Consumer Reports Vpn Review

Consumer Reports Vpn Review

The title of “best VPN” is something we take seriously here at CNET. To earn that particular accolade, a VPN must see exceptionally high standards of privacy, speed and utility, while existence completely transparent almost its operations. And to retain that crown, information technology must maintain those high standards. As of this most contempo update,
ExpressVPN is currently our Editors’ Choice for best overall VPN, and Surfshark is our Editors’ Option for best VPN value. Both of those accolades are the result of recently updated evaluations and reviews of those services, as well every bit
NordVPN. Nosotros’re continuing to compare and evaluate the leading providers every bit the industry evolves and consolidates, and online security needs become greater than ever.

If you desire to keep your browsing habits under wraps and stay private online, a VPN is essential. Here’s how information technology works: A VPN, short for “virtual private network,” encrypts the connection between your device and the internet, safeguarding not just your browsing traffic just all the data that comes from your device and goes to the internet. This encrypted connexion will stop your internet service provider from seeing which sites you’re browsing, and prevent the sites you’re visiting — unless you’re logged into them — from knowing where you’re located.

A VPN will give you an extra layer of security on public Wi-Fi networks as well, which is specially critical if yous e’er send or receive sensitive information over the internet. The all-time VPN helps you
evade Internet service provider throttling
and boosts your personal safety by making it harder for private and public entities to encounter your search and browsing history. And with football season at present underway, it’south a good time to notation that VPNs tin also be used to
circumvent league blackouts
and geographic restrictions. A VPN service lets you bypass content blocks, thereby opening up your streaming options.

What’s the best VPN in 2022?

  • ExpressVPN
    received a CNET Editors’ Choice Award for best overall VPN. We evaluate VPNs based on their overall performance in iii chief categories: speed, security and price. Express isn’t the cheapest, only it’due south among the fastest and, so far, is the most secure.
  • Surfshark is a close second among our picks. In 2022, it besides earned a CNET Editors’ Choice Award as our VPN value pick, thanks to its low first-year price support for unlimited devices.
  • NordVPN, our third choice, is a die-hard heavy hitter. It costs more Surfshark merely less than Express, has an enormous network that’due south constantly getting faster and more secure and is easily the most reliable service we’ve tested.

Over the past several years, a inundation of VPN providers has entered the market, and that comes with both benefits and drawbacks. On one hand, the array of affordable VPN options now available means that — no matter how
critical or casual your privacy needs
— there’s a VPN service suited to your purpose. But it also means consumers have to wade through even more than VPN advertising hype.

How we test VPNs

Our hands-on testing and review process is designed to cut through that hype. When nosotros look at each VPN service, we’re not just examining them for their technical weaknesses, only we’re also scrutinizing their private functioning strengths. Nosotros desire to know what each service does best. Nosotros exam each VPN beyond over xx factors, and we’re continuallyimproving our methodology
every bit we larn more.

We exam VPNs for browsing and streaming speed in multiple countries as well as their connection stability and even the smallest potential privacy leaks. By testing across multiple devices and platforms, we’re able to assess which VPNs are all-time for gaming versus those all-time for streaming, torrenting or sharing sensitive data. Most importantly, we focus on doing the deep-swoop inquiry necessary to vet each VPN’due south historical credibility and its
ownership in a notoriously murky marketplace.

The VPNs on this list earn our recommendation for more just boosting their digital privacy strengths — they enable easy streaming to overcome geoblocked media, accept torrenting-friendly servers, and are fast enough to support gaming globally. Based on those continued evaluations, y’all’ll see a few bullet points on each entry in our list, highlighting each VPN’s strengths and the uses we recommend it for most. And because nosotros strive to keep on meridian of a fast-irresolute market, yous’ll detect that the rank of each VPN service changes as we learn more and retest.

All-time VPN in 2022

Let’s look at each of our VPN vendors below in more depth. Continue in heed that this list is constantly being updated. We’re actively working on more than VPN testing and inquiry, so expect this guide to change throughout the yr as nosotros put each VPN through its paces.

The list below presents our favorites overall in 2022 so far. Nosotros’ll call out when specific traits make for a meliorate pick in a more than narrow evaluation.


  • Latest tests: No leaks detected, 2% speed loss in spring 2022 tests
  • Network: 3,000-plus servers in 160 locations across 94 countries
  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • Price: 5 simultaneous connections for $thirteen per month, $60 for six months or $100 for a twelvemonth (current disbelieve: 3 months free). ii-year subscriptions available.

ExpressVPN is currently the fastest VPN we’ve tested in 2022, causing united states to lose less than 2% of our total internet speeds. Its apps for iOS and Android are designed with a streamlined approach aimed at connecting fast without a fuss. A single button on its landing screen directs you lot to connect quickly, with the but accompanying option a drib-down server location selector with your fastest nearby city selected past default.

ExpressVPN’s other options — its security and privacy tools, account and settings options, and back up page — are all kept neatly tucked away nether a garden multifariousness three-bar icon in the screen’s top left corner. And they’re worth checking into. ExpressVPN has included an on-board IP address checker, along with ii leak testers and a password generator.

In the past year, ExpressVPN increased its independent third-party audit count, published details most its TrustedServer deployment process, joined the i2Coalition to call for improved VPN manufacture ethics, and released an open source Lightway encryption protocol.

All of our height-rated VPNs have broad compatibility across platforms and operating systems, but ExpressVPN’south collection of setup guides, detailed FAQs and troubleshooting articles give information technology a clear advantage for users. Then does its 24/seven customer support, and its no-questions-asked, 30-day money back guarantee.

The visitor has been in business since 2009, and ExpressVPN has a substantial network of more than than three,000 RAM-only servers spread across 160 locations in 94 countries. ExpressVPN’s best plan offers 5 simultaneous connections for $100 a year (which includes 3 extra months, for a express-time deal totaling 15 months of service). Yous tin besides opt for a $xiii per-month plan, or pay $60 for six months.

Read our ExpressVPN review.


  • Latest tests: Nil data leaks and xix% net speed loss in fall 2022 tests
  • Network: three,200-plus in 99 countries
  • Jurisdiction: Netherlands
  • Toll: Unlimited connections for $48 for the first year (then $lx annually) or $13 per month. 2-yr subscriptions available.

Surfshark boasts an impressive suite of privacy and security features, unlimited simultaneous connections, easy-to-use interface and expansive global network. And it’s still significantly cheaper than most of its competitors. That’southward what helped Surfshark earn CNET’south Editors’ Choice for All-time Value VPN in 2022.

Forth with standard VPN features such as a impale switch and DNS leak protection, some of the more notable Surfshark features include camouflage mode (which hides the fact you’re using a VPN), split-tunneling, NoBorders manner (which lets you use Surfshark in regions where VPNs are restricted) and multihop VPN connections. Y’all’ll as well go access to Surfshark’s CleanWeb engineering, which blocks ads and malware and helps you avoid phishing attacks.

One innovation we’re excited to come across Surfshark roll out over the adjacent twelvemonth is its Nexus network, which connects the VPN’s entire network of servers together and allows you lot to choose multiple servers to route your connection through. The functionality is somewhat similar to Tor, but Surfshark says it’s faster. With its Dynamic MultiHop, IP Randomizer and IP Rotator functions, the Nexus network can requite yous a few actress layers of protection while you use the VPN — which can exist particularly benign to users with critical privacy needs.

Surfshark says it doesn’t log whatsoever user activity. And although no-logging claims are about impossible to prove with 100% certainty, German cybersecurity firm Cure53 alleged Surfshark’due south security to be “solid” in its 2021 security audit of the VPN. Surfshark says a new audit is forthcoming by the end of this year.

As of February 2022, both Surfshark and NordVPN have the aforementioned corporate parent (Tesonet), but Surfshark said it is legally bound not to share whatever data between the entities that would get against its privacy policy or terms of service. Nosotros didn’t find whatever language in either document that would indicate Surfshark has any obligation to share user data with its parent visitor or any sibling companies, which include NordVPN.

Surfshark rates consistently equally i of the fastest VPNs available. Which is why we were surprised that one of the only issues we had with Surfshark came in our speed test. While it yet ranks equally 1 of the fastest VPNs nosotros’ve tested — with an internet speed loss of just 19% — we were disappointed with the inconsistent speed results we got to certain locations. Speeds to Europe and Singapore were erratic (dipping as depression as 9Mbps to Singapore), while speeds to New York were slower than speeds to the UK and even Commonwealth of australia. Surfhark is in the process of significantly expanding its server network, now offer more than iii,200 servers in 99 countries. The continued expansion of its server network could potentially help bring some more consistency to the VPN’s speeds.

In our tests, Surfshark had no bug unblocking Netflix and Amazon Prime Video content, but we did run into a fair chip of trouble accessing Disney Plus. Afterwards testing various servers in the U.s.a. and other countries where Disney Plus is available, we were finally able to access the content when we connected to a server in Boston. You may need to test a few servers yourself earlier gaining access to Disney Plus content with Surfshark.

Surfshark offers cheaper introductory prices that spring afterwards the offset billing cycle. Fifty-fifty so, Surfshark manages to keep its prices lower than most other VPNs — helping it earn CNET’south Editors’ Choice for All-time Value. The yearly plan starts out at $48 for the first twelvemonth, then jumps to $60 for any additional years of service. If you lot opt for the 2-year plan, you’ll pay $sixty up front for the initial two years combined, so $60 per year for any additional years. Surfshark’south monthly program stays constant at $13 a month. If you’re non satisfied with the service for any reason, Surfshark offers a 30-twenty-four hours coin-dorsum guarantee.

Read our Surfshark VPN review.


  • Latest tests: No leaks detected, xiii% speed loss in summer 2022 tests
  • Network: five,600-plus servers in 84 locations across 59 countries
  • Jurisdiction: Panama
  • Price: vi simultaneous connections for $12 per month or $60 for a year (current discount: 3 months free). 2-year subscriptions available.

NordVPN is 1 of the most recognized brands in the VPN field. Information technology offers a generous simultaneous connection count, with six simultaneous connections through its network, where about all other providers offer five or fewer. NordVPN also offers a defended IP option, for those looking for a different level of VPN connection, and the ability to VPN into Tor. More than half of Nord’s 5,000-plus server fleet is optimized for peer-to-peer sharing, though Nord has blocked torrenting in 14 countries.

In our latest test rounds we noticed a few hiccups in Nord’s killswitch when using its iOS app, which could be a business organization for torrenters. Yet, Nord has a sideloaded iOS bachelor on its website that it recommends for users. In our most recent speed tests, NordVPN’south performance recovered from middling speed scores of 2021 and zoomed back into the ranks of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, causing united states of america to lose just thirteen% of base net speeds.

NordVPN doesn’t accept PayPal payments, but you can buy a subscription with any major credit or debit bill of fare, AmazonPay, Google Pay or ACH transfer. If you’d rather pay anonymously, you can pay with a variety of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether and Dogecoin. NordVPN has likewise partnered with a handful of retail stores like Staples, BestBuy and Walmart where you lot tin can even purchase your VPN with cash.

Read:   Review of Norton Vpn

Read our NordVPN review.


  • Latest tests:
    No leaks detected, 9% speed loss in 2020 tests
  • Network:
    ane,700-plus servers in 91 locations across 64 countries
  • Jurisdiction:
  • Price:
    10 simultaneous connections for
    $10 per month or $71 for a year. 2-year subscriptions available.

When we speed-tested ProtonVPN, we saw an impressively small 9.6% speed loss compared with boilerplate speeds clocked without a VPN. This makes it one of the fastest VPNs we’ve e’er tested. Fifty-fifty more impressive is Proton’s power to reach those speeds despite a relatively minor armada of 1,759 servers in 63 countries. We are in the process of refining our speed testing methodology and plan to publish new speed testing results across the lath in the coming months.

Proton is a solid pick for torrenting thanks to its peer-to-peer traffic encryption and reliable killswitch, only torrenters should accept annotation: Proton has far fewer peer-to-peer friendly servers than other VPNs on this listing, and Proton’s free version doesn’t back up torrenting traffic to the same degree.

Though non quite as expensive as ExpressVPN, Proton costs more than some of the other VPNs we’ve reviewed. Withal, ProtonVPN’south high security standards and legacy of transparency may make this VPN pick worth the cost. The two-year programme is priced at $120 every two years. Simply if you lot understandably don’t want to commit to a long-term subscription programme, you tin go the yearly plan for $72 per year or the monthly programme for $10 a month, which is cheaper than virtually VPN providers’ monthly plans. ProtonVPN also offers a decent gratis plan. The free program is limited to three server locations (US, NL, JP) and just one concurrent connection — and runs slower than its premium counterpart — just it isn’t express in terms of monthly information caps similar those imposed past other complimentary VPNs.

Forth with its options to send your traffic through a secure bunker of private servers, we love ProtonVPN’s transparency policies: Information technology’south completely open-source with routinely published audits, and includes a born road to VPN into Tor servers. Nosotros’re also confident in recommending its mobile app since it has eliminated the use of weaker security protocols, like PPTP and L2TP, that are used by some VPNs.

Read our ProtonVPN review.


  • Latest tests:
    DNS leaks detected, 58% speed loss in jump 2022 tests
  • Network:
    2,000-plus servers in 75 locations across 52 countries
  • Jurisdiction:
    United States
  • Price: Unlimited connections for $11 per month, $16 for 3 months ($30 quarterly after the first iii months) or $48 for a twelvemonth ($ninety annually afterward the get-go year).

A large win for IPVanish is its fun, configurable interface, which makes information technology an ideal client for those who are interested in learning how to understand what a VPN does under the hood.

If you’re looking for the power to practice some precision tuning to your VPN connection, IPVanish is a solid bet. With a bevy of switches controlling things similar the kill switch, split tunneling, VPN protocol and LAN connection allowance, IPVanish is an app for the methodical tech tweaker who enjoys having verbal control over their mobile internet traffic.

IPVanish has long been geared toward peer-to-peer traffic and is a solid choice for torrenters who are looking for a VPN that comes with a SOCKS5 proxy.

With its newly redesigned apps for Windows and Android, IPVanish manages to pack the same all-encompassing suite of digital knobs and dials into a refreshingly clean mobile interface to impressive effect.

Its multiplatform flexibility is besides ideal for people focused on finding a Netflix-friendly VPN.

While IPVanish isn’t the fastest VPN, the 58% speed loss we measured in our most recent speed tests is about on par with most VPN providers. However, nosotros noticed that IPVanish’south Quick Connect feature doesn’t e’er connect you lot to the best bachelor server, so you may demand to optimize your speeds by connecting manually to a server showing a lighter load past selecting the Locations option in the client.

Charging $eleven for its monthly plan, IPVanish is trying to move you toward its yearly program, which costs $48 for the first year, but then jumps to $xc for subsequent years of service. The provider offers a thirty-solar day money-dorsum guarantee, but only if you purchase the yearly programme — which could be a disappointment to anyone who purchased a monthly subscription and decided they didn’t like it.

That said, the company gets kudos for allowing unlimited simultaneous connections. We too liked its connexion kill-switch feature, a must for anyone serious near protecting their privacy while surfing.

Read our IPVanish review.

Other VPNs we’ve tested

Non every VPN can be a favorite. These are ones we reviewed, but they’re not full-throated recommendations for one reason or another, including limited features and concerns over adequately hiding your identity.


HotSpot Shield

Hotspot Shield

  • Servers: 1,800-plus in 80-plus locations
  • Country/Jurisdiction: The states (Five Eyes fellow member)
  • Platforms: Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire Television receiver
  • Cost: $viii per month or $95.88 billed annually. Month-to-calendar month plan at $xiii

Hotspot Shield VPN’s TLS-based Hydra Catapult protocol, US jurisdiction, 128-bit AES encryption support and big pct of virtual servers might strip away our trust in its ability to provide more privacy protections than its competitors — but those are all key components to its ability to achieve the blazing speeds it delivered during its most contempo speed tests.

It’s the
second-fastest VPN I’ve tested, effortlessly delivers smooth-streaming media and tin can dance between server connections without missing a beat, no matter how many interruptions you throw at it. A 26% speed loss puts it in 2nd identify, falling behind
— which lost only 16.9% of its speed the concluding time I tested it — and knocking
down to tertiary place with a 51.8% speed loss at terminal measurement. Speed losses on UK connections were under 8%. Gaming, torrenting, browsing, streaming — these speed-dependent services won’t be slowed down for Hotspot Shield users.

Nosotros’re not excited nearly Hotspot’s privacy and security, though. Since the services uses a closed-source proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, instead of the more transparent open-source OpenVPN protocol, we’d like to run across Hotspot give the public more than third-political party audits — a necessary stride to bring Hotspot upwardly to speed with routinely audited VPNs like
TunnelBear. As recently as April 2021, review site VPNMentor discovered a DNS leak in Hotspot Shield’due south plug-in for Google Chrome. Hotspot acknowledged the issue at the time and aimed to better the production.

We’re too not thrilled almost the corporeality of user data Hotspot collects, and its privacy policy. With its premium product, it gathers and retains much more information virtually users than virtually other VPNs. And if you’re using the gratuitous version of its production, it shares that information — along with even more than finite data, including your MAC address and specific phone identifier — with advertising companies.

While its interface is user-friendly and its speeds are thrilling, spending fourth dimension with Hotspot is going to leave your wallet a piddling lighter than you lot might adopt. Its current price is higher than its nearest competitors, its speeds slightly slower and its privacy more than questionable. If you’re looking for a VPN purely on the grounds of speed, we yet recommend passing on Hotspot until it improves.

Read more than:
Hotspot Shield VPN Review: This Speedster Costs More Than Faster, More than Private Competitors




  • Average speed loss: 63%
  • Number of countries: 48-plus
  • Jurisdiction: Canada, with U.s. parent company
  • Toll: $three.33 per month, or $120, for a 3-year plan

TunnelBear’s gotten a lot of hype in the concluding couple of years. Only when we looked under its hood and compared it with its VPN competitors, our excitement waned.

TunnelBear’s speeds are reasonable. Nosotros lost nearly 63% of internet speed overall when we used information technology, which is about average for a VPN. TunnelBear’due south speeds have steadily improved over the years every bit measured by other review and testing sites, though, and the U.s. scores we recorded saw a speed loss of only 54%.

On the plus side, TunnelBear is belongings its own in the transparency competition amidst VPNs past publishing the results of its independent security audits and annual transparency reports. No IP address, DNS or other potentially user-identifying data leaks were detected during our testing, but in the past TunnelBear was observed to have been leaking WebRTC data. TunnelBear’s VPN encryption is standard AES-256 and it supports
Perfect Frontwards Secrecy.

Yet, it’due south also a Canadian business concern owned by U.s.-based McAfee, then if you’re looking for subpoena-proof international online privacy, you’re playing with burn down. It holds a paltry 23 server locations from which you lot tin’t manually cull your VPN server or fifty-fifty a city. It doesn’t offer Tor-over-VPN, information technology offers split tunneling only on Android and information technology can’t even unblock Netflix.

On a per-month breakdown, the least expensive TunnelBear plan is its $120, three-year plan. You tin also become month to month for $10, or pay $lx up front for a single year. Either style, TunnelBear accepts payment via credit menu and bitcoin. Unlike other VPNs, it doesn’t have PayPal. Also unlike other VPNs, it doesn’t support
Amazon Burn down Stick
or Android TV.

Read more:
TunnelBear VPN Review: The Overpriced Ursine Has Trouble Living Up to the Hype



CyberGhost VPN

  • Number of servers: Over 8,000 worldwide in 91 countries
  • Number of server locations: 111
  • Jurisdiction: Romania, with UK parent visitor
  • Number of simultaneous connections: 7
  • $two.29 a month for a iii-year plan, or $iii.25 a calendar month for two-twelvemonth plan

In CNET’southward previous coverage of virtual private networks, we’ve praised CyberGhost for its roster of competitive features. Our in-depth
review of CyberGhost
in 2019 included speed testing, security verification and an assay of its full suite of
tools. Since then, the VPN company has increased its number of servers and is prepared to roll out new privacy tools, all while remaining one of the cheapest VPNs we’ve reviewed — at
$ii.29 per calendar month for a three-year program.

As nosotros’ve bolstered our approach to VPN reviews, yet, CyberGhost has raised some red flags. Its
parent company’s history
warrants skepticism; our previous tests take shown information technology to betrayal your VPN utilize to your ISP; its website and app trackers are more numerous than warranted; and its ad blocker uses an untrustworthy method of traffic manipulation no VPN should even think near. Its low toll previously fabricated it worth considering if you lot needed to alter the appearance of your location online, merely non if you wanted best-in-class security.

While CyberGhost’due south connectedness speed and security features announced to be improving, we don’t currently recommend using the VPN service provider if you’re in a state where VPNs are illegal. We also recommend that anyone in the Us review CyberGhost’s parent company earlier deciding whether to pay for a subscription.

On the plus side, nevertheless, CyberGhost is still faster than Norton Secure VPN and was less taxing on the processing power of our devices. Information technology likewise offers split tunneling in its Windows client and has its servers neatly organized into categories: NoSpy servers, servers geared for torrenting, servers best for streaming and servers best for apply with a static IP address. CyberGhost imposes no data caps, allows unlimited server switching and offers a 45-day coin back guarantee on subscription plans of a year or more.

Read more than:
CyberGhost VPN review: Competitive Features, but Its Parent Company Concerns Me



Norton Secure VPN

  • Number of countries: 30
  • Number of servers: ane,500 (1,200 virtual)
  • Number of server locations: 200 in 73 cities
  • Country/jurisdiction: U.s.
  • $40 for the first 12 months for 5 devices

NortonLifeLock, long known for excellence in security products, has a relatively express offering in its VPN product. Norton Secure VPN does not support P2P or BitTorrent, Linux, routers or set-height boxes. Its Netflix and streaming compatibility is somewhat limited. Even worse, during testing, we experienced privacy-compromising data leaks.

During CNET’s testing, Norton Secure VPN speeds were comparable to other midtier VPNs but not particularly competitive. Although its VPN is but available on four platforms — Mac, iOS, Windows and Android — Norton gets points for its 24/vii live customer service telephone support and 60-twenty-four hour period money back guarantee.

Norton Secure VPN’s pricing construction is a chip different than what you typically notice in the industry. Pricing is tiered based on how many simultaneous connections you want with your account. For a single device, you’ll pay $30 for the start year and $50 for whatever subsequent years, or $iv.99 a month for the monthly. For v simultaneous connections, the price jumps to $40 for the first yr and $lxxx for subsequent years, or $viii a month for the monthly programme. If you lot want upwards to 10 simultaneous connections, the toll is $60 for the first twelvemonth and $100 for subsequent years, or $10 a calendar month for the monthly plan.

Read:   Pc World Vpn Reviews

Read more:
Norton Secure VPN Review: Why We Don’t Recommend Information technology

Mullvad VPN logo



  • Number of servers: 840
  • Server location: 68 locations in 38 countries
  • Number of simultaneous connections: 5
  • Jurisdiction: Sweden
  • Cost: $v a month

Mullvad is an independent and open source VPN provider that is focused on building trust through transparency and its delivery to protecting the privacy and security of its users. Although there are other VPNs that are considerably more well-known in the industry, Mullvad’south offering overall is only as polished and like shooting fish in a barrel to utilize as many of the bigger players in the market.

Mullvad’s primary focus is on security. Like virtually other
top VPN providers, Mullvad employs manufacture-standard
AES 256-bit encryption
to secure users’ connections. Mullvad’due south kill switch feature and DNS leak protection are enabled by default and cannot be disabled. During
our testing, the kill switch worked every bit expected and we detected no leaks of any kind. The company says it doesn’t continue any logs of its users’ activity, and is, for the most function, pretty transparent almost how it operates and what it does to protect user privacy. Mullvad is unique in that it doesn’t require any personal information at signup. While near VPN providers ask users to provide an electronic mail address and enter a username, Mullvad generates a random sixteen-digit account number to activate each new user account. Y’all don’t even need to provide whatsoever payment information since Mullvad accepts greenbacks sent via post.

Mullvad’s source lawmaking being entirely open source is a testament to the company’southward transparency, only nosotros’d withal like to come across Mullvad issue an annual transparency report to requite the public a view of how many legal requests the company gets and where they’re coming from. Though Mullvad tells us a new security audit is forthcoming, the company’south 2020 security inspect (conducted by German cybersecurity firm Cure53) concluded at the time that the VPN “does a corking task protecting the end user from common PII leaks and privacy-related risks.”

With servers in 68 locations across 38 countries, Mullvad’southward VPN server network is comparatively modest. Notwithstanding, the network covers the most in-need locations and is pretty well spread out across the globe. And what its network may lack in size, information technology makes up for in speed. In our latest round of speed testing, we measured just a 23% drop in boilerplate speeds (well-nigh
VPNs will slow you down
50% or more), easily making information technology 1 of the
fastest VPNs
nosotros’ve tested. Though Mullvad’s speeds are fantastic, it’s not the best for geographically restricted content. We were able to
access Netflix
without any issues, just were denied access to stream Disney-plus when connected to Mullvad’s US servers.

All the same, Mullvad’s straightforward arroyo to pricing is a breath of fresh air, especially with and then many other VPN providers concocting ever-more convoluted pricing structures. Mullvad costs well-nigh $five a month, whether y’all want to use information technology for a month, a year or a decade — and yous’re never locked into a long-term subscription programme. If you’re not satisfied with the service, you can go a refund within 30 days of purchase.

Read more than:

Mullvad Review: Solid Security and Privacy, simply Swedish Jurisdiction Is Concerning

Other VPNs in the mix

Below you’ll find some additional VPNs. We’re in the process of re-evaluating them in the coming months.




  • Number of servers: 6,500-plus
  • Number of countries: 78-plus
  • Country/jurisdiction: Hong Kong
  • $ane.99 a month for one-year plan (Renews at $5 per month after start year), $1.99 a month for a two-twelvemonth plan

 PureVPN says it doesn’t log connexion data. The company joined the “no log” motion in 2018, and underwent a 3rd-party audit by Althius IT (albeit one deputed and paid for by PureVPN).

We like that PureVPN offers a 31-twenty-four hours refund policy and supports Bitcoin payments. We too like that PureVPN has both Kodi and Chromebook apps available. In add-on, PureVPN was the start VPN service we noted to fully implement GDPR compliance.




  • Number of servers: 950-plus
  • Number of server locations: 59 locations in 30 countries
  • $iii.66 a calendar month (67% discount) for a one-year plan
  • StrongVPN in-depth review and hands-on testing (ZDNet)

 StrongVPN blasts onto our list with excellent infrastructure and a decent toll. StrongVPN has a strong no-logging policy, and picks upwardly kudos for its large base of IP addresses. Information technology has a solid collection of servers and worldwide locations. For those of yous who need a dedicated IP, you lot tin can get ane from the visitor but y’all’ll demand to contact customer support to get assist setting it up.

1 of StrongVPN’south strengths is the company’s network. It owns and operates its unabridged network infrastructure, which means it has no externally dictated limits on bandwidth or the type of internet traffic allowed on the network.

StrongVPN’s regular monthly price of $10.99 is in the middle of the pack, but its yearly price of $70 is amidst the lowest of our contenders.


Private Internet Access

Private Cyberspace Access

  • Number of server locations: 84 countries
  • Land/jurisdiction: Usa
  • Simultaneous connections: 10
  • Price: $iii.33 per calendar month for the yearly plan

If you’re looking for one of the least expensive VPN providers, Private Net Access fits the bill.

The fundamental to getting the near savings with the Individual Internet Access VPN is ownership a iii-year plan for $79. That works out to $two.03 a calendar month. But if you don’t want to lock in for an extended flow of time, yous tin go a 1-twelvemonth subscription for $40 (which comes out to $3.33 a calendar month) or a monthly program for $12 a month.

PIA has quite an expansive network of servers, spanning 84 countries, including servers in xviii different U.s.a. cities. Though non as expansive as the fleets for ExpressVPN or CyberGhost VPN, the 84 countries gives PIA one of the largest server networks yous’ll find in a VPN provider.

Operating since 2010, Individual Cyberspace Access offers 10 simultaneous connections, a kill-switch feature and a 30-day refund flow.


In today’s hyper-connected earth, online privacy and security are increasingly critical. From online banking to communicating remotely with colleagues, we’re transferring more information on our computers and smartphones than ever before. Much of that data is confidential information that we need to keep prophylactic from hackers and snoops, so VPN apply is on the rise as people accept steps to secure their digital lives.

What is a VPN?

A commercial virtual private network is engineering science that allows y’all to create a private connection over a less private network by creating an encrypted tunnel between your computer and the internet. You tin can install a VPN just like you lot would whatsoever other app or program on your smartphone or estimator. A VPN tin can let yous get around censorship in your country or access georestricted media content from another country — and prevents your internet service provider from beingness able to intrude on your privacy by snooping on your web browsing. VPNs practise this by assuasive y’all to appear as though yous’re connecting from a different location or country.

A VPN is cracking for anyone using public, unprotected Wi-Fi, such as what’southward offered in airports, confined or coffee shops. Your VPN protects your sensitive data — from your work projects to bank business relationship login information — from being seen past malicious actors who trawl public Wi-Fi networks. When you browse the internet while on a VPN, your computer will contact the website through your VPN’southward encrypted connectedness. The VPN will then forrad the request for you and frontwards the response from the website back through its secure connectedness.

For more beginner-focused VPN aid, we’ve demystified some of the jargon in our guide to all the VPN terms you need to know.

How practise I cull the correct VPN for me?

Picking a VPN requires knowing two basic things to start with: What you desire to use information technology for, and what you’re willing to pay. The range of VPN offerings is vast, but those two things will aid you notice a VPN that has the right blend of speed, security and cost.

Beneath, you lot’ll observe specific FAQ sections on picking a VPN based on the most mutual needs: gaming, streaming media, working from home and privacy-critical professions. Merely in full general, you’ll desire a VPN that provides sufficient encryption, doesn’t log your activity, offers essential security features similar DNS leak protection and a kill switch, has server locations where you demand them and can give you lot fast connection speeds. Our summit five VPNs have all these features, although connection speeds will vary based on your internet provider and the server y’all connect to.

For a deeper dive, check our detailed walk-through of how we evaluate and review VPNs. If you lot’re looking for some quick pointers, hither are universally applicable advice guides for beginners:

  • VPN Scarlet Flags to Picket Out For
  • How to Identify a Proficient VPN

Should I be worried about consolidation in the VPN industry?

The recent trend of consolidation in the VPN manufacture isn’t showing signs of slowing downwards. We saw the latest example of this trend in February when NordVPN and Surfshark announced they were merging. As of right now, just three companies control many of the biggest VPN providers, including some of CNET’s pinnacle picks listed in this guide.

There are several legitimate concerns about VPN consolidation. Outset, the general lack of transparency in VPN ownership structures is typically bad for users. In the VPN industry, where privacy and security are so critical, ownership transparency is equally imperative. When yous sign on with a VPN and trust it with protecting your privacy online, you’ll desire to know exactly what corporate entity is in control of the service, if and how your data is shared and secured within the larger organization and in what jurisdiction your information is stored. As well ofttimes, the picture isn’t as clear equally it should be. Consolidation also dilutes competition in an industry, ultimately leading to higher costs for the customer and less incentive for companies to meliorate services.

The VPN services involved in these mergers and acquisitions insist they will all operate independently and volition not share user data between entities. However, Surfshark’due south communications head told CNET the company has no plans of sharing information “without notifying our customers in advance,” suggesting the door may indeed still be open for future data sharing. It’s too early on to tell withal what the long-term implications will be here, but we’re keeping a close eye on the developing situation in the manufacture and will update our reviews accordingly.

Our top picks remain safe to utilise in the concurrently, just it’s notwithstanding a good idea to practice research on what other products or other services are under the same parent company umbrella. The more y’all know, the more you stay in control of your digital privacy.

Do I need a VPN?

Anyone who accesses the internet from a estimator, tablet or smartphone tin benefit from using a VPN. You don’t have to be an activist, government dissident or journalist to demand a VPN; the rise of third-party data brokers, cross-site advertising trackers, IP address collection and mobile geo-targeting have all combined to create an online browsing environment that poses significant threats to everyday users’ basic privacy. Because a VPN encrypts your connection, your browsing data is protected from your internet access provider (and whatsoever government entities who asking your Internet access provider data), and your network administrator in most cases. A VPN tin can also shield your private information — like passwords, usernames and banking company or shopping details — from anyone snooping on your network.

What’s the best free VPN?

None of them. Seriously. While at that place are plenty of excellent free security and privacy apps online — and while CNET is always hunting for the best freebies — VPNs sadly aren’t amongst them. Because they require major concrete infrastructure and hardware, prophylactic and reliable VPNs cost companies a lot of coin to operate and secure. As a outcome, free VPNs are about e’er malware-laden information snoops. The exceptions are those VPNs, similar ProtonVPN, which offering free (ofttimes speed-limited) service tiers beside their premium tiers. The other selection we recommend for people who can’t beget a VPN but need online privacy is to temporarily test-bulldoze our secure recommendations and accept reward of their cancellation periods and money-back guarantees. Merely at that place’south good news: The burgeoning VPN marketplace is hypercompetitive correct now, so prices for even the best VPNs regularly drop to less than $xv a month, with some offering almanac deals around $40. Check out our quick list of upkeep-savvy VPNs to find one in your toll range.

Read:   Norton Security Vpn Review

Does everything I use need a VPN?

If your goal is to protect your personal information from prying eyes, you want a VPN on whatsoever yous are using. That means having a VPN to protect your laptop, your MacBook, your phone, your Xbox and your smart TV.

If your goal is to use a VPN to gain access to streaming services which have been made unavailable in your country for whatever reason, yous want a VPN on whatever device y’all are using to admission those streaming services. This could be as simple every bit a VPN for your Chrome browser or setting up a VPN for your Amazon Burn down TV Stick.

Whatsoever your reason for wanting a VPN, it’s usually a skillful idea to have it prepare and ready to go along as many of your web-connected devices every bit possible.

What is a mobile VPN?

A mobile VPN is simply a VPN y’all tin can use on your mobile device like your iPhone or Android phone. All of the providers we recommend take mobile versions of their desktop clients. You can use a mobile-focused VPN app to ensure greater data privacy designed for your whole device. Mobile VPNs also mostly have a smaller memory footprint, and require less processing power than desktop VPNs, so they tend to yield faster connection speeds and don’t eat up your battery as quickly. Keep in listen, all the same, that most mobile VPN clients will utilize a lighter form of encryption than a desktop customer to attain those smartphone speeds. So exist certain to bank check your VPN apps’ settings to ensure yous’re using the apps’ strongest encryption if your privacy needs are heightened. Our top three VPN picks all have excellent, easy-to-employ mobile VPN app options for their services. Some VPNs volition only piece of work with one type of mobile platform — like iOS or Android — and some are universally uniform. To find the right mobile VPN for you, bank check out our mobile-specific VPN guides below. We routinely update them with our retesting information, so bank check back frequently.

  • How to Fix a VPN on Your Smartphone
  • All-time Android VPNs for 2022
  • Best iPhone VPNs of 2022

Are VPNs legal?

VPNs are perfectly legal to use in most countries. There’s nothing incorrect with taking steps to protect your privacy online, and you shouldn’t have to worry that using a VPN as office of that process will get you lot in any kind of legal problem.

However, there are countries where VPNs are either banned or outright illegal. If you’re using a VPN in a country like Mainland china, Iran, Oman, Russian federation, Turkmenistan, UAE or Belarus, you lot may find yourself in legal trouble. The irony here is that these are the countries where cyberspace censorship and surveillance are most common. In those countries, you’ll demand to make sure you lot utilise a VPN that provides stiff obfuscation so your VPN traffic is disguised as ordinary HTTPS traffic, meaning authorities entities won’t fifty-fifty know you’re using a VPN in the beginning identify.

But you won’t see any problem with the law for using a VPN across most of the globe. I important reminder, though: VPNs are legal in most places, but
engaging in illegal activeness online is still illegal regardless of whether y’all’re using a VPN.

What’s the best VPN for working from habitation?

If you lot’re working from home, you may be sharing your cyberspace connectedness with multiple devices and family members or roommates. That’south a lot of simultaneous connections to a VPN and a lot of drag on a network. Pick a VPN that lets you apply one subscription on as many devices equally possible and has excellent speeds so your Wi-Fi isn’t bogged down. If your job involves handling sensitive information like financial or medical records, however, your priority VPN criteria is security. Our elevation three VPN picks are the most secure we’ve found, and each has a unlike number of connections they’ll permit for a base-level subscription. There are a few other factors worth considering for a home office VPN, though, so check out our guide to picking the right VPN for working at dwelling house.

What’s the all-time VPN for gaming?

Nigh VPNs are chosen based on having a good balance of speed, security and price. Just if yous want a VPN specifically to connect to game servers in another country, speed is everything. Free VPNs won’t be fast enough, but, fortunately, high-end security won’t be a cost driver, which gives you lot more than options at modest prices. Since all VPNs reduce speed — most by half or more — that means picking one from the ready that performed best in our speed tests. In tests, Surfshark managed to win our speed race while still being one of the least expensive VPNs we’ve seen. If you’re focused on VPNs for game consoles, have a wait at our best VPNs for Xbox and our primer on installing them. Earlier choosing the ane right for your needs, visit the VPN’south official website to see whether they offering servers specifically aimed at gaming in the countries where you most want to connect to other players.

What’s the about secure VPN for privacy?

If you’re a journalist, a lawyer or a professional in whatsoever other privacy-sensitive field, forget about speed and price when choosing a VPN. Focus, instead, entirely on security. Your VPN may be somewhat slower but, for both VPNs and presidential motorcades, speed is always the merchandise-off for privacy. Avert free VPNs and browser-based VPNs. If y’all’re concerned with government monitoring in your current country, choose a VPN headquartered outside of the country you’re currently in, and avoid choosing a VPN with a jurisdiction in an allied country. For instance, US journalists should avoid VPNs with a jurisdiction in the US or other Five Eyes countries. Go along an centre on encryption: Your VPN should offer a protocol called OpenVPN TCP (for its mobile apps, IKEv2 is fine). You may find our primer on VPN evaluations useful. Although speed does play a cistron in our rankings, our top iii VPNs were all selected past veteran journalists, scrutinized and reviewed with complete editorial independence, with the most privacy-sensitive professions in listen.

How do I use a VPN for Netflix?

If y’all live in a country that censors its media or are traveling to ane, georestricted content is a pain. Y’all can use a VPN to circumvent censorship or access your habitation country’s normal media content for an online streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video or Disney Plus. Pick a VPN that lets you manually select which country you want to connect through and has something chosen obfuscation. (Our top three picks offer this.) You don’t always need to use the obfuscation feature to unblock Netflix, simply since streaming services actively try to block VPN connections, obfuscation tin can assistance considering information technology disguises your VPN traffic every bit regular net traffic.

If y’all’re looking to try out other VPNs, choose one with a large number of IP addresses, preferably 10,000 or more than. This is because one of the ways Netflix and others block VPNs is by blacklisting known VPN IPs — and if your VPN has tens of thousands of IPs, in that location’due south a better take chances that you lot’ll exist able to connect to an IP address that Netflix hasn’t flagged.

Once you take your VPN installed, connect to the land whose content you wish to view, restart your browser and go to the streaming site. If your VPN is working, the site should treat you as a resident of your selected country and serve you content assigned to that audience. If you’re however having trouble, you can try using incognito manner on your browser or try clearing your cookies and cache.

How do I know if my VPN is working?

Your first and most credible indication that your VPN is working is that your IP address volition alter and your location volition be registered as that of the VPN server you’re connecting through. You can check this on a site like

Yous’ll also desire to make sure your VPN is protecting your privacy and not leaking whatsoever of your data outside of the VPN tunnel, thus exposing it to your ISP and other entities that may be monitoring your online activity. You can check for leaks by going to a site similar or ipleak.internet. If your location is beingness registered as the VPN server location, and your leak tests turn upwards negative, and so yous know your VPN is working to protect your privacy.

What is a remote-access VPN?

A remote-admission VPN uses public infrastructure like the cyberspace to provide remote users secure access to their network. This is particularly of import for organizations and their corporate networks. It’s crucial when employees connect to a public hotspot and use the internet for sending work-related emails. A VPN client on the user’s reckoner or mobile device connects to a VPN gateway on the company’s network. This gateway will typically require the device to authenticate its identity. It volition then create a network link back to the device that allows it to reach internal network resources such equally file servers, printers and intranets, equally if information technology were on the same local network.

What is a site-to-site VPN?

This is when the VPN applied science uses a gateway device to connect the entire network in one location to a network in another location. The majority of site-to-site VPNs that connect over the internet employ IPsec. IPsec-based encryption protocols are ofttimes considered by VPN specialists to exist less secure against mod surveillance. Rather than using the public internet, it is also normal to use multiprotocol characterization switching clouds as the main transport for site-to-site VPNs.

VPNs are ofttimes divers between specific computers, and in about cases, they are servers in split up data centers. However, new hybrid-access situations have now transformed the VPN gateway in the deject, typically with a secure link from the cloud service provider into the internal network.

Boosted tips for VPN consideration

Don’t use free VPN services:
You’ll find only paid VPN options on this list above considering they’re the just ones we can recommend.

Look for a no-logs VPN, but understand the caveats: The all-time VPNs keep every bit few logs as possible and brand them as anonymous as possible, so there’s little data to provide should government come knocking. Merely even “no-logs” VPNs aren’t 100% anonymous.

There are limits to the privacy VPNs currently provide to iOS users: Recent contained research has surfaced suggesting iPhones and iPads running iOS 14 or later may be vulnerable to device-only VPN leaks, regardless of which VPN is used. Apple users concerned with potential leaks can take extra precaution past installing their VPN on a home router to ensure their unabridged Wi-Fi network is encrypted. Some iOS users may potentially reduce the likelihood of leaks while outside of a home network by enabling their VPN’southward kill switch and selecting OpenVPN protocols. You can besides endeavor closing all apps, activating your VPN, and so enabling and disabling Airplane Way earlier using your device usually. Apple advises users to actuate their device’s Ever On VPN contour for boosted protection.

VPN transparency is important, just warrant canaries are only the showtime: Many services use “warrant canaries” as a way to passively note to the public as to whether or non they’ve been subpoenaed by a government entity, every bit many investigations from national security agencies can’t be actively disclosed by law. Simply — like the no-logging effect — warrant canaries aren’t always as straightforward as they seem. You lot should spend more than time investigating whether your prospective VPN has cooperated with authorities in the past, and how and when it’southward disclosed that fact.

Think twice about using a US-based VPN: The Patriot Act is still the law of the land in the U.s.a., and that means U.s.a.-based VPNs accept lilliputian recourse if and when the feds show upwardly with subpoenas or national security messages in hand demanding admission to servers, VPN user accounts or other data. Yeah, they may have lilliputian data to admission if the service has a stiff no-logs policy, but why not just cull a service that’s based exterior Uncle Sam’s jurisdiction? (If this is a business concern for y’all, you’ll want to avoid countries that the US has intelligence-sharing agreements with, likewise.)

Best VPNs for your apply example

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