CyberGhost (read review)
  5. Private Internet Access (read review)

Tip: The situation with Netflix and VPNs is constantly evolving, so be sure to double check with any VPN service you’re considering to make sure it can still unblock Netflix.

How Else Can You Protect Your Online Privacy?

In today’s troubling privacy climate, it makes sense to protect yourself on all fronts. Even if you have a VPN to protect your online usage, you’re still vulnerable to hackers. That’s where an identity theft protection service can bring you more peace of mind. Check out our reviews of the best identity theft protection services to see how they can protect you.

What has your experience been with VPNs? 

About The Author:

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations, Sally began a long career researching and writing about hard-to-understand topics, such as insurance and finance.

Her additional experience in marketing, fundraising, public relations and financial planning at various foundations and nonprofit organizations over the years has given her the practical tools to inform consumers about making the smartest business and personal financial decisions. Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more.

Speaking of smart living — growing up in the (at-the-time) per-capita murder capital of the U.S. (Richmond, VA) taught her a thing or two about the need for personal and home safety. Sally stays on top of all the latest gadgets and services to protect her and her teenage daughters from potential predators and thieves. And she brings this knowledge to every article she writes.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments