Corporations, governments and scammers all want access to your personal data, and more individuals are choosing to use a VPN to shield themselves from the constant probing.
The best services have got your privacy needs covered in any situation imaginable. There’s an app for just about any OS, and a cornucopia of devices are supported: from your smartphone, laptop, NAS, media player, to your router. Plus they are continually finding new ways to bypass technologies intended to stop people from using VPNs.
A lot of VPN companies resell a service under a different name, or utilize third-rate networks that can’t come close to the big boys. So it is appropriate to focus on the top three VPN providers that are worthy of your consideration.
|PureVPN||NordVPN||Private Internet Access (PIA)|
|Company||GZ Systems||Tefincom S.A.||London Trust Media, Inc.|
|Headquarters||Hong Kong||Panama City, Panama||Denver, Colorado, United States|
|Protocols||OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, IKEv2||OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec in apps, L2TP and PPTP manually||OpenVPN, IPSec/L2TP, PPTP and SOCKS5|
|Encryption||256-bit (AES-256)||256-bit (Next Generation Encryption with AES-256-GCM, SHA2-384 and Perfect Forward Secrecy, or AES-256-CBC)||Up-to 256-bit|
|Firewall||NAT Firewall ($1.99/month add-on)||CyberSec (no NAT Firewall built-in so enable it in OS)||Advanced Firewall (Netfilter Project)|
|Network||Over 2,000 Servers in 140+ Countries||Over 4,410 Remote Servers in 62 Countries||3,239 Servers in 33 Countries|
|Software/Apps||All major mobile, desktop OS supported, plus routers, DD-WRT, gaming consoles, BoxeeBox, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Browsers and 20+ other OS and devices.||Advanced yet easy-to-use software for all major desktop, mobile operating systems, Raspberry Pi, plus platforms such as DD-WRT, OpenWRT, ASUSWRT, D-Link, Synology NAS and many more.||Basic, easy-to-use software for all major desktop and mobile operating systems.|
|Price||Starting at $2.92/mo.||Starting at $3.99/mo.||Starting at $2.91/mo.|
|Sign up now!||Sign up now!||Sign up now!|
Company is based in the free-market capitol of the world, Hong Kong, which may be a turn-on as there are no data retention or strict online privacy laws there. Software, apps and support are extensive and rival tech-wizards at Golden Frog (VyprVPN). This is currently an aggressively low-cost service for a basic VPN. If you want a firewall too, it will be $1.99 more per month, so you may want to look at PIA if price is your number one determining factor.
Score: 4.2/5 – Great deal
PIA is trustworthy, U.S.-based service that provides a huge worldwide network of servers that is second only to NordVPN. Their software is far from feature-rich, but it’s simple to use, conveniently sitting in your taskbar. So if checking out a slick graph showing your connection speed isn’t a make-it-or-break-it concern, PIA is a good choice. It’s the cheapest way to get a VPN with a NAT firewall, which is included in the price.
Score: 4/5 – Best value
With over 4,410 servers based in 62 countries, NordVPN has the largest network of any VPN service tested. Their apps have a slick, clean aesthetic and settings are intuitively controlled, whether you’re selecting servers from a map of the fastest locations or enabling a specialty server for P2P software use. Based in the legal jurisdiction of Panama, they do not retain customer data for a mandatory period, as other VPNs need to. Streaming services known for blocking VPNs such as Netflix play video seamlessly.
Score: 3.9/5 – Great overall service
Honorable Mention: VyprVPN
Golden Frog caters to the computer enthusiast. VyprVPN software lets you switch between protocols such as OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP and Chameleon. On top of 256-bit encryption, Chameleon goes a step beyond that by scrambling metadata to prevent DPI, VPN blocking and ISP throttling. Their service is priced a bit higher than the others, however the attractively designed software and advanced features makes it worth the admission price.
Score: 3.5/5 – Solid features