We signed up for the 20 most popular VPN providers.

Both free and paid.

Then spent over 240 hours testing, vetting, and analyzing the results.

That means we’ve dug through an ungodly number of privacy policies (hint: logging policies), fact-checked user reviews, and conducted over 200-speed tests using different VPN servers.

Click here to expand the full list of VPN services we tested

Some of them are ‘OK’, but there are some to avoid.

VPN Ranking Criteria

1. Logging Policy and Encryption Level

VPN Logging PolicyLet’s not beat around the bush here:

The underlying VPN technology is largely the same. From one company to the next.

The differences come in what each company decides to do with your personal information.

VPN’s keep your data private. Sure. But not from the actual VPN company you’re using.

They can see it all. They’ve tied your billing addressing and email to those internet sessions.

So those ambiguous service terms and privacy policies can come back to haunt you.

Case in point: logging of user behavior by several VPN providers.

And ‘free’ ones were the worst. So bad, that they can’t even be considered free at all. ‘Cause you’re paying with your privacy.

The most important thing to us is your privacy. Your anonymity & unmonitored network activity. In a safe and secure environment.

That’s why we CANNOT recommend the following three VPN providers:

  • HideMyAssTorrentFreak reported that HMA will log your IP, time and date of the VPN usage. Moreover, during our tests we encountered a connection issue which HMA was unable to assist us with. They simply told us “bad luck”.

Read our in-depth reviews, written by industry experts, who personally tested each and every VPN they reviewed (downloads, installs, and all) to make sure you don’t fall victim to these shady companies who gamble with your privacy.

2. Connection Speed (Download/Upload in mbps)

USA VPN Speeds Table

Your focus should shift over to connection speeds after you’re satisfied with VPN security features.

We conducted download & upload speed tests of the top 15 VPN services over the course of one month.

The tests were performed from within the UK, connecting to servers in the USA, China, and Europe.

Our raw benchmark connection is rated at up to 100 Mbps. 

With that in mind, here’s who came at on top (and way down at the bottom).

The losers testing below 30 Mbps means a 70% reduction from the raw connection. That’s simply unacceptable.

Click here to expand speed charts of the top 5 performing VPN for Europe & China

3. Usability (learning curves, app crashes?)

ExpressVPN ConnectingVPN’s are techy. Geeky. In a good way. But still.

That means network veterans make up a large chunk of the market. Those who routinely deal with ugly ’90s UX Design’ (<— the definition of an oxymoron) on a daily basis.

But that’s not good enough.

A good VPN should be used daily. An integral part of your day-to-day life.

So you shouldn’t have to settle for confusing, cluttered, and clunky connection clients.

Easy & seamless is the only acceptable solution.

The best-of-the-best here are ExpressVPN and PrivateInternetAccess.

You can connect to each of their VPN clients within seconds. Automatically (on start up) or manually. Literally open, click, and start browsing.

4. Customer Support

VPN support qualityThe best VPN’s will run in the background. Without you even knowing they’re there.

Except… for the infrequent compatibility issue. An antivirus system can throw off a false positive. System, firewall, and even VPN software updates can also cause headaches from time-to-time.

These little connection issues should by minor inconveniences… not day-long battles with customer service.

A lightning-fast, helpful support agent is your only hope during these dark hours. Thankfully, most VPN providers have realized the importance of click-button chat and phone support.

However, there are a few misfits which have decided against offering chat support. Instead, relying on (snail-paced) emails which can take as long as 48 hours to get any response.

That’s like a week in internet time. And WAY too long if you’re paying them hundreds of bucks a year.

So without further ado. Without further teasing. Here are the top six VPN services of 2017 after our careful research, analysis, monitoring, testing, and verifying. You almost can’t go wrong with any of these six.

6 Best VPN Services of 2017


According to our tests

VPN Service Cost Jurisdiction / Logging Policy
Speed Rank # Protocols Usability

1. PrivateInternetAccess

(link to full review)

$3.33/mo US
No Logging
(link to TOS)
#1 OpenVPN, IPSEC/L2TP, PPTP, SOCKS5 ★★★★★

2. NordVPN

(link to full review)

$5.75/mo Panama
No Logging
(link to TOS)
#6  OpenVPN, PPTP  ★★★★

3. ExpressVPN

(link to full review)

$8.32/mo British Virgin Islands
No Logging
(link to TOS)
#2 OpenVPN, IPSEC/L2TP, PPTP, SOCKS5 ★★★★

4. IPVanish

(link to full review)

$6.49/mo US
No Logging
(link to TOS)
#3 OpenVPN, SOCKS5, PPTP, L2TP ★★★

5. VyprVPN

(link to full review)

$5.00/mo Switzerland
No Logging
(link to TOS)
#4 OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec ★★★

6. Buffered

(link to full review)

$8.25/mo Hungary
No Logging
(link to TOS)
#5 OpenVPN ★★★

1. Private Internet Access


PrivateInternetAccess HomepagePrivate Internet Access (or PIA for short) is one of the most well-known VPN providers on the market.

And funny enough, it’s actually the brainchild of London Trust Media, a former marketing firm turned Cyber Hero).

Don’t be fooled by their unusual backstory or quirky brand name, though.

PIA is among the best VPN servers worldwide. Their top-shelf, blazing fast connection speeds and rock-bottom prices have catapulted PIA into VPN stardom. (An illustrious group, no doubt.)

PIA’s also beloved by network nerds because of their easy-to-use VPN client (which is among the best next to ExpressVPN).

Unfortunately, there is one downside. Their amazing prices mean cutbacks on some beginner-friendly features.

www.PrivateInternetAccess.com

Read our Review

2. NordVPN


NordVPN HomepageNordVPN was inspired by the Nordic ideals of confidence, trust, freedom, and innovation. Their company truly stands behind these ideals and progressive values.

Fortunately, their service is pretty damn good, too.

They have a strict no logging policy, double AES 256-bit encryption, 24/7 live chat support, and 700+ server locations in more than 60 countries to chose from (that’s A LOT).

Oh, and one of the most beautiful UI designs out there.

If that’s not enough, they have an incredibly attractive pricing structure. You can even pay with BitCoin.

Downsides? Average connection speeds and mediocre ease of use.

www.NordVPN.com

Read our Review

3. ExpressVPN – Best VPN for Beginners


ExpressVPN HomepageA lot of research went into these reviews. Literally hundreds of hours.

And after around the 200-mark, we realized that ExpressVPN is smoking the competition. Leaving no prisoners behind.

ZERO logging policy. Podium-worthy connection speeds. Over 1,000 server locations. And 24/7/365 live support (yay!).

Their VPN client is also what dreams are made of. It’s simple and straightforward. So minimalistic that there’s literally a giant button to press to connect. And you can configure it with all operating systems; Windows, Mac, iOs (even Blackberries — do people still use those? — and routers.)

Despite its simplicity, they’ve even found a way to pack in some advanced features you don’t see anywhere else. Including internal server speed tests. (Cue nerdgasm.)

ExpressVPN has also been named as the best VPN service by PCMag, TechRadar, and hundreds of other tech publications worldwide.

www.ExpressVPN.com

Read our Review

4. IPVanish – Best Cheap VPN


IP Vanish HomepageIPVanish might literally help your IP vanish. But that doesn’t mean they’ve vanished from our hearts.

They’ve got a strict no logging policy, awesome connection speeds, 700+ server locations, and 24/7/365 Live support.

Sounds familiar, right? No, you’re not having a Deja Vu. They boast almost identical stats to ExpressVPN. And have cemented themselves among the best VPN services in the world.

There are a few weird quirks, however.

You have to restart your system after the initial install (weird). They kinda have feature-bloat, too, that makes the dashboard a little cluttered.

BUT the do have a 22% cost savings over ExpressVPN. So you might be able to get over those minor issues if budget-friendly is at the top of your list.

www.IPVanish.com

Read our Review

5. VyprVPN – Fastest VPN


VyprVPN HomepageVyprVPN is one of the few that hosts their own servers and DNS.

The Austin, Texas-based company has more than 700 servers in 70 locations around the world. They have a no logging policy firmly in place. Live chat is great. And connection speeds are among the best we’ve seen.

They’re also one of the few VPN companies to offer a completely FREE 3-day trial. So you can give them a full test drive before getting locked into a long multi-month deal.

The only drawback is the clunky initial setup and small learning curve your first time around. (All worth it in the end if you ask us.)

www.VyprVPN.com

Read our Review

 


All VPN Reviews and Speed Tests

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Review
#1 Trusted Leader in VPN. Easy-to-use VPN service for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Routers, and Linux.

Buffered VPN

Buffered Review
Newest VPN Provider out of Hungary. Fast &  Secure. Instant Setup. 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.

Vypr VPN

VyprVPN Review
Free 3 Day Trial. Affordable. Top 3 in Speed. Allows Torrenting. Awesome Features. 700+ Unique Locations.

HideMyAss VPN

HideMyAss! Review
Best Name. Hundreds of servers, every country on Earth. Friendly, simple interface. Very Fast. Some issues.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield Review
Free (Ad-ridden) version available. Easy to use. Integrated malware detection. Flexible payment plans.

IPvanish VPN

IPVanish Review
Perfect for Torrenting. Very friendly interface. INCREDIBLE Speed for EU&UK. Hundreds of servers. Automatic IP changes

NordVPN

NordVPN Review
Simple setup. Multiple connections. Super affordable. Torrenting allowed.

PIA VPN

Private Internet Access Review
Incredibly cheap. Fastest of them all. One-click connection. Ad blocking. Advanced features. Suitable for Torrenting.

Pure VPN

PureVPN Review
Stay away! Declining refunds on money back guarantees. Shady Marketing. Using shill companies.

SaferVPN

SaferVPN Review
Stay away! Records your IP address; big privacy issue. Faulty software. Bad up-time.

TorGuard VPN

TorGuard Review
1600+ Servers in 50+ Countries. Made specifically for Torrenting. Multiple data centers. Awesome support.

TunnelBear VPN

Tunnelbear Review
Free 3 Day Trial. Very affordable. Only 20 servers. Poor connection client. No Torrenting allowed

VPNArea VPN

VPN Area Review
Very affordable. Switzerland based. Over 200 servers. Friendly support, but email only.

VPN Unlimited VPN

VPN Unlimited Review
AMAZING Price. Fast speeds. Over 1000 VPN locations. Reports of poor up-time.

Ivacy VPN

Ivacy VPN Review
Stay away! Reports of not honouring money-back-guarantees.


Benefits of Using a VPN

How Do Virtual Private Networks Work

Virtual Private Networks were first used by transnational (fancy word for: spread out) companies to establish secure communication channels across continents. A decade ago!

That means someone in London could securely log in to their team’s network back in New York to access files, etc.

Then the internet happened (ever heard of it?) around the turn of the twentieth century.

Cue aggressive government censorship and spying on their own citizens. The explosion of identity theft and hacking online records. And the ever-diminishing rights under net neutrality.

Even ordinary internet users now find themselves faced with rampant privacy invasion and at-risk while trying to simply pay bills online.

Virtual Private Networks secure your network traffic via a protected ‘tunnelled protocol’.

It effectively locks down your internet connection. So no one (whether that’s a hacker or even your friendly government agency) can snoop or intercept what you’re trying to do.

It shields you away. Protecting you (and even helping you proactively change connections) if the slightest whiff of fishy behaviour is detected.

Among the many benefits of using a VPN are:

  • Tight Security: VPNs are the #1 way to ensure maximum online security & anonymity. Everything you do will be encrypted and inaccessible whether you’re sitting at home or in a crowded mall.
  • Unlock Geo Restrictions: Netflix is available in many countries. But the content they can show in each is different. Many times, the best stuff is restricted based on your IP address. But if you change it with the help of a VPN, you can literally unlock a world full of content.
  • Negates Censorship: Two-thirds of all internet users — 67 percent — live in countries where criticism of the government, military, or ruling family are subject to censorship,” according to the Freedom Report by Freedom House.  Thankfully, VPN’s help you sidestep censorship altogether. That means commonly blocked websites (like Google, Facebook, Youtube etc) or services (Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype) are unlocked instantly.
  • Circumvents Throttling: Your internet service provider will be unable to monitor your data and subsequently throttle or slow it down (based on your usage). So if you’re watching too many videos, for example, tying up their resources, they’ll try to slow your connection to a crawl to limit your activity.

Conclusion

There were more than 4,100 security breaches totalling 4.2 billion stolen and exposed personal records – emails, passwords, SSNs, addresses etc, according to Risk Based Security reports. In just 2016 alone!

Government censorship is on the rise. And your ISP is selling your browser history.

The only solution to safe, secure internet use is a VPN.

Go with the best all-around PIA if you’re ready.

If not, try the completely free 3-day trial at VyprVPN.

And you’ll convince yourself in no time.

Surf Safe,
Andrey, Brad, John & Linda

Want to improve this VPN review? Send us an email: research@thebestvpn.com