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Depending on where you reside, you may have come across a much-talked-about video on Twitter you can’t see just because it is not available to people from your country. It hurts every time! Other times, you can’t see a blockbuster movie for just the same reason. Would you rather clench your jaws in frustration - like you always do - when this happens again or read further to see how to unblock these contents?
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), like any discussed here, you can easily see these videos and other location-restricted contents. You may also use VPNs to maintain anonymity online, protect your device from malware or phishing attacks, make it difficult to track your browsing or search history, or protect your data, which advertisers, the government, and indeed, everyone seems to be after.
We have carefully reviewed many VPN services and highlighted the few which excelled in most areas. These services provide all you may be looking for in a VPN service.
Our Top 5 Picks: Best VPN Services in 2022
1. NordVPN - Best for Overall
2. Private Internet Access VPN - Best for Affordability
3. PureVPN - Best for Speedy Connections
4. ExpressVPN - Best for Leak Protection
5. VyprVPN - Best for Streaming Location-Restricted Contents
NordVPN - Best for Overall
NordVPN is top of our review list, and deservedly so. With lots of glowing reviews from across the globe, this service offers a bit of everything on top of the basic VPN protection every other service provides.
It has an impressive arsenal of features, including MeshNet and access to the Tor anonymization network. The latter, an uncommon feature on many VPN services, makes it harder for others to trace your device when surfing the web. It also allows you to reach hidden websites.
Here’s what many users like about Nord VPN; there’s something in it for everyone. Need a service to unlock streaming content? Nord VPN has got you covered. You should also appreciate its IP static addresses and its host of other privacy settings if you are particular about privacy and your ISP snooping on your online activities.
- Has split tunneling and Tor connections
- Many server locations
- AES-256 encryption protocol
- No-logging policy
- Has dedicated IPs
- Unblocks streaming platforms like Netflix
- Its interface may sometimes feel too cluttered
Private Internet Access VPN - Best for Affordability
Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN is a feature-packed premium service available at a budget-friendly price. Indeed, it has a 2-year plan priced at $2.99/month. To provide VPN services at an affordable price, many brands have had to water down so many features to offer VPN services at an affordable price. However, Private Internet Access VPN seems to be an exception to what’s quickly becoming a norm.
For example, it sticks to the highly secure OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols you find in premium services. Trackers, ads, and malware are also kept at bay with its MACE feature. Its extension on Google Chrome stands out with its cookie-blocking capabilities.
- Big server network
- Quite affordable
- Good for streaming and browsing
- Very cheap
- Not ideal for downloads and places where speed is a priority
PureVPN- Best for Speedy Connections
PureVPN finds its way into nearly every review list you’d find and why not? It has speedy WireGuard connections, does not log connections, has torrent support, a 7-day $1 trial to see things for yourself before committing long term, and a smart kill switch to disconnect your internet connection to reduce the risk of exposing your real IP when your VPN connection drops.
You get all of these and even more on a budget ($3.34/month for a 1-year plan and $1.69/month for a 2-year plan). Even a special deal gives you a five-year coverage under $100.
Many good services promise no-log connections. But what makes PureVPN special is that its no-logging credentials are verified by a third-party audit by Altius IT. It has 6500+ servers in 75+ countries.
- Zero connection logs
- Fast download speeds powered by WireGuard
- Wide coverage, over 75 countries
- It isn’t so great on unblocking and may not work for DisneyPlus or Amazon Prime Video.
ExpressVPN - Best for Leak Protection
ExpressVPN outclasses a lot of its competitors on VPN standard features and could have stopped at that. But does it? Not one bit! It edges them further by incorporating its own unique technologies. One such, MediaStreamer DNS, helps you unblock some websites even without connecting to the VPN. Now, that’s different! It also has a special fast and secure protocol known as Lightway.
Its leak protection is top class. A quick check at DNSLeakTest.com when your VPN is on confirms this. Talk of its wide coverage; it has thousands of servers in 90+ countries across the globe. Its support, a group of experts ready to walk through any technical problems you may run into, is available 24/7 on live chat.
- Split tunneling
- Free cloud backup
- Very easy to use
- It can be run on any platform
- Speedy servers in 90+ countries
- 24/7 live customer support
- Expensive ($99.95 for a year plan plus three months free)
VyprVPN - Best for Streaming Location-Restricted Contents
VyprVPN is a solid VPN service for watching geo-restricted content from abroad, thanks to its customized Chameleon protocol. It has a wide platform support, so it can work with apps on all operating systems, Smart TVs, Blackphone, QNAP and tomato-based routers.
It also has 700+ servers across over 60 countries. Unlike the competition, the Swiss-based VPN company owns these services. This reduces their reliance on third-party web hosts. If you sign up via the app, you can connect up to 30 devices simultaneously, but only five devices if you do via its Android or iOS apps.
- Supports connecting up to 30 devices simultaneously
- Chameleon protocol can help get around geographically-locked contents
- Unblocks apps like Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video
- Owns its servers
- Expensive ($8.33/month)
ZenMate VPN - Best for VPN-Restricted Areas
ZenMate is a user-friendly paid VPN service with a free version for browser extensions. The free version offers only IPSec, L2TP, IPSec and IKEv2 protocols which are decent enough. However, the paid version with its OpenVPN protocol will be a better fit if you want a more secure protocol.
Want to try it out first? You can take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee offer. One of its greatest pros is that it has servers in some strict censorship countries like Russia, Vietnam, Turkey, and the UAE.
- 7-day free trial and free browser extension
- Has specialized servers for access to streaming services like YouTube, BBC iPlayer, and US Netflix
- Works in strict censorship countries
- AES-256-CBC cipher encryption protocol for safety
- It can be a little slow
- Its Mac and iOS versions use only IKEv2
IPVanish - Best for Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
IPVanish is another service that owns its servers. This makes it a great alternative to VyprVPN. Another notable thing about IPVanish is that it supports as many simultaneous connections as you need. It’s an excellent option for people with many hardware or devices to protect at once.
People who are particular about privacy should also have their eyes on IPVanish. The service very recently just passed a no-logs audit confirming the service’s commitment to keeping users anonymous.
It has a hyper-efficient WireGuard protocol and a kill switch to protect you if the VPN drops. If you need a risk-free way of seeing things first-hand, IPVanish has got one - a 30-day refund period. However, this is only available to its annual plan subscribers.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Has a kill-switch feature
- Unblocks Netflix
- Has a LAN connection allowance and split tunneling
- Easily configurable
- Doesn’t unblock Amazon Prime Video
Atlasvpn - Best for Free Plan
AtlasVPN, now owned by Nord Security, NordVPN’s parent company, gives you premium services at a bargain. It has a free plan that’s significantly better than many free VPNs and a paid three-year plan that is billed at just $1.39 a month. If you don’t want to commit long-term, there are other options like the annual and monthly plans.
Its free data allowance is 5GB which is 10x times more than the 500MB cap on many free services. Of course, its bandwidth is unlimited on the paid version. More importantly, AtlasVPN works in some VPN-restricted areas like China and can be used for torrenting.
- Streams BBC iPlayer, US Netflix and many other streaming services
- Scores well for price range
- Has no browser extension
- It does not have smart DNS functionality
Ivacy VPN - Best for Affordable Dedicated IPs
This Singapore-based VPN service offers kill switch protection, split tunneling and 24/7 support to all users. Ivacy VPN starts with a free plan, though not as fast as AtlasVPN’s free plan. It has no bandwidth limits, unlike Atlas’ 5GB bandwidth ceiling. This makes it worth another look. The paid plan is also competitively priced at $3.99/month for the annual plan.
You can get dedicated IPs on Ivacy VPN for a reasonable $1.99/month, which is significantly lower than the $70 a year or $5.84 NordVPN charges. You can also get port forwarding support for $1/month. Like some others on this, you are protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee or 7-days if you later regret signing up.
- Has a money-back guarantee
- Free plan has no bandwidth limits
- Does not log or monitor connections, browsing history, etc
- Has a secure download feature that picks up malware at the server level
- Has no privacy audits
Surfshark - Best for Privacy
Surfshark may lack in the network department, but it compensates for this with its many features and speed. The NordVPN-sister company has unlimited device support and can support unlimited connections simultaneously.
Its servers are also pretty fast, even faster than premium servers like ExpressVPN. Its Chrome and Firefox extensions were audited for privacy by Cure 53, and the results were great. The service is supported on all operating systems and FireTV. You can also configure it for use on game consoles.
Finally, it has a camouflage mode. When this is toggled on, your ISP provider can’t detect if you have a VPN activated or not.
- Has a camouflage mode
- Can be used in restrictive regions
- Unblocks Netflix and many other streaming services
- iOS version has no split tunneling
How Do I Choose a VPN?
The simple way is figuring out what you are looking for in a service and finding one service that matches that perfectly. Going for the most feature-loaded doesn’t cut it. Here’s why.
A service may have so many features, but of what use is it if what you need is missing? Generally, each service prioritizes something, which should be your focus when choosing.
For instance, if you need help bypassing geographically–gated content, then you know only services that unlock content would serve you. Do you need one that gives you anonymity instead? Then, go for a VPN that doesn’t keep logs. If the budget is high on your priority list, then you should be looking at free plans or cheap-priced services.
By now, you must have shortlisted some services that best fit your needs. Great! You may now narrow down your choices even further based on factors like price, connection speed, and reputation.
What's The Best Free VPN?
There are so many free VPNs in the marketplace today. While that has its positives, it has made wading through the hype to see a service for what it really is more difficult than ever. From our review, we can tell that free services generally have a few limitations.
While one may restrict you to just a few simultaneous connections, the other may limit you to say, 500MB-1GB worth of data a month. Therefore, the best free VPN for you is where there is a balance in these restrictions.
Are VPNs legal?
Yes, they are. Did you think differently? In most countries, no laws are stopping you from using a VPN to maintain your privacy, get around filtered networks or see certain location-gated content not ordinarily available to people in your location. What’s frowned at is using it to commit fraud and other illegal activities.
That said, there are a few countries where VPNs may be legal with restrictions, restricted or outright illegal. For instance, VPN usage is legal with restrictions in UAE, Egypt, Russia, and Turkey, heavily restricted in China, and outright illegal in North Korea, Belarus, and Iran.
VPNs are a great way to protect your data, unblock location-restricted contents and hide your browsing history, and you should have one in your personal security toolbox if any of these is your concern.
Any of the above-listed should do for general usage. But we recommend premiums like NordVPN if you have specialized needs like surfing the Tor browser. Be careful not to be too price-conscious if privacy is of the utmost concern. All we have highlighted is a good bang for your buck.