The Best VPN Services of 2021

Step up your online privacy with the best VPN service for your needs.
The Best VPN Services of 2021
Image credit: Dan Nelson (Unsplash)

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Nobody wants outsiders prying into their internet history, no matter how benign it may be. Because your data could be leaked by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or even the companies behind the websites you visit at any given time, you’ll want to have the best VPN service on hand to ensure a truly private connection. 

A VPN, or virtual private network, aims to keep your online identity anonymous by directing all internet activity through a secure “tunnel” from your device to the worldwide web. It also hides your IP address so that no one can trace any traffic data back to you. Other benefits to using a VPN include preventing DDoS attacks, safeguarding against third parties trying to sell your browsing history to advertisers and overriding content restrictions such as region-locked streaming services. At this point, the question isn’t whether you need a VPN but rather which VPN you should be using.

VPN support is ubiquitous these days, with support for a wide range of devices. Most VPNs are compatible with desktop PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets — in some cases at the same time. Especially as many of us continue working from home, signing up for the best VPN service is imperative to maintaining confidentiality in your (virtual) day-to-day life. Even if you have nothing to hide, the sense of security a VPN provides is transformative.

Best Overall: CyberGhost ($13/Month)
Best Value: NordVPN ($12/Month)
Best No-Log for Privacy: Private Internet Access ($10/Month)
Best for Torrenting: IPVanish ($11/Month)
Best for Ease of Use: TunnelBear ($10/Month)
Best With Most Countries: ExpressVPN ($13/Month)

Best Overall: CyberGhost ($13/month)

Best Overall: CyberGhost ($13/month)
Image credit: CyberGhost

One complaint you’ll often see about most VPN services is how much they throttle your internet speeds. Since each page you load has to be sent to the VPN host server before it makes its way back to your device, infrastructure is of the utmost importance. And CyberGhost, more than any other VPN on the market, has the infrastructure, facilitating over 6,100 servers in more than 90 countries and up to seven connections at a time from the same user. 

The user interface is simple to navigate. You can watch geo-protected content from streaming services including Disney+, Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Internet speeds remain quick. 

Device support is great with a whole host of installers for the likes of Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Fire TV and Chrome OS. Dedicated servers for streaming and torrenting are easy to find. And CyberGhost maintains a no-log policy. It does come at a higher-than-average cost, but you can save 83% when you commit to three years.

Best Value: NordVPN ($12/Month)

Best Value: NordVPN ($12/Month)
Image credit: NordVPN

NordVPN is an extremely popular VPN, and for good reason. Boasting terrific security, fast connection speeds and flawless reliability, NordVPN is a great all-around VPN solution. Like CyberGhost, it has more than 5,000 servers in more than 59 countries, but only supports six devices at a time, as opposed to seven. 

You’ll be able to geo-unblock content from streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and BBC’s iPlayer. There’s a strict no-logging policy for peace of mind. And excellent device support ranges from Windows, macOS and Linux devices to Android, iOS and Chrome OS gadgets.

However, it makes up for this shortcoming in the security department, with a feature called Double VPN, which can drive traffic through not one but two of Nord’s servers at once, for twice the relief. A recently passed security audit in 2020 proves NordVPN’s prowess. Military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch and several different VPN protocols to pick from make this a highly secure, stable and fast virtual private network.

Best No-Log for Privacy: Private Internet Access ($10/Month)

As the name suggests, Private Internet Access (PIA) is a security-focused VPN. It holds the distinction of being one of just a small handful of VPN companies that had its no-log policy cleared by a national security organization, namely the FBI. 

PIA provides a whopping 32,000 servers based in over 70 countries. You get support for a maximum of 10 devices. As is to be expected with a name like Private Internet Access, security features including a kill switch come standard. Apps are available for Windows, Linux, macOS, Chrome OS, Android and iOS among others. Further, the PIA mobile app has even been certified by the ioXt Alliance. 

Geo-unblocking for sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu works well. And there’s unrestricted torrenting. For $10 a month, or around $3 per year, you can rest assured with PIA that a VPN company isn’t storing your data in the same way your ISP would.

Best for Torrenting: IPVanish ($11/Month)

Best for Torrenting: IPVanish ($11/Month)
Image credit: IPVanish

For the multitasker, or simply those who don’t mind sharing their membership with the entire household, IPVanish might be the best VPN service to buy. Featuring unlimited simultaneous connections, it’s one of the few companies to have removed this constraint altogether. 

Whereas some VPN services impose heavy limitations on P2P file sharing, BitTorrent users will be keen to learn that IPVanish does no such thing. In fact, there are no BT download restrictions with IPVanish, so torrent away.

With more than 1,600 servers in over 75 different locations, IPVanish is a fantastic all-around VPN. Because of its unlimited connections and lack of torrenting restrictions, IPVanish is a wonderful VPN for torrents. It sports military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, a reliable kill switch and a log-less policy.

Best for Ease-of-Use: Tunnelbear ($10/Month)

Best for Ease-of-Use: Tunnelbear ($10/Month)
Image credit: Tunnelbear

Boasting plug-and-play simplicity, TunnelBear eschews a complicated user interface in favor of a vibrant, carnivoran-themed design that does a surprisingly good job of illustrating how VPN systems work. Merely click the country you want your bear to tunnel through, toggle on the encryption switch, and you’re ready to start surfing the web, privately. 

But don’t let its cutesy appearance fool you — TunnelBear takes privacy seriously, to the point of conducting annual independent audits, to assure its users that they’re in good paws. 

Further sweetening the deal, TunnelBear includes a free tier. There is a data limit of 500MB/month on the no-cost version. We highly recommend shelling out the money for a TunnelBear paid subscription, but the free plan is nice for taking it for a spin. Alternatively, the unlimited premium plan clocks in at a cool $10/month and nets you unlimited secure browsing for up to five connected devices. 

With 256-bit AES encryption, macOS, Windows, Android and iOS installers, there’s good cross-platform compatibility. If you want an easy-to-use yet high-performing VPN, TunnelBear is a nifty pick.

Best With Most Countries: ExpressVPN ($13/month)

Best With Most Countries: ExpressVPN ($13/month)
Image credit: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN’s 3,000 servers are spread out nicely across 160 locations in 94 countries. Lots of server locations to tunnel through is a major benefit of ExpressVPN. Another is its support for OpenVPN, an open-source VPN system that has been vetted extensively for weak points. 

Impressively, EspressVPN has created the open-sourced Lightway protocol for transparency. And cybersecurity firm Cure53 vouched for EspressVPN in a comprehensive audit. Although it is one of the more complex VPN services out there, ExpressVPN offers 24/7 support in case you run into any trouble, making it a reliable choice.

There’s AES 256-bit encryption and a slew of different client apps for the likes of Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, game consoles and smart televisions. Since it’s log-less, ExpressVPN is a solid pick for privacy-focused users. It’s fairly simple to use yet extremely customizable. For everything from torrenting to unblocking geo-protected content, ExpressVPN is more than up to the task.

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