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

1. NordVPN

NordVPN
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 16 September 2019

NordVPN is easy to use and has a handy SmartPlay feature that will help you connect to the server best suited to your needs. 

  • 5687 servers across 60 countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps & browser extensions

Based in Panama and with an audited no-logs policy, it's great for those concerned about privacy too. There's an ad-blocker and malware protection feature included too, as well as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox and an app for Amazon Fire TV.

The three year option works out at £2.82/ $3.49 per month (£101.76/ $125.64 upfront) which is a great deal. There's a money-back guarantee in case you're not totally happy too.

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

Read our NordVPN review.

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 26 June 2019

Easy to use, but speedy and comprehensive, ExpressVPN is worth the extra cost if you're looking for a reliable VPN service that will work on all your devices. 

  • 3000+ servers across 94 countries
  • Works with Netflix
  • Kill switch
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile & Amazon Fire TV apps, plus browser extensions available

We found ExpressVPN to be reliable with quick and efficient live chat support available when you need it.

No logs are kept, neither connection nor activity, and it's based outside of the 14-eyes. You can get apps for many devices including Amazon Fire TV, iOS and Android.

There's a discount if you sign up for a year on ExpressVPN's website - you get 15 months for the price of 12.

Read our ExpressVPN review.

3. PureVPN

PureVPN
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 7 January 2019

A great all-rounder is PureVPN, which is super speedy, very reasonably priced and is situated outside of the '14 eyes'. 

  • 2,000+ severs across 141 countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps & browser extensions

PureVPN has a large selection of servers across one of the biggest ranges of countries of all ten services mentioned here. It now operates a strict no-logging policy.

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 cheaper options available and there are often great deals to be had if you keep an eye out. Right now there are one year, three month and one month plans available, all of which you'll find on PureVPN's website.

Read our PureVPN review.

4. CyberGhost

CyberGhost
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 13 March 2019

CyberGhost is a newbie-friendly VPN with an easy-to-use interface. Based in Romania, outside the 14-eyes, CyberGhost offers a good selection of servers optimised for popular video streaming services

  • 3,695 servers+ across 58 countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • 7 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps and browser extensions

CyberGhost isn't the fastest VPN service, and you might be put off by the fact that the servers are mostly rented, not owned. The service's new owners are a concern too. 

However, if you want a way to unblock streaming services and websites for a very small monthly cost, CyberGhost is one of the better-value options, and has handy Amazon Fire TV and Android TV apps.

The month-by-month price of £11.99/$12.99 represents the worst value deal, but the price drops a lot if you commit to one year or three years, which takes it down to as little as £2.10/$2.75.

Find out the latest deals for CyberGhost on its website.

Read our CyberGhost review.

5. Surfshark

Surfshark
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 5 September 2019

One of the newer VPN services, Surfshark has a slick, simple interface and a good range of features. It has apps and extensions which protect popular devices and web browsers and it costs less than most of its competitors.

  • 800 servers across 50 countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps & browser extensions available

Based in the British Virgin Islands with a strict no-logs policy and a MultiHop feature, it's great for those concerned about privacy in addition to getting around geo-restricted streaming services.

It's very competitively priced, with the current cheapest option working out at just £1.59/$1.99 per month. You can see all of the price plans on its website here.

Read our Surfshark review.

6. TunnelBear

TunnelBear
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 6 June 2019

Behind TunnelBear's quirky approach lies a reliable VPN service that gets the job done without fuss or overburdening you with options and choices. It's a winner for families and those wanting a simple VPN.

  • 22 countries available
  • Works with Netflix (but not BBC iPlayer)
  • Kill switch
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps & browser extensions

There are just 22 countries available via TunnelBear and you don't get a choice of server, but again, this shouldn't matter if you have relatively undemanding needs from a VPN. The same applies to the fact the company is based in Canada: it's no-logs policy means there's no data to hand over to authorities in any case.

There are four pricing tiers to TunnelBear. The lowest is free, and gets you 500MB per month. The monthly plan is £7.35/$9.99 for unlimited data, and the yearly plan is £3.65/$4.99 per month for unlimited data. There's also a two year plan for £3.33/$4.17 per month.

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

Read our TunnelBear review.

7. VyprVPN

VyprVPN
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 4 July 2019

VyprVPN owns and operates its entire network of over 700 servers and has been audited to prove that it sticks by its no-logs policy. If privacy is your top priority, it’s therefore a good one to add to your shortlist. Just note that you can’t pay truly anonymously for the service.

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

Features vary by device, as they do with all VPNs, but it’s also important to note that you can’t use Vypr’s proprietary Chameleon protocol on iPads and iPhones. Overall, this is a speedy and reliable service… it’s just not the cheapest.

But you can get a special deal with 25% off if you use this link to VyprVPN's website.

Read our VyprVPN review.

8. Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 9 May 2019

Private Internet Access (or PIA as it is more fondly known) is a well-known service with a huge number of servers and some useful features. 

  • 3,307 servers across 32 countries
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services
  • Kill switch
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps & browser extensions available

There's more to it than meets the eye, though. It has a kill switch for extra security, and lots of advanced security settings. It's just as well suited to P2P downloads as it is to unblocking Netflix. It also has a built-in ad blocker and malware blocker, but do note that it doesn't unblock BBC iPlayer.

It's one of the cheaper options. A one-year subscription costs £2.70 / $3.33 per month.

Even though it's based in the US, it logs literally nothing so wouldn't have any data about you to hand over even if it ordered by a court to do so. 

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

Read our Private Internet Access review.

9. IPVanish

IPVanish
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 11 January 2019

IPVanish is a VPN that caters to beginners and families, but it has some downsides including difficulty connecting to streaming services and slow support.

  • More than 1,300+ servers across 75+ countries
  • Kill switch
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • Mobile apps and Fire TV Stick app

IPVanish is simple to install with its own visual tutorial 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, poor support and difficulty connecting to Netflix and BBC iPlayer, 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/£5.27 per month. It's also based in the US so is part of the 14-eyes.

Read our IPVanish review.

10. Hidden24

Hidden24
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings
  • Reviewed on: 2 July 2019

Hidden24 is different to the other services here, using a device's own VPN capability, so doesn't require an app. That means it will work on Android, Mac, iPhone or Linux as well as Windows.

Although the number of locations is small, Hidden24 owns and operates its entire network, and is designed from the ground up to be as secure as it's possible to be. That's why it's a solid choice if security and privacy are your top priorities (and why it's ideal for journalists, who can use the service for free). 

It also unblocks Netflix, iPlayer and other streaming services, which is a bonus.

  • Servers in UK, US, Germany, Italy, France and Spain
  • Works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  • One connection at a time unless you use it on a router
  • Uses device's own VPN capabilities

Hidden24 is reasonably priced, with a 12-month subscription costing £47.88 / $59.88 year (£3.99 / $4.99 per month), there's also a recurring 3-month option for £13.47 / $16.47. 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.

In addition to those listed we've reviewed other VPNs that didn't make the cut including: Hide.me, Bullguard VPN, Bitdefender Premium VPN, Goose VPN, Hotspot Shield Premium and Hide My Ass! VPN.

Plus, if you're struggling to choose between our top two, you can check out our NordVPN vs ExpressVPN comparison.

What to look for in a VPN service

Because VPN services vary in price quite dramatically, it can be tempting to just go for the cheapest. That's not necessarily a bad idea, but it is still important to choose one you trust and that will offer the features you require.

The first major decision is what you want to use a VPN for. If you just want to watch videos from Netflix, Disney Plus or another service that's not available in your country, then you don't have to worry too much about any other details: just go for a well-priced service that offers unblocking for the services you need.

If your more concerned about privacy and security, you'll want to go for a VPN that doesn't log any data and ideally runs its own servers. The recent news that one of NordVPN's servers was hacked highlights how even the big names can suffer security breaches, and the company is now in the process of changing how it runs those servers to mitigate the risk. 

Put simply, if you want to minimise the risk of your VPN service being hacked, opt for one which owns and manages its hardware. And if your life depends upon your VPN connection, don't use a consumer service at all.

Don't be persuaded by a bigger choice of countries: it doesn't mean it's a better service. What you should look for are servers in the countries you need to appear to be in, plus a local server in your own country so you can get the best speeds when you need to use a VPN but don't need to change your location. It's highly unlikely you'll ever use other servers around the globe, and you certainly won't want to connect to a server the other side of the world which reduces your internet connection speed to a crawl.

Testing a VPN service's speed is tricky as it varies all the time. The best way to find out if a service is quick or not is to read our reviews.

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 Apple TV) to use the VPN connection, you'll either need to install a VPN app on it, or if there's no way to install an app, then use a router which supports VPN which will protect all devices connected to it. 

Most VPNs support Windows, Android, iOS and macOS, but some offer apps for a wider selection of devices including Amazon Fire TV Stick, Linux and web browser extensions for Google Chrome, Firefox and others.

You don't actually need an app if your device supports a VPN connection, so you can enter your username, password and other details into your NAS, router or other device.

A great reason to use a VPN is whenever you're connected to an open public Wi-Fi network in a cafe, hotel, airport or on public transport. When a Wi-Fi network doesn't require a password to connect (and entering your email or other details in a web browser doesn't count here) it means the connection from your phone to the network is unencrypted. And that means it can be very easy for anyone to spy on your activity. But the simple act of enabling your VPN means the connection is encrypted, and no-one can read your messages, snipe your credit card details or anything else.

Also, look out for any restrictions on usage – some ban P2P (file sharing) while others are fine with it. 

If you're brand new to VPNs, you might like to our article 'What is a VPN' and there's more useful information in 'How to use a VPN' once you've chosen one.

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 most claim they log nothing at all. Some will also store basic payment information such as your name and address.

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

VPN bans in China and Russia

Most VPN services claim to work in China and Russia. The truth is that it's a cat-and-mouse game where the governments work out how to block connections if they detect you're using a VPN and they're very good at doing so. It means that you can't know for sure if a certain service will let you access Google and other sites on a particular day, and that's one reason why it pays to subscribe to a service with 24/7 live chat support: they'll be able to help you pick the right server and settings to bypass the blocks at that time.

The same goes for unblocking streaming services: they don't like VPNs and crack down on them as much as they can. Again, customer support can help you access what you need.

We have lots more information and articles about VPNs here at Tech Advisor, all of which you can find over in our VPN hub.

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