The VPN routes online traffic over an encrypted tunnel to a server managed by the VPN provider. It then proceeds to the web as usual. If you exclusively connect to HTTPS-secured websites, your data will remain encrypted even after exiting the VPN. This may appear easy and even needless, yet it can have a significant impact on your online privacy.
Anyone spying around your network won't be able to see what you're up to if your VPN is turned on. This is true even if the snooper has complete control of the network. Unfortunately, public Wi-Fi networks, which are ubiquitous and convenient, are also beneficial to attackers.
Even if you trust your fellow humans (which we do not advise), you should never trust your internet service provider (ISP). In the United States, your ISP possesses extensive knowledge about your internet activity.
They are all dangerous and invade your privacy. While there are many good free security and privacy tools available online, VPNs are unfortunately not one of them. Safe VPNs are expensive for businesses to operate and safeguard, and free ones are nearly always malware-laden digital footprint snoops.
But there's good news: the booming VPN industry is now hypercompetitive, so costs for even the best VPNs routinely fall below $5 per month.
Let's take a closer look at each of our VPN providers below.
While Surfshark's network is smaller than its competitors, the VPN service makes up for its functionality and performance. Let's start with the largest benefit it provides: unlimited device support. So, you don’t have to fret about how many devices you are connecting if you use Surfshark VPN for your home or business. Its software also includes anti-malware, ad-blocking, and tracker-blocking capabilities.
It's also quick. A speed testing shows less than 17% of the average internet activity despite the provider having over 3,200 servers in 65 countries. This is quicker than the 27 percent performance loss witnessed in prior testing, and it is way ahead of ExpressVPN in terms of speed comparisons.
NordVPN’s popularity has taken over the market recently. It provides abundant simultaneous device connections over its network, with six simultaneous connections available when virtually all other providers offer five or fewer. For those searching for a higher degree of VPN connection, NordVPN now provides a dedicated IP option. In addition, NordVPN has a kill switch and the option to VPN into Tor. During our examinations, we found no evidence of privacy breaches.
NordVPN's performance when compared to others shows an average speed reduction of 53%. This is slower than the 32 percent loss estimated in former speed tests. NordVPN's speeds were mostly faster than many available options. There were no unexpected drops or service disruptions, and it excelled where we anticipated the VPN to fall short.
PortonVPN speed testing reveals an incredibly tiny 9.6 percent performance decrease compared to typical speeds obtained without a VPN. ProtonVPN's basic speeds propelled it above most of our tested services and into the second position, trailing just ExpressVPN. Even more impressive is Proton's strength to deliver such speeds while holding a decent network of 1,259 servers scattered over 55 countries.
Proton, like ExpressVPN, is more expensive than most of the VPNs tested so far. Nonetheless, ProtonVPN's strong security standards and transparent history may make this VPN service worthwhile.
Along with the ability to route your traffic through a safe bunker of private servers, we like ProtonVPN's open policies: It's entirely open-source, with regular audits, and it provides a built-in route to Tor servers. We're also particularly confident in recommending its mobile app because it no longer employs some of the poorer security protocols, like PPTP and L2TP, that are still utilized by certain other VPNs.
The engaging, customizable interface of IPVanish makes it a great client for people interested in learning how to grasp what a VPN performs beneath the hood. Its multiplatform adaptability is also perfect for those looking for a Netflix-friendly VPN.
The IPVanish VPN's support for Kodi, the open-source video streaming program formerly known as XBMC, is a unique feature that has piqued our interest. The integrated IPVanish Kodi plug-in also allows access to media from anywhere in the world.
ExpressVPN is one of the most recommended VPN services available now. While numerous review websites promote it, how well does it truly perform in real-world tests? To begin, we should note that ExpressVPN has undergone significant changes in the last year. They unveiled Lightway, a self-developed protocol that promised quicker bandwidth and more security. ExpressVPN has also undergone considerable security and infrastructure improvements. However, we find it behind in certain aspects, especially when compared to other major VPN providers.
ExpressVPN has one disadvantage: it is more expensive than other competing VPN competitors (but also not the most expensive VPN). So, in a nutshell, this is not a cheap VPN. ExpressVPN's standard pricing starts at $8.32 per month or $99.95 per year.
Another significant disadvantage of ExpressVPN is the performance difficulties we discovered with the OpenVPN protocol. The OpenVPN protocol, which provides security and (usually) decent performance, is still the most frequently used protocol with VPN services. OpenVPN is likewise a free source and widely used by individuals and businesses. However, ExpressVPN clearly struggles with OpenVPN speeds. This might be an issue for those who use OpenVPN as their primary VPN protocol.
The last disadvantage of ExpressVPN will be its lack of functionality. ExpressVPN, as previously said, is more costly than other major VPNs. In connection to the high price, it is also worth noting that you do not receive a plethora of features.
How do you know what the best VPN is? First, you must know two things: what you intend to use the VPN for and how much you are prepared to spend. There are many VPNs to select from, and their features vary greatly, but with those two answers, you can begin your search for a VPN that has the appropriate balance of speed, security, and affordability.