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.

1st
Express VPN logo
2nd
NordVPN nobo
3rd
IPVanish logo
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

#1

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.

Pros

Cons

  • 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 1,000+ 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

Pricing

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

Coupon

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

NordVPN Review

#2

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 5,300 in 61 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.

Pros

Cons

  • 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

Pricing

NordVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

  • $11.95/month for month-to-month
  • $6.99/month for 1 year
  • $3.99/month for 2 years
  • $2.99/month for 3 years

Coupon

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

IPVanish Review

#3

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 and delivers an impressive 10 simultaneous connections for a ton of different devices.

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.

Pros

Cons

  • 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

Pricing

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

  • $10/month for month-to-month
  • $8.99/month for 3 months
  • $6.49/month for 1 year

 

New IPVanish users can use coupon code TAKEOFF30 to get 30% off their initial purchase. Use this link to take advantage of this offer. You can also see and discuss other options on our dedicated IPVanish coupon page.

Read Our In-Depth IPVanish Review

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.

Be sure to check out our reviews of the Best VPN For Small Businesses on our sister site, We Rock Your Web, where we give you pros and cons, features, pricing and more for five of the best VPN providers for business.

Comparison Table

 1st Place: ExpressVPN2nd Place: NordVPN3rd Place: IPVanishCyberGhostHotspot Shield VPNPrivate Internet AccessPureVPNSaferVPNTorguardVyprVPN
1st Place: ExpressVPN2nd Place: NordVPN3rd Place: IPVanishCyberGhostHotspot Shield VPNPrivate Internet AccessPureVPNSaferVPNTorGuardVyprVPN
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review
Visit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit Website
Monthly Cost (Basic Plan)$12.95$11.95$10.00$12.99$12.99$9.99$10.95$5.49$9.99$9.95
Annual Cost (Basic Plan)$100.05 (15 months)
$83.88$77.99$63$71.88$71.88$48.96$65.88$59.99$45
Free Trial30 DaysFree Version7 Days3 Days
Money Back Guarantee30 Days30 Days7 Days45 Days45 Days7 Days31 Days30 Days7 Days
Company LocationBritish Virgin IslandsPanamaU.S.RomaniaU.S.U.S.Hong KongIsraelU.S.Switzerland
Unlimited BandwidthCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
No User Traffic LogsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Anonymous Payments (Bitcoin)CheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Encryption Level256-bit2048-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit
NAT FirewallCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Number of Simultaneous Connections361071 (Free Version) or 5 (Paid)55553 to 5
Number of Countries9460+60+55+2533140+3450+64+
Number of Servers3,000+5,300+1,200+3,500+2,500+3,200+2,000+700+3,000+700+
Number of IP AddressesUnlistedUnlisted40,000+UnlistedUnlistedUnlisted300,000+UnlistedUnlisted200,000+
Server Location ChoiceCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkOnly with paidCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Split TunnelingCheckmarkCheckmark
Router CompatibleCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
WindowsCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
MacCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
LinuxCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
iOSCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
AndroidCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
PPTP ProtocolCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
OpenVPNCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
L2TP/IPSecCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
IKEv2/IPSecCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
SSTPCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Supports Torrent/P2PCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkOnly on 1 serverCheckmark
SOCKSCheckmarkCheckmarkAdded fee
ChromebookCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
DD-WRTCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Kodi CompatibleCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Unblocks NetflixCheckmarkCheckmarkUnreliableCheckmarkUnreliableUnreliableCheckmarkCheckmarkRequires $7.99/mth for dedicated IPCheckmark
Customer Support24/7 live chat, email ticket24/7 email ticket24/7 live chat, email ticketLive chat, email ticketEmail ticket only24/7 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
Visit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit Website
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review

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 | Private Internet Access | 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.

Pros

Cons

  • 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
  • Pricier than most
  • No NAT firewall
  • Some consumers report slow speeds
  • Live chat and email ticket aren’t 24/7

Pricing

CyberGhost offers a 45-day money back policy.

  • $12.99/month for month-to-month
  • $5.25/month for 1 year
  • $3.69/month for 2 years
  • $2.75/month for 3 years

Coupon

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.

Pros

Cons

  • 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

Pricing

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

Coupon

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

Private Internet Access Review

Private Internet Access logo

Visit Website

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a fantastic VPN service based in the U.S. PIA’s reputation is excellent, with top kudos from the likes of Forbes, PC World, Kiplinger’s and Lifehacker to name a few. They offer more than 3,300 servers in 33 countries.

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.

Pros

Cons

  • No traffic logs
  • Simple, easy interface and easy to install and get working
  • High 256-bit encryption level
  • Use up to 5 devices simultaneously on one account
  • 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)
  • In fewer countries than other top services
  • Can’t select server location (but you can select geolocation)
  • No NAT firewall
  • Hit or miss with unblocking Netflix
  • No statistics in app (data sent/received, etc.)
  • Customer support via email ticket only

Pricing

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

  • $9.99/ month for month-to-month
  • $5.99/month for 1 year
  • $3.49/month for 2 years

Coupon

Save up to 52% on PIA plans when you pay for a full year via this link. You can also see and discuss other options on our dedicated PIA coupon page.

Read our in-depth PIA 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 over the last year. They also claim to unblock Netflix, but, again, multiple tests 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.

Pros

Cons

  • 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

Pricing

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

Coupon

Save up to 50% per month on PureVPN plans when you pay for a full year via this link. You can also see and discuss other options on our dedicated PureVPN coupon page.

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.

Pros

Cons

  • 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
  • Accepts Bitcoin and other anonymous payments
  • Users report excellent customer support 24/7
  • No month-to-month option (must pay for a year at minimum)
  • Fewer servers than many other VPNs
  • No NAT firewall
  • No DNS or IPV6 leak protection
  • Very limited P2P support

Pricing

Safer VPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

  • $12.95/month for 1 month
  • $5.49/month for 1 year
  • $2.74/month for 2 years
  • $2.50/month for 3 years

Coupon

BLACK FRIDAY PROMOTION: Available November 14th-25th, Buy 1 Get 1 Free! (1 Month $9.99/month + 1 Month FREE or 6 Months $7.99/month + 6 Months FREE or 12 Months $4.99/month + 12 Months FREE! ONGOING: Save 62% on SaferVPN plans when you for a year in advance! Just use this link to get started.

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.

Pros

Cons

  • 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

Pricing

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

Coupon

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.

Pros

Cons

  • 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

Pricing

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

Coupon

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 your best bets if you want to unblock Netflix:

  1. ExpressVPN (our #1 pick overall)
  2. NordVPN (our #2 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? 

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.

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. 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.

45
Leave a Reply

avatar
newest oldest most voted
Fruticose
I’m extra paranoid about cyber attacks and malware and all that crap so nordvpn with it’s double encryption seemed the right choice to me. Been using it for almost 6months and still happy with it. Actually, had some issues with my android app a few months ago, but it gets better and better recently.
dangerousprint
I’m a user of nordvpn and after reading your review wanted to share that my experience with their support is completely opposite. I had a few problems at the beginning with setting up their app manually on linux, but wrote them a quick message via live chat and some sweet girl guided me threw out the process.
Michelle Schenker (Admin)
Tip: Don’t forget to turn off your VPN when you are back on a private network if you want all your services to work!
I was working on PIA VPN on the public/free wifi network at the MCO airport yesterday and I forgot to turn it off when I got on my plane. No big deal until I got home and worked all day yesterday at my house on my own private wifi and could not get Slack to work. I thought Slack was down and went so far as to complain about the service being down on Twitter only to discover this morning that PIA was still on! I turned it off and Slack started working perfectly! Ha!! Gmail also thought it was raining even though there is not a cloud in the sky, probably because the masked IP address being used by PIA was somewhere that it is raining! Too funny.
Tim F
Is there any reason to have a VPN at work? I feel like while I’m at work and on their private network, I probably might not see any benefits from VPN privacy. I also don’t want to get on the bad side of the IT team!
Jimmy
I’ve been using PIA for years but curious what others think about these other services based on their experiences?
BBC Junkie
I read an article from the BBC about Russia’s new VPN law that went into effect November 1, 2017. Basically the law makes VPN companies and anonymous users block access to banned sites in Russia. If they don’t follow these rules, they themselves may be added to the blocked list. I thought this was interesting and was looking to discuss more with people. Does anyone have thoughts on this?
Alex Schenker (Admin)
Interesting. I don’t see this flying in a free market economy for the simple reason around the subjectiveness of “banning.” Who decides whom is banned and what are the reasons for being banned? If they get those wrong, and all VPN networks falsely ban someone, I see a major overstep of regulators that, in the U.S. at least, would lead to a legal nightmare.
Joe T
Are there any disadvantages of VPNs? Is there any concern that someone (government agency, browser or website) could think that I’m trying to hide something illegal because I’m using a VPN?
Zach
I’ve thought of that myself, but as long as you are not up to anything illegal, I don’t think there is anything to be concerned with.
Victoria
I’m new to the idea of VPNs but saw a segment on the news about how important it is to not use public wifi without a private network. I’m still a bit overwhelmed. Is this difficult to sign up for and use? I’m not the most “tech savvy” so I don’t want to be too overwhelmed but want to be smart about my online activity.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Victoria, VPNs are pretty simple to sign up for and use. You can have it installed and running on your computer in less than 10 minutes. Most companies are good about providing instructions for how to properly use their VPN service. I personally use PIA when I’m at airports, coffee shops, etc. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Anonymous
I recently had my cell phone account hacked, I asked Sprint where the IP address was from and he said Brazil, and that they immediately put a “IP Brick” on it. What does that mean? I wonder if the hacker maybe they used a VPN too and wasn’t really in Brazil?
Paul K
Exactly what does a VPN hide? I keep hearing about VPN’s on the news and it all seems to be going over my head. Can someone tell me exactly why I would benefit?
Jeff Butler (Admin)
I had a hard time understanding this myself at first. But essentially, using a VPN creates a private, secure and encrypted connection with the internet. This added layer of security is especially important when you are on a public wifi network. Also, there should not be a log of your activity on the web, thus limiting what kind of data your ISP can collect on you.
MICHAEL WIEBRANDS
Basically, a VPN hides your identity while you use the Internet.

Your computer is given a unique address by your ISP.

Without a VPN when you use a website or other Internet service (e.g. torrent) there is a record created at your ISP and on the website or Internet service that your address used the website or service.

With a VPN your computer redirects all your Internet usage through a third party which hides your unique address, stopping your ISP and the website or Internet service from knowing that your computer used the website or service.

VPN’s are used most often by people who want to mask their Internet usage so their government or other parties can’t track what they are doing on the Internet.

Margo
THANK YOU! To clarify, you don’t need one when you’re at home on a secure connection right? Just when you’re using public, unsecure wifi?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Margo, that’s correct. For example, I don’t use a VPN when I’m at home because I’m on a secure, password protected connection. However, when I’m at a coffee shop using public wifi where the password is clearly shared, I use a VPN.
Paul K
Thanks Michael, that makes a lot of sense. So how did Snowden evade the U.S. government? I can’t imagine a simple VPN like the ones reviewed here was enough to mask his identity from the highest paid hackers in the world?
Heather
Has anyone here ever used PIA? It is so much cheaper that I’d love to go with it vs. PureVPN but I also don’t know if it’s worth the risk when it comes to identity theft risk. Any thoughts?
Michelle Schenker (Admin)
I have been using PIA for a little over a year now. It works very well on my laptop but it only works about 70% of the time on my cell phone. When I am on some public wifi networks, it cannot ever seem to connect. No rhyme or reason to which networks it plays well with either, or not so far as I can tell. I would recommend it for a most of the time solution but if you want something that works all the time, you may need to spend the extra cash.
Patrick
I have been using PureVPN for around 3 years now and I haven;t faced any difficulty ever in unblocking websites or torrenting movies and shows. Speeds are also great. They have some dedicated servers for torrenting.. You must give it a try..
Don M
Do I need a VPN when using cellular or is the network secure enough?
Cheryl
I think most people just use a VPN if they’re connecting to public wifi. So if you’re just using your cellular data on your phone I think you’re ok without a VPN.
Anonymous
Do VPNs work in Russia? Asking for a friend…
Alex Schenker (Admin)
VPN’s should work in most countries. Check with each provider to determine compatibility. And note that speed may be affected by whether or not the VPN provider has a server in that country, as well as which country you’re logging in from.
Dave R
I would love to know from a speed perspective whom do you consider to be the best? I’m not worried about having the ultimate security, I just want the dang thing to work so I can watch porn while on public wifi.
Alex Schenker (Admin)
Hi Dave,

From a speed perspective, you’ve got quite a few options. More details in our article and company pros/cons above, but our tests and consumer feedback indicate that PureVPN is a good choice (they offer split tunneling, which means you can “split” your VPN connection and use it for different purposes (for example, one for speedy streaming, and another for more secure, but slower, sensitive data tasks)). ipVanish offers the only tier one VPN network in our tests, which means it owns and operates its own infrastructure. Lastly, OneVPN performed well in our speed tests. Good luck and let us know your experiences and whom you decide to go with!

Judy
I travel a lot of work and there is quite a bit of sensitive data on my computer. Would using a VPN be beneficial from a security perspective?
Alex Schenker (Admin)
Hi Judy,

Yes absolutely. Please read our article above, it goes into detail on the security aspects of VPN’s.

Harry
While researching VPN’s I was curious on whether the internet would still work if the VPN connection was lost. The kill switch explanation explains that, thanks!
Jeff
Most of the time the VPN kill switch feature will not be set as a default, so you’ll need to go into settings to turn in on. For PIA, it is simply: Advanced > Check “VPN Kill Switch”.
Mellisa
The only VPN i have used is Ivacy. Pretty shocked its not in the list cause I think its one of the best VPN’s for Torrenting, especially with the price it offers. Its a sweet deal combined. I have been using it foo almost a month know and its working quite fine.
Sadie Cornelius (Admin)
Thanks for sharing, we’ll consider adding it to the list during our next article update, we’re glad to hear it works well for you though!
Gena F
I’ve heard good things about Vypr. I’m based in Australia, and I’m wondering if I can watch Nextflix (U.S. version) and the BBC iPlayer when I’m logged into VyprVPN?
Alex Schenker (Admin)
Hi Gena, yes you can. We’ve confirmed with our contacts at Golden Frog (parent company of VyprVPN) that this is indeed possible.
Joker74
Torguard is terrible. Torrents worked and speed good but utorrent showed unconnectible which is a port issue. They advised how to set a port forward but no suggestions fixed the issues. Then around the time USA woke up my speeds dropped to 1.1MB constant and never fluctuated.

Disconnect and port issue and speed all fixed. They deny all throttle of speeds and we had 12hrs offering basic support that didn’t help. I asked to cancel and refund and they asked again to help and can we hold off the cancel. I headed home to continue our support after all day at work trying to fix.

When got home they had cancelled me with no notification and no advise on refund. I am now chasing them for refund advise.

They are clearly not very professional and have no ideas on fixing basic port issues. And went admit throttle when clearly do.

1.1MB on all servers all day after 9am USA time.

Avoid

Julia
I tried TorGuard and am so bummed. I wish I would’ve seen this article (and this comment) sooner. The price was a little high but I figured for a good VPN you need to pay the price. Then setting it up was kind of difficult and frustrating. Finally, once I did have everything setup it was SUPER slow. Thankfully I was within the 7 days so I got a refund but I wish I wouldn’t have wasted my time on it. Going to look into using one of the top three recommended in this article. Will keep you posted…
Jack Flynn
Really Sally? or Kimberly? Deleting my comment because it is factually critical of your info? How lame. Proves the point I was making about bias.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Jack, we have not deleted you comment. With the holidays we were a little behind on comments but are back in full swing. Your comment is still in the que. We are doing some research so we can provide a well thought out comment. I can assure you this article is not biased. Sally is one of our best writers and provides great content for us. We will do our best to address your previous comment as quickly as possible. Thank you for being patient with us while we do some research. 🙂
Jack Flynn
I’m curious what sort of kickbacks you’re getting from the top 3 that you promote? Even if not, this is laughably biased.

I used PIA for a year and a half and it was crap. Consistency poor speeds on inconsistent connections, and horribly unknowledgeable customer support who provide the same cookie cutter cut and paste answers for most problems; answers that include changing the same settings that never resolve anything. You contact customer support and with each response you’re passed from one rep to another. By about the third rep you are just back to getting the same cut and paste info that the first tech support person used. I tried NordVPN next, but also got poor speeds. Then I switched to TorGuard where I get fantastic speeds from the Seattle and Cali servers closest to me in BC Canada – something I didn’t get with PIA from the same gateway locations. Also the customer support is much better with Torguard.

So I look at your comparisons and they reek of bias:

With PIA, in the pro’s list you include :

– High 256-bit encryption level; yet you omit that form the pros of Torguard even though it offers the same level of encryption, but includes CF-CBC Cipher

– Use up to 5 devices simultaneously on one account; same with Torguard, but you omit that form TorGuard’s pros. Why?

– Has a VPN kill switch in settings to immediately disconnect you; Torguard has an app kill switch which acts as a tunnel, and is preferable for many, as you can kill per app or program without crippling your entire connection. Gives you far more control. Why omit that form TorGurad’s pros

-DNS Leak Protection ensures all DNS requests go through VPN; Even if you’re using the Torguard app (not the OpenVPN client) you have DNS, IPV6, and WebRTC leak protection – more than PIA, as PIA does not offer stand alone WebRTC leak protection with their client.

-Accepts hundreds of payment types, including Bitcoin and other anonymous payments; TorGuard accepts Bitcoin, yet you omit it from their pros

-U.S. data centers – some countries have data retention laws (ie. EU); TorgGurad has US data centers. Why omit that?

And the most laughable one of all, you mention as a pro for PIA that they have “24/7 customer support with live chat, email & ticket”, & then in the cons you admit that they have “Long wait times for live chat support”. It’s more like non-existent support.

And that’s just the TorGuard comparison.

How could anyone take this seriously?

Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Hi Jack, I am so sorry for the wait on a response for this comment. We wanted to make sure we had all the facts so we could give you an accurate response. We are sorry to hear you’ve had a negative experience with PIA and appreciate your feedback about Torguard. We agree that Torguard is an excellent choice, which is why we included it in our “Best VPN” article. To address some of your points:

Torguard, indeed, does have some of the features you’ve highlighted (number of devices, payment types, and kill switch availability) and have incorporated them into Torguard’s Pros. Thanks for notifying us of our omission! We do state in our Torguard “Pros” that Torguard offers the highest encryption available compared to the other services we review here.

In terms of speed, Torguard varies per user and location (as all VPNs do). Per Torguard’s website, “servers feature gigabit+ port speeds, so DL rates can vary from 5mbps – 100mbps+ depending on your connection speed, server load, CPU, distance from you to the location you are connecting to and ping, speed has many factors!”

Thank you for your comment and keep us honest! We strive to provide factual content to our readers and we never intend on leaving any content out. We’re glad you’ve found a VPN that you’re happy with!

Natman
PIA rocks! Thanks for this solid comparison, I was looking for a provider that would allow at least 4 simultaneous devices and also with DNS leak protection. I never thought I would find a service at such a low cost! Got it up and running now with my macbook and iphone and it’s running flawlessly so far. Thanks Sally!
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Happy to hear you’ve had success with PIA! I will pass along the kind words to Sally!
Natman
Now that we’ve been using this for a while we’re noticing that while it’s pretty solid on mobile, the connection on Mac OS (via the PIA app) can be excruciatingly slow, and the auto-connection is not reliable (i.e. it won’t connect by default). Is anyone else experiencing these issues with PIA?
Jack Flynn
I did experience the slow speeds and the dropped connections, that would not reconnect. I used PIA with VPNCheck Pro kill switch because the PIA app kill switch caused problems for me. Then after bashing my head against the wall with PIA for a year and a half I finally dumped them. PIA is the WalMart of VPN’s; you get the lowest price, but you get what you pay for.