Best VPN Services 2022 | Top Rated VPN Reviews

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Virtual private networks (VPNs) have been around since the 1990s. Businesses used VPNs to provide remote workers with a secure connection while online. There were very few personal VPN subscriptions. Today, however, Cloudnet reports that almost one-third of all internet users use a VPN. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, VPN usage grew even more, and the market for VPNs is now expected to exceed $92 billion in 2027.

VPNs exist to help encrypt your data when you’re using the internet. According to Cloudnet, 49% of users choose VPNs for general security, whereas 31% of users connect to public Wi-Fi through VPNs. Some respondents admitted using VPNs to bypass school or work internet restrictions. That’s because VPNs provide coverage from the prying eyes of internet service providers (ISPs) and others who could be tracking your activities on the web.

Not all VPNs, however, are the same. With few standards and laws to regulate them, it can be hard to tell which companies are worth your time and money.

Our guide shows you the Best VPN Services of 2022 and helps you pick the right service for you. Read on to learn about the security features of top-rated VPNs, such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark.

Prykhodov

We evaluated dozens of companies in search of VPNs that are trustworthy, easy to use, and have lots of security features. We included feedback from professional reviewers and consumers to create our rating of the Best VPN Services of 2022. See our summaries of each VPN service below, and visit each company’s full review for more information.

Best VPNs of 2022

ExpressVPN »
Monthly Plan $12.95/Month
Annual Plan $8.32/Month
Simultaneous Connections 5
Server Count 3,000+
View Plans »
NordVPN »
Monthly Plan $11.95/Month
Annual Plan $4.92/Month
Simultaneous Connections 6
Server Count 5,200+
View Plans »
Surfshark »
Monthly Plan $12.95/Month
Annual Plan Not Offered
Simultaneous Connections Unlimited
Server Count 3,200+
View Plans »

Special Offer: Get TWO additional months FREE on Two-Year Plans

IPVanish »
Monthly Plan $10.99/Month
Annual Plan $7.50/Month ($3.75/mo. For the first year)
Simultaneous Connections Unlimited
Server Count 2,000+
View Plans »
ExpressVPN » Company
$12.95/Month Monthly Plan
$8.32/Month Annual Plan
5 Simultaneous Connections
3,000+ Server Count
View Plans »
Learn More
NordVPN » Company
$11.95/Month Monthly Plan
$4.92/Month Annual Plan
6 Simultaneous Connections
5,200+ Server Count
View Plans »
Learn More
Surfshark » Company
$12.95/Month Monthly Plan
Not Offered Annual Plan
Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
3,200+ Server Count
View Plans »

Special Offer: Get TWO additional months FREE on Two-Year Plans

Learn More

IPVanish » Company
$10.99/Month Monthly Plan
$7.50/Month ($3.75/mo. For the first year) Annual Plan
Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
2,000+ Server Count
View Plans »
Learn More
Windscribe » Company
$9.00/Month Monthly Plan
$4.08/Month Annual Plan
Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
Not Available Server Count
See Review »
Learn More
ProtonVPN » Company
$5.00/Month Monthly Plan
$4.00/Month Annual Plan
Up to 10 Simultaneous Connections
1,546 Server Count
View Plans »
Learn More
CyberGhost » Company
$12.99/Month Monthly Plan
$3.95/Month Annual Plan
7 Simultaneous Connections
7,700+ Server Count
View Plans »
Learn More
PureVPN » Company
$10.95/Month Monthly Plan
$2.99/Month Annual Plan
10 Simultaneous Connections
6,500+ Server Count
View Plans »
Learn More
VyprVPN » Company
$15.00/Month Monthly Plan
$8.33/Month Annual Plan
5 Simultaneous Connections
700+ Server Count
View Plans »
Learn More
TunnelBear » Company
$9.99/Month Monthly Plan
$4.99/Month Annual Plan
Up to 5 Simultaneous Connections
Not Available Server Count
View Plans »
Learn More
Hotspot Shield » Company
$12.99/Month Monthly Plan
$7.99/Month Annual Plan
Up to 25 Simultaneous Connections
3,200+ Server Count
View Plans »
Learn More

ExpressVPN  »

ExpressVPN

Best VPN of 2022 (tie)

Monthly Plan Cost
$12.95/Month

Annual Plan Cost
$8.32/Month

# of IP Addresses
Varies

Server Count
3,000+

Simultaneous Connections
5

Pros

  • Access to about 3,000 servers in 94 countries

  • British Virgin Islands location

Cons

  • Above-average price among the VPNs in our rating

  • Only allows five devices to connect simultaneously

ExpressVPN: Tying for No. 1 in our Best VPNs of 2022 rating, ExpressVPN scores a 4.3 out of 5. Although it’s relatively expensive at $12.95 a month or $8.32 per month annually, you get a lot for your money, including access to more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries. Because it’s based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPn is outside of the Five Eyes international intelligence-sharing agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The VPN provider is compatible with major operating systems, streaming services, and social media platforms. It also offers useful features like split tunneling. On the downside, it only allows five simultaneous connections. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee if you decide ExpressVPN isn’t for you.

NordVPN  »

NordVPN

Best VPN of 2022 (tie)

Monthly Plan Cost
$11.95/Month

Annual Plan Cost
$4.92/Month

# of IP Addresses
5,502+

Server Count
5,200+

Simultaneous Connections
6

Pros

  • Extra privacy provided by Double VPN

  • Dedicated IP address available

Cons

  • Only six simultaneous connections

NordVPN: Also taking the No. 1 spot in our rating with a score of 4.3 out of 5 and located outside Five Eyes jurisdiction, Panama-based NordVPN costs $11.99 a month ($4.99 a month annually) and allows for six simultaneous VPN connections. One standout feature is NordVPN’s Double VPN, which lets users send their traffic to two VPN servers. This process encrypts the information twice, which offers more privacy. NordVPN has about 5,000 servers worldwide, considerably more than ExpressVPN. For an additional $70 a year, you can add a dedicated IP address that will keep you from getting banned from your favorite websites for the actions of other people sharing the VPN company’s IP addresses. Reviewers say NordVPN’s interface is easy to use.

Surfshark  »

Surfshark

Best VPN with Unlimited Connections

Special Offer: Get TWO additional months FREE on Two-Year Plans

Monthly Plan Cost
$12.95/Month

Annual Plan Cost
Not Offered

# of IP Addresses
3,000+

Server Count
3,200+

Simultaneous Connections
Unlimited

Pros

  • No extra charge for a static IP address

Cons

  • Limited number of server locations

Surfshark: Surfshark ties for No. 3 on our Best VPNs list with a score of 3.9 out of 5. It rates the highest among the VPNs in our rating that offer an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. The VPN service provides several key features, including its Whitelister service to facilitate split tunneling. The monthly cost is relatively high at $12.95, but a one-year subscription brings that down substantially to $2.49 a month. You can get a static IP address for no additional cost, and the “no borders” feature allows you to spoof your location to avoid monitoring or censoring by the government. Surfshark is compatible with a wide range of operating systems and browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Android, and even FireTV. On the downside, with about 3,200 servers in 65 countries, it has fewer server locations than some other VPNs in our rating.

Private Internet Access  »

Private Internet Access

Best Low-Cost Annual VPN Plan

Monthly Plan Cost
$9.95/Month

Annual Plan Cost
$3.33/Month

# of IP Addresses
Varies

Server Count
25,000+

Simultaneous Connections
10

Pros

  • Includes free email breach monitoring

  • Provides a one-year cloud storage subscription

Cons

  • Based in the U.S. and thus subject to Five Eyes jurisdiction

  • Doesn’t offer unlimited device connections

Private Internet Access: Private Internet Access also ties for No. 3 with a score of 3.9 out of 5. This budget-friendly VPN provider has the cheapest annual plan out of the companies in our Best VPNs of 2022 rating. For just $3.33 a month with an annual plan (or $9.95 per month on a monthly plan), Private Internet Access’ subscription gives you 10 simultaneous connections with an array of VPN features. You also get free email breach monitoring, a one-year cloud storage subscription for your encrypted files, good speeds, and key privacy and security features like a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a malware blocking add-on. A dedicated IP address is available for an additional $5 a month. Note that Private Internet Access is based in the U.S. and thus is under the jurisdiction of the Five Eyes alliance. However, like most VPNs, the company has a no-logging policy.

IPVanish  »

IPVanish

Monthly Plan Cost
$10.99/Month

Annual Plan Cost
$7.50/Month ($3.75/mo. For the first year)

# of IP Addresses
40,000+

Server Count
2,000+

Simultaneous Connections
Unlimited

Pros

  • Many IP addresses for better online privacy

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections

Cons

  • U.S.-based and thus under Five Eyes jurisdiction

  • Not compatible with certain streaming services

IPVanish: Coming in at No. 5 in our rating with a score of 3.8 out of 5, U.S.-based IPVanish offers users access to more than 40,000 IP addresses. This helps protect anonymity online because it’s unlikely that a given user will use the same IP address more than once. The VPN costs a reasonable $10.99 a month or $14.99 quarterly and allows an unlimited number of simultaneous device connections. IPVanish is compatible with social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. However, those who want to use streaming services are out of luck, as IPVanish won’t work with popular ones like Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Hulu. Also, on the downside, this VPN service has fewer servers than many of its competitors. But if these negatives don’t bother you and your household has a lot of devices to protect, IPVanish is a good choice.

Windscribe  »

Windscribe

Best Free VPN (tie)

Monthly Plan Cost
$9.00/Month

Annual Plan Cost
$4.08/Month

# of IP Addresses
Not Available

Server Count
Not Available

Simultaneous Connections
Unlimited

Pros

  • Static IP address available for an extra cost

  • Unlimited device connections, even with the free version

Cons

  • Canada-based and thus under Five Eyes jurisdiction

Windscribe: This VPN service ties for No. 6 in our rating with a score of 3.7 out of 5. Windscribe is based in Canada, which is under Five Eyes jurisdiction. Windscribe’s annual plan costs a relatively reasonable $4.08 per month and is the cheapest VPN in our rating that lets you cover unlimited devices. A static IP address is available for an additional cost. Another Windscribe feature aims to avert browser tracking by adjusting or rotating the data used by the browser. No kill switch is offered, but the VPN service claims that its built-in firewall is more effective than a kill switch at preventing data leaks. Windscribe offers a free version that includes 10 gigabytes (GB) of data per month and also allows an unlimited number of connections. Another option allows you to “build a plan” at $1 per month for each location you are using. Note that Windscribe’s money-back guarantee period is only three days.

ProtonVPN  »

ProtonVPN

Best Free VPN (tie)

Monthly Plan Cost
$5.00/Month

Annual Plan Cost
$4.00/Month

# of IP Addresses
1,200

Server Count
1,546

Simultaneous Connections
Up to 10

Pros

  • Least expensive monthly plan among VPNs in our rating

Cons

  • Only two device connections allowed on lowest tier

  • No dedicated IP address available

ProtonVPN: With a score of 3.7 out of 5, ProtonVPN ties with Windscribe and CyberGhost in our rating. ProtonVPN’s basic monthly plan is the least expensive among the VPN services in our rating at $4 a month. However, only two simultaneous connections are allowed, and features are limited. Higher-tier plans allow more simultaneous connections and additional features like peer-to-peer (P2P) torrenting and streaming service support. The most comprehensive Visionary plan is expensive at $24 a month, although it comes with an encrypted email service called ProtonMail. On the other end of the spectrum, ProtonVPN also offers a free version of its VPN. The free version is limited to one device and only 83 servers in 3 countries, but it has no advertisements or limits on data or speed.

CyberGhost  »

CyberGhost

Best VPN with Optional Security Suite

Monthly Plan Cost
$12.99/Month

Annual Plan Cost
$3.95/Month

# of IP Addresses
6,600+

Server Count
7,700+

Simultaneous Connections
7

Pros

  • Based in Romania outside of Five Eyes Jurisdiction

  • Dedicated IP address available

Cons

  • Relatively expensive monthly plan

  • Only seven simultaneous connections

CyberGhost: Also tying for No. 6 with a score of 3.7 out of 5, CyberGhost is based in Romania and thus is not under the jurisdiction of the Five Eyes information-sharing alliance. This VPN service costs $12.99 a month, which puts it among the more expensive VPNs in our rating. However, if you’re willing to sign up for a year, that price drops significantly to $4.29 a month, with even cheaper monthly rates for multiyear plans. Cyberghost allows seven simultaneous connections, offers 24/7 customer support, and provides the longest money-back guarantee in our ratings at 45 days. A dedicated IP address is available at an extra cost, and you can also add CyberGhost’s Windows Security Suite. The security suite includes antivirus software, a privacy tool that lets you customize information-sharing settings, and a tool that tracks when apps on your laptop are due for an update.

PureVPN  »

PureVPN

Monthly Plan Cost
$10.95/Month

Annual Plan Cost
$2.99/Month

# of IP Addresses
300,000+

Server Count
6,500+

Simultaneous Connections
10

Pros

  • Reasonably priced family plan

Cons

  • Can’t unblock Amazon Prime

  • Customer support can be spotty

PureVPN: Coming in at No. 9 on our list with a score of 3.5 out of 5, PureVPN charges $10.95 per month for a monthly plan, $2.99 per month for 12 months, or $1.99 for 24 months on longer-term plans – the lowest multiplan cost in our ratings. Despite its low price, you get all the most commonly sought-after VPN functionality, including dedicated IP support, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and split tunneling. PureVPN also offers optional DDoS protection and port forwarding. While you can connect an unlimited amount of devices, PureVPN limits simultaneous connections to 10. It has dedicated P2P servers in countries where P2P is legal and offers dedicated streaming servers. The VPN service follows a strict no-log policy and is the only VPN service to gain KPMG’s always-on no-log certification.

VyprVPN  »

VyprVPN

Best Business VPN Plan

Monthly Plan Cost
$15.00/Month

Annual Plan Cost
$8.33/Month

# of IP Addresses
300,000+

Server Count
700+

Simultaneous Connections
5

Pros

  • Switzerland-based VPN subject to strong privacy laws

  • Offers a large number of IP addresses

Cons

  • Relatively high cost for monthly subscription

  • Only five devices can connect at once

VyprVPN: VyprVPN ties with TunnelBear and Hotspot Shield for No. 10 in our Best VPNs rating with a score of 3.4 out of 5. This VPN provider is based in Switzerland, which has strong privacy laws, plus VyperVPN has a no-logs policy that is confirmed by public audits. The company’s monthly plans are relatively expensive at $15, while an annual plan comes to 8.33 a month (billed at $100 a year). VyprVPN only offers five simultaneous connections, which is on the low side. However, it provides more than 300,000 shared IP addresses, far more than any other VPN service in our rating. If five simultaneous connections meet your needs, VyprVPN may be a good affordable option for you. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee if you sign up and change your mind.

TunnelBear  »

TunnelBear

Best Business VPN Plan of 2021

Monthly Plan Cost
$9.99/Month

Annual Plan Cost
$4.99/Month

# of IP Addresses
Not Available

Server Count
Not Available

Simultaneous Connections
Up to 5

Pros

  • Easy to use for beginners

Cons

  • Based in Canada and thus subject to Five Eyes jurisdiction

  • Can’t use with streaming services or social media

TunnelBear: TunnelBear also ties for No. 10 in our rating with a score of 3.4 out of 5. This VPN provider is located in Canada, which is a Five Eyes country. The price is less than average among the companies in our rating, with a monthly plan costing $9.99 and an annual plan that works out to $4.99 a month. If you’re willing to sign up for three years, the cost drops to $3.33 a month. There’s a free version, although this is limited to 500 MB of monthly data, which isn’t enough for many users. TunnelBear is compatible with all major operating systems, but not with social media or streaming services. The VPN provider has more than 3,000 servers in 49 countries, on par with some other companies in our rating but less than others. However, you can only have five simultaneous connections, and TunnelBear lacks a dedicated IP address option and other advanced features.

Hotspot Shield  »

Hotspot Shield

Monthly Plan Cost
$12.99/Month

Annual Plan Cost
$7.99/Month

# of IP Addresses
Not Available

Server Count
3,200+

Simultaneous Connections
Up to 25

Pros

  • Free single-device VPN offered

  • Premium plan includes security suite features

Cons

  • Relatively high monthly cost

  • Only five simultaneous connections

Hotspot Shield: Hotspot Shield completes the three-way tie for No. 10 in our rating with a score of 3.4 out of 5. It costs $12.99 a month, or $7.99 a month on the annual plan (billed as $95.88 a year). You’re only allowed five simultaneous connections on an individual plan, but you get extra security features like spam-call blocking and a password manager. A family plan allowing up to 25 simultaneous connections is available for $11.99 a month. If you only need basic VPN functionality, consider Hotspot Shield’s free plan, which gives you military-grade encryption on one device with a daily data limit of 500 megabytes (MB). All plans are optimized for Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and other streaming services, and speeds are relatively fast at up to 1 gigabit per second.

Best VPNs for iPhones Table of 2022

ExpressVPN »
Simultaneous Connections 5
Server Countries 94
Server Count 3,000+
24/7 Support Yes
View Plans »
NordVPN »
Simultaneous Connections 6
Server Countries 59
Server Count 5,200+
24/7 Support Yes
View Plans »
Surfshark »
Simultaneous Connections Unlimited
Server Countries 65
Server Count 3,200+
24/7 Support Yes
View Plans »

Special Offer: Get TWO additional months FREE on Two-Year Plans

IPVanish »
Simultaneous Connections Unlimited
Server Countries 53
Server Count 2,000+
24/7 Support Yes
View Plans »

Our Best VPNs for iPhone rating consists of the highest-rated VPNs from our Best VPNs of 2022 rating that are compatible with iOS. If you have an iPhone or iPad, these VPNs should be on your shortlist.

Best Free VPNs of 2022

Windscribe »
Simultaneous Connections Unlimited
Server Countries 63
Server Count Not Available
24/7 Support No
See Review »
ProtonVPN »
Simultaneous Connections Up to 10
Server Countries 63
Server Count 1,546
24/7 Support No
View Plans »
TunnelBear »
Simultaneous Connections Up to 5
Server Countries 49+
Server Count Not Available
24/7 Support Yes
View Plans »
Hotspot Shield »
Simultaneous Connections Up to 25
Server Countries 80+
Server Count 3,200+
24/7 Support Yes
View Plans »

If you don’t need extra features like high data and P2P limits or fast connection speeds, a free VPN could meet your needs. Our rating of the Best Free VPNs of 2022 is taken from our rating of the Best VPNs of 2022. All of our Best Free VPNs still allow you to privately search and encrypt data sent over the web.

That said, don’t use just any free VPN, because some of them might compromise your online security. It isn’t worth taking that risk just to save a few dollars a month. So before signing up for a free VPN, review our rating of the Best Free VPNs. It will provide all the information you need to make an informed decision about choosing a free or cheap VPN that’s reputable and will keep you safe online. We also discuss VPNs with trial periods and money-back guarantees.

A VPN, or virtual private network, is software that conceals your online activities from your internet service provider (ISP) and hackers who might want to spy on you or steal your personal data. Without a VPN, an internet-connected device like a laptop or tablet sends unencrypted traffic through your ISP’s servers, which means your ISP knows what you do online. Plus, the information you send is vulnerable to being intercepted. A VPN solves this problem by redirecting your internet traffic through its own network of servers first to disguise any information that could be used to identify you. This means that when you use a VPN, you can use the internet more anonymously.

Every device connected to the internet has a unique IP address associated with it. An IP address identifies a device much like a fingerprint identifies a person. In addition, an IP address normally isn’t private. That means that someone can use your device’s IP address to trace browsing history, geographical location, and other personal information back to you. Using a VPN solves this potential problem by replacing your device’s IP address with one that the VPN service provides. So rather than someone seeing your digital fingerprints, they will only see those of the VPN provider.

A VPN isn’t a complete online security solution, however. While a virtual private network does provide more online privacy by helping to keep you anonymous while using the internet, there is no way to guarantee anonymity 100%. That simply isn’t possible online. Still, one of the best ways to maintain online privacy when using the web is to subscribe to a VPN service.

Also realize that there are other online cybersecurity threats that a VPN won’t protect you from at all. In particular, a VPN won’t keep malware like viruses and ransomware from infecting your computer. For that, you need antivirus software.

(USN&WR)

A VPN works by encrypting and hiding your online activity. Imagine that there’s a tunnel between your internet-connected device and your ISP’s server. Any search query or website you enter into your browser travels through the tunnel to your ISP. The ISP’s server then retrieves the information you ask for and sends it back through the tunnel to your device. Because your device and the server are directly linked through the tunnel, your ISP or a hacker can see what you’re doing on the internet and intercept your data.

A VPN makes this process more secure by encrypting your internet query and sending it to the VPN’s server first. The VPN then sends your query to your ISP’s server through the secure tunnel, disguised as traffic from one of the VPN’s IP addresses. The ISP’s server fetches the search result or website you want and sends it to the VPN’s server, where it is unencrypted and sent to you. Because the VPN communicates your internet search for you, no one can associate that search with you or your devices.

Best VPNs Location Data

ExpressVPN »
Server Locations 160
Server Countries 94
Country/Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands
Five Eyes HQ No
NordVPN »
Server Locations Not Available
Server Countries 59
Country/Jurisdiction Panama
Five Eyes HQ No
Surfshark »
Server Locations Not Available
Server Countries 65
Country/Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands
Five Eyes HQ No
IPVanish »
Server Locations 75+
Server Countries 53
Country/Jurisdiction USA
Five Eyes HQ Yes
ExpressVPN » Company
160 Server Locations
94 Server Countries
British Virgin Islands Country/Jurisdiction
No Five Eyes HQ
NordVPN » Company
Not Available Server Locations
59 Server Countries
Panama Country/Jurisdiction
No Five Eyes HQ
Surfshark » Company
Not Available Server Locations
65 Server Countries
British Virgin Islands Country/Jurisdiction
No Five Eyes HQ
IPVanish » Company
75+ Server Locations
53 Server Countries
USA Country/Jurisdiction
Yes Five Eyes HQ
Windscribe » Company
Not Available Server Locations
63 Server Countries
Canada Country/Jurisdiction
Yes Five Eyes HQ
ProtonVPN » Company
Not Available Server Locations
63 Server Countries
Switzerland Country/Jurisdiction
No Five Eyes HQ
CyberGhost » Company
111 Server Locations
91+ Server Countries
Romania Country/Jurisdiction
No Five Eyes HQ
PureVPN » Company
96+ Server Locations
78+ Server Countries
British Virgin Islands Country/Jurisdiction
No Five Eyes HQ
VyprVPN » Company
70+ Server Locations
65 Server Countries
Switzerland Country/Jurisdiction
No Five Eyes HQ
TunnelBear » Company
20+ Server Locations
49+ Server Countries
Canada Country/Jurisdiction
Yes Five Eyes HQ
Hotspot Shield » Company
115+ Server Locations
80+ Server Countries
USA Country/Jurisdiction
Yes Five Eyes HQ

A VPN’s most important task is to keep your internet activity, identity, and location private. This prevents your ISP, advertisers, and hackers from viewing and tracking what you do online. It also prevents a restrictive government or organization from blocking what you’re trying to do online.

“When using a VPN, you’re making your Internet traffic pass through the VPN provider’s servers before reaching your destination on the Internet,” explains the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for user privacy and free speech online. “Your ISP will see that you’re connecting to a VPN provider, but won’t be able to see what you’re ultimately connecting to. This is important to understand because you’re exposing your entire Internet activity to the VPN provider and shifting your trust from the ISP to the VPN.”

Think of a VPN as a private tunnel between you and the website you want to visit. To create this tunnel, a VPN uses several types of technology, one of which is 256-bit AES encryption. This type of encryption scrambles your data on one end of the tunnel and unscrambles it on the other. According to tech giant IBM, AES encryption is so secure that it’s used by the U.S. government.

VPNs are good for:

  • Protecting your passwords and privacy when using a public Wi-Fi network

  • Connecting to your employer’s network when you’re working remotely

  • Preventing your internet service provider from seeing your search history and data use

  • Keeping your ISP from throttling, or slowing down, your internet speed

  • Concealing your location and identity when you’re in a restrictive country

VPNs are not good for:

  • Keeping your devices from being infected by malware and viruses

  • Providing complete online anonymity

  • Accessing streaming services or other subscription-based content without an account

You need a VPN if you want to protect your laptop, tablet, or devices from hackers while they’re connected to a public Wi-Fi network. You also need a VPN to access websites censored by the country you’re located in, or when you want to appear to be connecting from another physical location.

For most people, a VPN is most important for privacy when using public Wi-Fi hotspots. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) notes that public Wi-Fi networks aren’t secure, making it easy for a hacker with the right equipment to intercept your data.

ExpressVPN »
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
NordVPN »
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
Surfshark »
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
IPVanish »
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
ExpressVPN » Company
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
NordVPN » Company
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
Surfshark » Company
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
IPVanish » Company
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
Windscribe » Company
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
ProtonVPN » Company
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
CyberGhost » Company
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
PureVPN » Company
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
VyprVPN » Company
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
TunnelBear » Company
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting
Hotspot Shield » Company
Static IP
Kill Switch
DNS Leak Protection
Split Tunneling
P2P Functionality/Torrenting

Because you entrust a VPN with personal information, take as much care in selecting a VPN service as you would a home security company. When choosing a VPN, consider:

  • What features you need
  • What devices you will use with it
  • What you want to do with it
  • How much it costs

To understand what makes a reliable VPN, it’s helpful to first understand how this technology works. “When you use a VPN app, data sent from your phone – be it your browsing data or the apps you are using – is routed through servers located elsewhere,” according to the FTC. “A VPN app can make traffic from your phone to a website you visit appear to come from a server operated by the VPN provider, rather than directly from your phone. Some VPN apps also encrypt the data sent between your phone and the VPN server.”

What features do you need?

Consider these other factors when evaluating a VPN company:

Privacy policy: The FTC says that if you’re using a VPN app to keep your internet traffic private, review the app’s terms and conditions and its privacy policy to see if it shares information with third parties like advertisers (and if so, which ones).

Data logs: Also look for a VPN company’s policy on data logging, which is often included in its privacy policy. There are typically two types of data that may be collected. The first type is your connection log, which may include information such as the IP address you use to connect from, the websites you visit, the length of time you’re connected, and the VPN servers you connect to. Usually (but not always) a VPN with a zero-logs policy doesn’t record this information. VPNs do often keep track of minimal user data (such as your username and email address), and some log data such as the VPN app you use and crash reports, in the name of troubleshooting and user experience.

Andy Maxwell, author of the blog, TorrentFreak, says VPNs can be ordered by a court to hand over their customers’ details but it is not always straightforward. According to Maxwell, good VPNs don’t carry logs. However, in the event of any questionable streaming of events or similar activity that could warrant government inquiry, it’s best to know where your VPN stands on data logs.

Country of jurisdiction: The country where the VPN has its headquarters dictates what information the VPN is legally required to log, and it can also impact how easily the government can get hold of that information. For example, the five countries that belong to the Five Eyes alliance (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.S., and the U.K.) have an agreement to work together for surveillance and intelligence sharing.

VPN protocols: Thinking again of a VPN as a tunnel, a VPN protocol is like the blueprints for the tunnel. Most VPNs automatically select the best protocol for your needs, though advanced users may want the ability to pick a specific protocol. The best VPN protocols currently include OpenVPN and L2TP, which are more secure than older ones such as PPTP. Learn more about which VPN protocol is best from ExpressVPN, our top-rated VPN service.

Kill switch: If your VPN connection drops, your information is no longer secure. A kill switch prevents the accidental leakage of any data by blocking your internet connection if this happens. When your VPN is working again, its auto-connect feature instantly reinstates your internet connection.

Number of IP addresses: An IP address is a number that identifies your computer (or mobile device) and its current location. A VPN service substitutes your real IP address with one of its own to conceal your identity. The downside of sharing IP addresses is the off chance that another user has breached a website’s terms of service. If that user’s actions resulted in the IP address getting blocked, you will also be blocked by the service or website when it’s your turn to use the IP address. Using a VPN service with a lot of IP addresses minimizes the likelihood of this happening.

Server count and the number of server locations: Both of these can affect your online speeds. For faster download speeds, you want to use a server that’s geographically close to you and not overloaded by too many VPN users.

Country locations: This refers to the locations where the VPN servers are, not the locations where the VPN works. You may want to select a specific country to unblock geo-restricted content or to have a server network physically close to you for faster speeds.

Static IP available: When you log in to a VPN service, it usually replaces your IP address with one from its VPN servers, randomly assigning you a different IP address each time. Sometimes it’s advantageous to use the same IP address each time, which is called a static or dedicated IP address. This is often an upgrade to your monthly subscription.

What devices do you need a VPN for?

Best VPN’s Device Compatibility

NordVPN »
Windows
Mac
Linux
iOS
Android
Router
IPVanish »
Windows
Mac
Linux
iOS
Android
Router
NordVPN » Company
Windows
Mac
Linux
iOS
Android
Router
IPVanish » Company
Windows
Mac
Linux
iOS
Android
Router
PureVPN » Company
Windows
Mac
Linux
iOS
Android
Router
VyprVPN » Company
Windows
Mac
Linux
iOS
Android
Router

Number of devices supported: VPN subscriptions typically allow for multiple simultaneous connections, which is necessary if you want to connect more than one device to at the same time. This limit only includes devices that are currently connected to the VPN, not the total number that the VPN is installed on. Some VPN providers also support routers. A router counts as one device and secures the data of every device connected to your home Wi-Fi network. This is especially helpful when you have baby monitors and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices that can’t download apps.

Smartphones and tablets: Most VPN services have iOS and Android apps that you can download directly on your phone or tablet. A few also have apps for Blackberry and Windows mobile devices.

Computers: Support for Windows and Mac operating systems is universal, and support for Linux is common, making it easy to install a VPN on most laptops. A few VPN providers even have apps for Chromebooks. An alternative to a desktop app is a browser extension, though the security features of these can be different from the main desktop app. Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox are the most common.

What do you want to use a VPN for?

Surfshark »
Netflix
disney+
Hulu
Amazon Prime
View Plans »

Special Offer: Get TWO additional months FREE on Two-Year Plans

Surfshark » Company
Netflix
disney+
Hulu
Amazon Prime
View Plans »

Special Offer: Get TWO additional months FREE on Two-Year Plans

Learn More

Streaming: Not all VPNs work with all streaming services, so be sure to check if the VPN you are considering is compatible if streaming is important to you. For more information on streaming services, including info on the best live and on-demand companies, see our Streaming Services guide.

File sharing: Sharing large files, performing large cloud backups, or updating multiplayer games are some of the reasons you may want to use a P2P network or torrenting client. Most of the best VPNs support legal P2P applications.

How much does a VPN service cost?

Price Comparison of VPN Plans

ExpressVPN »
Monthly Plan $12.95/Month
Annual Plan $8.32/Month
Dedicated IP Fee Not Applicable
Trial Period Not Applicable
Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
NordVPN »
Monthly Plan $11.95/Month
Annual Plan $4.92/Month
Dedicated IP Fee $5.83/Month
Trial Period Not Applicable
Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
Surfshark »
Monthly Plan $12.95/Month
Annual Plan Not Offered
Dedicated IP Fee None
Trial Period 7 Days
Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
Private Internet Access »
Monthly Plan $9.95/Month
Annual Plan $3.33/Month
Dedicated IP Fee $5.00/Month
Trial Period 7 Days
Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days
IPVanish »
Monthly Plan $10.99/Month
Annual Plan $7.50/Month ($3.75/mo. For the first year)
Dedicated IP Fee Not Applicable
Trial Period Not Applicable
Money-Back Guarantee 30 Days on Annual Plan

Company

Monthly Plan

Annual Plan

Dedicated IP Fee

Trial Period

Money-Back Guarantee

ExpressVPN » $12.95/Month $8.32/Month Not Applicable Not Applicable 30 Days
NordVPN » $11.95/Month $4.92/Month $5.83/Month Not Applicable 30 Days
Surfshark » $12.95/Month Not Offered None 7 Days 30 Days
Private Internet Access » $9.95/Month $3.33/Month $5.00/Month 7 Days 30 Days
IPVanish » $10.99/Month $7.50/Month ($3.75/mo. For the first year) Not Applicable Not Applicable 30 Days on Annual Plan
ExpressVPN » Company
$12.95/Month Monthly Plan
$8.32/Month Annual Plan
Not Applicable Dedicated IP Fee
Not Applicable Trial Period
30 Days Money-Back Guarantee
NordVPN » Company
$11.95/Month Monthly Plan
$4.92/Month Annual Plan
$5.83/Month Dedicated IP Fee
Not Applicable Trial Period
30 Days Money-Back Guarantee
Surfshark » Company
$12.95/Month Monthly Plan
Not Offered Annual Plan
None Dedicated IP Fee
7 Days Trial Period
30 Days Money-Back Guarantee
Private Internet Access » Company
$9.95/Month Monthly Plan
$3.33/Month Annual Plan
$5.00/Month Dedicated IP Fee
7 Days Trial Period
30 Days Money-Back Guarantee
IPVanish » Company
$10.99/Month Monthly Plan
$7.50/Month ($3.75/mo. For the first year) Annual Plan
Not Applicable Dedicated IP Fee
Not Applicable Trial Period
30 Days on Annual Plan Money-Back Guarantee
Windscribe » Company
$9.00/Month Monthly Plan
$4.08/Month Annual Plan
Up to $8.00/Month Dedicated IP Fee
Not Applicable Trial Period
3 Days Money-Back Guarantee
ProtonVPN » Company
$5.00/Month Monthly Plan
$4.00/Month Annual Plan
Not Applicable Dedicated IP Fee
7 Days Trial Period
30 Days Money-Back Guarantee
CyberGhost » Company
$12.99/Month Monthly Plan
$3.95/Month Annual Plan
$5.00/Month Dedicated IP Fee
1 Day Trial Period
45 Days Money-Back Guarantee
PureVPN » Company
$10.95/Month Monthly Plan
$2.99/Month Annual Plan
$2.99/Month Dedicated IP Fee
Not Applicable Trial Period
31 Days Money-Back Guarantee
VyprVPN » Company
$15.00/Month Monthly Plan
$8.33/Month Annual Plan
None Dedicated IP Fee
3 Days Trial Period
30 Days Money-Back Guarantee
TunnelBear » Company
$9.99/Month Monthly Plan
$4.99/Month Annual Plan
Not Applicable Dedicated IP Fee
7 Days Trial Period
Not Applicable Money-Back Guarantee
Hotspot Shield » Company
$12.99/Month Monthly Plan
$7.99/Month Annual Plan
Not Applicable Dedicated IP Fee
7 Days Trial Period
45 Days Money-Back Guarantee

Company

Monthly Plan

Annual Plan

Dedicated IP Fee

Trial Period

Money-Back Guarantee

ExpressVPN » $12.95/Month $8.32/Month Not Applicable Not Applicable 30 Days
NordVPN » $11.95/Month $4.92/Month $5.83/Month Not Applicable 30 Days
Surfshark » $12.95/Month Not Offered None 7 Days 30 Days
Private Internet Access » $9.95/Month $3.33/Month $5.00/Month 7 Days 30 Days
IPVanish » $10.99/Month $7.50/Month ($3.75/mo. For the first year) Not Applicable Not Applicable 30 Days on Annual Plan
Windscribe » $9.00/Month $4.08/Month Up to $8.00/Month Not Applicable 3 Days
ProtonVPN » $5.00/Month $4.00/Month Not Applicable 7 Days 30 Days
CyberGhost » $12.99/Month $3.95/Month $5.00/Month 1 Day 45 Days
PureVPN » $10.95/Month $2.99/Month $2.99/Month Not Applicable 31 Days
VyprVPN » $15.00/Month $8.33/Month None 3 Days 30 Days
TunnelBear » $9.99/Month $4.99/Month Not Applicable 7 Days Not Applicable
Hotspot Shield » $12.99/Month $7.99/Month Not Applicable 7 Days 45 Days

The average cost of a month-to-month VPN service in our rating is just over $11, with prices ranging from $10 a month to about $15 a month. You can significantly lower your monthly cost to around $3 by signing up for an annual plan or as low as $2 per month by signing up for a multiyear plan, which generally is billed upfront.

Some VPNs don’t cost anything, but you may want to be wary of these. “Many VPN apps are free because they sell advertising within the app, or because they share your information with (or redirect your traffic through) third parties,” states the FTC. A separate study of VPN apps with free plans available for Android devices found that 75% of the apps used third-party tracking, and more than 38% contained some type of malware. There are a few dependable companies with free plans, which we name in our rating of the Best Free VPNs of 2022.

How To Get and Set Up a VPN

Before getting a VPN, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why do I need a VPN? Consider how you interact with the internet. What type of online activity do you engage in? Identify how you use the internet and make a list of your most common online activities. Once you take stock of your digital behaviors, you will know exactly what to look for in a VPN and how it can help you.
  2. Consider your options. With your list of common online activities, you will now be able to search for a VPN that can meet your specific needs. And while researching VPNs can be overwhelming, our ratings have done the work for you. Read some of the reviews of our Best VPNs of 2022 and find a few options of VPN providers that are offering the features and compatibility that is right for you.
  3. Determine your budget. Now that you have some options of VPN services to pick from, figure out which companies are within your price range. Keep in mind that many of these companies offer free trials and money-back guarantees. Some even offer free VPNs with limitations, such as data caps. These are great options to test out the VPNs you’re interested in risk-free. If you test out a VPN and find it works for you, remember that you can save a lot of money by opting for an annual subscription instead of a month-to-month plan.
  4. Install your VPN software. Once you’ve found a VPN that is right for you, purchase your VPN plan and set it up. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use a VPN – below we give you advice on how to set up your VPN.

To install a VPN, first create an account with your VPN provider. Many VPN services accept numerous forms of payment, and some even include Bitcoin, to help support your online anonymity.

When you have your account set up, you will have a few options of how you want to use the VPN on your devices. This decision will depend on the compatibility of your VPN and the number of simultaneously connected devices your VPN provider offers. In general, you will need to download the VPN app on each device you plan to use it on. Many VPN services also have VPN browser extensions that you can use instead of downloading a VPN app.

If your VPN service offers a limited number of connections, you may want to consider installing the VPN on your router. This covers all devices connected to the internet through your router, but it comes at the cost of slowing down your overall internet speed. Installing a VPN on your router is also slightly more complicated than using a VPN with devices such as laptops and tablets, but it is still a manageable process.

Best VPN Coupons and Discount Codes

Learn More

Still looking for more information about VPNs or trying to find the best VPN for you? Explore the directory below to learn more about these services.

Other Ratings from 360 Reviews

Why You Can Trust Us: 26 VPNs Researched

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Hospitals, Best Colleges, and Best Cars to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. Our 360 Reviews team draws on this same unbiased approach to rate the products that you use every day. To build our Best VPNs of 2022 rating, we researched more than 26 VPNs and analyzed 23 reviews. Our 360 Reviews team does not take samples, gifts, or loans of products or services we review. All sample products provided for review are donated after review. In addition, we maintain a separate business team that has no influence over our methodology or recommendations.

The following describes our 360 approach to researching and analyzing VPNs to guide prospective consumers.

1. We researched the companies and products people care most about.

U.S. News analyzed and compared a variety of publicly available data, including internet search data, to determine which VPN companies Americans are most interested in. We found 20 companies that stand out in terms of volume of searches and research among consumers, as well as across the different rating sources.

We then compared the available VPNs provided by our top VPN companies across several criteria, including monthly fees, compatibility with common systems, and technical capabilities such as type of protocols, number of servers, and IP addresses. Research shows that these are the most important criteria for people shopping for a VPN. We then narrowed the list down to the twelve best VPNs.

2. We created objective 360 Overall Ratings based on an analysis of third-party reviews.

U.S. News’ 360 Reviews team applied an unbiased methodology that includes opinions from professional reviews as well as consumer reviews.

Our scoring methodology is based on a composite analysis of the ratings and reviews published by credible third-party professional and consumer review sources. The ratings are not based on personal opinions or experiences of U.S. News. To calculate the ratings:

(a) We compiled two types of third-party ratings and reviews:

  • Professional Ratings and Reviews. Many independent VPN evaluating sources have published their assessments of VPN companies and their products online. We consider several of these third-party reviews to be reputable and well-researched. However, professional reviewers often make recommendations that contradict one another. Rather than relying on a single source, U.S. News believes consumers benefit most when these opinions and recommendations are considered and analyzed collectively with an objective, consensus-based methodology.
  • Consumer Ratings and Reviews. U.S. News also reviewed published consumer ratings and reviews of VPN providers. Sources with a sufficient number of quality consumer ratings and reviews were included in our scoring model.

Please note that not all professional and consumer rating sources met our criteria for objectivity. Therefore, some sources were excluded from our model.

(b) We standardized the inputs to create a common scale.

The third-party review source data were collected in a variety of forms, including ratings, recommendations, and accolades. Before including each third-party data point into our scoring equation, we had to standardize it so that it could be compared accurately with data points from other review sources. We used the scoring methodology described below to convert these systems to a comparable scale.

The 360 scoring process first converted each third-party rating into a common 0 to 5 scale. To balance the distribution of scores within each source’s scale, we used a standard deviation (or Z-Score) calculation to determine how each company’s score compared to the source’s mean score. We then used the Z-Score to create a standardized U.S. News score using the method outlined below:

  • Calculating the Z-Score: The Z-Score represents a data point’s relation to the mean measurement of the data set. The Z-Score is negative when the data point is below the mean and positive when it’s above the mean; a Z-Score of 0 means it’s equal to the mean. To determine the Z-Score for each third-party rating of a company, we calculated the mean of the ratings across all companies evaluated by that third-party source. We then subtracted the mean from the company’s rating and divided it by the standard deviation to produce the Z-Score.
  • Calculating the T-Score: We used a T-Score calculation to convert the Z-Score to a 0-100 scale by multiplying the Z-Score by 10. To ensure that the mean was equal across all data points, we added our desired scoring mean (between 0 and 10) to the T-Score to create an adjusted T-Score.
  • Calculating the common-scale rating: We divided the adjusted T-Score, which is on a 100-point scale, by 20 to convert the third-party rating to a common 0-5 point system.

(c) We calculated the 360 Overall Score based on a weighted-average model.

We assigned “source weights” to each source used in the consensus scoring model based on our assessment of how much the source is trusted and recognized by consumers and how much its published review process indicates that it is both comprehensive and editorially independent. The source weights are assigned on a 1-5 scale. Any source with an assigned weight less than two was excluded from the consensus scoring model.

Finally, we combined the converted third-party data points using a weighted average formula based on source weight. This formula calculated the consensus score for each product, which we call the 360 Overall Rating.

U.S. News 360 Reviews takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.



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