VPN services were once restricted to ultra tech-savvy people or big business networks.
These days, setting up a VPN is as simple as installing an app on your phone or computer and clicking a couple of buttons.
It's never been easier to protect the information you send from your PC, phone, tablet, or virtually any device you can connect to the Internet.
But a quick search for VPN providers might yield thousands of options... How do you know where to start?
While there isn't one service perfect for everyone, we've searched the Internet and read reviews, discussions, and investigations into the biggest (and smallest) VPN services available today. We've compared what everyone is saying and broke down the technical terms and marketing speak to bring you these straightforward choices and summaries.
In short, we've done the research so you don't have to.
These picks are excellent options for the most common VPN use cases. They are well priced, offer dependable service, and support a wide range of devices so you can protect most everything you own.
Best VPN for Most Users, Best Mid-Tier VPN, Best VPN for Netflix & Hulu
While NordVPN might not be the fastest VPN or have the most comprehensive feature set, it offers everything the average person needs. It can unlock regional video, encrypt your filesharing, and offers a list of server options no other provider can touch. There are also easy-to-use apps available for most devices to keep everything you own protected. We recommend signing up for an annual or multi-year plan for the best pricing.
- Huge server selection
- SmartPlay streaming
- Multiple security options
- Apps for PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and more
- User-friendly interface
- Affordable multi-year pricing
- Automatic kill switch
- Zero log policy
- P2P support
- Based in Panama
- No phone support
- Abundance of options might feel confusing
- So-so monthly pricing
- Slow email support
Best Budget VPN, Best VPN for Unlimited Devices
Surfshark offers some of the lowest prices for VPN service that you'll find -- especially at the multi-year level. But that doesn't mean they skimp on features. You'll find P2P support, regional video unlocking, and multiple encryption methods. And you can really make the most of the unlimited connections with apps and programs for most major devices out there.
- Great speeds
- Extremely affordable
- Multi-hop and split-tunnelling tools
- Easy to use
- Good support
- Bitcoin payments
- Kill switch unreliable
- Speeds between servers vary greatly
- Lacking proper security audits
Best VPN for Power Users, Most Anonymous VPN
Mullvad is a powerful VPN service with a level of customization available you won't find with most services. It also allows you to create random accounts and pay for your service using cash or cryptocurrency to further improve your anonymity. While it's not the most simple service on this list, its priced well and one of the best options around for power users.
- Cash and crypto payment options
- Blowfish and AES-256 support
- WireGuard support
- Minimal logging
- Port forwarding support
- P2P support
- 3-hour free trial
- Limited server selection compared to the competition
- Long term prices higher than most competitors
- Slower than many competing services
Best VPN for Beginners
VPN's are just for the super geeky. CyberGhost's app is designed for the average person, allowing you to choose the ideal server and settings based on what you want to do. From streaming video to filesharing to hiding your activity from your ISP, you'll find presets available to cover most VPN uses. You'll pay a little more for the ease of use than other providers, but the pricing is still fair.
- Simple to use
- Minimal logging
- 7 simultaneous devices
- Bitcoin payments
- Torrenting support
- Regional stream unlocking
- Short trial period
- So-so speeds
- Limited chat support hours
- Slow to connect to servers
Best Free VPN for Transfer Speeds
If you need to transfer files in a hurry, want to stream video, or perform other high-bandwidth tasks without paying for a VPN, Windscribe offers 10GB of VPN usage a month for the low, low price of free. You'll find a range of features that cover most uses and their app is available on most common devices.
- Free 10GB plan
- Plenty of features and customization options
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- P2P servers
- Malware and phishing protection
- Average performance
- No live chat or direct email support
- Located in Canada (part of the Five Eyes surveillance program)
Best Unlimited Free VPN, Best VPN for Data Security, Best Free VPN for Light Use
If you don't mind throttled speeds and don't plan to fileshare, Proton VPN has one of the best free VPN tiers on the market. You'll get unlimited usage on one device with no regional video unlocking or P2P support. However, as ProtonVPN owns all of their own servers, you can also count on a higher level of data security than many other providers on the market today.
- Superb privacy
- Good performance
- Secure OpenVPN protocol
- P2P and TOR support
- Excellent free plan
- Tiered pricing
- Limited server locations
While we feel our picks offer a great experience to a wide range of people, there's not a single pick that will be perfect for everyone.
Fortunately, most of our picks offer either free pricing tiers or free trials. So trying a few to see what suits your needs simply requires a little time.
We'd recommend trying each service out for at least a day or two. Don't rely on a single server or connection to gauge what to expect. While our picks are of high quality, every service has servers that perform better than others. Explore a little to know how they might vary.
VPNs offer a range of services and features. And it doesn't matter how well a VPN performs if it's cumbersome to use and you avoid it. Taking the time to find a good fit for your needs is key. If you're not sure where to start, we offer additional considerations and explanations of common VPN-related terms in our Buyer's Guide.
You can also use our VPN comparison tool to limit options by features, price, and more if you'd like to explore options not in this roundup. The tool is powered by what experts across the Internet have to say about the best VPN services out there, providing quick summaries without the complicated tech-speak, marketing hype, or the need to jump between an endless list of tabs.
How We Picked
The picks in this buyer's guide are what we think are the best VPNs for for most people.
We selected these models based on analysis of expert reviews from around the web, forum comments on our site, social media discussions, and more.
We compared the things most people consider when purchasing a VPN.
In short, we did the research — so you don’t have to.
When answering the question, “What’s the best VPN for the average user?”, we considered the following primary criteria:
No one wants to pay to make their Internet connection slow and frustrating. Whether you're working from home, using P2P filesharing, streaming 4K video, or playing the latest games, the picks in this collection offer plenty of bandwidth to keep your connection running nice and fast.
Plenty of Servers
From accessing content in other regions to simply having plenty of options if your favorite server is congested, a bountiful server list makes using a VPN much more pleasant. These picks offer a solid selection of servers in major countries around the world.
Easy to Use
VPNs shouldn't be confusing or intimidating. While some of these picks offer advanced options if you'd like to use them, all of them are accessible and intuitive to make them easy to use regardless of your experience level.
We scoured online reviews for each of our picks to be sure that you won’t find flakey servers, slow connections, questionable support, or false promises.