Neil Patel

The Best VPN Services

The pandemic changed work permanently. Before COVID-19, only 9.8 million of the 140 civilian workers in the U.S. worked remotely.

Today, almost 70 million people are working from outside the office. They are signing in from coffee shops, homes, and other unprotected networks. In order to keep online communications safe and secure, many are using a virtual private network (VPN).

Here are my top seven recommendations for VPN services. Although they are all excellent options, they have important differences.

So after we review my top picks, you’ll find a short guide that will help you narrow down your options and select the VPN that’s right for you.

1. NordVPN Review ― The Best New Service from Industry Leader

NordVPN is an industry leader known for its consistent performance, a strong stance on privacy and aggressive security features. NordVPN is known for its consistent performance, a strong stance on privacy, and aggressive security features.

The company is based in Panama, where there are no mandatory data retention laws and no legal obligation to collect your data. It’s also important because Panama doesn’t participate in the five eyes or fourteen eyes alliances. 

They don’t track, collect, or share your private data — activity, usage, or metadata. They invited one of the big four auditing firms PriceWaterhouseCoopers AG, to run an industry-first audit of their no logging claims to verify that they’re telling the truth.

NordVPN is one of the few providers that offers double VPN, an advanced VPN security feature that routes your traffic through two VPN servers instead of one, encrypting your data twice.

They also provide you with a kill switch, if your connection drops for even a second, the kill switch will cut off all the Internet traffic on your device, ensuring none of your information is exposed online.

For business customers, they provide you with a dedicated account manager that’s assigned to your account.

Your Control Panel enables you to manage user accounts, control permissions, and create gateways. You can oversee user activity, monitor server load, add new users, and create custom teams from inside your control panel. 

Pros

Cons

2. ExpressVPN Review ― The Consumer Favorite, Best-in-class 

ExpressVPN doesn’t have a product strictly designed for businesses. They’re consumer-focused, which is great if you’re a sole proprietor or a remote, contract, or freelance worker on your own.

Their apps are compatible with almost every device on the usual platforms, and they also have apps for nontraditional platforms, including Linux, Kindle Fire, Chromebook, and even Barnes and Noble’s Nook! 

Since they’re consumer-focused, their apps are user-friendly, easy to set up, and simple to maintain. It’s not like you are expected to have an in-house IT support staff to keep things running.

They provide you with all of the standard encryption and security features you’d expect from a top-rated VPN provider. And, they also provide you with some unique features like split-tunneling or using their own DNS servers. 

Like NordVPN, they have a no-logging policy as their company is based in the British Virgin Islands. There’s no mandated government surveillance and no data retention laws. 

Pros

Cons

3. Perimeter 81 Review ― The Best for Small Business Teams

Perimeter 81 is an Israeli-based business VPN service that’s unique because of its Cloud VPN architecture. It’s great for users on multiple devices. You don’t need external legacy hardware or tools. It comes with the business features you’d need to run your remote organization safely in the cloud. 

Perimeter 81 is ideal for remote businesses because it protects your business from unexpected mistakes. The automatic Wi-Fi Security and DNS Filtering features shield your data by automatically activating VPN protection when employees connect to unknown, untrusted networks.

According to Perimeter 81, “All outbound and inbound traffic is encrypted and routed through your dedicated private servers – concealing your company’s actual IP address with an IP mask.”

This protection shields your company from man-in-the-middle attacks and unsecure Wi-Fi networks. Their service keeps your business safe from data breaches, lawsuits due to negligence, and other claims. Employee training is important, but Perimeter protects your employees and your business when they’re working. 

They also provide you with the data you need to monitor network activity. You can audit resource access, monitor bandwidth consumption, and detect network anomalies remotely and at any time.

All of this is important because more organizations have a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy in place.

The potential downside to Perimeter 81’s service is access points. As of today, they have 700 public servers in 36 countries. That might sound like a lot until you realize some of their competitors have double or triple that amount in twice as many countries. 

You also have to purchase a dedicated private gateway as part of your service, which adds $40/month. Although this raises the price, it’s going to reduce latency and improve security across your organization.

Pros

Cons

4. TunnelBear Review ― The Best for Beginners

TunnelBear‘s service is designed to be incredibly simple for newbies.

They’re based out of Canada, which is a member of the five eyes, nine eyes, and fourteen eyes alliances.

This means data that goes through or is stored in Canada is subject to intelligence agreements —they may be legally forced to share your data. TunnelBear states that they have a no-logging policy, so everything seems okay until you read this in their privacy policy. 

“TunnelBear makes good faith efforts to provide you with the ability to delete your Personal Data. However, there may be circumstances in which TunnelBear is unable to delete all your Personal Data.

For example, we are unable to delete it where we are legally required to keep it, including where we need it to continue to offer you the service or if you are involved in litigation with us, we would be required to retain your personal data, which is limited to the fields we discuss above in 1.21.3 and 1.4.”

This data includes your email address, Twitter ID, paid user designation, operational data, and personal and financial data.

If this isn’t a concern for you or your organization, TunnelBear is a great option for individuals and businesses that want to get started with a VPN but aren’t as knowledgeable as they’d like. 

TunnelBear includes the standard features you need to get started with a VPN — AES 256-bit encryption, tunneling (Android only), hashing, and more. Their service is reasonably priced and designed to help inexperienced people get started with a VPN. 

TunnelBear is transparent about its service, sharing the results of its independent security audits each year on its website. 

Pros

Cons

5.  VyprVPN Review ― The Best VPN for Speed

Owned by Golden Frog GmbH and incorporated in Switzerland, VyprVPN focuses on a few areas — speed, anti-censorship, and privacy. They call their service the “most powerful VPN.” They offer more than 200,000 IP addresses and 700+ servers, across 70 locations internationally. 

Their platform resolves speed issues due to ISP bandwidth throttling. It’s common for users to state that their speeds are close to 100% of their original speeds. This is impressive when you realize that they rely on AES 256-bit encryption. They provide users with unlimited switching between servers and protocols without restrictions. 

VyprVPN provides some of the same features listed from other providers — kill switch, public Wi-Fi protection, and DNS protection.

But they also offer a proprietary technology called Chameleon. In this protocol, VyprVPN scrambles your metadata, so it’s not recognizable via deep packet inspection, but it’s still fast and lightweight.

As a result, VyperVPN can bypass restrictions from governments, corporations, and ISPs while fighting censorship and maintaining speed. 

VyprVPN also owns and operates their data centers to reduce any risk of a data breach. Other VPN providers route traffic to third-party servers, so they’re not as secure as a service that keeps things in-house. VyprDNS keeps your browsing history private. Their no-logs policy makes a breach unlikely. 

Pros

Cons

6. Surfshark Review ― The Best for the Price

Surfshark is an award winning VPN service that offers incredible value for the price. According to VPNMentor.com, SurfShark is ranked 4th out of 357 VPN services. Their service provides users with 256-bit encryption, double VPN, an automatic kill switch, and a no-log policy. 

They’re headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, so like other VPNs in our list, they’re free from the five, nine, fourteen eyes alliances. While they don’t collect usage or connection data, they do collect your email address, password, and basic billing information.

If you’d like to avoid sharing this info, you can use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. They also collect unique advertising identifiers from third parties for marketing purposes and user analytics.

One detail that stands out with Surfshark is unlimited connections. The number of devices that can connect simultaneously, per license is unlimited. This is great if you’re an individual, but it’s also great if you’re running a business.

There are no additional licenses or requirements once you’ve signed up. Just set your VPN up, pay for the service, and you’re all set. 

Surfshark offers its Adblock VPN that blocks advertising and malware, counters phishing attempts, and boosts browsing speed. They offer premium features like private DNS on each server, camouflage mode to mask activity from your ISP, and Multihop – connecting via multiple countries at the same time to maximize footprint masking and ID protection. 

Pros

Cons

7. Mullvad Review ― The Best for Anonymity

Mullvad believes privacy is a universal right.

Privacy isn’t the same as security. If you’re looking for a VPN service that will go to extreme lengths to protect your privacy,  Sweden-based Mullvad is at the top of the list.

They don’t require an email address or even a password from their customers. The company randomly generates a unique code for your username. You use this code to log in to the desktop apps or add credit to your account.

They even allow customers to send cash in the mail to pay for your account!

In other words, they want to know as little about you as possible.

Mullvad will store your account number, your counts, paid time remaining, and the number of simultaneous connections that are used by your account. This data is kept in temporary memory, then purged once you log off.

They log the total number of current connections for a given server, the bandwidth used per server, and the CPU load per core on each server. None of these items contain personally identifiable information.

Mullvad only offers connections in 38 countries, and they only have 315 servers. They don’t use virtual servers, so your VPN connections are running on physical hardware at the location specified.

The speed varies based on your location. If you’re in Europe or North America, speeds are generally good. If you’re in Australia or Asia, the performance is generally much slower.

Pros

Cons

What I Looked at to Find the Best VPN Service

When you’re looking for a VPN, the first thing you’ll want to do is identify your needs.

What do you want your VPN to do for you?

Beyond privacy and data security, are there other features you need from your VPN?

In general, most people focus their attention on four specific criteria. 

Speed and Reliability

If you’re planning on using your VPN for things that require a lot of data or activity, you’ll want to choose a service that’s optimized for speed and reliability.

For those who share large files routinely or stream video consistently, you’ll want to select a VPN that provides unlimited connections, unlimited bandwidth, and high download and upload speeds. 

When it comes to speed and reliability, there are factors you control and factors your service provider controls.

Factors within your control include:

Factors outside your control include:

You’ll want to test your VPN speed so you can verify the claims your provider is making. You’ll need two things to do that — an accurate testing method and a baseline for your tests.

Here are some of the more reliable speed tests you can use to verify your VPN speeds. 

Next, run a speed test on the same connection, with and without your VPN. If you’re on Wi-Fi, stay on Wi-Fi for both tests. Run the tests twice to get an average speed. Run your tests using the same VPN server/location you plan on using with your service. 

Security and Privacy

VPNs should be secure by default; the VPN service you choose should have the basics of security and privacy protection down.

Here are the most important security and privacy requirements you’ll need to consider when choosing a VPN. 

For security:

For privacy:

If privacy is important to you, you’ll want to stick with log-free VPN services that don’t track your activity or metadata. 

Compatible Devices

If you have an iPhone, but you use Windows on your computer, you’ll want to verify that the VPN services are compatible with your devices.

While most VPN services are compatible with the standard platforms (Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, and iOS), some aren’t available on all platforms. The VPN that’s Windows ready may not be available on Android or iOS.

You’ll want to verify that your devices are all compatible before signing up. 

Connections

How many devices can connect to your VPN service simultaneously?

The availability of connections tends to vary from service to service. Some providers allow just one; others allow up to three, while others are unlimited. You’ll need to identify what you need ahead of time. 

It’s not just connections that you have to worry about, though. You also have to take a look at the availability of countries and the availability of servers.

If you have specific availability needs, you’ll want to verify this with your VPN service provider ahead of time, then confirm this during your free trial or guarantee period. 

Other important VPN considerations include: 

Now that you have all the important considerations spelled out, it’s time to consider which type of VPN service is going to handle the job best.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur with a small team, or a growing business looking for options, a VPN will provide you with the security and peace of mind you need to keep your remote team connected and working safely.

To recap my top picks:

  1. NordVPN — Best new service from industry leader
  2. ExpressVPN — Consumer favorite, best-in-class
  3. Perimeter 81 — Best for small business teams
  4. TunnelBear — Best for beginners
  5. VyprVPN — Best VPN for speed
  6. SurfShark — Best for the price
  7. Mullvad — Best for anonymity

These are all solid options from depending hosts, but they all do things a little differently.

Weigh the options against your needs for speed, security, privacy, compatible devices and number of connects. Your needs are unique, and they’ll dictate which VPN service will work best for you and your business.

Follow the links and explore the details of each service. Use the information in my guide to help you make a decision.

Millions of people are working remotely, and that number continues to grow every day. If you’re not already using a VPN service, now’s a good time to start. 

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