Nowadays, we spend a large portion of our lives on the internet. But despite all the great things you can do on the internet, the web can also be an unpleasant place. It presents many growing threats, from web tracking to cybercrime. There is a way to clamp down on these issues, though: installing a virtual private network or VPN for short. A VPN will not only hide your internet protocol (IP) address but also encrypt your Wi-Fi connection. You can then access the internet anonymously, protect your data with end-to-end encryption, and ensure cybercriminals can’t compromise your Wi-Fi network.
However, VPNs are capable of much more than merely keeping you safe online. When you connect to global VPN servers, it’s possible to bypass troublesome geographic restrictions and unblock content across the world. These services can also prevent internet service providers from throttling your internet speeds, improving streaming and gaming performance.
The thing is, you can do far more things online by downloading a VPN service on your smartphone, tablet, PC, and other connected devices. With so many VPN providers in the market claiming to be the best in the business, you might be having a hard time picking one. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve ranked the best VPNs of 2021.
Best Overall VPN: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN has topped our chart of the best VPNs in April 2021 due to its ease-of-use, exhaustive range of features, exceptional performance, wide server network, and more. Simply put, the British Virgin Islands-based company has all the absolute essentials of a top-class VPN service.
With ExpressVPN, you have over 3,000 servers in 160 global locations at your fingertips. Using ExpressVPN’s fast servers, you can access pretty much any streaming service from any part of the world.
What’s more, ExpressVPN is available on all popular operating systems such as Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, and others. Its user interface is super easy to navigate, letting you connect to the best available VPN server or choose from a list of global VPN servers.
There are lots of other great features offered by ExpressVPN, including a built-in kill switch, VPN split tunneling, a no-logging policy, 256-bit encryption, TrustedServer technology, private DNS, a speed test, how-to guides, 24/7 support, and more. But something to keep in mind is that ExpressVPN has a somewhat stringent 5-device limit.
- If you’re looking for the best overall VPN, look no further than Express. It offers lots of great features, outstanding performance, a large global server network, access to top streaming websites, and much more.
Best Affordable VPN: Surfshark
VPNs can do some pretty great things, whether it’s making public Wi-Fi networks more secure or letting you access restricted online content. And you may automatically assume that these tools are going to be expensive. But Surfshark is an excellent example of a VPN service that can do all these great things (and lots more) at a cheap price.
For less than $3 per month, Surfshark gives you access to a network of over 3200 servers spread across 65 countries. Each of these servers is not just fast but also protected by private DNS and a strict no-logging policy. Surfshark claims that its servers are also “P2P friendly”, a must-have if you’re planning to use your VPN for torrenting or similar activities.
When connecting to one of Surfhark’s speedy servers, you can access streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more even if they’re not officially available in your country. Surfshark is also unique in that it lets you connect as many devices as you want from one account. That’s very useful if you want to stream content on a wide range of devices.
But Surfshark isn’t just a great streaming VPN; it’s also excellent for all your security and privacy needs. In fact, it’ll stop malware, phishing, web trackers, and spammy ads in their tracks. Furthermore, there’s strong 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, a no borders mode, a no-logging policy, private DNS and leak protection, a camouflage mode, and secure protocols.
- For anyone who wants a cheap but effective VPN, your best option is Surfshark. Costing less than $3 per month, it provides an excellent range of features, easy-to-use apps, and impressive performance.
Best Known VPN: NordVPN
If you’re looking for a reputed and trustworthy VPN service to try out in April 2021, you should take a look at NordVPN. In fact, maybe you’ve already seen NordVPN appear in a YouTube video from your favorite YouTuber.
Although NordVPN has been shelling out lots of marketing dollars over the past few years, it does live up to its hype. With a large network of over 5500 servers in 59 countries globally, you’ll be able to unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, and more by connecting to one of Nord’s fast and reliable VPN servers.
Like Surfshark, NordVPN has a useful cybersecurity feature that lets you block malicious websites and annoying ads. Another cool security feature is double VPN, which routes your online traffic via two VPN servers. NordVPN says this encrypts personal data twice. Apart from these unique security features, NordVPN also offers a no-logging policy, a kill switch, a DNS leak test, and Onion Over VPN.
Should you decide to sign up for NordVPN, you can download its official app on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, and other types of devices. The quick-connect button is very handy, allowing you to connect to the best VPN server quickly. But do note that you will only be able to use the NordVPN app on up to 6 devices with one subscription.
- NordVPN might be known for its fancy TV adverts, but it certainly lives up to its reputation by offering a massive server network, useful security features, and much more.
Best Free VPN: Hotspot Shield
If you don’t have the money to spend on a premium VPN app and are instead looking for a top-class VPN service that won’t cost a single penny, look no further than Hotspot Shield. The free version of Hotspot Shield provides impressive features, including military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and 500MB of data to use every day.
Unfortunately, you can only connect to one server (which is located in the US) and use a single device with a free Hotspot Shield account. But that should be fine if there’s a specific website you want to unblock, or if you’d like to try out Hotspot Shield before signing up for a paid subscription. Premium subscriptions start at $7.99, which is pretty expensive.
Hotspot Shield is also one of the fastest VPN services on the market, claiming to reach speeds twice as fast as its rivals. In terms of other features, Hotspot Shield provides unlimited bandwidth, the patented Hydra protocol, apps for all leading operating systems, and a generous 45-day refund period.
- Not everyone can afford to pay for a premium VPN service, but Hotspot Shield offers one of the best free VPN services on the market. It provides so much at no cost, from a kill switch to 500MB of daily data.
Best VPN with loads of servers: Private Internet Access
When it comes to choosing a VPN service, one of the important things to consider is the number of servers it offers. Usually, the best VPN services provide large server networks, and Private Internet Access has a jaw-dropping 24,364 servers in 77 countries.
Thanks to such a large selection of global servers, you should find it really easy to bypass restricted websites and unblock services like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and lots of other streaming platforms.
By installing Private Internet Access on your devices, you’ll be able to protect yourself from malware, web trackers, and unwanted advertisements. You also get a wide variety of VPN protocols, including WireGuard, OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP/IPSec.
Other great features provided by Private Internet Access include P2P support, the ability to use up to ten devices under one subscription, unlimited bandwidth, a no traffic logging policy, a SOCKS5 proxy, and a native app for every major operating system. Premium subscriptions are reasonably priced, with the two-year plan working out as just $2.69 per month.
Private Internet Access
- There’s a lot you can do with a large VPN server network, and Private Internet Access offers a humongous 24,000 servers around the world.
Alternate Option: IPVanish
Another VPN service you’ll want to consider is IPVanish, which offers lots of good features at a fairly affordable price. While IPVanish operates a comparatively smaller number of servers, 1600, than some of the VPN services mentioned above, its servers are very reliable and provide access to popular online services like Netflix, YouTube, Kodi, Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, and Spotify in any part of the world.
But it’s worth mentioning that many users have reported issues trying to access Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer with IPVanish. Despite this, IPVanish proves it’s still a competent VPN service thanks to features like strong encryption, a zero traffic logging policy, unmetered connections, zero data transfer caps, shared IP addresses, a proxy web server, different connection protocols, 24/7 support, multi-platform software, and more.
- IPVanish is another highly respected VPN service to consider, offering a decently sized server network and lots of different features.
As you can see, there’s a VPN service available for all needs and budgets. Regardless of the provider, a VPN service will give you an extra layer of security and provide uninterrupted access to online content. If we had to choose one provider, it’d definitely be ExpressVPN thanks to its wide variety of international servers, easy-to-use apps, superb performance, and an impressive range of features.
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