02 Aug Best VPN of 2021
A few years ago, if you asked a random person on the street if they knew what a VPN was, they’d most likely look at you as though you’re talking in gobbledegook. However, nowadays, they’re ubiquitous — and for good reason. VPNs protect your online privacy and security, as well as enable you to access as much region-restricted streaming content as you can consume.
However, due to the market being overwhelmed with options, choosing a VPN can be somewhat tricky. To help you out, we’ve assembled a list of our top 5 (and some honorable mentions), so let’s get into it!
- Number of servers: 5200+ in 59 countries
- Maximum devices supported: 6
- Best deal: $3.67 per month (2-year plan + 3 months free)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you will have definitely heard of this security giant. Their ads are all over the internet and TV, and for good reason. For the money, it’s difficult to beat NordVPN.
The app boasts military-grade encryption, features a kill switch, and allows you to choose which protocol you would like to use, allowing you to balance speed and safety. The proprietary NordLynx protocol is a true gamechanger, too — offering top-tier security and speed, it leaves nothing to be desired.
If you live in a county that blocks VPN use, then NordVPN is a perfect fit. Its Obfuscated Servers feature allows users in VPN-restricted countries to connect with no issues. The app can also automatically block ads and malicious websites using its CyberSec feature.
Nord supports Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. While its mobile apps are not quite as user-friendly as their desktops counterparts, they still work well. NordVPN is a great all-around option that is simply difficult to not recommend.
- Number of servers: 3000+ in 94 countries
- Maximum devices supported: 5
- Best deal: $6.67 (15-month plan + 3 months free)
ExpressVPN is more expensive than the competition, but it justifies its price. It ticks all the boxes and scores top marks across the board.
The provider consistently proves itself as one of the fastest VPNs out there, so if speed is a priority for you, then this is one to strongly consider.
ExpressVPN’s app works superbly well across all platforms. However, this is even more of a compliment where you factor in the scope of its support. The app supports Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and even Blackberry! It can also be installed on Android TV, games consoles, and your home router.
Like many of the others, ExpressVPN comes with all the features you would expect, such as military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and split tunneling.
The app will never log your IP address (source or VPN), browsing history, traffic destination or metadata, or DNS queries, so for the security conscious, ExpressVPN is a top choice.
- Number of servers: 1800+ in 80+ countries
- Maximum devices supported: 5
- Best deal: $7.99 (1-year plan + antivirus, password manager, and spam-call blocker)
For those looking to download lots and lots of content, Hotspot Shield could easily be the number one pick. The service supports the fastest speeds of any of the VPNs on this list — and the company really delivers on this promise.
However, for many, these speeds come with a catch that cannot be overlooked. While the app does not keep logs of any online activity, it does collect other data such as your real IP address (deleted at the end of each session), email address, username, and operating system version.
- Number of servers: 1200+ in 55+ countries
- Maximum devices supported: 10
- Best deal: $96 (for 12 months)
The team behind ProtonVPN knows a thing or two about security — they’re the same people responsible for ProtonMail, the end-to-end encrypted email service.
Based in Switzerland (a country with very strong privacy laws), ProtonVPN takes its customers’ privacy very seriously. The company manages all its own servers, and they’re connected to the internet through the companies own network. There is support for people to pay for the service using Bitcoin for extra anonymity, too.
For people who will regularly be using the VPN on either an Android or iOS device, ProtonVPN is a top pick because the mobile apps support pretty much all the same features as their desktop counterparts — something which cannot be said for all the other providers.
Overall, ProtonVPN is a great choice for those looking for a full-featured VPN from a privacy-focused company.
- Number of servers: 3200+ in 65 countries
- Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
- Best deal: $2.49 (2-year plan)
Although its apps don’t have all the bells and whistles of its competitors, customers can bag Surfshark for less than half the price of some of the other VPN services out there. Its apps look great, are easy to use, and are available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux.
For big families looking to protect their online privacy, Surfshark should be top of the list. With a single subscription, you can protect an unlimited number of devices. This is almost unbelievably generous when compared to the competition, who on average cover around 5 devices per plan.
Supporting excellent security features, Surfshark isn’t going to let you down in the privacy department either. The service supports a kill switch, split tunneling, and military-grade encryption.
On the whole, Surfshark offers superb value for money.
Some others to consider
These ones didn’t quite make our top 5, but they should still be ones you keep an eye out for.
VPN Proxy One
It only supports Mac and iOS devices, but VPN Proxy One from Trend Micro — one of the global leaders in cybersecurity — is top-notch. Users enjoy unlimited high-speed connections and the ability to access pretty much anything online super quickly and easily.
Not quite reaching the speeds of some of the other options, Windscribe fell slightly short of our list. However, they offer an excellent free version (10GB per month) and the app is compatible with tons of platforms including Amazon Fire and Kodi TV boxes.
IPVanish offers great speeds, a great user interface, and an excellent, long-standing reputation. Unfortunately, it is the inability to unlock region-restricted streaming content that holds it back.
Seemingly endless options
When choosing a VPN, it can be easy to fall victim to option paralysis. We hope that by outlining the positives and negatives of some of the top players in the VPN game, we’ve made your purchasing decision a little easier. By choosing any of the great options mentioned in this article, as long as it meets your needs, you’ve made an excellent choice!