Brad Smith
Brad Smith
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We are three online privacy enthusiasts who decided to test out VPN software. Till date, we’ve reviewed 30+ most popular VPNs and accepted more than 600 user reviews. We’ll help you find the best VPN. Read more about us here.

VPN Comparison Chart
VPN Comparison Chart

Finding a VPN service to keep yourself fully anonymous and secure online can feel like a daunting task.

Especially if you are a first-time buyer.

There are hundreds of VPNs that all claim to be super secure and fast.

But we all know that’s not true…

When you consider that VPN services are responsible for securing your banking information, private emails, browsing history, and more, it should become abundantly clear that this is not a choice you want to make lightly.

However, with so many biased VPN reviews filling the web, it can be difficult to discern fact from profit-driven fiction.

At the TheBestVPN.com we’ve been testing and reviewing more than 30 popular VPN services till date. Each reviews contains background information on the VPN, in-depth look as well as cons and pros.

Here are the 6 most important factors of a VPN that we’ve compared.

  • ✅Download speed
  • ✅Privacy and security features
  • ✅Jurisdiction and logging policy
  • ✅Torrenting and Netflix availability
  • ✅Usability and Support
  • ✅Cost

 

Best VPNs for Online Privacy & Security (2018)

We’ll will be diving into the best VPNs of 2018 detailing their pros, cons, and special features so that you can definitively answer the question “What VPN provider is best for me?”

So without any further ado, let’s get started.

 

1. ExpressVPN: The Best “All Round” VPN ($6.67/mo)

Rated #1 out of 31 VPNs 

ExpressVPN reviewLocated in British Virgin Islands and founded in 2009, ExpressVPN has been one of the leaders in the VPN market almost since their inception.

And it’s easy to see why…

ExpressVPN provides their customers with a strong AES-256 encryption (the same one used by the NSA, CIA, and FBI), access to all common protocols, and compatibility with all major devices including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and routers.

But they don’t stop there.

With the recent HotSpot Shield investigation, it’s become clear that just because a company claims to value and respect your privacy, doesn’t mean that they actually uphold these claims. Luckily, ExpressVPN follows a strict “zero logging” policy to ensure your private information is truly private, even from ExpressVPN themselves.

In addition to their impressive security, compatibility, and logging policies, ExpressVPN was easily the highest-performing VPN of 2017, offering one of the fastest download speeds (83 Mbps out of 100 Mbps) and the best 24/7 customer support in the industry.

When you consider the fact that they are one of the few services that allow you to torrent files and access Netflix worldwide, it’s easy to see why they are our top pick.

However, their impressive performance and feature-rich platform come at a cost. You should expect to pay anywhere between $6.67 and $12.95/month depending on the length of your subscription. While these figures might startle some of the more budget conscious readers, in my mind, this is a small price to pay for the full peace of mind and online privacy that ExpressVPN offers.

ExpressVPN Pros

+ No logging policy
+ TOP 3 download speed
+ Strong 256 AES encryption
+ Uses all common VPN protocols (OpenVPN)
+ Torrenting is allowed and works with Netflix
+ Works on all devices (Win, Mac, iOS, Android & Routers)

ExpressVPN Cons

High price (especially for month-to-month users)

Compatibility: Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows
Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands (good) / Express VPN International Ltd
Countries & Servers: 91 countries, 165 servers
Cost: $6.62/mo

Get ExpressVPN Here

…or read why we rated ExpressVPN #1st

 

2. NordVPN: A Legitimate VPN Software ($3.29/mo)

2nd out of 31 VPNs

NordVPN reviewFounded in 2008 under the umbrella of Tefincom co S.A., Panama-based NordVPN is a veteran of the online security industry whose recent improvements have generated an almost explosive level of growth inside the company.

They offer an impressive and almost unparalleled level of data protection with their “Double Encryption” protocol that relays your information through two separate VPN servers before directing it to its final destination.

In addition to their unique security standards, NordVPN also boasts more than 1,000 servers parked across 61 countries, full compatibility with Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux, and access to all major VPN protocols.

Considering their high-quality customer support, P2P compatibility, and their plethora of advanced features and bonuses (including a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and SmartPlay) it’s easy to see why NordVPN has earned itself a glowing reputation as one of the leaders in the VPN industry.

Unfortunately, there are a few issues that prevent NordVPN from achieving true greatness. Most notably of which is the average download speeds offered by their server park. Although the situation isn’t too grim if you do the majority of your browsing from U.S.-based servers (which typically run at about 50 Mbps) their EU servers are simply too slow for the average user.

NordVPN Pros

+ “Double” data protection
+ Kill-Switch
+ Large server park
+ Torrenting allowed

NordVPN Cons

Their company should be more transparent
Average download speed

Compatibility: Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows
Jurisdiction: Panama City, Panama / Tefincom co S.A.
Countries & Servers: 61 Countries, 1,000+ servers
Cost: $3.29/month

Get NordVPN Here

…or read our full review of NordVPN

 

3. CyberGhost VPN: An Affordable (Quality) VPN ($5.49/mo)

3rd out of 31 VPNs

CyberGhost review

With more than 15 million users, CyberGhost VPN is easily one of the most recognizable and commonly used VPN brands in the marketplace, and with good reason.

They offer one of the most seamless and user-friendly VPN interfaces that I’ve ever encountered, a software that is fully compatible with all major devices, and access to most major VPN protocols. The company provides their premium customers with access to more than 1,000 servers spanning 27 countries and, although these servers aren’t the fastest I’ve ever seen, at 51.10 Mbps, they still get the job done. They are also a torrent-friendly company, and they have several servers that are specifically optimized for P2P file sharing.

From a security standpoint, CyberGhost offers the industry standard AES-256 encryption and a no logging policy to ensure that your private information stays that way. It is worth pointing out that the company is under some pressure after allegations that their advertised “Zero Logging Policy” isn’t actually being upheld. However, we have no concrete evidence of any foul play at this time.

Outside of these security concerns, the only real fault that I could find with CyberGhost VPN was their slow customer service and slightly bloated pricing structure (monthly users can expect to pay about $10.49/mo). All in all, CyberGhost is a high-quality VPN provider that brings a lot to the table even if it falls short of the standards set by ExpressVPN.

CyberGhost VPN Pros

+ Strong AES-256 Encryption
+ No Logging Policy
+ Good Server Speeds and a Wide Selection
+ Torrenting allowed
+ Incredibly User-Friendly

CyberGhost VPN Cons

 Poor Quality Customer Service
 Security Allegations

Compatibility: Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows
Jurisdiction: Bucharest, Romania (good) /Crossrider Limited
Countries & Servers: 27 countries, 1045 servers
Cost: $5.49/mo

Get CyberGhost Here

…or read our full review of CyberGhost

 

4. VyprVPN: One of the Most Powerful Budget-Friendly VPNs ($5.00/mo)

4th out of 31 VPNs

VyprVPN review

The parent company of VyprVPN, Golden Frog, has historically been one of the most active and vocal supporters of the free internet and information privacy. So it seems only fitting that their personal VPN should be one of the most powerful and affordable services currently available to the public.

VyprVPN offers two plans to their customers, basic and premium, that cost $5.00/mo and $6.67/mo respectively. The most notable difference between the two plans is that VyprVPN Premium includes access to your own dedicated cloud server and their proprietary Chameleon protocol that adds an additional layer of security and VPN-blocker protection to your browsing activities.

Both plans boast full compatibility with all major devices, a Netflix unblocker (not available on mobile devices), P2P optimized servers, and some of the fastest download speeds that I’ve reviewed to date. In fact, clocking in at 74.48 Mbps, VyprVPN is the 4th fastest VPN that I’ve ever reviewed.

At this time, VyprVPN does not offer any sort of live chat support, and their privacy policy allows for some logging. However, when you consider how much value you receive in exchange for your $5.00/month, it’s easy to see why they are one of the leading companies in the online security industry.

VyprVPN Pros

+ Proprietary Chameleon Protocol
+ Affordable Services
+ FAST Download Speeds
+ Torrenting allowed

VyprVPN Cons

 Some Logs
 No Live Chat

Compatibility: Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows
Jurisdiction: Switzerland/Golden Frog GmbH
Countries & Servers: 64 countries, 700+ servers
Cost: $5.00/mo

Get VyprVPN Here

…or read our full review of VyprVPN

 

5. Buffered: A High Quality But Overpriced VPN ($8.25/mo)

5th out of 31 VPNs

Buffered review

Before I talk about Buffered VPN’s services in great detail, I want to start by making something clear. If you are shopping for a budget-friendly VPN, then Buffered is not the droid you are looking for. At $8.25/mo (for the most affordable plan) Buffered is one of the most expensive VPNs that I have ever reviewed. However, what it lacks in economy, it makes up for in performance.

Buffered provides a highly secure VPN with an AES-256 encryption and a limited logging policy to ensure that all of your information remains private and secure. They have a relatively modest collection of only 37 servers spread across 41 countries and, unfortunately, the servers in question are a little lackadaisical considering the price tag. Their EU servers top out at around 56 Mbps which, admittedly, isn’t bad. However, considering the cost associated with Buffered VPN, I was hoping for more impressive speeds.

What Buffered may lack in speed, it makes up for with its 5-star 24/7 customer support, seamless applications, generous 5-device simultaneous connection limit, P2P compatibility, and limited access to Netflix.

Buffered VPN Pros

+ Strong Encryption
+ All-Star Customer Service
+ Seamless Application and Software
+ Torrenting & Netflix allowed

Buffered VPN Cons

Very Expensive
Average download speed (but not too bad)

Compatibility: Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows
Jurisdiction: Gibraltar/Buffered Ltd.
Countries & Servers: 41 countries 30+ servers
Cost: $8.25/mo

Get Buffered VPN Here

…or read our full review of Buffered

 

6. Zenmate: A Fantastic VPN… With a Catch ($2.50/mo)*

6th out of 31 VPNs

Zenmate review

Founded in 2013 in Berlin, Germany, Zenmate VPN came, seemingly, out of nowhere and already boasts more than 42 million users! Although this number may surprise many of you, a quick tour through Zenmate’s services makes it immediately clear how they became the VPN behemoth they are today.

Zenmate provides their users with an exceptionally smooth interface, compatibility with nearly every major device, and a plethora of advanced features and settings that are available to their premium subscribers.

Combined with their exceptional server speeds, reasonable pricing structure, and torrent-friendly platform (for paying customers), it’s easy to see how Zenmate has already earned the trust of more than 40 million users worldwide.

Unfortunately, the fast performance and affordable pricing come at a steep cost. Your security. Unlike most other VPNs, Zenmate uses the outdated and less secure AES-128 encryption. Although they claim that this was done to ensure the fastest possible performance, I’ve reviewed plenty of VPNs (like ExpressVPN) that have an AES-256 encryption and faster download times… So, unfortunately for Zenmate, this excuse simply doesn’t cut it.

In addition to their questionable encryption standards, they have a less-than-ideal logging policy that allows the company to unnecessarily store some of your information. Since the company is headquartered in Germany (a member of the 14 eyes network), this could be a deal breaker for the more security conscious VPN buyer.

Zenmate VPN Pros

+ Fast Download Times
+ Affordable Pricing
+ Torrenting allowed
+ Super User-Friendly Platform

Zenmate VPN Cons

 Questionable Security Standards
 Headquartered in 14 Eyes Country
 Logging Policy Should Be Stricter

Compatibility: Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows
Jurisdiction: Germany/ Zen Guard GmbH
Countries & Servers: 31 countries, 30 servers
Cost: $2.50/mo

Get ZenMate Here

…or read our full review of Zenmate

 

7. Astrill: Great Speeds with a Few Drawbacks ($8.33/mo)

7th out of 31 VPNs

Astrill VPN reviewAstrill, the final VPN on our list, brings a lot of great things to the table. Founded in 2009 and located in The Seychelles, a collection of islands off the coast of East Africa, Astrill is an anomalous VPN company due to the lack of data retention laws within its jurisdiction, but we will discuss that in a moment.

Astrill provides their users with a secure SSL-256 encryption, access to 330 servers across more than 50 countries, and full compatibility with iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux. The servers in question perform exceptionally well, and they allowed me to download files at roughly 78 Mbps. However, some of their U.S. servers could be more highly optimized to ensure that this performance is consistent.

While Astrill has a lot going for it, there are a few issues that potential customers should be wary of. The company’s ambiguous privacy policy doesn’t inspire confidence, and they almost admit to selling your personal information to third-party advertising companies. When you consider the shady data regulations in the company’s jurisdiction, their privacy policy begins to appear problematic.

When these factors are compounded with Astrill’s lackluster customer service and two-device connection limit, potential customers must clearly decide what they value more. Speed or security. (For only ~$1 more you can use ExpressVPN which doesn’t require any compromise.)

Astrill VPN Pros

+ “Double” data protection
+ Kill-Switch
+ Large server park
+ Torrenting allowed

Astrill VPN Cons

Their company should be more transparent
Average download speed (but not too bad)

Compatibility: Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows
Jurisdiction: Seychelles/Astrill Systems Corp.
Countries & Servers: 50 countries, 330 servers
Cost: $8.33/mo

Get Astrill VPN Here

…or read our full review of Astrill VPN

 

All 31 VPN Reviews

VPN (From Good to Bad) Speed (out of 100 Mbps) JurisdictionEncryption Torrenting & Netflix Logging Policy
Best Overall

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN review

 83.15 Mbps

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

British Virgin IslandsLive Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”

NordVPN

NordVPN review

 74.15 Mbps

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

PanamaLive Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”

CyberGhost

CyberGhost review

 51.10 Mbps

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

RomaniaTickets* Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”

VyprVPN

VyprVPN review

 74.48 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

SwitzerlandLive Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Questionable Logging Policy

Buffered

Buffered VPN review

 51.49 Mbps

AES 256-bit
OpenVPN Only

GibraltarLive Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Questionable Logging Policy

Zenmate

Zenmate review

 63.44 Mbps 

AES 128-bit
All Protocols

Germany*Live Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Questionable Logging Policy
 

Astrill

Astrill review

 78.85 Mbps

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

SeychellesTickets Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Questionable Logging Policy
Private Internet Access

PIA review

81.46 Mbps 

AES 256
All Protocols

USA*Tickets Torrenting allowed

Not working with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”
SaferVPN

SaferVPN review

 79.23 Mbps

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

USA*Live Chat 24/7 Limited
Torrenting Limited
Netflix
Strict “no logging policy”
Trust.Zone

Trust.Zone review

 69.82 Mbps

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

SeychellesTickets Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”
HMA

HideMyAss review

 63.34 Mbps

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

United Kingdom*Tickets Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Questionable Logging Policy
Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield review

 92.28 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
OpenVPN Only

USA*Tickets Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Questionable Logging Policy
Ivacy

Ivacy review

 53.04 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

 

SingaporeLive Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Strict “No logging policy”
VPNSecure.ME

VPNSecure review

 53.62 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

Australia*Live Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

 Strict “No logging policy”
Avast Secureline

Avast Secureline review

 67.94 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

Czech RepublicTickets Torrenting allowed

Not working with Netflix

No data logs of online activity
TorGuard

TorGuard Review


53.83 Mbps
AES 256-bit
All Protocols 
USA*Live Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Limited with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”
IPVanish

IPVanish review

82.67 Mbps

AES 256
All Protocols

USA*Tickets Torrenting allowed

Not working with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”
iVPN

iVPN review

 63.89 Mbps

AES 256
All Protocols

GibraltarLive Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Not working with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”
HideME VPN

HideMe review

 27.60 Mbps

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

MalaysiaLive Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”
AirVPN

AirVPN review

 61.48 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

Italy*Tickets Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”
ZoogVPN

ZoogVPN review

 57.99 Mbps 

AES 128-bit
All Protocols

United Kingdom*Tickets Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Questionable logging policy
TigerVPN

TigerVPN review

 33.60 Mbps

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

SlovakiaTickets Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Questionable logging policy
TunnelBear

TunnelBear review

 52.26 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

Canada*Live Chat 24/7Torrenting not working

Not working with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”
VPNArea

VPNArea review

 47.36 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
Only OpenVPN

BulgariaTickets Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”
VPN Unlimited

VPN Unlimited review

 47.13 Mbps

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

USA*Live Chat 24/7Limited Torrenting

Not working with Netflix

Questionable logging policy
PureVPN

PureVPN review

 35.49 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

Hong KongTicketsLimited Torrenting

Not working with Netflix

Questionable logging policy
PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN review

 19.83 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

Sweden*Live Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Questionable logging policy
FrootVPN

FrootVPN review

 19.47 Mbps

AES 2048-bit
All Protocols

Sweden*Live Chat 24/7 Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”
StrongVPN

StrongVPN review

 11.36 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

USA*TicketsTorrenting allowed

Works with Netflix(Manual)

Strict “no logging policy”
Mullvad

Mullvad review

 17.58 Mbps

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

Sweden*Tickets Torrenting allowed

Not working with Netflix

Strict “no logging policy”
Avira Phantom

Avira Phantom review

 12.18 Mbps 

AES 256-bit
All Protocols

Germany*Tickets Torrenting allowed

Works with Netflix

Suspicious logging policy

 

Is VPN Fully Legal?

Now that you know what a VPN is, how to use one, and how to pick the right one for you, you might be wondering if they are legal where you live.

The short answer? Yes.

It’s typically not illegal to use a VPN service.

But it largely depends on the laws of the country you’re physically located in when using a VPN. Sometimes, it can be hard to decipher these laws to tell what is technically legal or illegal. There might be a grey area. For example, China has tried to block individual VPN providers over and over.

However, they weren’t able to block them all.

Until new legislation was released by the Chinese government that states that a VPN provider has to earn approval from the Chinese government to be permitted. And service providers also have to agree to whatever terms the government wants them to adhere to in order to be allowed.

Other countries have banned VPNs altogether.

That’s why we’ve put together a database where you can find out whether VPNs are legal in your country.

find out if VPN is legal in your countryBased on our research, we’ve found that:

  • VPNs are illegal in: China, Turkey, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Belarus, Oman, Russia.
  • VPNs are somewhat illegal in: Iran, North-Korea, Turkmenistan.

 

Best VPNs for Torrenting & Netflix?

While there are plenty of VPNs that technically allow torrenting and work with Netflix, not all of these VPNs are created equally. Here are the three best VPNs for torrenting and Netflix.

1. ExpressVPN: The Best VPN for Torrenting and Netflix (83 out of 100 Mbps)

Costing $6.67/mo, ExpressVPN isn’t exactly a “Budget Provider”, however, their zero logs policy, stellar customer support, and rapid download speeds make them our go-to VPN for just about everything.

ExpressVPN makes it easy to torrent files and stream Netflix from almost anywhere in the world and their services are, bar none, the best that I’ve ever reviewed.

2. NordVPN: A Budget-Friendly(ish) Alternative to ExpressVPN (74 Mbps out of 100 Mbps) 

If ExpressVPN is outside of your current budget, then NordVPN offers a great alternative that will save you a few bucks each month. While your download times will be throttled slightly more than they would with ExpressVPN, the difference is relatively small. Considering the company’s minimal logging policy, fast download times, and affordable pricing (only $3.29/mo) it’s hard to ask for more from a budget-friendly way to torrent and stream Netflix.

3. Buffered VPN: It Works… But Slowly (46 Mbps out of 100) 

The final Netflix/Torrenting-friendly VPN on our list is Buffered. Although Buffered works with both Netflix and P2P file sharing, it does so very slowly. The company has an admittedly long list of features and benefits that it brings to the average VPN user. Unfortunately, speed and budget friendliness are not on that list.

If you decide to use Buffered VPN, you will be paying about $8.25/mo and you should expect slower than average download times for all torrenting activity.

Here you can find top performing VPNs for torrenting.

Here you can find best VPNs for Netflix.

 

Using VPN on Mobile and Routers

Once you have decided on the best VPN software, I strongly recommend that you take some time to get your new VPN setup on both your mobile devices and your router. Using a VPN on your mobile device is a very straightforward process that typically requires you to do little more than download an application and log in to the client.

Setting up a VPN to work with your home or office router, on the other hand, can be a very arduous and intensive process, but I promise that it’s well worth it. By configuring your router to work with the VPN provider of your choice, you will dramatically streamline the process and reduce unnecessary steps in the future. With your home router protected, you will only have to sign in to your VPN client once, every device that you own will be protected (as long as you are connected to your home network) and you will no longer have to launch your VPN client every time that you log in to a device.

Here you can find best VPNs for Android devices.

Click here to read our full guide on setting up a router VPN.

 

What about Best FREE VPNs?

Best free VPN?At this point in the article, many of you are probably thinking to yourself,

Yeah, this all seems great, but I think I’m just going to use XYZ Company… Their VPN is free and it still works pretty well.

Although this might seem like the common sense thing to do, I must urge you to reconsider.

Free VPN services are not only notoriously unreliable, but the companies who offer free VPNs typically log your data, monitor your activity, sell your information, and display unwanted ads on your devices.

Although it might be tempting to try to save as much money as possible by using a free VPN… Don’t. Your online privacy and security are worth a few dollars each month.

If you are still unconvinced, you can try out providers like WindScribe, ProtonVPN and Betternet (but they are all very slow and come with a limited download cap).

 

About our VPN Review Process

To guarantee the accuracy of our review process, we funded each VPN using our own money (to ensure that our account wasn’t given preferential treatment as is often the case for major review outlets), we tested and benchmarked performance metrics over the course of several months, and submitted dozens of support tickets to each company’s customer support team.

While there are countless variables that could have affected our experiences, we’ve been testing and reviewing VPNs for years and, at this point, have tried out more than 30 different providers, so we can provide statistically relevant information to help our reader’ make the most informed and unbiased decisions possible.

Earnings Disclosure: We, at the TheBestVPN.com, use affiliate links to cover the expenses of testing VPN software, but that doesn’t make our ranking biased in any way.

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