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The 10 Best VPN Services of 2020

There are many privacy issues associated with surfing the web. Staying off the internet isn’t an option for most of us, but using a VPN can be the next best thing.

Surfing the web presents a slew of privacy issues, from advertising trackers monitoring your activity to malicious hackers trying to hijack your information. And with more people working from home during the pandemic, online security is more important than ever. Short of swearing off the internet entirely, a VPN is the best way to stay safe online.

 

The Best VPN Services

  • ExpressVPN – Best overall
  • StrongVPN – Best bang for your buck
  • NordVPN – Most secure
  • IPVanish – Best for beginners
  • Surfshark – Fastest

 

What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

VPN stands for “virtual private network.” VPNs have long been used on the enterprise level because they help big companies keep customer data and proprietary information secure. They are increasingly popular for home use because they’re attractive to privacy-minded individuals.

VPNs are a separate service from your internet provider that you can sign into whenever you’re online to shield your activity from hackers, advertisements, fraudsters and any other unwelcome third parties. They work by concealing your real IP address and assigning you a temporary one. In the digital world, an IP address is a unique number that gets linked to all of your internet activity. Changing this identifier helps you stay more anonymous on the web.

 

Benefits of Using a VPN

  • Protection
    Using a VPN protects you from common risks associated with public Wi-Fi networks, such as hackers and scammers using public network vulnerabilities to steal your information or spread malware.
  • Less targeted ads
    Most browsers show you advertisements based on your browsing history. Signing into a VPN sidesteps many of those ad-targeting protocols. You’ll still see ads, but they’ll be less eerily specific. Some VPN services include an ad blocker as well.
  • Bypass location restrictions
    Some web content is blocked in certain geographic areas. This can be a hassle if you’re traveling, trying to watch a sports team that isn’t covered in your area, or if you’re doing research. By using a VPN, you can make it seem like you’re located somewhere else.
  • Save money
    You can save on items that are priced according to your location or browsing history. The big offender here is plane tickets. Ticketing websites remember which travel routes you research, and they employ tricks to charge maximum prices. Viewers in cities with higher costs of living tend to pay more, and you might see prices automatically inch up with every repeat search. When you use a VPN, they don’t know your location or if you’re a repeat visitor, so you’re more likely to get a low price.
Express VPN
Surfshark
NordVPN
IPVanish
PureVPN
StrongVPN
Cyberghost
Private Internet Access
Hotspot Shield
GooseVPN
Starting Price $12.95 $12.95 $11.95 $11.95 $10.95 $10.00 $12.99 $11.95 $12.99 €$12.99 (about $15.50)
# of Servers 3,000+ 3,200+ 5,529 1,500+ 6,500+ 950+ 6,378 17,476 1,800+ 114
Server locations 160 N/A N/A 75+ 180+ N/A 111 97 N/A N/A
Countries 94 65 59 51 140+ 30+ 90 76 80 25
# of Devices 5 Unlimited 6 Unlimited 10 12 7 10 5 Unlimited
Killswitch Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Blockers No Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes No

Our Review of the Best VPN Services

1. Express VPN

Rating: 5 out of 5

Features: 

  • Top-notch security
  • User-friendly interface
  • Speedy connections

Review: ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs available. It provides an ideal combination of top-of-the-line security and easy to navigate interface without requiring a sacrifice in performance. Privacy comes first with this VPN, as it includes a kill switch to keep data from leaking. The company also maintains a zero-log policy so your activity can’t be traced back to you. ExpressVPN is an all-around, premium VPN service.

 

2. Surfshark

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Features:

  • High speed connections
  • Unlimited devices
  • Great for streaming

Review: Surfshark is all about one thing: speed. This VPN is considered the best performing when it comes to providing high-speed connections, which is key for any user who plans to use their VPN while streaming videos or consuming other media. Surfshark hasn’t skimped on security, either. It blocks ads and trackers by default and provides built-in anti-malware tools. Unlimited device support makes this a great option for families or households.

 

3. NordVPN

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Features:

  • Top of the line encryption
  • Trustworthy security
  • Lots of servers

Review: NordVPN has a reputation for security, and with good reason. The company has made major investments ensuring the safety of its users, including performing multiple security audits and launching a bug bounty program to report any issues. It offers military-grade encryption and relies on OpenVPN, an open source system that allows for complete transparency. NordVPN doesn’t keep any logs of user activities and has gone to great lengths to make sure data doesn’t leak.

 

4. IPVanish

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Features:

  • Easy to use
  • Speedy connections
  • Perfect for streaming

Review: IPVanish makes using a VPN straightforward and easy, even for people who aren’t digital natives. This VPN is built with the average person in mind, someone who is more interested in accessing region-locked content on Netflix than exploring the dark web. That doesn’t mean it’s without essential security features like a kill switch, but it’s presented within an interface that is easy to understand.

 

5. PureVPN

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Features:

  • Reliable security
  • Capable speeds
  • Protection for malware

Review: PureVPN has been around for awhile, and it’s a strong option without necessarily standing out in any one area. It doesn’t keep logs and it offers a kill switch, both essentials of any privacy-minded VPN service. It also offers protection from malware and ads, which makes the internet browsing experience much more pleasant. PureVPN was quick to make itself GDPR compliant and has undergone security audits to ensure it offers top-level protection.

 

6. StrongVPN

Rating: 4 out of 5

Features:

  • Easy to use
  • Reasonable price
  • Trustworthy security

Review: StrongVPN is a strong contender for anyone looking to pick up a capable and secure VPN for a reasonable price. It offers the type of security that you would expect, with a no logging policy and a solid base of IP addresses and servers to connect to. It’s not the most feature-rich VPN out there, but it offers a solid balance of affordability and security that should meet your needs without breaking your budget.

 

7. Cyberghost

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Features:

  • Customizable user experience
  • Lots of servers
  • Affordable plans

Review: CyberGhost offers some of the best-priced plans if you’re willing to pay for the service for multi-year plans. It’s probably worth trying out first before committing to that, but odds are you’ll like what you see. CyberGhost offers a feature-rich suite of security and privacy tools that are widely customizable. It’s also pretty speedy and has plenty of servers to connect to. One warning: the company has come under fire in the past for its parent company’s sketchy history.

 

8. Private Internet Access

Rating: 4 out of 5

Features:

  • Lots of servers
  • History of reliability
  • Offers kill switch

Review: Private Internet Access has been a well-liked and trusted VPN service for quite some time, and with good reason. It’s reliable, secure, and has a track record of being dedicated to user security. The company doesn’t log your activity; a kill switch keeps you safe; and there is plenty of documentation about their security protocols. Add in lots of servers and you’ve got a solid VPN.

 

9. Hotspot Shield

Rating: 3 out of 5

Features:

  • Strong privacy
  • Media player support
  • Built-in antimalware

Review: Hotspot Shield offers some solid privacy features, including a kill switch, no log policy, and a privacy canary on its website to alert anyone if law enforcement has requested information from the company. It’s also a good option for media lovers, as it works with media players. However, it’s a relatively barebones offering otherwise, and the company has had troubles in the past, including poor reviews from privacy groups.

 

10. GooseVPN

Rating: 3 out of 5

Features: 

  • User friendly
  • Straightforward interface
  • Good for streaming

Review: GooseVPN is a relatively basic VPN offering. It’s a solid choice for people who love streaming and want to have more access to content that is region locked. It’s also a good choice for anyone who just needs straightforward protection without frills and an easy to use interface. It’s pretty plain, though, and won’t blow away the most security-minded users.


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Researched by the

Safety Team

The Safety Team is a group of experts that handle provider research, product reviews and recalls to make your home safety and security search as easy as 1-2-3.