What's the best VPN out there today? With so many options, each one seemingly better than the last, it can be a little tricky to choose.
Utilising a virtual private network can be useful to help encrypt your network traffic and keep your own data safe, as well as to add an extra layer of security.
Some of the best VPNs can work on multiple devices, including PCs, laptops, phones, and even game consoles, so you can extend that extra layer across different platforms you use around your home.
With all that in mind, we’ve selected these virtual private networks based on the services they offer, general reviews, and features that we think make them worth considering. Plus, we've answered some of your most frequently asked questions so you can pick the best one for you.
So, let's get to it - here are some of the best VPNs out there today.
Countries: 60 Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux
Max Concurrent Connections: 6
NordVPN is undoubtedly one of the best options out there today with a great all-round offering that works across a whole range of platforms.
It features a standard AES-256 bit encryption to keep your data secure, as well as allowing a 'Double VPN' feature that encrypts all your traffic twice over.
AES-256 is actually the highest level of AES encryption standard, and uses a 256-bit key to encrypt and decrypt data or files.
Speaking of security, there's also some strong DNS leak protection and kill switches for both the app itself and across your system, which can disconnect your device from WiFi if your VPN does go down, so your IP address doesn't become visible at any point.
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There's a vast range of different servers to pick from with a total of over 5,000 in 60 different countries, as well as the ability to connect with more than one device at six different locations too.
In addition, NordVPN also works across Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux so no matter what device you have, you should be covered by a secure tunnel.
ExpressVPN is also a well-known entry in the world of virtual private networks, and it's definitely one of the best candidates out there today.
You'll find over 3,000 servers to pick from across 94 countries with 160 different locations, giving you plenty of choice.
Moreover, ExpressVPN also features the ability to connect with five simultaneous devices so you know your entire sect of devices can be protected at once, which is handy.
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Expect to also find plenty of different supported platforms including, but not limited to, Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux, as well as Apple TV, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox, and even more, so you can basically protect every device you own.
On the point of protection, ExpressVPN features industry-standard protection and plenty of other protocols out there, including its own Lightway and OpenVPN to keep speeds up.
It also comes with DNS leak protection and a kill switch, as well as support for P2P, which stands for peer to peer, a method by which files are shared amongst different PCs that share a workload.
For those wanting a nice and accessible experience with a VPN, Surfshark should certainly have you covered.
The UI is nice and simple to use with an option to 'Quick connect' to the service, as well as a list of loads of locations to easily connect to and a settings menu - using a VPN doesn't need to be tricky business, after all.
Speaking of loads of locations, Surfshark provides you with the chance to connect up to over 3,200 servers across 65 countries with over 100 different server locations, so you've got a shedload of choice.
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Moreover, this particular service also allows for unlimited connections so you actually can protect every single device you own with no limits on the amount you can connect to the service, whilst it remains nice and speedy to use.
Surfshark also boasts a private DNS and, with its double VPN setting, an extra layer of security, which can just help to provide you with a little bit more peace of mind that your data is safe.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access, or PIA, for short, is a marvellous all-round service that certainly stands out based on the number of locations you can connect to. It features over 10,000 different servers in 78 countries with 100 different server locations so you have quite the choice to pick from.
Once you've picked one of oodles of servers to pick from, it's also good to know Private Internet Access will work on 10 different devices at once, which means you don't have to worry about having an unprotected device anywhere.
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Moreover, there's also a handy selection of privacy features bundled in, whether you're using Windows, macOS, Android, iOS or Linux, including Smart DNS.
There's also PIA's clever Chrome extension that can allow you to toggle extra settings such as blocking location access, third-party cookies, and website referrers.
For those just wanting to try out a VPN with a handy free tier, Windscribe is a great choice. Whilst others may offer a 30-day free trial, Windscribe is a reputable VPN provider that offers a free tier that allows you to access 10 locations with a generous data allowance of up to 10GB a month. This is particularly useful if you just want to keep data safe and don't need extra bandwidth for gaming or P2P downloads.
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With that being said, there is a paid tier that gives you access to 400 servers across 60 countries which, whilst it may not seem a lot, still provides you with a good selection of locations to connect to and will be more than enough choice.
Moreover, Windscribe also allows you to use other providers' OpenVPN setup files from within the app which just adds another layer of convenience
In addition, the fact there's an unlimited quantity of connections can just keep things easy, and also means you aren't trying to juggle which devices you want to have connected at any given time.
If you're after a rather generous helping of servers to connect to, then Proton VPN should be a marvellous choice.
There are over 1,700 servers to pick from across 63 countries, which definitely gives you an awful lot to work with, and means you should certainly be able to find a country to connect to.
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Moreover, Proton VPN allows for a maximum of ten concurrent connections, so you can connect a raft of different devices. The fact this VPN also works on a vast range of platforms is therefore quite a handy feature.
Also, there's a useful free tier to this particular VPN, if you don't want to fork out on a subscription. This will give you access to a total of 23 locations, with no bandwidth limit, so you can try the service out ahead of potentially picking up a subscription.
Even on the free tier Proton allows you to sample some of their beta protocols like WireGuard, so if you were curious about different forms of protection, you can try them out for free.
The Swiss company also comes along with a Proton email, which has many benefits that can be upgraded in their joint subscription plans.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are always some questions that can pop up time and time again when it comes to VPNs, so here are our two cents to help you make an informed decision.
What is a VPN?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a program that allows you to use the internet with end-to-end encryption that can help keep your data secure.
They can be used for everything from watching region-locked content to just simply adding an extra layer of encryption to your internet traffic.
Should I leave a VPN on all the time?
Leaving a VPN on all the time simply ensures your internet connection will be secure wherever you go, and just helps to give you that peace of mind.
This goes for whether you're moving from using public to private WiFi, or you're swapping between devices. Luckily, as all the VPNs we've listed above can feature multiple concurrent connections to it, you can protect up to 5, 6, 10 and even an unlimited amount of devices at once.
It can mess with your location data, so if you're travelling and using a program like Google maps, you're going to want to disable your VPN.
Is getting a VPN worth it?
In short, yes. We'd say a VPN is worth getting simply due to them being useful aids for encrypting your internet traffic and keeping your personal data safe.
Fundamentally, they act as an extra barrier of protection, and can also be useful if you want to view region-locked content, as well as just for the sake of peace of mind.
What should I look for in a VPN?
With a VPN, there are a few key things to look out for.
Having a VPN that can connect to a shedload of different locations will offer a more versatile experience, and gives you more flexibility as to what servers you can connect to.
In addition, you'll want to look for one with a decent number of concurrent connections, depending on how many devices you have. Some may offer 5, while others may give you 10, and some VPNs even offer an unlimited amount of connections.
In line with this, you'll also want to keep an eye out on what devices that VPN works with. Some may only work with phones and computers, while others can work on everything from TVs to games consoles, as well as the more traditional devices.
Are all VPNs slow?
Whilst we do have a handy guide on if a VPN will slow your Internet down, let's break things down a little here.
A VPN, in general terms, is likely to slow down your internet due to adding things such as end-to-end encryption, routing your connection to somewhere else in the world with a different IP address and all the different protocols involved.
The extent to which your connection is slower than without a VPN can depend on factors such as which server you're using and which country your new IP address is within, as well as the case of how quick your network speed is usually from your ISP.
Luckily, some VPN providers, such as ExpressVPN feature their own protocols such as Lightway which they say can help to increase speeds, and therefore, for some VPNs, the difference in speed may be negligible.
Does VPN help ping?
In short, no. A VPN doesn't necessarily have the ability to improve your ping simply based on the fact it's routing your connection through a proxy server.
If anything, a VPN is likely to slow down your game a little bit simply due to the fact your connection will be routed to one server and then to another in order to connect to the game as opposed to being a little more direct.
You can read more about whether VPNs help ping right here.
Does a VPN hide your IP address?
Arguably the entire point of a VPN is that it secures your connect with end to end encryption and in turn hides your actual IP address, given you'll be connected to another country, as it were.