When you value online privacy and security in this digital era, then using a Virtual Private Network is absolutely recommended. A VPN connection encrypts and secures your internet traffic and enables you to artificially change your IP address and geographic location. By doing so, you can bypass internet censorship and digital restrictions, whilst surfing completely anonymously. Nobody will be able to see what websites you visit or what you do online. But what are the best VPN providers on the market? And what specific advantages and features do they offer? In this overview we discuss the best VPN services that are currently available in a detailed manner.
Overview Top VPN Services 2018
In the table below you will first find a concise summary of our favorite VPN providers. Subsequently we will discuss each VPN service in depth and list the advantages and features they have to offer.
Best premium VPN. Ultra fast, reliable and secure. Easy to use and 24/7 support.
Read ExpressVPN review
Blazing fast VPN, perfect for downloading. With unlimited bandwidth and interesting privacy extras.
Read IPVanish review
Very affordable VPN, particularly when opting for the 2-year package
Read Pure VPN review
Why would you need a VPN?
Every time you use the internet, you unknowingly leave behind a lot of digital traces of your online behavior. A simple example of this is the fact that your internet service provider can see exactly what websites you visited and what data you send or receive on your smartphone, tablet or computer. The IP address that has been appointed to you by the internet service provider facilitates the fact that your online behavior can be tracked by companies, governments, advertisers, websites and hackers. Also other people who are using the same WiFi network could have insights in what websites you visit. Your location, browsing habits and internet history; everything can be traced.
By using a VPN you ensure that intelligence agencies, companies like Google and Facebook, your internet service provider, your co-residents and your employer can no longer monitor your online behavior. The VPN connection encrypts and masks your internet traffic for these external parties. At the same time, the VPN provides extra protection against cyber criminals who intend to intercept certain data, like financial information or e-mails. And finally, a VPN enables you to artificially change your location so you can bypass geographical restrictions. Think of limitations and restrictions you encounter when accessing services like Spotify, YouTube or Netflix. A VPN can also bypass government censorship on the internet, as it allows you to connect to the internet as if you were in another country by connecting to a foreign VPN server.
Choosing a VPN provider
What VPN should I choose? A lot of people struggle with this question, simply because there are so many options. To offer you some guidance in the maze of VPN providers we created a list with the best VPN providers of 2018 according to our review standards. Every single one of the providers on this list has a unique package with associated advantages. When selecting these providers we took into account the reliability, stability of the servers, price, speed and accessibility.
Because VPN providers continuously update their policies, server network, prices and features, we aim to adjust our top 5 VPN list regularly to reflect these changes. We’ll now discuss our top 5 providers in detail. Subsequently we will elucidate the criteria we used to compose this top 5.
The best VPN providers of 2018
Servers: 1700+ | Server locations: 145+ locations in 90+ countries | Amount of connections: 3 |Software for: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
+ User-friendly applications for all devices
+ Very suitable for anonymous and safe surfing, streaming, and downloading.
+ A fast and stable connection and good client support
+ 30-days money-back guarantee for all plans
+ A special deal of 3 free months if you buy a year plan through our link.
ExpressVPN is a renowned VPN provider that offers everything you look for in a VPN connection. They have a large network of over 1700 stable and fast servers that you can choose from. ExpressVPN offers a way to download anonymously via torrent-networks and bypass any geographical restrictions.
From our tests we must conclude that this provider offers well-functioning applications for Android, iPhone, Windows, and OS x. Their client support responds quickly and adequately to any questions you might have. All this explains their good reputation with users worldwide. All in all, ExpressVPN is a good and easy-to-use VPN with useful options and functions. If you are looking for quality and are prepared to pay for it, we recommend ExpressVPN.
Servers: 1000+ | Server locations: 50+ countries| Amount of connections: 6 |Software for: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
+ Great security options with double data encryption
+ Nice application that is easy to work with
+ You can go online with 6 devices at the same time
+ 30-days money-back guarantee for all plans
+ Great deal if you buy a 2-year plan
If you are looking for the best of the best in privacy and internet security NordVPN is the one. NordVPN has proven itself as a highly reliable provider that offers servers worldwide, advanced encryption, and good deals. The head office is located in Panama, ensuring that NordVPN has no legal obligations to keep any data logs. This means that they don’t save any of your online activity, thus ensuring even more privacy.
NordVPN is also one of the best providers for bypassing restrictions on streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. Moreover, they make sure you can download anonymously via p2p networks. You will be able to connect with 6 devices simultaneously on 1 NordVPN subscription, which is a big plus. And NordVPN supports Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iPhone devices. Last but not least, there is a 30-day refund policy, in case you change your mind after signing up for a subscription.
Servers: 700+ | Server locations: 60+ countries| Amount of connections: 5 |Software for: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
+ Very fast connection
+ Ultimate VPN for quick and anonymous downloading ( e.g. torrents)
+ Fun options that allow you to change your IP address automatically at intervals of your choice
– No bypass possibility for Netflix
IPVanish is probably the fastest provider we have tested. Their connection speed is very impressive. If high downloading speed is something you value, IPVanish is the provider for you. They also offer a large number of possible servers and advanced security options.
IPVanish offers an interesting feature that allows you to change your IP address whilst surfing the internet. You can arrange for this to happen automatically at certain time intervals. Five people (or devices) can connect at the same time using one IPVanish subscription. IPVanish does not keep user logs, and there is a 7-day money-back guarantee. There are applications available for Android, iOS, Mac and Windows. The apps look quite similar regardless of the device or operating system you are using.
The only downside to IPVanish is that they do not offer a way to bypass restrictions on Netflix. If you are looking for a VPN that provides you with access to the content of Netflix in other countries, IPVanish is not for you. Other VPN options, like ExpressVPN or NordVPN, are more suitable for your needs. But, as said before, if you really value speed, then IPVanish is the VPN for you, beating every other VPN in our top 5.
Servers: 56+ | Server locations: 30+ countries| Amount of connections: no limit |Software for: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
+ User-friendly and easy applications
+ Establishes a safe connection within 3 seconds
+ Good customer support
+ Allows you to bypass Netflix area restrictions
+ 30% discount using our code PRIVACY
– The offer of servers is significantly smaller than other VPNs in our top 5
How would we describe GOOSE VPN in just a couple of words? Easy, simple, child’s play, a piece of cake! GOOSE VPN is really characterized by its accessibility. Everyone will be able to comprehend and use this VPN service. The interface just shows the most important options and information. Within a few clicks you are connected to the VPN server of your choice. GOOSE VPN is becoming quite popular, because there are easy to use. GOOSE VPN is very suited to download torrents anonymously, for instance with BitTorrent. Moreover, you can bypass area restrictions on services like Netflix.
For customers that value accessibility and simplicity, GOOSE is definitely one of the better VPN options out there. By using the discount code PRIVACY when you subscribe, you can save 30% on the Unlimited packages.
Servers: 500+ | Server locations: 180+ countries| Amount of connections: 5 |Software for: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
+ Possibility of a dedicated IP-address
+ Large amount of servers available
– Showed DNS leaks in several tests
– A dedicated IP-address costs extra
PureVPN is a cheap and decent VPN provider, with a large server network in the United States, Canada and England. In total the company owns more than 500 servers in 141 countries. Combining this large server network, the competitive pricing and the accessibility, makes PureVPN a very interesting option for those on a tight budget. Downloading with BitTorrent, uTorrent and other P2P programs is supported on the special P2P servers.
PureVPN also offers the option of a firewall and a dedicated IP address. The software is clear and easy to use, and works with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. There is 24/7 customer support. Moreover, when we tested it we could bypass area restrictions on Netflix. And you’ll be able to connect with 5 different devices with one subscription. We consider PureVPN one of the top VPN providers but there have been tests that showed DNS leaks.
Some considerations: How to determine what’s the best VPN?
Free VPN versus paid VPN
In addition to paid VPN services there are also many free VPN applications available. It is however important to realize that “free” generally does not exist when it comes to VPNs. Companies aim to make money and there is always a revenue model behind a free VPN service. One way of making money could be to use your personal data for advertisement purposes. In a recent study around 300 free VPN applications were tested. The findings show that free VPN services often demand access to all kinds of unnecessary information on your device, like contact details, media files and social media. Furthermore, the encryption of free VPN services regularly doesn’t work properly. And approximately 35% of free VPN apps contained malware.
Other limitations of free VPN apps include data limits, speed limits, download restrictions, advertisements, and waiting times. Taken all of this into account, it is generally recommended to choose a paid VPN service. The prices of VPN subscriptions have decreased the past couple of years. For several US dollars a month you can find a good, fast and reliable VPN service which you can use with the entire family.
Privacy and Logging
Not every VPN has to abide to the same laws and regulations. Some providers are forced to store user logs and information, or to limit certain internet traffic (like torrent downloads). It matters where the VPN provider is situated, because the laws regarding internet and privacy differ per country. ExpressVPN and NordVPN score extra points for instance, since their main offices are located in the British Virgin Islands and Panama respectively. Data retention laws and privacy regulations are very favorable there for consumers who value online privacy. This means these providers are not forced to keep user logs.
When composing our top 5 of best VPN providers we had a thorough look at the pricing of the different VPN services. More expensive does not always equal a higher quality. With most VPN providers, you will get a significant discount if you subscribe for a longer period (e.g. opting for a 1-year subscription instead of a monthly subscription).
Features and characteristics
We paid special attention to specific features when judging the various VPN providers for our top 5 VPN list. The size of the server network and the different VPN protocols offered are important. We also looked at accessibility and the quality of client support. The presence of a kill switch earns a provider extra points, as it cuts internet traffic the second the VPN connection is suddenly lost. This prevents data leaks. Our ideal VPN provider knows no data limits or speed limits, and downloading via torrent networks should be allowed. Finally, we looked at the stability of the servers and the connection speed. By including all these factors we were able to construct our top 5 VPN list for 2018.
Of the dozens of VPN services we have tested, we chose our favorite ones to form this top 5. Fact remains that there is a huge selection of potential VPN providers to choose from. With our overview we intend to assist you in making a well informed choice. Whatever VPN provider you might choose, using a VPN is always a wise decision in order to protect your online privacy and safety. Our top 5 summarized one more time: