Virtual private networks, or VPNs, protect our privacy by encrypting our browsing data and IP addresses, and the best VPNs use the most advanced technology while maintaining competitive pricing. They also provide the fastest speeds and a plethora of useful features to help us improve our digital security and online privacy. But why do people use VPNs in the first place? Simply put, the internet is full of dangers (and annoyances) that VPNs can keep us safe from. They prevent websites and internet service providers from tracking our IP addresses and online movements. They protect our data from hackers and malicious websites. They also enabled us to avoid censorship and geographical restrictions.
In the overcrowded VPN market, NordVPN stands out. It was even named one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2022 for its innovative VPN. NordVPN is praised for its ability to provide high-quality security and privacy without sacrificing internet speed, which we also demonstrated when we tested NordVPN.
NordVPN was not the most affordable VPN we tested. In fact, the Complete plan’s monthly rate of $14.19 was one of the highest we’d seen. When you consider what’s included, however, NordVPN’s price becomes tolerable — even affordable.
Surfshark is much more than a VPN. Under the Surfshark One offering, the company provides a wide range of cybersecurity features. This subscription includes antivirus software, data leak detection, a secure search engine, and, most recently, webcam protection. Surfshark’s Camouflage Mode makes it an excellent VPN for users concerned about government censorship. If you are concerned that connecting to a VPN at school, the office, or in countries where VPNs are not permitted, Surfshark is for you.
Private Internet Access VPN
Private Internet Access is generally fast, but its performance on Windows was exceptional. Not only that, but the app works flawlessly. It provides endless customisations to satisfy VPN experts while remaining simple enough to use for VPN newcomers.
Apps that are extremely efficient
A good VPN app is one that does not interfere with your workflow, and the Private Internet Access app does exactly that. It works right out of the box, and once set, you won’t have to touch it again. Simply launch the app, enable the VPN, and you’re set for the day. However, if you need to tweak your connection, you can always return to the app and fiddle with the settings until you get it just right. The PIA VPN app is one of the most customisable we’ve ever used.
Hotspot Shield had us covered for Netflix-watching parties with fast speeds on our Mac and Windows computers. We also didn’t experience any significant delays or lags when using Netflix on our Android devices, which was useful during commutes.
VPN service for free
We usually avoid free VPNs due to their proclivity for shady privacy practises. Hotspot Shield, on the other hand, is a reputable company with a proven track record, so we had no reservations about trying out its free VPN. It still has limitations; for example, only one device can connect at a time, and there is a daily data limit of 500 MB (which we think is generous). However, we liked that the free VPN was covered by Hotspot Shield’s no-logs policy, so we didn’t have to worry about Hotspot Shield logging our activity and selling our data to third parties.
We recently tested and compared the speeds of the top VPNs, and while Hotspot Shield did not take first place, it was very close. We were most impressed by the download speed, as Hotspot Shield only made a negative 3.17-percent impact on our regular internet speed. That meant that Hotspot Shield maintained an average download speed of 91.5 Mbps with our roughly 95 Mbps connection.
What distinguishes IPVanish from other companies is its dedication to customer service. We can’t tell you how difficult it is at times to get companies to respond to our technical questions. Many VPNs do not provide phone support, and many do not provide answers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. IPVanish has friendly customer service representatives available at all times via phone and online chat. Nonetheless, the company does not charge any more than other VPN providers. For example, a one-year subscription costs only $3.33 per month.
Excellent Customer Service
IPVanish also wins when it comes to resolving customer issues. They not only have 24/7 live chat and a comprehensive FAQ section, but they also have a phone line, which is extremely rare for VPN providers.
It’s difficult to find a VPN for less than a dollar per month, but it’s even more difficult to find one that won’t sell your data to make a little extra money on the side. Ivacy, on the other hand, was both, with subscriptions starting at $1.19 per month.
Discounts in addition to Low Prices
A VPN does not have to be expensive. It will only cost you $1.19 per month to gain online anonymity with Ivacy. What’s the catch? That is the rate for the five-year plan, and you must pay the full amount of $71.64 in advance. It’s still not bad, considering how much cheaper the monthly rate is compared to other VPN providers’ one- or two-year plans. However, you can always purchase a shorter subscription for a slightly lower upfront cost but a higher monthly rate in the long run. The one-year plan costs $47.76, or $3.99 per month.
Atlas VPN is a newcomer to the VPN market, but we’re already impressed with what it can do.
IP Address Safeswap
Atlas VPN, on the other hand, outperforms dynamic addresses. Every time we logged on, the company’s Safeswap technology did not simply assign us a new IP address. Every time we visited a new website, we received a new address. You can’t get much more private than that.
What could be better than Atlas VPN’s low-cost plans? It is a free VPN service. Atlas, unlike other free VPNs, does not impose bandwidth or speed limits. It will also not convert you to a paid plan after a certain period of time. With the Atlas free VPN, you will have unlimited speeds, data, and time to use the product. The only restriction is that you can only use three of its hundreds of servers at a time. If you’re okay with that, then don’t ever pay for a VPN again.
ExpressVPN excels at the one thing that every VPN should be good at: encryption. It starts with 256-bit AES and then improves on that by providing a variety of secure VPN protocols. ExpressVPN even developed its own VPN protocol that is both secure and fast. ExpressVPN provides agile data protection, which is especially beneficial for frequent travellers. It has strong privacy features, and its lightweight proprietary VPN protocol, which runs quickly on most mobile devices and computers, makes it an excellent travel companion.
With over 6,500 servers in 78 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, PureVPN is one of the best VPNs for travel. This allowed us to travel without having to join shady Wi-Fi networks or deal with internet censorship. PureVPN concealed our browsing history and IP address, allowing us to be more anonymous online. PureVPN is ideal if you need a VPN to access websites that are blocked in your country or to access Netflix libraries in other countries. PureVPN is ideal for unblocking websites due to its large global network and fast servers.
CyberGhost has over 7,500 servers in 91 countries, so while we only tested it in the United States, you should have no trouble connecting wherever you are in the world.
Discounts are available
CyberGhost provides a diverse range of subscription options, making the VPN extremely adaptable. You can try out the service for a month before committing to a one-, two-, or three-year subscription. The best part is that you will receive a discount based on the length of your plan. The biggest discount is more than 80% off if you sign up for a three-year subscription. Overall, you’ll pay only $89.31 every three years, or slightly more than $2 per month. While longer subscriptions offer the best prices, CyberGhost’s flexibility makes it a great-value VPN for almost anyone.