Are you searching for the best VPN in 2021? I’ve tested more than 100 VPN services to come up with my list of the 10 best VPNs in 2021. I looked for all the considerations of a top VPN service including speeds, number of servers, security, anonymity, unblocking Netflix, among others.
Short on time? Here is a summary of the best VPN services in 2021:
- NordVPN-Best all-round VPN services
- ExpressVPN– Best VPN for streaming
- CyberGhost -The easiest to use VPN
- IPVanish– Best for Torrenting
- VyprVPN-Best VPN for Bypassing Censorsh
- Hotspot Shield
Read on for a full analysis of each of the above top VPN services and Five more.
Best VPN Services (Tested in 2021)
The VPN industry has grown tremendously amid challenges from many fronts. Several countries have enacted unfriendly privacy laws such as the Metadata laws in Australia.
China, on the other hand, has not only continued with their notorious internet censorship (The Great Firewall of China) but has also gone ahead to block OpenVPN.
Apparently, the need to use a VPN is more of a necessity in the year 2021. And the VPN industry has grown exponentially to meet your needs.
However, not every other VPN service will provide you with maximum protection against privacy invasion, snoopers, identity thieves, and many other online threats.
With my team, we’ve tested more than 100 VPN services to come up with a list of the best VPN services in 2021. All the providers I recommend here are safe to use, exhibit above average speeds, and have wide server spread to help you access geographically restricted content like Netflix.
Best VPN Services in 2021 Full Review
1. NordVPN-Best VPN Service
Quick Glance at NordVPN Features
Strictly no logs
Based in Panama: means no government spying
Double data encryption technology
6 simultaneous connections
5700+ worldwide servers in 62+ countries
IPV6 leak protection
NordVPN is an excellent VPN that provides you with a perfect balance between performance and privacy. It works on all devices including Android, Windows, Linux, macOS, Chrome, FireFox, and Routers.
Moreover, NordVPN boasts of more than 5,700+ servers across 62 countries. I like the fact that the servers specialize in a specific area so that you get servers for Fast TV, Tor, Anti-DDOS, Standard VPN, and Double VPN.
You also get servers for Netflix USA, and even for Torrenting and file sharing. Consequently, I chose NordVPN as the best VPN in 2021.
For those in heavily censored locations like China, NordVPN helps with their Double hop VPN whereby your traffic is channeled via two servers as it is encrypted with the military-grade AES-256 security protocol.
NordVPN works with Netflix as well as Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO, Sky Go, RTE Player, and Hotstar India. Its also among the few VPNs that are still bypassing the Great Firewall of China. They allow you to connect up to six devices simultaneously.
Notably, NordVPN has an easy to use client and a zero-logging policy.
Other great features include the DNS leak protection that ensures your data is protected at all times, Onion Over VPN for maximum online security and Browser Proxy Extensions. The provider offers a kill switch to protect your traffic from exposure should the VPN accidentally disconnect. I like its Cybersec feature that protects against malware, adware, and scams.
NordVPN uses the Smart Play technology to help you gain secure access to your favorite streaming websites. Generally speaking, NordVPN allows P2P, its excellent for gaming, and has one of the best Customer Support in the VPN industry.
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2. ExpressVPN-Fast Speeds Excellent for Streaming
ExpressVPN Features at a Glance
Works on all devices
- 3000+servers in 94+ countries
Blazing fast speeds-Excellent for streaming
Ultra-secure 256-bit encryption
Zero logging of your data
Full access to Smart DNS services – Great for unblocking US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
ExpressVPN is the runners-up on my list of the best VPN services to use in 2021. First, with ExpressVPN you get blazing fast speeds, an extensive collection of server locations distributed across the globe, and free fully featured DNS service.
Secondly, ExpressVPN works with all devices and provides ultra-secure AES-256 encryption coupled with zero logging of your network, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited server switches.
The VPN is excellent at bypassing Geo-restrictions, and we can confirm that it works with Netflix, and it’s among the few VPN services that successfully bypass the Great Firewall of China.
Though ExpressVPN is a bit pricey, it offers excellent value for your money. Its features include an internet kill switch, Zero-Knowledge DNS, and Split Tunneling that allows you to route some of your traffic via the VPN while other apps or devices maintain direct access to the internet.
ExpressVPN offers a 30-days money-back guarantee, as well as superior customer service. I also liked its .onion dark web address.
3. CyberGhost-Best Easy-to-use VPN
CyberGhost VPN Features-Quick Glance
Apps for all major platforms
3796 servers in 60+ countries
7 simultaneous connections
strictly no logging of your online activities
7-Days Free Trial
CyberGhost is the VPN that will give you fast speeds coupled with strong privacy. The Romanian based provider will help you access restricted websites, hide your IP and thus make it difficult for third parties to track your online activities, and protect you while browsing on public WiFi.
CyberGhost will also provide you with simultaneous connections up to seven devices, 256-AES encryption, OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec and PPTP protocols, access to over 6,100 servers and 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test their service without risk.
You also get the NAT Firewall that protects your data from hackers, snoops, and other cybercriminals. They also have an Internet Kill Switch that disconnects your internet connection should the VPN disconnect thus preventing your real IP address from leaking.
VISIT CyberGhost VPN
4. IPVanish VPN- Protects and Supports Torrenting
IPVanish VPN Feature-at a Glance
1300 servers in 60+ countries
256-bit AES encryption
Internet Kill Switch
IPvanish VPN campaigns for an open and safe internet. It has shown consistent performance in our various tests for the best VPN services.
IPvanish not only exhibits fast speeds but also has a vast collection of servers that are spread across the world. They use the military-grade AES-256 encryption and allow up to 5 simultaneous connections.
It is a 1st -Tier VPN service that’s compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chrome-book, Fire TV, and Router.
Among the features that come with IPvanish are the DNS leak protection, NAT Firewall Protection, and an Internet Kill Switch that will disconnect your internet connection should the VPN connection drop.
VyprVPN Features Highlights
Based in Switzerland-No government spying
Easy to use apps
5 simultaneous connections
Great customer support
VyprVPN is another stellar performer that claims its place among the best VPN services. It is based in Switzerland which is a most friendly location for a VPN service.
The VPN champions for a free open web, gives you fast speeds, robust encryption, proprietary software, worldwide server locations, easy to use apps, and great customer support.
It is a Tier-1 server network with more than 200,000 IP addresses and 700+ servers. Non-involvement of third parties means you will get end-to-end privacy.
The wide collection of servers is helpful because connecting to a server near your location will ensure you get fast speeds. In case you are looking at accessing Geo-restricted websites, then, a server near the location of the desired site will result in excellent speeds.
I liked the VyprVPN’s Chameleon proprietary VPN technology that’s awesome for bypassing notorious firewalls like the ones in Turkey, Russia, Iran, Syria, and most of all the famous Great Firewall of China.
The chameleon protocol works by scrambling OpenVPN Metadata thereby evading deep packet inspection (DPI).
6. TorGuard VPN
TorGuard Features-Quick Glance
3000+ servers in 55+ countries
5 simultaneous connections
Allows peer-to-peer (P2P)
10mb free private email
TorGuard is a VPN service based in the Nevis, West Indies that provides maximum anonymity to Torrent seeders and leechers. It is excellent at unblocking websites, hiding a user’s IP address, and bypassing censorship.
As a matter of fact, the VPN supports many protocols, exhibits blazing fast speeds, provides protection against all leaks, and uses robust OpenVPN encryption.
TorGuard has over 3000 servers in more than 55 countries and supports all leading OS platforms. It offers Stealth VPN that we found to be helpful for bypassing DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) firewalls which makes it among the few VPNs that can bypass the notorious Great Firewall of China.
7. Tunnelbear VPN
If you want a simple, straight forward, and user-friendly VPN service, you get that with Tunnelbear. It makes use of images of the bear to help you navigate around. The VPN is compatible with all the leading platforms including Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. Tunnelbear has a free VPN service that’s rated among the best free VPN services. Hence, if you do not have the budget for a premium VPN, you can subscribe to their free VPN which they refer to as the ‘Little plan.’ However, your data usage will be limited to 500mb every month. However, Tunnelbear does not allow torrenting on their network. Also it will not unblock Netflix. If you want to watch Netflix US, ExpressVPN will do it for you.
Read our comprehensive Tunnelbear review and find all about this stable VPN service.
8. Ivacy VPN
Ivacy is a premium VPN service that’s growing fast. It employs robust security to secure your online data. It’s among the cheapest VPN services in the industry. Their pocket-friendliness does not affect their service at all. The speeds are good, and the VPN does not leak. It offers a Kill Switch and provides more than 450 servers in 100 locations. Ivacy works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu and allows you to connect up to 5 devices at the same time. You can also torrent on the network without the fear of being hit with a DMCA notice.
You can get to know all about this fast-growing VPN by reading our full review of the VPN service.
VISIT Ivacy VPN
PureVPN has some of the widest server locations. The speeds are not bad either, and it uses all the major VPN protocols including OpenVPN. PureVPN secures your online traffic data with the standard AES-256 encryption. It works with all devices and allows torrenting on its network, and offer P2P optimized servers. PureVPN has a zero-logging policy, DDoS protection, Internet Kill Switch, and allows up to 5 simultaneous connections. You also get Wi-Fi security and 24/7 customer support.
You can read PureVPN full review and get to know all their features, pros, and cons.
10. HotSpot Shield VPN
Rated among the best VPN services and with 650 million users, Hotspot Shield VPN makes it among our top 10 best VPNs to use in 2021. Operated by Anchorfree, this VPN should be battling it with our top VPNs, i.e. NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost. However, the service is riddled with claims of logging as well as a formal complaint from the Centre of Democracy and Technology on issues of logging and selling customers information. That kind of dents their image. However, when it comes to speeds, we can attest to the fact that it’s among the fastest VPN services. Security is also top-notch, they allow torrenting, and also unblock Netflix US library of movies and TV shows. The VPN is rated second after NordVPN in terms of usage.
You can find out more about hotspot Shield from our comprehensive review of the service.
VISIT Hotspot Shield VPN
How to Choose the Best VPN Services
Arriving at the best VPN service requires consideration of some fundamental factors which includes:
Location of the VPN
The location of a VPN can affect the kind of privacy you get from it. Some of the best VPN locations include Romania, Panama, Switzerland, and the British Virgin Islands.
Countries that are members of the Five Eyes Alliance (FVEY) and which includes the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand should be avoided if possible.
If you’ve never had about the Five Eyes Alliance, just know that the countries are party to the UKUSA Agreement.
UKUSA is a multilateral treaty for sharing intelligence that conspires to spy on you.
Yes, that’s what they do.
They intentionally spy on each other’s citizens and share the collected information.
Simple, to circumvent stringent domestic laws on spying.
While the Five Eyes are the main actors, you also have those I would refer to as “enablers” who also happen to spy on each other.
So that the list grows to 9 Eyes: France, Denmark, Netherlands, and Norway. And further to 14 Eyes: Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, and Sweden. In 2013, leaked NSA and GCHQ documents (thanks to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden) laid bare the extent to which governments spy on its citizens.
VPN services based in the 5 EYES region mitigate this issue by having a strictly no logs policy. Meaning even where they are slumped with a subpoena to release your logs, they won’t have any.
They also employ the military-grade AES 256-bit encryption which is arguably the perfect solution for your data security.
Some great locations for the best VPN Service include Romania, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Panama
Number of Servers and Server Locations
If you are intending to access streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, BBC, etc. You will require an IP address from the specific country where the service is based.
To access the Netflix USA library, you will require a US IP address. The same goes for Amazon Prime Instant.
In the case of BBC iPlayer or ITV on demand, a UK IP address will suffice. A VPN with servers in your location means fast speeds.
Protocols used by the best VPN services
The best VPN service is one that gives you multiple protocols. Some of the best VPN protocols include OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, and IKEv2.
Which is the best VPN protocol?
We highly recommend OpenVPN as the ideal protocol you should ask from a VPN service. OpenVPN is an open-source software tunneling application that uses SSL/TLS for exchange purposes.
The protocol is famed for fast speeds even on connections with high latency and also for its ability to traverse Firewalls. OpenVPN is stable and reliable on Wi-Fi hot spots as it creates secure point-to-point connections in bridged configurations.
Speed and Bandwidth
VPN speed is a topic in its entirety. In brief, you need to know that a VPN encrypts and decrypts your traffic. Honestly, this requires some extra processing power which results in a deep in your internet speed.
So when you’re looking for the best VPN service, consider a VPN service like NordVPN that gives a perfect balance between privacy and performance.
Another factor that is proven to affect speed and which I have discussed above is the location of the VPN servers. The further the server you access the slower your traffic. That’s why I recommend you go for a VPN service like ExpressVPN which has widespread server locations.
However, also remember that the bandwidth is equally essential. If you connect to an overcrowded server, even though it’s near your location, your speed will be disappointing.
Before I forget, a VPN protocol can also affect your internet speed. Protocols with high encryption will provide you with a secure connection but will also slow down your connection. In case your online activity does not require robust security but needs high speed, I’d recommend you use the PPTP (128-bit encryption).
Can the best VPN services increase your internet speed?
I guess your answer is “hell NO!” But let’s indulge a little bit. You’ve ever heard of “internet throttling” by your ISP? Here is where your ISP deliberately slows down your internet speed.
Video streaming sites like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, file sharing sites, and online gaming sites are mostly targeted by ISP’s because they want to regulate and minimize bandwidth congestion.
That’s where the best VPN services come to your rescue. The VPNs mask your real IP address making it difficult for your ISP to track your online activities so that they can’t know when you’re connecting to services that are on their throttling list.
Can the best VPN services increase your internet speed?
Let’s say they prevent your ISP from slowing down your speed so you can enjoy blazing-fast speeds while streaming, gaming, or file sharing.
Isn’t that great?
When searching for the best VPN services, it is essential you go for a provider that does not log your online activities. Going by the NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden revelations, our online activities are continually monitored by the NSA.
And so, using a VPN service is more of a necessity.
But even then, it is not safe to use a VPN service that logs your online activities. Not logging means that your online activities remain anonymous because they are not stored on any server or any database.
This also means that even if your VPN service provider is under pressure from government agencies to produce your traffic history, they won’t have any.
DNS Leaks and the Internet Kill Switch
Be careful to ensure that the best VPN service you use has an inbuilt DNS leak protection tool.
Whenever you use a VPN service, it is of utmost importance that all your traffic routes through the VPN. That way, your traffic does not leak outside of the secure VPN tunnel.
VPN services that do not provide DNS leak protection might be a threat to your anonymity because they might be giving you a false sense of protection while your data leaks and thus provide the opportunity for third parties to log your online activities.
You can find out your real IP address before connecting to the VPN service, and after that, run a simple test at www.dnsleaktest.com to establish whether your DNS requests are being leaked.
An internet Kill Switch is another important feature that you should look for in the best VPN services.
The Internet Kill Switch will block your internet connection whenever the VPN is disconnected. It ensures that you never connect to the internet without the VPN protection.
Pricing and payment methods
We all want to get a VPN service at affordable pricing. And so, we are naturally inclined to choose a VPN based on pricing.
But just think about it, would you rather have a cheap VPN that gives you below par service or a premium service like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or CyberGhost that offers you tight security, anonymity, unblocking Geo-restricted content, and bypassing censorship including the notorious Great Firewall of China?
When it comes to payment methods, apart from PayPal, and major credit cards, an anonymous payment option is important for those who want complete anonymity.
When using credit cards, you must provide your private information such as your full names and billing address. In the case of PayPal, your email address is normally exposed to the VPN service provider.
The problem is that such links can enable your VPN account to be traced back to you.
So where your safety or security depends on absolute anonymity, I’d recommend you use untraceable payment methods such as cryptocurrencies the popular ones being Bitcoin and Litecoin.
Other untraceable methods would be the payment using the store’s gift cards from Amazon, Walmart, Target, Bestbuy, etc.
Simultaneous Connections Allowed
The number of devices that you can connect to a single VPN account is among the leading factors that can affect your choice of the best VPN service.
You might want to set up your VPN access on various devices like a smartphone, tablet, laptop, and even a desktop or router.
In fact, in a family set up the more simultaneous connections allowed by the VPN, the better.
NordVPN provides you with up to six simultaneous connections, CyberGhost allows up to seven connections, IPVanish up to ten. The new entrant, SurfShark provides unlimited devices.
Cross–Browser Compatibility is also a feature to look out for. The best VPN services should work with any Web Browser. You can read more about the best VPNs for multiple devices here.
Can you be tracked when you use a VPN?
A VPN uses robust encryption to protect your online activities against trackers, hackers, phishing campaigns, malware, adware, and much more. A VPN masks your Real IP by replacing it with its IP. Hence, it becomes virtually impossible for third parties to track your online activities.
However, before you purchase a VPN, you must make sure that it does not keep logs of your online activity. If it does, any person who gets hold of the VPN logs can actually trace your digital footsteps back to you. The VPN should also protect you from DNS and IP leaks. The VPN should also use a kill switch to protect the exposure of your network traffic exposure if the VPN disconnects accidentally.
Free Vs. Paid VPNs-What You Need to Know
The purpose of using a VPN service is to secure and protect your online privacy. There are many Free VPN services. However, it would help to be careful with such services. How do they sustain their operations and maintain their infrastructure? There must be a monetizing angle. The free VPN service could be selling your data to third parties. A VPN is just like your ISP: it can see and track the traffic sent through its network. That’s why you need to choose your VPN wisely.
Premium VPNs do offer high quality limited free VPN options aimed at luring you to subscribe to their premium options. Another issue is the quality of service you get with a free VPN option. Since the VPN has to make money to survive, your browsing experience is riddled with ads, low speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and monthly caped data use. That’s why it’s advisable to spend some money on a premium VPN service for maximum protection.
The kind of support a VPN service provides will undoubtedly determine the kind of user experience that you get from a VPN service.
Whenever I’m reviewing a VPN service, I make sure to get in touch with their customer support severally with my team so that I can gauge and rate their support services.
It’s frustrating and utterly annoying when you experience challenges with your VPN connection, and no quick assistance is forthcoming. My above listed best VPN services will provide you with superior Support.
10 Best VPN Services to Use in 2021: Summary
- Hotspot Shield
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