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The best VPN services

The best VPN services in 2018

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There are hundreds of VPN providers trying to win your business. Follow this must-read guide to choose right one for you.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) were designed as a safe portal for remote users to access company and organization networks. But the potential for this technology was boundless and consumer VPNs that offer a variety of services soon followed. With so many out there, you don’t want to get caught paying for something that doesn’t meet your needs.

So, what do you need to look out for when choosing a VPN provider?

Do people use VPNs for different reasons?

No two people are going to go shopping for a VPN for exactly the same purpose. One VPN user might be a businesswoman who travels frequently and wants to work on the go, so she needs a VPN to guard her corporate information when she’s working at an airport or hotel. Meanwhile, her brother works overseas in Dubai, but still wants to keep up with his favorite baseball team. He uses the VPN to access a server in the US so he can connect to a website that broadcasts games.

The important thing to understand is that what’s “best” for one user may not be for another, so it’s important to consider which features matter most to you.
Internet security VPN

Things to look out for when choosing a VPN

Here’s a look at some of the most important characteristics to research when choosing a VPN:

  • Security
  • Price
  • Privacy
  • Speed
  • Number of servers/countries
  • Simultaneous connections
  • Free trials
  • Cross-platform support
  • Customer service
  • Software usability
SurfsharkVPN SurfsharkVPN

64% off 12-month Surfshark VPN subscription

Access 24/7 customer service, unlimited devices, and uncompromised security and privacy at 64% off 12-month Surfshark VPN subscription.

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PureVPN PureVPN
Exclusive

82% Off PureVPN's 3-Year Plan

PureVPN offers ultra-fast speed and unlocks access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more.

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Unblock (US) Unblock (US)

Try Unblock-Us for free

No credit card required, nothing to cancel if you don't like it. Try it for a week, free.

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EarthVPN EarthVPN

Sign up for EarthVPN today starting at $3.99 a month

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Security

The heart of the matter for most VPN services is their ability to protect your data when you’re accessing the Internet. Data that travels by VPN is encrypted to keep outsiders from being able to access it. The higher the number of levels of encryption, the less likely encryption can be broken and lead to the possibility of compromised data.

Price

Depending on what you need, VPN prices range from free to around $10 per month. If it’s security you’re after, then paying for the service is definitely the way to go. But, if you’re simply looking to access a video or website that’s not available in your country, a free VPN service could get you around that firewall.

Did you know?

Some people consider getting around geo-blocking a shady practice. While you’re not likely to land yourself in hot water right now, that could change down the line — and a free service may not have your back if you get caught out.

Privacy

Privacy is a big deal for an overwhelming number of Internet users. Many VPNs offer to conceal information by not keeping records of where customers go and what they view online. If a VPN logs customer information, that should start ringing alarm bells.

Speed

Speed often sets good and bad VPNs apart. Less developed VPNs have fewer resources to improve browsing speeds, meaning the more users online, the slower the connections will run. More available resources generally leads to faster browsing speeds.

Number of servers/countries

The more servers a VPN has and the more countries it places servers in, the more efficiently it will run. When you travel, the aim is to connect to a reliable VPN server as close to your location as possible in order to keep the response time low — more servers means more choices for users. Too many users on one server drains the bandwidth and slows the process for everyone.

Number of simultaneous connections

If you’re running a small business, have a large household, or just want to be able to connect on your desktop and mobile at the same time, being able to use several simultaneous connections is a must.

Free trials and money-back guarantees

Free trials and money-back guarantees are typically two features of a good VPN. A company that offers one (or both) isn’t afraid to let its product speak for itself. This lets you take a risk-free test drive before committing to anything.

Cross-platform support

Having more than one Internet-capable device is the standard these days and we’d like to be able to protect our Android with the same VPN that we use for our Mac laptop. There are a handful of VPNs that have the capability of providing their services for any device. If you use more than one operating system, this should be a priority.

Customer service

Navigating the world of VPNs can be a tricky, especially when servers are continually up and down and companies like Netflix are constantly developing new ways to geo-block streamers. A good VPN has a dedicated customer support team dedicated to helping its users get help quickly.

Software

Is it easy to use? For people who are only using VPN software on occasion, being able to simply launch a program is far more important than the option to manually configure and customize settings. VPNs that offer a mobile app can also make things easier when on the go.

What are some of the best VPNs on the market?

Two highly recommended VPN services are TunnelBear and NordVPN. If you’re thinking of signing up for either, check out the details for each provider in the table below:

TunnelBear

NordVPN

  • Can simultaneously support five devices
  • Can simultaneously support six devices
  • Over 1,000 servers
  • Over 3,000 servers
  • 20+ server locations
  • 61 server locations
  • 256-bit encryption
  • Military-grade, double layered 256-bit encryption

TunnelBear is an easy-to use platform that would be ideal for a user who’s trying to stream content that’s blocked in their part of the world — it even offers a free plan. If you require a VPN with a higher level of security and a slew of different features, NordVPN may be more suited towards your needs.

What will you be using your VPN for?

VPN software is a tool, and the one you choose should be determined by what you need to use it for. If you have to cut down a 5-foot tree once a year, you buy an axe. If you’re cutting down a 20-footer every week, you invest in a chainsaw.

Are you trying to watch globally-restricted content?

If you simply want to watch content that isn’t available in your country, then a SmartDNS service might be for you. SmartDNS is similar to VPN in the sense that they both mask your Internet Protocol (IP) address, giving you uncontrolled access to the world wide web. However, because Smart DNS only reroutes certain portions of your traffic through its server, you’ll often find that streaming video through a SmartDNS is smoother and faster than when using a VPN.

Because Smart DNS providers offer a stripped back service, you’ll often find that this option is also cheaper than a VPN. Keep in mind that while Smart DNS is often cheaper and faster than VPN, you’re sacrificing your security — premium VPN services will include a SmartDNS.

Is using a VPN to access geographically restricted content legal?

VPN security icon

There are many legitimate uses for a VPN. However, the legality of using one to access geographically restricted content is a bit of a grey area. While you’re not likely to attract the attention of the government, you do run the risk of having your VPN or streaming subscription cancelled.

There’s a small chance that a copyright holder may want to pursue legal action if you’re found to be accessing that content in an unlicensed region. Keep in mind that the very nature of a VPN masks your IP and prevents your online activity, so we can’t tell you if or how the copyright holders would be able to identify you if you do choose to access their content without the proper licensing.

Here at finder, we do not encourage internet browsing activity outside the law, we only aim to compare the services .

Will you be torrenting, P2P or file sharing?

If you plan to torrent using a VPN, you need to find out if it’s permitted by the VPN service you’re considering. Many VPNs will automatically detect when torrenting software is being used and block it, possibly even cancelling your membership or banning you from their service in the process. Make sure and check the fine print of any VPN you buy or trial to determine its stance on file sharing, P2P or torrenting.

Compare VPN services now

VPN ServiceMin. Monthly PriceAnnual PaymentServer locationsSign Up
FastestVPN$10.00$44.95 ($3.74/month)13+ Countries, 60+ servers worldwideSign up
CyberGhostVPN$5.99$35.88 ($2.99/month)57 Countries, 1277 servers onlineSign up
EarthVPN$3.99$39.99 ($3.33/month)6 Continents, 54 Countries, 190 Physical LocationsSign up
Getflix$4.95$39.90 ($3.33/month)20+ regions. Every location has multiple servers running for redundancy and speed.Sign up
Hide.MeFree – $9.99$119.95 for Premium35 locations worldwideStart now
IBVPN$4.95$58.06130+ servers in 47 countriesSign up
PureVPN$10.95$131.40141 countries, 180 locations worldwideSign up
TunnelBear$4.99Grizzly: $59.88 ($4.99/month)20+ countries Sign up
Unblock-Us$4.99$49.90 ($8.32/month)Not specified
Iron Socket$6.99$49.95 ($4.16/month)Over 50 servers (High concentration in US and UK)Sign up
NordVPN$11.95$69.00 ($4.00/month)1082 Servers in 61 CountriesSign up
TorGuard$5.95 – $11.54Not available3000+ serversSign up
VPN Unlimited$8.99$39.991000+ high-speed servers across 70+ locations all over the worldSign up
Speedify VPN$0 to $8.99$49.9936 locations worldwideSign up
Ivacy VPN$9.95$49.00200+ ServersSign up
BlocklessFree for Basic and $7.50 per month for Premium$90.00N/A
Hide My Ass$9.99$59.88 ($4.99/month)280+ servers worldwideSign up
Overplay$4.95$99.95 ($8.32/month)70+ locations in 50+ countries
Safer VPN$8.99$71.90400+ premium VPN servers in over 30+ countriesSign up
IP Vanish$10.00$77.99 ($6.49/month)40,000+ IPs on 850+ servers in 60+ countries
VyprVPNN/A$155.40Server clusters in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania (700+ servers)
Express VPN$12.95$99.95($8.32/month)145+ VPN locations
PIA$6.95$39.95($3.32/month)3272+ Servers in 25 Countries
Strong VPN$10$69.9645 cities in 24 countries
VPN ServiceEncryptionMobile Support?
FastestVPNPPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN (TCP, UDP), OpenConnect, IKEv2, And XsecYes
CyberGhostVPN256-bit AESYes
EarthVPNPPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, SSTP, SSHYes
GetflixPTTP, L2TP, SSTP and OpenVPN UDPYes
Hide.MePPTP, L2TP, IPsec (IKEv1 and IKEv2), OpenVPN, SoftEther and SSTPYes
IBVPNOpen VPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP supportedYes
PureVPNOpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP, and IKEv2Yes
TunnelBearstrong AES 256-bit encryption by defaultYes
Unblock-UsSmart DNSYes
Iron SocketOpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, HTTP, Socks5 and DNS ProxyYes
NordVPNIPSec, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP and SSLiOS, Android and Windows Mobile
TorGuardSOCKS5, SSH, HTTP, SSL, OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP, IPsecYes
VPN UnlimitedAES-128 and AES-256 encryptionsYes
Speedify VPNBy default, it uses ChaCha20-Poly1305 for data encryption and ECDHE-ECDSA for handshake encryption, utilizing 256-bit elliptic curve keys. (TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_CHACHA20_POLY1305_SHA256)Yes
Ivacy VPNPPTP, SSTP, L2TP, OpenVPN and IKEv2Yes
BlocklessPTTP, SmartDNSYes
Hide My AssOpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSecYes
OverplayPPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN protocolsYes
Safer VPNOpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec and PPTPYes
IP VanishOpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPsec VPN protocolsYes
VyprVPNOpenVPN™, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP and Chameleon™Yes
Express VPNOpenVPN (TCP, UDP), L2TP-IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP protocolsYes
PIAOpenVPN, IPSec/L2TP, PPTP and SOCKS5Yes
Strong VPNPPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN and IPSec ProtocolsYes
VPN ServiceProsCons
FastestVPNShare files with
complete anonymity, access blocked content from Anwhere, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited server switching
Monthly fee is a bit pricey
CyberGhostVPNHide your IP, highest encryption, Wifi protection, strict no logs policy, global serversSpeed can sometimes be slow, limited capabilites for non-torrent gaming
EarthVPNStrict no-log policy, offers multiple devicesUnreliable speeds and server connections
GetflixSupports over 200 channels, free signup with our 14 day trial, no credit card required…website is a little overwhelming
Hide.meAbsolutely no log files.Limited countries and servers.
IBVPNMilitary Grade Encryption and Advanced Features for Online Privacy and SecurityOnly works for one device at a time, unless you purchase the Ultimate plan.
PureVPNEnjoy 5 Multi-Logins And 24/7 support with a single account, 15-day money-back gurantee
TunnelBearBlocks all unsecured traffic until it’s safely reconnectedNot any advanced features. Other than that, there’s not much to complain about TunnelBear is one of the most impressive VPNs we’ve seen.
Unblock-UsSoftware can be configured on Apple TV, PS4, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, and many more, all within minutes…except Linux.
Iron SocketEnhanced Privacy – No Activity LogsLimited server distribution
NordVPNAvailable on up to 6 multiple devices linked to one account…though only allows for 2 simultaneous streams
TorGuardUnlimited data transfer and great connection speeds.Personal information being stored for promotional reasons is a bit of a concern.
VPN UnlimitedUnlimited access and subscription of more than 5 devices
Speedify VPNDoes not log IP addresses, data and websites
Ivacy VPNUnlimited bandwidth & Server Switching
BlocklessUltra fast speeds, up to 5 connected devicesBlurry position on data logging
Hide My Ass30-day money back guarantee, AVG integration and amazing customer serviceNo IPv6, Only 128 bit encryption
OverplayUnlimited region and server switchingUS-based, more expensive than other SmartDNS providers
Safer VPNFREE unlimited Chrome ExtensionLacking in features that others within the same price range offer.
IP VanishUser-friendly apps for all of your devicesNo 24/7 support.
VyperVPNOnline storage and NAT firewall add-on are both neat additions.Vypr will only allow for one device to be connected on the basic plan.
Express VPNComes with 30-day no-risk money back guarantee…but the base fee is a little pricey.
PIAConnect Through VPN Tunnel in SecondsMany users report very poor tech-support from the company.
Strong VPNAutomatic setup application for Windows, Mac, iOS, AndroidMany report being banned for torrent downloads with no option for a credit refund.
VPN ServiceDoes it log usage data?Payment methods Recommended EncryptionKillswitch?
FastestVPNNoVISA, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal, BitCoins, AliPayData not yet availableN/A
CyberGhostVPNNoVISA, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, Diners Club, PayPal, BitCoins, GiroPay, DirectDebit, Sofort Banking, CashUData not yet availableN/A
EarthVPNNoVISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover via PayPal, PayPal, BitCoins, AliPay, UnionPay, WebMoney, CashU, Ukash, PaysafecardData not yet availableN/A
GetflixNoData not yet availableFor security and encryption, we suggest you to select the closest server location to youN/A
Hide.MeNoVisa, American Express, Mastercard, Paypal, Sofort, Giro Play, CashU, BitcoinsRecommended connections are IKEv2, OpenVPN with AES-256 encryption/Yes
IBVPNNoCredit/Debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners Club, JCB, Maestro and more), eWallets (WebMoney) and many other (AliPay, Perfect Money, BitCoin, Yandex, Bank Wire Transfer and more)The 256 Bit Encryption AlgorithmsYes
PureVPNNoPaypal, Alipay, Payment Wall, Coin Payments, CashU, Gift Cards256-bit AES encryptionYes
TunnelBearNo Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal, Bitcoin and Jars of HoneyOpenVPN and AES 256 in CBC mode on Windows, Android and OS X and IPSec with 256-bit AES encryption for iOS.No
Unblock-UsNoVisa, MastercardData not yet availableN/A
Iron SocketYesPaypal, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover Network, Bitcoin and GiftcardsThe OpenVPN-based Ironsocket VPN network with AES-256 encryption, SHA256 Message Authentication and a 4096-bit key.No
NordVPNNoVisa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Network, Paypal, Bitcoin, Alipay,
Wechat
Double VPN with two layers of AES-256-CBC encryption.Yes
TorGuardNo Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, American EXpress, Payment Wall, BitcoinAn OpenVPN connection with AES256 with 2048bit RSA encryption.Yes
VPN UnlimitedNo Over 200 different payment options, including PayPal, credit card, Bitcoin, Cash U, Gift Cards.An OpenVPN connection with AES256 with 2048bit RSA encryption.Yes
Speedify VPNNo Over 200 different payment options, including PayPal, credit card, Bitcoin, Cash U, Gift Cards.An OpenVPN connection with AES256 with 2048bit RSA encryption.Yes.
Ivacy VPNNo Paypal, Visa, Bitpay, Coin Payments, Perfect Money, PaymentwallAn OpenVPN connection with AES256 with 2048bit RSA encryption.Yes
BlocklessN/ACredit card or PayPalSmartDNSN/A
Hide My AssNoCredit card or PayPalData not yet availableN/A
OverplayNoVisa, Mastercard, Discover, PaypalData not yet availableN/A
Safer VPNNoVisa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, Paypal, Bitcoin, Cherry, Money Online,
Alipay, Mobiamo, Mint
256 Bit bank-level encryptionYes
IP VanishNo Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, JCB, Delta, Paypal, ideal, giropay, boleto, BitcoinAn OpenVPN connection with 256 bit AES encryption.Yes
VyprVPNYes Visa, Mastercard, JCB, American Express, Discover, Alipay, PaypalData not yet availableN/A
Express VPNNo Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Visa Electron, Delta, Diners Club, Paypal, Bitcoin, Web Money, Union Pay, iDeal, Sofort, Giropaybest-in-class encryption based on a 4096-bit CAYes
PIANoPaypal, Amazon, Google, Bitcoin, Stripe, Stellar, CashU, Ripple, PIA Gift Card,
Ok Pay
PIA recommends a combination of AES-256, RSA 4096 and SHA1 (or 256-bit)Yes
Strong VPNNo. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Paypal, Bitcoin, Alipay2048 Bit EncryptionN/A
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