Are you looking for a VPN to cover your Download habits or make them faster? We've been testing a whole range of the most popular providers and reduced it down to the leading five options.
In this day and age, when everything you could ever need in terms of software, apps, games, videos, and more, is available online – a day doesn't go by that we don't download something to our devices.
You might download a massive game or a small e-book. An entire movie, or a single photo or even update an app.
It doesn't matter what you are downloading, but you may have considered increasing your privacy or hiding your online activities by using a VPN or avoiding speed and other restrictions.
But which VPN is up to the job and more important, which is the ‘best'? We're about to find out.
Top 5 VPN services for Downloads
Below are our top choices. Click on any of their names to learn more about each service.
1. IPVanish – #1 Option
IPVanish is our top pick because of their improved their speeds in recent months.
It features strong security options, and it owns more than 1,300 VPN servers in 75 locations around the world, as well as pretty competitive prices.
IPVanish is also known for its user-friendly apps, which can be used on Windows, iOS, Mac, Android, routers, Fire TV, Linux, as well as in Chrome.
Another one of its strongest points is the fact that it allows you ten simultaneous connections, which is one of the best offers in the VPN industry.
The country count has been reducing over the years, which is a small red-flag but what locations remain are overall stable and provide constant speeds.
However, it does come with a further small downside – the fact that its money-back guarantee only lasts for seven days.
You still get a full week to decide whether or not you like this VPN, but it is a much shorter period than the industry's one-month standard. This means you'll need to test it heavily in the first week or stick with one of the earlier services.
Our #1 VPN Recommendation
7-day money back guarantee
In the second spot, there is Surfshark – a strong, competent service that features over 1,040 VPN servers in more than 61 countries.
Surfshark is a relatively new VPN service, but they've been making great strides.
In our most recent review, we found their download speeds to be better than much more established services. The only caveat being as they increase their customer base, speeds could suffer.
It is a trusted provider with numerous security features, including a Kill Switch, MultiHop feature, Whitelister, CleanWeb feature, and more.
It supports all of the most popular devices and systems, such as anything running iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Fire TVs. Plus two plugins for the most popular browsers – Opera and Chrome.
Surfshark also has a money-back guarantee that lasts for 30 days, and you can change your mind at any time. Meanwhile, you can use all of its servers, security features, and other benefits to download anything safely or for any of your other needs.
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN providers out their and for downloading they're a top choice. This is mainly due to their massive coverage (servers in 94 countries), quick speeds, and excellent security.
With this VPN, you can forget about issues like lag or hours of downloads.
In our most recent tests, they provided some of the fastest download speeds compared to other leading services. For example, we lost just 9% overall speed from our regular connection whereas other providers lost near 20%.
The service offers 256-bit encryption and protects against DNS leaks so what you download remains your business and no-one else's. Coupled with unlimited bandwidth there are no restrictions.
As mentioned, ExpressVPN can help you stay partly anonymous, but it can also help you bypass censorship and geo-restrictions. This is very useful for accessing sites and files from other countries that might not ordinarily be available.
The service providers VPN apps for almost any device so whether you want to download on your computer, phone, tablet or anything else you're covered.
Next, we have NordVPN, which is one of the best alternatives for ExpressVPN you can find.
NordVPN offers even more servers than ExpressVPN, although it has fewer locations covered. Still, regions where it does have servers amount to 60 countries, so you will be able to access pretty much anything you wish and grab an IP address from most countries.
The service also supports speedy downloading, so there's not much noticeable difference between your regular connection speed.
Apps are available for most common devices, such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Smart TVs, and more.
NordVPN also has all the advanced security technology that you could want in a VPN, but it remains affordable. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, just in case you have a change of heart when choosing a VPN provider.
Lastly we have CyberGhost, this is one of the rare VPN providers that offer an extra-long money-back guarantee, lasting as long as 45 days.
In other words, you will have a month and a half to decide whether you like the service or not, which is an exceptionally long period.
Apart from that, CyberGhost offers all the powerful security features, as well as a massive server network that is pretty much as large as that of ExpressVPN, with as many servers as NordVPN. So it picks the best from both of the two.
It's not quite as fast as the others but only marginally slower, and it is available on the most popular devices and systems. This means that you could use it on your Android, Windows, Mac, or iOS.
Furthermore, it offers meager prices for its long-term plans. Plus you can use it on up to 7 devices at once, which is a great way to protect your entire family.
Reasons for using a VPN for downloading
So, why should you use a VPN for downloading content, anyway?
There are a few reasons. Below I'll run through the primary considerations, although this isn't an exhaustive list.
1) You can (potentially) download faster
With a good, fast VPN at your side, you can avoid bottlenecks, slow and busy networks, as well as bad routes.
While it's not always the case, the route your connection takes to the file you're downloading could be suffering issues or be overloaded.
Your VPN will help you achieve the best possible speeds by sending your request via a different route, which is a significant speed win.
2) You can unlock downloads from other regions
As mentioned, VPNs are great at bypassing geo-restrictions and censorship. This means that you can use them to access games and other files that are usually only available in a specific region.
With a VPN, connect to that specific region, and enjoy downloading content that otherwise wouldn't be available to you.
3) You can protect your privacy
The very reason why VPNs were created in the first place was to provide their users with privacy and security while browsing the web.
By using them, you can encrypt your traffic and hide it in a secure tunnel, so that no one can know what you are doing apart from yourself.
So whether you want to torrent anonymously or download privately, you're covered.
Will a VPN slow my downloads?
This is a complex matter, but the most common answer is – yes, it will.
However, your choice of a VPN service will significantly change how much your internet speed gets reduced.
A premium VPN reduces it as little as possible. For example, in our study, ExpressVPN was found only to produce a 9% reduction versus your standard connection.
Others can lead to a 20% reduction, so it pays to choose well.
And, as mentioned, VPN can even help you achieve higher speeds in some instances. In cases such as traffic bottlenecks or when your ISP is impacting it in some way.
So while it most cases you will receive some speed loss, this can be negligible by choosing a VPN provider wisely.
Can I use a VPN for downloading and streaming?
Of course, VPNs are great for both downloading and streaming. You should note, however, that there is a difference between the two.
In essence, they act as the same thing. However, one starts playing before completing the download, while the other one doesn't. In most cases, when streaming the files are not stored locally.
Best of all, you can use a single VPN to achieve both of these things, meaning that there is no need to get separate VPNs for separate uses.
Downloading content from the internet – be it a game, a video, a book, or anything else has become an everyday thing for billions of us wherever we are.
However, there are plenty of reasons why a VPN is beneficial for downloading specifically. Whether that be to avoid ISP speed restrictions, protect your privacy or access content that isn't usually available to you.
Both of these problems, as well as many others, can be addressed by using a VPN service. While IPVanish certainly suffered from the least speed loss, others like Surfshark and ExpressVPN are equally worth using due to their added feature.
Whichever of the five you end up choosing, they're all suitable for downloading so you can't go wrong.