10 Best VPN Services in 2023
As internet privacy concerns continue to rise, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are becoming increasingly popular. A VPN creates a secure and encrypted connection between your device and the internet, allowing you to browse the internet anonymously and protect your online activities from hackers, cybercriminals, and prying eyes. This article will discuss some of the most popular VPN services, namely ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, Proton VPN, and Surfshark. We will explore their features, pricing, and policies to help you choose the best VPN for your needs.
ExpressVPN is based in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, a privacy-friendly country with no data retention laws, and is a separate legal jurisdiction from the United Kingdom. Therefore ExpressVPN can follow a strict no-logs policy.
Features of ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN has thousands of servers in 160 cities and 94 countries.
With a single subscription, you can connect five devices to ExpressVPN at the same time.
Android and iOS devices are supported; there are desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and Chrome and Firefox extensions.
The monthly cost is $12.95 and $9.99 if paid annually. So it is not very cheap.
Network Lock, ExpresssVPN kill Switch, is enabled by default and will engage if needed. Unless you disable it, your network traffic is protected without any effort on your part.
ExpressVPN doesn't support VPN over TOR, but it supports TOR over VPN.
ExpressVPN offers a lot of different payment methods. Alongside credit cards and Paypal, you can use Bitcoin, Unionpay, iDeal, Qiwi, giropay, and a few more!
NordVPN's headquarters is in Panama, which isn't part of any international surveillance alliances. The country has long been infamous for its extensive laws regulating offshore jurisdiction effects, making it an excellent location for VPN providers. It won't track anything about the user's web activity or IP addresses, encrypting with AES-256.
Features of NordVPN
NordVPN has 5497 servers in 59 countries all around the world.
NordVPN does not apply any speed or bandwidth limits. No matter how many devices you use with the same account, you would only have to connect to different servers.
You can connect to NordVPN with up to 6 devices with one license simultaneously.
NordVPN is available for both Android and iOS phones.
NordVPN has Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop applications.
NordVPN has Chrome and Firefox extensions.
There are multiple payment methods to choose from. Aside from credit cards, you can use Paypal, Google Pay, and even Bitcoin to pay!NordVPN allows for Netflix and torrenting use, and it has fast speeds.
You can activate Kill Switch to automatically disconnect your device from the Internet if your NordVPN connection drops out.
NordVPN supports using their VPN with TOR.
NordVPN's built-in ad blocker, CyberSec, blocks the ads on mobile games and some browser ads but doesn't block ads on Youtube and Spotify. It will block some ads and provide extra security against malware and phishing scams. Please note that an irresponsible Internet user can always get in trouble! So, you should not wholly rely on CyberSec, but it's certainly helpful.
Though most basic users don't require a Double VPN feature, NordVPN provides the feature as an activatable option.
CyberGhost is based in Romania, and because of the laws in Romania, CyberGhost will never have to hand over your data to the government, unlike many other VPNs. With thousands of servers worldwide, you can find a server that suits your purposes.
Features of CyberGhost
CyberGhost has 8938 servers in 91 countries. Now, that's plenty!
With 1 license you can use CyberGhost VPN on 7 simultaneous devices.
You can test their service out for free. They offer a 24-hour free VPN trial that doesn't require a credit card or other payment details.
CyberGhost is available for both Android and iOS phones.
CyberGhost has Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop applications.
CyberGhost has Chrome and Firefox extensions.
CyberGhost VPN's Kill Switch makes protecting your privacy easy peasy. Kill Switch stops your computer from sending or receiving any data as soon as it detects an interruption in your connection, which will prevent unencrypted data leaks.
CyberGhost claims: "We designed CyberGhost VPN to protect your online anonymity. You also get access to VPN servers optimized for P2P traffic that guarantees secure torrenting, uninterrupted downloads, unlimited bandwidth, and blazing fast speeds." But be careful! Torrent files may not be 100% secure and malware-free. You use torrents at your own risk.CyberGhost offers a multi-hop connection that reroutes your data through two or more VPN tunnels.
Proton VPN's headquarter is in Switzerland. Switzerland has strong laws that protect user privacy and prevent companies from collecting and processing users' private data. If you value internet privacy, Switzerland is one of the best countries.
Features of Proton VPN
Proton VPN has 1,746 servers in 64 countries.
All ProtonVPN users, even those on their Free plan, have unlimited bandwidth and data.
Proton VPN offers a free VPN as well as a premium paid VPN.
With the paid Proton VPN, you get access to NetShield Ad-Blocker, a feature that protects your device and speeds up your browsing by blocking ads, trackers, and malware.
Android and iOS devices are supported, and there's a desktop app for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Unfortunately, there are no browser extensions.
You can use Bitcoin to pay, amongst other conventional payment methods.
Proton VPN has a Secure Core feature. Secure Core passes user traffic through multiple servers. When you connect to a server in a high-risk jurisdiction like the US, your traffic will first go through their Secure Core servers. Therefore, even if an attacker monitors the servers in the US, they would only be able to follow the traffic back to the edge of their Secure Core network, thus making it far more challenging to discover the IP address and location of Proton VPN users.You can use Proton VPN on up to 10 devices.
Surfshark's headquarters is in the Netherlands, which is good for user privacy. According to Cure53, a german cybersecurity firm says: "To sum up, Cure53 is highly satisfied to see such a strong security posture on the Surfshark VPN extensions, especially given the common vulnerability of similar products to privacy issues.". Click here to read more.
Features of Surfshark
Surfshark has 3200+ servers in 95 countries.
They offer a seven-day trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark is available on Android, iOS mobile devices, Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop devices, and they offer Chrome and Firefox extensions.
Simultaneous connections are not limited. You can use it on all of your devices with one license.
Double VPN and Kill Switch features are available.
All of Surfshark VPN's servers support P2P file sharing. If you want the best performance, connect through a P2P-optimized server.Tor and Surfshark have zero problems working together. You can use Tor over a Surfshark connection any time you want increased privacy.Their monthly fee is €12.95, but when paid annually, it is €3.99 per month. The best idea would be to try it for a month utilizing a 30-day money-back guarantee, and if you like it, pay at least annually.
You can pay for a subscription with Bitcoin, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, credit cards, and Paypal.
Surfshark has an adblock feature called The CleanWeb. It's a feature that blocks malicious ads as well as malicious websites. With CleanWeb enabled, the browser will show fewer ads, and fewer trackers will work. Not to mention you will be protected from some phishing attempts.
IPVanish was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in the United States, specifically in the state of Florida. The company has since grown to become one of the most popular VPN providers in the world, with millions of users across the globe.
IPVanish is widely recognized for its strong commitment to user privacy and security. The company operates a strict no-logging policy, which means that it does not collect or store any data on its users' online activities. In addition to its privacy-focused approach, IPVanish is also known for its fast and reliable network. The company operates more than 2000 servers in over 75 locations worldwide, allowing users to easily access geo-restricted content and enjoy fast and stable connections.
Features of IPVanish
Encryption: IPVanish uses AES-256 encryption to protect user data and traffic from interception, even on public Wi-Fi networks.
No-logging policy: The company has a strict no-logs policy, meaning they don't collect any user data or activity logs, ensuring user privacy.
Kill switch: IPVanish comes with a kill switch that immediately blocks all internet traffic in case of a VPN connection drop, protecting user data from being exposed.
Multiple protocols: IPVanish supports a range of protocols, including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, and PPTP, to offer users flexibility in choosing the most suitable protocol for their device and use case.
Unlimited simultaneous connections: IPVanish allows users to connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously under a single account, making it ideal for families or businesses with multiple devices.
DNS leak protection: IPVanish offers DNS leak protection to ensure that users' internet traffic remains anonymous and their online activities are not exposed.
24/7 customer support: IPVanish offers 24/7 customer support through email, live chat, and a support center to assist users with any issues or concerns.
Windscribe's headquarters are in Canada, and Canada is in The Five Eyes (FVEY), an intelligence alliance. For this reason alone, I would NOT use Windscribe in sensitive situations. So why have we included Windscribe in the top 10 best VPNs? Because casual VPN users use VPNs for things like having a secure connection on Public Wi-Fi, location spoofing, and streaming services. For users who don't use VPNs for sensitive items like data privacy from governments, Windscribe is good enough.
Features of Windscribe
Windscribe has a free version! With a confirmed email address, you get 10 GB/month of data, unlimited connections, and access to over ten countries. Please note that other features on the list may be limited to paid versions.
They have servers in 69 Countries and 112 Cities.
You can use it to unblock Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime for buffer-free streaming like other decent VPNs in this list.
Windscribe has a Double Hop feature which allows you to route your requests through ANY 2 locations on the Windscribe network.
Windscribe's browser extensions block 1) ads, 2) trackers, and 3) social networks: Facebook "Like" buttons, Twitter "Tweet" buttons, and Google+ and LinkedIn widgets, all of which collect your browsing history.
Windscribe has Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browser extensions, iOS and Android mobile apps, Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop apps, and other apps for routers and TV.
In both the free and paid versions, you can torrent.
Windscribe doesn't have a kill switch feature. Still, they claim that Windscribe Firewall built into their Windows, Mac, and Linux applications block all connectivity outside of the tunnel to ensure there is zero chance of any kind of leak, including but not limited to DNS leaks, IPv6 leaks, WebRTC leaks, etc. And they claim that it is superior to Kill Switch.
You can pay with Bitcoin.
Hotspot Shield's headquarters are in the United States, which is in The Five Eyes (FVEY), an intelligence alliance. For this reason alone, I would NOT use Hotspot Shield in sensitive situations where you need 100% privacy.
Features of Hotspot Shield
According to Speedtest by Ookla, Hotspot shield is the fastest VPN.
With 3,200+ VPN servers in 80+ countries, you sure have a lot of servers to connect to.
You can try Hotspot Shield Premium for seven days free.
You can use the free subscription forever. However, the speed, data, and number of connectable servers are limited. And the free version has ads.
With a Hotspot Shield Premium subscription, you can add up to 10 devices across multiple devices: Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop apps, Android and iOS mobile apps, and Chrome and Firefox browser extensions.
Hotspot Shield says that their VPN prevents targeted ads from displaying, but not all ads. "Targeted ads" can be avoided easily by using a private tab, so I don't think this is a meaningful feature.
Like all good VPNs in this list, Hotspot Shield has a kill switch that will stop the connection until your connection to the VPN server is restored in cases of disruptions.
Hotspot Shield allows torrenting on all its servers.
There is a 45-day Money-Back Guarantee.
Private Internet Access VPN (PIA)
The first thing you should know ABOUT Private Internet Access is that their headquarters are in Denver, United States, a part of The Five Eyes (FVEY) intelligence alliance we mentioned several times in this article.
Features of Private Internet Access VPN
Private Internet Access has VPN Servers in 84 Countries Worldwide.With one Private Internet Access VPN subscription, you can connect unlimited devices and use up to 10 devices simultaneously. That's very flexible!
PIA supports Tor over VPN.
You can use Private Internet Access on Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop devices, Android and iOS mobile apps, Chrome, Firefox, Opera browsers, and smart TVs.
PIA's built-in ad blocker blocks ads at the DNS level, including YouTube ads, according to their webpage. We find that hard to believe, but they have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you care about this feature and it doesn't work correctly, you can get a refund.
No clear statement on their website says they allow torrents, but We haven't encountered any complaints regarding torrenting.
You can pay with Bitcoin for extra privacy as well as Paypal and credit cards.
Private Internet Access offers you a kill switch that immediately disconnects your Internet without delay if the VPN drops to keep your identity secure.
VPN4Test is a premium VPN service for free. There are a few servers and countries to choose from, but many servers are unnecessary for most people. The VPN is extremely fast. I sometimes forget to close my VPN connection because I don't notice the speed difference. The ping is low, the speed is fast, and the traffic is not limited.
For daily usage, it's the perfect VPN, no doubt. There are no ads, and they don't share your info with third parties, as stated in their TOS. The mobile app is lightweight and has a simple interface. You open the VPN4Test app and connect to a server with 1 or 2 clicks, and you're done! No ads, no slowness, and no issues.
In 2 years of usage, I've only had issues once or twice. When I experienced the problems, I tried other VPNs, and they didn't work either, so the problems were most likely related to my device.
There are premium features like Kill-switch and starting at boot(It begins at boot so that your IP is not revealed when your pc is just booted before you get a chance to connect to the VPN.). There are multiple protocols: TCP, UDP, TOR, and P2P(torrent). The only drawback of VPN4Test is that they lack location diversity and some premium features like Double-Hop. For most users like me, these features are not required. And getting a premium VPN for free is more than enough to make a VPN the perfect one. It's even better than some paid VPNs!