Our table and reviews detail both where each service is based and whether it retains any connection logs. However, logging isn’t the be-all and end-all of VPN security. We’ve restricted ourselves to testing services from reputable companies with a proven track record, but it’s impossible to truly know how much faith can be put in any organisation’s claims about their logging policy.
So in other words.... they keep logs. If they're tracking server access, they could be tracking IP's, connection times, bandwidth utilization, etc. And a log is subpoena-able in most jurisdictions. If that matters to you and you want a zero-log provider, VPN Unlimited is not the right choice for you. If you simply don't care (eg Harry), then VPN Unlimited would be just fine.
VyperVPN offers two subscription packages, with options to be billed either monthly or annually. We suggest selecting the annual option as it will save you quite a bit of money. That said, VyprVPN isn’t very cheap and if you want to test out the service before buying, there’s only a three-day period to do it for free. We were told by the customer service that VyprVPN does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, depending on the link used. Most of the time though, you’ll just get the three-day testing period.
In the most recent round of testing, we've also looked at how many virtual servers a given VPN company uses. A virtual server is just what it sounds like—a software-defined server running on server hardware that might have several virtual servers onboard. The thing about virtual servers is that they can be configured to appear as if they are in one country when they are actually being hosted somewhere else. That's an issue if you're especially concerned about where you web traffic is traveling. It's a bit worrisome to choose one location and discover you're actually connected somewhere else entirely.
IVPN also performed well in our speed tests. Though it wasn’t always the fastest in the 54 measurements we took on each service, it ranked near the top on many servers at different times of the week—especially compared with the most trustworthy services. Private Internet Access, one of the most visible, privacy-focused VPNs, had slower speeds when connecting to most servers and less reliable connections than IVPN. For US servers (which we expected to be the fastest locations since we tested from California), IVPN ranked behind only OVPN and TorGuard. We liked OVPN—especially its speed results—but we thought that company’s small team and small selection of servers and locations were too limiting for some people. (Read more in the Competition section.) Though TorGuard edged out IVPN in this test, the difference wasn’t big enough to affect our everyday browsing. And because we tested each application at its default settings, TorGuard’s faster speeds were partially thanks to its default 128-bit encryption; IVPN offers only more secure, but often slower, 256-bit encryption.
Private Internet Access is very popular as a torrent VPN for many years. TechSpree, TorrentFreak and LifeHacker recommend Private Internet Access for completely anonymous torrenting. Private Internet Access also implemented VPN kill switch i.e. your internet connection drops if your VPN connection is not available so that you can avoid getting caught while downloading torrent files in the middle of the night. Private Internet Access has state-of-the-art “PIA MACE” technology that blocks site tracker, ads and malwares which I think a great feature for anonymity lovers. Also you will enjoy DNS leak Protection and IPV6 leak protection. If you want complete anonymity please confirm that you are using these features.
The virtual router architecture,[22][23] as opposed to BGP/MPLS techniques, requires no modification to existing routing protocols such as BGP. By the provisioning of logically independent routing domains, the customer operating a VPN is completely responsible for the address space. In the various MPLS tunnels, the different PPVPNs are disambiguated by their label, but do not need routing distinguishers.

CyberGhost has more than 1100 Servers worldwide in 50 countries, making it easy for users to find a fast and secure connection. It does not collect any user data and all traffic information are protected by 128-encryption. Speed is fairly fast, allowing users to stream content, download files and do online shopping. The service comes in three plans, a one-month plan, a six-month plan or an annual package.
As for security, the Panama-based provider prides itself with military-grade 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch (which prevents your data from being exposed should a VPN connection unexpectedly drop), as well as double data encryption, meaning your data goes through two separate VPN servers. In addition, NordPVN has a strict no-logs policy, so your private information is safe from prying eyes.
I often receive emails asking about the interplay between VPNs and BitTorrent. Some of them have included admissions of piracy, and even justifications for it. One reader bemoaned the difficulty in finding legal avenues for material that is out of print or just hard to obtain or not available for sale in a given locale. We sympathize. The state of the public domain has been woefully neglected, and market forces and regional distribution deals often keep worthy art and materials out of the hands of those who want it, even if they are willing to pay for it. But no matter how just the reasoning, the law (however problematic) is the law. ISPs and, yes, other web companies, are often compelled to answer when rights holders come with a list of offenses carried out on their data infrastructure.
IPVanish has a clear no-logging policy and is based in the USA, which doesn’t legally require logging of user activity. By the same token, there’s few data protection requirements and, in 2016, when it was owned by its previous parent company Highwinds, IPVanish handed over detailed connection information for use as evidence by the US Department of Homeland Security, even though it claimed to keep no logs at the time. Current owner StackPath says it intends to honour its no logging policy, but it’s not clear whether any technical changes have been implemented to ensure this.
TorGuard also lacks extra features that are nice to have, like automatically connecting to the VPN when you’re on an unknown Wi-Fi network (which IVPN offers) or split-tunneling to choose which apps do and don’t route through the VPN (which ExpressVPN supports). And it offers no option to automatically connect to the fastest server, a feature our top pick lacks as well. But if you have above-average knowledge of networking, you’ll appreciate TorGuard’s more in-depth settings pane, which allows you to add scripts or kill specific processes when the VPN disconnects—neither our top pick nor popular services like Private Internet Access allow that kind of control.
While these are handy features, perhaps the most important privacy concern centers on the company itself. You can quickly see strengths and weakness of a VPN service by reading their respective privacy policies. Many VPNs tout a “no log” policy, which means the only data they collect may be related to your purchase. This could include your email, but they collect no other data that could potentially expose you or your usage of a VPN. This is the best policy available and one should actively seek with any VPN service. That means having to trust the company that they are not actually collect any data. 
Price: proXPN has a free plan, which limits your transfer speeds to 300kpbs and restricts you to one exit location (Miami) in the United States. Premium accounts unlock support for PPTP (if you want to connect a mobile device or a router,) remove the transfer cap, and allows you to choose from any of the company’s other exit locations. Premium plans start at $10/mo, and you can read more about their pricing and plans here.
We contacted each of our finalists with simple questions about its service and troubleshooting. Most VPN companies provide technical support through online ticketing systems, meaning you’ll need to wait for a response. This means that self-help support sites are even more important, since waiting for a reply while your connection is down can be frustrating. Response times to our support inquiries ranged from 20 minutes to a day.

It’s also fast with impressive 830+ server locations, which makes it an excellent choice for P2P file-sharing, online gaming, and HD streaming. There are no annoying bandwidth caps here, and you can connect to Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, or France’s Canal+ if you wish – there’s a server for every need. The double encryption will understandably slow things down.
Prices are also pretty low. Expect to pay £63.58 for a year (equivalent to £5.29 a month), or £53.48 for a two year subscription (equivalent to £2.23 a month). Based on current rates, the standard monthly fee works out at £5.33, so if you want to save, the two year option is your best bet. Alternatively, you can pay using Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Zcash or gift cards.
Nevertheless, the point of a VPN is to remain private and to have your internet activity kept as private as possible. For that reason, we’re choosing Mullvad as the best overall VPN (see our full review of Mullvad). The company recently released an overhauled desktop client, and the VPN does a great job at privacy. Mullvad doesn’t ask for your email address, and you can mail your payment in cash if you want to. Like many other VPNs, Mullvad has a no-logging policy and doesn’t even collect any identifying metadata from your usage.
With all that being said, be careful if you’re tempted by any of the free VPN apps for either Android or iOS. There’s research by a team of specialists (from CSIRO’s Data61, the University of New South Wales, the International Computer Science Institute and the University of California Berkeley), going through more than 280 free Android apps that use Android VPN permissions. The research reveals that 38% of those apps include malware, 84% leak users’ traffic and 75% use tracking libraries. So there’s that.
ButterflyVPN Router is suitable for anyone who seeks a safe and secure way to access the internet and any region-blocked content. Coming in the form of a mini-size USB portable wireless VPN router, this solution is quick and easy to start up as it simply requires users to plug the device in any internet-powered area. Its portability makes ButterflyVPN Router ideal for employees out on business trips, travelers, bloggers, or anyone who is looking to access the internet on the go. It supports all types of internet-capable platform, from mobile devices and laptops to gaming consoles such as Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox.
The practical uses for a VPN service are plentiful. Want to access a website that your ISP has blocked? A VPN puts that website just one click away. Want to access the US version of Netflix from the UK? Just set your VPN to a US location and you're there. Want to access porn without your ISP or your business knowing about it? Want to download torrents without being blocked by your ISP? It's easy.
A VPN is created by establishing a virtual point-to-point connection through the use of dedicated connections, virtual tunneling protocols, or traffic encryption. A VPN available from the public Internet can provide some of the benefits of a wide area network (WAN). From a user perspective, the resources available within the private network can be accessed remotely.[2]
Local download speeds typically topped a 178Mbps (peaking at an incredible 334Mbps in Paris) with local uploads almost as fast. While not as fast as our top picks, this is perfectly adequate for torrenting. A strict zero logs policy and first-party DNS servers mean no data even exists to identify you, while privacy features like the kill switch are ideal for torrenting.
No company came closer to being a pick than ExpressVPN. It has a huge server network that performed well in our tests, plus easy-to-use applications on tons of platforms, and strong security technologies in place. A representative answered all our questions about company operations at length—except one. As noted in a PCWorld review of the service, ExpressVPN chooses not to disclose the company’s leadership or ownership. The company representative told us that this policy enabled ExpressVPN to build a private and secure product without compromise. “We think that this approach has been effective until now and that coupled with a stellar VPN product, we have succeeded in gaining a solid reputation in our industry. We are fortunate to be trusted by the many users worldwide who choose ExpressVPN.”
At a minimum, your ISP keeps track of every IP address it assigned you, often for six to 18 months. ISPs mostly use these records to respond to specific law enforcement requests, often to catch truly awful criminals. But no protections are in place to guarantee that it’s the only way ISPs use these logs. In 2017, the US Department of Justice unsuccessfully demanded that a Web host hand over more than a million IP addresses, namely that of anyone who accessed a website that helped organize protests during the presidential inauguration. Compliance with that demand would have allowed the DOJ to in turn request identifying information from ISPs on anyone who visited the site—including journalists doing research, bored Twitter users clicking a link, or people against the protests who wanted a hate read. A good VPN would spare the innocent the trouble and the invasion of privacy in such a situation.
For those who are unaware, net neutrality is the much-discussed concept that ISPs treat web services and apps equally, and not create fast lanes for companies that pay more, or require consumers to sign up for specific plans in order to access services like Netflix or Twitter. Federal net neutrality rules would ensure that the internet effectively continues to operate the way it has for its entire existence.
However, the company’s zero logging policy ran into trouble when in 2017 a user was arrested partially due to Pure VPN session logs. The VPN isn’t the only one to record session data (when a user connects to a server and the incoming IP address and bandwidth used is recorded) but it did hit the tech press headlines, no doubt rattling some users who may be using the service in less than legal ways. This is probably of little concern to the average user though.
We’re so used to sharing our private information online, and entering passwords and credit cards information. But do we ever stop and think, “who else can see this?” or, “can someone hack this network?” The truth is, a regular internet network isn’t particularly safe, and public Wi-Fi networks are even worse. If you demand total online anonymity, then your best bet is a VPN.
NordVPN uses shared IP addresses, and bandwidth is unlimited. Torrenting is explicitly permitted. A proxy, encrypted chat, and self-destructing encrypted notes are extra features included in each subscription. It can also unblock a range of geo-locked streaming services including Netflix US, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. A 30 day money-back guarantee means you can try the service and receive a full refund if not entirely happy.

PrivateVPN is one of our top picks for providers that offer both robust privacy features and excellent global performance. It is also one of the cheapest options on the current market if you opt for the annual plan. If you’re looking for seriously fast speeds and super-easy access to a range of streaming services including Netflix and BBC iPlayer, look no further. Fantastic upload speeds on local connections combined with low latency make it a great option for torrenters, keen Kodi users and gamers alike.
While some networks, either deliberately or as an incidental result of not permitting certain protocols, may also block VPN connections, this is unusual. However, as an extra security feature for those who need to hide the fact that they’re using a VPN, a number of service providers have implemented methods of obfuscating their encrypted traffic, such as TunnelBear‘s GhostBear mode and VyprVPN‘s Chameleon mode.
Other encryption protocols add another layer of security by encrypting your data multiple times. While your data is more secure, your speed will suffer as the VPN works to decrypt multiple layers of encryption. Think of it like a handshake. A secret handshake gets you through the door of a popular nightclub if that’s the policy. It’s a quick, but effective way to determine if you should have access to the club. But if the club requires multiple handshakes, that’ll take more time as you pass through all the security checks.
Canada is widely acclaimed for a massive number of internet users than any other country. Being a mainstream region for tech geeks, Canadians love to stream videos online. However, popular Canadian channels are geo-restricted outside Canada, meaning that users can’t access Bravo, CBC, Sportsnet and Canal De from outside Canada. To get away with restrictions, Canada VPN provides instant access to all Canadian channels from anywhere in the world. However, I haven’t tried BTGuard yet but I would suggest users to get a decent Canada VPN like Express VPN and Ivacy for top-notch privacy, anonymity and accessibility.
Here at IPVanish, we believe you shouldn’t have to sacrifice the privacy of one device for another. That’s why every IPVanish plan supplies ten concurrent connections. You can connect to our VPN service on up to ten devices at the same time — enough protection for the whole family. And with our automatic apps and VPN routers, you’ll be able to encrypt every internet-enabled device you own.
Borders still exist on the web, in the form of geographic restrictions for streaming content. The BBC iPlayer, for example, lets UK residents watch the Beeb to their heart's content. The rest of the world, not so much. But if you were to select a VPN server in the UK, your computer's IP address would appear to be the same as the server, allowing you to view the content.
In the most recent round of testing, we've also looked at how many virtual servers a given VPN company uses. A virtual server is just what it sounds like—a software-defined server running on server hardware that might have several virtual servers onboard. The thing about virtual servers is that they can be configured to appear as if they are in one country when they are actually being hosted somewhere else. That's an issue if you're especially concerned about where you web traffic is traveling. It's a bit worrisome to choose one location and discover you're actually connected somewhere else entirely.
We tested each service using both the Netflix-operated Fast.com download speed test and the more comprehensive Internet Health Test; the latter measures speeds up and down through multiple interconnection points between Internet providers. We ran each test on the macOS version of each VPN software in its default configuration, with our test computer connected over Gigabit Ethernet to a cable modem with no other traffic running through it. We recorded baseline download rates without a VPN active of nearly 300 mbps, and we checked our non-VPN speeds at random intervals to ensure that our local ISP wasn’t affecting the tests.
We also dove deeper into the desktop apps of the top-performing services. Great apps have automatic location selection, easy-to-use designs, and detailed but uncluttered settings panels. We set up each service’s Android app on a Samsung Galaxy S8 running Android 7.0 Nougat. We took into account how easy each one was to set up and connect, along with what options were available in the settings pane.
ProtonVPN is a VPN from Switzerland. The software is easy to use and provides all the features necessary to keep your data secure both at home and while on public WiFi. Servers are located around the world, and because ProtonVPN uses a Secure Core network of servers – it will provide fantastic speeds for streaming. Proton permits P2P for torrenting on some of its servers. In addition, it can be installed and used on five simultaneous devices. That means you can protect all your devices with one account. The VPN is zero logs (it never stores IP addresses) and the time of your last session is deleted every time a new session is started.

PrivateVPN is a zero-logs Swedish provider. It features a firewall-based system Kill Switch and application-level kill switch, which is great. Full IPv4 and IPv6 DNS leak protection is also built-in to its client. We have been particularly impressed by PrivateVPN’s high level of customer service, which even features remote installation for technophobes! A cracking 6 simultaneous devices, port forwarding, HTTPS and SOCKS5 proxies all make PrivateVPN a very enticing option for those that want to get the most out of their VPN.
Security is second to none with NordVPN. Its kills switch feature always monitors traffic between devices and the VPN servers. If for some reason, the data stream breaks, the kill switch will automatically terminate the connection, ensuring that your traffic is protected from prying eyes. Also, a DNS leak feature changes your DNS to point to the VPN server, ensuring that hackers cannot steal data from your default DNS.
NordVPN uses shared IP addresses, and bandwidth is unlimited. Torrenting is explicitly permitted. A proxy, encrypted chat, and self-destructing encrypted notes are extra features included in each subscription. It can also unblock a range of geo-locked streaming services including Netflix US, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. A 30 day money-back guarantee means you can try the service and receive a full refund if not entirely happy.
Whether the VPNs you’re familiar with are the ones offered by your school or business to help you work or stay connected when you’re traveling or the ones you pay to get you watch your favorite shows in another country as they air, they’re all doing the same thing. For much more detail on what VPNs are, how they work, and how they’re used, check out this How Stuff Works article.
Hide Your Browsing Activity From Your Local Network and ISP: If you’re using a public Wi-Fi connection, your browsing activity on non-HTTPS websites is visible to everyone neraby, if they know how to look. If you want to hide your browsing activity for a bit more privacy, you can connect to a VPN. The local network will only see a single, secure VPN connection. All the other traffic will travel over the VPN connection. While this can be used to bypass connection-monitoring by your Internet service provider, bear in mind that VPN providers may opt to log the traffic on their ends.
BitTorrent's dubious distinction as the pirate's tool of choice has led to indiscriminate crackdowns from ISPs on the use of BitTorrent. With a virtual private network, or VPN, your traffic is encrypted and secured to ensure that no one can see what you're up to—even when you're torrenting. The catch is, not every VPN service allows BitTorrent on its servers.
What that means in practice is that VPNs are fine for bypassing geo-blocks, for protecting your online banking and for keeping business communications free from interception. However, if you’re using the internet to fight repressive regimes or to do anything else that could attract the attention of the authorities where you live, a VPN is not a magic wand that’ll make you invisible.
Put simply, a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a group of computers (or discrete networks) networked together over a public network—namely, the internet. Businesses use VPNs to connect remote datacenters, and individuals can use VPNs to get access to network resources when they’re not physically on the same LAN (local area network), or as a method for securing and encrypting their communications when they’re using an untrusted public network. Photo by Pavel Ignatov (Shutterstock).
Windscribe, one of the best free VPNs out there, is definitely a user favorite. While its adblocker and firewall can be a little aggressive, Windscribe’s generous data allowance and commitment to privacy easily make it one of our top free picks. Not only does it allow 10 GB of data month, you get an extra 5 GB for tweeting about the service, and an extra 1 GB every time you refer a friend.
SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol) is a suitable alternative to standard protocols in areas where VPNs are restricted because it can bypass most firewalls. SSTP is quite similar to OpenVPN but, unlike OpenVPN, it is owned by Microsoft, which means it is not available for independent auditing. Microsoft’s history of cooperating with the NSA does not inspire confidence in this standard.
Another Hong Kong-based operation that boasts no logs, Ivacy is all-in when it comes to torrenting and P2P (it offers specifically optimised servers dedicated to the task). Granted, this may look like a somewhat smaller VPN operation with 200+ servers in 100+ locations, but the speeds we've experienced have been perfectly fine. We also love Ivacy's split tunnelling feature that lets you prioritise traffic (into P2P apps, in this case), plus the expected creature comforts and counter measures are in place as well. Namely, IPv6 and secure DNS leak protection, plus that all-important kill switch function.
While some networks, either deliberately or as an incidental result of not permitting certain protocols, may also block VPN connections, this is unusual. However, as an extra security feature for those who need to hide the fact that they’re using a VPN, a number of service providers have implemented methods of obfuscating their encrypted traffic, such as TunnelBear‘s GhostBear mode and VyprVPN‘s Chameleon mode.
First and foremost, using a VPN prevents anyone on the same network access point (or anywhere else) from intercepting your web traffic in a man-in-the-middle attack. This is especially handy for travelers and for those using public Wi-Fi networks, such as web surfers at hotels, airports, and coffee shops. Someone on the same network, or the person in control of the network you're using, could conceivably intercept your information while you're connected.
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