The best VPN services of 2022: browse anonymously with speed, security and maximum privacy

If you work remotely or care about your online privacy , a VPN (which stands for virtual private network ) is essential. Put simply, a VPN is useful if you want to protect your information , your online activity, and your digital identity from prying eyes. Here’s how it works: A VPN encrypts the connection between your device and the Internet , keeping your browsing habits private and your data protected. Browse, safely, in total anonymity.

But with an ever-growing number of services to choose from, it can be difficult to find the right VPN service for your specific needs . After all, not all of them offer the same level of safety, reliability and speed, and the price also plays its part. This is where our guide to finding the best VPN for you comes in.

After researching and testing numerous VPN services, I have rounded up the hottest choices for the best VPN that will keep your web activity anonymous and your sensitive and non-sensitive information completely locked down and safe.

When determining which VPN is the best, many details need to be considered. Over 20 factors were evaluated in the ranking , including:

  • price
  • safety
  • performance
  • ease of remote access
  • number of server locations
  • bandwidth limits
  • registration
  • Dedicated and dynamic IP
  • ofware VPN client
  • customer service

Below, we’ve listed your best options for a safe and reliable VPN , including popular brands like ExpressVPN , Surfshark , IPVanish, and NordVPN .

Consider that the ranking is flexible and will be updated periodically to also take into account new VPN services that may be more than interesting. The ones you will see below are the most used and complete VPN services to date , but you will also find a fairly exhaustive list of other (perhaps) less known, but more than noteworthy VPNs.

What are the best VPNs of 2022?

  1. ExpressVPN is considered to be the best VPN overall. While it is true that the VPNs in the ranking have been evaluated based on their performance, this is a winner in three macro-categories : speed, security and price. This is not the cheapest VPN out there, but it is among the fastest and, so far, the safest solution.
  2. Surfshark , with its lowest price point , ranks second among our picks, thanks to its impressive performance and the unlimited devices it can be installed on.
  3. NordVPN , our third choice, is a great compromise . It costs more than Surfshark but less than ExpressVPN, has a huge network that is always faster and more secure, and is arguably the most reliable service tested to date.

What is a VPN and how does it work?

A commercial virtual private network is a technology that allows you to create a secure connection over a less private network (such as your PC or smartphone) by creating an encrypted tunnel between your computer and the Internet. You can install a VPN just like you would any other app or program on your smartphone or computer.

A VPN can allow you to bypass censorship in your country or access geo-restricted media from another country, and it prevents your internet service provider from intruding on your privacy by browsing your web browsing.

VPNs do this by allowing you to appear as if you are connecting from a different location or country.

They might interest you

VPN is also great for anyone who uses unsecured public Wi-Fi , such as the one offered at airports, bars, or cafes. The VPN protects sensitive information, business plans, bank account login information, and so on from attackers or hackers.

When you browse the internet while on a VPN, your computer will contact the website via your VPN’s encrypted connection. The VPN will forward the request for you and forward the response from the website via its secure connection.

Do you really need a VPN?

There is no question that anyone accessing the internet from a computer, tablet or smartphone will benefit from using the VPN. A VPN service will almost always increase your privacy by encrypting your online activity .

The communications that take place between the VPN server and your device are encrypted, so an internet service provider or any attacker who wants to spy on your online movements by intruding on your connection, would not know which web pages you are accessing.

The benefits of using a VPN are so many. Furthermore, no one will be able to access private information such as passwords, usernames and banking or business details and so on. Anyone who wants to protect their privacy and online safety should use a VPN.

Loss of speed with a VPN. Why does this happen?

In this guide you will very often read phrases such as “The loss of average speed, during the tests of this VPN service, was around TOT%” . What does it mean?

Keep in mind that the speed of your internet connection is at the heart of the speed of your connection with a VPN .

This means that the speed of your network using a VPN can never be better than it usually is.

When using a VPN, expect to lose a small amount of speed due to the redirection of traffic on the VPN and the fact that the data you send is encrypted . In any case, the measures taken to ensure your privacy and security should have a negligible effect on the loss of speed.

The best VPNs right now

Let’s take a look at each of the major VPN providers in more depth. Remember, as I said above, this is an evolving list – it is constantly being updated. Expect this guide to change throughout the year as new services are tested and other companies enter the online privacy market.

The list below features the best VPNs in an overall ranking . If you are looking for the best VPN judged on more specific criteria, read the guide dedicated to the best Android VPNs .

Two new articles will be published shortly dedicated to the best VPNs for iPhone and Mac.

You will mainly find the same brands covered in this guide, but attention will be paid to more specific features based on the device you are interested in so as to make a more informed decision.

1. ExpressVPN: proven experience and privacy

  • Number of IP addresses: 30,000
  • Number of servers: over 3,000 located in 160 locations
  • Number of simultaneous connections: 5
  • Country / jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • Over 94 countries
  • € 5.94 per month for a 15 month plan + 3 months free

ExpressVPN is currently the best VPN in many ways. The VPN provider tells us that its network is powered by TrustedServer technology , which ExpressVPN has created to ensure that logs of users’ online activity are never disclosed.

In the world of privacy, VPN Express has a solid track record, having undergone a severe server audit by the authorities which proved that its zero-logging policy was indeed true . The quality of the guides dedicated to the installation of the VPN and the detailed information in its FAQs are also excellent.

While its speed still competes with its main competitors, numerous tests have seen ExpressVPN produce an overall loss of 52% in average internet speed , representing a significant slowdown from its 2019 score, where the speed loss is it was only around 2%.

ExpressVPN offers a useful kill-switch feature that prevents network data from leaking out of its secure VPN tunnel in case the VPN connection fails.

Unlike the others, however, ExpressVPN has earned points thanks to its support for Bitcoin as a payment method , which may not appeal to all users, but adds an extra layer of privacy during checkout.

The company has been in business since 2009, and ExpressVPN has a huge network of fast VPN servers spread across 94 countries. The best available plan costs € 5.94 per month for a 15-month package , which includes three months free.

2. Surfshark: Speed ​​leader, packed with features

  • Number of servers: over 3,200
  • Number of server locations: 65
  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • € 1.93 per month (82% discount) for a two-year plan + 3 months free

While Surfshark’s network is smaller than others, its VPN service makes up for it on the functionality and speed side. Get right into the ranking as the best VPN. Let’s start with the biggest feature it offers: unlimited support for each device.

If you want to manage all the PCs in your home or office with Surfshark’s VPN, you don’t have to worry about how many devices you have or how many you need to connect. It also offers an anti- malware , ad blocker, and tracker blocker system .

Among other things, it is fast. With over 3,200 servers in 65 countries, the average speed loss is only 17% during the most recent speed tests. It’s 27% faster than previous tests, and this characteristic places SurfShark ahead of ExpressVPN in terms of the speed leader .

Surfshark received generally high marks when its privacy extensions on Google Chrome and Firefox were verified by the German security company Cure 53 (here is the PDF link of the full report) , although that verification was commissioned by Surfshark.

The company offers solid support for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Fire TV, and routers. Additional devices such as game consoles can be configured via DNS settings. This is also why many consider it the best VPN around .

It particularly hit the feature to allow certain apps and websites to automatically bypass the VPN. For some business uses, this can be of paramount importance.

Surfshark also offers three special modes designed for those who want to bypass restrictions and more carefully hide their online activity.

  1. Camouflage mode masks your VPN activity so your ISP doesn’t know you’re using a VPN.
  2. Multihop bounces your connection across multiple countries to hide your path.
  3. Finally, NoBorders mode “allows [you] to successfully use Surfshark in restrictive regions” .

You just have to be careful. Any of these three activities may be illegal in your country and could lead to severe penalties. During testing everything worked fine, with no loss of a single IP or DNS address. No problem even when accessing Netflix.

Unlike many other VPN providers, Surfshark doesn’t offer a yearly plan . His best offer is € 1.93 per month, for his two-year plan (€ 52.20 will be billed immediately, then annually after 27 months).

Above all, take advantage of the generous 30-day trial to decide if you like the service (and if you choose the two-year plan, maybe set a reminder in 23 months to see if you can take advantage of a continuous discount rate).

Services included in the package:

  • Surfshark Antivirus (Block hackers and malware)
  • Surfshark Alert (Monitor your personal data and verify the data breach)
  • Surfshark Search (Hide from search engines and surf without leaving traces)

3. NordVPN – The best VPN for reliability and security

  • Number of IP addresses: 5,000
  • Number of servers: 5,200+ servers
  • Number of server locations: 62
  • Country / jurisdiction: Panama
  • 62 countries
  • € 2.80 per month (72% discount) for a two-year plan + 30-day free trial

NordVPN is one of the best known brands in the VPN field. It offers a generous number of simultaneous connections , with six simultaneous connections across its network, where nearly all other providers offer five or fewer.

NordVPN also offers a dedicated IP option , for those looking for a different level of VPN connection. Also included is a kill-switch function and the ability to VPN in Tor. No privacy leaks were found during testing.

When it comes to speed, NordVPN’s performance was on par with many of its competitors , reducing speed by an average of 53% (which is slower than the 32% loss measured in previous speed tests).

NordVPN’s connection quality was reliable and performing. No sudden drop or disruption of service, she proved up to the task.

The two-year subscription plan currently costs € 2.80 per month (€ 67.15 for the first two years, excluding VAT). That price is lower than most competitors and is positioned between the annual plan (€ 4.18 per month) and the monthly plan (€ 10.16 per month). It has a 30 day full refund policy.

4. ProtonVPN: High security standards at high speed

  • Number of servers: 1,259
  • 55 countries
  • Country / jurisdiction: Switzerland
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Plus package: € 5.99 per month (€ 71.88 charged per year)

During the ProtonVPN speed tests, we found a speed loss of 9.6% compared to the average clocked speeds without VPN. ProtonVPN’s base speeds have led it to outperform most other services , and it ranks second behind Express as the best VPN.

The company, well known in the online privacy sector, also offers a dedicated and anonymity-oriented email service. We talked about it in an article that dealt with the topic of sending encrypted and secure emails.

Even more impressive is Proton’s ability to achieve such speeds despite a relatively small fleet of 1,259 servers in 55 countries.

Like ExpressVPN, Proton also costs more than most VPNs reviewed . In any case, ProtonVPN’s high security standards and transparency could be worth the price of this VPN service.

Along with its options to send your traffic through a secure bunker of private servers, ProtonVPN ‘s transparency policy is very interesting : it is completely open-source with routinely published audits and includes an integrated path to the VPN on Tor servers.

Its mobile app is also very well done since it eliminated the use of some more vulnerable security protocols , such as PPTP and L2TP, which are still used by other VPNs.

The price, on the other hand, could make someone turn up their noses. ProtonVPN’s standard package, called Plus, costs € 5.90 per month (€ 71.88 charged per year). The cost is higher than ExpressVPN . ProtonVPN is also beaten in price by NordVPN’s two-year plan at € 2.80 per month and Surfshark’s two-year plan at € 2.93 per month.

While ProtonVPN offers a € 4 per month package, not enough features are included to make it competitive against NordVPN.

5. IPVanish – The best VPN for beginners

  • Number of IP addresses: over 40,000
  • Number of servers: over 1,600
  • Number of server locations: More than 75
  • Number of simultaneous connections: Unlimited
  • Country / jurisdiction: USA
  • $ 4.50 per month (59% discount) for the annual plan

IPVanish’s big selling point is its smart and configurable interface , making it an ideal client for those interested in learning what a VPN does and how it performs under the hood. Its cross-platform flexibility is also ideal for people focused on finding a Netflix compatible VPN .

A unique feature of the IPVanish VPN, and one that we are intrigued about, is the VPN support of Kodi, the open source media streaming app that was once known as XBMC.

Any serious media fan has used or integrated Kodi or XBMC into a media player, and the built-in Kodi IPVanish plugin provides access to worldwide media.

At $ 10.99 a month for its monthly plan, IPVanish is obviously trying to steer your choice towards its annual plan. The company gets compliments on its recent increase from 10 to unlimited concurrent connections . Its connection kill-switch function is also useful , a must for anyone who wants to remain anonymous while browsing.

Other good VPN services to consider

Of all the VPNs we’ve reviewed, there might not be the one that’s really right for you . In this second list of the best VPNs we will analyze some good alternatives to the more famous services seen so far.

These aren’t popular VPNs , for one reason or another, as they are slightly lacking in some respects. Among these we talk about limited functionality and concerns about the effectiveness of adequately hiding your internet connection and digital identity.

Hotspot Shield

  • Servers: 3,200+ in 82 locations
  • Country / Jurisdiction: United States (Five Eyes member)
  • Platforms: Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV
  • Price: € 7.99 per month and 4 apps included (38% discount). Monthly plan for € 12.99

Hotspot Shield VPN’s TLS-based Hydra protocol , US jurisdiction, 128-bit AES encryption support, and a large percentage of virtual servers might make you believe it provides fewer privacy protections than its competitors.

In fact these are all key components to its ability to achieve the incredible speeds provided during its most recent speed tests.

As of May 2021, it was the second fastest VPN tested . It effortlessly delivers streaming media and can toggle server connections without missing a beat, regardless of the number of interruptions.

A 26% speed loss places it in second place, behind Surfshark, which only lost 16.9% of its speed the last time it was tested, and knocking ExpressVPN down to third place with a speed loss 51.8% at the last measurement.

Games, torrenting, browsing, streaming – these speed-dependent services will not be slowed down for Hotspot Shield users.

However, HotspotShield’s privacy and security leave something to be desired. Since the services use a closed-source proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol , instead of the more transparent open source ( OpenVPN) protocol , it would be encouraging if Hotspot offered its users more third-party audits – a necessary step to significantly increase trust in HotspotShield. .

In April 2021, review site vpnMentor discovered a DNS leak in the Hotspot Shield plugin for Google Chrome. Hotspot recognized the problem at the time and aimed to improve the product.

The user data collected by Hotspot, as well as its privacy policy, also raise some doubts. With its premium plan, it collects and stores much more user information than most other VPNs .

And if you’re using the free version of its product, it shares that information – along with even more limited data, including your MAC address and specific phone identifier – with advertising companies.

While its interface is intuitive and its speeds thrilling , its current price point is higher than its competitors and its slightly slower average speed, as well as its more questionable privacy. If you’re looking for a VPN purely for speed reasons, we still recommend switching to Hotspot until it gets better in other respects.

TunnelBear

  • Average Speed ​​Loss: 63%
  • Number of servers: 1,800 in 23 countries
  • Jurisdiction: Canada, with US parent company
    •  for the monthly plan or $ 3.33 per month for a three-year plan ($ 120.00 to be paid in a single installment)Price: $ 9.99
    • We’ve heard a lot about TunnelBear over the past couple of years . It was considered the best VPN for a while, but when you compare this good VPN service to its competitors, the excitement actually drops slightly.
    • Number of countries: 29
    • Number of servers: 1,500 (1,200 virtual)
    • Number of server locations: 200 in 73 cities
    • Country / jurisdiction: USA
    • € 39.99 (to use on 5 devices) for the first 12 monthsTunnelBear’s average speed is more than reasonable. There was an almost 63% loss of internet speed overall, so that’s about average for a VPN.

      However, TunnelBear’s speeds have steadily improved over the years, as measured by other review and test sites, and a speed loss of only 54% was recorded.

      On the plus side, TunnelBear stands up to transparency management among other VPNs by publishing the results of its independent security audits and annual transparency reports.

      No IP addresses, DNS or other potentially user-identifying data leaks were detected during testing , but in the past TunnelBear was observed to be leaking WebRTC information. TunnelBear’s VPN encryption is AES-256 standard and supports Perfect Forward Secrecy .

      CyberGhost VPN

      • Number of servers: 6,800+ worldwide in 89+ countries
      • Number of server locations: 111
      • Jurisdiction: Romania, headquartered in the United Kingdom
      • Number of simultaneous connections: five

      In recent years, CyberGhost VPN has increased the number of servers and is ready to implement new privacy tools, all while remaining one of the cheapest VPNs on the market, at € 1.83 per month for a two + 3 year plan. months free.

      Despite that, some sides of CyberGhost’s service are a bit lacking. The history of its parent company justifies the skepticism.

      Previous tests have shown that it exposes your VPN usage to your ISP. Its website and app trackers outnumber what would be needed, and its ad blocker uses an unreliable method of traffic manipulation that no VPN should even think about.

      Its low price previously made it worth considering if you needed to change the look of your online location, but not if you wanted the best possible security.

      While CyberGhost’s connection speed and security seem to be improving , I do n’t currently recommend using the VPN service provider if you are in a country where VPNs are illegal.

      On the plus side, however, CyberGhost is even faster than Norton Secure VPN and was less of a burden on processing power during testing. It also offers split tunneling in its Windows client and has its servers neatly organized into intuitive categories:

      • NoSpy server
      • torrenting oriented servers
      • ideal servers for streaming
      • ideal servers for use with a static IP address

      CyberGhost imposes no data limits and allows unlimited server switching.

      Norton Secure VPN

      NortonLifeLock, long known for excellence in cybersecurity products, has a relatively limited offering when it comes to its VPN service.

      Norton Secure VPN does not support P2P or BitTorrent and does not support Linux, router or set-top box. This is why it has not been placed in the main ranking as the best VPN.

      Its compatibility with Netflix and streaming is somewhat limited . Even worse, data leaks were found during testing that compromised privacy .

      Norton Secure VPN’s average speed is comparable to other mid-range VPNs, but not particularly competitive.

      Although its VPN is only available on four platforms: Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android, Norton scores points for its 24/7 phone support and 60-day money back guarantee .

      Does every device need a VPN?

      If your goal is to protect your personal data from prying eyes, you will want to use a VPN on whatever device you are using. This means having a VPN to protect your laptop, smartphone, Xbox, and smart TV .

      If your goal is to use a VPN to access streaming services that have been made unavailable in your country for any reason, you will need a VPN to access those streaming services. It could be as simple as a VPN for your Chrome browser or setting up a VPN for the Amazon Fire TV Stick .

      Whatever your reason for wanting a VPN, it’s usually a good idea to install it on as many web-connected devices as possible.

      What’s the best VPN for working from home?

      If you work from home, you may need to share your internet connection with multiple devices and family members or roommates. That’s a lot of simultaneous connections to a VPN, and it could put a strain on your network connection.

      Choose a VPN that allows you to use a subscription on as many devices as possible and has excellent speeds so your Wi-Fi doesn’t get bogged down.

      If your job involves handling sensitive information such as financial or medical documents, however, your top priority VPN policy will need to be security .

      The top three VPN choices in the ranking are the safest around, and each service offers a package that allows you to use the VPN on multiple devices as well .

      What is the best VPN for gaming?

      Most VPNs are chosen based on a good balance of speed, security, and cost. But if you want a specific VPN to connect to game servers in another country, speed is everything.

      The free VPN will not be fast enough , but, fortunately, the high-end security will not be a cost factor, which gives you more options at modest prices. Since all VPNs reduce connection speeds , choose a service from those analyzed above that performed best in speed tests.

      In testing in 2021, Surfshark has proven to deliver excellent results in terms of network speed while being one of the least expensive VPNs I’ve ever seen .

      What is the safest VPN for privacy?

      If you’re a journalist, lawyer, or professional in any other privacy-sensitive field , forget about speed and price when choosing a VPN. Instead, focus entirely on safety.

      Your VPN may be a bit slower but speed is always the trade off to ensure an unprecedented level of privacy. Avoid free VPNs and browser extension-based VPNs.

      Keep an eye on encryption – your VPN should offer a protocol called OpenVPN TCP (for apps, IKEv2 is fine). While speed plays an important role in many rankings, the top three VPNs analyzed were all hand-picked, reviewed and reviewed with the most privacy-sensitive professions in mind .

      How do you use a VPN for Netflix?

      If you live in a country that censors its media or are traveling to one of them , geo-restricted content is a nuisance. You can use a VPN to bypass censorship or access your home country’s regular media for online streaming services like Netflix.

      Once the VPN is installed, connect to the country whose content you want to view, restart your browser and go to the streaming site. If your VPN works, the site should treat you as a resident of the selected country and provide you with access to the content available to that specific audience.

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