The best VPN services of 2022

VPN — short for Virtual Private Network — is a privacy tool that helps keep you safe and secure when browsing the internet. You can even use a VPN to stream content you wouldn't typically have access to. Growing more and more popular every year, VPNs are now more mainstream and continue to improve upon some already great tools.

While popular VPNs have different features, most allow you to simply tap a button to connect to a secure, encrypted server, keeping you anonymous and safe — even on sketchy public Wi-Fi networks.

There are literally hundreds of VPN providers from which to choose, but we're here to help take the guesswork out of picking the best VPN for your needs. We'll also help fill you in on how exactly a VPN works, and how to choose the best VPN service for you! 

Best VPN services in 2022 - Top 3 picks

We've completed our latest round of extensive VPN testing, and we're ready to fill you in on what's hot and what's not when it comes to security, privacy and streaming online content. If you're looking to get up and running with little to no fuss, here are our picks for the top three VPN services right now. 

1. ExpressVPN - best VPN service in 2022 (opens in new tab)

1. ExpressVPN - best VPN service in 2022 (opens in new tab)
ExpressVPN has all there is to offer. From fast speeds to security smarts, supreme ease-of-use to 24/7 customer support — and even free cloud backup. It's a little pricier than some of the competition, but you certainly get what you pay for and can even try it for 30-days risk-free to see why we rate it so highly in our extensive testing. 

2. NordVPN - the biggest name in the business (opens in new tab)

2. NordVPN - the biggest name in the business (opens in new tab)
A constant fan favorite, NordVPN offers rapid server speeds, extra privacy perks like 'Double VPN' encryption, and independently audited no-log policy. A very close runner-up to our top pick, NordVPN is jam-packed with features, and, despite the quality on offer, the pricing gets more reasonable if you sign up on a multi-year plan.

3. Surfshark - easy to use VPN that's great value (opens in new tab)

3. Surfshark - easy to use VPN that's great value (opens in new tab)
Having upped their speeds recently, Surfshark keeps giving us reason to recommend. It's still full of features and excellent at unblocking restricted services in 99 countries. At just $2.05 USD per month, it's an insanely reasonably priced option that's super simple to use.

How to choose the best VPN

Finding the right VPN starts by focusing on your main needs. Will you be streaming content? Keep yourself safe online? Doing some gaming? 

Choosing a provider with many locations as well as apps for every platform is a good start, but all that really matters at the end of the day is if it covers the locations and platforms you'll actually be using.

If streaming movies or TV is top priority for you, look for a VPN which unblocks your favorite services like Netflix or iPlayer. Torrent users will obviously want P2P support on as many servers as possible, in addition to an effective kill switch to keep their identity secret, and an audited no-log policy to make sure all of your online activities stay private.

Many VPNs also limit you to connecting a specific number of devices at the same time. If you have multiple mobile devices, laptops, smart TVs or other hardware to protect, you will absolutely want to go for a provider that supports more simultaneous connections — or maybe has no limits at all.

One of the best ways to spot a good (or bad) VPN is to check its support site. Look for lots of detailed and well-written content that you feel would help you in whatever tricky situations you may find yourself in. Live chat support is welcome, too, though not essential. Email support can be surprisingly speedy, with some providers responding in minutes.

And of course, there's price to consider, too, though we'd suggest concentrating on functionality, first. If price is your only concern, take a look at our list of the best cheap VPNs

In short, look for a VPN with everything you want to actually do. That doesn't have to be expensive — there are some great value deals on this list — and you can always use price later to prune your shortlist down to a final choice.

The best VPN services for 2022:

ExpressVPN - the best VPN service 2022 - on a range of devices

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)
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1. ExpressVPN

The best VPN service in 2022 for most users - a 5-star VPN service

Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | Countries: 94 | Simultaneous connections: 5

Easy to run on almost any platform
Apps for almost everything
Speedy VPN servers in 94+ countries
Ultra-reliable kill switch
Expert 24/7 live customer support
Above-average prices
Below-average speeds among top providers

Get TechRadar's #1 rated VPN risk-free and with 3 months extra free (opens in new tab)

With some recent Major network upgrades (1Gbps servers to 10Gbps, 4-core to 20/32), ExpressVPN has everything it takes to lead the way and stay ahead of an insanely strong pack of top VPN providers. Strong core features provide all the power and privacy most people need. It operates 160 locations across 94 countries and reliably unblock nearly everything most users will need. More advanced features are added all the time, its apps are clean and intuitive, and customer service is second to none. 

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Servers, connections and apps: ExpressVPN's 3,000+ server total isn't the highest around, but they're spread across a vast 160 locations over 94 countries (compared to Nord's 80 or Surfshark's 65).

Its top quality apps are a highlight, with ExpressVPN not only supporting Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux, but also having the best app for routers, downloads for Chromebooks, Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire, and straightforward setup guides for just about everything else. Their Mac apps also now run natively on Apple's M1/M2 for maximum performance as well. 

Note that an Express subscription only offers support for five simultaneous connections, which is lower than what most other premium providers offer - the likes of Surfshark and IPVanish going the whole hog with unlimited connections. But five is likely enough for most subscribers, with our own survey data showing only 1 in 10 VPN users actually use more than five

Security and privacy: From tight control over its server setup, to strong encryption, its own secure and (uniquely among VPN providers) open-source Lightway protocol, bulletproof kill switches (Express calls it Network Lock), clear privacy policy and in-depth third-party privacy and security audits, ExpressVPN's comprehensive approach comprehensively betters most of the competition.

Usability: Where ExpressVPN really shines for us, is in its attention to usability details. Most top apps have at least some small irritations — an unsorted list here, wastes time with an extra click there — but the Express developers not only avoid making those mistakes, they come up with smarter workarounds, simplifying tasks and making the whole VPN experience smoother and more straightforward. Its Mac app also now runs natively on M1/M2 silicon, adding much improved performance.

Performance: ExpressVPN download speeds peaked at a somewhat-average 560Mbps in our latest rigorous speed tests. This is down a bit from our previous test (630Mbps), but we're confident it's the kind of speed you can realistically expect to achieve. We've seen other providers more, but realistically, Express is speedy enough for what most users will be doing.

Streaming: If you need your VPN to unblock banned websites or bypass streaming hurdles, we have good news: this is yet another area where ExpressVPN excels. Not only did the service unblock a number of international Netflix catalogs (although sometimes you'll have to try a few different servers before finding one that sticks), Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and BBC iPlayer in our last tests, it's done the same for a very long time - a strong indicator that it'll keep delivering for the foreseeable future.

ExpressVPN being used on a smartphone

ExpressVPN's mobile apps are "likeable, easy to use and deliver the functionality most folks are likely to need" (Image credit: ExpressVPN)
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Features:  ExpressVPN goes above and beyond on the features front, with cutting-edge VPN protocols, secure DNS, leak protection, Network Lock, split tunneling and more - all of which we found to work admirably. Its also expanded to hardware with the Aircove router.

There are some unusual but simple touches, such as a configurable toolbar which launches your favorite apps or websites from the ExpressVPN app (no more fumbling around with your browser or the Windows Start menu). And there's almost always something shiny and new to add to the list on every review, including the tracker and malware-blocking Threat Manager, and a Parallel Connections feature to reduce connection times.

Customer support:  There are several factors that make for quality VPN support, and ExpressVPN succeeds with them all. The support site is crammed with clear and detailed articles covering just about every question you might have. They include genuinely useful information; for instance, instead of saying 'try another protocol' to get better speeds, they list all possible protocols in the best-performing order, exactly what you need to know. Smart website organization ensures it's easy to find what you need. There's live chat if the support site can't help, and we found replies to our queries to be speedy, with knowledgeable agents generally doing an excellent job of answering our questions like what servers are best to use for different streaming services. 

Price: ExpressVPN is still more expensive than most other providers. Yes, you're paying more, but you can also clearly see where the money is going: consistent speeds, better features, regular app updates, reliable unblocking, and genuinely helpful live chat support. 

Anything else?: It would be remiss of us not to talk about ExpressVPN's rather 'exciting' week in August 2021. First, it announced that it had been acquired by Kape Technologies, the company that owns CyberGhost and PIA below and has a somewhat controversial history. Then a couple of days later, it was revealed that its CIO had been fined for previous hacking allegations. TechRadar's view is that neither incident feels particularly major - although we understand why they rattled a few cages in the VPN world - and we don't see any current reason to stop recommending this provider on this basis.

Should you get it: ExpressVPN may not quite top the charts in every single aspect (price being the main bugbear, with speeds slower than in the past), but it more than delivers for all the most important areas. And what really stands out is the all-round quality and huge attention to detail, ensuring you get a rock-solid and ultra-reliable service which does the maximum possible to protect your privacy online. Our only 5-star VPN service. 


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2. NordVPN

NordVPN is a close second thanks to eye-catching security features

Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 5,500+ | Server locations: 80+ | Countries: 60 | Simultaneous connections: 6

Unparalleled security smarts
Reliable unblocking
High-speed NordLynx protocol
New Meshnet secure network
User experience could still be improved
Some features need a bit of work

It may have been fractionally edged into second place in our rankings again, but there's still plenty to love about NordVPN. It's fast (up to 820Mbps from 760Mbps), immensely powerful, remains a significant value, and goes above and beyond to prove its privacy credentials in every area, making the service an obvious choice for your VPN shortlist. 

Servers, connections and apps: Nord actually betters ExpressVPN on pure server count, cranking things up to an eye-watering 5,000+. It doesn't cover quite as many countries, but it's likely NordVPN has servers in all the regions you're going to need. It allows up to six simultaneous connections, so one better than ExpressVPN, but many other providers including Surfshark and Windscribe have no connection limits.

A capable set of apps covers you for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chromebooks, Android TV and more. Welcome extras include browser extensions for Edge, as well as Chrome and Firefox, and the ability to set up NordVPN on compatible routers allows using the service with just about anything. The Windows app has usability improvements as well that include a new "raise ticket" screen. 

Security and privacy: NordVPN has always had plenty of security features, but the company moved into overdrive after its data breach of a few years ago, and it’s since added layer after layer of privacy-protecting features and technologies. You don't have to take NordVPN's word on its abilities, either, because it now brings in PricewaterhouseCoopers annually to carry out a thorough independent audit of its no-logging policy.

Nord owns and manages many of its servers, for instance, ensuring others can't access them. Apps use only the most secure protocols with strong AES-256 encryption, and they're crammed with high-end privacy features. Double VPN (known as multihop elsewhere) routes your traffic through two servers for extra security, secure DNS shields your browsing, a reliable kill switch protects you even if the VPN fails, and Nord still can scan downloads for malware with its (somewhat limited) Threat Protection feature.

Performance:  NordVPN has developed its own custom version of WireGuard called NordLynx. The results are impressive, with connection speeds reaching a well above average 820Mbps in our latest review, and a peak of 880Mbps in previous tests. That's not quite the best we've ever seen — a handful of providers have reached 900-950Mbps — but it's still a great performer, with more than enough power for most devices and connections. 

Usability:  You don't reach number two in our charts by making major usability mistakes, and for the most part, NordVPN is a doozy to set up and operate. But we noticed some small areas where the apps weren't quite as polished as the competition. No Favorites on the Windows app; recents uses only icons, not names; longer than average OpenVPN connection times; disconnects which take two clicks, instead of one; you get the idea. Minor points, and they don't make these bad apps: generally, they're good. But we can't ignore these details at this level, either, because they're part of what makes the difference between a good VPN, and a great one.

NordVPN being used on a Windows laptop

NordVPN's map-based interface is excellent on laptops, but we think it gets a bit cluttered on the mobile phone apps (Image credit: NordVPN)
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Streaming: NordVPN has traditionally been a strong tool for unblocking a wide variety of apps and streaming services, including WhatsApp, YouTube, Disney Plus, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, C4, 9Now and more. 

Features:  Nord has Meshnet, a secure link to devices anywhere in the world through encrypted NordVPN connections. This is another value-added feature to the already extensive list. We've noted some of NordVPN's security features already, but other benefits include strong DNS leak protection, two ultra-reliable kill switches (system-wide and application-specific), and support for paying by crypto as well as PayPal and cards. 

Customer support:  It's rare that NordVPN causes us any technical troubles, but if you do run into problems, there are plenty of in-depth tutorials and troubleshooting articles (many are available in multiple languages, sometimes eight or more). And there's always the intelligent chatbot and helpful, experienced live chat support on hand 24/7 in case of real emergencies.

Price: NordVPN's monthly billed plans are a little more expensive than some, but the annual offering is good value for what you're getting. If you're keen on signing up, though, the two-year offer (see below) beats most providers for the first term. If you want to give the service a whirl before you commit, NordVPN provides a 30-day money-back guarantee. Do note that their renewal prices are a bit above average, however.

Should you get it:  NordVPN's apps don't quite have the polish and attention to detail of ExpressVPN, but the margins are tiny. And if raw speed or low prices are your top priorities, then it just might be a smarter choice.


Surfshark VPN working on several devices

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3. Surfshark

Excellent, great value VPN service that scores well in every area

Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 3,200 | Server locations: 100+ | Countries: 99 | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited

Eye-catching prices
Unlimited connections
Pause VPN feature
Apps can look a little complicated
Below-par OpenVPN speeds
Windows kill switch still buggy

Head to the Surfshark website, and the very first thing you'll notice is its market-busting headline price. There really is a spectacular deal here, but don't focus just on the dollars and cents... Surfshark has so much more to offer.

Servers, connections and apps:  Surfshark's network has 3,200 servers, not quite as many as some, but with 100+ locations in 99+ countries, there's an excellent chance it covers the regions you need. A wide range of apps enables accessing the network from Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS devices, along with Amazon Fire and other smart TVs. And unlike most of the competition, there's no need to keep track of the hardware you've got connected at one time because Surfshark doesn't have any connection or device limits.

Security and privacy: Surfshark's apps more than cover the VPN privacy basics: secure protocols (WireGuard, OpenVPN), strong encryption, and a kill switch to prevent exposing your traffic if the VPN drops. But that's just the start. The service also uses private DNS to shield your browsing activities, and Multi-Hop VPN to make it even more difficult for others to track you, while ad, tracker and malware-blocking keeps other privacy-busting dangers at bay.

Performance: Speeds haven't been a Surfshark highlight in the past, but we saw a very positive change in the latest review, with WireGuard-powered downloads peaking at an excellent 950Mbps, up from the 790Mbps of our past testing. OpenVPN was sluggish by comparison at around 150Mbps. That probably won't be an issue if you're accessing Surfshark from the standard apps (you'll just set them to use WireGuard), but it might affect you if you're installing Surfshark on a router or hoping to use it with a third-party app.

Usability: Surfshark's apps look a little more complex than the competition, with tabs, sidebars and buttons to explore. But that's no real surprise when they have so many features, and with one or two small usability exceptions (the Windows VPN app doesn't sort cities alphabetically), they're simple enough to operate. The Linux app is now full GUI as well, which is a welcome update. 

What's more, some of Surfshark's features can do a lot to make your life easier. If you only need to use a VPN for browsing, streaming, maybe P2P, set that up in Surfshark's Bypasser and everything else will use your regular connection: simple.

Surfshark on a smartphone

Our review describes Surfshark's apps as "impressive, well implemented, straightforward to use, and a refreshing change for anyone tired of losing VPN functionality on mobile devices" (Image credit: Pixabay)
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Streaming: If you're tired of streaming services preventing you accessing overseas content, Surfshark can help. It immediately got us into US, UK, Australian, Japanese and Canadian Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, C4, 9Now, and BBC iPlayer. 

Customer support: If you need help setting up Surfshark, or if it's not quite as you expected, the support site is on hand to help. It doesn't quite have the depth we see from the two above providers, but the articles you do get are hugely detailed. Open a 'How to install' guide with some VPNs, and you'll get little more than 'go to this app store link and install it as usual.' Do that at Surfshark, and you'll get screenshots for every single installation step, detailed guidance on using all the app's main features, links to other relevant articles, even a video tutorial if you'd prefer.

Or, if that sounds too much like hard work, you could just open a live chat session. We're usually talking to an agent in a minute or two, and most of our test questions had helpful and accurate replies right away.

Price: While Surfshark's monthly billed plan isn't as cheap as some others, sign up for the two-year deal and the effective monthly cost comes in at just $2.05 —that's spectacular value for what you're getting in total here.

Anything else?: Surfshark has begun to roll out Surfshark Nexus, a clever new networking technology which the company says will allow it to add new privacy features, and 'stabilize and speed up your VPN connection.' These features will appear throughout 2022 and 2023, so we can't give any verdict on Nexus, but it's good to see a provider so focused on finding new and innovative ways to improve the service. 

Should you get it:  A VPN service doesn't make our top three without being a wonderful choice, and our small Surfshark niggles are unlikely to put off many potential buyers. This is an excellent VPN, and if price is top of your priority list, it just might be the best choice around. 


PIA on a range of devices

(Image credit: Private Internet Access)
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4. Private Internet Access

Strong all-round VPN that keeps on improving and for a great price

Streaming sites unblocked: US Netflix, Amazon, Disney | 24/7 support: Yes | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 10,000+ | Server locations: 100+ | Countries: 84 | Simultaneous connections: 10

So many servers
Dedicated IPs available
Loads of genuinely useful features
Still no security audit
Overwhelming apps

Choosing a VPN on price can lead to trouble because the cheapest VPNs often cut major corners to hit those headline figures. But Private Internet Access (PIA for short) is a rare exception. It somehow manages to offer amazingly low prices, but without compromising on what is a feature-packed premium service.

Servers, connections and apps: PIA more than delivers on the network basics, with a huge 10,000 high-speed servers well distributed across 84 countries. Platform support is more standard (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux), but the Chrome extension stands out for its cookie-blocking and other bonus privacy tools. Whatever you're using, a generous 10 device limit enables connecting more of your devices to PIA at the same time.

Security and privacy: PIA preserves your privacy by using the highly secure OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, while its MACE feature keeps ads, trackers and malware at bay (blocked 111/150 trackers, 217/1650 brand new malicious links). The company has open-sourced its apps, too, allowing interested to check the code and confirm it works as advertised. There's still no widespread service audit, yet, but we hear there's something on the way.

Performance: In the past, speed wasn't the greatest, but this time around it certainly earns back some points. Our latest testing shows WireGuard speeds up to 450-510Mbps from the 200-250Mbps at last check. But let's be realistic, too. Although speed may be a problem for gaming, downloading or using other speed-critical applications, if you're mostly browsing or streaming, then PIA should be more than fast enough.

Usability: PIA's apps have a huge number of features, and the mass of panels can look cluttered and be very overwhelming to some users. But unusually, you can configure them to highlight your favorite features and hide everything else you don't care about. It's the best of all worlds: experts get the power they need, while anyone looking for simplicity can cut the app down to little more than a simple connect button.

Private Internet Access Server Locations

Private Internet Access claims to have over 10,000 servers around the world - that's way more than any other premium consumer VPN (Image credit: Private Internet Access)
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Streaming: PIA’s fit the standard fare of unblocking, the service allowed us to access Netflix in various regions, Amazon Prime Video, iPlayer, C4, 9Now and Disney Plus. 

Customer support: PIA has an average support site, and if it can't answer your questions, you're now able to immediately ask a member of the support team via live chat. In our experience, friendly and knowledgeable agents respond within a minute or two, pay close attention to the question, and have the knowledge and experience to diagnose tricky problems and deliver accurate and insightful advice.

Price: If you're impressed by PIA's functionality, then so are we, but what's truly outstanding is that all this can be yours for a fraction of the cost of the competition. Their monthly plan has jumped up a few dollars, but these aren't headline prices which double on renewal, either — they're just great value.

Anything else? Many providers develop lengthy lists of clever features, but sign up, and you discover many are only available on Windows. PIA? Not so much. Its Mac and iOS apps have a host of options and settings, and the Android VPN app is more powerful than some providers' desktop editions.

Should you get it: PIA's below par speeds might be an issue for the most demanding users. But for everyone else, the service delivers a huge amount of power — yet is still very accessible to VPN newcomers — and has some of the best value plans around. 


Proton VPN interface for various platforms

(Image credit: Proton VPN)
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5. Proton VPN

Feature-filled VPN with a great free version you can try

Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: No | Refund period: 30 days - free version available | Number of servers: 1,700+ | Server locations: 85+ | Countries: 63 | Simultaneous connections: 10

Open-source apps
Free plan with unlimited bandwidth
100+ servers on free plan
Improving speeds and coverage
More expensive than most
Customer support needs improvement
WireGuard Windows connection time is slower than most

Proton VPN, whose network, apps, streaming scores, performance, support and more have all seen major leaps forward recently, continues to shine in our extensive testing. With a great free plan, open-source apps and wide network coverage, it is still one of the top VPN providers for a number of reasons.

Servers, connections and apps: Proton VPN's network has exploded in size from a few hundred servers in 14 countries just a few years ago, to a way more competitive 1,750+ servers across 63 countries today. You can access these servers via a wide range of apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV and Chromebook. And a generous ten device limit — more than the likes of Express or Nord — means it's likely you can connect and use all your hardware at the same time.

Security and privacy: Trust is important when you're choosing a VPN provider, and Proton VPN does more than most to reassure you that your privacy is safe in its hands. You can pay anonymously via Bitcoin, even cash. Proton VPN's apps are open-source, allowing anyone to inspect the code, and they've been independently audited, too.

Technical privacy and security features start with strong encryption and the best protocols (WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2.) MultiHop VPN passes your traffic through several VPN servers for extra safety, and a rock-solid kill switch keeps your identity safe if the VPN drops.

Performance: Proton VPN works to maximize performance with support for the speedy WireGuard protocol and some clever low-level technologies of its own, like the VPN accelerator that applies all kinds of ingenious Windows tweaks to optimize your connection.

Our test results saw Proton VPN peak at an above-average 510Mbps (down from 670Mbps) for WireGuard. Not quite top ten material, but more than fast enough for most people, and a well above average 440Mbps with OpenVPN.

Usability: Proton VPN's apps display their locations on a well-designed map, where you can pan around, zoom in and just click (or tap) to connect. The location list isn't quite as well organized, and the sheer number of features might occasionally confuse newbies, but spend a few minutes exploring, and you'll quickly feel at home.

Proton VPN being used on a Windows laptop

We found Proton VPN's clients to be "dependable, with only one connection drop during testing" (Image credit: Proton VPN)
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Streaming: Proton VPN may focus on its privacy-protecting abilities, but it also knows how to have fun. In our latest tests it allowed us hassle-free access to content from US, UK, Aussie and Canadian Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and BBC iPlayer. It's probably obvious, but it's worth noting that streaming capabilities only come with Proton's paid-for Plus plan, and not with its free tier.

Customer support: Proton VPN's support site still has some overly complicated articles, and although the company has added live chat, agents aren't always available. When you can hold of someone, though, we've found them to offer top-notch advice, and email questions usually get helpful replies within a few hours.

Price: Proton VPN's full-featured Plus plan, with everything we've described here, is relatively expensive. At the time of writing, it costs around $5 a month with its longer-term plan.

Anything else? Want to give some of the features a try? Its market leading free VPN now has over 100 servers in three countries and doesn't have any bandwidth limits, making it an excellent way to sample the apps and see how the service works for you.

Proton VPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, but there's a gotcha: you only get a refund for your unused subscription time. Ask for your money after 15 days, for example, and you'll only get 50% of your fee.

Should you get it: Proton VPN isn't cheap, but it's open and superbly transparent, with plenty of features and great unblocking abilities. It these are your priorities, too, we'd recommend you take a look.


Windscribe logo on a laptop screen

(Image credit: Shutterstock)
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6. Windscribe

Trusted name in VPN world that you can try for free

Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: No | Refund period: 3 days - free version available | Number of servers: 400+ | Server locations: 110+ | Countries: 66+ | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited

Unlimited device connections
Crammed with advanced features
10 GB a month free plan
Open-source apps
No 24/7 live chat support
No security audit

Windscribe is a capable Canadian VPN with a stack of interesting features, and plenty of appeal for just about every type of user.

Lots of hardware to protect? There are stylish open-source apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Linux, along with powerful browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. A subscription covers unlimited devices, too, so you can likely connect your entire home with one Windscribe plan.

If streaming overseas content is a priority, you'll love Windscribe's ability to unblock US Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus and BBC iPlayer. Notably in our latest test we were unable to unblock Netflix Japan, however. 

Experts get access to unusual advanced features. Windscribe doesn't just have basic ad blocking, for instance; it can also block trackers, malware, fake news, porn sites and more, and you can configure every detail to get the precise protection you need.

Contrary to our last test, Windscribe's speeds were up to 700Mbps from 490Mbps, pushing them further up in our rankings.

There's no 24/7 live chat support, unfortunately, although you can send emails or use the company's own Subreddit. And although Windscribe has taken a big transparency step recently by open-sourcing its desktop apps, we'd like to see it go further by putting the service through an independent security audit.

Should you get it: Windscribe has some issues, but it is still a significant value, and experts in particular get plenty of interesting features to explore. What’s more, the free plan gives you 10 GB a month and access to all the main features, so if you’re tempted, you can try the service out right now, risk-free, to see what it can do for you. 


IPVanish - Best VPN

(Image credit: IPVanish)
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7. IPVanish

Solid, speedy VPN solution

Streaming sites unblocked: US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney | 24/7 support: Yes | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 2,000+ | Server locations: 75+ | Countries: 50+ | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited

Blistering WireGuard-powered performance
Passed a no-logs audit
Unlimited simultaneous connections
Desktop apps have some usability issues
Below-part OpenVPN speeds
Doesn't unblock Netflix AU or CA

IPVanish is a capable VPN which delivers more than you’d expect in several important areas, but also stands a bit lacking in some others. The company doesn’t just rent its 2,000+ servers: it owns them, for maximum control over how they’re managed. There are no device limits, so you can have as many simultaneous connections as you need. And it’s just passed a no-logs audit, a reassuring sign that the company is properly protecting your privacy

The desktop apps stand out for their intuitive and easy-to-use map interface — though it appears to have fewer features than it did in previous testing — while a capable kill switch is on hand to protect you if the VPN drops, and the hyperefficient WireGuard protocol is available on all platforms. IPVanish makes the most of it, too, with blistering test results earning it a place in our top five fastest VPNs.

The service currently unblocks US Netflix (only, we found that it struggles with other territories), BBC iPlayer, C4, ITV, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video. No luck with Netflix in Canada or Australia, however. 

Although the apps are stuffed with features, we think this can make for a cluttered interface, and the desktop editions have some usability issues. Nothing major, they're just not quite as polished as we'd like.

It's a similar story elsewhere, with IPVanish delivering where it matters in most areas, but with a few small issues just spoiling the effect. WireGuard speeds are lower than before (720Mbps down from 890Mbps) and as we've mentioned, OpenVPN is also below par. Live chat support is ultra-helpful, but the support site can't match the best. And while the prices are fair, you can't pay by Bitcoin.

Should you get it: IPVanish could be a smart choice for anyone who has a lot of hardware to protect and can use its eye-popping WireGuard speeds, at least as long as they're not concerned about the occasional unblocking issue. The 30-day refund period gives you a risk-free way to find out more, but beware, it's for annual plans only: monthly billed users aren't covered. 


CyberGhost - best VPN

(Image credit: CyberGhost)
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8. CyberGhost

Feature-packed VPN with impressive configurability

Streaming sites unblocked: US Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Refund period: 45 days | Number of servers: 8,900+ | Server locations: 115+ | Countries: 91 | Simultaneous connections: 7

Above-average WireGuard speeds
Can be used on almost anything
Great for streamers
45-day money-back guarantee
No security audit
Potentially annoying device limit scheme
Support site isn't the best

CyberGhost has a mighty network of around 7,000-8,000 mostly torrent-friendly servers is spread across an impressive 115 countries, for instance. There are apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV and other smart TVs, and Smart DNS support allows you to set it up on games consoles, too.

Although the apps are generally powerful, they have one or two very basic omissions. The Windows app still doesn't display a notification when it connects or disconnects, for instance, so unless you're looking at the app window, you won't know for sure when you're connected or if the VPN drops.

Streaming proved another highlight, as CyberGhost effortlessly unblocked US Netflix (but unsuccessfully in catalogs further afield), Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. CyberGhost did fail to unblock Disney Plus and UK Netflix this time around, however. The apps also have specialist locations for streaming Hulu, HBO Max, and more.

CyberGhost's 'maximum speed' is impressive, but notably lower than our previous testing, with WireGuard connections sitting around 730Mbps (down from 850Mbps) in our most recent tests, and OpenVPN reaching 400Mbps and more. Pricing is also a bit high for monthly plans, but sub-$2.50 a month if you're willing to commit for three years, exceptional value for what you're getting.

Should you get it: CyberGhost gets way more right than it gets wrong. The support site isn't as helpful or detailed as we'd expect, but if speed and streaming are your top priorities, and you can live with the device limit scheme, then it's well worth a closer look. 


Mullvad VPN working on a laptop

(Image credit: Mullvad)
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9. Mullvad

A fast VPN that prioritizes security over streaming

Streaming sites unblocked: None | 24/7 support: No | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: 800+ | Server locations: 68 | Countries: 38 | Simultaneous connections: 5

Sign up without handing over any personal information
Super-fast speeds
App and infrastructure audits
Not designed for streamers
Apps could use some improvement

Every VPN claims it cares about privacy, but Mullvad goes further than most. You can open an account without handing over any personal details, for instance, then pay by crypto, or even post a cash-stuffed envelope (no, seriously!) ensuring the company knows nothing about you at all.

Mullvad scores for transparency, too, putting its entire infrastructure - apps, servers, websites and more - through comprehensive security audits, and promising to repeat these regularly.

It's not all good news, though. The apps are a little basic in many areas; Mullvad couldn't unblock US Netflix or any of our other test streaming sites; there's no live chat or 24/7 support; its single 5 Euros a month plan is great if you're happy with monthly billing, but there's no discount if you're happy to sign up for longer.

If performance is your top priority, though, Mullvad's 770Mbps (down from 820Mbps at last testing) peak speed is nearly twice some of the competition. Valuable features include port forwarding, reliable kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a variety of stealth options. The apps are top-quality, too, fully leak-free and with a rock-solid kill switch keeping us safe in every situation.

Should you get it: Feeble unblocking and basic support means this isn't a VPN for the average user. High speeds and excellent privacy make Mullvad a solid pick for P2P, though, or for anyone who's looking to maintain the maximum anonymity online.