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10 Best VPNs Rated in 2023 (150+ VPNs Compared and Tested)

Kate Hawkins
Last Updated by Kate Hawkins on April 23, 2023

Hundreds of VPNs claim to be the best, but they can’t all be the fastest, safest, and cheapest. To get a conclusive (and honest) answer, my team and I rigorously tested 157 VPNs over 3 months and ranked them against the following must-have criteria:

  • Advanced security and data privacy features
  • Fast speeds with a global network of servers
  • Accesses popular sites (like Netflix and Disney+) and P2P support
  • Dedicated, easy-to-use apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and more
  • Good value for money, plus 24/7 customer support

Overall, ExpressVPN is the #1 VPN in 2023, with top-tier security and privacy, fast speeds on its global network, and more. Plus, you can try ExpressVPN completely risk-free!

Test ExpressVPN risk-free now!

Quick Guide: The Best VPNs in 2023

  1. ExpressVPN — #1 VPN in 2022 with excellent speeds, advanced privacy and security features, and 3000+ servers for streaming and torrenting. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free today!
  2. CyberGhost — Premium VPN for fast streaming and secure torrenting for desktop users, but mobile apps for Android and iOS are more limited.
  3. Private Internet Access — Best for advanced users due to customizable network, privacy, and security settings, but headquartered in the United States.
  4. PrivateVPN — Secure VPN with a strict no-logs policy (it even works in China!), but has a small network of only 200+ servers.
  5. IPVanish — Offers unlimited device connections and owns all of its servers, but is based in the US, a 5-Eyes Alliance member state.

Plus 5 more great VPNs made it onto the list! Jump here to read more.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free today!

The Best VPNs in April 2023 — Tested and Reviewed

1. ExpressVPN — #1 VPN for Speed, Security, and Privacy on All Devices

Quick Look: ExpressVPN Results

Speed Excellent — Fast streaming, torrenting, and gaming speeds with unlimited bandwidth
Security Advanced — AES 256-bit encryption, TrustedServer technology, automatic kill switch, split tunneling, no IP address leaks, and audited
Servers Extensive — A network of 3000+ servers in 94 countries
Privacy Strict — Located in the British Virgin Islands outside of 5/9/14 Eyes with proven no-logs policy
Native Apps For: All main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Kindle Fire, Roku, BlackBerry (Priv and DTEK50), Nook, and routers
Proven to Unblock: All major streaming platforms — Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Spotify, HBO Max, Kodi, Sky Go, Sling TV, fuboTV, YouTube TV, DAZN, ESPN+, Showtime, and more
Torrenting Supported — Global network of 3000+ servers all allow P2P
Customer Support Quick response 24/7 via live chat, online form, and email
Device Connections 5
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Minor Cons No kill switch on iOS app
Best Price $6.67/month for a 1-year + 3 months plan

Secure your data with ExpressVPN

April 2023 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan (you can save up to 49%) + 3 months free! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.

ExpressVPN is the #1 choice in 2023, with highly secure encryption and privacy protection features. You can browse the internet anonymously and overcome firewalls, censorship, and other online restrictions. It’s also one of the few VPNs that work consistently in China, thanks to obfuscation on every server (this works by hiding your VPN use, so you can access the uncensored web without triggering government firewalls).

I found that ExpressVPN supports a range of quality encryption protocols. Its default choice is its proprietary Lightway protocol, and for good reason — it’s a lightweight, secure, and speedy choice that provides the fastest connections. You can also choose from OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec.

ExpressVPN has the following security and privacy features:

  • AES 256-bit encryption and a 4096-RSA key, which sets up and authenticates the encrypted tunnel
  • A kill switch that automatically blocks your internet until you safely reconnect to a server
  • TrustedServer Technology — RAM-based servers that automatically wipe all data with every scheduled reboot
  • A third-party audited no-log policy — plus, Turkish authorities attempted to retrieve user data from ExpressVPN by physically seizing servers and found nothing.
  • IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection to keep your data secure
Screenshot of ExpressVPN connected to a UK server, with the results of an IP leak test showing zero data leaks.
ExpressVPN has built-in leak protection to secure your personal data

I like that all 3000+ ExpressVPN servers support torrenting and streaming, and I had fast speeds no matter which ExpressVPN server I used. I ran speed tests on multiple servers in the US, UK, Germany, and Australia. Download speeds were consistently high, dropping only 16%-25% from baseline speeds in all locations.

Screenshots of ExpressVPN connected to servers in the US, UK, Germany, and Australia, with speed test results showing fast speeds on all servers.
ExpressVPN’s speeds are consistently fast on all servers

I didn’t have any issues torrenting large files, playing online games, or streaming shows and movies in Ultra HD. On multiple different servers, my colleagues and I could stream:

Netflix (US, UK, Japan, and more) Disney+ Hulu Amazon Prime Video HBO Max BBC iPlayer
CBS All Access Hotstar Showtime DAZN ESPN Paramount+
Peacock Discovery+ fuboTV Sling TV YouTube TV …and more!

You can’t install ExpressVPN directly on all devices, but you can use ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer function. It’s a DNS service that lets the VPN run on almost all devices where you can manually input network settings. I found the setup very simple, testing it on my PS4 and successfully streaming Netflix without issue.

In terms of usability, ExpressVPN is ideal for both beginners and advanced VPN users. Its interface is simple and easy to navigate, with identical native apps for multiple platforms. Installation and setup took less than a minute, so I could get connected almost instantly. Plus, ExpressVPN’s browser extensions give you full control of the VPN app from your browser — no other VPN app offers this functionality.

ExpressVPN starts its plans at $6.67 a month for a 1-year + 3 months plan. You can use standard payment options like debit and credit cards or PayPal, but if you prefer an anonymous option, you can also choose Bitcoin.

All plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try ExpressVPN risk-free. It’s a “no questions asked” refund policy, so you won’t need to provide a reason if you change your mind. I tested this myself and it was easy to get my money back. I wasn’t pressured to stay, and my request was processed immediately — I got a full refund in 5 days.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free today

You can find full testing results in the ExpressVPN review for a detailed analysis on speed, security, user experience, and more.

2. CyberGhost — Best for Fast Streaming and Secure Torrenting on Specialty Servers

Quick Look: CyberGhost Results

Speed Good — Optimized servers offer HD streaming and speedy torrenting
Security Advanced — 256-bit AES encryption, kill switch, no data leaks, and in-built ad blocker
Servers Large — A network of 9138+ servers in 91 countries
Privacy Strict — Based in Romania (outside of 5/9/14 Eyes) with no-logs policy
Native Apps For: All main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, and routers
Proven to Unblock: All major streaming platforms — Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Kodi, Sling TV, fuboTV, YouTube TV, Vudu, Spotify, Showtime, and more
Torrenting Supported — Optimized servers for secure P2P activity
Customer Support Quick response 24/7 via live chat, online form, and email
Device Connections 7
Money-Back Guarantee 45 days
Minor Cons iOS app has no ad blocker or split tunneling features
No optimized P2P servers available on iOS or Android apps
Best Price $2.19/month for a 2-year + 2 months plan

Protect your network with CyberGhost

April 2023 Update! You can subscribe to CyberGhost for as low as $2.19 per month + get extra 2 months free with the 2-year plan (save up to 83%)! This is a limited offer so grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.

CyberGhost makes streaming and torrenting easy by offering a range of optimized servers. All optimized servers are automatically configured for the best speeds and performance, so you don’t need to set up anything manually to connect.

You can find CyberGhost’s streaming servers in the “For streaming” tab. Each server is optimized for a specific streaming platform, guaranteeing a working connection.

CyberGhost Alt text: Screenshot of CyberGhost's Windows app showing the For Streaming server menu.
CyberGhost has servers optimized for many popular streaming services

A colleague in the US confirmed CyberGhost’s optimized streaming servers work with:

Netflix (US, UK, Germany, and more) Disney+ Hulu Amazon Prime Video BBC iPlayer
CBS All Access Hotstar Showtime ESPN Peacock
Discovery+ fuboTV Crunchyroll Globo …and more!

During testing, CyberGhost’s servers successfully connected every time, with average speeds between 65Mbps to 70Mbps — around 40% slower than without a VPN. With these speeds, streaming was buffer-free and Ultra HD quality.

The optimized servers for torrenting have a similar setup. I chose a nearby server in the UK for the best speeds, and my 2GB file finished downloading in less than 4 minutes.

CyberGhost also has powerful security and privacy features, including:

  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Kill switch functionality on all apps in case the VPN connection is interrupted
  • A strict zero-logs policy
  • Multiple ultra-private “NoSpy” servers are located in Romania, which doesn’t have any electronic surveillance laws

CyberGhost also offers WireGuard as one of its protocol options, which provides a great combination of speed and security. Additionally, CyberGhost offers dedicated IP addresses for an extra monthly fee. This reduces the chance you’ll experience IP bans due to other users or issues connecting to networks with IP restrictions — ideal for business owners, online banking and trading, securely working from home, and more.

You’ll find settings to enable blocking for ads, trackers, and malware in CyberGhost’s app. However, I found CyberGhost will only block ads with malicious code rather than all ads, so you’ll still see ads on sites like YouTube.

I was impressed by the Smart Rules feature, which automates CyberGhost to run based on your preferences. I configured CyberGhost to connect to a specific server and start my torrent client automatically. Smart Rules also includes WiFi protection, which connects the VPN anytime you’re on a public WiFi network. You can also use Smart Rules to exclude apps from the VPN tunnel.

CyberGhost is one of the best VPNs for Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop devices, and it’s a bargain price at only $2.19 a month for the 2-year + 2 months plan. However, if you travel to China or other countries with restrictive internet laws, you may want to consider ExpressVPN — CyberGhost often struggles to bypass internet censorship in these countries.

You can test CyberGhost risk-free for up to 45 days with its money-back guarantee. If you change your mind about subscribing, you can request a full refund from customer support. I tested this myself by contacting support via the 24/7 live chat and was impressed by the no-questions-asked confirmation in under 1 minute! I had the money back within a week.

Get CyberGhost risk-free today!

Read the full CyberGhost review for a deep dive into speed, privacy, security, and more features.

3. Private Internet Access — Best for Advanced Users With Customizable Security Settings

Quick Look: PIA Results

Speed Average — Inconsistent speeds depending on server location
Security Advanced — Military-grade encryption, kill switch, leak protection, and blocker for ads, trackers and malware
Servers The largest selection — A network of 35000+ servers in 84 countries
Privacy Strict — A proven no-logs policy audited by Deloitte
Native Apps For: Most main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux, and routers
Proven to Unblock: All major streaming platforms — Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Crunchyroll, SkyTV, Sling TV, fuboTV, CBS All Access, and more
Torrenting Supported — All 35000+ servers in the network support P2P
Customer Support Quick response 24/7 via live chat, online form, and email
Device Connections unlimited
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Minor Cons Not every server unblocks Netflix US or Hulu
No ad blocker or OpenVPN protocol on iOS app
Best Price $2.19 a month on a 2-year + 2 months plan

Get top device security with PIA

April 2023 Update! You can subscribe to PIA for as low as 2.19$ per month + get extra 2 months free with the 2-year plan (save up to 82%)! This is a limited offer so grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here!

Private Internet Access (PIA) offers advanced privacy and security features that you can tailor to your needs. It offers customization options on Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac apps, including encryption, protocols, split tunneling, and more.

To provide top-tier security and privacy, PIA has the following features:

  • Military-grade encryption to keep your connections anonymous
  • Data leak protection protects your activity from prying eyes
  • A strict no-log policy
  • A kill switch to ensure data privacy if the connection is interrupted

You can choose which data encryption standards you want: AES-128, AES-256, or no encryption at all (although your login details will still be encrypted and your IP address remains hidden). Both 128- and 256-bit encryption are virtually unbreakable — it’s nice to have the option between faster speeds or stronger encryption.

Screenshot of PIA's Windows app with Protocols menu highlighted, showing the customization options for data encryption and configuration method.
PIA’s customization options are unique to the service

PIA offers OpenVPN and WireGuard on all its devices except iOS, which only has IPsec. WireGuard is a lightweight alternative to OpenVPN, although OpenVPN is arguably more reliable and well-established. These are good choices to have, but a few more protocol options would be nice.

Its MACE ad and malware blocker surprised me with how effective it was. I connected to several websites known to host tons of ads (like Forbes) and was pleasantly surprised to see no ads had loaded on the page.

You may be concerned about PIA’s headquarters in the US — a founding member of the Eyes Alliance intelligence-sharing network. Fortunately, PIA appears to have some anecdotal evidence on its side. The Russian government previously seized PIA’s servers but was unable to recover any data. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s no chance of the US government compelling PIA to cooperate behind the scenes.

Luckily, you don’t have to take PIA’s claim of a stellar no-logs policy just from them. The VPN was recently audited by a third-party called Deloitte, which is one of the Big Four firms that validates policies such as PIA’s. Deloitte’s gave PIA great marks, assuring that their no-log policy was legitimate and that no user logs were kept.

PIA’s commitment to privacy makes it a good option for anonymous browsing (it’s compatible with Tor) and safe torrenting. Every server allows P2P file-sharing, which is convenient as you don’t have to limit yourself to specific servers. Plus, PIA has built-in SOCKS5 and Shadowsocks multi-hop features that add extra protection to your torrenting activity.

My team and I also tested PIA’s optimized streaming servers and easily accessed:

Netflix Disney+ Amazon Prime Video Hulu CBS All Access
Hotstar Showtime ESPN HBO Max …and more!

PIA’s speeds were reliably fast, and I could stream in HD quality after a few seconds of buffering. However, PIA couldn’t access BBC iPlayer.

If you want a VPN that offers full control over privacy and security settings, I highly recommend PIA. It’s an affordable option, too, with subscriptions starting at just $2.19 a month for its 2-year + 2 months subscriptions — you can even pay with cryptocurrency for total anonymity.

I suggest you try PIA risk-free, as you can get a full refund within 30 days if you change your mind. I found the refund process easy — I contacted customer service online and had my money back in less than a week.

Test PIA without risk now!

You can read more about PIA in the full-length review here and find out more about its privacy policy, security features, and subscription plans.

4. PrivateVPN — Simple VPN With Reliable Servers for Unblocking Global Content (Even in China)

Quick Look: PrivateVPN Results

Speed Good — Smooth browsing, streaming, and torrenting speeds
Security Advanced — Military-grade encryption, kill switch, and leak protection
Servers Small — A network of 200+ servers in 63 countries
Privacy Strict — Based in Sweden (inside the 5/9/14 Eyes) with no-logs policy
Native Apps For: All main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux, Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and routers
Proven to Unblock: All major streaming platforms — Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Sling TV, CBS All Access, Fox Go, and more
Torrenting Supported — Entire server network supports P2P activity
Customer Support Slow response via live chat, online form, and email
Device Connections 10
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Minor Cons No kill switch on iOS
No browser extensions available
Live chat isn’t always available
Best Price $2.00 per month for a 3-year term

Secure your devices with PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN is a high-performing VPN, although I was initially skeptical about its small network of only 200+ servers, anticipating server overcrowding and slower speeds. However, after thoroughly testing PrivateVPN, I found my initial assumptions were wrong.

You can access over 7,000 individual IP addresses with PrivateVPN’s small but reliable server network, so you don’t need to worry about IP availability. Plus, PrivateVPN supports torrenting on the entire server network, so there’s no need to look for specific servers.

I also learned that its Toronto and Hong Kong servers work in China, thanks to PrivateVPN’s Stealth VPN feature. This obfuscates your VPN connection, making it look like regular internet traffic. Stealth VPN helps you to avoid VPN detection technology, even in countries with strict internet regulations.

Despite the smaller network, I didn’t experience any speed or connection problems in my tests. In fact, I was impressed with PrivateVPN’s performance — my network slowed by about 60%, but my speeds were still fast enough for uninterrupted streaming and torrenting.

To keep your online activity anonymous and secure, PrivateVPN has:

  • Military-grade encryption standards on every server connection
  • A strict zero-log policy
  • A kill switch on all apps except iOS — Connection guard settings on Windows let you customize which apps are protected by the kill switch
  • IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection to keep all data within the encrypted tunnel

I was impressed by PrivateVPN’s protocols, with OpenVPN with UDP/TCP, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and IKEv2 available. Each of these offers a trade-off between security, speed, supported devices, and other benefits, depending on your VPN use.

PrivateVPN’s servers can access Netflix in 19 countries, including Netflix US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Brazil, and Sweden.

PrivateVPN’s optimized servers easily access Netflix

PrivateVPN’s optimized servers can also access:

Disney+ Amazon Prime Video BBC iPlayer CBS All Access BBC iPlayer
Hotstar Showtime ESPN HBO Max …and more!

Unfortunately, PrivateVPN’s customer support team is slow compared to most premium VPNs. It took 5 minutes to speak to a representative despite being first in the live chat queue. I tried to ask another question a few minutes later, but the live chat option had disappeared. I could only fill in an online form and wait for an email reply. Fortunately, I received a detailed response 8 minutes later.

If you want to test PrivateVPN, subscriptions start at $2.00 a month for its 3-year plans, making it one of the most affordable monthly VPNs.You can even subscribe using Bitcoin.

With every subscription, you can use the 30-day money-back guarantee and try PrivateVPN without any risk. It’s easy to get a full refund from customer support if you change your mind. I sent an email to support@privatevpn.com and stated I no longer needed the service — I had my money back in 5 business days.

Test PrivateVPN risk-free!

Check out the PrivateVPN review for an in-depth look into security and privacy features, servers, user experience, and more.

5. IPVanish — Powerful Security Features and Good for Torrenting With Free SOCKS5 Proxy

Quick Look: IPVanish Results

Speed Good — Fast speeds for torrenting and casual browsing
Security Advanced — 256-bit AES encryption, kill switch, and leak protection
Servers Moderate — A network of 2000+ servers in 75 countries
Privacy Strict — Based in the US (inside the 5/9/14 Eyes) with no-logs policy
Native Apps For: Most main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, and select routers
Proven to Unblock: Most major streaming platforms — Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Kodi, and more
Torrenting Supported — Every server supports torrenting and a SOCKS5 proxy is available for free
Customer Support Fast response 24/7 via live chat, phone, email, and online form
Device Connections unlimited
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Minor Cons No cryptocurrency payment options
Can’t reliably unblock Netflix
No ad, malware, or tracker blocker
Best Price $3.33/mo (2-year plan)

Secure your network with IPVanish

IPVanish is a solid option if you need a VPN for torrenting or want greater privacy online. You get unlimited bandwidth and fast speeds, and the VPN protects your browsing activities with its strict no-logs policy. Plus, it’s easy to find the best server connections with its simple-to-navigate interface — IPVanish will automatically connect you to the fastest option in your chosen city or country, or just the best server overall.

During tests, I downloaded torrent files using servers in Switzerland, Sweden, and Spain. My torrenting speeds were excellent — a minimal 20% slowdown from my base speed. My connection remained steady, with zero interruptions.

I also tested the free SOCKS5 proxy, which comes with every subscription. The SOCKS5 proxy offers additional speed and anonymity, although it leaves your traffic unencrypted. I found it simple to set up with my torrent client, as IPVanish has step-by-step guides available on its help site. I strongly recommend using the proxy in combination with the VPN to lower the risk of online threats.

Screenshot of IPVanish's website showing where to find the SOCKS5 proxy account details.
IPVanish is one of the few VPNs to offer a free SOCKS5 proxy

IPVanish protects your online activity using:

  • AES 256-bit military-grade encryption
  • Data leak protection (IP, DNS, and WebRTC)
  • A strict no-logs policy
  • A kill switch to protect your privacy if your connection is unstable

IPVanish offers various encryption protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, and IPSec. IPVanish is based in the US, which may concern you if you’re cautious about government overreach. It was last audited in 2017 — I’d like to see a more recent audit to verify its privacy practices.

Despite the fast speeds and strong security measures, IPVanish isn’t the best VPN for streaming. When my US teammate tried watching Netflix US, he had to switch servers twice before Stranger Things loaded (New York and Chicago failed, but Boston worked). IPVanish could successfully access:

Disney+ Amazon Prime Video BBC iPlayer CBS All Access
fuboTV Showtime ESPN …and more!

It’s worth noting that IPVanish fails to work in China, Turkey, and the UAE. If you’re looking for a VPN that offers this functionality, you’re better off choosing ExpressVPN, which always bypasses the Great Firewall.

IPVanish is well-priced for its strong security and impressive server speeds, with subscriptions starting at $3.33 a month for a 2-year plan. You can pay with a credit card or PayPal, but there are no anonymous options like cryptocurrency.

You can test IPVanish risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, and canceling is easy — just log in to your account on the website, cancel your subscription, and your refund will be automatically processed.

Test IPVanish risk-free!

Read the in-depth IPVanish review for more information on its speed, servers, security, and more.

6. Proton VPN — Built-In Tor Support to Keep Your Activities Private

Quick Look: Proton VPN Results

Speed Good — Reliably fast for streaming, torrenting, and browsing
Security Advanced — 256-bit AES encryption, kill switch, and leak protection
Servers Small — A network of 1700+ servers in 60 countries
Privacy Strict — Based in Switzerland (outside the 5/9/14 Eyes) with audited no-logs policy
Native Apps For: Most main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux, and select routers (DD-WRT, AsusWRT, and Tomato)
Proven to Unblock: Most major streaming platforms — Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and more
Torrenting Supported — Every server supports torrenting
Customer Support Fast response via live chat, email ticketing, and online form
Device Connections 10
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Minor Cons Live chat isn’t 24/7
Doesn’t work in China
Money-back guarantee doesn’t provide a full refund
Best Price $4.99/mo (2-year plan)

Secure your devices with Proton VPN

Proton VPN ensures your online activity is anonymous with its optimized server connections and infrastructure. Unique to Proton VPN is the option to connect to the Tor network without downloading the Tor browser. You get the anonymity of Tor plus the encryption of a VPN connection. I found using Proton VPN with Tor didn’t slow my speeds as much as using Tor by itself.

Alongside Tor, Proton VPN offers Secure Core servers that act like a multi-hop feature. These route your connection through 2 servers, with the first in a privacy-friendly country like Switzerland, ensuring your data is private even if a subsequent server is compromised. While this slowed my speeds significantly (by almost 95%), these servers are ideal if you highly value your privacy.

When using its regular servers, Proton VPN provides speeds fast enough for lag-free activity. My speeds didn’t drop by more than 40%, even when connected to distant servers, so I could watch my favorite shows without issue. Proton VPN is supported by a 10Gbps server network to keep speeds as fast as possible.

Screenshot of Proton VPN connected to a UK server with A Star is Born playing on BBC iPlayer.
Streaming on BBC iPlayer was easy with Proton VPN’s fast servers

Proton VPN accessed the following streaming services:

Netflix Disney+ Hulu Amazon Prime Video
BBC iPlayer ESPN HBO Max …and more!

Proton VPN also supports P2P file-sharing on multiple optimized servers, which I tested by downloading a 2GB file; the download finished in just under 5 minutes. However, Proton VPN doesn’t offer port forwarding, so you may find uploading is a slower process.

To keep you secure, Proton VPN has:

  • AES-256-bit encryption on every connection
  • A kill switch to keep your online activity anonymous at all times
  • Secure Core servers route your traffic through 2 servers for additional security and anonymity
  • A strict no-logs policy, which has been independently audited
  • Headquarters in Switzerland, outside of Eyes Alliance countries

It supports several connection protocols, including WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPSec (not available on Windows devices). I chose the WireGuard protocol to keep my speeds fast and connection reliable.

Unfortunately, Proton VPN doesn’t offer 24/7 live chat, which is frustrating if you have an urgent query. However, 24/7 email ticketing is available, and responses are faster than I expected — I had replies to my emails in less than 24 hours.

If you’d like to test Proton VPN for yourself, subscriptions start at $4.99/month for a 2-year plan. Proton VPN also has a free plan — it’s very limited, but a good way to try the service first. Even though it has a 30-day money-back guarantee, you won’t necessarily get a full refund. Rather, you’ll get a refund for the remaining time on your subscription, not the full amount.

Try Proton VPN risk-free!

Check out the in-depth Proton VPN review for further details on its servers, speeds, security, and more.

7. PureVPN — Quantum-Resistant Encryption Keys Fully Protect Your Data

Quick Look: PureVPN Results

Speed Average — Solid speeds but high ping on distant servers
Security Advanced — AES 256-bit encryption, kill switch, and leak protection
Servers Large — A network of 6500+ servers in 78 countries
Privacy Excellent — Based in the British Virgin Islands (outside the 5/9/14 Eyes) and independent privacy audit
Native Apps For: Most major devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and Linux
Proven to Unblock: Most major streaming platforms — Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more
Torrenting Supported but lacking — Less than half of PureVPN’s servers support torrenting, noticeable gaps
Customer Support Quick response 24/7 via 24/7 live chat, online form, and email
Device Connections 10
Money-Back Guarantee 31 days
Minor Cons High ping and slow speeds on virtual servers
DDoS protection and port forwarding only available at extra cost
Email ticketing is unreliable
Best Price $2.08/mo (2-year + 3 months)

Secure your network with PureVPN

PureVPN’s Quantum-Resistant Encryption protects you from the latest threats. As quantum computing becomes more popular, the risks to your data security also increase — by implementing Quantum-Resistant Encryption, PureVPN is future-proofing your protection. This reassures me that I can continue to use PureVPN during new technological advances and maintain a high level of security.

All of PureVPN’s 6500+ servers are supported by:

  • Top-tier military-grade encryption
  • A kill switch on every supported platform app
  • A strict zero-log policy to secure your personal data
  • Protection against IPv4, IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks
Screenshot of an ipleak.net test showing zero leaks with PureVPN connected to a US server.
PureVPN easily kept my personal data secure within the encrypted tunnel

PureVPN also offers split tunneling and port forwarding, extra features that allow greater control over your VPN connection. I found split tunneling particularly useful for encrypting my online banking while streaming on my local accounts, while port forwarding helped improve torrenting speeds.

In terms of overall speeds, PureVPN doesn’t significantly impact speeds, even on distant server connections. My speeds dropped around 20% on average, which is surprisingly low for a budget VPN (subscriptions start at $2.08 a month for a 2-year + 3 months plan). I recommend using the WireGuard to keep speeds reliably fast when you access:

Netflix Hulu BBC iPlayer
Amazon Prime Video HBO Max …and more!

I was a little disappointed to find PureVPN only allows torrenting on less than half of its 6500+ servers. There are noticeable gaps in P2P coverage and some locations with zero torrenting servers. While I could easily connect to a nearby P2P server, you could experience issues if there are none local, including user congestion and slow downloads — regions like Africa, Asia, and Oceania have very limited P2P connections nearby.

PureVPN has an excellent 24/7 live chat feature, which can be accessed through the website and the app. This made it very easy to connect to a customer service agent who always responded promptly and thoroughly to my questions. However, I never got a response to my email ticket, so I can’t recommend using email to contact customer support.

You can try PureVPN risk-free on all your devices, as it has native apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and more. Plus, its plans start at just $2.08/month for a 2-year + 3 months subscription, making it an affordable option. PureVPN is backed by a 31-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a full refund if you change your mind.

Test PureVPN without risk today!

You can read the full PureVPN review here to find more details about its security and privacy features, customer service, payment methods, and more.

8. ZenMate — Low-Cost VPN With Basic Online Protection for Browsing, Streaming, and Torrenting

Quick Look: ZenMate Results

Speed Average — Inconsistent speeds with some buffering and lagging
Security Advanced — AES 256-bit encryption, kill switch, and leak protection
Servers Good — A network of 4800+ servers in 81 countries
Privacy Average — Based in Germany (inside the 5/9/14 Eyes) and keeps some connection logs
Native Apps For: Most main devices — Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, Android TVs, and routers
Proven to Unblock: Most major streaming platforms — Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Fox Sport, and more
Torrenting Supported — Optimized torrenting servers for P2P file-sharing
Customer Support Quick response 24/7 via live chat, online form, and email
Device Connections unlimited
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Minor Cons Shares personal user data with parent company
No in-built ad blocker
No refunds if you pay with Bitcoin, PaysafeCard, or UKash
Best Price $1.99/mo (3-year + 3 months plan)

Secure your network with ZenMate

ZenMate originally built its popularity as a free VPN and has since transitioned into a robust paid service. Although its performance isn’t as strong as the top-ranked VPNs on this list, the low price of only $1.99 per month for a 3-year + 3 months plan offers very good value for money — ZenMate is one of the top monthly VPN options on the market.

The main features are the optimized servers for streaming and torrenting. When I tested the streaming-optimized servers, it only took a few clicks to choose a server and connect. However, it took much longer for my content to buffer using ZenMate — I had to wait up to a minute for Stranger Things to load.

I was pleased to find ZenMate works easily with Netflix

ZenMate can access the following services:

Netflix Disney+ Amazon Prime Video
Hulu ESPN …and more!

I had a better overall experience with the torrenting-optimized servers, as I could manually select a server with a low user count and server load percentage. This meant I could use servers with less overcrowding and higher speeds, and get consistent downloads in qBittorrent. Make sure you choose the closest server for the fastest speeds.

ZenMate offers the following security and privacy features:

  • Military-grade AES-256-bit encryption on all connections
  • A kill switch that cuts access to the internet if the VPN is interrupted
  • Data leak protection securing your personal information
  • A no-log privacy policy

My main concern is that ZenMate’s privacy policy isn’t as strict as the other VPNs on this list. The company shares some user data with its parent company for marketing and technical purposes, including your name and email address. If you’re seeking a more privacy-conscious service, I recommend you try ExpressVPN instead.

I’m still more than happy with ZenMate’s overall performance. Even though speeds are slower than other premium VPNs, I didn’t find this to be a deal-breaker — especially at just $1.99 per month. Plus, the money-back guarantee applies to all plans, even if you have a discount, so it’s completely risk-free to sign up for ZenMate and test it out for 30 days.

Test ZenMate without risk now

Check out the full ZenMate review for testing and research results.

9. VyprVPN — Verified No-Logs VPN With Strong Commitment to Privacy

Quick Look: VyprVPN Results

Speed Average — Slow speeds when connected to servers far away
Security Advanced — AES-256-bit encryption, kill switch, leak protection, and audited
Servers Small — A network of 700+ servers in 80 countries
Privacy Strict — Based in Switzerland (outside of 5/9/14 Eyes) with audited no-logs policy
Native Apps For: All major devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Blackphone, Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Blackberry 10, QNAP, OpenWRT, and Boxee Box
Proven to Unblock: Most major streaming platforms — Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Sling TV, Vudu, and more
Torrenting Supported — Torrenting supported on all servers
Customer Support Quick response 24/7 via live chat and email
Device Connections 30
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Minor Cons No native Linux app
Doesn’t accept cryptocurrency payments
No kill switch on iOS, router, Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire TV, and smart TV apps
Best Price $5.00/mo (1-year plan)

Protect your devices with VyprVPN

VyprVPN will keep your personal data private and secure when you connect to its servers. It offers the following features that make VyprVPN a safe option for browsing, torrenting (P2P activity is supported on every server), and unblocking streaming sites from abroad:

  • Military-grade encryption to keep data hidden and anonymous
  • Data leak protection on all connections
  • Kill switch functionality on all apps apart from iOS
  • An independently verified no-logs policy

Along with ExpressVPN, VyprVPN is one of the few services that responded to the Center for Democracy and Technology’s survey on VPN business models and privacy practices. The cybersecurity firm Leviathan Security performed an independent audit and confirmed that VyprVPN doesn’t track any identifying data. I appreciate this high level of transparency with the public, which is rare in the industry.

The most unique feature is VyprVPN’s proprietary Chameleon protocol, designed to bypass censorship using obfuscation. This process hides that you’re using a VPN by making your VPN traffic look like regular internet traffic, letting you perform tasks that your ISP might otherwise restrict. You can also choose from several other protocols, including PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard.

When connected using the Chameleon protocol, my US colleague watched Stranger Things in HD quality with less than 5 seconds of loading time.

VyprVPN’s server connections work with Netflix

VyprVPN works with these streaming services:

Netflix Disney+ Amazon Prime Video
Hulu HBO Max …and more!

When I ran speed tests using Ookla, I found my speeds dropped on distant servers in the US. The UK server slowed my network by 20%, but my speeds dropped 76% on US servers. While this wasn’t an issue for me because my broadband speeds are fast, VyprVPN might not be the best choice if you have slower internet.

Although I find ExpressVPN is a better all-round option, VyprVPN keeps you safe online for a much lower price of $5.00 a month. You can even make use of the 30-day money-back guarantee, which lets you try VyprVPN completely without risk.

Try VyprVPN risk-free today

To learn more about VyprVPN, read the full review for comprehensive testing results on speed, servers, user experience, and more.

10. Ivacy VPN — Strong Security but Inconsistent Speeds and Streaming Access

Quick Look: Ivacy Results

Speed Inconsistent — Fast locally but slower on distant connections, with slow upload speeds
Security Advanced — AES-256-bit encryption, kill switch, and leak protection
Servers Moderate — A network of 5700+ servers in 100 countries
Privacy Strict — Based in Singapore (outside the 5/9/14 Eyes) with no-logs policy
Native Apps For: All main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux, and routers
Proven to Unblock: Most major streaming platforms — Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and more
Torrenting Supported — Torrenting supported on all servers
Customer Support Quick response 24/7 via live chat and email
Device Connections 10
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Minor Cons No kill switch for iOS or Mac
No independent privacy audit
Singapore potentially co-operates with Eyes Alliance agencies
Best Price $1.00/mo (5-year plan)

Secure your device with Ivacy VPN

Ivacy VPN offers top-tier security that effectively protects your data. As standard, every server features:

  • AES-256-bit encryption
  • Full leak protection to keep your online activity and personal data secure
  • A kill switch (not available on Mac or iOS)
  • A zero-log policy for all user data

Ivacy VPN also has a useful split tunneling feature that I configured with my browser. I could bank online securely with the VPN while streaming on my local Netflix account.

I was impressed by Ivacy VPN’s Secure Download feature, which blocks downloads containing malware and other threats. This feature is unique to Ivacy VPN and works well; I tried downloading malicious test files, and Ivacy VPN blocked them all. Secure Download was particularly useful while torrenting — Ivacy VPN supports torrenting on every server.

Screenshot of Ivacy VPN Windows app highlighting the server choices for the Secure Download feature.
Ivacy VPN’s Secure Download feature is ideal for torrenting

Ivacy VPN offers multiple protocols, including WireGuard, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2. I used the WireGuard protocol, as this gave me the most reliable connections and fastest speeds.

When testing Ivacy VPN’s speeds, I had reasonably fast download speeds, but upload speeds were often very slow. This made it difficult to share P2P files, have video calls, and play games online without lag.

I also had issues reliably connecting to streaming services with Ivacy VPN. It took multiple tries to access streaming accounts, even when using optimized servers. However, when I did make a connection, I could stream with minimal buffering and in HD quality. Ivacy VPN works with:

Netflix Disney+ Amazon Prime Video
Hulu HBO Max …and more!

Ivacy VPN has broad platform compatibility, so you can download it to the most popular devices. However, Ivacy VPN is missing key features from its iOS and Mac apps, like split tunneling and a kill switch. I’d like to see these added to improve data security.

If you’d like to test Ivacy VPN for yourself, its plans start at $1.00/month for a 5-year plan. You can test the service risk-free as Ivacy VPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, you can’t claim a refund if you pay with cryptocurrency.

Test Ivacy risk-free today!

You can read the full Ivacy VPN review here to learn about its servers, speeds, customer service, and more.

Comparison Table: 2023’s Best VPNs

ExpressVPN CyberGhost PIA PrivateVPN IPVanish
Speed Excellent Good Good Good Good
Security & Privacy Excellent Excellent Excellent Good Good
Best Price
$6.67 $2.19 $2.19 $2.00 $3.33
Servers 3000+ servers in 94 countries 9138+ servers in 91 countries 35000+ servers in 84 countries 200+ servers in 63 countries 2000+ servers in 75 countries
Supports Torrenting
Split Tunneling

Protect your devices with ExpressVPN

Why You Need a VPN

It’s more important than ever to protect yourself online, as new threats are emerging every day. When you connect to the internet without a VPN, you put your personal data at risk from hackers, advertising trackers, and even government agencies and your ISP spying on your activity.

With a VPN, you can mitigate these risks to your data security by encrypting your connection and masking your IP address. This ensures anyone spying on your connection can’t see your online activity or where your device is located, protecting your privacy.

A VPN connection will help you to:

  • Secure your personal data — High-level encryption stops others from seeing your online activity, IP address, and other information that could be used to hack, exploit, or restrict your connection. This is especially important when using public WiFi, which is notoriously targeted by hackers and malware.
  • Remain anonymous when online — A VPN masks your IP address, making it very difficult to trace your true location or establish your identity. This can help prevent online attacks (like DDoS attacks) and avoid location-based content blocks.
  • Access the internet freely — By masking your IP address and connecting to servers in other locations, you can avoid content restrictions imposed by the government or specific services, like Netflix. You can access your online accounts and streaming services from anywhere, which is convenient when traveling.
  • Torrent files without risk — P2P file-sharing puts your data at risk, as other users can see your IP address when you’re torrenting. Dedicated torrenting servers not only secure your information, but also keep download speeds fast to complete your torrents more quickly.
  • Avoid ISP restrictions — Your ISP can throttle your connection for various reasons, including using a lot of bandwidth (for example, when streaming, torrenting, or gaming online). As a VPN hides your online activity, your ISP can’t see what you’re doing, and you can avoid having your connection throttled.

It’s important to note that while a service like ExpressVPN provides a very high level of security and privacy, it’s not a foolproof solution. Many VPNs won’t protect you from malware attacks, block intrusive pop-up ads, securely store your passwords, or make you completely anonymous online. The best defense against threats is using caution when you’re online and making sure you always connect to a VPN as an extra layer of protection.

Protect your data with ExpressVPN

How to Choose the Best VPN for You

Here are some points to consider when you’re choosing the best VPN for your needs:

  • Comprehensive Security — To fully secure your connections, your VPN should use AES-256-bit encryption and have comprehensive leak protection against WebRTC, IPv4, IPv6, and DNS leaks. Plus, your VPN needs a kill switch in the event your connection is interrupted.
  • Strict Privacy Policy — Look for a VPN with a strict no-logs policy that won’t keep any of your connection data. Ideally, your VPN should use RAM-based server technology and have been independently audited — ExpressVPN has the most comprehensive privacy standards of the above VPNs.
  • Global Server Network — A higher number of available servers means less user congestion, faster download and upload speeds, and quicker connection times. Plus, a global network ensures you’ll have nearby servers to connect to, no matter where you’re located.
  • Fast Connection Speeds — Your VPN needs to mitigate speed loss to ensure you won’t experience lags or buffering when browsing, streaming, torrenting, gaming, online banking, and more.
  • Optimized Servers — If you want to use your VPN for streaming, torrenting, or gaming, you can opt for a service with dedicated servers for specific activities. Some VPNs also offer obfuscated servers that hide your VPN traffic, making it easier to avoid detection on networks with strict regulations.
  • Device Compatibility — Choose a VPN that offers native app support for the devices you want to secure. Most VPNs have apps for the most popular platforms, like Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, and are compatible with Smart TVs, game consoles, routers, and more.
  • Top-Tier Customer Service — Your VPN should have 24/7 customer support for urgent questions or issues and, at minimum, provide email ticketing (with prompt responses), in-depth FAQs, troubleshooting, and setup guides on its help site.
  • Money-Back Guarantee — Most premium VPNs have a money-back guarantee period that lets you test the service risk-free. This means you can make sure you pick the right VPN for your needs, and if you change your mind, you can easily get a full refund.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free now!

How I Tested and Ranked 2023’s Best VPNs

1. Security and Privacy Features

Every VPN on this list has to pass a number of tests even to be considered for selection. These include DNS, IP (IPv4 and IPv6), and WebRTC leak tests, which my team and I carry out on ipleak.net.

The best VPNs should offer the following:

  • Military-grade encryption (preferably AES 256-bit) to secure your internet traffic when browsing, banking, shopping, streaming, torrenting, and more.
  • Secure protocols, including OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2.
  • Additional security features like a kill switch, split tunneling, server obfuscation, and compatibility with Tor.
  • The ability to tunnel through tough internet restrictions, such as government firewalls in countries like China and Turkey.
  • A strict no-logs policy, ideally independently verified by a third-party audit.
  • Company headquarters in a country with strong data privacy regulations, and outside of Eyes Alliance jurisdiction.
  • A proven track record of reliability, showing the VPN is trustworthy and well-established.

2. Network of Global Servers

When a VPN has a large number of servers across the globe, the result is less congestion and overcrowding. This means you can connect to a server quickly and enjoy fast speeds — all without competing with hundreds of other users. I recommend choosing a VPN with at least 1,000 global servers, although PrivateVPN would be one exception to this rule. I was initially skeptical of its low server number, but its performance over years of testing has made up for it.

I also make sure that servers are distributed evenly across the globe, making it more likely that I have a server nearby. A shorter physical distance between your device and the VPN server ensures a fast connection speed. This is especially important if you enjoy data-intensive internet activities, like HD streaming, online gaming, and torrenting. At the same time, it’s important that VPN providers recognize which regions will be particularly popular and add more servers there to meet the demand.

Another feature I look for is server obfuscation. This masks your VPN traffic, making it look like regular traffic, which helps you to avoid detection by VPN blockers. A service like ExpressVPN has obfuscation on all servers, making it a top choice for accessing the internet in countries like China. Other VPNs have an obfuscation feature that can be toggled on and off depending on your needs.

3. High-Speed, Low Latency Servers

The best VPNs provide reliably fast connection speeds across the entire network, with low latency (or ping) for quick server responses. To test this, my colleagues and I ran multiple speed tests on various servers using Ookla, examining upload and download speeds and ping. We then determined the average based on the results and the difference the VPN made when compared to our base internet connection.

Ideally, your VPN should minimize the inevitable speed loss that occurs on an encrypted connection. Local server connections should be very close to your base internet speed (no more than a 20% slowdown), while distant servers should have a 50% loss at most. A ping rate (latency) of less than 100ms is perfect for streaming, browsing, and online gaming — higher than 100ms may cause some noticeable lag.

4. Unblocks Streaming Services Like Netflix, Disney+, and More

I check that each VPN can unblock Netflix US (which is notoriously difficult to access) and other services, like Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, ESPN+, DAZN, and more. Once connected, I make sure that buffering times are acceptable and stream quality remains at a high resolution. I test global servers to ensure I can access content when I’m traveling in locations like the US, UK, Germany, Japan, Australia, and the Netherlands.

I also look at VPNs that are compatible with streaming devices like smart TVs, tablet devices, smartphones, and desktop computers. This ensures you can stream your favorite content at home and on the go.

Important Note: Due to copyright laws and regulations, many streaming services prohibit the use of VPNs or proxies to access content that isn’t available in your location. Make sure you’re aware of the Terms of Service before using a VPN, as breaking your agreement could result in an account ban.

5. Supports Torrenting and P2P File-Sharing

I ensure every VPN on this list allows torrenting and offers unlimited bandwidth, so you can upload and download as many files as you like. With top-tier encryption and privacy, the top VPNs will secure your data when P2P file-sharing — torrenting without the protection of a VPN can leave you vulnerable to DDoS attacks, hackers, and malware. Some VPNs even have customizable settings that ensure you connect to a secure server before torrenting as an extra layer of protection.

I also look for torrenting-friendly features, including optimized servers for P2P activity, SOCKS5 proxies for faster downloading speeds, and malware protection. Plus, it’s a bonus if the VPN supports port forwarding as this allows faster downloads with greater security — ExpressVPN allows port forwarding on routers running the VPN and protects against port fail attacks.

6. Works on all Major Devices and Operating Systems

If you’re like me, you’ll be connected to the internet on multiple devices at the same time. That’s why every VPN on this list is compatible with popular devices and operating systems. This includes Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, iPad, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TVs, Roku, Chromecast, smart TVs, game consoles, and routers.

During my tests, I checked the overall impact of the VPN on my devices. This meant making sure they didn’t significantly drain my battery life or slow my system during connection. I tested the VPN protocols on my different devices to ensure reliability when connected, which is especially important for mobile devices that often switch networks.

I also look for ease of use when it comes to VPN apps. An intuitive interface, fast download time, and speedy setup mean you can get connected quickly — a VPN should be easy to use for beginners and customizable for more advanced users. It’s even better if the VPN offers the same features across all its apps. As a bonus, the top VPNs have detailed step-by-step setup guides on their support websites.

7. Payment Options and Customer Support Availability

The best VPNs offer multiple secure payment options for convenience when setting up your subscription. Most will have typical methods like PayPal and debit or credit cards, while some, like ExpressVPN, also provide anonymous payments through cryptocurrency.

Pricing should also be competitive, so I ranked each VPN based on the overall price compared to what it offers. Some services are more expensive but offer more features and improved security and privacy — these often have discounts and coupon codes for a better deal. The budget VPNs usually have fewer servers and extra features, but still maintain top encryption and no-logs policies.

A VPN must have top-tier customer support, ideally with 24/7 live chat to answer any urgent questions or issues. Other key customer service includes email ticketing for less urgent queries (but still with prompt responses), in-depth FAQs, setup guides, and troubleshooting on the VPN’s support site.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free today!

FAQs on VPNs

What’s the best VPN for streaming Netflix?

I tested every VPN on this list, and most of them work well with Netflix, but the overall best choice for Netflix is ExpressVPN. I found it offers the most reliable servers for watching Netflix and the fastest speeds for streaming in HD. It can also access Netflix in at least 10 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, and Japan.

Unfortunately, most VPNs don’t work with Netflix and produce this annoying error message instead:

Pardon the interruption

You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again. For more help, visit netflix.com/proxy.

Error Code: M7111-5059

To bypass this Netflix proxy error, it’s essential to get a quality VPN that can overcome Netflix’s blocks.

Are VPNs safe for torrenting?

Absolutely! A top-tier VPN will keep your personal data safe when torrenting.

Without a VPN, your online activities and IP address are vulnerable to unauthorized third parties, such as your Internet Service Provider (ISP), legal authorities, and other torrent users. They can trace your location and monitor your activities, which may result in potential DDoS attacks or legal problems if you accidentally download copyrighted content. In some cases, your ISP may even restrict your internet speed if you download too many large files in a short time.

By utilizing a VPN, you can keep your IP address concealed and encrypt your online traffic, enabling you to torrent without any worries. As a matter of fact, I never initiate torrenting without first connecting to a VPN. ExpressVPN is my go-to VPN for fast torrenting since it supports secure P2P file-sharing on all its servers. CyberGhost is also an excellent choice with optimized P2P servers that cater to dedicated torrenting activities.

It’s worth noting that torrent websites frequently contain malicious software that disguises itself in pop-ups, ads, and fake download buttons. To avoid these threats, it’s critical to block them before they reach your device. Luckily, many VPNs on this list have ad and malware blockers, providing comprehensive protection.

What’s the best VPN for gaming?

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for gaming. I tested it with several titles, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and PUBG, and was impressed by its performance.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN connected to a UK server while playing PUBG.
ExpressVPN’s servers provide smooth gameplay for PUBG and Call of Duty: Warzone

On local servers, I had ping (latency) as low as 12ms, making it the perfect VPN for FPS games like Call of Duty Warzone! This is the time it takes for your control input to be sent to the game server and back to you — the lower the number, the better. 12ms was equal to my ping when I wasn’t connected, indicating that the VPN server’s location was extremely close. However, even when I connected to more distant servers in locations like Brussels and Germany, I had a ping of 40ms. Anything below 100ms is perfectly adequate for online gaming.

What is the best VPN for privacy?

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for privacy. The company is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which has no mandatory data retention laws and is very privacy-friendly. The BVI is also outside the jurisdiction of any Eyes Alliance states as an extra measure of protection.

ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that have been independently audited, proving its no-logs privacy policy and demonstrating confidence in its server infrastructure. Crucially, ExpressVPN passed a real-world test when servers were seized by Turkish authorities as part of a criminal investigation into a user. The authorities were unable to obtain any data as ExpressVPN’s servers are physically unable to store user information.

What’s the fastest VPN?

Based on the tests my team and I performed, ExpressVPN consistently ranks as the fastest VPN across all locations. Even with the most distant servers — I tested Melbourne, over 17,000km from my location — speeds dropped just 25% from my base speed. On a server much closer to me, I reached just over 320Mbps (just 17% under my speed when disconnected from the VPN). These speeds are more than fast enough for streaming in up to 4K while browsing, downloading, and even gaming without interruption.

What’s the best VPN for China?

Based on real-life tests conducted in China, the best VPN is ExpressVPN. It’s one of the few VPNs that can reliably overcome the Great Firewall of China and easily access blocked sites like Facebook, Google, Gmail, YouTube, Wikipedia, Netflix, and more.

Local authorities can’t see what you’re doing online either, as ExpressVPN uses military-grade encryption standards to secure your internet traffic in China. If you’ve got an unstable connection, an automatic kill switch ensures no unencrypted data is accidentally leaked. The Chinese government is known for its strict online surveillance, so these security features are vital to securing your online privacy in China.

Just make sure you download ExpressVPN to your devices before you arrive in China. Once you’re inside the country, you’ll find it’s not available on the app store, and the website is blocked.

Important! You should exercise basic caution while using a VPN in China — it doesn’t give you a license to commit illegal acts. Also, while non-government-approved VPNs are illegal in China, there haven’t been any public cases of tourists being penalized for their use by the government.

What’s the best VPN with dedicated IPs?

CyberGhost is the best VPN with a dedicated IP.  This paid feature can alleviate the adverse effects of utilizing shared IP addresses on a VPN, which is known as the “bad neighbor effect.” When other users with the same IP misuse services like financial institutions, search engines, and streaming sites, you may find yourself blocked or unable to pass through an insurmountable CAPTCHA when you use the same IP address to access these services. This problem is resolved when you have your dedicated IP.

CyberGhost also cleverly avoids locking you into a specific static IP address by allowing you to purchase an anonymous token that can be redeemed in your account. This means you can even purchase and give a static IP to your loved ones. However, if you lose the token, you will lose access to the IP.

What’s the best VPN with port forwarding?

The best VPN for port forwarding is Private Internet Access. You can easily turn on the feature in its settings, and when you connect to a server you’ll be shown a randomly selected port that you can use.

Screenshot of PIA's Windows app showing how to switch on port forwarding in the Network settings menu.
You can set up port forwarding and connect to PIA in less than 30 seconds

If you don’t know what port forwarding is, here’s a quick overview: port forwarding essentially opens up a port through the NAT firewall on your local network to speed up and allow more direct network connections. Normally, the NAT firewall hides the IP addresses of the devices connected to your router. However, this can lead to issues like specific servers being unable to connect to your device, or slower speeds in general.

Note: Port forwarding can expose your local network to threats, as data transmitted via the forwarded port won’t be protected by the VPN.

Will a VPN stop ISP throttling?

A premium VPN can help prevent ISP throttling by hiding your online activity. ISP throttling often occurs when your ISP detects high bandwidth use and wants to regulate network traffic. A top-tier VPN like the services listed here encrypts your online activity — while your ISP can see that you’re connected to a VPN, it can’t see what you’re doing to impose any restrictions.

Your ISP may use techniques like “peering” to spy on your data use and potentially throttle your connection. Some ISPs have been known to throttle speeds to Netflix and Amazon Prime to encourage you to use other services affiliated with the ISP. By connecting through a VPN server, your ISP can’t detect your website visits, P2P file-sharing, or any other activity, which can help you avoid throttling.

What is the best VPN for Android and iOS?

ExpressVPN is by far the best VPN for Android and iOS devices. It is compatible with all Android phones and tablets, and it supports most iPhones and iPads.

While many VPNs limit your mobile protocol options to only IKEv2, ExpressVPN allows you to switch between IKEv2, Lightway UDP, and Lightway TCP. This gives you the flexibility to balance speed and security based on your preferences. Additionally, you can opt to let ExpressVPN automatically select the appropriate tunneling protocol for you.

During my testing, I found that ExpressVPN’s speeds on Android and iOS were incredibly fast, regardless of whether I was using WiFi or the LTE/4G network. On Android, the VPN reduced my network speed by roughly 14%, which still allowed me to game and torrent quickly. On my iPhone, the speed decreased by about 15%, but I could still watch Netflix in high definition with minimal buffering.

Whether you’re using ExpressVPN on Android or iOS, you’ll have access to its vast network of 3000 servers in 94 countries. You’ll also have access to its sleek and user-friendly mobile apps, which give you full control over the VPN’s settings with just a few clicks. You can download ExpressVPN on your mobile devices and try it out with no risk thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not fully satisfied, you can easily receive a refund with no questions asked.

How do VPNs work?

A quality VPN hides your real IP address and encrypts your activity by routing your traffic through a server controlled by the VPN provider. When you connect to a VPN server, the traffic routed between your device and your online destination is securely encrypted — no one can see what you’re doing.

By using a VPN, your online activity cannot be traced back to you, and you can get around censorship, firewalls, and location-specific restrictions. A VPN can make your device appear to be in a different location by masking your true IP address and replacing it with one from its server.

For example, if I have a Netflix subscription but travel overseas, I lose access to the content library that I’ve paid for. By connecting to a VPN server in my home country, I can continue watching my original content library without issue. You can check that your VPN is properly masking your IP address by using an IP address checker tool.

At the same time, VPN encryption hides your activity from anyone who might be watching (such as advertisers and hackers). You can browse the internet, securely access your bank account, download torrents, and more without being spied on by third parties. This boosts your online safety, helping to reduce the risk of malware, trackers, and identity theft.

How do I use a VPN?

Using a VPN is easy, and you can get started in just 3 simple steps. After you’ve chosen the VPN you want, it’s as easy as signing up for a plan and downloading the software to your device.

  1. Get a VPN. ExpressVPN is the overall #1 VPN in 2023 for its excellent speeds and advanced security measures.
  2. Connect to a server. For the best speeds, choose a server location close to you.
  3. Start browsing the internet! Now you’ve got complete privacy and anonymity online.

Can I get a good cheap VPN?

You don’t have to pay premium prices to get a high-performance VPN (especially with VPN coupons and hidden deals!). While prices can vary between VPN providers, you’ll always get the best savings if you choose a long-term subscription. It often works out at just a few dollars every month!

Remember, every VPN on this list has a money-back guarantee, so you can test it out for yourself without any risk.

Will a VPN slow down my device?

A premium VPN shouldn’t slow down a modern device too much, but it will likely impact your internet speeds. This happens because VPNs encrypt and reroute your traffic through their servers in a different location, so the data takes longer to reach its destination. If you have more than 1 device connected to the VPN, this can also cause your speed to drop (but this reduction tends to be minimal).

This is why it’s important to use a VPN that’s already fast — this ensures any speed changes will be negligible. ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on this list, so I’ve never experienced a significant slowdown when browsing, streaming, and torrenting. Even when I connected 4 devices (my Windows laptop, iPhone, Fire Stick, and iPad), the decrease in speed was barely noticeable.

Are VPNs legal?

It’s completely legal to use a quality VPN to protect your privacy in most parts of the world, including the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. However, countries with internet surveillance or censorship tend to heavily regulate VPNs. This includes China, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Iraq, Belarus, Iran, Russia, Oman, Uganda, Turkmenistan, and more. North Korea is also included, but most of the general population doesn’t have access to the internet in the first place.

For example, in China, it’s only legal to use government-approved VPN services. These VPNs will log your personal data and online activities and share those details with the government. Another example is the United Arab Emirates, where you can’t use a VPN to access content in other countries (like Netflix US). If caught, you could face a fine or even prison time — although most VPN users in the UAE do so without any legal issues.

To be safe, you should check the local laws regarding VPNs and only use a VPN for legal activities.

How can I get a VPN with no logs?

All of the top VPNs on this list have a strict no-logs policy, meaning none of your online activity is ever stored by the service. Ideally, the VPN you choose will use RAM-based servers that cannot physically store logs, or it will have voluntarily undertaken a third-party audit to verify that it doesn’t keep any user data.

Overall, the best VPN with guaranteed zero logs is ExpressVPN. None of your connection times, session information, bandwidth usage, browsing history, IP addresses, or other personal data is stored. ExpressVPN has also undergone an independent audit to prove its no-logs policy is accurate. To ensure total anonymity, you can even create an account with a dummy email address and pay with cryptocurrency.

Can I use a proxy or Tor instead of a VPN?

You can, but you won’t get the same high level of security or anonymity as you do with one of the best VPNs on the market. Both Tor and proxies send your internet traffic through a “middleman” server or node. While this hides your original IP address, neither Tor nor proxy servers encrypt your internet traffic, leaving your data vulnerable.

Proxies have one advantage over a VPN — super-fast connection speeds. However, with no encryption or other security features, you can’t trust a proxy to keep your data private or your activity anonymous. Some proxies even keep logs of your online browsing activity.

Tor is much more secure than a proxy as it passes your traffic through multiple nodes, reducing the chance anything is traced back to you. However, this long journey means Tor is incredibly slow — sometimes so slow that the connection simply fails.

If you value your online privacy, I strongly suggest you use a top-grade VPN or combine Tor with a VPN. With a VPN, your IP address remains hidden, and all your internet traffic is encrypted. The best VPNs, like ExpressVPN, have a tried-and-tested no-logs policy, so none of your browsing history or personal data is collected. Plus, ExpressVPN is compatible with Tor and even has its own .onion site.

What’s the best free VPN?

The best free VPNs are “freemium” services like Proton VPN, but you’ll still face serious limitations. Rather than deal with slow speeds, server restrictions, and bans on streaming, I suggest investing in a premium VPN with fast server speeds and 1000s of servers that works with dozens of international streaming platforms, including Netflix.

While there are some safe free VPNs, most free providers are known to sell your private data and browsing history to earn revenue. Worse still, many untrustworthy free VPNs often contain malware that infects your device to steal sensitive information, such as passwords, banking history, and private photos.

If you only need a VPN for a short time, the best free VPN is actually a premium VPN with a money-back guarantee. For instance, you can use CyberGhost risk-free for 45 days with its money-back guarantee.

It was quick and easy to get a full refund from CyberGhost

As soon as you’re finished with the service, you can easily get a refund by speaking to the customer support team. Getting my money back was simple — I just spoke to customer service over 24/7 live chat, and my refund was processed immediately. Best of all, I got my money back in 5 business days.

Try CyberGhost risk-free today!

Protect Your Device With the Best VPN in 2023

To save you time and frustration, my team and I have rigorously tested more than 150 services to find the top 10 VPNs in 2023. All of the above VPNs have strong security and privacy, solid server networks, and good speeds for browsing, streaming, gaming, and more.

Overall, ExpressVPN is the #1 VPN due to its proven ability to secure your online traffic, bypass geo-blocks, and function in even highly-censored countries like China. It does all this while offering some of the fastest speeds I’ve seen a VPN achieve, on top of an audited server infrastructure that maintains user privacy. But you don’t have to take my word for it — you can try ExpressVPN risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. I think you’ll be happy with the service, but if you’re not satisfied for any reason, you can get a full refund, no questions asked.

Summary: The Best VPNs in 2023

Top Choice
$6.67 / month Save 49%
CyberGhost VPN
$2.11 / month Save 84%
Private Internet Access
$2.19 / month Save 82%
$2.00 / month Save 83%
IPVanish VPN
$2.92 / month Save 76%
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