The Best VPN Services 2019

Steve Ongaro BySteve OngaroJun. 11, 2019

VPNs (virtual private networks) have many different functions and benefits, including keeping your browsing behaviour private, disguising your geo location, bypassing blocked websites and accessing online streaming services. 

There are hundreds of VPNs on the market, and every one of them claims to offer you the best service. So I’ve hand-tested several VPNs for speed, price, features, customer support, as well as, of course, privacy and security. I’ve collected stacks of data to create fact-based, unbiased reviews. 

How We Rated the Top VPN Services

Rating the best services requires a deep dive into how individual VPNs perform in terms of speed, security, and privacy. It also requires an analysis of usability, the ability to unblock sites, and value for money, among other external factors.

Jurisdiction and Privacy

Jurisdiction influences how a VPN service approaches privacy issues. The top VPN services are based in countries that are not associated with mass surveillance. Data laws also favor VPNs that are located in these countries. These VPNs also have a no-logs policy. 

Security and Encryptions

Encryptions define how strongly a VPN service implements its security. The stronger the encryption, the better the VPN—if the performance is balanced. Stronger encryptions result in slower VPN connection speeds. The elite VPNs offer great security features that don’t affect performance.

Speed

This important metric defines how fast the VPN connection is. By default, a VPN should slow your normal internet connection by a small percentage due to encryption overheads. A speed test is used to measure the VPN’s download speed, upload speed, latency, and jitter. The go-to VPN services have consistently high speed test results.

Quality Customer Service

A reliable VPN service offers customers help in multiple ways. This includes customer assistance, a 24/7 live chat, a ticket system, and an email interface.

Solid online security
Fast streaming and unblocking
Streaming Netflix
Clients looking for a VPN that’s easy to use
Secure surfing at a good price
Good quality at a reasonable price
Unlimited streaming and bandwidth
Budget-conscious users
People who want a ton of device connections
Top-grade security
$2.99per month
$3.75per month
$7.99per month
$2.50per month
$1.99per month
$2.99per month
$3.82per month
$2.05per month
$3.33per month
Free/$2.97per month
3200in 26 locations
100+in over 55 locations
Servers in 29 countries
3600+in 115 locations
800+in 50 locations
5,000+in 61 locations
80+in 59 locations
298in 31 locations
2000in 180 locations
Thousands of virtual servers in 18 countries
5
3
5
7
Unlimited
6
6
5
5
5
Android, iOS, Mac, Windows
oid, iOS, Mac, Windows, Chrome extension
Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux
Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Smart TVs, Linux
Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux
Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux
Android, iOS, Mac, Windows
Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux
Android, Windows, Mac
256-bit AES
OpenVPN, AES-256
AES-256
256-bit AES
AES-256-GCM encryption, IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN
256-bit AES, double encryption
128 bit CBC encryption for TAP
128-bit AES
256-bit AES
256-bit AES
No logs
Some logs
No logs
No logs
No logs
No logs
IP addresses and cookies
IP addresses
Connection timestamps
No logs

The Top 10 VPN Services

  • 1

    Hotspot Shield

    Fastest speeds, solid security
    Hotspot Shield
    • Best forSolid online security
    • No. of servers/locations3200in 26 locations
    • Price$2.99per month

    Hotspot Shield is currently the leading service in the VPN industry, and a number one choice in our ranking. The VPN’s success can be traced to its outstanding features, blazing fast speeds, best-in-class security, and overall reliability.

    Owned by a California-based company—Anchor Free GmbH—Hotspot Shield sports both a free version and a premium VPN service. It performs well because it uses a proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol. This protocol is optimized to deliver consistent speeds even from the furthest servers. The only downside is that it’s not compatible with other accessories such as routers and gaming consoles. 

    Hotspot Shield has more than 2,500 servers in over 80 countries. The premium version gives you unlimited bandwidth, supports the connection of up to 5 devices, and has 24/7 customer support. It is compatible with popular computing systems such as Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. 

    The Hotspot Shield VPN clients for desktop and mobile are straightforward to use without any technical difficulties. They generally support the same features and offer the same functionalities.

    Pros
    • 2,500 plus servers in 80 plus countries
    • Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer
    • 24/7 customer support
    Cons
    • Ambiguous logging policy
    • Relatively pricey monthly package
    Read Hotspot Shield Full Review
  • 2

    UltraVPN

    Fast and simple streaming and unblocking
    UltraVPN
    • Best forFast streaming and unblocking
    • No. of servers/locations100+in over 55 locations
    • Price$3.75per month

    UltraVPN is an ultra-fast, secure, and anonymous service owned by Network Protect Limited—a UK- and US-incorporated company. With this kind of jurisdiction, UltraVPN has limited data protection as the US and UK are part of the 5-eyes and 14-eyes countries. This means it’s subjected to mass surveillance and must obey the laws of the land regarding data retention. Despite the unfavorable territory, UltraVPN has a zero logs policy to protect its users. Although, some VPN-related data is shared with trusted third parties.

    UltraVPN has over 1,000 servers in over 100 locations. The servers offer unlimited bandwidth and are optimized for streaming speeds. Most of the servers support P2P traffic. UltraVPN uses 256-bit encryptions for security, provides 24/7 customer support, and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

    UltraVPN clients feature a well-designed interface that looks similar to that of most popular VPN services.

    Pros
    • Unlimited bandwidth / unblocks Netflix
    • Speeds optimized for streaming, no buffering
    • Supports P2P traffic
    Cons
    • Only basic features
    • Doesn’t work in China all the time
    Read UltraVPN Full Review
  • 3

    Norton Secure VPN

    VPN from an industry heavyweight
    Norton Secure VPN
    • Best forStreaming Netflix
    • No. of servers/locationsServers in 29 countries
    • Price$7.99per month

    Norton Secure VPN comes attached to the Norton name, which means that you get the infrastructure and customer service associated with an experienced industry heavyweight like Norton. But how does the VPN service stack up to others in the field?

    Most importantly for many users, Norton’s VPN has been shown to successfully unblock Netflix. This could balance out what’s been reported by some users as a tendency to bog down speeds and performance, making this VPN a solid choice for casual users or those most interested in VPNs for entertainment purposes. A unique feature is the ability to choose plans with 1, 5, or 10 simultaneous connections. This makes it an especially attractive VPN for users who know how they’ll use the VPN, whether it be limited to a single device, or used by a larger family on vacation, who then have the choice to pay according to their usage. 

    Norton Secure VPN is seamless on desktop and mobile devices. The server count is lower than the competition, but features such as unlimited bandwidth, OpenVPN protocols, a no-logging policy, and a 60-day money-back guarantee show that Norton Secure VPN has more to it than just a recognizable name.

    Pros
    • Has been known to successfully unblock Netflix
    • Includes unlimited bandwidth
    • Backed by a 60 day money back guarantee
    Cons
    • Fewer server options than the competition
    • Strict no-torrenting policy
    Read Norton Secure VPN Full Review
  • 4

    CyberGhost

    Serious about security
    CyberGhost
    • Best forClients looking for a VPN that’s easy to use
    • No. of servers/locations3600+in 115 locations
    • Price$2.50per month

    CyberGhost is a fast, secure VPN service owned by a privacy-focused company based in Bucharest, Romania. This VPN service has been around since 2011, and it has a comprehensive grasp of what the digital world needs—internet freedom and privacy. 

    CyberGhost VPN is more of a privacy solution, and it follows a strict no-logs policy. It packs many features to showcase its capabilities.

    CyberGhost has over 4,300 VPN servers in 60 countries that offer unlimited bandwidth with the highest speeds possible. Some of its servers allow P2P traffic. CyberGhost uses military-grade encryption coupled with other security features such as a malware blocker and a kill switch. Like most of the top VPNs, CyberGhost offers a 45-day money-back guarantee and friendly customer support.

    CyberGhost also sports a minimalistic interface that offers basic connection functionality. However, despite its size, it’s easier to navigate.

    Pros
    • Easy to use platform
    • Works with Netflix US
    • Low pricing plans
    Cons
    • Not as solid a reputation
    • Not all servers work for torrenting
    Read CyberGhost Full Review
  • 5

    Surfshark

    Strong on security, privacy, and speed
    Surfshark
    • Best forSecure surfing at a good price
    • No. of servers/locations800+in 50 locations
    • Price$1.99per month

    Surfshark VPN is relatively new and has earned its place among the elite services. Located in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark enjoys the perks of a territory with no data retention laws and favorable data protection laws that ensure user information is safe. Furthermore, it has a strict no-logs policy, and no identifying information about users is collected.

    Besides being based in a favorable jurisdiction, Surfshark uses top-of-the-line encryptions to ensure the VPN connection is always secure. It also has a camouflage mode feature that makes your VPN connection go undetected. It has 800 plus servers in more than 50 countries. These servers offer unlimited bandwidth, and P2P traffic is allowed. 

    Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. Although Surfshark possesses a high speed connection, sometimes it’s inconsistent. Surfshark VPN clients present a clean interface that is easy to use.

    Pros
    • Whitelister, multihop, and camouflage mode
    • Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer
    • Extremely resilient privacy and security features
    Cons
    • Email support could be faster
    • No free trial
    Read Surfshark Full Review
  • 6

    NordVPN

    Great value for quality VPN service
    NordVPN
    • Best forGood quality at a reasonable price
    • No. of servers/locations5,000+in 61 locations
    • Price$2.99per month

    NordVPN is a secure VPN service based in a privacy friendly location—Panama. This VPN service is known for its excellence in complete privacy, advanced security, and internet freedom. NordVPN does not keep any logs, and given its territory, the laws of the land do not require it to do so. 

    NordVPN has the largest VPN server network—5,700 servers in 59 countries around the globe. This top-notch VPN packs various security and privacy-oriented features that include; a double VPN, military-grade encryption, stealth mode, a CyberSec feature, dedicated P2P servers, and dedicated IP addresses. Its servers are optimized to deliver lightning speeds suitable for streaming and speed intensive tasks. It boasts fantastic customer service and 30-day money-back guarantee.

    NordVPN clients are aesthetically pleasing as they offer a bigger and more detailed interface with a map.

    Pros
    • Double-hop VPN servers
    • One of the cheapest plans around
    • 6 simultaneous connections
    Cons
    • Some servers aren’t as fast as others
    • No live chat
    Read NordVPN Full Review
  • 7

    PrivateVPN

    Limitless Streaming and Downloading
    PrivateVPN
    • Best forUnlimited streaming and bandwidth
    • No. of servers/locations80+in 59 locations
    • Price$3.82per month

    PrivateVPN is a Swedish-based service with high levels of privacy and security. Despite it being within one of the 14 eyes countries, PrivateVPN does not collect or log any traffic as stated in its privacy policy. This means even if it’s hit by a court order, it will not have anything to give the authorities.

    In comparison to the other top VPNs, it sports a small network of 100 servers in 60 countries, which offer stable connections from anywhere in the world. The speeds are quite fast and favorable for tasks like streaming. Surfshark uses military-grade encryptions coupled with other security features. It has decent customer service, and it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

    PrivateVPN bespoke clients make everything simple to use, and their interfaces are aesthetically pleasing.

    Pros
    • Unlimited bandwidth
    • 6 simultaneous connections
    • Unlimited speed and server switches
    Cons
    • Logging policy isn’t solid
    • Inconsistent server speeds
    Read PrivateVPN Full Review
  • 8

    ZenMate

    Cheap, easy-to-use, file sharing
    ZenMate
    • Best forBudget-conscious users
    • No. of servers/locations298in 31 locations
    • Price$2.05per month

    This is one of the best VPN services for non-technical users—it’s straightforward, simple, fast, secure, and easy to use. Based in Germany, ZenMate is subject to mass surveillance as Germany is one of the countries that make up the 14 eyes. Despite having an unclear privacy policy, ZenMate guarantees its users that it has a strict no-logs policy.

    ZenMate has over 30 server locations with unlimited bandwidth and fair speeds that can be used for streaming. The servers also support P2P traffic. ZenMate uses industry-grade TLS encryption standards to ensure the VPN connection is safe. This isn’t stellar compared to other VPN services, and it may not bypass some restrictions. ZenMate VPN is unreliable when streaming geo-restricted services such as US Netflix. Additionally, its customer support does not match that of other most popular VPN services.

    ZenMate VPN clients are easy to use and are very straightforward from installation, to connecting, to servers.

    Pros
    • Zero logs policy
    • Works with Netflix
    • Up to 5 simultaneous connections
    Cons
    • Not highest level of encryption
    • IP address logs
    Read ZenMate Full Review
  • 9

    PureVPN

    Customizable VPN Experience
    PureVPN
    • Best forPeople who want a ton of device connections
    • No. of servers/locations2000in 180 locations
    • Price$3.33per month

    PureVPN is one of the elite services of 2019. It’s also the world’s fastest VPN service. PureVPN is based in Hong Kong, away from 5 and 14 eyes surveillance. This jurisdiction is favorable for a VPN service, and PureVPN is not required to store any data. Their privacy policy also states that they do not log activities.

    PureVPN is a top performer when compared to other services. This is due to its unbeatable features. It has more than 2,000 servers in over 140 countries. These servers are optimized to provide ultra-fast speeds with unlimited bandwidth. PureVPN uses dedicated servers for streaming purposes, and P2P is allowed. PureVPN uses military-grade 256-bit encryption to protect your data, and it has a 24-hour live chat support.

    PureVPN clients are easy to use, but the interface can get complicated as you dive into more settings.

    Pros
    • Kill switch
    • NAT firewall add-on
    • 80,000+ IP addresses
    Cons
    • Download speeds aren’t great
    • DNS leak issues
    Read PureVPN Full Review
  • 10

    Panda

    Trusted name, unwavering security
    Panda
    • Best forTop-grade security
    • No. of servers/locationsThousands of virtual servers in 18 countries
    • PriceFree/$2.97per month

    PandaVPN is one of the best privacy-focused services owned, and it’s owned by Panda security; a Spanish multinational that specializes in security solutions. Panda VPN provides private internet access, and it’s reliable in both speed and performance. 

    Panda VPN has over 1000 servers in more than 20 countries around the world that offer unlimited bandwidth. Panda VPN uses its proprietary Hydra VPN protocol, and this gives it a cutting edge performance among other best VPN services in the market. Panda VPN uses military-grade encryptions, keeps zero logs, and allows P2P traffic.

    Pros
    • Reliable internet security provider
    • Fast speeds
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    Cons
    • Not compatible with iOS
    • No server information
    Read Panda Full Review

A closer look at my VPN rating criteria

To ensure you have the best VPN options to choose from, I considered several factors that each service was offering—I usually start with the features provided.

The type and level of security used by a VPN should also be a priority. Thanks to this, I selected VPNs with military-grade encryption, a considerable range of protocols—including OpenVPN, L2TP, IKEv2, PPTP, and more—DNS leak protection, as well as a Kill Switch.

I also performed several tests of connection speeds of each VPN. Amid the tests, I also checked the number of servers and locations that every VPN offers. Notably, I usually use an online HYPERLINK "https://speedtest.net/" SpeedTest tool to perform the various connection runs. To be more specific, my procedure of these speed tests is as follows:

Baseline test: Here I run a speed test of our internet without a VPN connection.

My second test is done after connecting to the nearby server location.

In my third test, I connect to distant servers.

Optional: You can run speed tests depending on the type of servers offered, including Tor over VPN servers, torrent/P2P servers, streaming servers, virtual servers, MultiHop/DoubleVPN servers, and more.

I then studied and analyzed the different subscription plans and their price rates. Most VPNs offer subscription plans that offer the same features but differ in terms of the billing cycle. 

In addition, some VPNs are generous enough to give a considerable time of money-back guarantee that is hassle-free, and an even smaller number offer a free-trial period.

The ease of use of any VPN is crucial. I tested every single VPN to experience their performance, reliability, efficiency, and general workability. This includes the ease of use of the dedicated apps available, and their terms of use. 

Additionally, I checked the compatibility of each VPN I’m reviewing, testing every popular aspect that they’re supposed to tick. This includes compatibility with various devices and platforms, ability to stream and torrent various sites, and workability in heavily censored regions like China, Russia, and Singapore.

There’s also the bit about the level of customer service the VPN offers. I check and test the workability, availability, and reliability of the various sections of support available on each VPN. For instance, a good VPN is supposed to provide an unbeatable 24/7 live chat service,that is run by actual humans—not bots—as well as an alternative ticketing system. A vast library of the knowledge-based system and FAQs is also handy.

VPN FAQs

What do I need to know before I subscribe to a VPN service?

Before you subscribe to any VPN service, there are key factors to consider. These factors seek to answer how a particular VPN will help you. The VPN services that we highlighted were carefully selected based on the following factors:

  • Privacy 

VPNs are meant to keep your information private from the rest of the world when you surf the internet. The best services have a strict no-logs policy, located in a jurisdiction with no data retention laws. They should also implement security features that protect your privacy.

  • Security Features

Security goes hand in hand with privacy. The elite VPN services should have strong, unbreakable encryptions. The VPN service should implement other security features such as a kill switch, protection against leaks, a firewall, and obfuscation technology. Robust security features allow VPN services to bypass restrictions easily.

  • Speed, Performance, and Bandwidth

Besides privacy, you might want to use a VPN for speed intensive tasks such as downloading files or even streaming. In this case, the best VPN to consider is one that offers lightning speeds without any buffering. The VPN should also have unlimited bandwidth and should not be laggy or slowing your connection to unacceptable levels.

  • Simultaneous Connections

The best VPNs give you the best value for your money. Therefore, you should consider one that offers many simultaneous connections. The simultaneous connections should not affect the performance of the VPN. This way, you can use multiple devices with only a single subscription.

  • Server Coverage

Server coverage dictates which locations you can access services from. This is important in bypassing geo-restrictions. Therefore, it’s wise to consider server locations when choosing a service. 

How do I choose the best VPN?

There are numerous choices when it comes to VPN services. Narrow down those choices by focusing on the most important features, including:

  • Speed
  • Security
  • Strong encryption
  • Ease of use
  • P2P functionality
  • Price 

Look for a service with fast speeds, so your connection is smooth, strong security features, so your connection is private, and easy functionality, so you don't hate your VPN. Also, look for one that offers P2P file sharing, and make sure the price is right.

What are the advantages of using a VPN?

VPN services provide an invaluable service for anyone using the internet. While people will opt to use a VPN for different reasons, some of the main benefits you can gain are:

  • Online privacy
  • Anonymity
  • Unblocking websites
  • Unblocking Telegram
  • Safe torrenting and streaming
  • Bypassing censorship
  • Saving money online by changing your geo-location

Whether you're looking for more privacy or security or you want to access content that is geo-blocked for some reason, share files or stream a game, a VPN provides you with the advantages you are looking for.

Can you trust a VPN?

In a word, yes...and no. A reliable VPN can be trusted, while questionable services are better left alone. How can you know? Look for privacy and encryption standards. A good VPN service will have strong encryption protocols, clearly stated privacy policies (like no logging), and strong security features, like DNS leak protection.

Is using a VPN legal?

Yes! VPNs are totally legal to use in the vast majority of the civilized world. Of course, what you do with your VPN is subject to all laws governing your country. If you are doing something illegal with your VPN, that’s your business. VPN usage though is totally legal.

How can I use a VPN for streaming?

Streaming with a VPN is very simple. 

  • Sign up for the service and plan of your choice
  • After logging into your account, turn on your VPN
  • You can either manually choose a server/country to stream from or let the service choose the appropriate one for you
  • Visit your favorite TV show streaming site, and enjoy your show!

How can I use a VPN for torrenting?

Torrenting is another great use for VPNs. Here’s how to set it up:

  • Get the VPN plan that fits your needs and budget
  • Log into your account
  • Connect to one of the dedicated servers for torrenting, or let the service pick the best server for your location
  • Use your regular torrent site or app like uTorrent, and you'll be completely protected while you download your torrents

Are free VPNs safe?

Another one-word answer, no. Free VPNs do not have or use the resources to ensure that your connections are secure. This leaves you open and vulnerable to spammers, hackers, government agencies, geo-restrictions, and other issues you are trying to avoid with a VPN. Only a dedicated VPN service with reliable security protocols can be trusted to get the job done. Plus, free sites usually limit your bandwidth, making for sluggish connections.

Expert Tips

Connecting to a VPN before surfing the internet, is essential. A good VPN will encrypt your browsing activity, reroute your online traffic through a secure tunnel—thereby masking your true identity from encroaching eyes of governments, ISPs, as well as cybercriminals. Furthermore, a good VPN will allow you to enjoy maximum speeds, overcome heavy censorship, and unblock geo-restricted websites.

To get the most out of a VPN service, here are some tips to follow:

  • Always go for premium VPNs—because they don’t have limits.
  • Consider a VPN depending on your needs. If you want privacy, choose the VPN service with robust security features and strong encryptions.
  • Finally, not all VPNs offer what they claim, choose carefully!

Summary 

VPNs are one of the ultimate privacy and security tools in this digital age. VPNs have evolved to offer other functionalities, such as streaming and gaining access to restricted services on the internet. The above best services for 2019 will give you a seamless experience when surfing the internet. They have been chosen carefully to offer you the best value for your money. 


Steve Ongaro BySteve OngaroOct. 23, 2019
Steve is an informed cybersecurity , and VPN expert with more than 5 years of experience in the field. He is always amazed by the constant change in security trends and loves reviewing the breakthroughs. When he’s not writing, you can find him drooling over new gadgets.