A VPN (Virtual Private Network) service helps to make you more anonymous online, encrypts your internet use and lets you effectively trick your laptop or mobile device into thinking it is in another location entirely.
The versatility of the best VPNs has made them such a game-changing piece of software for laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, streaming devices, and even games consoles.
For many, signing up for a VPN service will be all about privacy. You may want to use them to help keep your online life utterly anonymous from the prying eyes of your ISP (Internet Service Provider). The best VPNs let you change your IP address to one in a completely different city or country; these services have taken on a much wider use. For example, VPNs are fantastic for streamers who want to have access to a whole world of shows and films on Netflix to get around region-locking.
Here is a handy VPN review of the three best services on the market.
ExpressVPN gives you the choice of over 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 94 countries.
Its five simultaneous connections will be more than enough for most subscribers (although other VPN services permit more). In addition to fantastic apps on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux (and dedicated extensions for Chrome and Firefox), it is also straightforward to use on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, smart TVs, PlayStation, Xbox and routers.
The service already used industry-standard encryption and a choice of various protocols (including IKEv2, OpenVPN and L2TP/Ipsec) to keep your data safe. However, perhaps the most exciting is that it has now begun rolling out its very own Lightway protocol that seeks to increase speed and reliability even further.
When it comes to real-life testing, it is found that ExpressVPN is fast. Really fast, with fantastic connection speeds across servers in multiple countries. And that is even when using the default OpenVPN protocol – they get even quicker with the aforementioned Lightway option turned on.
Many people looking for a VPN all come down to how good a service is at unblocking banned websites/services and getting around TV streaming hurdles. When tested whether they can unblock geo-restrictions that stop you from watching services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ from abroad – ExpressVPN unlocks them all without a hint of difficulty.
It is worth noting that ExpressVPN’s excellent level of customer support. Its support website is stuffed with detailed guides and tutorials to get you up and running. If you have any trouble, 24/7 live chat support is also on hand to answer your questions.
The levels of security NordVPN has to offer have been impressive for some time now. While it also provides AES-256 as standard, you can turn on its Double VPN system, where all your internet traffic is encrypted not once but twice. Handy to know where your internet anonymity is paramount like when you are on public Wi-Fi or torrenting.
It actually beats ExpressVPN on pure server count, cranking things up to an eye-watering 5,000 in roughly 60 countries and it allows for one more simultaneous connection at six.
NordVPN has dedicated itself to putting the tarnishing news of historic data breaches behind it. It now brings in PriceWaterhouseCoopers to carry out a thorough audit of its no-logging policy every year.
Last year’s introduction of the provider’s customer NordLynx protocol was eye-catching. It has helped make Nord’s connection speeds even faster and more reliable, even from further afield servers. That said, this is one category where Express pips it to the post.
The main draw here is Surfshark’s unbelievable pricing. Sign up to its annual plan and the effective monthly cost comes in at less than $2.50 USD / £2 GB / $3.50 AUD. That is for unlimited connections. If you plan to use your VPN on your laptop, desktop (compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux), tablet, a couple of mobile phones (iOS and Android both covered) and Amazon Fire TV Stick for watching overseas TV, the one account will cover you on all of them simultaneously.
If you are easily deceived and ultimately put off by complicated menus and myriad options, Surfshark – like ExpressVPN above – could be the ideal VPN for you. It keeps its interface completely stripped back and freed from complications.
That being said, when it comes to keeping you and your online identity secure, Surfshark is all business. It has now added the new protocol in town, WireGuard, to its OpenVPN UDP and TCP and IKEv2 options. In addition, Surfshark boasts a private DNS and an extra security blanket via a double VPN hop. It also successfully unblocks geo-restricted access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+ and others.
Surfshark also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to give it a try before committing for a longer period.
Let us know in the comment section if you are currently using a VPN or not.