Want more help deciding which is best for you? Read our buying advice for the Best VPN

1. NordVPN

NordVPN
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 1 October 2018

NordVPN is intuitive to use, with a handy SmartPlay feature that will help you connect to the server best suited to your needs. 

  • 5110 servers across 62 countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps & browser extensions available

Based in Panama and complete with a customisable kill switch, it's great for those concerned about privacy too. There's an ad-blocker and malware protection feature available within the package too, as well as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

The two year option works out at a good price, at around £3.10/US$3.99 per month (£73.60/$95.75 upfront), and we don't hesitate to suggest committing. Additional plans include one month, six months and one year.

The premium interface, huge number of servers and variety of features make it highly recommended. 

All four price plans are available to choose from at NordVPN.com.

Read our NordVPN review.

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 25 July 2017

Simple but speedy ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive VPNs reviewed here, but for ease of use and its range of features it does present value for money.

  • 148 server locations across 94 countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • 3 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile & router apps, plus browser extensions available

We found ExpressVPN to be reliable and easy-to-use, with quick and efficient support available too.

No logs are kept by ExpressVPN, and while it's outside of the 14-eyes its headquarters in the British Virgin Islands is a bit of a grey area for security buffs.

You can get ExpressVPN for your router, too, and there's a kill switch facility called Network Lock that will keep you safe should your connection drop out. There are also browser extensions available for Chrome and Firefox.

There's currently a deal that'll get you 15 months for the price of 12. You can find out more about ExpressVPN's payment options on its website

Read our ExpressVPN review.

3. Goose VPN

Goose VPN
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 5 February 2018

Goose VPN is a fast, very easy-to-use VPN aimed squarely at domestic users who want access to foreign media. With few options to set, and a simple interface, this is up there among our favourite VPN options available in 2018.

  • 77 server locations across 27 countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps & browser extensions available

You'll get access to US Netflix from the UK, as well as other region-blocked content.

The downside to Goose VPN is that it has a small number of server locations across less countries than others mentioned here, but short connection time, connection quality and success in accessing foreign media makes up for it.

The cheapest option is a one month plan, at £2.99/USD$4.17, but that only gets you 50GB so won't be enough for most. Instead, you can choose the one year plan for £4.99/$6.97 per month, or the one month plan for a one-off payment of £12.99/$18.14.

Find out more and sign up to Goose VPN on its website here.

Read our Goose VPN review.

4. TunnelBear VPN

TunnelBear VPN
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 11 May 2018

Behind TunnelBear's quirky approach lies a solid, fast, low-cost product that gets the job done without fuss or overburdening you with options and choices. It's a winner for families and people on the move.

  • Only 20 countries available
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps & browser extensions

There are 20 countries available via TunnelBear, but you won't get a choice of server. This may put off some serious privacy advocates, as will the head office in Canada, which is in the top tier of '5-eyes' countries that share signals intelligence.

However, this is a VPN firmly dedicated to securing family browsing, not dissident traffic. Connections are quickly established and we had no trouble accessing US Netflix.

There are three pricing tiers to TunnelBear. The lowest is free, and gets you 500MB per month. The monthly plan is £7.35/US$9.99 for unlimited data, and the yearly plan is just £3.65/$5 per month for unlimited data.

You can sign up for any of those plans on TunnelBear's website here.

Read our TunnelBear VPN review.

5. PureVPN

PureVPN
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 25 July 2017

A great all-rounder is PureVPN, which is super speedy, very reasonably priced and is situated outside of the '14 eyes' (although its association with China may ring alarm bells if you're looking for absolutely untraceable online anonymity). 

  • More than 2,000 severs across 140 countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps & browser extensions

PureVPN a large selection of servers across one of the biggest ranges of countries of all ten services mentioned here. Logging is restricted to the time at which connections are made.

It's easy to install, has lots of features and modes, and offers access to blocked sites and streaming including Netflix US.

It's one of the cheapest options available if you opt for the two year offer at £1.96/$2.49, but there are also one year and one month plans available, all of which you'll find on PureVPN's website.

Read our PureVPN review.

6. CyberGhost

CyberGhost
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 26 July 2017

CyberGhost is a low-cost newbie-friendly VPN with a simple interface. Based in Romania, and therefore outside the 14-eyes, CyberGhost offers a wide range of pre-configured services.

  • 2,790 servers across 60 countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • 7 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps but no browser extension

By selecting the activity you want to use, CyberGhost will automatically choose the server that best suits your needs.

There's a kill switch for extra protection, and there are apps available for all devices, even Rasberry Pi and home routers - though the Mac and smartphone apps lack some features from the Windows version.

You can choose to pay for CyberGhost on a month-by-month basis for £8.65/$11.99, or reduce the price by opting to commit to one year or three years.

Find out more about the pricing options for CyberGhost on its website.

Read our CyberGhost review.

7. IPVanish

IPVanish
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 19 April 2017

IPVanish is a great VPN for beginners, but it also remains powerful and full of useful features for those that want to browse the web anonymously or access blocked content.

  • More than 1,000 servers across 60+ countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps

PureVPN is simple to install with its own visual tutorial, and even a Simple mode, and it collects no data logs or connection details to ensure that your online activity remains private.

There's a kill switch, and the option to automatically change your fake IP address at regular, user defined intervals.

The downside is the lack of browser extensions, as well as the price which is a bit more expensive than others listed here. The cheapest option is a one-year plan that works out at $6.49/£5.10 per month. It's also based in the US so is part of the 14-eyes.

Read our IPVanish review.

8. VyprVPN

VyprVPN
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 5 February 2018

VyprVPN is a family VPN offering great value for money from multiple simultaneous connections.

  • More than 700 servers across 70+ countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • Up to 5 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps but no browser extensions

There are more than 700 servers available to connect to worldwide, and we found it quick and easy to get a high quality connection from them. There's a kill switch, as well as simple-to-use mobile apps.

VyprVPN's 30-day connection logging may put off security buffs, though.

There are two plans available with VyprVPN depending on the amount of simultaneous connections you need. If three is enough, it's £3.63 per month for a year.

For five simultaneous connections plus a few additional features, VyprVPN Premium is £4.79 per month for a year. Both options are available on the VyprVPN website.

Read our VyprVPN review.

9. Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 18 April 2017

Private Internet Access (or PIA as it is more fondly known) has a very simple interface that's almost non-existant, as well as a huge number of servers and other useful features. 

  • 3,402 servers across 33 countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps & browser extensions available

PIA connects quickly, and using it just requires a right-click on the task bar icon to bring up the interface that lets you change some settings, including the connection region.

There's more to it than meets the eye, though. It has a kill switch for extra security, an ad blocker and malware blocker, and there's DNS leak protection available.

It works well with Netflix US, and there are apps available for all devices including Linux. It's cheap, too. A two year subscription costs just £2.10/$2.91 per month.

The downside is that it's based in the US, so will no doubt be one VPN considered off limits for those with serious privacy requirements.

Find out more and see the plan options on PIA's website.

Read our Private Internet Access review.

10. Hidden24

Hidden24
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 19 April 2017

Hidden24 tunnels your traffic to its own UK-based server farm using the operating system's own VPN capability. That means it will work on any device including Android, Mac, iPhone or Linux as well as Windows. It's ideal for anyone looking for a serious VPN solution designed for people who want or need to communicate anonymously. 

  • Only offers UK & US servers
  • Works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  • No kill switch
  • Only one connection at a time
  • No app interface

Hidden24 easy to use but the lack of an app or interface might put some beginners off. On the other hand, not having to install an extra app on their computer, phone or tablet in order to use the VPN may appeal to the more techy user looking for the best privacy.

It's a reasonably priced option, too. As well as the £4.99 1-month option, and 12-month option for £47.88/year (£3.99 per month), there's also a recurring 3-month option for £13.47. There's an exclusive deal available that'll get you the first three months for just £3.33, too. You can take advantage of that deal here

Find out more about the plans available at Hidden24.co.uk.

Read our Hidden24 review.

Your guide to buying the best VPN 2018

Choosing a VPN can be daunting. They vary in price quite dramatically, and you'll want to make sure you choose one you trust that will offer the features you require. Here, we talk you through what to look for in a VPN to help you make your decision. 

If you're using a Mac, you might want to consider the VPN options in our article about the best VPN services for Mac.

If you're on a PC, you're in the right place. The 10 VPNs above have all been through our review process so you can trust that they're good options that we have tried and tested ourselves here at Tech Advisor.

We'd recommend visiting our article 'What is a VPN' if you're unsure about what exactly a VPN is and what it can do. You can also visit 'How to use a VPN' once you've chosen one to help you get started with using it.

It's important to note that installing a VPN on one device will only protect that device. If you want your media streamer (say an Amazon Fire TV Stick) to use the VPN connection, you'll either need to try and install a VPN app on it, look for VPN settings where you can enter your account details, or install an app for your router that'll cover all devices connected to it. Find out more in our article on how to use a VPN with a Fire TV Stick.

How to choose which VPN is best for you

We've separately rounded up the VPNs that we think are the best for streaming, gaming or web browsers.

What is the '14 Eyes' collective?

If you're most concerned about privacy, it's important to know where your VPN is based. In recent years some countries have got together to exchange information freely, nominally in a bid to enhance everyone's security. However, many groups are critical of this behaviour, believing that mass surveillance impinges on our freedoms.

The main group of countries that can share information freely is called the Five Eyes. They come from the UKUSA agreement that, although began back in 1941, was only made public knowledge in 2005. The agreement is between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, hence the name Five Eyes. Those countries have agreed to collect, analyse and share information between each other, and much of this intelligence is believed to be related to internet activity these days.

The Five Eyes has grown to include a total of 14 countries, which is why you'll hear a lot about '14-eyes' when reading about VPNs. Third party countries were added over time, and now additionally include Denmark, France, Holland, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Spain.

If your VPN provider is based within a country that is part of the 14 Eyes, it can be asked to share data of its customers and will legally have to comply. If your provider promises that it doesn't log any information, you're probably safe within the 14 Eyes, but it is more of a risk if privacy is your main concern and you might want to consider looking for a VPN provider that is based elsewhere.

What information does a VPN keep?

VPN providers have different levels of logging. Some choose to log connection time stamps, IP addresses and bandwidth used, while others log nothing at all. Some will also store basic payment information such as your name and address.

However, those looking for complete anonymity can seek a provider that accepts payment in the form of gift cards or Bitcoin, which makes it near-impossible to trace back to an individual.

What features should I look for in a VPN?

Most VPNs support all the major platforms but some offer more unusual platforms such as Kindle or Google Chrome. Also look out for restrictions on usage – some ban P2P while others are fine with it. Free- and trial versions normally have speed restrictions, while paid-for versions should have none.

Note that encryption can slow down connections. OpenVPN provides more protection, while PPTP is faster but less secure.

Also, if you're connecting to a server that's geographically far away, you are less likely to get the full speed that your ISP provides. Look out for server speed claims and make sure that you conduct tests to check whether you are happy early on, so you can get a refund within the time limit if you're not.

VPN bans in China and Russia

2017 was a rocky year for VPNs. China has been cracking down on VPN use and as a result there are many that are no longer available from Chinese app stores. However, there are still VPN options available in China, including NordVPN for Windows

Russia has been following suit, with President Vladimir Putin recently signing a law that prohibits the use of VPNs in the country. The law came into force on 1 November 2017, making VPNs illegal from that point onwards in Russia.