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10 Best VPNs in 2022 (See the Latest Test Results!)

Sarah Frazier
Last Updated by Sarah Frazier on August 09, 2022

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 carefully tested 157 VPNs over 3 months and shortlisted the top 10 VPNs on the market. Every provider underwent rigorous rounds of real-life testing to meet the below criteria:

  • Fast speeds with a global network of servers
  • Strong privacy features, including a no-logs policy
  • Advanced encryption to overcome firewalls in countries with strict censorship
  • The ability to unblock popular sites like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more
  • Anonymous torrenting and P2P support
  • Dedicated apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Amazon Fire Stick, and more

I was disappointed that most VPNs didn’t live up to their bold claims. Some shouldn’t even market themselves as a VPN. On the other hand, I was surprised that ExpressVPN took the lead as the best overall VPN. It impressed me with high-speed servers, advanced security, and user-friendly apps — all of which make it the #1 VPN of 2022.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free today!

In a Rush? Here’s a Quick Summary of the Results

  1. ExpressVPN —#1 VPN in 2022 with excellent speeds,  advanced privacy and security features, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Try ExpressVPN now! 
  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 can’t reliably unblock streaming services like Netflix US.
  4. PrivateVPN — Secure VPN with a strict no-logs policy (it even works in China!), but has a tiny 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 that made it onto the list! Jump to this section.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free today!

The Best VPNs in August 2022 — 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 like 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 (1-year)

Try ExpressVPN risk-free today!

August 2022 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 best choice if you want a highly secure VPN with maximum encryption and privacy protection features. It lets you browse the internet anonymously, and overcome firewalls, censorship, and other online restrictions. In fact, I’m consistently impressed that ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs that still give you unrestricted internet access in China.

I found that ExpressVPN supports a range of quality encryption protocols. Its default choice is OpenVPN, and for good reason. OpenVPN is a long-established and highly-trusted protocol, with good speeds and a proven security track record. You can choose from IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, and ExpressVPN’s proprietary (but open-source) Lightway protocol. Although Lightway hasn’t been around as long as OpenVPN or even WireGuard, initial testing shows it’s a lightweight, speedy, and secure choice.

As soon as you connect to a server, ExpressVPN secures your internet traffic with AES 256-bit encryption and a 4096-RSA key. This key sets up and authenticates the encrypted tunnel. According to estimates, it would take the combined power of every computing resource on the planet longer than the life expectancy of the sun to crack a 4096-RSA key. Fairly secure, then!

To provide reliable security in restrictive countries such as China, ExpressVPN provides obfuscation on servers outside the country. Obfuscation works by hiding the fact that you’re using a VPN, so you can access the uncensored web without triggering government firewalls. Keep in mind that non-government-approved VPNs are illegal in China, although I know of no public cases of tourists being penalized for using them.

Your IP address won’t accidentally leak, either. I ran tests for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks (this is how some websites and apps detect your physical location) and found zero leaks. Even if your connection is ever unstable, there’s a kill switch that automatically blocks your internet until you safely reconnect to a server.

Screenshot of an ExpressVPN DNS and IP leak test
ExpressVPN has in-built leak protection that safely masks your real IP address

For extra privacy, ExpressVPN uses the unique TrustedServer feature to automatically erase all server data with every reboot. I was impressed that ExpressVPN was the first VPN to automate data deletion by using RAM-based servers that wipe all data when a server restarts. This also means that any attempted recovery (for instance, by authorities) is practically impossible, since nothing is written on the disk in the first place.

You can never tell how strict a VPN’s no-logs policy truly is, since many VPNs claim to uphold this policy but collect some data anyway. However, I’m reassured that ExpressVPN is telling the truth for 2 reasons. Firstly, it had its infrastructure and logs policy audited by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), which already shows a lot of credibility. Secondly, Turkish authorities attempted to retrieve user data from ExpressVPN by physically seizing its servers, and found nothing. This incident proves that ExpressVPN never logs your personal data, browsing history, or any kind of identifiable information.

As a result, I feel perfectly safe using ExpressVPN to browse sensitive topics online or download files from various sources. I especially like that all servers support torrenting and streaming — some providers require you to connect to specialty servers, but not ExpressVPN. I could stream and torrent on all 3000 servers in 94 countries, which is an impressive number of high-performance servers.

You can expect fast speeds no matter which ExpressVPN server you connect to. With the help of my colleagues, I ran speed tests on multiple servers in the US, Japan, and France. Download speeds were consistently high, dropping only between 16%-25% from baseline speeds in all locations, which is impressive. I didn’t have any issues torrenting large files, playing online games, or streaming shows and movies in Ultra HD.

ExpressVPN’s speeds were fast and impressively consistent on its global servers

I asked a teammate in the US to test how well ExpressVPN works there and was particularly pleased with the results. The New York server was the fastest, and he used it to watch The Irishman in Ultra HD with only a couple of seconds of buffering.

I connected to ExpressVPN and streamed Netflix US in Ultra HD from the UK

He also successfully streamed Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max on multiple US servers. For Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, I tested some additional local UK servers, which all worked perfectly (the London and East London servers gave me the best results).

You won’t be able to install ExpressVPN directly on all devices (like consoles), but there’s a solution to this. ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer function is a DNS service that allows the VPN to run on almost all devices where you can manually input network settings. I found the process very simple — you register your IP address on your ExpressVPN account, which then generates DNS information for your chosen location, and you can input this into your device. I tested it on a PS4 and PS5 and successfully streamed Netflix libraries without any errors.

ExpressVPN offers a variety of methods. You can use the typical options like card, PayPal, or money transfer, but if you prefer a slightly more anonymous option you can also choose Bitcoin. It would be great if it offered some truly 100% anonymous options (like Monero), but Bitcoin is a good start.

All plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try ExpressVPN on your own device 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 didn’t have to provide a reason for leaving. My request was processed immediately and 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 8200 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, and Amazon Fire Stick
Proven to unblock All major streaming platforms like 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 $2.29 (3-year)

Try CyberGhost risk-free today!

August 2022 Update! You can subscribe to CyberGhost for as low as $2.29 per month + get extra 3 months free with the 3-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 possible speeds and performance, so you don’t need to set up anything manually to connect. I love how often this feature saves valuable time.

You can find CyberGhost’s streaming servers by clicking the “For streaming” tab in the app. Every server has been optimized for a specific streaming platform, so you’re always guaranteed a working connection. I think this is a standout feature — I’ve tested many VPNs where I’ve had to try multiple servers to find one that works. CyberGhost has removed this risk by only displaying servers that are proven to work.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN's optimized servers that unblock streaming platforms like Netflix, Sling TV, and Amazon Prime
CyberGhost makes it easy to choose the right server for your streaming service

A teammate in the US confirmed how well CyberGhost’s optimized streaming servers work with Netflix US, Disney, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and HBO. Their connection was successful every time, with average speeds between 65Mbps to 70Mbps — around 40% slower than without a VPN. With these speeds, my fellow reviewer could start streaming almost immediately and their video always stayed in Ultra HD.

I easily accessed Netflix US from my location in the UK with CyberGhost

The full list of optimized servers includes streaming giants like Netflix US, UK and Japan, HBO Max, Disney+, YouTube TV, NBC, ESPN+, Sling TV, and Crunchyroll, plus smaller services like Yle.

The optimized servers for torrenting have a similar setup. By clicking on the “For torrenting” tab (called “For downloading” on the Mac and iOS apps), I opened a list of servers that support P2P file-sharing. I selected the Belgium server since it was the closest to me, with few users and a low load. These factors result in faster speeds — which was proven when my 2GB file finished downloading in less than 4 minutes.

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN's optimized servers for downloading and torrenting
Fast servers have a low load percentage, low number of users, and are close to your physical location

But torrenting isn’t only about fast speeds. Strong security and privacy measures are crucial, and this is where CyberGhost performs exceptionally well. CyberGhost protects your online activities with a strict zero-logs policy and secures them with 256-bit AES encryption. This is the strongest encryption standard available today and used by governments worldwide. CyberGhost also offers WireGuard as one of its protocol options. Although it’s still new, WireGuard provides a great combination of speed and security — which makes it perfect for torrenting.

Apart from its streaming and torrenting servers, I found that CyberGhost also has a selection of ultra-private “NoSpy” servers. These are all physically based in Romania, which doesn’t have any electronic surveillance laws. The NoSpy servers’ privacy-friendly location, and the fact that CyberGhost owns all the hardware, makes them a suitable option if you want complete online anonymity.

You’ll also find settings to enable blocking for ads, trackers, and malware in the app, which is particularly useful on torrent sites. While it can be effective at blocking some elements across the page, I noticed that CyberGhost wasn’t stopping many ads at all. After contacting a support agent, my team found that CyberGhost blocks ads with malicious code, rather than removing all ads that appear on a page. The app must explain this with greater clarity, since the feature appears ineffective at blocking ads.

CyberGhost also has an automatic kill switch to ensure your IP address and personal data are never exposed, even if the VPN connection becomes unstable. I also tested CyberGhost for IP and DNS leaks, which it passed without any issues across multiple server locations. This is essential, since hiding your real IP is one of the most crucial functions of a VPN, and prevents your traffic from being tied to your real identity.

I was quite impressed by the Smart Rules feature, which automates CyberGhost to run based on your preferences. Using Smart Rules, I configured CyberGhost to connect to a specific server and start my torrenting client automatically after launching the VPN app. Smart Rules also includes WiFi protection, which will connect the VPN anytime you’re one a public WiFi network, like in an airport or a cafe. Conveniently, you can use CyberGhost’s Smart Rules to exclude specific apps from the VPN tunnel — although this function only works with the OpenVPN protocol.

If you travel to China or other countries with restrictive internet laws (like Turkey or the UAE), you may want to consider ExpressVPN over CyberGhost. While CyberGhost is a VPN with many pros, it often struggles to bypass internet censorship in these countries.

CyberGhost is one of the best VPNs for Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop devices, since its native apps outperform the competition in streaming and torrenting. It’s a bargain price at only $2.29 for the 3-year, but if you’re not sure about locking yourself into a long-term subscription — don’t worry. It’s risk-free to test out CyberGhost with its 45-day money-back guarantee and try out every feature. If you’re not satisfied or you simply don’t want to continue with the service, 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.

Try 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 80 countries
Privacy Strict — A proven no-logs policy
Native apps for Most main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and Linux
Proven to unblock All major streaming platforms like 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 10
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 (2-year)

Try PIA risk-free today!

August 2022 Update! For a limited time only, save 82% with the 2-year plan + get an additional 2 months free! Hurry and check out the deal here!

Private Internet Access (PIA) offers advanced privacy and security features that you can tailor to your own needs. You can find a multitude of customization options on the native Android, iPhone, Windows, and Mac apps, including encryption, protocols, split tunneling, and more.

You can choose which data encryption standards you want to implement: 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 — but it’s nice to have the option between faster speeds or stronger encryption. What’s even rarer, is that you get control over the handshake encryption, which is used to establish a secure connection with PIA itself.

PIA offers OpenVPN and WireGuard on all its devices, except iOS, which only has IPsec. WireGuard is a more lightweight alternative to OpenVPN, although OpenVPN is arguably more reliable since it’s been around for far longer. These are good choices to have, but a few more protocol options would be nice to see.

It’s also worth mentioning PIA’s great MACE ad-blocker. I’m normally not a big fan of ad-blockers packaged with VPNs, since they’re rarely good. But MACE 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 none left on the page. The main downside is that there’s no way to exempt specific sites from the ad blocker, I can overlook this since the feature works brilliantly otherwise.

Screenshot of PIA's connection settings on Windows.
PIA’s native app offers customizable options that I haven’t seen in any other VPN

If you’re truly privacy-conscious, you may be concerned about PIA’s headquarters in the US — a founding member of the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes intelligence-sharing network. But like with any VPN, it comes down to whether you can trust PIA not to log and share your data.

Fortunately, PIA appears to have at least some anecdotal evidence on its side.The Russian government previously seized PIA’s servers but was unable to recover any user data, so I’m confident that PIA honors its strict no-logs policy. Russia even passed a new law mandating that every VPN provider keep traffic logs, after which PIA withdrew its servers from the country. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s no chance of the US government compelling PIA to cooperate behind the scenes — a valid worry for any VPN in a nation with electronic surveillance.

Screenshot of Private Internet Access VPN's website with a blog post describing the reason behind PIA's withdrawal from Russia
PIA released a transparent update about its decision to withdraw from Russia

Despite its undesirable jurisdiction, 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.

PIA surprised me with its streaming abilities, even though it doesn’t openly advertise them. My teammates and I tested its selection of optimized streaming servers and were overall impressed. PIA accessed Netflix US, UK, Japan, Italy, Finland, and Sweden. The libraries in Germany, Canada, Australia, and France worked too, but PIA doesn’t offer optimized servers there. I also successfully streamed Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. On all servers besides US-East and Japan, speeds were fast and I streamed in HD quality after only a few seconds of buffering. As a UK citizen, I was only disappointed that I couldn’t access the BBC iPlayer while traveling.

PIA isn’t the best VPN for Netflix US but it can unblock 5 other countries (like the UK and Canada)

PIA is a member of the ioXt Alliance, which sets standards and requirements for various companies in cybersecurity and the Internet of Things. PIA’s Android app is certified by them, which means it reaches (at least) a minimum standard for security — great to know that it doesn’t suffer from any glaring vulnerabilities.

If you’re looking for a premium VPN that offers full control over your privacy and security settings, then I highly recommend PIA. I suggest you try PIA with the 30-day money-back guarantee. You can always get a full refund as long as you cancel within 30 days. Don’t forget to check for active coupon codes as there are sometimes huge discounts of up to 81 off!

Try PIA risk-free today!

Take a look at the full PIA review, which covers in-depth testing results and research.

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 but robust — 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, and Android TV
Proven to unblock All major streaming platforms like 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 (3-year)

Try PrivateVPN risk-free today!

PrivateVPN is a high-performing VPN, although I was initially very skeptical about its small network of only 150+ servers. If a VPN has such a small server network, there’s a high chance of server overcrowding. This means you face slower speeds, since many users are forced to share a limited number of servers. However, after testing PrivateVPN, I was pleasantly surprised that my initial assumptions were wrong.

You can access over 7,000 individual IP addresses with PrivateVPN’s small but reliable server network, so you needn’t worry about a lack of fresh IPs to access content with. I also learned that its Toronto and Hong Kong servers even work in China!

While it’d be nice to have more server options, I didn’t experience any speed or connection problems in my tests. In fact, I was actually quite impressed with the overall performance — my network slowed by about 60%, to an average speed of 48Mbps. This was more than enough for uninterrupted streams and torrents.

I was generally impressed by PrivateVPN’s selection of protocols, which offers 256-bit encryption along with OpenVPN with UDP/TCP, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and IKEv2. Each of these offers a trade-off between security, speed, supported devices, and other benefits. Generally, though, it’s just great to have the options. Unfortunately, there are still several “premium” VPNs that only have a couple of protocols to choose between, making PrivateVPN’s selection strong in comparison.

PrivateVPN’s servers can access Netflix in 19 countries, which is the most out of any VPN I’ve tested. This includes Netflix US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Brazil, and Sweden. I could stream Stranger Things from my home UK library in HD and it always loaded in 3 seconds or less, while my teammate found similar success watching Kim’s Convenience with his local server in the US.

PrivateVPN’s optimized servers can get around Netflix’s content blocks

There’s a full list of unblocked streaming services in the app. Just click “Choose Location” to access it — you’ll find popular sites like Hulu and HBO, as well as lesser-known options like Yle, SonyLiv, and RaiPlay.

Screenshot of PrivateVPN's Mac app showing list of optimized servers for streaming
PrivateVPN offers optimized servers for a wide range of streaming services

PrivateVPN supports torrenting on the entire server network, so there’s no need to look for specific servers. You’ll always be completely anonymous, since PrivateVPN uses military-grade encryption standards and doesn’t log your online activity. To be extra safe, I recommend switching on the IPv6 leak protection feature. IPv6 is an upgrade to the IPv4 internet protocol in many ways. Protecting against leaks rather than simply turning off support for it means you don’t have to give up on the connectivity benefits of IPv6 to stay safe. You can also turn on the kill switch in the app’s “Connection Guard” tab. When I tested both features, I found zero leaks and the kill switch worked perfectly. However, I was disappointed to learn that the kill switch is only available on Android, Windows, and Mac. If you’ve got an iOS device, you won’t have this feature.

I also found that PrivateVPN’s customer support team is slow compared to most premium VPNs. When I wanted to check some features, it took 5 minutes to speak to a representative even though I was first in the queue on live chat. Luckily, I was just going to ask some basic questions about how protocols impact speeds, and didn’t need urgent assistance. 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 a reply via email (fortunately, I received a detailed response 8 minutes later).

While I was impressed with PrivateVPN’s performance, it’s not quite ready to challenge the 5 VPNs above it. However, the best way to know if this is the right VPN for you is to test it yourself. With every subscription, you can make use of the 30-day money-back guarantee, and try PrivateVPN without any risk. It’s quick and easy to get a full refund from the customer support team if you don’t want to continue.

Try PrivateVPN risk-free today!

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 like 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 $3.99 (1-year)

Try IPVanish risk-free today!

IPVanish is a solid option if you need a VPN for torrenting or want greater privacy online. You’ll enjoy the unlimited bandwidth and fast speeds, and the VPN will protect your browsing activities with its strict no-logs policy. However, if you need access to blocked content from abroad (especially streaming services like Netflix), I’d recommend ExpressVPN instead.

During my tests, I downloaded torrent files using servers in Switzerland, Sweden, and Spain. My torrenting speeds were excellent on these servers, averaging about 70Mbps — a 42% slowdown from my base speed. My connection remained steady, too.

I also tested the free SOCKS5 proxy, which comes with every subscription. The proxy offers additional speed and anonymity, although it does leave your traffic unencrypted. I strongly recommend using it in combination with the VPN — it’ll lower the risk of exposing yourself to other online threats.

Screenshot of IPVanish's free SOCKS5 proxy server credentials on the website
IPVanish is one of the few VPNs that offer a free SOCKS5 proxy for torrenters

All online activity is protected by AES 256-bit military-grade encryption and various encryption protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, IPSec, and PPTP. IPVanish is based in the US, which may concern you if you’re cautious about government overreach. And although IPVanish has a strict no-logs policy, it was last audited in 2017, so I’d like to see a more recent audit verifying its privacy practices.

However, despite the fast speeds and strong security measures, this isn’t one of the best VPNs for streaming. When my US teammate tried watching Netflix US, they had to switch servers twice before Stranger Things finally loaded (New York and Chicago failed, but Boston worked).

It’s also 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 best off with ExpressVPN, which excels at tunneling through government firewalls.

If you’re not sure about whether you want to commit to an IPVanish subscription, you don’t have to decide immediately. It’s very easy to test out IPVanish with its 30-day money-back guarantee — you don’t even need to speak to anyone if you don’t want to continue. Just log in to your account on the website, cancel your subscription, and your refund will be automatically processed for you.

Try IPVanish risk-free today!

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

6. HMA — Fast VPN With Unique In-App Features and a Range of Optimized Servers

Quick Look: HMA Results

Speed Good — Stream in HD quality and torrent files quickly
Security Advanced — Military-grade encryption, kill switch, split tunneling, and leak protection
Servers Average — A network of 1040 servers in 210 countries
Privacy Average — Based in the UK (inside the 5/9/14 Eyes) and keeps partial connection logs
Native apps for All main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux, and routers, and Android TV
Proven to unblock All major streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Sling TV, and more
Torrenting Supported — Choose from 8 P2P-optimized servers
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 or IP Shuffle on iOS app
Can’t pay with cryptocurrencies
Best price $2.49 (3-year)

Try HMA risk-free today!

Founded in 2005 by then 16-year-old Jack Cator, HMA is a fast VPN packed with many useful features. Along with standard benefits like split tunneling and leak protection, you can also use the “Smart Kill Switch”, “Lightning Connect”, and “IP Shuffle” features. Plus, there are specialty servers for streaming and torrenting that guarantees you a working connection each time.

The Smart Kill Switch is a unique feature that I haven’t seen with other VPNs. A regular kill switch cuts your entire internet connection so nothing accidentally leaks when your connection to the VPN server drops. But HMA’s Smart Kill Switch lets you activate it for specific apps only (like qBittorrent) while leaving others untouched, although it only comes with the Windows app. I also like the IP Shuffle feature, which I set to change my IP address every hour for greater anonymity and to avoid web trackers.

Screenshot of the HMA VPN app showing the IP Shuffle feature
IP Shuffle ensures no one can easily track your real IP address while you’re connected to the VPN

The streaming-optimized servers are available in the US, UK, and Germany, which are perfect for watching Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, or BBC iPlayer. I tested HMA with Netflix first, since it’s the trickiest streaming service to unblock — yet I could easily watch Stranger Things in HD quality on every server I tried.

I had no problems connecting to the torrenting servers in Europe, the UK, and the US, either. When I connected to a server in New York, my speed dropped by 10% compared to those on nearby locations in the UK. And that’s only because New York City is 6,000km away from me. That said, I was impressed with HMA’s fast speeds overall.

However, I’d like to see HMA invest more resources into its native apps outside of Windows and Android. I was disappointed that the Mac and iOS apps only offer the IKEv2/IPsec protocol — not OpenVPN, which is the most secure and popular option available on the market. There’s no kill switch on the iOS app either, which is unfortunately quite common and by no means a deal-breaker.

You should also be aware that HMA keeps some connection logs. Your IP address, personal identity, and browsing history are completely private, but HMA does store connection dates and the amount of data used in a single VPN session. HMA uses this data to monitor server capacity and deletes it after 35 days, so I don’t believe there’s any reason to be concerned.

Note that HMA recently passed a no-log audit by VerSprite, which awarded it with a “low risk” rating for user privacy. This audit analyzed data, traffic, and storage on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android clients, checking data flow from the point of user installation to the company’s servers. Many VPNs haven’t carried out a third-party audit like this, giving HMA a strong edge.

You can test out HMA with the 30-day money-back guarantee and see whether it’s the right VPN for you — it’s completely risk-free if you change your mind later and want to cancel. I’ve tested this out myself by submitting the simple form on the HMA website, after which a rep contacted me to confirm I wanted out. After confirming, my refund was processed within the hour!

Try HMA risk-free today!

Explore the in-depth HMA review to see more research and testing results.

7. 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 Weak — A network of 700 servers in 70 countries
Privacy Strict — Based in Switzerland (outside of 5/9/14 Eyes) with audited no-logs policy
Native apps for All main 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 like 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 $8.33 (1-year)

Try VyprVPN risk-free today!

VyprVPN isn’t the fastest VPN I’ve tested, but it will keep your personal data private and secure. The strict no-logs policy has been verified and all servers are protected by military-grade encryption standards. This makes VyprVPN a safe option for browsing, torrenting (P2P activity is supported on every server), and unblocking streaming sites from abroad.

The most unique feature is its proprietary 256-bit Chameleon protocol, which was designed to bypass censorship via obfuscation. This process hides that you’re using a VPN, and allows you to perform tasks that your ISP might otherwise restrict. Bandwidth throttling is one example of this, whereby an ISP will detect that you’re streaming or downloading large files and limit your bandwidth. By using the Chameleon protocol, you can hide this and surf unrestricted. Otherwise, you can choose between PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard.

When connected using the Chameleon protocol, my US teammate could unblock US sites like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. He watched Stranger Things in HD quality with less than 5 seconds of loading time.

I was happy to learn that VyprVPN works with Netflix, which employs tough VPN blocks

When I ran speed tests using Ookla, I found my speeds took a substantial hit on distant servers in the US (almost 6,000km away). The UK server slowed my network by 20%, while my speeds dropped 76% on US servers. While this wasn’t an issue for me because my original broadband speeds are quite fast, VyprVPN might not be the best choice if you have average or slow internet.

If you value privacy over speed, you’ll be pleased to know that VyprVPN is a strict no-logs provider and its privacy policy has even been verified. The cybersecurity firm Leviathan Security performed an independent audit and confirmed that VyprVPN doesn’t track any identifying data. Along with ExpressVPN, VyprVPN is also one of the few services that responded to the Center for Democracy and Technology’s survey on VPN business models and privacy practices. These questions address things like data retention and flows, law enforcement requests, revenue sources, and more — and the answers are made publicly available. I appreciate this high level of transparency with the public, which is quite rare to see in the industry.

Although I find ExpressVPN is a better all-round option, VyprVPN keeps you safe online for a much lower price of $8.33. You can even make use of the 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you the opportunity to 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.

8. hide.me — Solid Security and Device Support but Disappointing Streaming Options

Quick Look: hide.me Results

Speed Average — Some local servers had adequate speeds, but with distance speeds dropped off considerably versus the top 3 VPNs on this list
Security Advanced — AES 256-bit encryption, kill switch, split tunneling, and leak protection
Servers Average — A network of 2000 servers in 75 countries
Privacy Good — Based in Malaysia (outside the 5/9/14 Eyes) and keeps no connection logs
Native apps for All main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, Linux, Kodi, Chrome, Firefox, Blackberry, and routers
Proven to unblock Limited streaming platforms — like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video
Torrenting Supported — P2P supported across all servers
Customer support Quick response 24/7 via live chat, online form, and email
Device connections 10
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Minor cons Limited access to streaming services
Heavy speed drop-off with distant locations
Best price $3.33 (2-year)

Try hide.me risk-free today!

hide.me is a good all-round VPN with adequate speeds overall and a surprisingly solid privacy and security setup. Although I had some success testing it with a few popular streaming providers, it’s generally let down by its very limited unblocking ability.

I first checked my two primary streaming services, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Although I unblocked Netflix US with ease, I struggled with some services closer to home around Europe (only managing to unblock the Germany and France libraries). I could also access my UK Amazon Prime Video account from mainland Europe, and streamed in full HD. Unfortunately, these were the only 2 services I could use with hide.me.

I was pleasantly surprised that hide.me has one of the simplest user interfaces I’ve used, making it an accessible VPN for new and experienced users alike. Options are intuitively laid out and even the extensive security settings are made easy to understand.

Screenshot of hide.me's settings menus on Windows 10.
Most users will benefit from hide.me’s clear explanation of many of its settings

hide.me also offers a solid selection of VPN protocols to choose from, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, SoftEther VPN, Wireguard, and SSTP. Coupled with a solid kill switch, split tunneling, and leak protection, it’s a package on par with many of the top VPNs on this list.

I was also glad to see that you can not only pay with Bitcoin, but that this option still allows for refunds — unlike some of the competition. You can even choose between other crypto payments like Dogecoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, Horizen, or ZCash (some of them, like Monero, being far more anonymous than Bitcoin).

Fortunately, hide.me also noticed that their previous 14-day refund policy wasn’t enough — you can now try out hide.me for up to 30 days, which is in line with most of the competition. I’ve tried it out myself by using hide.me for a couple of weeks while testing, and then contacting customer support through live chat. It took less than 10 minutes to get connected and have the refund approved, and I had the money back a week later.

Try hide.me risk-free today!

Take a look at the full hide.me review for the in-depth breakdown of all its features.

9. 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 4700 servers in 80 countries
Privacy Average — Based in Germany (inside the 5/9/14 Eyes) and keeps partial connection logs
Native apps for Most main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and Linux
Proven to unblock Most major streaming platforms like 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 (3-year)

Try ZenMate risk-free today!

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 offers very good value for money.

The main features are the optimized servers for streaming and torrenting, similar to CyberGhost. When I tested the streaming-optimized servers, it only took a few clicks to connect, although I’ve experienced faster buffering speeds with other VPNs on this list. In fact, I had to wait up to a minute for the show Stranger Things to load in HD on the optimized-US server for Netflix. However, while testing other services including Disney+ and Hulu, there was no such delay.

ZenMate can easily access Netflix US but expect slower streaming speeds

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 qBittorent.

My main concern is that ZenMate’s privacy policy isn’t the strictest. ZenMate shares some user data with its parent company for marketing and technical purposes, including your name and email address. While it doesn’t log your browsing activity while you’re connected, I recommend ExpressVPN instead if you’re seeking a more privacy-conscious service.

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 a price of $1.99. You might find an even better deal when you check for active coupons. 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.

Try ZenMate risk-free today!

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

10. TunnelBear — Full Yearly Audit and Strong Security but Inconsistent Speeds and Streaming Access

Quick Look: TunnelBear Results

Speed Inconsistent — Very high and low speeds were recorded with both local and distant servers
Security Advanced — AES 256-bit encryption, kill switch, leak protection, split tunneling (Android only), and annual audit
Servers Poor — A network of 40+ servers in 48 countries
Privacy Average — Based in Canada (inside the 5/9/14 Eyes) and keeps very limited connection logs
Native apps for Most main devices — Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and Linux
Proven to unblock Most major streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Fox Sport, and more
Torrenting Supported — Optimized torrenting servers for P2P file-sharing
Customer support Quick response via ticket or email system
Device connections 5
Money-back guarantee Offered on a case-by-case basis
Minor cons Inconsistent speeds especially with distant servers
Unreliable streaming support
Refunds only on a case-by-case basis
Best price $3.33 (3-year)

Try TunnelBear risk-free today!

Acquired by McAfee in 2018, TunnelBear is a provider with a long history in the VPN space. About halfway through its lifespan, TunnelBear began undergoing independent annual audits by Cure57, which it has passed without any serious worries on every occasion. This is something I’d like to see every serious VPN provider do, since it shows a lot of transparency in the VPN’s process. Unfortunately, for all its security strengths, there are some issues such as speed and streaming that land TunnelBear at the bottom of this list.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict TunnelBear’s speeds based on the servers’ distance. When my team and I tested TunnelBear with local servers, our results were inconsistent. For instance, even though Paris and Frankfurt are relatively close, there was almost an 80% difference in speeds (but a near-identical ping). At the same time, the New York server was roughly 4 times faster than Frankfurt, at a much greater distance. This doesn’t make the VPN unusable by any means, but it did require some experimenting to see which locations worked best.

Screenshots of multiple speedtests of TunnelBear servers around the world, with inconsistent results.
I was confused by the huge variation in speeds between TunnelBear’s nearby servers

Unfortunately, if streaming is your goal, I can’t recommend TunnelBear. The company is very honest that streaming isn’t its focus, and my tests confirmed this. Although I could access Netflix UK and BBC iPlayer while traveling outside the country, it wasn’t consistent — and Amazon Prime Video didn’t work at all.

When my team and I were testing, we already knew that TunnelBear doesn’t have a money-back policy. We still got a prorated refund after complaining to the support team about our streaming issues. That said, if you want to test TunnelBear without risking your money, you can sign up for its free plan. This subscription gives you access to all of TunnelBear’s features, but caps your data at 500MB per month. This allowance is too small for streaming or torrenting, but enough to find out whether TunnelBear fits your needs.

Try TunnelBear today!

For a detailed look at speed, security, features, and more, read the full TunnelBear review.

Quick Comparison Table: Which VPN Is the Best in 2022?

Speed Security & Privacy Best Price (Monthly) Unblocks Streaming Sites? Supports P2P? Split Tunneling Static IPs available 5, 9, or 14 Eyes Member state?
1. ExpressVPN Excellent Excellent $6.67
2. CyberGhost Good Excellent $2.29
3. PIA Average Excellent $2.19 Sometimes
4. PrivateVPN Good Good $2.00 ✔ (shared)
5. IPVanish Good Good $3.99 Sometimes
6. HMA Good Average $2.49
7. VyprVPN Average Good $8.33
8. hide.me Average Average $3.33 Sometimes ✔ (shared)
9. ZenMate Average Average $1.99
10. TunnelBear Inconsistent Average $3.33

Secure your device with ExpressVPN today!

Choosing the Best VPN: How I Ranked and Compared VPNs

1. Strong Security and Privacy Features

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

The selected VPNs should offer military-grade encryption (preferably AES 256-bit) to secure the flow of your internet traffic across the internet. I also like to see complementary protocols on offer — mainly OpenVPN and IKEv2. OpenVPN is one of the most robust protocols available for computers, while IKEv2 allows for uninterrupted switching between WiFi and mobile networks on mobile devices.

You can see a basic comparison of different VPN protocols here:

  • OpenVPN — extremely robust and compatible across multiple devices, with high security and decent speeds
  • IKEv2 — More limited device compatibility, but offers stable, secure connections, especially on mobile where it allows for seamless switching between WiFi and wireless networks
  • WireGuard — extremely fast and secure, but not as battle-tested as other protocols on this list
  • SSTP — Highly secure, but owned by Microsoft and doesn’t work on all devices

I also checked each VPN’s privacy statements to ensure they have strict no-logs policies, preferably backed by an audit. VPNs headquartered in countries with questionable privacy laws have to convince me that there’s no reason for worry.

The top VPNs on this list also excel at tunneling through government firewalls in countries with strict internet censorship. Two of the picks even have advanced obfuscation protocols that let them evade deep packet inspection and work in mainland China!

Additional security features are also welcome. I always appreciate a kill switch that immediately blocks all internet traffic if the VPN connection fails. Split tunneling is also incredibly useful, as it lets you route programs independently, either through or around your VPN.

2. High-Speed 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. This is why I aim for a VPN with at least 1,000 global servers, although PrivateVPN would be one exception to this rule. I was initially sceptical 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 to 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.

3. 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+, and more. Notably, the top VPNs on my list even work with DAZN, a platform that’s extremely hard to access while traveling internationally outside its normal coverage areas. Once connected, I also make sure that buffering times are acceptable and stream quality remains at a high resolution.

4. 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. I also look out for torrenting-friendly features, including optimized servers for P2P activity, SOCKS5 proxies for faster downloading speeds, and malware protection.

5. 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, iPhone, Windows, Mac, iPad, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TVs, Roku, Chromecast, smart TVs, game consoles, and routers.

And those are just the major criteria — I took a lot of other factors into account, too. For example, I personally made sure that each of the VPNs has intuitive apps that are easy to use, whether you’re new to VPNs or not. If you experience issues, all of the VPNs above have sufficient customer support resources to help you out without delay. Finally, despite being the best VPNs on the market, all of these providers are reasonably priced, and each one offers either a free trial or a money-back guarantee. This way, you can try them out yourself before committing to a paid subscription.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free now!

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 your best option is ExpressVPN. I found it offers the most reliable servers for watching Netflix and the fastest speeds for streaming in HD. It can also unblock 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?

Yes, a good VPN will keep your personal data safe when torrenting.

Without a VPN, your IP address is exposed to many unwanted third parties while torrenting. This includes your Internet Service Provider (ISP), legal authorities, and fellow torrenters. This can expose you to worries like DDoS attacks, or far more likely legal troubles, since your ISP or authorities have the power to track you down if they desire. Your ISP can even throttle your connection if you’re downloading many large files in a short period of time.

By using a VPN, you hide your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic, so you can torrent as much as you like without any issues. Personally, I never start torrenting without first launching a VPN. My top preference for fast torrenting is ExpressVPN, since all its servers offer support for secure P2P activity. CyberGhost is also a good option with optimized P2P servers for dedicated torrenting activity.

Also note that torrent websites are often loaded with malware, which may hide in pop-ups, adverts, and fake download buttons.  This is why it’s crucial to block all these threats before they can even get near your device. Fortunately, several of the VPNs on this list are equipped with both ad- and malware-blockers for well-rounded protection.

What’s the best VPN for gaming?

Private Internet Access is the best VPN for gaming. I tested it with several titles, including Rocket League and Splitgate, and was impressed by its performance. With local servers I had ping (latency) as low as just 8ms! This is essentially the time it takes for your control input to be sent to the game server and back to you, so the lower, the better.

Screenshot of PIA connected to a Poland server while playing Splitgate
PIA’s local servers had shockingly low latency — perfect for online gaming

8ms was actually equal to my ping when I wasn’t connected, indicating that the VPN server’s location was extremely close. However, even when I was connected to more distant servers, like Brussels, I could maintain a ping of 40ms, which is perfectly adequate for online gaming.

What is the best VPN for privacy?

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for privacy. It’s headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, meaning it has no data retention laws, unlike some other VPNs that fall under the jurisdiction of governments within the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes groups. It’s also one of the few VPNs that has been audited (by no less than PwC), demonstrating confidence in its entire server setup. Finally, it passed a real-world test when its servers were seized by Turkish authorities as part of a criminal investigation into a user — however, the authorities were unable to pull any data off them since nothing was stored.

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 we tested (Melbourne, over 15,000km from us), our speed dropped only 21% from our disconnected base speed. With a server much closer to us we reached just over 100Mbps (just 16% under my speed when disconnected), which is more than fast enough for streaming in up to 4K while browsing, downloading, and even gaming without interruption.

What’s the best free VPN?

The best free VPNs are the “freemium” services like Hotspot Shield or ProtonVPN — but unfortunately, even the best free VPNs have serious limitations. While freemium VPNs offer a reliable and safe service, you’ll also encounter slow speeds, a restricted number of servers, and no access to streaming services like Netflix.

I wouldn’t trust any free VPN with no obvious downsides either. Free VPNs still need to make money, and shadier companies are known to sell your private data and browsing history to earn revenue. Worse still, many untrustworthy free VPNs often contain malware that infect your device and steal sensitive information, such as passwords, banking history, and private photos.

For example, Hola VPN was caught redirecting premium users’ traffic through other users’ end nodes, which could tie their (even illegal) activity to other unlucky users on the network. It also sold bandwidth to third parties for unchecked usage, which included DDoS attacks against outside targets. In this way, a free VPN can come at a high price.

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 for free for 45 days with the money-back guarantee.

It’s quick and easy to get a full refund with CyberGhost’s 45-day money-back guarantee.

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 super simple as 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.

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 the event that you’ve got an unstable connection, there’s an automatic kill switch that 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.

Keep in mind that you should still exercise basic caution while using a VPN in China — it doesn’t give you a license to commit illegal acts. It’s also worth noting that 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.

Just make sure you download ExpressVPN onto your device 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.

What’s the best VPN with dedicated IPs?

CyberGhost is the best VPN with a dedicated IP. Using this paid add-on can reduce some of the side effects of using shared IPs addresses on a VPN, for instance, the “bad neighbor effect”. This is where other users with the same IP are abusing services such as search engines, financial institutions, or various other sites. When you then use the same IP address to access these services, you may find yourself blocked or trying to pass an impassable CAPTCHA. With your own IP, this stops being an issue.

CyberGhost also skillfully avoids tying you to your chosen static IP by letting you buy an anonymous token that you can then redeem in your account. This way, you can even buy and gift a static IP to family or friends. The downside is that if you lose the token, you’ll 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 VPN's port forwarding settings on Windows.
You can activate port forwarding in PIA’s settings and get connected in under 30 seconds

If you don’t know what port forwarding is, here’s a quick overview. Normally, the NAT firewall on your local network hides all the IP addresses of the devices connected to your router from the internet at large. However, this can lead to issues like specific servers being unable to connect to your device, or slower speeds in general. Port forwarding essentially opens up a port through this NAT firewall to speed up and allow for more direct network connections. Keep in mind that this can expose your local network to threats, as data transmitted via the forwarded port won’t be protected by the VPN.

What is the best VPN for Android and iOS?

ExpressVPN is by far the best VPN for Android and iOS devices. It works with all Android phones and tablets and supports the majority of iPhones and iPads.

While many VPNs limit your mobile protocol options to just IKEv2, ExpressVPN lets you switch between IKEv2 and OpenVPN UDP and TCP. With this flexibility, you can balance between speed and security depending on your needs. You can also let ExpressVPN select the appropriate tunneling protocol for you automatically.

ExpressVPN’s speeds on Android and iOS were lightning-fast during my tests, whether I used my WiFi or the LTE/4G network. On Android, ExpressVPN slowed my network speed down by about 15%, so my speeds were still fast enough for gaming and torrenting. The speeds dropped by about 23% on my iPhone, but I could still watch Netflix shows in HD and with minimal buffering.

Whether you’re using ExpressVPN on Android or iOS, you’ll have full access to its 3000 servers in 94 countries. You’ll also get sleek, intuitive apps that let you have complete control over the VPN’s settings with just a few clicks. You can always download ExpressVPN on your mobile devices and try it out yourself. You won’t risk any money because ExpressVPN is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy with how it works on your mobile devices, you’ll get a quick refund — 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. The replaced IP means nothing can be tied straight to you, and allows you to get around censorship, firewalls, and location-specific restrictions.

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 skipping a beat.

At the same time, the encryption hides what you’re up to by anyone who might be watching (such as advertisers and hackers).

How do I use a VPN?

It’s easy to use a VPN. After you’ve chosen the VPN you want, it’s as simple as signing up for a plan and downloading the software to your device.

  1. Get a VPN. ExpressVPN is the overall #1 VPN in 2022 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.

How much is a VPN? 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 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 VPN 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 it 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 the majority of VPN users in the UAE do so without any legal issues.

To be on the safe side, 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?

The best VPN with guaranteed zero logs is ExpressVPN. None of your connection times, session information, bandwidth usage, browsing history, IP addresses, or any other personal data is stored. To ensure your full anonymity, you can even create an account with a fake email address and pay with cryptocurrency.

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

If you value your online privacy, I strongly suggest you use a top-grade VPN (or combine Tor with a VPN). Both Tor and proxies send your internet traffic through a “middleman” server or node. While this does hide your original IP address, neither Tor nor proxy servers will encrypt your internet traffic and safeguard your personal data. Some proxies even keep logs of your online browsing activity.

When you use a VPN, your IP address remains hidden and all your internet traffic is encrypted. The best VPNs, like ExpressVPN, even have a tried-and-tested no-logs policy so none of your browsing history or personal data is collected.

Protect Your Device With the Best VPN in 2022

The best VPNs for 2022 work on all popular devices and operating systems, including Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and more.

However, most VPNs don’t have native apps for smart TVs, streaming devices like the Fire Stick, or game consoles. For Android TV and Fire Stick, I’ve found ExpressVPN to work brilliantly due to its slick native apps. ExpressVPN is also a good choice on devices that don’t natively support VPN installation, like game consoles, due to its MediaStreamer feature. You can use this by inputting simple information into your console’s network settings and connecting it directly to a server location of your choice. It can even be installed on your router to protect all your devices at once.

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 to maintain user privacy. From my perspective, ExpressVPN covers so many bases that it’s hard to go wrong with it! If you’re looking for the best deal with it, keep in mind that its 1-year offers the best savings.

In Summary — Here Are the Best VPNs for 2022

Top Choice
$6.67 / month Save 48%
CyberGhost VPN
$2.29 / month Save 82%
Private Internet Access
$2.19 / month Save 82%
$2.00 / month Save 80%
IPVanish VPN
$3.99 / month Save 64%
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Sarah Frazier
Sarah is an early-adopter of new tech, software, and apps. She loves testing out new products to find the best options and solutions available.