The best VPN service in 2024

A virtual private network (VPN) is a privacy tool that protects your device and information when you're online. The best VPNs encrypt your data and route it through a secure server—giving you a new IP address, and making it appear as though you're in a location of your choosing. This makes it easier to unblock streaming services and restricted content abroad whilst hiding your internet usage from cyber criminals, internet providers, and even governments.

However, there are hundreds of VPN providers to choose from, and unfortunately, most of them don't offer the privacy and security you need. In TechRadar's 15 years online, our experts have tested and reviewed over 100 VPN services, and in the past three years, I've found countless providers that don't meet our standards.

To help you choose which one is worth your hard-earned cash, I've compared the technical security, privacy policies, features, unblocking capabilities, speed, server locations, and (most importantly) the value for money of the best services to curate this list of the top VPNs.

Written by
Andreas Theodorou Editor-in-Chief Tech Software
Written by
Andreas Theodorou (MRes, BA)

As a digital privacy advocate and expert, he's spent the past four years leveraging his master's degree to research VPNs, cryptography, and other cybersecurity topics.

The three best VPNs in 2024

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

1. The best overall VPN service: ExpressVPN

1. The best overall VPN service: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN holds the crown for the best VPN around because it automates all of the difficult processes that most other apps would make you do manually. This isn't some default setting like a lot of the competition, Express configures your setup in real time to give you the safest, fastest connection in the blink of an eye. Express blows me away in every aspect of my testing.

It may seem pricier than Nord and Surfshark, but if you want the absolute best, it more than makes up for it by offering a password manager, a year of unlimited cloud storage, alongside three months of extra protection for free on a 12-month subscription. 

See for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can put it to the test without risking a penny.

↪ Read more in my ExpressVPN deep dive

2. The fastest VPN around: NordVPN

2. The fastest VPN around: NordVPN
NordVPN offers an all-in-one VPN solution with built-in ad blocking and malware protection as standard. Combine that with rapid server speeds, lots of customization, and fantastic features, and you can see why it's a close runner-up to ExpressVPN. 

It currently tops my list as the best VPN for Netflix, and as the service turns 12 years old, Nord is offering TechRadar readers 67% off and a free Uber Eats voucher so take advantage of NordVPN's, 30-day money-back guarantee and see how it compares to ExpressVPN risk-free.

↪ Read more in my NordVPN deep dive

3. The best cheap VPN: Surfshark

3. The best cheap VPN: Surfshark
Surfshark keeps giving us reasons to recommend it. It's a high-value, low-cost option that's easy to use, packed with security features, and easily unblocks restricted content abroad. 

With servers in over 100 countries, you can stream your favorite shows from almost anywhere. Best of all, Surfshark costs just $2.29 per month, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, too.

↪ Read more in my Surfshark deep dive

Recent updates

My latest in-depth VPN tests are finally finished, so keep checking back to see how our latest VPN test results have shaken up our rankings.

What are 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.

See how my top picks compare in the following analysis and reviews as I discuss reasons to subscribe, reasons to avoid, my testing results, what I liked about each provider, and how they compare with one another.

The best VPN overall

ExpressVPN, the best VPN, running on Windows, Mac, tablet, iPhone, Android, router, and AppleTVTechRadar Editor's Choice award logo

1. ExpressVPN

High-quality, and perfect for beginners

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
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 the best VPN, 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: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 ExpressVPN strikes the perfect balance between security, usability, performance, and unblocking capability, all while offering exceptional customization. Try for yourself and see why it's our #1 pick 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 pick for 2024.

ExpressVPN tops 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. 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.

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 (750 Mbps) are still over 30 times what you'd need for streaming in 4K ultra-high-definition and gaming online.

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.

ExpressVPN is our top pick for the best VPN overall because of the sheer quality of its service. 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.

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ExpressVPN test results:
AttributesNotesRating
DesignA clean and simple design that gives you everything you need, exactly when you need it⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useIntuitive apps with auto-connect functionality make life easier⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFast enough for anything you could throw at it, but slower than NordVPN and Surfshark⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingEffortlessly gives you access to content around the world⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyExpress offers military-grade protection for total peace of mind⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportAlways available, friendly, and helpful⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceMore expensive than leading competitors⭐⭐⭐