The Internet used to be an open, border-free place. It was a complete contrast to the world we live in, where borders are all around us. Those days are long gone! Today Netflix offers different movies based on where you live. Airplane tickets have different prices based not on where you want to travel, but on where you’re buying the tickets from. There are even sites you can’t access just because you’re not from the “right” country. Geographical discrimination is ever-present; even for those living in first-world countries.
VPNs allow you to change all that! They use the same technology big corporations use to spy on you to give them the wrong data. They allow you to (virtually) change your geographical location with a single click and save money as well as get access to geo-locked content.
You already know everything about VPNs & want to find the best VPN service using our 1,100+ filterable & sortable data-points? Jump straight to the detailed VPN comparison table. Or:
What is a VPN – without the technical nonsense
The usual way the Internet works means that data flows from you (point A) to the website you want to visit (point B) and then back to you. So it’s a direct point A to point B (and vice-versa) communication. That means you have the site’s IP address and the site has yours. That’s not a problem as long as the site (or service) doesn’t use that IP to get further details about you and then uses those details against you! Specifically, via your IP they know where you live, on a city or country level (not the actual street), and then that information is used to tailor content and prices and to prevent you from accessing specific content.
VPNs change that by inserting themselves as the middle-man in the communication – a point C. Instead of data going directly, A to B it now flows A – C – B – C – A. The site no longer communicates with you. It communicates with the VPN and thus its IP address. It thinks that’s your IP address. So, if the IP of the VPN is registered in New York, the site believes that you live in New York, while you may easily be on the other end of the world.
What a VPN is;
- a service that makes you more anonymous online
- a service that makes surfing more secure
- a service that erases geographical lines on the Net
- a way to get all the latest movies on streaming service
- a service that gets rid of the annoying “this content is not for your country” notices
- a way to get various tickets and services cheaper
- a cheap alternative to always having to reset your router to get a new IP
What a VPN is NOT;
- a way to hide you while you do illegal stuff online
- a complicated gimmick reserved for nerds
Do I need a VPN service?
Short answer – yes, you do! No matter where you live, you are bound to get discriminated against, charged more and analyzed based on your geographical location.
Even if you live in a first-world country you can save money and get better deals by using a VPN. It prevents geo-based discrimination & targeting.
If the answer to any of those questions is yes – you should start using a VPN service! The great thing is you don’t have to use it all the time. You don’t even have to use it with all the apps you use. For instance, by using just the Chrome extension, you’d be browsing the web via a VPN while Skype and Steam would continue to run the usual way, without a VPN. It’s simple to set things up any way you want them. Plus, the best VPN services offer apps for tens of different platforms so whatever device you use, you’ll be protected.
Do you want cheaper airplane tickets?
Getting cheaper airplane tickets by using a VPN is not a myth. It’s a simple and straightforward way of saving money. See an example (video).
The same principle applies to other services and physical goods. Big companies use every little piece of data they have about you to charge more and more. VPNs are a great way to turn the game around!
Staying safe on a public wi-fi network
We all love free wi-fi! As soon as we get to a restaurant, we start looking for their wi-fi. Heck, we’ll even leave a bad review if the wi-fi is slow. While determining the speed of a network is simple, knowing if it’s safe is not. Are they sniffing your traffic? Are they looking for passwords you use on non-secure sites? Are they redirecting you to fake or phishing sites without your knowledge? It’s hard to know which wi-fi to trust or not and if you’re thinking “that’s just crazy talk, it’s too complicated to do that” I suggest watching this proof-of-threat video.
Using a VPN while on a public wi-fi solves most of the problems we listed above. Moreover, it’ll make your online experience much safer on any network connection. Regardless of VPN, try to stay off shady wi-fi connections – use mobile-data for that short period.
Aren’t VPNs something only hackers and big corporations use?
That used to be the case, but not anymore! VPNs used to be expensive, complicated and reserved only for the selected few. In most cases, those were big corporations watching out for their security, and shady people using watching out for their privacy.
Don’t you want to look out for your security and privacy? You do, and you can. Modern VPN services are made for and used by non-tech people. They are neither complicated nor expensive, and they genuinely do work.
Will I be anonymous/invisible if I use a VPN
You’ll have far greater anonymity compared to not using a VPN, but that does not make you anonymous or “invisible.” No, you can’t “hack Pentagon” while using a VPN thinking they won’t be able to trace you because your VPN doesn’t keep any logs (or they say they don’t). If things worked like that, we’d all be in a world of trouble.
To simplify the answer – as long as you don’t do anything illegal you’ll be 99.9999% safe and anonymous, and you can safely claim you live in some other country. As soon as you start causing real trouble VPNs won’t help you much. They can only prolonge the inevitable – you getting caught and going to jail. So, please, don’t do anything stupid. With VPNs or without them.
Today’s VPN services are cheap (often free too), easy to use and made for the average user. They are no more complicated than using email.
How do I start using a VPN? Is it complicated?
No, it’s not complicated. Most services we tested and use are user-friendly and don’t require any technical know-how besides the basics – using a browser or installing an app.
There are only three steps to start using a VPN;
- Choose a VPN service and open an account. If needed pay for it.
- Download their app for your platform of choice – Chrome, Windows, iOS.
- Open the app and log in with your account.
- That’s it! You’re surfing protected through a VPN.
The process might differ from platform to platform, but once you set it up, you never have to touch it again. There’s no day-to-day messing with it. It just works.
100+ VPN Services compared on 1,100+ data points
Use the table column headers to sort data. The first click sorts data from lowest to highest; second click one from highest value to lowest. Use the column filters to filter data by that column. Select a value from the drop-down, or enter it in the filter field.
|Nb of devices||Nb of locations||Company HQ|
|Anonymizer VPN||n/a||$79.99||∞||6||25||California, USA|
|Avast Secureline||n/a||$6.50||∞||5||34||Czech Republic|
|Avira Phantom||0.5 GB||$5.95||∞||∞||36||Germany|
|Black VPN||n/a||$56.99||∞||7||20||Hong Kong|
|Cargo VPN||n/a||$9.99||∞||5||70||Saint Kitts & Nevis|
|Disconnect VPN||n/a||$5.00||∞||3||1||California, USA|
|Dot VPN||∞||$4.99||∞||1||12||Hong Kong|
|Droid VPN||0.2 GB||$4.99||∞||1||7||Philippines|
|Encrypt Me||n/a||$9.99||∞||∞||15||California, USA|
|ExpressVPN||n/a||$12.95||∞||3||148||British Virgin Islands|
|Finch||3 GB||$1.61||25 GB||1||13||Malaysia|
|Goose VPN||n/a||$12.99||50 GB||∞||20||Netherland|
|Hide All IP||n/a||$2.40||∞||6||38||Hong Kong|
|Hide My IP||n/a||$29.95||∞||5||66||California, USA|
|Hotspot Shield||∞||$2.99||∞||5||25||California, USA|
|IronSocket VPN||n/a||$6.99||∞||3||38||Hong Kong|
|Kaspersky VPN||2 GB||$2.50||∞||5||18||Russia|
|Keenow VPN||0.5 GB||$9.95||∞||∞||44||Israel|
|Le VPN||n/a||$9.95||∞||5||114||Hong Kong|
|Norton Wifi Privacy||n/a||$7.99||∞||5||28||California, USA|
|PandaPow VPN||n/a||$9.00||∞||3||15||Hong Kong|
|PrivatePackets.io||n/a||$10.00||∞||∞||7||New York, USA|
|Proxy Server Pro VPN||∞||$12.00||∞||2||25||Georgia, USA|
|Ra4w VPN||n/a||$3.49||∞||2||22||California, USA|
|SecureVPN||1 GB||$7.99||∞||5||5||Texas, USA|
|Slick||n/a||$10.00||∞||5||145||South Carolina, USA|
|Smart DNS Proxy||n/a||$4.90||∞||5||42||Seychelle|
|Speedify||5 GB||$8.99||∞||5||28||Pennsylvania, USA|
|Strong VPN||n/a||$10.00||∞||5||26||Texas, USA|
|TorVPN||2 GB||$0.58||60 GB||2||11||Seychelles|
|Tunnelr VPN||n/a||$6.95||∞||5||9||Oregon, USA|
|VPN One Click||n/a||$2.99||∞||1||41||UAE|
|VPN Unlimited||n/a||$9.99||∞||5||70||New York, USA|
|ZPN.IM VPN||10 GB||$1.99||50 GB||1||28||UAE|
Comparison table legend
- Free tier GB /month – amount of data you can transfer per month if the VPN offers a free account (not a trial); ∞ denotes an unlimited amount
- Lowest tier $ /month – monthly price in US dollars for the cheapest tier/package
- Lowest tier GB /month – amount of data you can transfer per month in the cheapest tier/package; ∞ denotes an unlimited amount
- Number of devices – number of devices you can simultaneously use in the cheapest tier/package
- – VPN has or doesn’t have a native app for the selected platform
- Number of locations – number of available locations/places where you can claim you’re surfing from
- Company headquarters – the country where the company is incorporated, as claimed on the VPNs website
What did we learn from analyzing 100+ VPN services?
For you, the consumer, these are great times! There have never been so many VPN services that offer packages to the average Joe. That translates to lower prices and better service.
As you can see from the comparison table, the prices start from a ridiculously low $1.61 a month and go up to $75 with the average price of $9.8. Yes, that’s for the lowest tier of service. However, on most services lowest tier is more than enough for average use. Only four services limit data transfer in the lowest tier. All others offer unlimited plans. NordVPN, for instance, has only one plan eliminating any guesswork, and that plan is more-less unlimited in every aspect.
Unless you use some obsolete or never-heard-of operating system, you’ll able to find a native app for your system. Apps vary in quality and features, but we found most reasonably accessible. What’s more important – once you set them up you don’t have to mess with them.
On average you can choose from 40 different server locations or put more simply locations where you can pretend you live in. That’s more than enough, and even though the number varies from one to unlimited (for peer-to-peer VPNs the number is virtually unlimited) in reality, you only need up to five locations. People from EU often pretend they live in the USA and vice versa. Always verify what’s the reported location of your IP once you change it to make sure the VPN works.
Location of VPNs headquarters
For most people, the location where their VPN of choice is incorporated is not important. Or at least they think that it’s not important. Privacy laws significantly vary from country to country. Even though most VPNs claim they don’t keep any logs of your activity you have the right not to trust them. Assuming that they do keep logs you want those logs out of the hands of various government agencies. Choosing an off-shore VPN is a safe bet. Alternatively, if that’s too shady for you, opt for the one that’s incorporated as far away from your physical location as possible.
Taking the free route
If you’re not willing to pay for a VPN service, you can take the free route. 27 VPN services offer a free tier. We tried a few and had no complaints. They restrict free users to some extent but if you’re OK with having just 5 locations to choose from, or just one device per account – that won’t bother you.
We have to warn you that if you’re not paying for a product, then you are the product! As awful as that sounds it’s the truth. How exactly are you going to “be the product”? It depends on the VPN and what they do with your data. If you find yourself in a constant need for a VPN, our advice is to grab a paid account. It’ll make sense in the long run, and it costs less than a cup of coffee per month.
What VPN service do we recommend?
First, we’ll tell you which ones we don’t recommend. We don’t recommend all the ones that look shady! There’s no science behind that. If the site looks like nobody updated it in years; if you can’t find the VPN’s legal name on any of the pages; if support doesn’t answer your pre-sale questions – move along to the next VPN.
We used to use TunnelBear. It works, it’s user-friendly, and we like their bear mascot. Unfortunately, McAfee acquired them in March 2018. Due to the company’s somewhat shady history, we didn’t like that, so we stopped using TunnelBear.
These days we mainly use NordVPN. If you pay yearly it’s $6.99 a month – less than a cup of coffee. What’s even better is the fact they only have one tier/package! And no, it’s not a “small” package. Unlimited traffic, six devices, 5,000+ servers, and 62 countries. The whole family can easily use one account. Customer service is top notch and we like their apps. Speed is superb as well and once you set things up you’ll forget you’re surfing through a VPN.
With over 100 VPNs to choose from, there’s really something for everyone, so use the filters in the comparison table and find the one that suits your needs.