Featured VPN Services

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Safe use of the internet is hard. A virtual private network (VPN) is software that creates an encrypted “tunnel” between your device and your Wi-Fi connection. It shields your information from other network users, including internet service providers (ISPs) and hackers. VPNs are meant to keep prying eyes away from your browsing data, file sharing and streaming when you’re at home, work or on the go.

The best VPN companies have superior security and allow a large number of devices to connect at once. They also have VPN servers in many countries and keep your connection fast for streaming. We tested and reviewed the top paid and free VPNs of 2022 to help you find the best option for your specific needs.

Our Top Picks

Best For

What We Like


Best Overall

✅ 7,300+ available servers
✅ Seven simultaneous connections



Business Users

✅  Top connection speeds
✅  30-day money-back guarantee




  Wide selection of streaming devices
and 94 countries
  3,000+ servers across 160 locations


Private Internet Access

Customer Reputation

✅  Up to 10 simultaneous connections
✅  Pairs with antivirus protection



Security and Privacy

✅ 3,200+ available servers
✅ Unlimited devices


In This Article:

    How Do We Test the Best VPN Services?

    After testing 16 VPN services, the Gizmodo Advisor Reviews team chose the top five. These VPNs offer the best in exceptional privacy, functionality, reputation and value.

    But that doesn’t mean these VPNs are the best choices for everyone. Perhaps you’re looking for a VPN that specializes in torrenting, or maybe you want an easy setup with servers in certain countries for streaming. For those cases, we compiled seven additional VPN provider reviews for you to also consider.

    To better understand how we decided which VPNs made our final list of 12, read more in the information below that details how we weigh our scores. Using these factors, our ultimate goal is to help you find the right fit — a VPN worth it for you.


    Percentage of Score


    Privacy and Stability


    Nothing is more important in a virtual private network than your privacy and security. Things we consider when evaluating a VPN’s reliability: What encryption does the VPN use? How many servers does it provide? How does it perform in data leak tests?

    Features and Functionality


    The best VPNs offer top-tier features while keeping their products simple and easy to use. We ask: Can you access servers in a wide variety of locations? Are streaming, torrenting and split tunneling available? We then score based on the number of features, speed, as well as app and browser experience.

    Reputation and Credibility


    We look at factors like time in business and changes in service (good and bad). We read community forums and reviews to look for patterns of where a company stands out or is lacking.

    Customer Experience


    VPN services should answer customer questions fast. Things we consider include: Is there a 24/7 customer support team? How easy (or difficult) is it to contact them? Are their websites helpful and easy to navigate?

    Plans and Pricing/Value


    There’s a VPN for every budget. To help you choose among them, we look at the number of pricing options and if the cost is proportional to the value.

    Best VPN Overall: CyberGhost

    Available servers: 7,300+

    Number of countries with servers: 90

    Platforms supported: Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows,
    game consoles, routers, smart TVs and browsers including Chrome and Firefox

    Simultaneous connections: 7
    Money-back guarantee: Yes, but varies with plan length

    CyberGhost performed well across each of our testing categories. It’s a highly rated, easy-to-use VPN that also achieved competitive internet speeds for us. It offers more than 7,000 servers in 90 countries, which outshines most VPNs on this list.

    You may connect seven simultaneous devices, an allowance that beats rivals like NordVPN and ExpressVPN. Other top features that enhance CyberGhost’s excellent reputation include:

    • Servers optimized for torrenting, streaming and gaming
    • OpenVPN, Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2) and WireGuard protocols supported
    • Third-party audit by QSCert, an international certification body based in Slovakia

    With CyberGhost’s easy-to-use apps, you can use advanced features even with little tech know-how. CyberGhost supports torrenting and streaming services. It also offers 24/7 customer service options to help you troubleshoot any issues you may have.

    Price: CyberGhost’s plan pricing ranges from $2.15-$12.99 per month. You may add CyberGhost Password Manager for $2.00-$3.49 per month.

    Holiday deal: 39 months for $83.85 ($2.15/month) with a 45-day money-back guarantee

    Best for Business Users: NordVPN

    Available servers: 5,100+

    Number of countries with servers: 60

    Platforms supported: Android, Chromebook, iOS, Linux, macOS,
    Windows, routers, smart TVs and browsers including Chrome and Firefox

    Simultaneous connections: 6
    Money-back guarantee: Yes

    NordVPN is arguably the most popular VPN on the market. It leverages encryption and security features for the best performance while staying safe enough for business usage. The company offers personal plans, as well as NordLayer for small and large companies. Some NordVPN features that impressed us the most include:

    • CyberSec — a built-in blocker that stops malware from accessing your device
    • Onion over VPN — provides enhanced anonymity via The Onion Router (Tor)
    • Double VPN — sends your internet connection through multiple servers for greater security

    NordVPN uses three VPN protocols to layer security while the user is browsing online. NordLynx, the company’s WireGuard-based protocol, delivered impressive connection speeds. We also experienced impressive download speeds of up to 330 megabits per second (Mbps) in our tests.

    With high speeds and comprehensive privacy, NordVPN is excellent for business use.

    Price: NordVPN’s plan pricing ranges from $3.71-$11.95 per month. Read our full NordVPN review to learn more.

    Holiday deal: $89 for 24 months ($3.71/month) with a 30-day money-back guarantee

    Best for Streaming: ExpressVPN

    Available servers: 3,000+ across 160 locations

    Number of countries with servers: 94

    Platforms supported: Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows,
    game consoles, routers, smart TVs and browsers including
    Chrome, Firefox and Edge

    Simultaneous connections: 5
    Money-back guarantee: Yes

    ExpressVPN offers one of the best line-ups of supported streaming services we’ve seen. In our tests, we were able to stream Disney+ and Netflix with ease. We also tested streaming devices like the Amazon Firestick, Xiaomi Mi Box, Android TV and more. The company created video guides to help users connect their streaming devices to the VPN.

    ExpressVPN’s security feature lineup is also impressive. Protocols include:

    • IKEv2
    • Internet Protocol secure (IPSec)
    • OpenVPN
    • Lightway

    Lightway is ExpressVPN’s proprietary and open-source protocol. When we tested it on Windows and Apple operating systems, we found Windows offered better security than macOS. Speeds were good, but not as fast as NordVPN.

    ExpressVPN also has a router app that makes it easier to connect the VPN to other devices. You can divide devices between servers in different countries or exclude devices you don’t want on the VPN.

    Thanks to its strong performance, security and streaming support, ExpressVPN is our top choice for leisure use.

    Company Controversy

    Recent news reveals ExpressVPN Chief Information Officer Daniel Gericke worked as a hacker-for-hire for the United Arab Emirates from 2016 to 2019. This has caused some users to question their trust in the company. See our ExpressVPN review for why our ratings of the VPN haven’t changed, at least for now.

    Price: ExpressVPN’s plan pricing ranges from $8.32-$12.95 per month.

    Holiday deal: 12 months for $99.95 ($8.32/month) with a 30-day money-back guarantee

    Best for Customer Reputation: Private Internet Access

    Available servers: 35,000

    Number of countries with servers: 78

    Platforms supported: Windows, Linux, iOS, macOS, Android
    and browsers including Firefox, Chrome and Opera

    Simultaneous connections: 10
    Money-back guarantee: Yes

    Private Internet Access (PIA) has an average 4.5 stars out of 5 on consumer review site Trustpilot. It also has excellent ratings on the App Store and Google Play. It’s popular because you can connect 10 simultaneous devices, which is more than pricier competitors offer. You can also reach servers in a wide range of countries, all with decent speeds.

    In our tests, we were able to achieve download speeds of 150Mbps. This performance speed is good, but not as fast as NordVPN or ExpressVPN.

    A customer service representative told us the company has as many as 35,000 servers, but PIA has not documented this on its website. These server numbers would put PIA well above CyberGhost, PIA’s chief rival. PIA has server locations across 78 countries.

    Price: PIA’s plan pricing ranges from $2.03-$11.95 per month as part of an ongoing holiday deal.

    Holiday deal: $79 for 39 months ($2.03/month) with the option to add antivirus protection for an additional $40. There is a 7-day free trial for iOS and Android and a 30-day money-back guarantee for all devices.

    Best for Security and Privacy: Surfshark

    Available servers: 3,200+

    Number of countries with servers: 65

    Platforms supported: Android, Chromebook, iOS, Linux, macOS,
    Windows, game consoles, routers, smart TVs and browsers including
    Chrome and Firefox

    Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
    Money-back guarantee: Yes

    Users worried about privacy should consider Surfshark as a VPN. Surfshark offers several impressive security features many competitors don’t, including:

    • Camouflage Mode — obscures your VPN tunnel so it resembles a regular internet connection to outsiders
    • Multihop functionality — routes your connection through multiple servers
    • Whitelister — Surfshark’s split tunneling keeps some internet traffic on your local network while sending more sensitive traffic through the VPN.
    • NoBorders Mode — allows you to connect through VPN-restricted countries, such as China

    Since introducing the WireGuard protocol, Surfshark users have high speeds that are on a par with NordVPN. The difference is that Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections, but you won’t get access to The Onion Router.

    Some users complained that Surfshark’s manual “kill switch” wasn’t as effective because they have to engage it themselves. Many competitors automatically kill the internet if users lose their VPN connection.

    Price: Surfshark’s plan pricing ranges from $2.21-$12.95 per month. Read our full Surfshark review to learn more.

    Holiday deal: $59.76 for 27 months ($2.21/month) with a 30-day-money-back guarantee

    Comparing the 5 Best VPNs






    Blocks Ads

    Simultaneous Connections






    1,000+ Servers

    Countries with Servers






    Our Functionality Score






    Lowest Price






    Best for Torrenting: IPVanish

    Available servers: 1,900+

    Number of countries with servers: 51+

    Platforms supported: Android, Chromebook, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows, Fire TV, routers and browsers, including Chrome

    Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
    Money-back guarantee
    : Yes, but only for the annual and biennial plans

    Torrenting, or peer-to-peer file sharing, continues to be a hot topic with VPNs. Many VPN providers block torrenting applications due to copyright concerns. IPVanish supports torrenting sites with speeds that will be fast enough for most users. Several VPN protocols are available, including WireGuard.

    Victoria Mendoza, tech expert and CEO of Mediapeanut, told us, “What made me stick to IPVanish was its powerful, configurable and user-friendly apps. With the recent addition of WireGuard, it has impressed me with the incredible speeds it offers users.”

    IPVanish is missing some features competitors offer, such as malware blockers, multihop and an automatic connection to The Onion Router. We like the simple pricing structure, however, because users can choose a monthly subscription or an annual plan. With either option, users can add 500GB of encrypted storage and ransomware protection.

    Price: IPVanish’s plan pricing ranges from $3.20-$10.99 per month. You can add encrypted storage for $1-$2 each month. Read our IPVanish vs. NordVPN comparison review to learn more.

    Holiday deal: $38.38 for the first 12 months ($3.20/month) with a 30-day money-back guarantee

    Best for New Users: VyprVPN

    Available servers: 700+

    Number of countries with servers: 64

    Platforms supported: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS,
    Linux, Amazon Fire TV, Blackphone, routers and browsers including Chrome

    Simultaneous connections: 30
    Money-back guarantee: Yes

    Out of all the VPNs we tested, we had the easiest time signing up for and using VyprVPN. We connected to a server in Australia within minutes of completing the sign-up process.

    Video on both Netflix and HBO Max streamed without buffering. We experienced some connection issues while testing Disney+. VyprVPN speeds were fast overall, but not as fast as our NordVPN or Surfshark tests.

    VyprVPN offers several other features we like, including:

    • Self-owned servers — VyprVPN doesn’t have as many servers as rivals, but it owns them outright. Some competitors use servers owned by third parties.
    • Multiple protocols — WireGuard technology is one of them.
    • Chameleon — VyprVPN’s proprietary protocol designed to access countries that are geo-blocked

    Price: VyprVPN’s plan pricing ranges from $8.33-$15 per month.

    Holiday deal: $100 for 12 months ($8.33/month) with a 30-day money-back guarantee

    Best for Mobile: ProtonVPN

    Available servers: 1,300+

    Number of countries with servers: 60

    Platforms supported: Android and Android TV, Chromebook,
    iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows and browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Opera

    Simultaneous connections: 10
    Money-back guarantee: Yes, but it’s prorated for each day of use

    ProtonVPN is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market. Its user-friendly mobile app also stood out in our tests.

    The free version offers servers in only three countries. It also doesn’t support torrenting or streaming. Despite these limitations, if you’re wanting a safe, easy-to-use VPN simply to check email, news and more, the free option could be a good fit for you.

    We recommend upgrading to the Plus plan to unlock ProtonVPN’s full range of features, including:

    • Secure Core — ProtonVPN’s multihop feature routes your online traffic through multiple servers.
    • Tor over VPN — Connect to The Onion Router with one click.

    In our tests, ProtonVPN’s Quick Connect found the fastest VPN server available to us. We used that to achieve competitive speeds, including an impressive download speed of 166.11 Mbps.

    To stream Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO Max or other video content, you need to connect with a Plus server. We streamed Disney+ without buffering, but Netflix was blurry. That could be due to using a Secure Connection, which ProtonVPN doesn’t recommend while streaming.

    Read our full ProtonVPN review for more information and details.

    Price: ProtonVPN’s pricing plans range from free to $30 per month.

    Holiday deal: $79 for 24 months ($3.29/month)

    Best for Most Countries Offered: HMA

    Available servers: 1,100+

    Number of countries with servers: Nearly 200

    Platforms supported: Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows,
    routers, smart TVs, game consoles and browsers including Chrome

    Simultaneous connections: 10
    Money-back guarantee: Yes

    HideMyAss (HMA) has servers in 290+ unique locations in nearly 200 countries worldwide. That’s more countries than any other VPN company on our list. It also offers a free trial, which is rare for VPNs. The trial period is only seven days, so you’ll need to move fast to test out features including:

    • Lightning Connect — Find the fastest server with one click (like ProtonVPN’s Quick Connect).
    • Specialized servers — Stream video and use peer-to-peer file sharing.
    • Split tunneling — Choose which apps and websites you want to use with the VPN, allowing you to “split” your traffic between the VPN and your regular server.

    A monthly plan is not available for HMA. It takes some work to figure out plan pricing because it is based on the number of your connected devices. Specific pricing options include:

    • Five devices — Choose a 12-month or 36-month plan
    • 10 devices — Choose from 12, 24 or 36 months

    We believe you get solid security for a fair deal with the 10-device plan.

    We easily streamed Netflix and Disney+. Our speed results only reached 12.43 Mbps, which isn’t as impressive as other VPNs.

    Price: HMA’s pricing plans are $2.99-$7.99 per month.

    Holiday deal: $107.64 for 36 months ($2.99/month) with a 30-day money-back guarantee

    Best for Multiple Devices: Bitdefender Premium VPN

    Available servers: 1,300

    Number of countries with servers: 45

    Platforms supported: Android, iOS, macOS and Windows

    Simultaneous connections: 10
    Money-back guarantee: Yes

    Bitdefender is best known for its antivirus products, but the company recently released a VPN service. (You can still get a VPN through one of its security products.) The standalone VPN is so new that Bitdefender relies on Hotspot Shield for the infrastructure.

    The plan pricing is low, especially for a 10-device plan. The affordability is nice, but our tests produced less-than-average results. For instance, we used the default Hydra protocol by Hotspot Shield and saw 30 Mbps for download speeds.

    It’s also missing common VPN features, such as an ad-blocker, Tor over VPN and multihop. We also didn’t like that you only see the full list of countries with servers after purchasing a subscription.

    Price: Bitdefender’s pricing plans range from $2.49-$6.99 per month.

    Holiday deal: $29.99 for 12 months ($2.49/month) with a 30-day money-back guarantee

    Best for Android Users: Hotspot Shield

    Available servers: 1,800

    Number of countries with servers: 80

    Platforms supported: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux,
    smart TVs, routers and browsers including Chrome

    Simultaneous connections: 25 (5 devices per member)
    Money-back guarantee: Yes

    Hotspot Shield‘s Android app supports extra features, such as battery extension, data consumption monitor, junk cleaner and 30 minutes of free data, even for free users. Free users, however, may encounter ads on the Android app and may experience slower speeds and lower data limits.

    The Premium plan adds the following features:

    • Streaming — includes Netflix, Hulu and YouTube compatibility
    • Gaming mode — with servers optimized for Fortnite, Roblox and more
    • Password manager — plus up to 16GB of encrypted file storage

    In our tests, we didn’t experience any slowdowns when using the VPN on Windows, Android or iOS. Streaming was available and we did not have buffering issues. You’ll get a kill switch, spam call blocker and an AURA module that includes password manager protection.

    With an easy-to-use app, Hotspot Shield delivers great service for Android users. If you have a family of Android users, Hotspot Shield stands out as one of the few VPN providers to offer a family plan.

    Price: Hotspot Shield’s pricing plans range from free to $19.99 per month. You can also try a premium plan free for seven days.

    Holiday deal: $107.64 for 36 months ($2.99/month) with a 45-day money-back guarantee

    Best for Low Commitment: Windscribe

    Available servers: 500+

    Number of countries with servers: 63

    Platforms supported: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, FireTV, Huawei, routers and browsers including Chrome and Firefox

    Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
    Money-back guarantee: Yes, but only for three days

    Your email address isn’t needed to sign up for Windscribe. If you’re unsure about committing to a VPN service, that may sound appealing to you. There are a few advantages, however, to giving your email address:

    • Account recovery — If you lose your password, Windscribe can help you reset it as long as you have an email address saved for your account.
    • Greater bandwidth — Free plan users with an email address on file get up to 10GB per month.

    We streamed Netflix and Disney+ on Windows, Android and iOS. We didn’t see any decrease in connection speeds while using the VPN. Windscribe also successfully hid our IP address in our DNS Leak Test results.

    Although you get up to 10 GB of data with the free plan, you’ll get unlimited data by upgrading to a paid plan. You’ll also get Windscribe’s full list of servers, but if you want to stay on the free plan, you can pay an extra $1 per month, per location to access your preferred server. Windscribe offers monthly and annual plans along with ScribeForce, which is a plan for businesses.

    Users will have several protocols to choose from:

    • Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2)
    • Stealth
    • WireGuard
    • WStunnel

    Price: Windscribe pricing plans range from free to $9 per month.

    Holiday deal: $49 for 12 months

    Everything You Need to Know About VPNs

    What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

    A virtual private network is a software application that grants you online privacy. Internet browsers and service providers have grown more invasive in capturing your data. If you’re on an open network, it’s not hard for someone else to see your IP address and track your browsing.

    Even if you’re on your own private network, your internet service provider (ISP) can record all your data. Nothing is stopping ISPs from selling that data to advertisers, at least in the U.S.

    A VPN gives control back to you. VPNs do this by disguising your IP address so your online behavior cannot be tracked. Hackers won’t be able to see your location and ISPs won’t be able to sell your data. There’s also extra benefits to having a VPN, like being able to unblock content from other countries.

    VPNs make the internet safer for you. By downloading a VPN and signing up for a specific plan, you can start anonymously using the internet without worry.

    How do VPNs work?

    VPNs use technology called encryption to protect your data. Encryption uses randomized codes to obscure your data. When you connect to Wi-Fi through a VPN, you’re logging on through an encrypted connection. The only thing that can unlock your data is the encryption key.

    Only you and your device have access to the encryption key. Anyone who doesn’t hold the key won’t be able to see your data or hack your connection. Cracking these keys is virtually impossible and would take years by even the best computers and hackers.

    Your encrypted connection creates a safe “tunnel” between your device and your Wi-Fi network. No one can see into that tunnel without authorization through the encryption key.

    Most VPNs use Advanced Encryption Standard-256 bit (AES-256) encryption. AES-256 cannot be hacked and remains one of the highest standards in security. Even the U.S. government uses AES-256 to encrypt its documents.

    What are the benefits of a VPN?

    It’s a good idea to use a VPN anytime you use public Wi-Fi, but the benefits go beyond coffee shops or airport lounges. There are popular uses for VPNs at home, too. Let’s look at a few of the advantages you’ll gain when you tunnel into your preferred network — public or private — using a VPN.

    Enhanced Security

    With a public Wi-Fi network, cybercriminals on the same network may see your information. That includes your browsing history, IP address and other sensitive information.

    Connecting to Wi-Fi with a VPN obscures your IP address and browsing history, making it impossible to connect your IP address to your unique search history and browsing. If you have credit card or banking information saved to your devices, a VPN is a must when accessing public Wi-Fi.

    Less Targeted Marketing

    Have you ever looked at a pair of shoes online and then found ads for those same shoes on another website? There’s an eerie reason for that! Your ISP can see exactly what your IP address is looking at online. This means that web browsers can track your search history and IP address to serve you targeted advertisements.

    VPNs work to prevent this by masking your IP address, but many services go a step further by providing built-in ad blockers, most of which also defend against malware and spyware.

    Enhanced Streaming Availability

    Streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and more offer regional content. These services use your IP address to detect your location, which then allows them to restrict content in your region due to copyrights and creator limits.

    Most VPN services allow you to select the country you want to tunnel into. For example, VPN servers in Japan let you watch YouTube videos that are only available in Japan. YouTube will recognize your masked IP address and show you content from Japan.

    If you’re a frequent traveler, you might want to use this service in reverse. For example, imagine you’re on a business trip and want to watch Netflix, but the country you’re in doesn’t support Netflix. You can use a VPN to connect to a server in the U.S., allowing you to bypass regulations and be able to watch your favorite shows from back home.

    9 Ways to Use a VPN

    VPNs come with all sorts of uses. Here’s nine of our favorites:

    1. Watch Netflix in India

    The United States may have one of the largest Netflix libraries, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best. Surfshark found that titles in India’s large Netflix catalog earned the highest average rating from IMDb. Size may depend on who’s counting: Market research company Statista says Ireland has the largest catalog. With a VPN, you can connect to a server in India, Ireland or elsewhere and start watching shows from your browser.

    2. Shop Online

    VPNs can prevent advertisements that follow you online after you view a product. VPNs obscure your location, block cookies and make it so your online activity cannot be tracked. This ensures that advertisers won’t be able to ping your IP address and connect the same ads to you across the internet.

    3. Connect at a Coffee Shop

    Any place with a public Wi-Fi is vulnerable to monitoring and hacking. Even if it’s a reputable establishment, it’s likely the store doesn’t pay enough attention to its Wi-Fi security. Furthermore, even if the Wi-Fi is password protected, you never know how many hackers have already compromised the network. A VPN takes away all those worries because you’ll be securely connected. No one will be able to watch, swipe or steal your data, even on a public Wi-Fi.

    4. Play and Stream Games

    VPNs are widely used by gamers and video game streamers. Even celebrities like PewDiePie vouch for NordVPN. Playing games online makes you vulnerable to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks disrupt your traffic and keep you from accessing online servers. VPNs prevent that by hiding your IP address.

    5. Make Safer Video Calls

    You should be careful anytime you’re using a webcam online. Depending on the network, your webcam could be hacked. VPNs remove this possibility by establishing a connection that can’t be hacked. That way, you can chat with family and friends or join a business call with no worries.

    6. Watch Sports

    Are you a fan of soccer? Using a VPN can get you access to soccer matches from across the pond and other parts of the world.

    7. Get Around Internet Censorship

    VPNs get you around internet censorship in countries like China and Russia. If you’re in a censored country and can’t access YouTube or Facebook, a VPN can help. You’ll simply connect to a server in another country with less censorship.

    8. Get Faster Internet Speeds

    VPNs are sometimes known to slow internet speeds, but, depending on where you live, VPNs can actually improve your connection speeds.

    9. See a Less-Cluttered Social Media Feed

    VPNs can provide smoother, easier social media experiences. They can do this by blocking personalized ads and keeping your feed easier to manage.

    What You Can Watch with a VPN

    VPNs open up a wide range of content for you to enjoy across the world, including:

    • Amazon Prime
    • Boxing
    • Disney+
    • HBO Max
    • Hulu
    • MLB
    • MLS
    • NBA
    • Netflix
    • NFL
    • NHL
    • Olympics
    • Racing

    If you love global content, foreign films or international sports, VPNs grant you access.

    How to Choose a VPN

    After reviewing more than a dozen VPNs to find the best products, we believe you should look for the following when researching VPN companies:

    VPNs Based Outside of the U.S.

    Companies within the U.S. are subject to laws that force them to give up your data if federal authorities ask. Certain U.S.-based companies may also record some of your data depending on the specific state where the company is based. For this reason, we recommend choosing a VPN company outside the U.S., particularly one in a country with strong privacy protection laws.

    If you want to use a U.S.-based VPN, read the company’s logging policies before you sign up. Logging refers to the records of your browsing activity or other information. VPNs with limited logging or no-logs policies may not have much information to provide if subpoenaed.

    Paid Plans

    If a service is free, you are the product. There are many problems with free VPNs, including data security issues and safety. In short, free VPNs do not have the funding required to maintain a safe and secure VPN infrastructure.

    Free VPNs are more likely to log your activity. They can also clutter your browsing experience with ads and sell your data. We recommend paid VPN services above free options to keep your information secure.

    Wide Variety of Countries

    If you want to use your VPN to stream global content, be sure your VPN offers servers in those countries you’re seeking. If a VPN does not have servers in a particular country, you won’t be able to access the content you want while you are there.

    All prices are accurate as of Dec. 17, 2021.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • What is the best VPN in 2021?

      Our 2021 VPN reviews scored CyberGhost as the all-around best VPN. CyberGhost beat the competition in our tests with its large number of servers and tough security protocols. It also has fast VPN connection speeds and easy-to-use apps.

    • Why do I need a VPN?

      It’s now easier than ever to be tracked online. Internet service providers (ISPs), hackers, governments, advertisers and more can capture your data with ease. Even if you have nothing to hide, your data and personal information are worth protecting.

      A VPN protects your identity from prying eyes online. VPNs are a must if you travel or regularly use public Wi-Fi. A VPN will protect you in both situations. VPNs are also useful for watching content only available in other countries. They offer wide flexibility and impressive security support for the internet. If you’re tired of being tracked online, VPNs are the remedy you need.

    • What should I look for in a VPN?

      The best VPNs have strong security protocols, transparent privacy policies, third-party audits and helpful customer support. Apart from these factors, there are a few more things that will help determine if it’s the best VPN for you.

      Ask yourself: Does it offer a pricing structure you can afford? Does it offer servers in the countries you’re seeking? Does it have the features that are most important to you?

      The best VPN for you is the one that meets all your needs. That can mean an easy-to-use VPN for first-timers or one that streams content on your device of choice.

    • How do I get a VPN?

      Starting with a VPN for the first time can feel daunting, but many VPNs are actually easy to start using, especially if you pick the right one.

      First, you’ll need to go to the VPN’s website and sign up. Some VPNs recognize the device you’re on and instantly connect you to the app store for your platform. They want you to download the app before signing up. If that happens, you can create an account and pick a plan inside the app.

      Most VPNs allow you to sign up from the company website. The first step when taking this route is choosing which plan you want. Price is typically based on how many devices you want to protect with the VPN at one time. More expensive plans come with more devices, extra features or bundled products like password managers and antivirus software.

      Once you sign up, you can download apps for every device you’ll connect to the VPN. For instance, after downloading the app for your Mac, you’ll sign into the app using your VPN account. Once the VPN is running in the background, you can choose to connect to an available server. This is typically a seamless process that will have you privately browsing online in no time.

      Connect to a VPN in 4 Steps:

      1. Sign up on the VPN’s website (or in the app)
      2. Select a plan
      3. Download the corresponding apps for your devices
      4. Connect to a server
    • Are VPNs legal?

      Yes, VPNs are legal in the U.S. Most countries allow VPNs, but some frown upon or have outright banned them. Some countries don’t want citizens to get around website and application bans. For instance, North Korea completely banned VPNs. Other countries, such as Russia and the United Arab Emirates, may arrest you or fine you up to half a million dollars for using a VPN. China approved some VPNs and not others. So, it’s important to know which VPNs are allowed in your country.

    • How much do VPNs cost?

      We have found one-month plans ranging from $5 a month to about $13 a month. Most VPNs offer promotional pricing on longer-term plans, which is why one-month plans are the best way for us to compare pricing.

      Make sure to read the fine print. Most long-term plans require an upfront payment, and the renewal pricing may be higher. We have seen promotional pricing under $2 a month, but getting such a deal may require a commitment of as long as three years.

    • Should I use a free VPN?

      No. Free VPNs can be scams or at least far inferior products to paid VPNs. Free VPNs have also been known to collect and sell your data, which is the very thing you’re trying to avoid.

      Free VPNs can have slower connection speeds, which is often due to having fewer server locations.

      We only recommend using a short-term, free trial to see if you like a VPN. Many paid VPNs include a free trial and money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk if you start with a paid plan. We think you’ll be pleased with the paid VPNs we recommended above.

    • How can I unblock restricted content with a VPN?

      You can unblock restricted content in your country by using a VPN server in another country. The best VPNs offer many servers in multiple countries and locations.

    • What are the top 5 VPNs?

      According to our 2021 tests, the top VPNs are:

      • CyberGhost
      • NordVPN
      • ExpressVPN
      • Private Internet Access
      • Surfshark
    • Which VPN is best and free?

      ProtonVPN is the best free VPN. It comes with unlimited data, a no-logging policy and a kill switch in case you lose VPN connection.

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