Take a moment to think about all the things you do online. In an average week many of us will probably chat with friends, share photographs, stream a movie, upload videos, browse for information, pay bills and check our bank balance. We do this at home, at work, in college, at the store and even when taking a bus or train; often making use of free WiFi.
Now imagine that somebody was able to monitor your Internet activity, to access your personal photographs or your bank account. It’s a scary scenario but one you can’t afford to just ignore. Online privacy is constantly under threat, which is why more and more people just like you are fighting back. By using a VPN they create a personal shield around all their online activity; maintaining privacy and security for total peace of mind.
Of course, there are other benefits beyond the very important factor of data security – for example, there are no geographical barriers when browsing the web with a VPN, so you can do fun things like stream UK TV in another country where it is usually not available.
What are VPNs?
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are an excellent resource which help keep your personal and sensitive data secure – especially when using public or shared WiFi, provide the option for you to browse the web without revealing your real IP address, and let you access content which is not generally available to people in your location. Although the data security option is what attracts a lot of VPN users you’d be surprised how many ordinary websites restrict their content to those in one country only.
Finding a good VPN
VPNs are not generally very expensive, but they do tend to vary in the services they provide, so doing some research before committing to any particular one is crucial. You may notice that some places offer a free VPN service, but in general these are not really worth the effort, except perhaps as a possible way to check out a service before buying.
The free versions generally have various restrictions, for example, a VPN works by supplying you with a temporary IP address, and most paid plans allow you to choose the country that you appear to be in, while the free versions tend to simply allocate one randomly. This could be a nuisance if you are based in the USA, want to watch say a UK only TV show online, but are given a Canadian IP address! Free VPNs also tend to limit the amount of time you can browse with them to a certain (low) amount per day.
There are lots of VPN services around, and no one option will be the first choice for everyone as it often depends on exactly what you want or prioritize. So, to help you choose the one which you feel suits your needs best we’ve put together this handy guide to the best VPN services around in 2019.
CyberGhost VPN service
This very popular software from a German company has lots of positive reviews on various sites across the Internet, and offer customers a wide range of useful options at a very reasonable price. Here’s the skinny on what makes CyberGhost a leading VPN service provider:
- Over 3500 servers based in 60 countries mean you can enjoy a fast and reliable service.
- One account can support up to seven devices at the same time.
- Both chat and email options are available 24/7 for customer support.
- No buffering or slower speeds when streaming from Netflix and similar sites.
- No limits on P2P/Torrenting.
- Extensions for popular browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox) for easy access and use.
- Top class encryption technology means there are no worries about privacy.
- Works across Windows, Mac Android and iOS platforms
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Automatic kill switch
- 45-day money back guarantee
- No logs are kept of your activity
CyberGhost has several plans to choose between, but by far the best value right now is the 18-month commitment plan which works out to be just $2.75 a month.
We think – this is a great choice for those who are sure they will get good use out of a VPN so can commit to the 18-month contract (for the best price.)
This well-established company has been providing a virtual private server service since 2012, and has over 1800 servers based around the world. Here’s what else NordVPN has to offer:
- Over 1800 servers globally
- Can serve up to six devices at once
- Double encryption provides the highest level of anonymity
- Built-in malware protection
- Can be used with all the main streaming services
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Winner of several awards, including Best VPN 2017
- 24/7 customer support
- Popular with tech influencers and reviewers
The best deal currently available with NordVPN is a three-year contract which evens out as $2.99 a month, which would suit those with experience of using a VPN so have an established need for it. Here and check out the latest NordVPN deals.
We think – those who seriously worry about safety and security online will love this VPN with its double layer of protection and malware detecting add-on.
Another popular provider, this is a very user-friendly VPN so it’s perfect or anyone a little unsure of how to make such things work. The key features and benefits of UltraVPN are:
- An extremely high-speed service.
- 30 day cool off and refund period
- Can be used with iOS, Mac, Windows, and Android devices.
- Unrestricted access/no bandwidth limits
- A range of versatile plans.
- Browse securely, protected by 256-bit encryption and a very secure firewall.
- No buffering or slow speeds to spoil the shows or live sport you are enjoying.
- No effect on the internet connection.
- No record is kept of your online activity.
- A browser extension is available.
- Extensive customer support is available via live chat, phone, email, or by using a detailed knowledge base with lots of help and support.
- There’s a choice of cities in certain countries.
We think – this is the perfect VPN for those who need a lot of bandwidth, for example, families with children who game online, as there’s no limit to how often you use it.
This Swedish security company offers a top-notch service to customers looking for a way to surf the net, manage their online data and stream as much media as they like. They protect your true identity in a seriously comprehensive way, so you leave no footprints behind. Here are some of this company’s key points:
- Data traffic is processed through a 2048-bit tunnel encrypted with AES-256.
- Capable of making WiFi hotspots 100% secure.
- Your browsing history is completely private.
- Supported by a secure firewall.
- Apps which are compatible with a huge range of devices, including routers, streaming sticks, Windows, iOS and Android tablets and phones.
- Up to six different devices can be used at the same time from one account.
- Uses 60 servers in as many countries.
- Support via TeamViewer is available if customers need technical help with installation, alongside email and live chat support.
- Handy FAQ section covering lots of questions customers may have.
There are three different payment plans offered by PrivateVPN, and all include unlimited access, the VPN app, and 24/7 customer support. You can pay a month by month fee of $7.12, buy three months up front which comes to $4.40 a month, or pay a one-time fee which covers usage for two years and evens out to $1.89 per month. All plans have a 30-day money back guarantee.
We think – one of the strongest selling points is that all customer support agents are actual company developers, so they are experts. This is a great choice for those on a budget – the price on a two-year contract is outstanding.
If you want to learn about the fastest vpn services then check out this Fastest VPN Guide.
SaferVPN may not always feature in the top five picks in comparison articles but we think it has a lot to offer. The key features we favor are:
- Over 700 servers available in 34 countries.
- Extremely versatile in terms of device compatibility, including Windows, iOS, Android, Consoles, TOR, Smart TVs, and Macs.
- Five connections are possible from one account.
- Kill-switch in case connections are lost.
- Various protocols – PPTP, SSTP, IKEv2, Open VPN, and IPSec.
- Excellent download speeds.
- Unlimited access.
- No annoying buffering.
- No need to restart after installation.
- Good customer support and an extensive knowledge database.
- User-friendly, very easy to set up and adjust settings – great for first time VPN users with very limited tech knowledge.
- A kill switch which doesn’t fail.
- A decent success rate with Netflix.
- 30-day no quibble money back guarantee.
SaferVPN offer affordable packages, and as you can expect, the longer you commit to the better deal will be on the table. After discounts, they run at $4.99 a month for a one year contract, $2.99 if you go up to two years, and $2.29 a month if you can commit to three years on the plan.
We think – if you like things to be no-nonsense and straightforward this is a good company to choose. It’s also a great option for anyone looking to pay with Bitcoin or Paymentwall. (PayPal and major credit cards are also accepted, of course.)
ExpressVPN is based in the Virgin Islands and is a consistently popular VPN service provider. Here are the key points you need to know.
- Additional information on internet privacy and security tips are available via a blog and a detailed guide, along with a second guide on how to privately stream sports games.
- Three devices can connect to the VPN with one account, but more can be added if users use ExpressVPN’s wireless router app.
- 24/7 live chat support, staffed by human beings, not bots!
- Split tunneling VPN means you can mix and match, with some devices in your home using the service, and others accessing the internet in the traditional way.
- ExpressVPN offers an affordable 15-month deal, (1 year plus three free months), which works out to be $6.67 a month. For a shorter commitment there’s a 6-month option at around $10 a month, or you can take it month by month for $12.95 a time. All three plans have a 30-day cancel and refund option.
- Use of a 100% private and encrypted DNS across all servers, which means you can rely on every connection being extremely safe and fast.
- Servers based in 90+ countries.
- No throttling.
- Very easy to set up and start using.
- No connection or activity logs – ever!
- Peace of mind comes with their 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and DNS/IPv6 leak protection.
- Apps available for Mac, iOS, Linux, Routers, Android, and Windows.
- Browser extensions are available for both Firefox and Chrome.
- Can be used with various other devices, including PlayStation, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV box and Smart TV.
We think – the offer of full access to all features for a free 30 day trial is very generous. We also like the wide range of payment options, which include credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Amex, JCB etc), PayPal, Bitcoin, and less well-known options such as UnionPay, Giropay, Webmoney, iDEAL and others.
A few words to wrap up
There are definitely lots of providers to choose from when you are looking for a good VPN, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed comparing the feature and pricing systems. The best approach is to think carefully about what the priorities for your circumstances are – for example, are you drive more by cost than by the number of devices which can be supported? Are there particular countries you would like to connect through? Do you want a VPN which will work with a particular device?
When you have a shortlist of two or three possible VPN providers check their website for current deals, and look around online for reviews from a few different sources. Then all you need to do is install and start browsing with no need at all to worry about snoopers, hackers, and off-limit media sources.