The Top 10 Best VPN Services for 2018

June 21, 2018

8:06 am

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help you browse the web and download files anonymously, and using a VPN can be a smart way to boost your online privacy. But, there are some big differences in the features and speeds you’ll get from one VPN service to another. In this guide we’ll tell you why you should use one, the features to look for, and the best VPN services for 2018.

Our top-rated VPN providers have tight privacy settings, good speeds and a range of useful features. All of that is important, as picking the wrong VPN could mean stuttering download speeds, or even worse, security and privacy issues such as having your data tracked and logged without you realising it.

You can get a brilliant VPN service for just a couple of dollars a month. For this, you can enjoy online security and privacy, plus unlock overseas streaming services.

You don’t need to spend much to enjoy a brilliant VPN service. But there’s no sense wasting your money on a VPN that won’t do everything you need.

Before you sign up for a VPN, check our reviews and recommendations to help decide which is the best VPN for you.

In This Guide:

Which are the Best VPNs?

We’ve reviewed and rated the best VPNs for 2018. Our expert VPN tests are completely independent and based on hands-on ease-of-use assessments plus real-world speed tests and security tests. So, which VPNs are worth your money?

We’ve done the research, and the top 10 VPNs for 2018 are:

  1. PureVPN – The best VPN we’ve tested, fast and easy to use.
  2. IPVanish – An excellent choice for expert users, with deep features.
  3. Torguard – Great data protection, and unlocks Netflix.
  4. Private Internet Access – A good all rounder that offers good value for money.
  5. Windscribe – Fast and effective, although not best suited for beginners.
  6. Proton VPN – An expensive option, but with an impressive suite of options.
  7. NordVPN – Another VPN for experts, and a fast one at that.
  8. Hide Me – Straightforward and stress-free, if a little more expensive than others.
  9. Air VPN – Doesn’t have the slick interface of other apps, but a powerful tool regardless.
  10. Express VPN – Easy to set up, but struggles to compete on price and speed.

Our favorite three VPNs are listed below:

TechCo Logo thumbnail
  • Score
  • Review
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Privacy
  • Speed
  • Help & Support
  • Value for Money
  • Monthly price
  • Annual price
  • Get VPN

PureVPN logo - tech.co

IPVanish-VPN - tech.co

Torguard tech.co

PureVPN logo - tech.co
  • Score: 82%
  • Pure VPN review
  • Ease of Use: 5 stars
  • Features: 5 stars
  • Privacy: 5 stars
  • Speed: 3 stars
  • Help & Support: 4 stars
  • Value for Money: 5 stars
  • $10.95
  • $59
  • PureVPN Deals

IPVanish-VPN - tech.co
  • 80%
  • IPVanish Review
  • Ease of Use: 5 stars
  • Features: 5 stars
  • Privacy: 5 stars
  • Speed: 4 stars
  • Help and Support: 3 stars
  • Value for Money: 4 stars
  • $10
  • $77.99
  • IPVanish Deals

Torguard tech.co
  • Score: 76%
  • Torguard review
  • Ease of Use: 4 stars
  • Features: 3 stars
  • Privacy: 5 stars
  • Speed: 3 stars
  • Help & Support: 5 stars
  • Value for Money: 5 stars
  • $9.99
  • $59.99
  • TorGuard Deals

PureVPN – 82%Pure VPN logo - tech.co

Easy to use while also offering a large suite of options for those that like to dabble. Incredible value for the service if you pick up a two-year subscription. PureVPN can also unblock Netflix in other countries, something which not many VPNs can boast.

PureVPN offers a selection of ‘modes’ that make it easy to ensure your VPN experience is a smooth as possible, including Privacy’, which masks your identity when using file sharing networks, and a dedicated ‘Streaming’ mode.

It also allows you to set up your computer as a VPN hotspot, so other devices can connect to it and browse anonymously.

Open up the internet with our highest rated VPN, with this special offer for two years of Pure VPN for just $2.48 a month – a 77% saving.

IPVanish – 80%


IPVanish is an excellent VPN, aimed at more advanced users and with a wealth of features that will keep the dedicated VPN experts happy.

With over 1000 servers in 60 countries, there’s plenty of global of coverage, so chances are you’ll be able to find a server that will get you the content you want.

It also doesn’t suffer any slow down, like some VPN software can, with your speeds ticking along at a nice pace.

Sign up for one of the best VPNs of 2018 and get 46% off an annual subscription

TorGuard VPN – 76%Torguard VPN logo - tech.co

Excellent choice for the tech-savvy, with plenty of options to deep dive into. TorGuard VPN also super fast, and passed our privacy tests with flying colors, where others failed. It’s a real powerhouse of a VPN, that grants you a high level of control.

TorGuard turned out to be one of the fastest VPNs on our test, with even long-distance transatlantic connections proving refreshingly speedy. While some VPNs can do a number on your broadband speed, you’re in safe hands with TorGuard.

The software’s security settings are absolutely superb, and it passed all our leak tests with flying colors.

Private Internet Access – 75%Private Internet Access logo - tech.co

More aimed at confident users, Private Internet Access offers solid, good-value privacy and anonymity while you’re online. It comes with features to block ads and tools that companies use to track your internet activities.

A built-in killswitch will automatically halt any activity should you lose your VPN connection, ensuring that it won’t be transmitted over your standard ISP network.

In advanced features, you’ll find the Mace option, which provides tools for blocking online adverts and disabling any tracking tools that companies may use.

Windscribe – 74%


A great value VPN that also has a decent free offering, Windscribe is a fantastic choice for anyone who already knows their way around a VPN.

Newcomers might be slightly daunted by the vast amount of features, but the experienced will revel in the amount of freedom it grants them.

Good news for film buffs too, it can unblock Netflix, bypassing the stringent protections that the streaming giant has put in place to prevent region-free viewing.

What is a VPN Service?

A VPN is a service that can be used to mask your own internet access, and works by tunnelling your web activity through to a proxy server, which you then access all online content through.

VPNs have something of a sketchy reputation in some quarters, but there are plenty of legitimate reasons why you would want one, especially if you value your online privacy and security.

Think of the last time you accessed public Wi-Fi, in a coffee shop or hotel. Did you send any personal data? If so, there’s a very good chance it wasn’t secure.

A VPN can also allow you to access services that are “geo-locked”. For example, if you’re overseas but want to watch U.S. Netflix, a VPN can make it appear as if you are accessing the service from the U.S.

Still unclear? Read our full guide on What Is a VPN?

VPN Features to Look For in 2018

To help you decide which VPN service is best for you, it’s best to consider a few key features

Security and Privacy Features

It pays to be security-conscious, and if you’re looking to use a VPN, then you’re probably well aware of the risks of exposing your online activity to nefarious third parties. Some VPN services offer more robust security features than others, such as strong encryption or built-in anti-malware protection.

While you might think that your online activity is under wraps using a VPN, some VPN providers still log your activity on its servers. This could include the sites you have visited or the names of files you have downloaded. The logging may be anonymised, but, given you need to sign up to paid-for VPNs with your email address and card details, any sort of data collection is potentially off-putting.

Whether or not this is something to look out for depends on what you’re using the VPN for in the first place and whether or not you’re comfortable with a third party logging your data in this way. Our reviews make clear the providers that log your information, and those that don’t.

VPN Speeds

Speed is key when it comes to VPN, especially if you’re doing something data extensive. If you’re browsing the web, then you might not be too affected by a slow VPN, but you’ll soon notice when you start downloading data or streaming a movie.

There are several factors that can contribute to slow speeds – a lack of servers, the VPN itself throttling the service, or just the physical distance between yourself and the providers servers. We’ve taken this into account and tested each provider for speed.

Streaming over a VPN

Many people use VPNs for media streaming, such as gaining access to the vast, region specific catalogue of movies and TV show from the likes of Netflix. Unsurprisingly, streaming services aren’t hugely keen on you doing this, and are taking increasingly sophisticated steps to try to quell this activity.

Netflix actively blocks access from overseas users to its U.S. service, for example. It’s been a battle of inches between the streaming giant and the VPN providers. Netflix keeps developing ways to detect VPNs and prevent their use, while VPN providers keep trying to outfox Netflix’s detection.

Some VPNs claim to provide unfettered access to the global library, but in our testing, we found that this wasn’t always the case. Read our reviews to find which ones will let you access Netflix overseas, trouble-free.

Support

If you find yourself lost at sea when attempting to navigate the web with a VPN, then having an expert on hand to answer your questions is vital, especially if you’ve never used one before.

Any decent service worth its salt will have a help guide built-in, but if you need guidance beyond that, then speaking a human, whether its by email, live chat or over the phone could be invaluable, especially if you’re dealing with a level of technical knowledge that is slightly beyond your grasp.

We’ve identified those providers that offer chat services or will pick up the phone when you come unstuck, and those that will leave you with just a help page and a prayer.

Should You Pay or Use a Free VPN?

The big question then – should you pay for a VPN? The answer to this really depends on what you want to use it for, and how determined you are to have the best browsing speeds and privacy features.

While there are some free options out there, there can be a considerable trade-off in performance and experience. They will also be fairly limited feature wise, and basic.

Don’t forget the old adage that if something is free, then you’re the product. For VPNs, this means that you might have to put up with adverts, or they may collect data as you browse – in itself, that’s a privacy concern.

For anyone but the most casual of users, paying for a VPN is the way forward. For a small fee – typically around $60 per year – you’ll enjoy more features, better speeds and an advert-free experience.

You don’t have to spend big bucks for a reliable service, either. We’ve found some great VPN tools that are reasonably priced. You’ll get the best value deals by signing up for a year or more of service – paying monthly is rarely the cheapest way to go.

Verdict VPN Reviews
Hide Me The free version of Hide Me is a competitive package, offering 2GB of data, although you are limited to just three server locations. Read Full Review
Hotspot Shield VPN Hotspot Shield offers a decent free version, with surprisingly fast speeds. However, for access for some of the most popular sites, like Netflix, you’ll need the full version. Read Full Review
TunnelBear A good free option for light users, with a colorful and easy to use interface. The 500MB data cap for monthly use means its best for occasional use only. Read Full Review
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Jack is a senior writer at Tech.co with over a decade's experience researching and writing about consumer technology, from security and privacy to product reviews and tech news.

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