VPN services seem to pop up overnight.
The number of VPN services seems to be ever going up. With well over 500 different companies to choose from it’s difficult to sort the good from the bad.
There are however a handful of VPN services that have proven themselves over the years and have continued to make improvements.
These aren’t those fly-by-night types that are offering ridiculous ‘discounts’ of 95%.
These are the ones that have been around since day zero and while they do offer discounts they’re usually sustainable ones.
With plenty of wild claims in the VPN industry and new-comers using some underhand tactics to prove their ‘trustworthiness’ it’s hard to know where to turn.
You’ve no doubt already started comparing VPN services and found this to be the case.
It’s for that exact reason I’ve put this guide together. I’ll be taking you through 10 of the best VPN choices. The providers that have proven themselves and didn’t just pop up between you going to sleep last night and getting up this morning.
What to look for in a VPN service
A lot of what to look for in a VPN may seem like common sense but it’s worth remembering the basics before searching because surprisingly even to this day, not all VPN providers do these well.
There are some clear options and features you should be aware of such as:
- Speed – It’s one of the most important features and unfortunately the feature you’re unlikely to be able to judge before signing up. Ensuring the VPN service has a money back guarantee allows you to test out their speeds risk-free.
- Proven Logging Policy – All VPN services make bold claims. While some stick to those claims, the years have shown that not all are true. Look for a VPN service that has had their logging policy put to the test in something like a court case.
- Devices Supported – Checking that the VPN service supports the types of devices you want to use it on is critical. Many of the best support phones, tablets, regular computers and TV streaming devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
- Services Unblocked – If you’re after streaming blocked content and services like US Netflix, BBC iPlayer and others then you’ll need to ensure the VPN service works with them, not all do.
Now you know some of the types of things you’ll want to look out for, here are the ten most popular VPN services ever, ranked.
1. ExpressVPN – It’s got almost everything
ExpressVPN’s service has (almost) got it all. While no VPN service is perfect it’s about as close to perfection as you’re likely to get.
There are VPN servers in over 94 countries and they work to unblock all the most popular streaming services. If you’re an entertainment fan and want to access US Netflix or BBC iPlayer for example then you’re covered.
Their huge range of apps and 3-device limit means you can use the service on nearly any type of device. Android and Apple iOS devices, Windows and Mac OS systems, Linux and even the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are supported.
In my testing I’ve found them to offer some of the best speeds available and you won’t have any issues downloading quickly or streaming high-quality video.
ExpressVPN claims to store no logs of your activity when connected and this was backed up in a high-profile assassination case in Turkey.
They are a little expensive if paying on a monthly basis but opt for their 12-month service and you can slash the price to a more reasonable half.
Price: Grab 15 months of service for the price of 12 making it just $6.67 p/m or £5.19 at current conversion rates.
2. IPVanish – More connections than most
IPVanish is essentially one of the founding god-fathers of modern-day VPN services. They’ve been around a long time.
Their 10-device limit is the largest available so if you plan on sharing one account with multiple family members or you want to shore up the security of all your devices then they offer ample space.
Speeds are faster than most on the service and they’ve got VPN servers in around 60 countries.
There’s a good selection of apps too, everything from Android and iOS devices to Windows and Mac are supported. They were also one of the first to offer a dedicated Amazon Fire TV Stick app.
The service offers a 7-day money back guarantee. While it’s nowhere near as big as their rivals it should be enough time for you to get to grips with the service to see if it lives up to your expectations.
Price: Their annual package will set you back $6.49 p/m or £5.05 at current conversion rates.
3. NordVPN – Unique features standout
NordVPN has improved drastically in the past 3 years and gained a reputation as one of the best VPN services in the industry.
They’ve now got a dizzying 5000+ VPN servers spread across over 60 countries. If you want connection choice then there’s currently nothing better.
Their apps are also some of the easiest to use and have a couple of unique features. Server options include double-hop, P2P specific and even VPN over Tor. It’s these little extras that make NordVPN standout.
NordVPN claims to store no-logs of your activity while connected to their service which hasn’t been disproven. This allows you to browse the internet safely and securely.
There’s a 30-day money back guarantee and they’ve got some of the cheapest prices available. You’ll need to sign up for their longer plans such as their 2-year one to take advantage of their best prices.
Price: Taking a 2-year deal takes the price to just $3.99 per month or around £3.10 at current rates.
4. CyberGhost VPN – Beginner’s favourite right here
CyberGhost VPN has made their service as simple as possible to use.
Their apps are easy to use right out of the box and with features that are suitable for all skill levels they’re one to look at if you’re new to VPN services.
Apps are available for Android and Apple iOS, Windows and Mac OS and the Amazon Fire TV / Fire TV Stick.
One of the standout features of the service is for unblocking content. If you want to unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, ESPN or any of the other big streaming services the CyberGhost VPN apps point you in the right direction.
It makes unblocking and watching overseas content quick and painless and if you’re a beginner you’ll appreciate this helpful nudge in the right direction.
There’s a 45-day money back guarantee which is the biggest available giving you a massive month and a half to put them through the wringer to see how they perform.
Price: Cyberghost VPN charges in Euro and costs €3,50 per month for an 18 month subscription or £3.11 at current conversion rates.
5. VPN.ac – The underdog
VPN.ac offers one of the best small VPN services to date.
You won’t see their name mentioned in many other locations but they’re a hidden gem that you’ll want to keep to yourself.
Their standout features include some blisteringly fast speeds and their unmatched access and availability for working in China. If you’re a heavy downloader or you need to bypass restrictive firewalls such as those in China then VPN.ac is the go-to service.
This small service definitely punches above its weight and gives the big boys a run for their money. With apps for all major devices and the ability to unblock many streaming services from Netflix to BBC iPlayer, they’ve got it all.
There are less worldwide server locations than most so you’ll need to check out if their offerings are suitable for you. If they are you’ll find a little-known VPN service that gives you pretty much everything you need.
Price: The service costs $4.80 p/m or around £3.73 when taking a 12-month package.
6. PrivateInternetAccess – The big boys
PrivateInternetAccess could be considered one of the biggest VPN services in the world.
They’ve built up a huge user-base off the back of their easy to remember name and cheap prices. While other providers were charging up to $10 per month, PrivateInternetAccess have always maintained their low $3.33 per month price point or £2.58 at current rates.
The service supports some of the biggest privacy-fighting causes on the internet including the EFF, FightForTheFuture and the OpenRightsGroup. I haven’t seen an organisation that has poured so much of their profits into online privacy causes and charities.
Servers are currently available in 33 countries and while that’s no match for some of the other providers they do cover all major locations.
Price: The standard price per month for an annual account is just $3.33 p/m or £2.58 at current conversion rates.
7. VyprVPN – A free trial goes a long way
VyprVPN bucks the trend of most providers and rather than offering a money-back guarantee they’ll let you try the service free.
You’ll need to pop in some payment details but this will allow you to test the service for up to 3-days completely free. If it’s not for you then simply cancel and get a refund.
The service offers VPN servers in some 70 locations across the world which span over 60 different countries.
VyprVPN is one of few VPN providers which runs their entire network. They own and maintain their own servers which means they don’t rent them from 3rd parties which should, in theory, make their service safer than most.
Apps are available for Window, Mac, Android and Apple iOS and are some of the easiest to use.
Price: VyprVPN will set you back £4.79 per month when taking their top tier package over 12-months.
8. StrongVPN – The VPN with muscle
StrongVPN is another one of the industry veterans being able to trace the roots of their parent company right back to 1995.
They cover 26 countries and while that’s not the largest amount they do support all major devices.
Apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android and Apple iOS plus the Amazon Fire TV Stick. They’re especially good for streaming US Netflix and are known for their reliability in this area.
There’s a full 30-day money back guarantee and you’re allowed to use the service on up to 5 devices at the same time.
Speeds on the service are comparable to other leading providers and you’re secure with their claimed no-log policy allowing you to browse privately without fear your actions are being logged.
Price: Paying per month costs $5.83 when taking their 12-month package which is around £4.54 at current rates.
9. Proxy.sh – Registered in an offshore location
Proxy.sh is a bit different than most VPN providers and have a couple of unique features that may appeal.
They’re registered in the Seychelles which is a definite bonus and puts them outside 5-eyes and 14-eyes spying countries.
Servers are currently available in 57 countries across the world and while the speeds are good on their regular package they have an additional network of super speed servers known as ‘boost’.
If speed is one of your main considerations then opt for their dedicated 50Gbps package.
Others options that can be tagged on include a multi-hop feature that bounces your connection through 2 different locations as opposed to the regular 1.
They also allow your account to be changed into an anonymous token which means not even billing details are retained. They won’t be able to support you if you opt for this but it’s about as close towards anonymous as you can hope to get.
Price: An annual package is one of the more expensive at $7.50 p/m which works out at roughly £5.84.
10. HideMyAss – One for the beginner’s
HideMyAss got a bad rep some 5 years ago for assisting law-enforcement catch some of the biggest website defacers the internet has ever seen.
Ever since it’s been shunned by privacy experts. However, it does still have a role to serve and if you’re a new user their helpful apps and service might just be right up your street.
If you’re not after breaking any laws and simply want to secure your privacy or access geo-blocked content then their service is certainly suitable.
One sweet feature is if you’re a student you can save 20% all year round with their StudentBeans offer. Definitely one to check out if you’re hitting the books and trying to keep costs down at the same time.
HideMyAss is the kind of VPN service you would want your Mum or little brother to use. If you’re not great with tech but you care about your privacy then HideMyAss tick most boxes.
Price: When taking their 12-month package HideMyAss works out at £4.99 per month.
Which VPN is right for you?
With over 500 VPN services available and 10 of the most popular ranked above it’s a time consuming minefield of which to choose.
There’s more than one VPN service that is suitable for your needs but it mostly comes down to how you’re going to use it and what you want to use it for.
For that reason I’ve put together a list of the most common usages to help you decide why you should choose one VPN service over the other.
If you want the strongest privacy protection, choose ExpressVPN. They’ve got the largest number of servers worldwide, a whole heap of apps for all devices and their no-log policy has been put to the test and shown to be secure. On top of that, they’re registered off-shore. There’s not much they do wrong.
If you want to unblock TV and other services, opt for NordVPN. They unblock more streaming services than most and they’ve got apps for almost all devices including the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. This will let you stream content from most services on any type of device.
If you want helpful and easy to use apps, get CyberGhost VPN. Their apps tell you what servers to connect to for what purposes. If you’re confused where to connect then you’ll appreciate their apps pointing you in the right direction.
If you don’t want to put your money at risk, choose either CyberGhost VPN or VyprVPN. CyberGhost VPN has a huge 45-day money back guarantee and VyprVPN offer 3-days completely free. Two services that give you plenty of risk-free trial.
If you want to secure the most devices, grab IPVanish. With connections available on up to 10 devices at the same time, it’s more than any other VPN service. In fact, it’s double the amount allowed by many.
If you want the best all round service for different purposes, definitely choose ExpressVPN. They’re good not only for protecting your privacy but also unblocking and accessing geo-restricted content and TV streaming services. With a 30-day money back guarantee you can’t go wrong.
There we have it, the 10 most popular VPN services, ever.
They’ve been around mainly since the start of the boom and have proven themselves to not only be reliable but also the customer’s favourites. It’s for this reason they’ve remained the most popular for so long.
Check out the ‘What VPN is right for you’ section above if you’re struggling to make your mind up. I’ve broken it down into the most common usage scenarios helping you make a decision.
If you’re still undecided then my recommendation is to give ExpressVPN a try. They’re one of the very best and they’ve got a 30-day money back guarantee. If you don’t agree with me after trying them you can get a refund allowing you to try out one of the others.
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