The best VPN service in 2024

With so many scams and hackers knocking about, the best VPN apps in 2024 have quickly become the must-have tool to keep you safe online. Don't let the technical name and nature fool you, though. VPN apps are incredibly straightforward, and unblock your favorite shows around the world.

But don't think any old VPN will do the trick. Most promise the world, claiming total anonymity, security, and access to everything everywhere. Honestly, most of these are scams. At TechRadar, we have more than 15 years of experience between us, and spend over 3,000 hours testing VPN services every year—including 28,000 speed tests, 2,200 stream unblocking tests and hundreds of VPN review updates.

If you're looking for the top VPN services on the market, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark lead the way. But each offers different experiences, pricing, and features. Let's take a look at how their security, unblocking performance, speeds, ease of use, and pricing compare. For in-depth analysis, as well as a look into how I test VPNs, what you should consider when buying one, and the most common VPN questions I get asked, keep reading.

The three best VPNs in 2024

Want a quick answer? Here are the three best VPN services right now: 

1. The best VPN service around: NordVPN
NordVPN is the best VPN on the market right now. With easy-to-use apps and some of the fastest speeds in the industry, it unblocked every streaming service in every region I tested, every single time. NordVPN is incredibly cheap, from just $3.09 per month30-day money-back guarantee

1. The best VPN service around: NordVPN
NordVPN is the best VPN on the market right now. With easy-to-use apps and some of the fastest speeds in the industry, it unblocked every streaming service in every region I tested, every single time. NordVPN is incredibly cheap, from just $3.09 per month, and for just a bit more, you can upgrade your subscription to include everything from a password manager to cyber insurance—helping you recover if you're the victim of a scam or identity theft. See for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee and get a free month of protection from the number one VPN app in 2024.

2. The best for beginners: ExpressVPN
If you just want a VPN that does everything for you, ExpressVPN offers the simplest apps in the industry. However, that ease of use comes at double the cost of NordVPN, from $6.67 per month30-day money-back guarantee

2. The best for beginners: ExpressVPN
If you just want a VPN that does everything for you, ExpressVPN offers the simplest apps in the industry. However, that ease of use comes at double the cost of NordVPN, from $6.67 per month. With one-click connect, you automatically get the fastest, most secure connection. If you want to see how the two compare, take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee, and get a second month of protection without risking a penny.

3. The best cheap VPN: Surfshark
If you want a VPN that's as high-quality as it is budget-friendly, check out Surfshark. My testing showed that it's the fastest VPN on the market, and it unblocks every leading streaming service. Best of all, Surfshark costs just $2.29 per month30-day money-back guarantee

3. The best cheap VPN: Surfshark
If you want a VPN that's as high-quality as it is budget-friendly, check out Surfshark. My testing showed that it's the fastest VPN on the market, and it unblocks every leading streaming service. Best of all, Surfshark costs just $2.29 per month, including an alternative ID and email generator. If you want, you can upgrade to get real-time credit card, email, and data breach alerts. Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, too.

Find the one that suits you best: get a three months of free protection and compare the best VPNs on the market without committing to any of them.

Recent updates

In the biggest shake-up for six years, ExpressVPN was dethroned by NordVPN for first place, as the big-name brand matches its sheer wealth of features with immense quality and customizable pricing options. If you want to see the data yourself, check out my latest VPN test results.

The best VPN services in 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

In the biggest shake-up for six years, ExpressVPN was dethroned by NordVPN for first place, as the big-name brand matches its sheer wealth of features with immense quality and customizable pricing options. If you want to see the data yourself, check out my latest VPN test results for more.

The best VPN overall

NordVPN apps working on mobile, PC, tablet, and other devicesTechRadar Editor's Choice award logo

1. NordVPN

Plenty of security tools, simple apps, and amazing performance

Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Channel 4, 9Now, 10 play | Available on: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux (CLI), routers and more | 24/7 support: Yes | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: over 6,100 | Server locations: 140 | Countries: 110 | Simultaneous connections: 10

Packed with great features
Reliable Netflix unblocking
One of the fastest VPNs around
Customizable pricing plans
Easy to use
Not great for advanced users
Fewer server locations than ExpressVPN
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want an all-in-one security suite: NordVPN offers everything from malware protection and ad blocking to cyber insurance for identity theft and fraud.

✔️ You want a Netflix VPN: with consistently perfect scores in our streaming tests, NordVPN's Meshnet feature means you can get around household detection and watch your favorite shows abroad.

✔️ You want a blend of quality and cost: NordVPN offers plenty of features, amazing speeds, and additional security tools, all at a mid-range cost.

Don't subscribe if:

❌ You want lots of granular control: NordVPN's apps require a few extra clicks on hamburger menus here and there for manual configurations. Good for beginners, but an inconvenience if you want a specific and nuanced setup.

❌ You want servers everywhere: with 140 locations available, you get a lot of options, but not as many as ExpressVPN.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 NordVPN strikes the perfect balance between security, usability, performance, and unblocking capability, all while offering exceptional customization. Try for yourself and see why it's the best VPN in 2024 with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth NordVPN review for a closer look at the top VPN in all its glory.

NordVPN tops my chart as the best VPN in 2024 thanks to its perfect blend of high-quality features, easy-to-use apps, reliable performance, and exceptional prices. Take advantage of one of the best streaming VPNs, and see for yourself why it's my go-to pick right now.

With automated connections and simplified user interfaces, you simply pick where you want to connect to, and NordVPN instantly finds the best connection for you—meaning you don't have to manually configure your servers. On top of that, NordVPN also offers its NordPass password manager, data breach scanner, and NordLocker secure cloud storage to users on the Complete plan.

Try NordVPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

With NordVPN's Meshnet feature, you can create secure private networks in your own home and protect as many as 60 devices at any one time. This makes it perfect for getting around household detection when you want to share your passwords. NordVPN even offers free Meshnet for all users—most companies would charge a premium on top of the regular subscription fees for a service like that.

The apps are designed to be simple and to deter people from accidentally misconfiguring their VPN setup. One of my favorite features is NordVPN's split tunneling suggestions. When the service knows an app won't play nicely with the VPN, it'll give you the option to split tunnel it and let it run outside of the VPN connection.

For example, on my phone (Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra) it recommended adding Android Auto to split tunneling because it can block your phone from connecting to your car if it detects a VPN connection. Putting aside my grievances with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for not accepting the need for a VPN, this is a helpful tool that makes using a VPN easier and better for everyone.

With customizable pricing plans, you only pay for what you want to use, meaning NordVPN is an amazing option for people who want an all-in-one security solution to cut the cost of their current subscriptions. Even if you're just after a Netflix VPN that goes the extra mile to keep your device secure, NordVPN is an excellent value-for-money option that doesn't skimp on quality or functionality.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
NordVPN test results:
AttributesNotesRating
DesignApps have a novelty that provides a more visually entertaining user experience⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useGood for new users, but more work is needed to make it easier to set up advanced configurations⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOne of the fastest VPNs on the market, maxing out my testing line⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnblocked everything we threw at it, every time we tried⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyA privacy-first approach that's supported with clear investment in improving the security of its apps⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportFriendly, supportive and professional⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceFantastic value for money⭐⭐⭐⭐

The best VPN for beginners

ExpressVPN, running on Windows, Mac, tablet, iPhone, Android, router, and AppleTV

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

2. ExpressVPN

High-quality, and perfect for anyone new to VPNs

Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Hulu, ITVX, Channel 4, 9Now, 10 play | Available on: Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, Linux (command-line only), Routers, almost everything else | 24/7 support: Yes | Refund period: 30 days | Number of servers: over 3,200 | Server locations: 160 | Countries: 94 | Simultaneous connections: 8

Easy to use for beginners
Apps for almost everything
Fast servers in over 94 countries
Ultra-reliable security features
Expert 24/7 live customer support
An expensive choice
Not as fast as NordVPN or Surfshark
Recent DNS leak (now fixed)
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want a VPN that you can set and forget: ExpressVPN's auto-connect feature means that you connect once, and you're always protected.

✔️ You're wanting to access content everywhere: with over 160 locations around the world to choose from, you'll be able to access local content no matter where you are.

✔️ You need a VPN you can trust with your life: between ExpressVPN's regular audits and no-logs policy, you can be certain your information is safe from oppressive regimes.

Don't subscribe if:

 You're on a strict budget: in a cost-of-living crisis, ExpressVPN is an expensive choice. If you can't afford its prices, we'd recommend looking towards NordVPN or Surfshark.

❌ You need a full security suite: ExpressVPN prides itself on being one of the best VPNs, and that's where it focuses its attention. If you need an all-in-one solution with built-in antivirus capabilities, Express may not be the right pick for you.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 ExpressVPN strikes the perfect balance between security, usability, performance, and unblocking capability, all while offering a simple and easy-to-use app. Try for yourself and see why it's one of my favorite picks with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth ExpressVPN review for a closer look at the service, and see why it's our top VPN for beginners.

ExpressVPN previously topped my list as the best VPN on the market because of the way it automates all of those complicated configurations that most other apps would have you do manually. However, its high price point, limited toolkit, and a recent DNS leak (now fixed) meant that NordVPN was able to dethrone them after six years in first place.

Everything is laid out in a simple and clear design that makes it great for beginners. With one-click connect, you just tap the power button and you're instantly protected. ExpressVPN also shows suggested servers for the fastest connection, as well as your recent connection history and amount of time protected.

Try ExpressVPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

If you're looking to access content abroad, ExpressVPN's server library is enormous. With 160 locations across 94 countries, that's more than almost any other provider. Whether you're wanting to watch the latest series on HBO Max or stream your favorite shows on BBC iPlayer, ExpressVPN has plenty of servers in the US and UK. 

ExpressVPN is always there to offer support—with teams available 24/7. In my personal testing, I found ExpressVPN had issues split tunneling Android Auto in my car, which meant it occasionally wouldn't work. After relaying this information to ExpressVPN, the devs pushed out a new update, almost immediately, to fix the issue and ensure Android Auto was detectable in the split tunneling list.

ExpressVPN offers some amazing speeds, but it does have its drawbacks. Unfortunately, it's not as fast as NordVPN or Surfshark, which both maxed out our tests. However, the speeds it does offer (410 Mbps) are still over 15 times what you'd need for streaming in 4K ultra-high-definition and gaming online. If you just want an app you can set and forget, ExpressVPN is perfect. Plus, it comes with a built-in password manager and Threat Manager to keep your security simple.

Be sure to set up the auto-connect and kill switch functions if you want to make sure your device and data are protected at all times. This means that even if your VPN connection is interrupted, your data will still be protected, and you won't accidentally reveal what you were doing online. I use it on my phone so I know I'm always protected when I'm out and about.

For the everyday user, ExpressVPN will go above and beyond your needs to protect your device and data. It's the best VPN for most use cases, and focuses on providing a service that people can trust with their lives—and many of its users do. With so many high-quality security features, ExpressVPN gives genuine peace of mind while you're using the internet.