Best VPN Services of 2022: Top Picks for Speed, Price, Privacy and More
You are probably considering a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service for its ability to protect your identity, your location, and your online activities. This is an important task, so you’ll want to consider your VPN options carefully. For example, a VPN should keep your internet use private and secure but not sacrifice too fast. If anonymity is a concern, you need to know your VPN’s data collection policies. You should also know how many servers and country locations the VPN offers; And what useful add-ons, if any, are part of the Service.
Our in-depth VPN reviews cover all of these issues and more, to help you choose the best VPN service for your needs. Whether your primary concern is anonymity, streaming your favorite shows from another country, speeds, or price, we have a number of selections for every category. Below you can find information on how we tested and the types of things to look for when choosing a VPN.
Updated on 12/06/21 To update our top picks for VPNs, including our new best Express VPN pick, plus the best VPNs for privacy, price, and more.
Best VPN overall: ExpressVPN
It’s hard to choose the best VPN overall. Some services are weaker in terms of privacy, but are significantly easier to use with many features, while others can redesign the interface.
For many years, we chose the best VPN based solely on privacy, but that is no longer the main concern of most people when choosing a VPN. There is no doubt that privacy is important, as well as performance, additional features, wide choice of country, and ease of use. ExpressVPN has it all, making it our top choice for VPNs. ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs we tested, and it has a very easy to use app. All of their servers are diskless, and they run everything in RAM – a welcome practice that’s pretty standard these days. ExpressVPN also has extensive hardware support, as well as a smart DNS feature for decoders, consoles, and more.
It’s not the cheapest VPN, but you do get solid value for money, and the service regularly brings in third-party auditors to bolster its privacy credentials.
Best VPN in second place: NordVPN
If you love ExpressVPN’s speeds and features, but want something a little different, NordVPN is also an excellent choice. Nord is arguably more feature-packed than ExpressVPN, and the service is just one part of a larger suite of products focused on privacy and security. The desktop app is very easy to use, and offers a lot of different features including TOR network access via VPN, multi-hop VPNs, ad tracking and malware blocking.
NordVPN has come a long way in boosting user confidence. After years of lack of transparency, the company is now upfront about who runs the show, and it also undergoes third-party audits, conducts vendor evaluations, and uses discless servers.
Fastest VPN: Hotspot Shield
While our pick for the best VPN, ExpressVPN, features above-average speeds, Hotspot Shield is on another level. No other service comes close to reaching the speeds we’ve seen with this one. This isn’t just a one-time event either; Hotspot Shield has always been on top with speeds 12-15 percentage points higher than the competition. In our tests, Hotspot Shield maintained around 67 percent of base speed. This is much faster than what you’ll see with most VPN services – although your experience may vary.
However, Hotspot Shield has excellent speeds, the desktop app is pretty cool, and as a bonus it works with US Netflix.
Best VPN for Privacy: Mullvad
Because Hotspot Shield runs on speeds, Mullvad is keen on privacy and anonymity. We’ve never seen another VPN so actively resist knowing who you are as Mullvad does. Mullvad does not ask for your email address, name, or anything else. Instead, it assigns a random account number that acts as your ID and login. Mullvad accepts payments using standard methods like credit cards and PayPal, but you can also mail your payments in cash to stay as private as possible. Mullvad has a no-logs policy and does not collect any specific metadata from your use.
The Mullvad is also fast, and ranks among our top five speeds. Although we found it on Windows, Mullvad’s OpenVPN configuration was actually faster than its own Wireguard implementation.
Best VPN for Privacy Runners: IVPN
IVPN is behind Mullvad. The Gibraltar-based VPN has recently moved away from email-based identifiers and going with randomly assigned account numbers instead. Similar to Mullvad, it accepts a variety of payment options for privacy including cash, as well as standard credit cards, PayPal, and other options like Bitcoin and Monero. IVPN doesn’t rank as one of our fastest VPNs, but it does have acceptable speeds for most occasional uses.
Other options are OVPN. This VPN does not go the levels that Mullvad and IVPN do, but only requires a username and password to create an account. OVPN does not require an email address, although you can add a backup address to restore the account if you forget your password. OVPN isn’t ranked among our top 10 speeds, but it falls outside the top 12 performers.
Best VPN for torrenting: AirVPN
Torrents have a bad reputation, and if we’re being honest, it’s for good reason. Torrenting is the number one way to download pirated material including movies, TV shows, music and games. But that’s not all about torrenting. It is a very effective way to download legitimate software like Linux distributions and licensed content from sites like BitTorrent Now.
Whatever your reasons, when it comes to torrenting, a VPN makes it easier – especially if the network you’re using blocks torrenting. There are many VPNs among our top picks that can be used to download torrents, but our favorite is AirVPN. This no-frills VPN has a reasonable number of servers and country locations, really good speeds, excellent network transparency, and an emphasis on user protection. The price is also decent at around $58 a year.
Best VPN for Beginners: AVG Secure
If you want something related to ease of use, AVG Secure is a good choice. First, it comes from a well-known and trusted security company, so there are fewer concerns about data security than one of the independent services. The main thing about AVG Secure is that the interface is easy to understand and use. It has a large “Change Location” button to help you select the country you wish to appear in. The app also tells you the current IP address and how long you have been connected to the VPN. That’s pretty much it. This VPN also works with streaming services and has P2P servers. The only thing it doesn’t have is a lot of extra features, and it’s actually perfect for anyone looking for a no-frills VPN.
Best VPN for Second Place: PrivateVPN
Private VPN is also a great option for beginners, with a mobile-style interface that features a large on/off button and one-click location options. The other great feature about Private VPN is that once you are done being a beginner, you can click advanced view For a more complex interface and play around with other features beyond simple tap and go app.
Best US VPN: PersonalVPN
If you want a good USA-based VPN, we recommend WiTopia’s PersonalVPN. The speeds are good, the price is right, and the app is very easy to use. It’s true that a lot of VPN review sites stress the importance of a VPN outside of the so-called Five Eyes countries, which includes the US – some would even say it avoids the Fourteen Eyes. The idea is that if you use a US-based VPN, your activities may end up being secretly monitored by Western authorities. Snowden revealed these facts back in 2013. But if you use a VPN to access your accounts in Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other US-based service, staying outside the Fourteen Eyes region is somewhat pointless. Sure, a VPN with a strange locale might be able to easily ignore US subpoenas, but the US online services it uses is another story. Plus, if a US VPN gets it wrong, it will be a lot easier to hold them accountable than the one in Singapore, or even Sweden.
Best Budget VPN: Private Internet Access
Choosing the best VPN for you often comes down to price. When that’s the case, Private Internet Access is hard to beat. It has very good speeds and a daily price of only $40 for an entire year. Its really hard to beat for this simple reason. This no-frills VPN offers a good number of servers and country. In addition, advanced users can adjust the level of data encryption, data authentication, and handshake protocols.
Best Budget VPN: VPN Unlimited
At $60 a year, VPN Unlimited isn’t the stealth that Private Internet Access offers, but it does cover the bases, works with Netflix, and is reasonably priced for five-device support.
What is a VPN?
VPNs create a secure tunnel between your computer and the Internet. You connect to a VPN server, which can be located in the United States or a foreign country – for example, France or Japan. Pass your web traffic afterwards who – which To make it appear as if you are browsing from this server’s location, not your actual location.
When you use a VPN, it is difficult for others to snoop on your web browsing activity. Only you, the VPN service, and the website you’re visiting will know what you’re up to.
A VPN can be a great response to a variety of concerns, such as online privacy, anonymity, increased security on public Wi-Fi, and of course spoofing sites.
While a VPN can help with privacy and anonymity, I wouldn’t recommend sparking the next great political revolution by relying solely on a VPN. To become a ghost of the internet (or as close as you can realistically get to), it takes more than a $5 monthly subscription to a VPN.
Moreover, a VPN is an excellent option to stay secure while using Wi-Fi at the airport or at your local coffee shop. Hackers sitting on public Wi-Fi can try to hack your computer, but a VPN makes that task much more difficult.
Finally, you may want the VPN to spoof your location to download content you shouldn’t have access to, but that also has its limits. A VPN used to be the perfect solution for watching US Netflix abroad. That changed in 2016 when Netflix opened up to almost every country on earth. Since then, the company has invested a lot in detecting and blocking VPN users. Even people using a VPN within their country will be blocked by Netflix if they are caught.
There are VPNs that can cheat Netflix, but they are rare and there are no guarantees that these services will outperform Netflix forever.
Beyond Netflix, a VPN can help download an Android app only available on a foreign version of Google Play, or stream content from regionally blocked services like BBC iPlayer or UK-linked Disney Plus.
A final note of warning: Do not rely on your VPN to protect banking information on an open Wi-Fi connection. Whenever possible, leave online financial transactions at home via a wired connection.
What to look for in a VPN
Before anything else, understand that if you want to use a VPN, you have to pay for it. Free VPNs usually sell your browsing data in bulk to researchers and marketers, or give you a small amount of data transfer each month. Either way, the rule of thumb is that a free VPN will do just that Not Protect your privacy in any useful way.
The next thing to consider is…