VPNs are becoming much more common. People use VPNs for:
…and many more reasons. This guide will show you some of the best VPNs you can get in 2020.
Nord is almost universally recognized as one of the best VPNs in the market for 2020. Look at any Top 10 VPN list and Nord VPN will almost always be near the top. There’s a couple of reasons for this.
Besides these advantages Nord also has a couple of other benefits. For one thing they offer a service called “Double VPN.” This is designed for users like journalists or activists who require the highest level of security.
According to Nord:
Double VPN is a security solution when the data is encrypted twice through a multi-node farm. The encryption is double AES-256-CBC. The user connects to the first node, where the data is encrypted. Then the secured data travels to the second node, gets encrypted again and only then reaches the Internet.
While most people probably won’t require this level of protection it’s good to know that it’s there if you need it. Nord is one of only a handful of VPN services that offers this feature.
A one month subscription to Nord is $11.95 but if you pay for a year upfront the price works out to just $6.99 a month. That’s a fairly typical price for a high quality VPN service. More info on their plans is available here.
One thing that Express VPN is always quick to point out is their very high rating on Trustpilot. Their users overwhelmingly give them a 5 star review, suggesting that Express VPN is a great service provider.
They have a 24/7 customer support department which can be contacted either via email or live chat. Like most other top tier VPN providers, Express VPN offers a 30 day money back guarantee. They also never cap data so you can stream as much content as you want without worrying your internet usage will be restricted.
Some of the benefits of Express VPN include the following:
At $8.32 per month (with the 12 month plan paid upfront) Express VPN is definitely the most expensive VPN service provider on our list. Nonetheless, for that money you receive excellent customer service, a great product and no limits on data usage.
If you want a great VPN that’s highly rated and just works, Express VPN is probably the right choice.
Express VPN is also our top choice for VPNs for crypto mining. Using a VPN while mining adds extra privacy to your mining operation.
Surfshark was rated as one of the top 2 VPNs in 2020 by TechRadar.
When you pay for the annual plan the monthly price for IPVanish ends up being $6.49 which is right in line with most good VPN service providers.
IPVanish is available as a desktop application but it can also be used on your phone with either an Android or iOS app. They have a 24/7 customer service department and a 7 day money back guarantee. That’s as opposed to most VPN providers which offer a 30 day money back guarantee.
With IPVanish you can connect up to 10 devices at one time, similar to Private Internet Access. It’s also possible to use VOIP with IPVanish. Using VOIP with a VPN lets you make cheaper calls and obscure where you’re calling from.
Similar to most VPN providers, IPVanish keeps zero logs and they claim to have a network of more than 1,300 servers worldwide.
Read our Nord VPN and IPVanish comparison to find out more about the pros and cons of each.
HideMyAss (HMA) is another popular VPN service that has been around for a number of years. What sets HMA apart from other VPN service providers is their extensive network of servers. HMA has servers in more than 190 countries and they claim that no other VPN provider even comes close to matching their network.
This server network makes HMA ideal for users who want to open a VPN connection in an obscure location where other VPN providers don’t have a server. HMA also promises 20 Gbps server speeds. That allows for huge bandwidth and HMA claims that, “Each server in our core data centers can stream 4K videos 800 times in parallel.”
Here are some other features that make HMA stand out:
A 12 month HMA plan works out to $6.99 a month, the same price as Nord. While Nord has slightly better service, HMA has more server locations so you’ll need to decide what features are the most important to you.
With Private Internet Access you can browse safely knowing that no logs are kept. In Fact Private Internet Access claims that theirs is the only provably “no log VPN service” in the world. While it’s unlikely that they’re the only VPN provider with that feature, it is good to know that they never store information.
Private Internet Access is definitely the cheapest option out of all of the VPN service providers that we’ve covered so far. When you pay for a year upfront their plan ends up costing just $3.33 a month. If you’d like to buy just one month the price is $9.95.
Another great advantage of using Private Internet Access is that they allow you to use up to 10 devices at the same time. That’s double most other VPN providers which limit you to 5 devices at one time. A few other features worth noting are the following.
A VPN is a service which obscures your IP address and makes it look like you’re accessing the internet from a different country than the one that you’re actually in. There are several advantages to this.
ISPs (Internet Service Providers) cannot track your browsing history as all traffic is routed through a VPN server.
You can access blocked content. For instance, certain streaming services like Adult Swim and others are only available to people in a certain country. By using a VPN you can “trick” the website into thinking you’re accessing it from an approved country.
You can avoid banking hassles while travelling. Certain financial websites (rightfully so) add an extra layer of security if they detect that traffic to your account is coming from another country. For example if you’re an American and you travel to Asia, you might find that you have to jump through some hoops to log in to your bank account. By using a VPN you can make your bank provider think you’re still in America and save a lot of hassle.
A VPN service provider takes all of your internet traffic and routes it through one of their servers. VPN service providers have hundreds of servers in dozens of countries so that you can choose where you want your traffic to appear to originate from.
Here is a brief analogy.
When you browse the internet without a VPN it’s like you’re sending out letters to the world wide web directly from your home address and the world wide web is sending letters back to your home address.
With a VPN it’s like you’re sending letters to a remote location far away from your home address. Then a VPN service is unpacking your letters and repacking them and sending them out from their location so that nobody knows where you live.
While this all sounds complicated, all of this is happening in near real time so the experience of browsing will feel very similar to how it does when you don't use a VPN.
By far the best place to find VPN service reviews is on TechRadar. The website has a huge number of reviews that are constantly being updated.
Whether you need to find a VPN service provider, or you want specific information like which VPN works best with Apple TV, TechRadar is the best place to look for information.
Based on customer testimonials and a review of all available features we believe that Express VPN offers the best service for mobile phones. There are a couple of reasons why.
The Express VPN is super easy to use with a great UI and yet behind that simple façade there are actually a lot of advanced features like a location picker and a kill switch.
The app is also great as it works for both Android and iOS and it’s available in 12 different languages. In the Apple store the Express VPN app is rated very highly at 4.6. The same goes for the Google Play store where the app has more than 10 million downloads and an average rating of 4.2.
While many VPNs have a mobile app there is one thing you should take into consideration: functionality. Apps are notorious for being buggy, more so than desktop applications. If you plan to use a VPN mobile app you should read reviews of it before signing up for that service.
If you’d like to find a great VPN for your iPhone we can recommend IPVanish. Although VPNs aren’t traditionally known for improving performance one test actually found that IPVanish improved long distance download speeds by 15%.
IPVanish works on iPhones and iPads and it automatically connects to the quickest server. Like most VPNs IPVanish comes with a seven day money back guarantee.
In terms of pricing IPVanish is about average. If you pay for a year upfront the monthly cost is $6.49. You can also buy one month of service for $10.
If you’re looking for the best combination of value and functionality then Ivacy is a great choice. Ivacy has great desktop software and if you buy a one year subscription their service costs just $3.33 per month.
Even though Ivacy is cheap their service is reliable, they use industry standard protection for their data, they offer a kill switch and they allow you to use up to five devices at one time for one account.
One thing worth noting, however, is that some customers have commented that the mobile app is overly simplistic and doesn’t always work correctly. So if you want to use a VPN on your phone then Ivacy might not be the best choice. Otherwise for desktop browsing it’s a great option!
In a comparison of ten different VPNs PCMag came to the conclusion that Nord is the best choice. They cite the fact that Nord allows more than 5 connections at once, it has more than 500 server locations and they also have a great mobile app.
This is consistent with our findings as well as we believe Nord to be one of the best VPN services available.
KeepSolid is a really good paid VPN that has more than twenty-million users worldwide and a couple of great features. They offer a 7 day free trial so that you can try out the service. This is different than a money back period where you get a refund if you don’t like the service. With KeepSolid you’re not actually charged at all the first week.
Like all good VPN providers KeepSolid does not store logs and they allow you to use up to 5 devices at once.
In terms of pricing KeepSolid is interesting because they offer something unique: an unlimited plan. By paying $200 upfront you can get unlimited VPN access forever. If you don’t want to do that KeepSolid also offers the traditional yearly plan that has a monthly price of $5. If you buy three years upfront the plan costs just $2.78 per month.
KeepSolid takes Bitcoin and PayPal so that you can use your favorite payment method.
The best United States based VPN is one that we’ve covered already: IPVanish.
Initially released in 2012 the company has been around for almost a decade and they’ve proven themselves to be highly reliable with a 4.7 Trustpilot rating.
While there are other American based VPNs that are a little bit cheaper it’s hard to beat IPVanish’s service.
CyberGhost is a VPN service with an especially great experience for Mac users. Their iOS app has a great UI as well. Here are some CyberGhost features for Mac users.
While most major VPN service providers work on the Mac, CyberGhost in particular is a great choice.
The best VPN that accepts Bitcoin is Express VPN. We’ve already discussed the service at length so we won’t cover the same content again but Express VPN is a great, trustworthy service that you can pay for with Bitcoin.
This is a very important feature. Since there is no card on file with the VPN, you can use whatever name you want to sign up. This means that not even the VPN knows you are a customer unless they can find it via your IP address. Using a double VPN prevents that as well, so using Bitcoin to purchase two different VPNs gives you very strong privacy.
It’s unfortunate that more people don’t take proper security measures when using a public Wifi network. With a public network it’s impossible to know who is snooping or gathering data about your browsing history. Thankfully a VPN offers a solution and one VPN stands out in particular for its robust security protocols.
Express VPN comes out on top again, as it is our favorite for using a VPN on wifi. It’s fast, reliable and easy to set up. Not to mention Express is always given top marks for security.
Like anything else it is possible to get scammed with a VPN especially when it comes to paying for a year or two years of service upfront. That’s why it’s important to do your research before buying.
As mentioned, you might want to start by checking to see if TechRadar has a review of the VPN that you’re considering. The TechRadar team does a lot of research and their reviews can be very informative.
Also, you can check Trustpilot for reviews. You can even go to the Apple store and Google Play store to read reviews from mobile app users. The more reviews and the longer the history of the company, the more reliable a VPN service provider is.
Finally, it’s important to note that there are so many highly rated and reliable VPN service providers that it doesn’t make sense to take a gamble on a no-name company. There are lots of great options to choose from that are definitely not scams.
The biggest privacy concern with a VPN is that they are actually storing logs. That is, storing a full history of all of the websites that you’ve accessed with that VPN. If that’s the case a government may force the VPN provider to turn over the logs at some point.
The best way to protect yourself against such an invasion of privacy is to select a VPN provider based specifically on their no log policy. You might also want to consider using a VPN headquartered in a different country. That way your government may have a harder time requesting a VPN provider to turn over their logs.
The largest potential downside of a free VPN is privacy. Imagine all of the other free services that we all use regularly: Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
These services are free and yet their parent companies are worth, quite literally, billions. These companies are worth so much because of data harvesting. You and your data are the product they sell.
So the same issue arises with a free VPN. Setting up a VPN service costs money and altruism is scarce. How is the VPN making money? You can’t be sure that they’re not collecting your personal data and selling it. It’s highly likely that a free VPN provider keeps logs.
A free VPN might be OK for brief use but for anything else it’s much better to pay for a proper VPN service.
You’ll definitely need a VPN for China if you want to access any of your favorite websites.
In China there is a huge block on the internet and sites like YouTube, Facebook and Gmail are all blocked. Even Slack is unavailable in China. For a full list of blocked websites click here.
Long story short,
Thankfully a VPN will allow you to access all of your favorite websites and it will also hide your browsing history from the Chinese government. Not that there’s much of a chance that the government cares what websites you visit but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Also, as a side note it’s interesting to point out that Google Maps does not work in China. The Chinese government purposefully screws up digital maps in China so that mapping services don’t work.
Tor is a network of servers that can hide your browsing history and make you anonymous online. However, it’s different than a VPN in several ways.
Tor is very slow, the average webpage may take as much as 10 seconds to load which makes it impractical for day to day use.
Using Tor can draw attention to yourself as the dark web is commonly associated with illicit activity. On the other hand millions of people use VPNs so it’s not suspicious to use one.
For 99% of people a VPN is a better option than Tor.
Ideally both but it depends on your situation. Are you interested in a VPN in order to access a blocked website? Then you’ll probably want a VPN for both your phone and desktop. The same applies if you want to hide your browsing history.
However, if you’re only using a VPN to access Netflix and you only watch Netflix on your desktop then you probably don’t need a VPN for your mobile phone.
Yes, almost all good VPNs work for both mobile and desktop. As mentioned, before selecting a VPN service you should check reviews for their mobile app to ensure that it works well.
Also, for total coverage of your house some VPNs can be integrated with your router so that any device which connects to your Wifi network is automatically protected.
If you don’t use a VPN it’s possible for websites to see your IP address. In fact, the easiest way to see an example of this is to simply visit Nord’s website where they display your IP address and ISP right at the top of the page.
Websites can also see an approximate of your location. For example, it’s no coincidence that when you access Google Maps it opens in your area. You can test this even when you’re not logged in. Simply open a private window and go to Google Maps.
If you don’t use a VPN websites can see your IP address and location.
No, you don’t need a VPN for Bitcoin. That being said, privacy is very important in crypto.
Even anonymous Reddit and forum accounts can be tracked back to you. That’s why if you have any crypto holdings it’s best to not discuss those investments online.