Are you worried about your online privacy when using a public Wi-Fi network or when torrenting? With a reliable VPN, you can rest assured that your IP address will remain anonymous, your connection will be encrypted, and that neither your Internet Service Provider (ISP) nor the authorities or malicious third parties can track your online activities.
Plus, with the best VPN service, you can enjoy watching geo-blocked content on Netflix and have access to any online media or source which is restricted in your country.
By using a VPN, your personal data, bank information, and others will remain safe, and advertisers won’t be able to track your online interests and bombard you with ads.
The question is what the best VPN for 2021 is, and how to choose the most suitable Virtual Private Network service for your needs.
Here is an in-depth overview of the top best VPNs for 2021, their main features, pros, and cons, so you can decide which one to install and use on your computer, phone, tablet, game console, smart TV, home router, or other internet-connected devices.
What is the best VPN 2021 for your needs – a brief summary
- ExpressVPN – The best #1 VPN overall
- NordVPN – The best VPN encryption
- Surfshark – The best VPN for torrent users
- CyberGhost – The best VPN for Mac users
- IPVanish – The best VPN for Android devices
- Private Internet Access – The best VPN for Windows users
- Tunnelbear – The best free VPN
- Windscribe – The best VPN with a Double Hop
- Encrypt.me – The best VPN for use on unlimited devices
- Hotspot Shield – The best VPN for watching Netflix
- FastestVPN – The best VPN for Fire TV Stick users
Our List of the best VPN Services for 2021
Check out the ExpressVPN subscription plans
ExpressVPN is our top choice for the best overall #1 VPN for 2021. This is the VPN with the best results from our independent speed tests and one of the vastest arrays of servers in different locations. ExpressVPN offers military-grade encryption, guarantees zero leaks to keep you protected at all times, and also guarantees zero logs.
- Lightning-fast speeds, perfect for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and others
- 3,000+ torrent-friendly physical servers located in 94 countries and thousands of server locations around the world
- An excellent choice for unblocking geo-restricted content on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and more and streaming content in Full HD quality without buffering
- It works for bypassing local restrictions even in countries with the strictest Internet censorship like China
- The ExpressVPN Company is headquartered in The British Virgin Islands, which is a privacy friendly entity, not part of the International Eyes Alliances
- Zero log guarantee, and RAM disk mode which will never save any of your data
- A Kill Switch will keep your IP address, DNS and location protected even if the connection fails
- There is a nifty split tunneling option for using a VPN protected connection alongside your real IP address simultaneously for different needs
- ExpressVPN works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, Smart TVs, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Samsung Smart TV, Roku, Chromecast, Nvidia Shield, Game consoles, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, different browsers and routers
- You can install the ExpressVPN app on your home router and thus ensure that every single device in your home network is protected
- The ExpressVPN Company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee
- There is 24/7 live chat customer service support in 15+ languages
- You will receive a 35% discount on the monthly fee if you sign up for the 12-month subscription plan
- There is no free VPN service plan offered by ExpressVPN
- There is no phone customer support
ExpressVPN is easy to set up using OpenVPN and thus is compatible with most OpenVPN devices and platforms. The service supports OpenVPN on macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and other platforms.
It also supports other protocols, including L2TP and IKEv1/2 protocols.
ExpressVPN even has a beta release of its own protocol named Lightway VPN.
There is a strict zero log policy
ExpressVPN guarantees that none of your specific online activities or IP address will be saved or provided to third party authorities or other interested parties. Even if some data is logged, it is anonymized and will be protected at all times.
All of the ExpressVPN servers run on RAM discs, and the service is TrustedServer certified.
The Split Tunneling feature
With this unique feature, users can manually set which connections should be protected by the ExpressVPN app and which not, so that they can download torrents anonymously and safely, and at the same time work or access their online banking via their real IP address and connection.
You can set up which apps, websites, devices, or other connections you want to always connect via the VPN and which don’t.
This will save you the time and hassle of having to connect and disconnect to any of the numbers of servers or VPN server locations every time you need to perform a different task on your computer or another device.
You get to choose from a huge number of servers in thousands of server locations.
Thankfully, you can try out ExpressVPN risk-free thanks to the generous 30-day money-back guarantee offered by the company.
You can check out the NordVPN price plans here.
NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN services in the world, with 5,400+ servers located in 59 different countries and some of the fastest speeds in the industry.
The service is suitable for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and for the protection of your data and identity on any device.
NordVPN has a strict no-logs policy, offers the highest grade encryption, and has apps for a wide variety of devices and operating systems.
The CyberSec encryption provided by the NordVPN Company will keep you safe and hidden from all third parties, including your ISP, and will also block adware and malware.
- NordVPN offers military-grade encryption as well as built-in malware and adware protection
- Your ISP will not be able to track increased data usage like torrenting, streaming, or other, and thus will not throttle your connection speed
- The NordVPN subscription plans offer protection of up to 6 different simultaneous connections on six devices
- You can install and use it on a wide variety of devices, including Windows, Mac, Linus, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Android TV, routers, and more
- Ultra-fast connectivity speeds to 5,400+ number of servers spread in 59 countries and hundreds of server locations
- Excellent for torrenting, as its servers are P2P compatible
- The headquarters of the Company are in Panama, which is not under the jurisdiction of the International 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances, so your privacy will be protected at all times
- A zero-logs policy
- NordVPN works with unblocking geo-restricted content and is perfect for streaming media from Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and more
- A Kill Switch will prevent leaks even if your VPN connection drops
- The Company accepts a wide variety of payment options, including cryptocurrencies, so you can stay completely anonymous and not provide any bank card information
- Useful 24/7 live chat customer support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- It doesn’t offer Split Tunneling
- No free plan available
NordVPN and Netflix
NordVPN is one of the best VPN services to choose from if you enjoy watching Netflix and would love to stream movies without throttling and to access the content which is not available in your country.
The NordVPN Company offers its users unrestricted access to Netflix US, CA, DE, UK, FR, IT, JP, AU, NL, ES, IN, BR, KR, and FL.
The Triple-S VPN encryption
NordVPN uses the highest grade AES 256-bit encryption and relies on three of the most reliable VPN protocols, including IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, and on the in-house NordLynx solution, which features a double NAT system. It is fast and secure and will not store any data on the VPN server. A kill switch will prevent leaks of your IP address and DNS if the connection drops.
The affordable price plans
NordVPN offers some of the best-priced plans and the biggest discounts in the industry. The monthly fee can be as low as $3.71 per month if you sign up for the two year plan, and you will receive an added 3 months for free. So, you can sign up for the two year plan by NordVPN for just $89, and you will get 15 months of reliable and high-speed VPN.
The monthly price is $11.95 if paid month for month, but you will also receive a discount if you sign up for a 1-year plan, which will cost you $4.92 per month only.
Plus, you can test the service offered by NordVPN risk-free thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Check out the SurfShark price plans here
SurfShark is a VPN service that is designed for easy use even by newbies and is among the best VPNs for torrenting for 2021. This means that you can install it, and rest assured that any movies, TV shows, music, e-books, games, software, or other content you download or upload via P2P will remain hidden from your ISP and from the authorities.
Each SurfShark subscription covers VPN protection for unlimited devices, so you will be protected at all times, no matter whether you are using your computer, phone, TV, console, or another device to connect to the Internet.
- The SurfShark service is offered for an unlimited number of devices
- The Surfshark VPN has built-in malware, phishing, ad, and tracker CleanWeb security suite protection
- You can whitelist certain websites or apps which you want to bypass the VPN – like your bank or others
- You can install it on Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, iOS, Chrome, Apple TV, and multiple other operating systems and devices
- The SurfShark Company has a strict zero-logs policy
- The Kill Switch provided by SurfShark will activate itself automatically if the VPN connection fails and stops all leeching and seeding instantly
- There is IPv4 leak protection and a private DNS on each of the servers
- Your ISP will not be able to detect that you are using a VPN connection
- There is a useful MultiHop feature that will allow you to connect to different servers in different countries and server locations simultaneously for even higher IP and ID protection
- SurfShark has military-grade AES 256 GCM encryption and supports IKEx2/IPsec and OpenVPN
- Torrenting is allowed on all SurfShark servers, and it works with uTorrent, BitTorrent, and other clients
- The VPN Provider Company has been audited as TrustedServer
- There are 1,040+ servers located in 61 different countries you can connect to
- SurfShark works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Sky TV, and more for unblocking geo-restricted content and streaming without buffering or throttling
- The prices are among the lowest in the industry, and the Company offers big discounts for signing up for longer-lasting plans. And you will get another 3 months for free if you sign up for the longest plan
- Live chat support
- You are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee
- No phone support offered
- The number of servers is lower than that of most other leading VPN services
The SurfShark British Virgin Islands headquarters
Since the VPN Company is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is outside of the legislation of the International Eyes Alliance, it is not obligated to provide any collected data about its users to third parties. The Company has a zero-logs policy, so you can be sure that neither your IP nor your bandwidth, browsing history, or network traffic will be logged and saved.
The servers around the world
The Company has fewer servers than some of its competitors on this list. Still, the servers are well distributed around the world, including in countries like Albania and Vietnam. You can connect to servers in more than 60 countries or choose one of the 20 servers in different US cities, depending on your needs.
SurfShark for streaming
SurfShark offers servers that work with Netflix libraries from around the world, including Netflix US, UK, IN, IT, NO, DE, AU, JP, KR, PL, FR, CA, TR, SE, SG, and NL, which is among the widest choices offered by VPNs.
This means that you can access the local content on any of these libraries easily by connecting to one of the servers in that location.
The VPN works for streaming from HBO Go, Hulu, Disney+, Spotify, YouTube, and more. You can test it for a month to see whether it works for you thanks to the 30-day money-back guarantee offered by the VPN service.
You can check out the CyberGhost prices and plans here
CyberGhost is our top pick for the best VPN to install and use on a Mac, MacBook, or iMac.
The VPN service provides access to a whopping 6,800+ servers around the world, protection of up to 7 devices or connections simultaneously, and helpful and timely 24/7 customer support.
The VPN has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire Stick and TV, Android TV, Smart TV, Xbox, PS4, Apple TV, Roku, Wii U, and many more.
The Company is headquartered in Romania, a privacy-friendly country that is not part of the international surveillance networks.
- It has over 6,800 servers in 90 different countries and dedicated P2P servers in more than 30 locations for safe torrenting
- A user-friendly interface, easy for use on Mac computers and devices, and on a multitude of other operating systems, devices, and platforms
- Fast speeds and compression option for saving wireless bandwidth
- You can use the VPN on up to 7 different devices and simultaneous connections at the same time
- No bandwidth or speed restrictions, making it an excellent choice for streaming, gaming, and torrenting
- Your activity and bandwidth will remain completely hidden from your ISP to prevent throttling or other problems
- It offers military-grade AES 256-bit encryption and has integrated malware and ad blocking protection
- The Kill Switch will keep your identity and activities hidden even in case of connection failure
- The Company is located in Romania, which has privacy-friendly laws and is also not part of the 5/9/14 Eyes international intelligence-sharing alliance
- Works for Netflix US, DE and FR, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Crunchyroll, and other
- There is reliable 24/7 customer support
- The prices are very reasonable
- You will get serious discounts of up to 83% if you decide to sign up for the longer-term plans offered
- The Company backs its services with a 45-day money-back guarantee
- No split tunneling or whitelisting
- Some older machines and devices may not be able to handle the resource demands of the software
- No router app
CyberGhost’s highest-grade encryption
CyberGhost relies on the latest and most secure encryption standards and VPN security protocols, including military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, SHA256 authentication, 2,048-bit RSA keys, and perfect forward secrecy, which prevents any previous sessions from being decrypted even if a key is compromised.
The VPN is very reliable in preventing IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks as well.
So, if privacy and security are your main priority, CyberGhost is one of the best deals on the market in 2021.
The discounts offered by CyberGhost
The Company has one of the most affordable prices and offers some of the greatest discounts to its customers. The price will drop from $12.99 per month to $3.99 per month for 1 year, $3.49 per month for 2 years, and only $2.25 per month for 3 years. If you sign up for the 3-year plan, you will not only receive a stunning 83% discount from the regular monthly price but will also get another 3 added months of VPN use for free.
Admirable customer care and support
CyberGhost takes its customers very seriously and offers reliable immediate live chat 24/7 support.
There is an extensive knowledge base in the Help Center, including detailed guides, tutorials, articles, and FAQs too.
And the VPN provider offers an industry-leading 45-day money-back guarantee.
You can check out the IPVanish packages and plans here
We chose IPVanish as the best VPN for use with Android phones and other devices because the product is easy to install and use and offers excellent features such as split tunneling, military-grade encryption, unmetered connections and speeds, zero logs, and excellent customer support.
- Some of the most user-friendly apps for Android and other operating systems and devices
- 1,600+ number of servers in over 75 server locations and more than 40,000 shared IPs
- Unlimited speed and connections
- Torrenting is allowed on all servers, and the VPN service works with TOR
- Each plan allows for the use of unlimited simultaneous connections of the VPN on an unlimited number of devices
- Military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, and support for IKEv2, OpenVPN as well as L2TP/IPsec protocols
- The plans include 250GB of SugarSync, which is encrypted storage and backup of all of your essential data
- The VPN Provider has a zero-logs policy
- It overrides the VPN blocks on Netflix and other streaming sites and platforms with restricted content
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Linux, Chrome, and some routers.
- The product has a split tunneling function, so you can use a VPN and your regular connection at the same time for different apps, websites, and purposes
- 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee
- Reliable customer support 24/7
- It is US-based, which means that any collected data may be shared with authorities
The nifty Kill Switch
A Kill Switch is an essential feature of all of the best VPNs. It is a function that automatically switches off any internet activity, including streaming, torrenting, or browsing if the connection to the VPN server is broken.
This ensures that your IP address, Internet traffic, and other data are not exposed to your ISP, authorities, trackers, malicious users, and others.
The Kill Switch of IPVanish works immediately and perfectly by killing and closing all of the browser windows and apps as soon as a failure in the connection is detected.
Reliable and timely customer support
IPVanish has one of the most reliable customer support services of all VPNs. There is a 24/7 live chat, which you can use at any time of the day and night and expect a quick response from a real human being almost immediately. There is also phone support, a searchable and browsable help center, a phone, and more.
User-friendly mobile apps
IPVanish offers its customers one of the easiest to use and most intuitive mobile apps for Android and for iOS. Thanks to this app, you can now rest assured that your privacy, personal information, and bank and medical data are all protected, even if you connect to the Internet via a public Wi-Fi network.
You can check out the Private Internet Access VPN plans and prices here
Private Internet Access is our top choice for the best VPN for Windows for 2021 because our tests show that it works at very high speeds, and there is no noticeable change in the Internet connection speed once you turn the VPN on a Windows-based computer.
It is also available for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, and 34 other platforms and operating systems.
The Private Internet Access Company boasts an impressive server list with a whopping 20,343+ servers in 76 different countries and thousands of server locations too.
- More than 20,340 servers located in 76 countries
- Very fast on Windows computers
- You can use the VPN on up to 10 devices and simultaneous connections at the same time
- There are built-in ad and tracker blocking and malware protection
- It offers unlimited bandwidth and has multiple VPN gateways
- There are apps for over 38 operating systems and device types
- You can pay via BitCoin or multiple other payment gateways
- The apps are very easy to install and use
- There is a strict no-log policy
- Excellent user reviews
- You can use it for P2P file sharing and torrenting
- You can use it to unblock geo-restrictions on websites and streaming sites and services like Netflix
- It supports OpenVPN, PPTP, and IPSEC/L2TP protocols
- There is useful live chat, guides, knowledgebase, and a community that will provide you with the help and assistance you need
- If you sign up for the 3-year plan, you will get a discount of 82% and will have to pay only $2.19 per month (as compared to $11.95 per month when paid monthly)
- The Company is based in the USA, which is a 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance member
- Not so fast on Mac
Its multiple encryption options
Unlike many other VPN services, Private Internet Access offers a variety of authentication modes, encryption types, and handshakes, and privacy features that users can customize in accordance with their preferences. You can choose the default recommended option or one which optimizes the speed, or another which is focused on security. There is an option with no authentication at all, as well.
Users get new dynamic IP addresses every time
You will be assigned a different IP address every time you connect to a server from the massive number of servers in different server locations owned by Private Internet Access. This will mask your true IP and will make it impossible for third parties to trace your identity or internet activity back to your real IP.
Yes, TunnelBear offers a completely free VPN plan, which will provide you with 500MB of VPN protection per month free of charge. TunnelBear is among the most intuitive and fun VPN Services to use on any kind of device.
It has visuals like maps and user-friendly navigation, which even people who are not tech-savvy or somebody using a VPN for the first time can use without problems.
- The Company offers a completely free plan with 500MB of secure browsing on up to 5 devices and access to 23 servers, sufficient for light internet browsing and basic jobs
- You can get an added 1GB free if you tweet about TunnelBear
- The paid plans are reasonably priced as well
- The Company has a number of servers in 23 countries, which allows for overriding geo-blocked content almost anywhere
- It has one of the best and easy to use Android and iOS apps of all
- There are maps and other visuals that make this one of the easiest and most fun VPNs to use
- The encryption is AES 256-bit – the highest possible
- There is a VigilantBear switch to protect your identity and online activity in case the connection drops
- With the GhostBear feature, your identity and VPN service use and web traffic will be completely masked and hidden from your ISP, the government, and malicious parties
- The plans include using the VPN on up to 5 devices or 5 simultaneous connections at the same time
- It comes with apps for a variety of operating systems and platforms and also has Opera, Chrome, and Firefox browser extensions
- There is a built-in ad and tracker blocker
- Even free users will have access to the ticket-based customer support
- It supports torrenting
- The Company has a no-logging policy and is independently audited to confirm the security policy
- It is located in Canada, which is part of the international surveillance sharing alliances
- You can torrent only via your Android device
Excellent speeds on Mac
TunnelBear works well on all supported device types, but we were especially impressed by its performance when installed on a Mac computer. The speed tests showed minimal decreases in the upload and download speeds as compared to other VPNs.
There is a Team plan for business users. It costs less than $6 per month and covers VPN connectivity for more than 2 users and to up to 5 devices per person. This is great news for people who, like many, are working from home this year and are worried about the privacy and security of their business data.
The reliable encryption
TunnelBear may look fun and have some fun bear-related names and features, but when it comes to encryption, this VPN Company is very serious. TunnelBear uses the military-grade AES-256 for encryption, SHA256 for authentication, and Diffie-Hellman Exchange for sending crypto keys over the network.
You can test the VPN free trial now, or use it for free infinitely if you prefer.
You can pick the best Windscribe plan for your needs here
Windscribe has a completely free trial, which includes up to 10GB of VPN protected data per month, and an added 5GB if you tweet about it, and plus 1GB for referring the service to a friend. This makes it one of the best free VPNs on the market.
Windscribe also offers Double Hop for users who want to double their online security and anonymity. It is a feature that allows users to connect to one server in one country via the desktop app and another via a browser extension – all at the same time.
- Double Hop encryption and protection
- The free trial includes 10GB of data per month, which can reach 15GB if you tweet it, and added 1GB per every referred friend
- You can use it for free anonymously without entering your email, and you will get 2GB per month
- Access to 10 free servers in the USA, UK, Hong Kong, Germany, Norway, France, and Romania with the free trial
- A zero-logging policy
- It is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, mobile devices, and as browser extensions
- Even the free plan has a Kill Switch to protect your identity and privacy at all times
- The paid plans include access to servers in 110 locations in 63 countries
- An integrated malware and adblocker protection
- It is very easy to install and use
- There is 24/7 customer support via live chat or a ticket system
- It is based in Canada, which can be a problem if authorities request information about the users
- Not as many servers as some of the other VPNs
It offers some of the best free options
As mentioned earlier, you can try out and use Windscribe for free and get 10GB per month, plus 5GB for tweeting about the Company and 1GB every time you refer it to someone else. With the free plan, you will get access to servers in 10 locations and countries, a Kill Switch, and more.
The paid plans are affordable as well, so Windscribe is among the best deals you will find for VPNs in 2021.
The Digital Security optional feature
Users can sign up for the optional Digital Security feature offered by Windscribe. It blocks trackers, ads, and malware, as well as the option to configure your digital security settings.
Excellent mobile apps
The apps for Android and iOS mobile phones and devices are extremely easy to install and use. Connecting to a VPN takes several seconds, and the user interface is simple and makes navigation easy and intuitive.
You can check the prices and plans offered by Encrypt.me here
Encrypt.me is not as popular as some of the other VPNs on this list, but it is easy to use, reliable and offers one of the widest varieties of plan types of all. In fact, Encrypt.me has the regular monthly-based plans but also has Week, Month, and Year passes for trips and for savings. There are plans for families and for business teams as well. All of them offer usage of the VPN on an unlimited number of devices.
- You can use the VPN on an unlimited number of devices with one single account
- There are not only monthly and annually based subscriptions, but there are passes and plans for families and for teams as well
- There is a free 2-week trial. No credit card required
- It can be installed and used on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire OS
- The apps are user-friendly
- Detailed guides, FAQs, and support at the help center
- There is no live chat or phone support
- The Company is US based and doesn’t support torrenting or Netflix geo-unblocking
The unique passes for VPN use
Unlike most other VPN services, Encrypt.me offers not only the traditional subscription plans but also passes for just a week, month, or a year when you need VPN security only temporarily for a trip or other purposes. A week pass is an excellent option for keeping yourself, and your family protected when you go on a trip.
User-friendly mobile apps
The VPN comes with easy to install and use Android and iPhone apps, which are highly rated at the Google Play Store and Apple Store.
The other Windows, Mac, and Amazon apps are also intuitive and easy to use by people of all tech skill levels.
Encrypt.me supports the most popular and trusted open-source OpenVPN. This helps provide reliable protection and security. It is combined with the highest AES 256-bit encryption and support for PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, and IKEv2/IPSec protocols.
You can explore the Hotspot Shield subscription plans and prices here
Hotspot Shield is another one of the best VPNs for 2021 and is especially suitable for streaming movies and shows on Netflix, as there is no buffering or lag, and the VPN can unblock the geo-restricted libraries in most countries.
The VPN service offers a free plan that you can use for your daily browsing and affordable paid plans with excellent speeds and security, suitable for gaming, streaming, and torrenting.
- A Catapult Hydra technology boosts the connection allowing for seamless gaming, streaming, and torrenting while connected to a VPN server
- There is a free plan which offers up to 500MB of free data per day, access to 1 US server, and speeds of up to 2Mbps
- You can save up to 40% if you pick a longer-term annual plan instead of a monthly one
- The Premium plan allows for use on up to 5 devices, unlimited data, and speeds up to 1Gbps
- The Premium Family plan allows for use on 25 devices simultaneously
- The servers are optimized for Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Disney+ and other streaming services
- The Company offers servers in 115+ locations in more than 80 countries
- It can be installed and used on various devices, including Linux, Smart TVs, and routers
- The VPN offers military-grade encryption and a Kill Switch to keep you anonymous and safe at all times
- It is excellent for overriding geo-blocks and viewing restricted content
- It supports torrenting
- There is built-in malware protection and added password management, identity protection, and Robo shield spam blocking for the Premium accounts
- There is 24/7 live chat support
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- The US-based Company does collect some web traffic usage, approximate location, and device information
- It is not as affordable as some of the other VPNs on our list
The Free plan
Hotspot Shield offers a completely free VPN plan for a single device, with 500MB of data per day and connectivity to 1 secure US server. Although the speed and servers are limited, the free account offers more data in the long-run as compared to other free VPNs.
The in-house Catapult Hydra protocol
Hotspot Shield relies on its own Catapult Hydra security protocol, which is bank-level secure and ensures connectivity via multiple channels for improved speeds.
The Company also supports IKEv2 for iOS and Windows and OpenVPN for router apps.
Easy to use apps
The VPN app has a familiar and user-friendly interface, especially for Windows users.
It is intuitive and doesn’t require any tech expertise and knowledge to get it set up and connected.
Take a look at the plans and prices offered by FastestVPN here
If you prefer using Fire TV Stick for watching Amazon Prime Video and want the most suitable VPN for secure and seamless streaming, the FastestVPN could be the best option for you.
It comes with an easy to install and use app for Fire TV Stick, and its speed is excellent with a minimal slowdown for an enjoyable streaming experience.
- You can subscribe to the VPN for just $1.11 per month if you choose the $39 3-year plan and for $2.49 per month for the 1-year Annual plan
- There is a built-in ad blocker and malware protection, as well as a NAT Firewall
- The servers are P2P optimized for torrenting anonymously and without ISP throttling
- With the Smart Tunneling function, part of the selected traffic will pass through VPN even if you have not switched on the app
- It can be used on more than 20 types of devices, including FireStick Roku, Linux, Xbox, Kodi, and more
- You can use the VPN on up to 10 devices at the same time
- Highest grade 256-bit encryption and Wi-Fi security
- The VPN service supports OpenVPN, IPSec, IKEv2, L2TP, and OpenConnect
- There is a Kill Switch and DNS leak protection
- It unblocks restricted content on Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and many more from anywhere
- 24/7 live chat support
- The plans are backed by a 15-day satisfaction guarantee
- The Company has only about 100 VPN servers
As the name of the service suggests, FastestVPN has some blazing-fast speeds. They may not be the highest of all, but they are excellent and will cause no lag or buffering when you are playing a game, streaming a movie, or torrenting via a VPN connection.
The very strict no-logging policy
The Company is headquartered in the Cayman Islands, which is an entity that is not a member of the international 5 eyes alliance. It will never log your IP address and will not provide your data and information to third parties.
Perfect for entertainment
This VPN service is one of the best if you enjoy streaming movies, shows, and other media, or if you are an avid gamer or prefer to download and upload torrents.
It offers reliable security, high speeds, and ongoing protection from malware and ads, access to geo-blocked content, and will ensure that you remain anonymous while you enjoy the online content of your choice.
What is a VPN, and why do you need to use one?
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network that provides users with the opportunity to connect to a remote server and rely on a private connection to the Internet. This will mask their IP address and location, and all of their traffic and online activities will be encrypted securely.
This helps protect your identity, location, bank, and other personal information and will prevent tracking and hacking.
This is especially important if you use public Wi-Fi networks or if you access torrent websites and other locations, which can be untrustworthy.
What do the statistics show about VPN usage?
According to studies and stats about the usage of VPNs in the USA, about 50% of the users claim they use a VPN for general security, and 40% for ensuring general privacy.
About 68% of all participants in the study responded that they used a VPN – either paid by their jobs or by themselves. This means that there are about 142 million people using VPN for their personal or professional needs in the USA.
How about VPN usage around the world?
While a mere 17% of all North Americans use a VPN service, the usage is much higher in some regions and countries, including Indonesia, India with 38%, Turkey with 32%, and other countries with a higher percentage than the USA, which include: Australia, Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Korea, and Japan.
What can a VPN be used for?
If you are wondering what exactly you can use a VPN for, here are some of the uses of a VPN:
- Staying safe when using a public Wi-Fi network by keeping your IP address hidden and encrypting your traffic
- Accessing private networks that require a VPN – this is often the case for business networks, so it is very useful if you are working at home
- Enhanced online buying security – a VPN will help protect your private information, and bank and payment data and activities
- Remaining hidden from ad trackers and ISP – your online activity will remain masked and hidden by marketers, hackers, and even by your own internet service provider
- Access to geo-restricted content – you can gain access to content that is blocked in your country by connecting to a server in another country. This will open up the blocked content on Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and hundreds of other streaming services, and other platforms and websites
- Bypassing work, school, and even government censorship and restrictions for Internet usage
- Remaining anonymous for professional purposes, such as if you are an activist, journalist, or other
- Staying safe when torrenting – both when downloading and uploading files
Will the VPN Company keep track of my online activities?
This is one of the main concerns users have, so you should make sure that you choose a VPN company with a zero-logging or very strict logging policy. Also, if possible, one which is located in a privacy-friendly country, and has undergone audits or otherwise guarantees that your private data, IP address and internet web traffic usage remains private and is not given to third parties.
How does a VPN work?
A VPN works by providing users connectivity options to private servers rather than public ones. The private servers mask the IP addresses and encrypt the traffic, which passes through the VPN tunnel to ensure that the user IP and online activities are completely anonymous and untraceable.
Different VPNs use different security and encryption tools and protocols to secure your data at all times while you are connected to the Internet.
Do I need a VPN?
If you are still deliberating on whether you need a VPN or not, here are some reasons why installing a VPN is a good idea, which may help you change your mind:
- You can stay safe from hackers and protect your personal data
- You can access content that is usually restricted in your country for one reason or another
- You can enjoy torrenting even if it is restricted in your area
- You can access private home or work networks, and with split tunneling, you can access both private and public networks simultaneously
- You can ensure that you remain anonymous at all times
When is using a VPN essential?
If you often use public Wi-Fi networks or travel to another country where there are restrictions on the online content and web traffic usage you are interested in, then signing up for a reliable VPN service is essential. It is also a must for anyone who, for personal or professional reasons, needs to remain anonymous when using the Internet.
Is installing and using a VPN complicated?
All of the best VPN services on our list are extremely easy to find, install, set up, and use. They are in the form of apps for the different operating systems or devices, and all you need to do is pick the best one for you, download and install the app for your device, and then connect to a VPN server to start using it.
In some cases, you may need some more time and tech skills, like if you will be installing a VPN on your router in order to ensure that all connected devices are protected and connected to an encrypted server.
Are VPN companies to be trusted?
While not 100% of all VPN companies and services can be trusted, the best ones, including the ones that made our list are trustworthy when it comes to not sharing your IP address and your online activities with third parties.
To determine whether a VPN company can be trusted, you should check where it is based and if the country is a member of the 5/9/14 Eyes International Surveillance Alliance, which requires that companies provide government authorities with customer data upon legal matters.
Another feature to look for is a strict zero-logging policy, and if possible, an audit or transparency report certifying that the service is secure.
Last but not least, you should check whether the VPN service offers the highest and most reliable encryption, authorization, and security methods and protocols to keep your data and online activities safely masked and hidden.
Is VPN legal?
If you are worried about using a VPN legal in your country, you should check your local regulations. Some of the countries which forbid or limit the use of VPNs include China, Iran, Turkey, UAE, Russia, Belarus, and Oman.
What are the disadvantages of using a VPN?
As with most things in life, nothing is perfect. So, while VPNs can be incredibly useful and have multiple advantages, there are some disadvantages to VPN use as well.
One of the main disadvantages is that most VPNs slow down the internet connection, leading to slower downloading, uploading, and buffering a lag in gameplay, streaming services, and others.
Another downside is that even if VPNs are legal in your country, installing a VPN does not give you the right to perform illegal actions online, such as downloading or uploading copyrighted films and shows, visiting sites that are illegal in your country, and others. So, if you decide to do so, you can expect to be at risk of legal repercussions.
Which numbers to look for when looking for the best VPN?
There are multiple features to look for when choosing the best VPN for your needs, but here are some numbers which you should pay special attention to:
- The number of simultaneous devices and connections – this is how many devices can use the VPN at the same time per subscription. This is especially important if you want to protect all of your Internet-connected devices, including computers, TVs, game consoles, mobile phones, tablets, streaming devices, and other internet-connected devices in your home safe. If you choose a service like ExpressVPN, which has apps for installing the VPN on a router, you can easily protect all connected devices in your home via the router and one VPN connection. On the other hand, some VPNs offer unlimited simultaneous connections, so this is an excellent choice as well if you have a lot of devices that you want to secure.
- The number of servers and server locations – the more servers, the fewer users will be using the same one and causing a slower or impossible connection. Look for a VPN company that has more servers, especially in the country you are interested in connecting. For example, you want to geo-unblock Netflix US content from another country – look for a VPN service that has more Netflix dedicated specialty servers in the USA. Plus, if you travel a lot, you should opt for a VPN which has more servers available in more countries so that you can stay protected wherever you are. Some VPN companies even allow users to choose servers by cities and areas which are closest to you for the fastest possible speeds and maximum privacy.
Features to look for when choosing the best VPN
Since VPNs are very similar when it comes to their main objective and functionality, which is to mask your IP, encrypt your traffic, and keep you protected, it may seem hard to differentiate among them. Still, there are some essential features to keep in mind when you are choosing the best VPN for your needs:
What you will be using it for:
- For streaming – if you want to use the VPN to unblock geo-restricted libraries and content on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and others, then check whether the Company has servers dedicated to streaming and whether it allows streaming services at all.
- The number of simultaneous connections – calculate how many connections you and your family, colleagues, or friends will be using at the same time, including phones, tablets, consoles, TVs, routers, streaming devices, and computers, and then decide which Company and plan to opt for.
- Your operating system or device type – choose one of the VPN providers who offer native apps that are easy to install and use on the operating system or platform you will be using, such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Fire TV Stick, Chrome, Firefox, Apple TV, Roku, Smart TV, routers, consoles and others.
- A Split Tunneling function – this is a very useful feature which is offered by some VPNs, and which allows you to access private networks via VPN and at the same time access public networks with your real IP and without encryption. This means that you won’t have to switch connections every time you want to download a torrent and check your online banking account at the same time.
Your privacy concerns:
- The VPN company’s jurisdiction – if privacy is your number one concern, then opt for a VPN service that is situated in a country or entity that is not part of the international surveillance alliances that can legally require companies to hand over customer data to the authorities.
- The encryption strength – it is recommended that you pick a VPN that offers military and bank-grade encryption and authentication methods.
- Multi-factor authentication for the VPN account – this will stop hackers from getting into your account and gaining access to your personal data. So, pick a VPN that offers to send you a code to your mobile or uses your fingerprint, facial recognition, or other two or multi-factor authentication steps.
You want to make sure that the VPN has a sufficient number of servers in server locations near you or in the location you are going to be traveling to if you want a reliable connection and fast speeds.
Check whether the VPN has an app for the devices you will be using, especially if you have a device that is not among the most popular operating systems and platforms like Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, and others.
Your browser preferences:
Since most VPNs also offer handy browser extensions, if you plan on using one, check whether the VPN service offers an extension for your preferred browser. Please note that a browser extension will protect only the traffic through the browser and will not protect other apps and programs on the computer like torrent clients, emails, and more.
Naturally, you should opt for the VPN service, which offers the best value for the money and fits your set budget. There are some very affordable VPNs, especially if you sign up for a longer time period. Some of the VPNs on our list have monthly plans which are as low as $1.11!
How we picked our top best VPN services for 2021
We provided in-depth tests and reviews of numerous of the leading VPNs to determine which ones are the best VPNs for 2021. Our methodology included the following tests:
We used the same computers, mobile devices, and the same internet connection in the same place to perform a speed test on all of the VPNs.
We checked the upload and download speeds and latency with and without each of the VPN connections.
The best VPNs have minimal differences in all categories with a latency or speed decrease of no more than 40%, but keep in mind that this also depends on the server you choose, its location, and the device you are using.
We performed various security tests for all of the VPNs to test their ability to mask the real IP addresses, protect and encrypt the traffic, as well as for DNS leaks and WebRTC leaks with different programs.
Plus, we took the time to read through each of the Company’s privacy policies, including the fine print, to find out how secure the customers’ privacy is.
Our research included reviewing and comparing the encryption methods as well as the internet protocols used by the different VPN Providers to determine which ones were the most secure and reliable of all.
Our research involved selecting VPN Services with Kill Switches, which help protect users’ privacy even if there is a problem with the VPN service connection.
Among our top picks, we added some of the best VPNs which offer additional security features such as ad-blocking, tracking and malware protection, password protection, spam protection, and more.
The performance tests
During our assessment of the different VPNs, we tested each of the services and how each one works for streaming Netflix, Disney+, and other popular streaming sites and platforms. We also checked the download and upload speeds while torrenting and whether there was buffering or throttling during data-heavy usage such as torrenting, streaming, and gaming.
We were charmed by the performance of all 11 VPNs, which made it into our list of the best VPNs for 2021 and were especially happy with the ones that offer additional features, such as split tunneling double or multi-hop connectivity.
The plans and prices
We compared the prices and plans of each of the VPNs, as well as the features which each one included in its plans, to come up with the top VPNs that offer the best value for money.
Thankfully, all of the VPNs we have picked offer a free plan, a free trial, or a money-back guarantee for the first few weeks of use.
This means that you can test more than one and even all of the VPNs risk-free in order to decide which one works the best for your device, connection, and needs.
The customer support quality
As with all services which we use on a daily basis, having access to timely and reliable customer help and support is essential to make our life and work frustration-free.
Our top picks all have reliable customer support and useful help and knowledge centers. Some offer 24/7 live chat support and phone support as well.
The app quality and ease of use
We tested the apps provided by the different VPNs on as many devices as possible and checked their ratings among other users as well.
We picked the VPNs with the best, easiest to install and use apps and the ones which are most suitable for the average user or beginners.
Does Netflix detect and block VPNs?
Netflix does have a VPN detection system that works by recognizing VPN IP addresses, but our top picks were able to override this block at the time of the testing.
Here are the VPNs which have been tested and which work with Netflix in January 2021:
- CyberGhost (on some servers)
- Hotspot Shield
- Windscribe (on some servers)
- Proton VPN
How about using the VPN on Windows 10, Linux or Chrome?
Here are the best VPNs to use for these platforms:
- For Windows 10 – TunnelBear, Hotspot Shield, Encrypt.me, StrongVPN
- For Linux – ExpressVPN, TunnelBear, CyberGhost, Windscribe, FastestVPN, IPVanish
- For Chrome – ExpressVPN, Hotspot Shield, TunnelBear, CyberGhost, IPVanish, Windscribe, Ivacy VPN
Is it easy to install and use a VPN on your mobile phone or device?
Yes, the best VPNs have mobile apps which you can find on their websites, or in Google Play Store or Apple Store, or a partners store, and which are simple to install, open, and use. Usually, they don’t require any configuring, and all you will need to do is click connect or select a server and click connect to get the VPN working.
Free vs. paid VPN
Some VPN companies offer free VPN, even some of our top picks have similar free plans or trials. But keep in mind that with a free plan, your data will probably be limited, and so will the speed, server access, and security features.
Thankfully, you can test each and every one of our top picks for the best VPN services for 2021 because they all have either free trials, free plans, or have money-back guarantees for 14, 30, or 45 days.
But in any case, if you want to take advantage of all of the features offered by one of the best VPNs, it makes sense to invest in a paid plan within your budget. Please note that most companies give discounts ranging from 45 to 85% if you sign up for 1, 2, 3, or more years.
Which free VPN is best for your needs?
If you have decided to use a free VPN, then check out how much data you will receive per day or month of usage for free, and also if there is a speed limitation, the number of VPN servers you will have access to, and the number of devices you can use it on.
It seems that Windscribe probably offers the best free plan, which can reach up to 15-16GB of data per month for free. Hotspot Shield has an attractive free offer that includes access to all servers, 5 simultaneous connections, and 24/7 customer support.
But in any case, if you want to take full advantage of your VPN, we strongly recommend that you consider investing in a paid service.
Which is the fastest VPN for 2021?
According to our speed tests, the fastest VPNs for 2021are:
- IPVanish – excellent results with download speeds
- Private Internet Access – very good speeds, especially on Windows computers
- Hotspot Shield – very satisfactory speeds and performance both on Mac and Windows computers
- ExpressVPN – blazing high speeds on Windows and other devices
FAQs about VPNs
Which one is the best VPN?
According to our in-depth reviews and thorough tests, the best VPNs for 2021 are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, SurfShark, CyberGhost, IPVanish, TunnelBear, and the other top picks from our list.
Is it worth paying for using a VPN?
A free of charge VPN is cool, but it has limited functionality. If you want to use all of the features of a good VPN and remain secure and private at all times, it is definitely worth paying for one of the best VPNs.
Can I trust my VPN company?
As mentioned above, some VPN services are more trustworthy than others. Look for a VPN that has strict zero-logging policies, and if possible, it is located in a country that is not under the jurisdiction of the International 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance for sharing surveillance.
Can I still be tracked when using a VPN?
Are there completely free VPNs?
Yes, there are various VPNs that are available for free, but the majority comes with different types of limitations, including server options, data usage, speed, and the number of devices, time, and more. Some of the best free VPNs you can try out include Windscribe, Hotspot Shield, and TunnelBear.
Which are the best free VPNs?
The best free VPNs are those offered as full trial periods without limitations to the speed, data usage, server access, and others. Check out the free plans and trials offered by TunnelBear, ProtonVPN, Hotspot Shield, and Windscribe. The best VPN providers also offer a money-back guarantee for the first month or more of use, so you will have sufficient time to test each one risk-free.