Here is our complete comparison of the best VPNs among the most popular on the market in 2021. Discover all our tips for understanding how to use a VPN and browse the web safely. This guide has been updated and will allow you to find the best software to protect yourself on the internet. While surveillance and hacks are on the rise, VPNs have become a must-have-both on mobile and desktop.
VPN definition: why use it?
Before getting into the thick of it, it is important to understand what a VPN is and especially why it is useful in 2021. The abbreviation stands for Virtual Private Network. As the name suggests, the basic idea is to create a private network between computers isolated from the rest of the world.
This feature is still used today in companies in order to be able to access the company’s servers remotely, when one is on the go for example. But the technology has much more potential and the VPN is now used by the general public to protect their privacy.
A VPN can act as a gateway to the internet, camouflaging the user’s IP address. It is therefore untraceable on the net, including from its ISP. This is how VPNs are used to escape the eyes of an authoritarian state that would control the internet. Attention, not all publishers are equal. It is therefore crucial to find the best VPN, without log, to have good coverage.
In our democracies, the idea is above all to avoid being followed by advertisers and to access services reserved for specific regions, such as TV channels for example. You can watch USA TV on the go or in England. Remember that in France the use of a VPN is perfectly legal. On the other hand, the use you can make of it will not necessarily be, such as downloading non-royalty-free files or bypassing regional filters.
For the sake of the test, we had to bypass said filters, but we do not recommend this type of use. In this VPN comparison ranking, we analyzed dozens of players in the market. Only a small handful met our requirements. You have to be very vigilant, especially when you do not know the stakes well.
Are VPNs legal in USA?
Before going any further, it seems important to make a point about the legality of VPNs. In USA, there is no law prohibiting the use of VPNs. Internet users can browse freely with a VPN, without any risk. In opaque countries that censor the web (China, Russia), such software is necessarily banned. That said, everyone uses them to access services like social networks.
However, it is not allowed to do illegal activities (prohibited by USA law) with a VPN. This is the case of P2P file sharing in particular. But this is no surprise to anyone. That’s common sense. This is the same principle as if you were not using a VPN. In any case, this practice is not allowed by law.
Why use a VPN ?
A VPN alone is an easy way to increase your security and access the resources of a network to which you are not physically connected. What you will end up doing using a VPN is another thing. Generally speaking, VPN users can be divided into different categories :
- You are in on a public network (cafe, train, airport)
If you use a public WLAN, a VPN is your best friend, even if it is password protected. Because if a hacker is in the same WLAN, it is quite easy for him to recover all your data. The basic security offered by your average internet cafe, namely a WPA2 password, is not enough to provide strong protection against other users on the network.
By using a VPN, you add an extra layer to your data security by bypassing your Internet Service provider (ISP) in your Internet cafe and encrypting all your communications. Pirates will thus switch to easier prey. With hacks that keep growing, you have to choose the best VPN to run no risk. If you work on the train, your sensitive data is at risk.
- Traveling to a censored country
If you are traveling to a foreign country (such as China, where websites like Facebook are inaccessible), a VPN can help you access services that may not be available in that country. The best VPN will answer this point, you can find it in our comparison. ExpressVPN for example is the most complete from this point of view.
Usually, le VPN gives you the ability to access streaming services that you pay for and have access to in your home country, but are blocked in another country due to international legal issues. So with a VPN, you can enjoy the service the same way you do at home.
General VPN usage shows huge spikes in non-US countries at events such as the Super Bowl (final of the US American Professional Football League, National Football League, NFL) and March Madness (national college basketball championship).
Netflix is constantly trying to take action against VPN users, but many VPN publishers are responding with appropriate adjustments to their services. Typically, with yourUSA subscription, if you are in the United States, you will not have the same catalog of content visible on the Netflix interface. With the best VPN, you can deport to it with a single click – thus accessing many more movies and series.
Travelers could also get a lower price by using the Netflix service, as prices can vary from region to region. That said, we recommend once again to do things in the rules of the art to run no risk.
- You are a nomadic worker or student
Typically, a VPN service provided by the company or school is used for this purpose. This allows access to content on the go or at home. In addition, a VPN can protect network resources when you are in public WI-FI networks like those often found in airports or coffee shops.
- You are a dissident political person
Some countries do not enjoy the same protection of freedom of the press, freedom of expression as many Western countries. Some regimes take draconian measures to spy on and combat those they consider a threat.
In fact, it almost takes for granted that using a VPN for the Internet is indispensable for political dissidents (along with other data protection tools) in a repressive regime. However, they are not always the right solution and governments are beginning to crack down on their use. However, they struggle to compete against the best VPNs on the market.
- You just want some privacy
Even from the comfort of your four walls, using a VPN for your usual Internet activity is not a bad idea. In general, this will prevent you from leaving traces on the Internet that could be spied on by your internet service provider (ISP). While you certainly have nothing to blame, it’s just a solution to manage a minimum of privacy.
If you are looking for a VPN to browse every day, it is worth doing some thorough research. In our VPN comparison, we have already sorted for you the best players on the market. You just have to make your choice.
- You want to make good deals online
If you are one of the Internet users who make frequent purchases on the Internet, VPNs may be of interest to you. Indeed, very often the price of services and items on online sales sites varies depending on the country. Websites rely on your IP to know where you are and offer you local prices. Thus, by changing your IP address and relocating using a VPN, you will have access to different rates. The differences can be noticeable.
Of course, sometimes you have to do several tests in different territories to see which one offers the best benefits. A few minutes of research can be worth it when you know that it is sometimes possible to end up with discounts of up to tens or even hundreds of euros. The most telling example is that of air tickets, but online subscriptions can also book nice surprises.
- A combination of the previous points
This division is not mutually exclusive, and many of us will belong to one category or another. In all these cases, a VPN service can be useful.
Even if none of the above is right for you, you can still enjoy a VPN. You should definitely use one if you are traveling or working from an unreliable network (i.e. one that does not belong to you or one that you do not manage). Opening your laptop in an internet cafe to log in to Facebook or checking your emails at the airport using your mobile phone can be a potential risk.
Is it safe with a VPN ?
Without making the suspense last longer, yes, a VPN helps ensure your online security as long as you choose it correctly. If you are not a specialist, you are in luck: we have tested a large amount of VPNs and identified the best ones. So you can use this comparison to move forward.
With a VPN, your ISP may no longer have access to your browser data, but you cannot prevent your VPN provider from doing so. Some unscrupulous VPN publishers even sell this data to third parties, which would get you back to the beginning when it comes to data security. That’s why you need to be especially careful with “free”VPN editors. Since these services always want to make money, your data is probably the main source of income.
In a nutshell: If for any reason you are concerned about privacy, using a VPN is a good option. However, the prerequisite is that you read the small asterisks of your VPN editor. And do not believe everything you are told, because some VPN providers claim not to store user data, but third parties have found evidence to the contrary.
To ensure its reliability, it is better to choose a VPN that is ideally located, that is, outside of US or European intelligence alliances, but rather in territories that value online privacy. The giants of the industry for a decade-ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, NordVPN-are famous on all these points. You have no risk with them.
Which free VPN to choose ? Why avoid them ?
Free is always a tempting price, but it often makes sense to pay. Free VPN providers are more likely to save your data and show pop-up ads when you log in. They will also be more likely to use information about your browsing habits to personalize your ads. The less scrupulous will even sell your personal data to third parties. Often, free VPNs also offer fewer exit options and weak data protection obligations.
If you want to access services from abroad, it must be said that free publishers are often identified by online services (like Netflix) and they are blocked faster. So you may be forced to change some. If you have concerns about registration and privacy is important to you, you should avoid these providers.
However, small budgets will not have to give up these tools and may consider signing up for a cheap VPN that will offer an increase in their online security while minimizing the risk of spying or data theft. Another alternative is to opt for a free subscription from a paid VPN. The best VPNs pay, but they still don’t cost much.
Note, however, that some paid VPNs may collect user data and activities, which means that you should always be careful when inquiring about providers ‘ privacy policies.
As you will see, we have therefore made the choice to compare only paid VPNs. The free services that we looked at in preparing this article do not, in our opinion, meet sufficient criteria for reliability. Since the vocation of a VPN is to protect its privacy, it seemed rather logical to offer free offers that sometimes have to be compensated… by advertising.
How to choose a VPN ? 11 VPN to the test bench
For this comparison we have selected these VPNs :
- ExpressVPN promotes speed with a”high speed, secure and anonymous ” service
- CyberGhost VPN, more humble, simply calls itself ” fast and secure”
- NordVPN bills itself as the “best VPN service”
- Surfshark VPN that offers to ” secure your digital life”
- Private Internet Access VPN (PIA)
- Ivacy VPN
- ZenMate VPN
- Avast SecureLine VPN
Choosing a VPN depends on everyone’s needs, but the best VPN is usually suitable for as many people as possible. In this ranking and comparison, we have chosen to review the best known to select only the three best VPNs, that is, those that offer the best performance on the greatest number of criteria.
The first thing we can look at is the price of the formulas. Each service offers various formulas at decreasing prices according to the duration of commitment. Note that the VPNs below offer multiple connections in parallel per account allowing you to use the VPN on different devices without having to subscribe again.
Price is not the only determining factor in choosing a VPN-far from it. We must really consider the quality of the service overall (and especially on the data protection part). In the end, the price simply has to be there to validate the value for money. The software must be simple, have a large network of servers, do not slow down your connection etc.
Now let’s move on to application testing. This is really what will make it possible to judge the performance of the VPN. In order to compare the twelve services we have chosen several objective criteria, such as the speed of the connection or the speeds offered, but also more subjective factors such as the simplicity of the interface and finally the presence of some additional services offered by the providers.
How to set up a VPN ?
For the installation part, no problems on the horizon, these services have no major differences and we have not encountered any particular problems. It is enough to download the application from the provider’s site and start the installation. They all run on Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. On the other hand, we note the absence of browser extensions at TrustZone.
Now that the installation is done, we can proceed to the actual test. We started with a series of flow tests via the SpeedTest tool. For the sake of fairness, we forced le VPN to connect in the same region (Spain, Singapore, New York), but letting it choose the fastest server. Regarding ZenMate, RingVPN and PureVPN, and PIA we did the tests after the others, which does not place them quite at the same level, which is why we did not integrate the average obtained in the graph for this VPN (although we still indicated the scores obtained in detail in the table in the case of ZenMate).
We have done several tests and selected the best one knowing that the results do not vary greatly from one test to another. We have set aside ping, a function of distance, which is more or less the same between all services within 1 or 2 ms. And then, who would have the idea of using a service that requires low latency behind a VPN ?
For reference, our VPN-free throughput exceeds 140 Mb / s. No service has done as much, so we can exploit the full bandwidth of remote servers.
Results: ExpressVPN has not spoofed its name and deserves its ranking as the best VPN. This is clearly the fastest VPN service in our comparison. Of all our tests, it was the one that obtained the best figure in up and down speeds all locations combined, even exceeding 100 Mb/s in New York. If we do not find it in these charts, especially because we tested it a posteriori, PureVPN, which presents itself as ” the fastest” is also not left out, with 59 Mb/s in Singapore. On the other hand, it does not offer localization in Spain or directly in New York.
Next come CyberGhost, NordVPN and, not far behind, Ivacy. The latter, on the other hand, disappoints in Singapore. On pure speed, ExpressVPN wins the game on average. As for ZenMate, which we have also tested a posteriori, we can see quite amazing flows in Spain, but rather disappointing in New York and average in Singapore. Overall, it’s still a good VPN when it comes to pure speed. RingVPN, to finish, gave us bad results just about everywhere (40.98 Mb/s in Spain, 22.46 Mb/s in New York and 16.52 Mb/s in Singapore), so it is difficult to recommend.
With the exception of TrustZone in certain circumstances, all services are expected to offer sufficient speeds for streaming video. For testing, we tried to connect to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in the USA, to American, British and even Australian TV channels.
As for Netflix, the firm has been on the hunt for VPNs for some time, due to many reactions from rights holders in each country. As a result, many VPNs no longer allow you to connect to Netflix’s foreign catalogs. Despite everything, VPNs adapt and most of the time provide solutions to access the different catalogs according to geo-locations, but the situation is unstable, which is why our test may very well not be valid in a month.
However, TrustZone, Freedome, Avast SecureLine, and HideMyAss were unable to connect to Netflix’s US or Canadian catalog. On the other hand, the other services, i.e. ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, NordVPN and Surfshark have succeeded, even if the access to the content takes a little longer than with a USA connection. Same observation to use Amazon Prime Video that did not detect our VPN. This is a key point in our VPN ranking.
Special mention to ExpressVPN in this situation, since it is the only VPN to offer a Chrome extension that automatically unblocks streaming sites. You can launch the software directly from the browser extension to access your streaming content.
For British TV, the BBC in this case, no worries in any case. The experience is quite up to scratch and the same is true in Australia. Note that CyberGhost VPN offers a dedicated server for the BBC group, but we have not seen any difference with other services. In the USA, it’s the same. It is possible to watch CNN or Fox News with ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, NordVPN and Surfshark. With others on the other hand, this is the case only for 10 min, after which the subscriber number of the operator distributing the television will be required. Impossible without having someone on hand to communicate his. So we’re stuck.
In any case, it should be remembered that the streaming experience varies depending on the VPN used. Some are very unstable to circumvent the geographic restrictions of SVoD services. So we recommend ExpressVPN, CyberGhost or NordVPN since they worked every time.
On file download, we tested mainly with BitTorrent protocol. According to what we could already see with the SpeedTest, TrustZone and HideMyAss struggle to exceed 500 KB/s while ZenMate and PureVPN oscillate around 1 MB/s (even on a server supposed to be optimized for this use at the latter). Surfshark and NordVPN do better thanks to a server dedicated to P2P uses more efficient and thus reach 3.5 Mb/s or more. On the other hand, their performance is not always very stable, so it remains difficult to advise them as it stands.
On this point it is the ExpressVPN VPN that gets the best performance with speeds regularly exceeding 8 MB/s, far above the others. CyberGhost is clearly not outdone in terms of speed since it sometimes exceeds 7 MB/s in P2P.
So it’s ExpressVPN that wins, neck and neck with CyberGhost.
The Kill Switch, the little extras and the use
We can now tackle the various “bonus” features of VPNs. The good news: all of them offer a “Kill Switch”, except RingVPN. It allows you to cut off access to the network if you lose the connection to the VPN software. During our tests, this never happened to us, but you never know. Concretely, this means that traffic will not be redirected to your ISP in case of problems, so you will remain anonymous. That’s a nice plus.
In terms of features, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost and NordVPN are the richest. We will avoid endless inventories, but we must remember that they are the most complete by offering servers optimized for certain services or uses. NordVPN also adds “Onion Over VPN” features and a double VPN, if you’re really afraid of being tracked. CyberGhost and NordVPN also offer the ability to generate a dedicated IP.
ExpressVPN offers Split Tunneling on Windows just like CyberGhost and NordVPN. Split tunneling allows you to choose which part of the traffic to exclude from the secure VPN connection. In some cases, this can be very convenient.
For use, we also preferred ExpressVPN. The latter connects very quickly, suffers from fewer bugs and enjoys a clearer interface than the others. We will also welcome the CyberGhost interface, very well thought out and ergonomic, and which offers directly tabs for streaming content on different platforms such as Netflix, Hulu or HBO Now, and for downloads.
Five services have indeed encountered a little too many bugs or malfunctions at the time of testing: RingVPN, TrustZone, ZenMate, PureVPN and IPVanish. Too bad for the latter, which could be a service with an advantageous price/quality ratio if it did not suffer from these defects.
What is the best VPN in 2021 ?
First conclusion, TrustZone and RingVPN, despite their very low prices, are not up to the standard of a paid VPN service, both on speeds and usage. We can therefore exclude them from our selection of the best VPN in 2021. In terms of speed, Freedome and HideMyAss are also out of the race. As for ZenMate and PureVPN, they offer good streaming speeds just like in P2P, but they suffered from frequent bugs when we changed locations.
Between the best VPNs, the choice is more difficult: ExpressVPN is the fastest and most enjoyable to use for everyday use. It is also the most suitable for torrent since it emerged leader in our tests. It is, however, slightly more expensive than its rivals. CyberGhost is quite comprehensive but has not been able to bypass the block in some countries. NordVPN offers a lot of features, but also a little more expensive. Finally, despite its young age, Surfshark is reliable and, although more simplistic, it has the merit of being quite cheap. Let’s also mention PIA which offers an appreciable set especially on speed and stability, but we have encountered some scattered bugs, especially on Netflix.
Conclusion: If you are looking for the best speed to simply browse the net and access blocked or censored sites, ExpressVPN will be the most suitable. CyberGhost VPN also offers very good performance and is stable, it is to advise users who seek simplicity above all. Finally, for a complete, pleasant and easy experience, choose NordVPN which is ultimately the most versatile service.
To see the best VPNs in comparison, it’s here :
- VIEW EXPRESSVPN OFFER
- SEE CYBERGHOST OFFER
- SEE NORDVPN OFFER
- SEE SURFSHARK OFFER
Useful questions about VPNs
Still have questions about these software ? Our complete guide to the best VPNs lost you ? Below, here are some questions that we are posted on a regular basis. If you are still lost, you can always contact us. This page will be updated over time according to the new information that comes to us.
What is a VPN ?
Simply put, a virtual private network is a group of computers (or individual networks) connected to each other via a public network, the Internet. Companies use VPN technology to connect remote data centers. Individuals can use a VPN when they are not physically on the same LAN (LAN) to gain access to network resources. Or they use it as a method to secure and encrypt their communications while using an unreliable public network.
When you connect to a VPN, you first start a VPN client on your computer (or click a link on a purpose-built website), log in with your credentials, and then your computer exchanges approved keys with a remote server. Once both computers have verified the identity of the other, all your Internet communications are encrypted and protected against eavesdropping.
Why need a VPN ?
A VPN alone is an easy way to increase your security and access the resources of a network to which you are not physically connected. What you will end up doing using a VPN is another thing. As a general rule, VPN users can be divided into different categories : you are in a Public WLAN (Train Station, Internet Cafe for example), you travel, you are a nomadic worker or student, you are a politically dissident person, you just want a little privacy
What makes a good VPN service ?
The best VPN services offer a good combination of features, server location, connection protocols and pricing. Some providers are designed for casual use, while others are designed to circumvent location restrictions that companies apply to their applications and services. In addition, there are VPN services that are ideal for users who want to download a lot of data and at the same time have as much privacy as possible.
Best vpn for mac
Best Mac VPN 2021
- ExpressVPN. Editor’s Choice: Proven privacy, competitive speeds. See at ExpressVPN.
- Surfshark. Fastest, packed with features. See at Surfshark.
- NordVPN. Reliability and security. See at NordVPN.
Best vpn for macbook
The Best Free VPNs of 2021
- Hotspot Shield – Best Free VPN for Windows and Mac Users.
- Surfshark – Best Free VPN Overall.
- ProtonVPN – Best Free VPN with Unlimited Data Usage.
- TunnelBear – Best Free VPN for Beginners.
- Windscribe – Best Free VPN for the Security.
Best vpn free
The best free VPN services you can download today
- ProtonVPN Free. Truly secure with unlimited data – the best free VPN.
- Windscribe. Generous on data, and secure too.
- Hotspot Shield Free VPN. Decent free VPN with generous data allowances.
- TunnelBear Free VPN. Great identity protection for free.
- Speedify. Super secure speed.
ExpressVPN offers three standard subscription plans. Subscriptions cost $12.95 per month for a one-month plan, $9.99 per month for a six-month plan, and $8.32 per month for a 12-month plan.
The Best Free VPNs of 2021
- Hotspot Shield – Best Free VPN for Windows and Mac Users.
- Surfshark – Best Free VPN Overall.
- ProtonVPN – Best Free VPN with Unlimited Data Usage.
- TunnelBear – Best Free VPN for Beginners.
- Windscribe – Best Free VPN for the Security.
Best vpn server address
Best VPN service of 2021
- ExpressVPN. Editor’s Choice Award for best VPN: Blazing speeds, proven privacy. See at ExpressVPN.
- Surfshark. A speed leader, packed with features. See at Surfshark.
- NordVPN. Best VPN for reliability and security.
- ProtonVPN. High security standards at high speeds.
- IPVanish. Best VPN choice for beginners.
Best vpn 2021 reddit
ExpressVPN has been at the top of the VPN market for quite a while now. It offers top-notch security, a vast server network, excellent speeds, unparalleled geo-unblocking capabilities, and a strict no-logging policy. In short, it has everything a security-conscious Redditor will ever need. If you’d like to browse some other options, take a look at this top 3 of the best VPNs for Reddit.
Best free vpn 2021 reddit
– ExpressVPN 9.8/10
– ProtonVPN 9.8/10
– Mullvad VPN 9.6/10
– IPVanish VPN 9.0/10
Best vpn for netflix
The best five Netflix VPNs available
- ExpressVPN. The best Netflix VPN on the market.
- NordVPN. Famously security-focused Netflix VPN.
- Surfshark. Cheap, quick, and great for streaming Netflix.
- Hotspot Shield. Superfast Netflix VPN that’s useful for Japanese content.
- VyprVPN. Security specialist is great for streaming too.
Is it illegal to use a VPN for Netflix?
Legally, no. People commonly mistake using a VPN with Netflix as a form of piracy, but accessing the provider’s international catalogs is quite different from torrenting copyrighted material. It is not illegal in any way, shape or form, and will not currently result in a criminal or civil lawsuit anywhere in the world.
Best vpn for netflix free
The best free Netflix VPN money-back guarantees
- ExpressVPN. The most powerful VPN on the market has money-back guarantee. TODAY’S BEST DEALS. EXCLUSIVE – SAVE 49% Express VPN 12 month. $6.67.
- Cyberghost. Streaming VPN offers huge money-back guarantee. TODAY’S BEST DEALS. CyberGhost 1 Month. $12.99. CyberGhost 6 Months.
Best vpn for gaming
The best VPN for gaming in 2021
- Surfshark. The best VPN for gaming. Specifications. Servers: 1700+
- NordVPN. The best VPN for consistent upload speeds. Specifications. Servers: 5700+
- IPVanish. The best-value VPN for gaming. Specifications. Servers: 1400+
- ExpressVPN. The best VPN for the global community. Specifications.
Is a VPN better for gaming?
It doesn’t matter what type of game you enjoy, if any of the games you play (on any platform) connect to the internet, it’s a good idea to use a VPN to maintain your privacy and security. A premium VPN may also improve your gaming experience.
What VPN do pro gamers use?
ExpressVPN – One of the fastest & most consistent VPNs we’ve tested at ProPrivacy. NordVPN – An excellent VPN for gaming. It offers users fast servers worldwide, robust security features, and great apps for all devices. Surfshark – The best gaming VPN if you’re on a budget.