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Best VPN 2020

Last updated: April 7 2020 By Dean Chester

We didn’t just choose the 10 best ones. We checked them with the fine-tooth comb, intercepted and analyzed their traffic, studied hundreds upon hundreds of customer reviews. The result of our work will be really useful to you.

 Best VPN ServicesThe Top 10 VPNs

Do you know that virtual private network (or VPN for short) is the most efficient and multifunctional restriction bypassing and privacy providing technology?

Indeed, this technology was associated with hacking very recently. Today, however, it’s an important part of life for hundreds of millions of people.

What does a VPN provide us with?

Can one use the internet without all of these? Sure enough! But does a VPN open new opportunities and give access to more information while protecting us at the same time? Of course, it does.

There is a considerable problem, though.

VPN providers can be vastly different and most of them do not quite reach even the average level, not to mention the top one.

Using top-class VPNs definitely makes sense!


10 best VPNs tested on every platform

The best VPN providers
  1. ExpressVPN: The best service for any tasks that VPN technology solves. Fast, powerful, multifunctional.
  2. NordVPN: The world’s most popular service. Has more than 5600 servers and continues to develop.
  3. Surfshark: The cheapest professional VPN. Prices start at $1.99 per month. Works even in China.
  4. CyberGhost VPN: An all-around VPN targeting US, UK, and FR Netflix.
  5. Mullvad: The best service to implement the progressive WireGuard tunneling protocol.
  6. PIA: A very popular provider that allows fine-tuning the VPN connection.
  7. IPVanish: An American service that claims it works with its own (non-rented) servers..
  8. ZenMate: A simplified, cheaper version of CyberGhost VPN.
  9. ProtonVPN: Swiss quality and servers buried 1000 meters into a rock.
  10. Perfect Privacy: Advanced features but no Netflix support.

 

How the best VPNs differ from regular ones

This table showcases the main differences between the providers of three quality levels: professional, average and low. There are no specialized or private services on this list that work with corporate networks or with the users of the darknet.

  Top level Average level Low level
Has its own apps: for every platform for some platforms none
Number of servers: 500+ (up to 7000) 30-500 <30
Number of countries: 25+ 10-25 <10
Keeps logs: definitely not usually not usually does
Support of Netflix, etc.: usually has doesn't have doesn't have
Speed, Mbps: More than 50 10-50 Lower than 10 (often lower than 3)

These are just the most important differences. There are many more subjective important ones to which dozens of factors contribute. For example, a good VPN shouldn’t be an obstacle in your work. It has to work stably and without issues. An average one can let some disconnections, connectivity failures, and occasional slow speeds. Working with a VPN of the lowest level is a struggle for at least a little convenience.

  • My advice. If you need an all-round multifunctional VPN for everyday use, pay the closest attention to the top 4. The services below it are more specialized ones.

The best VPN for regular use

CoolTechZone.com conducted a new 6-month long research of VPN providers and ExpressVPN scored the highest among them.

It was found to be the best service in terms of privacy and security as well as providing access to Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming content of any region.

NordVPN, Surfshark, CyberGhost VPN, Mullvad, and other services are just as good but have certain peculiarities.

Read on to choose the perfect VPN for you.

VPNs: Characteristics comparison

Service Ranking (out of 10) Speed, Mbps Number of countries Netflix Price (monthly)
ExpressVPN 10 More than 100 94 + $6.67-12.95
NordVPN 10 60-80 58 + $3.49-11.95
Surfshark 10 50-80 61 + $1.99-11.95
CyberGhost VPN 9 40-70 90 + $2.75-12.99
Mullvad 9 60-80 38 - €5
PIA 8 70-90 32 - $2.42-$8.45
IPVanish 7 40-70 50 - $6.49-$10*
ZenMate 7 10-50 27 + $1.64-$9.99
ProtonVPN 7 10-80 42 + $4-$24
Perfect Privacy 7 More than 100 26 - $8.95-$12.99

*- Has several sales per year when the price is halved for the first-time buyers


1. ExpressVPN

Main advantages:

  • Very high speeds
  • Locations in 94 countries
  • Works on every platform
  • Supports Netflix and Hulu
androidAppleiOSMac OSLinuxChromFireFoxrouter

ExpressVPN has the best combination of technical characteristics, software quality, and extra functions. It can be rightfully called a premium VPN.

The provider fully protects private data and traffic and almost doesn’t affect the speed. It’s equally effective on desktops and mobile platforms.

ExpressVPN is also the best VPN service to bypass Netflix’s geo-restrictions.

Main characteristics of the provider:

  • Speeds higher than 100 Mbps
  • Supports every platform
  • Has passed security tests on every platform
  • A lot of positive reviews
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

2. NordVPN

Main advantages:

  • More than 5600 servers
  • Double VPN
  • Support of all Netflix regions
  • Servers with obfuscation

androidAppleiOSMac OSAndroid TVChromFireFoxLinux

NordVPN has been the most popular VPN service according to Google Trends for three years now. It also used to be the largest provider with more than 5600 servers on board.

The service is oriented towards multipurpose usefulness but its features go far beyond the regular boundaries. It supports double VPN, has servers with protocol obfuscation, and continuously supports streaming.

Main characteristics of the provider:

  • Proven security even with the default settings
  • Support of all Netflix regions
  • Obfuscation
  • Double VPN
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

3. Surfshark

Main advantages:

  • Powerful functionality
  • MultiHop VPN
  • Very low price (starting at $1.99)
  • Netflix support
androidAppleiOSMac OSAndroid TVChromFireFoxLinuxXboxPlaystationFireTv

Surfshark’s features are shocking while its price is extremely low. And there are no tricks here: our test and long-lasting use of the service confirm its high quality, streaming support, and convenience for torrenting.

Server speed is almost as good as that of ExpressVPN. The ability to add (for an extra payment) tracking protection makes this service even more functional.

Main characteristics of the provider:

  • Support of all platforms including Chrome and Firefox
  • Has passed all the security tests
  • Dedicated IP, double VPN, safe torrenting
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee on the 2-year subscription

4. CyberGhost VPN

Main advantages:

  • Special servers for streaming and torrenting
  • Kill switch always on
  • Locations in 94 countries
  • Merger with PIA
androidAppleiOSMac OSAndroid TVChromFireFoxLinuxFireTv

CyberGhost VPN can be called the fastest-growing VPN. Last November, its owner company Kape Technologies acquired the giant Private Internet Access. And, judging by the sharp increase in the number of servers, it added the latter’s technical infrastructure to that of CyberGhost VPN.

Now almost 7000 servers are united into one – and the most large-scale one – network.

Main characteristics of the provider:

  • Support of all platforms
  • Servers for streaming and torrenting
  • Split tunneling
  • 7 simultaneous connections

5. Mullvad

Main advantages:

  • High speeds
  • Ease of use
  • WireGuard support
  • No email required to register
androidAppleiOSMac OSLinuxChrom

Mullvad is distinguished by its unsurpassed anonymity during the sign-up process. Besides, it supports WireGuard – arguably, the most advanced tunneling protocol, as well as the Shadowsocks proxy together with VPN technology.

However, Mullvad can’t unblock famous streaming services.

Main characteristics of the provider:

  • Support of all OSs
  • Has passed all our security tests
  • WireGuard protocol
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

6. Private Internet Access

Main advantages:

  • Good reputation
  • Rare options
  • Shadowsocks support
  • High speed
androidAppleiOSMac OSLinuxChromFireFoxOpera logo

Private Internet Access or PIA has had a deserved flawless reputation for the last 10 years. Lately, the service markets itself not only to customers with basic needs but also to professionals who have experience with setting up rarely used parameters of the VPN connection.

Despite its numerous pros, PIA doesn’t support US Netflix.

Main characteristics of the provider:

  • Support of all OSs
  • Has passed all our security tests
  • Shadowsocks
  • DHCP, encryption and authentication standard, DNS, etc. settings
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

7. IPVanish

Main advantages:

  • Convenient choice of servers
  • Frequent sales
  • 1300+ servers in 75 countries
  • Obfuscation
androidAppleiOSMac OSFireFoxLinuxChromrouter

IPVanish is a slightly controversial service. On the one hand, it has a large following but on the other, somewhat lags behind the customers’ needs in terms of functionality.

Nevertheless, IPVanish is a good choice for those who need access to many countries.

Main characteristics of the provider:

  • Support of all OSs
  • Attractive app interface
  • Doesn’t keep logs
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • 7-day money-back guarantee

8. ZenMate

Main advantages:

  • CyberGhost VPN’s infrastructure
  • Netflix support
  • Low price
  • Good for torrenting
androidAppleiOSMac OSFireFoxLinuxChromOpera logo

ZenMate is a cheap and simple VPN that supports a lot of devices. It “inherits” parts of its infrastructure from CyberGhost VPN. In fact, one can look at it as a simplified version of its powerful older brother (both providers are owned by the same company).

While not guaranteed, it supports Netflix of certain regions most of the time.

Main characteristics of the provider:

  • Support of all OSs and some TV platforms
  • Has passed all security tests apart from the DNS one
  • Good selection of countries
  • Claimed 30-day money-back guarantee (can be only 14 in reality)

9. ProtonVPN

Main advantages:

  • Has trial and free versions
  • Ease of use
  • Extra protected servers
  • No email required to register
androidAppleiOSLinux

ProtonVPN is a relatively new service. It was founded in 2017 by the developer team of a popular email service ProtonMail.

The provider’s aim is to ensure security. It even offers a subscription that gives access to the extra protected servers in a data center located 1000 meters deep inside a Swiss rock.

Main characteristics of the provider:

  • Support of all OSs
  • Has passed all our security tests
  • Has a free plan
  • Safe VPN + safe email
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

10. Perfect Privacy

Main advantages:

  • High speed
  • NeuroRouting
  • Stealth VPN support
  • IPv6
androidAppleiOSMac OSFireFoxLinuxChromrouter

Perfect Privacy doesn’t support every platform but has three useful features: the “invisible” tunneling protocol, multi-hop (double) VPN, and automatic selection of multi-hop chains to maximize security without the user’s direct involvement.

The provider has high speeds but no Netflix support.

Main characteristics of the provider:

  • High speed
  • Has passed all our security tests
  • Stealth VPN protocol
  • Multi-hop
  • 7-day money-back guarantee

1. ExpressVPN

Pros Cons
  • Very high speed
  • 100% privacy
  • Confirmed No-Logs policy
  • No specific server choice within a location

Overview

ExpressVPN is the best VPN to be used on a device of any type. We gave it the highest mark based on the results of 6-month multilayered research.

Besides, we conducted a large-scale study of real customer reviews (most of all, from Reddit) that confirmed the supremacy of ExpressVPN in many areas where VPN can be implemented.

ExpressVPN has such important features as a kill switch and split tunneling, allows choosing a tunneling protocol, supports both UDP and TCP connections.

Features

  • 3000+ servers in 94 countries.
  • Hides the IP address. Only the IP address of the VPN service will be visible to any visited resource. It allows “changing” one’s country to any of the 94 supported ones and protecting the real location data.
  • Traffic encryption and disguising the visited sites’ addresses. The entirety of your traffic including DNS queries that contain the names of visited websites is protected reliably by the unbreakable AES-256 encryption.
  • Protection in public network and while torrenting. Thanks to encryption, hiding the IP address, and the kill switch function, it is safe to use torrents and access the internet in public places.
How the kill switch works
Kill Switch

  • Streaming. ExpressVPN can bypass geo-restrictions of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, and TV channels. This ability is not a short-term one like with many other VPNs but is supported consistently. We’ve been testing streaming support for more than two years now and ExpressVPN has always coped with this task.
  • The best Chrome and Firefox extensions.
  • VPN for routers, TV, and other devices.

Supported devices

ExpressVPN offers apps and manual settings for any device with virtual private network support. Moreover, there are detailed manuals on how to set them up and use them for almost all of them.

  • Opportunity to try the service out for free. I can’t help mentioning the wonderful opportunity to test the performance of ExpressVPN. It is present in the Android app.
  • Learn more about 10 best VPNs for Mac

Prices and plans

ExpressVPN offers 3 tariff plans with identical features:

All new subscribers of the 1-year plan get extra 3 months free of charge.

Payment methods accepted:

  • Credit cards
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin
  • Others: AliPay, UnionPay, Mint, OneCard, WebMoney, etc.

How does the price of ExpressVPN compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 12 month (monthly) 6-month (monthly) 1 month
ExpressVPN $6.67 $9.99 $12.95
NordVPN $6.99 - $11.95
Surfshark $5.99 - $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $5.99 - $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA $2.42 $4.49 $8.45
IPVanish $6.49 - $10.00
ZenMate $4.49 - $9.99
ProtonVPN $4-24 - $5-30
Perfect Privacy $9.99 - $12.99
ExpressVPN Preview
ExpressVPN: 5 devices at once

 

What are the main characteristics of ExpressVPN?

Our research of the provider’s features confirmed many positive customer reviews that mentioned high speeds. Our results showed not only that it exceeds the speed of most competitors in the 50-100 Mbps range, but also that a few servers have a speed of more than 130-150 Mbps.

The combination of the high speed with the support of American Netflix is extremely rare. Generally, with other providers, the US locations capable of streaming are noticeably slower than the rest. ExpressVPN is not like that.

Good news for those who strive to achieve maximum anonymity and privacy. ExpressVPN has replaced its regular services with diskless ones. Now the already good reputation of the service in terms of keeping no logs became unquestionable.

Besides, legally this service is based in the BVI offshore zone. It makes it invulnerable to political or economic pressure.

ExpressVPN - “Premium” VPN

More about ExpressVPN:


2. NordVPN

Pros Cons
  • 5600+ servers in 58 countries
  • 100% security
  • No-Logs policy
  • Slow speed on some US servers

Overview

NordVPN isn’t only the most popular VPN service in the world but also the largest one among those that have ways of extra protection of the connection.

But should you prefer it to ExpressVPN? You should if you live in China or need double protection (double VPN).

The provider has powerful modern functionality which includes a kill switch (traffic blocking during an unexpected disconnection of the virtual network), support of all the Netflix regions, torrenting, etc.

Features

  • 5600+ servers in 58 countries.
  • IP address hiding.
  • Traffic encryption and hiding the addresses of visited websites. The most effective encryption standard AES-256 is used.
  • Protection in public networks and while torrenting. I made sure that all the addresses of visited websites as well as transmitted and received data are reliably packed into a secure VPN channel.
  • Streaming. The provider bypasses geo-restrictions of popular video streaming services for all the regions we’ve tested including the US and the UK.
  • Use of the VPN on routers, TV, and other devices. You can install apps on TV platforms and set up routers and gaming consoles.
  • Chrome and Firefox extensions.
  • Free trial. There’s a 7-day trial version for mobile platforms. It is available with the 1-year subscription.

Plans and prices

NordVPN has 4 plans with the only difference between them being their length:

NordVPN offers a 70% discount on the 3-year subscription.

Payment methods:

  • Credit cards
  • 3 cryptocurrencies
  • Others: Amazon Pay, AliPay, UnionPay

How does the price of NordVPN compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 12 year (monthly) 2 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
NordVPN $3.49 $4.99 $6.99 $11.95
ExpressVPN - - $6.67 $12.95
Surfshark - $1.99 $5.99 $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $2.75 $3.69 $5.99 $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5   €5
PIA - - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - - $6.49 $10.00
ZenMate $1.64 - $4.49 $9.99
ProtonVPN - $3.29-$19.96 $4-24 $5-30
Perfect Privacy - $8.95 $9.99 $12.99
NordVPN Preview
NordVPN: 24/7 efficiency

 

I’d like to mention another important difference NordVPN has compared to most other providers including ExpressVPN. It is the ability to access any specific server instead of just a country or city.

It’s extremely useful if your internet is unstable and prone to disconnections or if you need to browse the internet with the same IP address.

Otherwise, your IP will be different every time (including addresses from different subnetworks) you connect.

NordVPN has a lot of positive reviews. The analysis of the mentions of it on Reddit showed that the service is often used to provide privacy as well as for streaming and torrenting.

NordVPN is based in Panama, a safe jurisdiction outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliances.

NordVPN

More about NordVPN:

3. Surfshark

Pros Cons
  • Torrenting on every server
  • Proven security
  • No-Logs policy
  • Not suitable for Linux

Overview

Surfshark combines its top-level quality with a super-low price. It’s the most powerful VPN among the top-tier services that cost less than $2 a month.

The provider was founded in 2018 but has already earned the reputation of a reliable multifunctional service that supports streaming, torrenting, and expanded methods of confidentiality protection.

It doesn’t keep logs and is located in the safe BVI offshore zone.

Features

Surfshark VPN has the following features:

  • 1000+ servers in 61 countries.
  • IP address hiding.
  • Traffic encryption and hiding the addresses of visited websites.
  • Protection in public networks and while torrenting. I’d like to emphasize the provider’s performance on mobile platforms. Surfshark works more stably than other VPNs and protects the user’s traffic even if they forget to turn the app on.
  • Streaming. Surfshark is a great fit to watch Netflix and other services.
  • Use of VPN on routers, TV, and other devices.
  • Chrome and Firefox extensions.
  • Free trial. A 7-day trial version is available on mobile platforms. No credit card required.

Plans and prices

Surfshark VPN has 3 plans and some additional security functions (for a surcharge):

All tariffs include the NoBorders features that allow bypassing censorship.

Payment methods accepted:

  • Credit cards
  • PayPal
  • Google Pay
  • 3 cryptocurrencies
  • Amazon Pay

How does the price of Surfshark compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 2 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
Surfshark $1.99 $5.99 $11.95
ExpressVPN - $6.67 $12.95
NordVPN $4.99 $6.99 $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $3.69 $5.99 $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - $6.49 $10.00
ZenMate - $4.49 $9.99
ProtonVPN $3.29-$19.96 $4-24 $5-30
Perfect Privacy $8.95 $9.99 $12.99
Surfshark Preview
Surfshark: All you need from a VPN

 

Indeed, as of today, Surfshark offers the most lucrative conditions for the 2-year plan. Are its customers satisfied with the quality of its services?

I analyzed more than 50 reviews and posts on Reddit and made the following conclusion:

  • Most Redditors praise its price.
  • The service is rapidly gaining popularity.
  • Users trust the safe jurisdiction and no-logs policy.
  • It’s often used for torrenting (all servers) and streaming.
  • Is a good fit for bypassing Chinese censorship.

Our 6-month testing confirmed the positive reviews.

Some other results we got:

The speed is mostly high but there are some relatively slow locations. Netflix is available for most regions but DE. You can double the security of your torrenting activities by setting up the torrent client (read more in the Surfshark review).

Surfshark VPN

More about Surfshark:


4. CyberGhost VPN

Pros Cons
  • Special servers for streaming and torrenting
  • App Split Tunneling
  • No-Logs policy
  • 3 Netflix regions available
  • Hulu doesn’t work
  • Heavy load on the CPU

Overview

In 2020, CyberGhost VPN broke all records in terms of the number of servers and offers around 7000 of them in 90 countries.

Unfortunately, it’s the only parameter the provider was able to significantly improve over the past 6 months. That’s why we shifted CyberGhost VPN from the third position to the fourth.

At the same time, it’s undeniable that the service has 100% security (it was the first one to implement the constantly active kill switch) and supports entertainment content.

Features

  • 7000 servers in 90 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption.
  • Effectively hides the IP address.
  • Expanded functionality. Split tunneling, adblocker, etc.
  • Netflix support. US, UK, and FR regions.
  • Chrome and Firefox extensions.
  • Safe torrenting. Encryption and the permanently active kill switch reliably protect the traffic from being analyzed by the ISP.

Plans and prices

CyberGhost VPN has 4 subscriptions and the ability to buy dedicated IP addresses:

  • $2.75 monthly on the 3-year subscription
  • $3.69 monthly on the 2-year subscription
  • $5.99 monthly on the 12-month subscription
  • $12.99 on the 1-month subscription
  • + (optionally) $5 monthly per dedicated IP address

All first-time users of the 3-year subscription get 2 extra months for free.

Payment methods accepted:

  • Credit cards
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin

How does the price of CyberGhost VPN compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 3 year (monthly) 2 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
CyberGhost VPN $2.75 $3.69 $5.99 $12.95
ExpressVPN - - $6.67 $12.95
NordVPN $3.49 $4.99 $6.99 $11.95
Surfshark - $1.99 $5.99 $11.95
Mullvad €5 €5 €5 €5
PIA - - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - - $6.49 $10.00
ZenMate $1.64 - $4.49 $9.99
ProtonVPN - $3.29-$19.96 $4-24 $5-30
Perfect Privacy - $8.95 $9.99 $12.99

As you can see in the table above, CyberGhost VPN is one of the cheapest providers if you buy a long-term subscription.

But should you commit to using a VPN service for so long?

Both yes and no.

CyberGhost VPN has proved itself as an extremely reliable service. There were no scandals or reputation-damaging incidents in its 9-year history.

At the same time, I don’t see much advancement in how the app functionality develops. There is Netflix support but only for three regions. Some rare but demanded features are missing.

So, CyberGhost VPN will best suit those who need an exorbitant number of servers and supported countries. It’s unsurpassed in this regard.

CyberGhost VPN

More about CyberGhost:


5. Mullvad

Pros Cons
  • WireGuard protocol
  • Anonymous registration
  • High speed

  • No streaming support
  • No manual settings

Overview

The most interesting thing about Mullvad is that it uses the fast and technologically advanced WireGuard protocol.

Thanks to its light load on the CPU, WireGuard allows the provider to be one of the best solutions for mobile platforms as well as Windows.

Another advantage is that you can register without providing your email.

Features

  • 430+ servers in 38 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption.
  • Effectively hides the IP address.
  • Has its own servers. The provider doesn’t only rent equipment from hosting-partners but also owns its own servers. It allows decreasing the risks of third parties gaining access to the data.
  • Extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Plans and prices

Mullvad has a single plan:

  • €5 per month

During the registration, a user gets a coupon they must clear and enter its number into the app.

Payment methods accepted:

  • Credit cards
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin
  • Others: bank wire, Swish, cash

How does the price of Mullvad compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 1 month
Mullvad €5
CyberGhost VPN $12.95
ExpressVPN $12.95
NordVPN $11.95
Surfshark $11.95
PIA $8.45
IPVanish $10.00
ZenMate $9.99
ProtonVPN $5-30
Perfect Privacy $12.99

Mullvad is, without a doubt, one of the most anonymous providers. You don’t have to give any private data to subscribe. Additionally, there’s a possibility to pay with an anonymous cryptocurrency.

The provider fully satisfies all the current requirements for a VPN service except for streaming support.

Our tests showed that Mullvad can’t unblock Netflix and Hulu.

Mullvad VPN

More about Mullvad:


6. Private Internet Access

Pros Cons
  • Finest parameter settings
  • App Split Tunneling
  • No-Logs policy

  • Poor Netflix support
  • No Hulu support
  • Too few countries

Overview

PIA is one of the first powerful VPN services. It has earned a flawless reputation as a provider that respects privacy and maintains its high level of services.

Private Internet Access is characterized by its incredible number of VPN connection settings. Arguably, it’s the only provider that provides an opportunity to completely turn off encryption to maximize the speed and minimize the CPU load.

Features

  • 3300+ servers in 30 countries.
  • Several types of encryption including AES-256.
  • Expanded functionality. Kill switch (except on iOS), port forwarding, DHCP, etc.
  • Safe torrenting.
  • Extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Plans and prices

PIA has 3 tariffs:

  • $2.42 monthly on the 1-year subscription
  • $4.49 monthly on the 6-month subscription
  • $8.45 on the 1-month subscription

The provider has 2 prices: the initial one and the one with a discount. The prices are listed with the 20% discount.

Payment methods accepted:

  • Credit cards
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin and anonymous cryptocurrencies
  • Other methods: AmazonPay, Beam, Mint

How does the price of PIA compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 12 month (monthly) 6-month (monthly) 1 month
PIA $2.42 $4.49 $8.45
ExpressVPN $6.67 $9.99 $12.95
NordVPN $6.99 - $11.95
Surfshark $5.99 - $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $5.99 - $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
IPVanish $6.49 - $10.00
ZenMate $4.49 - $9.99
ProtonVPN $4-24 - $5-30
Perfect Privacy $9.99 - $12.99

In late 2019, Private Internet Access was bought by Kape Technologies – the owner company of CyberGhost VPN and ZenMate (more on it later). The PIA user community slammed this fact as the end of the service and the loss of its independence. Time will tell if it is so, but as of this day, there are no negative consequences observed.

At the same time, we can see a certain relation between the rapid growth of the technical basis of CyberGhost VPN and the acquisition of PIA. It seems obvious that server integration in favor of the bigger “brother” is taking place.

Private Internet Access – Advanced American VPN

More about PIA:


7. IPVanish

Pros Cons
  • Convenient server selection
  • Support of 75 countries
  • No-Logs policy

  • No Netflix and Hulu support
  • Overcomplicated pricing
  • Slow speeds

Overview

IPVanish offers access to 75 countries, has apps with convenient server selection but doesn’t support streaming and pays too much attention to marketing ploys.

The price of IPVanish fluctuates so much it managed to drop by the factor of two while I was writing this article. But don’t hurry to subscribe before you find out more about the finer details. This price is only effective if you’re paying for the first time. After that, it becomes “regular”.

Features

  • 1300+ servers in 75 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption.
  • Hides the IP address.

Prices and plans

IPVanish has 3 plans:

  • $6.49 monthly on the 1-year subscription
  • $8.99 monthly on the 3-month subscription
  • $10.00 on the 1-month subscription

There are often discounts that halve the price for first-time subscribers.

Payment methods accepted:

  • Credit cards
  • PayPal

How does the price of PIA compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 12 month (monthly) 3 month (monthly) 1 month
IPVanish $6.49 $8.99 $10.00
ExpressVPN $6.67 - $12.95
NordVPN $6.99 - $11.95
Surfshark $5.99 - $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $5.99 - $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA $2.42 - $8.45
ZenMate $4.49 - $9.99
ProtonVPN $4-24 - $5-30
Perfect Privacy $9.99 - $12.99

The seventh spot given to IPVanish is more of a tribute to how popular it is than anything else. It does solve the basic tasks of VPN technology well, though. It supports a lot of countries and most platforms.

At the same time, our testing showed that there were some flaws and even problems.

First of all, the provider’s speed on most locations we’ve tested is slow or, at least, insufficient.

Secondly, it has no streaming support.

Thirdly, the service hasn’t been developing in any noticeable capacity lately: no new modern functions of the virtual network were added. Sometimes, access to cloud storage is added but it’s just marketing and not any meaningful technological development.

IPVanish

More about IPVanish:


8. ZenMate

Pros Cons
  • Support of all platforms
  • Unblocks Streaming
  • Torrenting

  • Unstable Netflix support
  • Limited functionality
  • Can load the CPU too much

Overview

ZenMate can hardly be called an independent VPN. It uses the software of another, larger service – CyberGhost VPN. Their server bases also intersect. ZenMate, however, is a more affordable service.

I will enumerate all the main positive sides of this provider and then compare its characteristics with those of its “big brother”.

Features

  • 3600+ servers in 73 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption.
  • Hides the IP address.
  • Unblocks US streaming. I should note that this function did not work in a few cases during our tests.
  • 7­-­day free trial.
  • Free Chrome and Firefox extensions. The provider has free versions of the browser extensions limited by 4 locations and 2 Mbps.

Prices and plans

ZenMate has 3 plans:

  • $1.64 monthly on the 3-year subscription
  • $4.49 monthly on the 12-month subscription
  • $9.99 on the 1-month subscription

A 7-day free trial available with no credit card required at the signup.

How does the price of ZenMate compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 3 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
ZenMate $1.64 $4.49 $9.99
ExpressVPN - $6.67 $12.95
NordVPN $3.49 $6.99 $11.95
Surfshark   $5.99 $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $2.75 $5.99 $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - $6.49 $10.00
ProtonVPN - $4-24 $5-30
Perfect Privacy - $9.99 $12.99

So, let us compare ZenMate and CyberGhost VPN.

Pros:

ZenMate has a relatively long trial period of 7 days (unlike CyberGhost VPN’s 24 hours). It also provides fully free extensions for Chrome and Firefox. The last advantage is the lower prices of every tariff.

Cons:

Our testing showed a problem with the DNS servers: in some cases, the website you’re visiting can easily determine your country and ISP while your ISP can see the names of the domains you’re visiting.

Also, there’s no split tunneling function, a narrower choice of countries, and no access to specific servers.

Speed tests did not show any great difference in the highest values but you can feel instability because of significant speed fluctuations.

The jurisdictions of the two services are also different, although they both belong to the same company. In ZenMate’s case, it’s Germany which is not such a good country for a VPN to be based in as Romania.

ZenMate - Simple VPN for torrenting

More about ZenMate:


9. ProtonVPN

Pros Cons
  • Apps for all platforms
  • Unblocks streaming
  • P2P/Torrenting
  • The full plan’s long-terms subscription is pricier than competitors’

Overview

Unlike most other VPNs, ProtonVPN has different subscriptions in terms of not only their length but also functionality. Besides, it offers a free plan.

This provider is based in Switzerland and is widely known as a safe and privacy-conscious service.

Its technical characteristics are some of the best in the market. However, the choice of countries is slightly lacking. Moreover, the most in-demand features are only available on the more expensive subscriptions.

Features

  • 700+ servers in 45 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption.
  • Hides the IP address.
  • Unblocks streaming. Only available on the Plus and Visionary plans.
  • Free trial and free subscription.

Plans and prices

ProtonVPN’s plans differ by length and functionality: from a free one to the most multifunctional one that includes a special email account.

The Plus plan is the optimal one:

  • $6.64 monthly on the 2-year subscription
  • $8 monthly on the 12-month subscription
  • $10 on the 1-month subscription

The cheaper Basic plan doesn’t support streaming while the pricier Visionary one’s only advantage is the number of simultaneous devices and an email account.

Payment methods accepted:

  • Credit cards
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin
  • Cash

How does the price of ProtonVPN compare to other services?

(the comparison is drawn with the subscriptions of the other VPNs on the top 10 that are of the same lengths)

Provider 2 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
ProtonVPN $3.29-$19.96 $5.99 $5-30
ExpressVPN - $6.67 $12.95
NordVPN $4.99 $6.99 $11.95
Surfshark $1.99 $5.99 $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $3.69 $5.99 $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - $6.49 $10.00
ZenMate - $4.49 $9.99
Perfect Privacy $8.95 $9.99 $12.99

ProtonVPN is characterized by having extra protected servers in a special data center in Switzerland. Its peculiarity is that it is buried 1000 meters deep within a rock.

I cannot speak as to what cataclysms it can survive and whether it’s necessary to go at such length but, at the very least, it’s reliable. The fact that ProtonVPN owns these servers plays a much bigger role in reality because it prevents third-party access to the extra protected data.

Other locations are the same as those of different VPNs.

As for the speed, it depends on the location but is generally good.

The Swiss jurisdiction, although not perfect, is unlikely to cause any problem for the users. Additionally, the provider doesn’t keep logs. 

ProtonVPN - Swiss quality

More about ProtonVPN:


10. Perfect Privacy

Pros Cons
  • Apps for all platforms
  • Unblocks streaming
  • P2P/Torrenting
  • A long-term subscription of the fully-featured plan is pricier than competitors’

Overview

The most expensive VPN on our Top 10 is Perfect Privacy. What do we get for its minimal price of $8.95 per month?

We get servers on a 1 Gb channel (though this fact doesn’t guarantee high speeds and I’ll explain why later), standard VPN protocols, and only 26 countries available.

Doesn’t sound too impressive, does it? However, the service also offers NeuroRouting technology, IPv6 support, tracking protection, and port forwarding.

Features

  • An undisclosed number of servers in 26 countries.
  • AES-256 encryption.
  • Hides the IP address.
  • Advanced methods of providing security and privacy.
  • Configuration on any device.

Prices and plans

Perfect Privacy has 3 tariffs:

  • $8.95 monthly on the 2-year subscription
  • $9.99 monthly on the 12-month subscription
  • $12.99 on the 1-month subscription

More than 60 payment methods are supported including cryptocurrency.

How does the price of Perfect Privacy compare to that of the other VPNs?

(the comparison is drawn to the same-length subscriptions of the other VPNs on our Top 10 list)

Provider 2 year (monthly) 12 month (monthly) 1 month
Perfect Privacy $8.95 $9.99 $12.95
ProtonVPN $3.29-$19.96 $4-24 $5-30
ExpressVPN - $6.67 $12.95
NordVPN $4.99 $6.99 $11.95
Surfshark $1.99 $5.99 $11.95
CyberGhost VPN $3.69 $5.99 $12.99
Mullvad €5 €5 €5
PIA - $2.42 $8.45
IPVanish - $6.49 $10.00
ZenMate - $4.49 $9.99

The most peculiar thing about Perfect Privacy is its advanced privacy features. There are a few of them: the use of VPN server cascading and its automatic routing that takes the maximum efficiency into account (NeuroRouting), Stealth VPN, port forwarding, etc.

And they are really powerful functions!

But there are certain weaknesses as well:

The provider claims that it rents servers on a 1 Gb channel. However, it hardly assures high speeds. If 100 customers at once use such a server for torrents or video streaming, each of them will have a speed of no more than 10 Mbps. That’s why it’s not only the channel capacity but also the number of servers to distribute users between that is important.

Perfect Privacy doesn’t disclose the size of its technological infrastructure.

As to its software, its tests showed generally positive results. It’s a shame, though, that the full functionality is only available on desktops.

Therefore, this provider offers some advanced technologies but doesn’t quite reach the leaders’ level of technological infrastructure.

Perfect Privacy


FAQs

FAQ

How to choose the best VPN?

You aren’t the first who asks this question. Users can’t understand on their own what VPN is the best. In fact, a user doesn’t even know what to look at and what to take into account. That’s why there are so many reviews on the network. ‘’Honest and unbiased’’.

So that we could answer this question, read the next two parts of this section.

Why isn’t free VPN included in your list?

Let’s compare the process of choosing a VPN and choosing a rental car. Let’s say that you have never done it before.

What will you start with?

The first thing that comes to your mind is going to a rental place and speaking with its consultants.

When we deal with VPN, that’s us, the authors of reviews. We have long-term experience of using different cars VPNs.

So, you will be asked what cars you prefer. You’ll answer: ‘’What’s the difference?’’ They say to you: ‘’In prices and opportunities’’. ‘’Really?''  - you’ll be offended, - ‘’I need a car for free!’’. You’ll be sent to the bus stop. And they will be right.

Bus

Now imagine a bus travel on dirt roads; it’s rush hour, and you are constantly shown different ads; the bus stops from time to time. There are few routes, and buses simply don’t go to many locations.

And now imagine you are going in a speedy comfortable sedan along a wide smooth road. You can arrive at any location; the speed is much higher; music is without ads.

The difference between a free and good paid VPN is the same. Using a free VPN, you are limited in speeds, choosing locations, you watch ads, minimum security or VPN simply doesn’t run when you need it.

So what means of transport VPN is better?

  • fast;
  • reliable and secure;
  • convenient;
  • anonymous;
  • able to perform your unique tasks;

In reality, we haven’t found such free VPNs (to find out more, read what users say about free VPNs on Reddit).

What tasks does VPN perform?

When choosing an ideal VPN service, you have to define what tasks you need to perform.

Here is the list of all opportunities of VPN services:

  1. Masking your geo-location (hiding your IP and DNS).
  2. Data protection – encrypting and tunneling of information to bypass devices that can intercept it. (For example, in public Wi-Fi networks criminals can intercept your logins, passwords, and other sensitive information; your Internet Service Provider (ISP) probably collects and keeps information about all sites you visit; in some countries, the authorities can monitor your activities on the Internet).
  3. Privacy Policy (No logs are kept on servers, no registration).
  4. Unblocking sites on the Internet (Bypassing geo-restrictions and censorship).
  5. Bypassing geo-restrictions of streaming services (For example, watching Kodi or US Netflix from other countries, and others.)
  6. Anonymity when using torrents (P2P).

If you know about these opportunities, you can ask an exact question and make a decision. We’ll answer them one by one.

What VPN is the best for hiding IP address?

Masking IP address is the main opportunity of Virtual Private Network. But the best ones are those VPN providers who have developed apps to prevent:

  • IP leaks (via WebRTC technology and IPv6).
  • DNS leaks (via DNS requests from your computer to the DNS server of your Internet Service Provider and further to the network).
  • leaks of your geo-location when a connection to a VPN server is dropped (Kill Switch technology).

The VPNs from our list hide the user’s IP to the maximum.

What VPN is the best for data protection?

Another major opportunity of VPNs is encrypting traffic. The best ones are those VPN providers which:

  • encrypt data with the most advanced methods (As a rule, it’s AES encryption).
  • pass it via a VPN tunnel created based on the best technology (OpenVPN or IPsec).

In this guide, we collected VPNs only with AES-encryption and OpenVPN or IPsec tunneling protocols.

You can find more information on how VPN works, encryption methods and protocols on our home page.

What VPNs are better for privacy?

The protection of clients’ personal data is not limited in masking IP addresses. It’s obvious that the VPNs at least know about your geo-location and what sites you visit. Good VPNs don’t have to keep this kind of information about you.

Unfortunately, we can’t directly influence it. In most cases, we have to trust everything we are promised. That’s why you need to carefully read the Terms of Service.

Besides, there are 2 factors that influence (but not directly) whether the service keeps logs about users’ activities or not.

Jurisdiction. Depending on the laws of the country where a VPN provider is registered, it may be obliged to collect and hide logs in a transparent or secret way. That’s why if confidentiality is important to you, we don’t recommend using VPN services located in 14 eyes.

Background of a VPN service. Mass media sometimes publish reports about VPNs that are suspected of compromising their users’ data. (Such services aren’t included in our VPN list.)

Important: Free services always collect and keep all possible information about you with the purpose of maximum efficiency of advertising or selling it to advertising networks and other third parties.

What VPN is the best for unblocking sites?

On the one hand, any VPN that hides your IP can bypass blocking. But in practice, there are 2 factors that are too much for some VPNs.

  1. There are many resources containing blacklists of proxy servers and IP-addresses of free and some paid VPN providers.
  2. Sites are often blocked by the authorities, and they use special devices to monitor connections to VPN and block them. There is such a problem, for example, in China and Egypt. It is more difficult to find a VPN that works in China, and similar countries (or doesn’t work, like GreenVPN).

To consider the 2 factors, you need to analyze hundreds of reviews left by users who faced problems with unblocking. We have done it instead of you, but we can’t guarantee that the situation won’t change while the review is published.

What VPN is the best for watching Netflix?

We provided a detailed answer to this question in each of the five VPN reviews from our VPN list.

Almost, all of them can help you, but some of them will do it better, the others – worse.

The conflict between VPN services and video streaming services is quite challenging. Currently, only paid VPN services cope with this task (and some ‘’free’’ of paid tariffs). And the situation won’t probably change in the near future.

The list of streaming services you will be able to unblock (not complete):

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • HBO
  • BBC
  • Pandora

What VPNs are the best for torrents?

Using torrents is connected with two important factors:

  • Possible (even unintentional) copyright infringement;
  • laws that ban torrenting in some countries.

You can be unaware of it, or suppose that you don’t break the law, but you want to be on the safe side. Anyway, you should always use a VPN with torrents.

The services themselves avoid this issue. That’s why there are services that ban P2P via their servers, and there are those that allow it only via the safest locations.

The best ones are those VPNs that either provide special VPN servers for torrenting or allow torrents on most of their servers (this variant will be better as speeds will be higher).

In our reviews, there is all the necessary information on the issue of torrenting.

Is using VPN legal everywhere?

Millions of people and companies have been using VPN for many years. The technology itself is legal and used everywhere, but there are countries where it’s banned to use VPN for bypassing censorship, for example, in the UAE or China.

VPN plays an important role in many companies’ security, including state-owned ones, that’s why this technology is going to be developed and widely used, including the countries where VPN is ‘’banned’’.

In China, the UAE, Oman, Iran, and Russia you can also use VPN approved by the government, but you won’t see the ones with servers located abroad on the list.

In Egypt VPNs aren’t banned, they are technically blocked.

In what countries are there restrictions in using VPNs?

To learn in what countries using VPN is restricted, read our ‘’Definitive guide to VPN’’.

At the same time, in all countries where VPNs are ‘’banned’’ or blocked, people keep on finding the ways out and actively using VPN.


CoolTechZone - Chief Editor
Dean Chester
Cybersecurity and online privacy expert and researcher. He's been published on OpenVPN, EC-Council Blog, DevSecOps, AT-T Business, SAP Community, etc. Dean has been testing VPNs for 8 years.

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17 user reviews for Best VPN 2020

Awesome review!

Awesome review! But why was Ivacy left out? I`ve been using it for 2 years and it works fine with Netflix and torrents. Actually, I cannot see a difference with NordVPN in terms of privacy but it is much cheaper (the prices start at $2.25/m). The same good speed, kill switch, AES-256 encryption, a dedicated IP for Kodi – no difference at all! Maybe it is not so much hyped as NordVPN does but it is definitely worth mentioning among the best VPNs.

And one more question if you please… which VPN can work seamlessly with password managers (LastPass, for instance)? I myself travel a lot and I do not want to arrive at wherever I will be and find out that my VPN and password manager do not work well together.

Thanks

Dean Chester's picture
Jeremy, you are right, Ivacy

Jeremy, you are right, Ivacy does support streaming. But it is much slower than NordVPN. Only some servers work fast but they need to be searched as they are not at all locations. Moreover, Ivacy has a real problem with applications for Android. We tested it on two devices with different OS versions but could not connect the apps to the VPN. As for LastPass, you can use the service whatever VPN you chose both from a browser and an application.

Mullvad is pretty good

Nice ranking! But I think it would benefit from being expanded so that more VPNs are listed to give a fuller picture. For instance, I use Mullvad and I think it’s pretty great. It may be a bit on the expensive side (60 euro a year, flat rate) but it’s well worth it. Speeds are great and you don’t need any information to sign up plus you can pay by sending cash (higher anonymity).

Thanks for true ranking!

Thanks for the review! I see you’ve gone to considerable lengths while considering VPNs. Some information left me shocked. The matter is that I’ve read ExpressVPN review on one of the sites dedicated to VPNs and it was extremely positive. No bags, not troubles. It seems someone has paid for positive VPN reviews. However, the information about possible leaks in Android app is a rude awakening for me because I bought its 6-month plan a week ago. If only I knew about it, I would choose smth else. I don’t want my ISP to know what I do on my Android tablet.

Dean Chester's picture
Robbie, keep your head up.

Robbie, keep your head up. The problem with ExpressVPN takes place only when reconnecting to different access points. It works well at different times. And besides, the majority of VPN services don’t offer Kill Switch on Android at all. Be careful.

Perfect Privacy

So after looking for VPNs that work with Netflix, I read this article and bought Perfect privacy. So far it’s been a 10/10 experience, great speeds. Thanks for the review, guys, greatly appreciated!

NordVPN, let's give a try

NordVPN is also the best VPN according to Reddit. I will give it a try. Thanks for the ranking!

Good Vpn for Turkey

Greetings from Turkey guys :) I have a bit of a question: our Government blocks some web sites for our people. I would like to go around this problem by using VPN. I don’t really need anything fancy like torrents or Netflix just something to get to sites like Wikipedia. What in your opinion is the best VPN to be used in Turkey? Thanx

Dean Chester's picture
My recommendation is NordVPN.

My recommendation is NordVPN. It’s really safe and supports obfuscation that hides the use of a VPN.

Hello

Hi guys! Could anyone give me any comment about VPN connection for free streaming services on router level? I’ve been using TorGuard and I like the way it works but when I tried to access US Netflix on my Xbox, I was greeted by the “you seem to be using an unblocker” error. I’m looking for a VPN mainly for online gaming and Netflix but torrenting is a plus. Which one can you recommend?

Dean Chester's picture
John, any VPN that provides

John, any VPN that provides settings for a router should suit you. NordVPN and ExpressVPN also have extremely detailed manuals on how to set them up.

Nord vpn

It's essential to protect your business nowadays, and everyone owning a business should read this article! Talking about VPNs, I've bought Nord VPN (3y subscription) and installed it on every hardware my company has.... I do believe that having a trusted VPN is vital, cause it protects all data and no leakages should occur while using it.

Surfshark

I can second that Surfshark is pretty great, in fact I haven’t seen any slow speeds with it at all and I’ve been using it for like a year now

Money's not a concern

I feel like VPN prices shouldn’t even be super important as long as a service is good. You can’t overstate the necessity of online privacy, folks!

Best VPN offers in one place!

Wow! That’s crazy but you’ve managed to get best VPN deals together! Comprehensive reviews and tests results. I tip my hat to u:)

Thanks

I’ve spent hours on reading Reddit review about VPNs. And it didn’t help me to make the choice. I think some of the reviews are simply bought by the providers. Because the arguments like “it’s great”, “I like it” and so on don’t look serious. Thanks god I’ve found your source. The choice is explained in a comprehensive manner. Besides, numerous screenshots prove the results. Thanks a lot for your work!

I use Express

Glad to see ExpressVPN on the list of best VPN services. It’s worth using it whatever you’re going to do on the internet: streaming, torrenting, restrictions bypassing. I write it here because I’ve been using it for four months already and it absolutely perfect in all the activities. No issues with speed or anything else. Just connect and forget about restrictions.