The increase in cybercrime has made many people turn to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) in a bid to secure their sensitive online data. This has led to the proliferation of VPN services to satisfy the readily available market. While there are genuine VPN service providers, there are fake ones that only aim at exploiting the consumers. Hence you need only to subscribe to a competent VPN service to be safe online. However, distinguishing a legit VPN from a fraudulent one is not easy. That’s where Ian’s Gadget comes in. We provide you with the VPN services that we have tested and found to be working perfectly in 2019. We also walk you through the main considerations for selecting them.
The best VPN services tested to be working in 2020
NordVPN is an excellent service that’s been rated with most leading publications to be the champion. It is based in Panama, an excellent location as regards privacy. That means you need not get worried about government surveillance or metadata laws as is the case with the Five Eyes locations such as the US, UK, Australia, and many others. The VPN has a strictly no logs policy, which means your sensitive data is erased so that even if NordVPN gets pressured to release your logs, they won’t have any.
Currently, NordVPN has unbeatable Black Friday/ Cyber Monday 70% off on their 3-year plan at $3.49/month + 3 months free.
NordVPN has brilliant speeds, works on all devices, and allows simultaneous connection up to six devices with a single subscription account. Also, it has the highest number of servers amongst all the VPN services. We confirmed the number of servers to be more than 5000 at the beginning of this year. Security-wise, it uses AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) 256-bit encryption which is not easy to crack. They also provide double VPN whereby they encrypt your traffic twice. Furthermore, NordVPN offers Tor over VPN for enhanced security and privacy. Other excellent features include:
- Internet Kill Switch that terminates your traffic if your VPN connection fails.
- Obfuscation feature that is vital for bypassing restrictive firewalls including the Great Firewall of China.
- Cybersec that prevents connecting to unsecured websites as well as protecting you from annoying ads.
- Inbuilt leak protection: No DNS leaks, IPv6 leaks, or WebRTC leaks, hence it is safe to use.
- Works with Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and many more streaming services.
- All major protocols including the robust OpenVPN, and the uncrackable IKEv2/IPsec that uses high levels of cryptographic algorithms and keys.
NordVPN has an excellent pricing plan that begins at $11.95 per month. The prices fall drastically as you subscribe to a longer duration. Hence, you save up to 70% by subscribing to the 3-year plan at only $3.49/month. Lest I forget, you can test the VPN by using their seven days’ free trial. Moreover, you are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN is a premium VPN service that’s liked for its speeds and best-in-class customer service. That’s not all; this VPN service has all the ingredients you can ever wish to have in a VPN service. First, the VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands-what I always refer to as “off-shore protection.” It’s a privacy haven devoid of government surveillance and metadata laws like the one you get in regions such as Australia, Canada, the USA, and Britain. The VPN has a strictly no logs policy, and in our tests for leaks at ipleak.net, we can categorically state that we never found leaks (No DNS leaks, No IPv6 leaks, No WebRTC leaks). When you combine an excellent privacy location, strictly no logs policy, and have no leaks, you get a safe VPN service.
ExpressVPN supports all the major operating systems, has blazing fast speeds, and allows concurrent connection up to 3 devices. The VPN implements all the major VPN protocols including the robust and reliable OpenVPN. They use the military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to secure user’s data against hacking. ExpressVPN has more than 2000 servers in more than 97 countries worldwide. If you are looking at bypassing geo-restrictions, ExpressVPN won’t disappoint. During our various tests, we were able to unblock a wide range of streaming services including Netflix.
Torrenting lovers are also covered since the VPN not only allows torrenting on their network but also have optimized servers for torrenting. ExpressVPN features an Internet Kill Switch to protect your traffic from exposure if for any reason the VPN connection fails. Another feature of note is the Split Tunneling technology that provides you with the opportunity to decide which of your traffic should pass through your ISP and which one routes through the VPN tunnel. The pricing starts from 6.95/month, and you have 30 days’ money-back guarantee whereby you get all your money if you are not satisfied with their service.
CyberGhost is a Romanian based VPN service that provides top-of-the-range VPN services to users across the globe. Romania is the best privacy location for a VPN service. But why? In Romania, the Romanian Supreme court threw out data retention laws not once but twice and held them to be unconstitutional. Hence Romania remains the only European country that is free from the data retention laws. Apart from an excellent VPN location, CyberGhost does not log a user’s online activities. Furthermore, the VPN has in place mechanisms to protect VPN leaks such as DNS leaks, IPv6 leaks, as well as the WebRTC leaks. That means that CyberGhost is safe to use.
CyberGhost uses AES 256 encryption. It will provide you with great user experience and easy installation. The VPN has fast speeds and allows simultaneous connections of up to 7 devices. It’s compatible with all the major operating systems. It’s safe for torrenting and works with Netflix.
TorGuard is a VPN service that was created with torrenting in mind; hence it has in place some of the best security and privacy features. To begin with, it is based in Nevis, West Indies, an excellent privacy location. They have a strictly no logs policy which is important in case security agencies demand to know your online activities. It does not leak your traffic, a fact that we checked at ipleak.net. Hence you need not be afraid of DNS leaks, IPv6 leaks as well as the WebRTC leaks. All these can attest to the fact that TorGuard is safe to use.
TorGuard works on all devices and exhibits brilliant speeds in most of our tests. The VPN allows torrenting and is excellent at unblocking and streaming content. It is among our best VPN’s for bypassing the great firewall of China. This it does by using stealth technology. VPN stealth is the most secure protocol. It disguises the VPN traffic thus helping you to bypass restrictive firewalls and unblock content. TorGuard provides users with the ability to connect to more than 3000 servers in more than 55 countries increasing the possibility of unblocking content around the world regardless of your location.
If you are looking at traveling to China, VyprVPN is among the VPNs that you should use to bypass the Great Firewall of China. VyprVPN uses its proprietary Chameleon technology to disguise VPN traffic and avoid detection by firewalls. It supports all the major operating systems and exhibits some of the fastest speeds in the industry. It works with Netflix US, as well as the BBC iPlayer. You can use it on up to 5 devices at the same time. Security-wise, they use AES 256-bit encryption to ensure that your data is safe. We tested for leaks and can reveal that the VyprVPN does not leak. It is based in HongKong which isn’t a bad location as regards privacy. They have inbuilt Internet Kill Switch.
Considerations for the best VPN service
We’ve just given you five excellent VPNs for securing your data in 2019. However, we feel obliged to take you through the considerations for selecting the most appropriate provider so you can be able to make an informed buying decision moving forward.
1. Location of the VPN service
Before you settle on any provider, it helps to find out their location. Why? Some locations like US, UK, China, Australia, Canada, Russia, and more experience intense surveillance. They have unfriendly privacy laws that allow investigative agencies to infringe on people’s right to privacy. This involves intercepting people’s telephone communication as well as internet activities. Some of the best locations include Panama, Romania, and the British Virgin Islands.
2. Logging policy
You should stay away from any service that logs your online activities. That means that if the VPN is pressured to surrender your logs, they will oblige. Hence, we’d advise you to ensure that the VPN of your choice has a strictly no logs policy. Meaning even if they are pressured under the strength of a court order to release your logs, they won’t have any to give.
3. Security and Privacy
The reason for subscribing to a Virtual Private Network is to secure your data. Hence you must ensure that it implements the most robust protocols like OpenVPN. We’d advise you settle for nothing less than the military-grade AES 256 –bit encryption to protect your data against hackers and other cybercriminals. Also, it’s important that it uses the invaluable Internet Kill Switch. A Kill Switch protects your traffic from exposure where the VPN connection fails. It acts by disconnecting your traffic.
4. User-friendly and compatibility, and the number of devices allowed
It defeats logic to subscribe to a service that is not easy to use. Also, if it is not compatible with your devices, it means that you won’t be able to use it. Hence ensure at all times that your VPN is compatible with a wide range of devices. While at it, also check out the number of devices they allow you to connect with one license. Imagine where you purchase a subscription only to find out that you can use it only on a single device. Many surveys reveal that a household in the UK and the USA has an average of 6 devices. Hence, a VPN that allows more devices is favorable.
5. Number of servers
The number of servers and their locations can impact your experience. To begin with, you’ll require an IP address in order to hide your real IP address. This you can only do by connecting to the server. If you are looking at spoofing your region, you will need a VPN with servers in the region you want to appear to be surfing the internet from.
Hence, if you are in the UK, and you intend to unblock the Netflix USA library of movies and TV shows, you’ll need to connect to the VPN server in the US. Similarly, if you are in the US, and you want to bypass blackouts, you will require a server in the US state that’s not affected by the particular blackout. Another issue you need to know is that connecting to the nearest servers will give you the best speeds. Hence, if for instance you are in school, or at the workplace and you desire to unblock YouTube, games, or any other website, a nearby server will provide you with the fastest speeds. Also, the best VPN should have optimized servers for specific functions such as streaming, or torrenting, or bypassing firewalls like the notorious Great Firewall of China.
6. Pricing, Free Trial/ Money Back Guarantee
This can’t be over unless we include pricing. While it’s ok and natural to go for the cheapest VPN, it would beat the logic to focus on pricing at the expense of features and performance. We’d advise you also to avoid a provider that doesn’t allow you to test their service risk-free. Hence look out for Free Trial and money-back guarantee.
We have tested the above five Virtual Private Networks and found them to be the best among the many we have tested. However, we’ll keep updating you in due course should there be changes in our ranking above. We are still testing more providers and will let you in on any meaningful developments.