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Best VPN Services of 2019

Simon Migliano
By Simon MiglianoUpdated
Illustration of a podium

There are hundreds of VPNs out there, some good, some bad. One thing’s for sure, you certainly don’t want to end up using an unsafe VPN that puts your security and privacy at risk.

Don’t worry though, because we’ve tested 99 VPN services extensively to answer the ultimate question: what is the best VPN for 2019?

The five VPN services we recommend below are the best VPNs we’ve seen. These trusted VPN providers are fast, protect your online privacy, keep you safe, and unblock your favorite websites and apps from anywhere in the world.

Want to unlock Netflix’s full video library? Torrent safely and privately? Use public WiFi securely? Bypass aggressive online censorship? These VPN services will do all of that, and more.

And if you think it’s hard to install a VPN, think again. These five VPNs all have apps for your favorite devices that you can easily download and install in a matter of minutes. You can even set up any of these VPNs on your router, to protect all of your internet traffic at home.

Sounds great, right?

Keep reading for our honest review of each of these VPN services, where we look at their pros and cons, how much they cost, and how to get them.

Here’s a sneak peak at the top three:

Here are the Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN

  1. Download (and upload) speeds
  2. Privacy and security features
  3. Jurisdiction and logging policies
  4. Netflix and torrenting availability
  5. Ease-of-use and customer support
  6. How much they cost

Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs

See More Information on the 5 Best VPN Services

Ranked #1 of 99 VPNs

Works with

Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Sky, SlingTV, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Very fast speeds: 53Mbps (global average)
  2. Works Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
  3. Unrestricted torrenting/P2P traffic
  4. Strong logging policy & no IP/DNS/WebRTC leaks
  5. Big server network (over 3,000 servers)
  6. Connect safely to 94 countries
  1. Shorter plans are expensive
  2. Fire TV Stick app needs improvement
The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is a very safe and legitimate VPN provider that has been around since 2009. Our extensive testing continues to show that ExpressVPN is the best all-round VPN on the market. As a whole package ExpressVPN simply can’t be beaten.

ExpressVPN’s consistency is remarkable, with fast and reliable speeds around the world. ExpressVPN is great for torrenting, and it also unlocks Netflix (especially the US library), BBC iPlayer, and other popular streaming services.

Not to mention that it is our number one VPN choice to bypass censorship blocks in countries like China.

ExpressVPN is very private and secure, with great advanced security features like its Network Lock, which is essentially a kill switch to keep you protected if your network connection drops.

You’ll have access to the best VPN protocols (OpenVPN, IKEv2, and more) and your internet connections will be encrypted with the ‘unbreakable’ AES-256 cipher.

ExpressVPN doesn’t collect any personally identifiable logs, and we didn’t find any IP, DNS or WebRTC leaks when we tested all of its VPN apps. It’s also based in a very privacy-minded country: the British Virgin Islands.

Customer support is always very helpful, which you can contact via 24/7 live chat or email. If for whatever reason you’re not happy with ExpressVPN, you can get a refund within 30 days of purchase, no-questions-asked.

ExpressVPN has one of the most user-friendly interfaces out there and is very easy to install and set up on all devices including your PC, Mac, iPhone, Android smartphone and Amazon Fire TV Stick. You can also install the VPN on your router in order to protect all internet-connected devices in your home.

At a higher, but still affordable price, ExpressVPN is the best VPN of 2019.

Ranked #2 of 99 VPNs

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Extremely fast speeds: 72Mbps (global average)
  2. Unlocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
  3. Torrenting & P2P allowed on many servers
  4. No logs & No IP, DNS or WebRTC leaks
  5. Huge server network (over 5,700 servers)
  6. Connect safely to 60 countries
  1. Extra protocols require manual configuration
  2. Obfuscated VPN servers don't always work in China
The Bottom Line

NordVPN is one of the safest and most secure VPN services we’ve tested.

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in privacy-friendly Panama, NordVPN has the biggest server network on the market: over 5,700 fast and secure servers spread around the world.

NordVPN works very well with BBC iPlayer, Netflix and major streaming platforms. You can expect an average download speed of 72Mbps, for fast buffer-free streaming in HD/4K. Upload speeds were also very quick in our tests, which makes NordVPN a great VPN for torrenting.

NordVPN has some excellent privacy features, such as a VPN kill switch, Double VPN and AES-256 encryption. When we tested for IP, DNS and WebRTC leaks, NordVPN didn’t experience any whatsoever, so you can trust it to hide your IP effectively.

Just like ExpressVPN, NordVPN has custom VPN apps for many devices including your PC, Mac, iPhone, Android smartphone and Amazon Firestick. You can even install it on your router to protect all internet traffic at home.

You can use NordVPN on six devices at once, which is one of the most generous allowances we’ve seen.

It’s a shame that the NordVPN apps lack the automatic protocol selection provided by ExpressVPN. In fact, if you want to use VPN protocols other than OpenVPN then you’ll have to manually configure them.

If you try NordVPN and don’t like it, don’t worry as you can take advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee and you’ll get a quick hassle-free refund.

At a very affordable price, NordVPN is a great alternative to ExpressVPN.

Ranked #3 of 99 VPNs

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Fast download speeds: 50Mbps (global average)
  2. Works with Netflix
  3. Strict no-logs policy & no IP/DNS/WebRTC leaks
  4. Unrestricted torrenting & P2P traffic
  5. Best VPN app for Fire TV Stick
  6. Connect securely to 50 countries
  1. Desktop app could be more user-friendly
  2. Doesn't work with BBC iPlayer
  3. Doesn't work in high censorship countries
  4. Short refund period (7 days)
The Bottom Line

IPVanish is a very good US-based VPN service, and one of the fastest VPNs around. It is particularly popular with torrenters, Kodi fans and Firestick users.

The IPVanish server network isn’t huge – around 1,300 servers – but the number of IP addresses available is: over 40,000! All the IPVanish servers we tested were very fast and all VPN connections are secure with 256-bit AES encryption.

Like its top rivals, IPVanish is also available on all popular platforms and devices: PCs, Macs, iPhones, and Android smartphones. IPVanish also has the best VPN app for the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Router installation is also available, if needed.

IPVanish has a kill switch on both Windows and MacOS devices, and you can use it on 10 devices at once with just one subscription, which beats NordVPN’s six simultaneous connections.

Its strict no-logs policy is reassuring, especially as IPVanish is based in the privacy-unfriendly US. No IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks were detected in our extensive testing.

IPVanish does work with Netflix but disappointingly it doesn’t work with BBC iPlayer and it won’t work in high censorship countries like China and the UAE.

The IPVanish money-back guarantee isn’t great either – you’ll only have seven days before the refund period expires.

While it’s not the best VPN for streaming, IPVanish is still a great VPN choice for privacy-focused users who seek fast encrypted connections on all their devices.

Ranked #4 of 99 VPNs

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Fast speeds: 64Mbps (global average)
  2. Unlocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
  3. Optimized torrenting/P2P servers
  4. Strict no-logs policy & no IP/DNS/WebRTC leaks
  5. Big server network (3,500+ servers)
  6. Connect safely to 59 countries
  1. Not all servers allow torrenting/P2P traffic
  2. Not recommended for Kodi
  3. Doesn't work in high censorship countries
  4. 14-day refund guarantee on 1-month plan
The Bottom Line

CyberGhost is one the oldest VPN services around and currently one of the cheapest. It was first released in 2004 and launched as a free VPN. While it’s no longer free, it is very affordable and is totally safe to use.

CyberGhost’s 3,500+ servers is one of the biggest server networks available, which includes dedicated streaming servers that work brilliantly with Netflix and BBC iPlayer. CyberGhost is in fact one of the best VPN services when it comes to fast unrestricted streaming.

CyberGhost VPN’s torrenting/P2P optimized servers work well too, but it’s a shame that US and Australian servers won’t allow torrenting or P2P traffic.

First-party DNS servers (CyberGhost owns many of its servers) and a no-logs policy make CyberGhost a superb choice for privacy.

The CyberGhost apps default to OpenVPN (although IKEv2 and other VPN protocols are also available), and connections are secured with AES-256 encryption. Its kill switch worked flawlessly and we’ve never detected any IP, DNS or WebRTC leaks in our comprehensive tests.

CyberGhost provides custom VPN apps for all major platforms such as Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. The CyberGhost native Firestick app has improved massively and is now one of the best around.

You can use CyberGhost VPN on up to seven devices at once, which is great. If that’s not enough, install it on your router at home and protect all your home devices that way.

Customer support is available 24/7 via live chat and CyberGhost’s support staff are always helpful and responsive.

If whatever reason you don’t like using CyberGhost VPN, you have up to 45 days to request a full refund – one of the most generous refund policies we’ve ever seen. If you opt for the 1-month plan though, you’ll only have 14-days to ask for your money back.

Overall CyberGhost is a very strong VPN choice and we’re expecting it to get better and better with time.

Ranked #5 of 99 VPNs

Works with

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Quick speeds: 73Mbps (global average)
  2. Unlocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
  3. Unrestricted torrenting/P2P traffic
  4. No logging & no IP, DNS & WebRTC leaks
  5. 7,000 individual IP addresses
  6. Connect securely to 59 countries
  1. No browser extensions available
  2. Live chat isn't always available
  3. Very small server network
The Bottom Line

PrivateVPN is a relative newcomer in the VPN world, but in little time it has become of the best VPN services out there. Originally founded in 2009, it really started picking up momentum in the last two to three years.

PrivateVPN’s connections are fast and reliable around the world, and unrestricted access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer (and more) make it a great VPN choice for streaming fans.

Torrenting is allowed on the entire server network, with servers optimized especially for P2P traffic too, and low pings make PrivateVPN a great pick for gamers.

PrivateVPN’s server network is very small (only 150 servers) compared to its top rivals, however this shortcoming is compensated by the 7,000 IP addresses available to PrivateVPN users.

We put PrivateVPN’s claims to the test and we found it to be very private and secure: it doesn’t log, it has a working VPN kill switch, and it doesn’t leak your true location.

PrivateVPN’s apps are available on PC, Mac, iPhone and Android devices, although its mobile VPN apps are not as good as its desktop clients. You can also setup PrivateVPN on a home router to secure all internet traffic in your home.

If you decide that PrivateVPN is not for you, remember that the 30-day money-back guarantee is only valid if you use less than 100GB of data during the 30-day period.

PrivateVPN has a lot going for it and we’ve been impressed with this VPN so far, although it does have some way to go before it can challenge the top four VPN services ranked above it.

What are the Benefits of Using a VPN?

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a clever piece of software that everyone should use. These main benefits of using a VPN:

1Keep your online activity private from your ISP, the government and snoopers

By using a VPN you can stop your Internet Service Provider (ISP) from tracking you and possibly selling your data to advertisers and third-parties without your knowledge.

In the US, ISPs are legally allowed to sell your sensitive personal data to advertisers without your explicit consent.

Many unsuspecting nations have some of the most aggressive surveillance laws in the world, and they force ISPs to track and store customers’ online activity and hand it over if asked to.

The only way to prevent this is by using a VPN. When you connect to a VPN server, your internet provider is unable to see beyond that server and therefore can’t track what you do online.

2Bypass online geo-restrictions

Not all websites and apps are accessible from where you are, and that applies to ALL countries.

When you connect to a VPN, your real IP address is replaced with the IP address of the VPN server you chose. If the VPN does its job correctly, the website that you visit will think you’re just another visitor from that same country and you’ll be able view the geo-blocked content.

The VPN providers we recommend on this page have many servers spread around the world, so you can appear to be in any location you choose at the click/tap of a button.

3Protect yourself from hackers on public WiFi

Public WiFi networks are dangerous because they’re highly vulnerable to hackers trying to steal your personal information. Free WiFi in restaurants, coffee shops, department stores and on public transport are all very risky.

A VPN encrypts your network connection and makes it near impossible for anyone to intercept your sensitive data. If you’re connected to a VPN, it’s much harder for a hacker to carry out a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack on your device.

4Beat censorship by the government, your ISP, your workplace or school

Online censorship is worryingly on the rise around the world. It works by the owner of the network blocking access to specific websites and apps.

This can be at the very top level by governments forcing ISPs to block websites and apps – like in China – but it can also happen in schools or workplaces.

A VPN is a very effective way around these blocks, as your VPN connection is ‘carrying’ you to the censored website as opposed to your internet provider.

Are VPNs Legal?

Yes, VPNs are almost certainly legal where you live.

So long as you aren’t using a VPN to break the law then there should be no problem with you downloading and using a VPN.

If you live in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, the EU, South America or Africa then you can freely use a VPN.

Outside of those regions, though, there are a few exceptions where VPNs may be banned or otherwise restricted. You can find out exactly where VPNs are with our guide to VPNs and the law.

Does a VPN Really Protect You?

Yes: a VPN really will protect you and keep you safe online. Good VPNs help guard you against man-in-the-middle attacks, eavesdroppers, and hide your IP address and browsing history from your ISP.

There are some threats that you will need a different set of tools for, though. Some VPN services come with the ability to block pop-ups, but you’ll want to install your own ad-block extension to help with that.

VPNs are not antivirus software, although some VPNs do provide some real-time malware protection. While a VPN may help prevent harmful or malicious software reaching your computer in some circumstances, you should always use dedicated antivirus software.

Can You Trust Your VPN Service?

Whether or not you can trust your VPN service depends very much on just what your VPN service is.

A good VPN service retains no logs, properly encrypts your traffic, refuses to hand over user data to those it doesn’t belong to, and is based in a secure and safe jurisdiction.

A bad VPN collects extensive users logs, mines and sells data, manipulates your traffic, and can even share your browsing data with governments and third parties.

Before you make a decision on which VPN to subscribe to you should make sure you fully understand what encryption it uses, what sort of data it logs, and what legal jurisdiction it falls under.

Rest assured that you can really trust the five VPN services we picked as the best for 2019.

Can You Be Tracked if You Use a VPN?

A VPN does not make you 100% untraceable – it’s important to bear that in mind and set your expectations accordingly before downloading one.

If someone, be they a hacker or government, want to track you down online then they will be able to.

However, tracking someone who uses a VPN is significantly more difficult than tracking someone who doesn’t.

A proper VPN service will swap your IP address and DNS servers for one of its own, encrypt your traffic thoroughly, and then delete any connection and browsing logs that you leave behind so as to secure your anonymity.

The rule when using a VPN is simple: don’t do anything when connected to a VPN that you wouldn’t do without one.

How We Chose the Best VPN of 2019

We are constantly testing every VPN service on our website to make sure our VPN reviews and recommendations are up-to-date and trustworthy.

We regularly run speed tests to give you the latest VPN speeds (download and upload) and ping times.

We test VPN if and how well VPNs unlock Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other major streaming services, and whether the VPN provider allows torrenting.

We investigate where VPN prodivers are really based, and we put their VPN privacy features and logging policies under the microscope, to make sure that your privacy and security is never jeopardized.

We check that the VPN apps are quick to install, easy to use, and working with all popular devices and operating systems. We also try out every feature of every VPN app.

We even test a VPN provider’s customer support by reaching out to them with real questions and queries, and you’ll often see their answers in our reviews.

Finally, we see how much a VPN service costs, if it’s good value for money and whether there are coupons for you to use to bring the price down further.

Which VPN is the Safest & Most Secure?

All of the VPN services listed on this page are extremely secure and will keep you safe and private online.

Any VPN that we recommend will have the most advanced encryption technologies and security features in place – you can learn more about these features in our in-depth guide to VPN encryption.

Additional VPN providers not listed on this page that we also recommend for security are Private Internet Access, VyprVPN and Hide.me – follow the links to read our full review of each VPN.

What is the Easiest VPN to Use?

When we test a VPN service, we really download, set up and use it. We test every VPN app on every platform offered to make sure it’s as easy as possible to use.

Whether you’re a VPN beginner or a tech expert, our best VPN recommendations are intuitive and quick to set up, with lots of advanced features that are clearly labelled, and in-depth online support.

In addition to the VPNs on this page, we also recommend Windscribe, ProtonVPN and Surfshark as VPN apps that are very easy to use.

What is the Best VPN for Streaming (and Netflix)?

Streaming (Netflix in particular) is one of the most popular uses for a VPN – if that’s something you want to do, then it’s important you pick the right VPN service.

See the best VPN services for streaming, and our recommendations specifically for Netflix and BBC iPlayer. The VPNs we recommend are guaranteed to work consistently, giving you fast and unrestricted access to your favorite streaming services.

The best VPNs for streaming unlock video services in popular locations like the US and the UK, often providing servers specifically dedicated to beating blocks and delivering smooth, buffer-free playback.

What Is the Best VPN for Torrenting?

When it comes to torrenting, there are two necessities: speed and privacy.

A good VPN will make your torrenting much more private, with very minimal impact on your download speeds.

If you’re a keen torrenter then take a look at our best (safest) VPN services for torrenting. Our top five VPNs all provide uncapped P2P traffic and speeds free from throttling.

Some of these VPN services even have servers designed just for torrenting.

What Is the Fastest VPN?

A VPN won’t make your internet connection faster, and a VPN won’t make a weak internet connection stronger.

In fact, a VPN will actually make your internet connection slower – which is what makes picking the right one so important.

We sit down with every VPN we review and manually test it for speed on a number of its most popular servers around the world, so that you know what you’re getting before you buy.

If you want extra security without sacrificing your download and upload speeds, then you might want to take a look at the current fastest VPN services.

Free VPN vs Paid VPN: Are Free VPNs Safe?

Often when you have the choice between a free product and a paid product, the free one will be worse. Unfortunately, this is absolutely the case with VPNs.

Most free VPN services have tiny bandwidth allowances, limited server locations, are riddled with ads and even cap your speed as they want you to upgrade to their the full (paid) product.

And unfortunately it doesn’t end there…

Some free VPNs pose serious risks to whoever uses them. When we recently examined the 150 most popular free Android VPN apps we found that over 85% were potentially unsafe!

We 100% recommend that you use a paid VPN, if you can afford the small monthly fee of course.

Are there any good free VPNs out there, though? There is, and we’ve found five safe free VPN services that could be what you’re looking for.

How to Choose the Best VPN: 8 Tips

The closer the VPN server to your real-world physical location the better the performance. More servers will generally mean less congestion and improved speeds. Look for the speed test results in our reviews to get the best idea. Watch out, though – free plans almost always limit the number of available server locations. The very best premium providers will have options on every continent.

Almost all VPN software will work on Microsoft Windows, MacOS and Linux machines, along with iOS and Android mobile devices. However, some are also compatible with other connected devices, like routers, games consoles and streaming devices. If, for example, you game on an Xbox One or watch TV on an Amazon Fire TV Stick then you’ll definitely want to look out for a VPN that can protect them, too.

Just covering your smartphone or desktop computer can sometimes be enough, but do you want to protect every device on your network? Look for a VPN that allows as many connections as you are likely to use at any one time. A cheap VPN can become poor value very quickly if it turns out it will only protect one device. The very best options will allow upwards of 10 simultaneous connections, with some not even limiting it at all.

Do you watch Netflix or BBC iPlayer? Not every VPN will work with these apps. We continuously test whether each VPN is working with Netflix and other apps and share the results in our VPN reviews.

The sheer amount of VPN jargon can be overwhelming, even if you are pretty tech-savvy. Do look out for OpenVPN though, as this connection protocol offers the best overall blend of speed and security. Ignore talk of military or bank-grade encryption and just look for AES-256, as that’s the gold standard. Unless you know your DNS from your IPv6, a VPN killswitch is the main thing to look out for among security features as it will protect you from exposing your real IP address should your connection drop unexpectedly.

Every VPN will tell you it is doesn’t track your internet activity, often throwing around the term ‘zero logs’ when describing itself.

In reality, delivering high performance across an extensive global network is all but impossible unless at least some user connection details are being monitored. You could waste hours reading through reams of privacy policies and terms of service to find out exactly what’s collected and for how long it’s stored – or you could let us do the boring stuff for you.

Just check the logging policy section of our review to have it all explained in plain language. You should aim for a VPN that does not log your IP address at all and limits timestamp logging to just the date of your connection.

No-one likes a clunky, confusing app. Look for a VPN with software that’s well-designed you’ll be much more likely to use it all the time. We share the results of our hands-on testing of each VPN app in the the Ease of Use part of its review. We spend all day testing VPN apps, so we know just how good (and bad) they can be.

Even the most expensive VPN plans can be made affordable by taking out a longer subscription.

Don’t bother with a one-month plan – 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing one with a long refund period.

We’d advise a 30-day no-questions-asked guarantee – they essentially act as a free trial period.

Make the right choice, though, and you hopefully won’t be thinking about a refund at all.