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How do the best VPNs right now stack up and which one is right for you?

A look at the top 5 VPNs on the market

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How do the best VPNs right now stack up and which one is right for you?© 2019 Shuttertock

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is becoming more and more crucial to guarantee your online safety and privacy. That’s why this article compares some of the very best VPN services on the market right now. We’ll have a look at the following providers: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, NordVPN, Surfshark, and PIA.

These days, there are lots of third parties who spy on our online activities. They include governments, other internet users, hackers, and even your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Luckily, you can keep your online activities private by using a reliable VPN service. A VPN encrypts your data and transmits it through secure servers so that third parties can't see what you're doing online. It's the single best way for internet users to keep their data safe and protect their privacy online.

Still, not all VPNs are created equal. When it comes to choosing a VPN service, there are many things to consider. The five popular VPNs we'll be looking at have all been tested thoroughly, and well-known VPN-review websites like VPNOverview have given these VPN services high marks for everything from online privacy to user-friendliness.

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What to consider when choosing a VPN

Privacy and security rating

The most important thing to consider is the VPN's privacy and security rating. You want to select a service that uses a highly secure protocol like OpenVPN and has AES 256-bit encryption to keep your data safe. When it comes to privacy, your best option is a VPN that has a zero-logs policy, which means they don't keep records of your online activities.

High-speeds

Reliable VPN services are known for slowing down your browsing and download speeds. Most VPNs will slow your speeds to some extent, but some services are much better than others. All of the VPNs that made our list offer high speeds for hassle-free browsing and streaming.

Number of servers

It’s best to use a VPN service that has lots of servers located all over the world. In general, more servers mean you’re less likely to run into slow speeds and overloaded servers, which makes for a better browsing and overall online experience. In addition, having access to servers in every region of the world can come in handy if you want to access region-restricted content.

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Supports streaming services

Many people use VPNs to view streaming services that aren't available in their home country, such as US Netflix. For this reason, we made sure our top 5 VPNs support Netflix. The bottom line is if you plan to use your VPN to stream content, make sure it supports the particular service you want.

Pricing

While there are free VPNs out there, we recommend investing in a paid service. This is because free VPNs usually don’t measure up in terms of privacy and security. That said, there are reliable VPN services like NordVPN that are affordable even on a tight budget.

How our top picks made the cut

When it comes to choosing a VPN, first-rate security comes first. We made sure all of our top providers meet the highest privacy and security standards. We also looked at factors like reliability, internet speeds, ease of use, and costs. Here's a complete list of all the specs we considered:

· Simultaneous connections
· Operating systems
· Protocols
· Logging policy
· Torrenting
· Streaming
· Servers
· Price
· Money-back guarantee

Now let’s dive into the top 5 VPNs available right now and find out how they measure up.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular and highly-rated VPN services around and our top VPN pick. We feel this is the best VPN option on the market right now for many different reasons. ExpressVPN has super-fast speeds, which makes it ideal for secure browsing, downloading and streaming. It has 2000 servers in 94 countries, allows torrenting, and supports all the major streaming services, including Netflix. The service also has excellent user-friendly apps for Android, iPhone, Windows, and Mac. As a bonus, they have an outstanding customer service team that gets back to you very quickly. The only downsides we could find is that it only supports five simultaneous connections and isn’t one of the cheaper options out there, with prices starting from $6.67 a month. They do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you have the opportunity to try it out risk-free. Since ExpressVPN is number one in our books, we consider it to be an extremely worthy investment.

CyberGhost

If you’re looking for an extremely reliable, easy-to-use VPN service on a budget, CyberGhost is an excellent option. It meets the highest standards of privacy and security, is compatible with Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Linux, and the software is easy to navigate. It has 5,200 servers in more than 60 countries, including P2P servers that support torrenting. CyberGhost also supports all major streaming services, including Netflix. Another plus is you can connect up to seven devices from one account. They also have a very knowledgeable customer support team that always got back to us very quickly. The one downside is that CyberGhost doesn't provide the option of using a dedicated IP-address. Still, CyberGhost came in at number two on our list for providing an excellent VPN experience at a reasonable price. It starts at $2.75 per month and has a 45-day money-back guarantee. It’s a great option if you want a secure online experience for a more affordable price.

NordVPN

Coming in at number three on our list is NordVPN, which offers the highest levels of privacy and security at reasonable prices. NordVPN supports Windows, Android, Mac, and iPhone, has tons of servers (5,000+) all over the world, and has an advanced double encryption feature for the highest levels of security. It’s an ideal provider if you value your privacy since NordVPN's main office is located in Panama, which has internet privacy laws that benefit users. NordVPN doesn't have to store user logs of any kind, while some providers based in other countries do have to keep logs. As for streaming, NordVPN works exceptionally well with Netflix and Hulu so that you can watch your favorite shows from anywhere in the world. It also lets you connect up to six devices on one account. Prices start at $2.99 per month, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out risk-free.

Surfshark

Even though Surfshark is the newest VPN on our list, it holds its own against the more established providers. Starting at $1.99 per month, it's an extremely affordable option but doesn't skimp on security. It uses the highly secure OpenVPN protocol, lets you send your data through two VPN servers at once for additional security, and has a zero-logs policy. Surfshark enables you to torrent securely and provides a high-quality Netflix experience. Surfshark also gets bonus points because it’s the only provider on our list that lets you connect an unlimited number of devices to one account. As for the downsides, Surfshark doesn’t have as many servers as the other providers, which may impact your streaming experience, and offers fewer protocol options. Still, it’s an excellent VPN that offers high levels of privacy and security for a very low price.

Private Internet Access (PIA)

The final VPN on our list, PIA emphasizes security and privacy and has exceptionally high scores in both of these areas. It supports Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux, doesn't keep logs and lets you download torrents securely. PIA offers lots of VPN options that you can customize, but it's not the simplest VPN to navigate. For this reason, we tend to recommend it for more advanced users who have experience using VPNs. The other disadvantage is that while PIA supports Netflix streaming, it doesn't let you change the country you watch Netflix from. This means if you're in a country where Netflix is unavailable, you won't be able to get around the geo-restrictions. On the plus side, PIA lets you connect ten devices to one account. PIA is a reliable VPN that is reasonably priced, and its vast array of options will appeal to more advanced users.

Top 5 VPNs: specs overview

  ExpressVPN CyberGhost NordVPN Surfshark PIA
Simultaneous connections 5 7 6 Unlimited 10
Torrents Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Operating system Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
Netflix Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Protocols OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, IKEv2, PPTP OpenVPN, IKEv2 OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP
Logging policy No logs No logs No logs No logs No logs
Servers 2,000+ in 94 countries 5,200+ in 60+ countries 5,000+ in 60+ countries 1,000+ in 56 countries 3,300+ in 32 countries
Monthly price starting at $6.67 $2.75 $2.99 $1.99 $3.49
Money-back guarantee 30 days 45 days 30 days 30 days 7 days

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