June 15, 2019
A VPN can be a safe and recommended way to connect to the internet. With a secure VPN service, you can protect your online data and privacy.
Using a VPN can be great way to protect your identity online, as well as opening up areas of the internet that could be blocked off to you based on your location.
A VPN isn't, however, a licence to carry out illegal or nefarious activities. Using a VPN doesn't make you invincible online, but pick a good one, and your data and privacy will remain secure.
This guide explains what to look out for with a VPN, the benefits of paying for one over a free alternative (far less safe), and how to keep yourself protected online.
In This Guide:
Scroll horizontally to view full table on mobile devices
|PureVPN||NordVPN||IPVanish VPN||TorGuard||Private Internet Access||Windscribe||Proton VPN||Hide Me VPN||AirVPN||Express VPN|
|No. of devices||5||5||5||5||5||10||10||5||5||3|
|No. of servers||750||3605||1000||3000||3035||480||112||150||60||1500|
|Ease of use||★★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★☆||★★★☆☆||★★★★★|
|Help & Support||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★★★||★★★☆☆||★★★★☆||★★★☆☆||★★★★☆||★★★☆☆||★★★☆☆||★★★★☆|
|Value for Money||★★★★★||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★★★||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★★☆||★★★★★||★★★★☆||★★★☆☆|
|Price per month||$2.80 (1-year plan)||$2.99 (3-year plan)||$6.49 (1-year plan)||$4.12 (2-year plan)||$2.91 (2-year plan)||$4.08 (1-year plan)||$4 (1-year plan)||$4.99 (1-year plan)||$2.78 (2-year plan)||$8.32 (1-year plan)|
|Discounts||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers||See offers|
All of the above VPNs are safe services from reputable brands that take your security seriously. From our extensive testing, we identified three that stand out from the crowd.
PureVPN, NordVPN and IPVanish combine great features with dependable speeds and all-important ease-of use. Below, we give a little more detail on our top-choice VPN services:
PureVPN is not only a great VPN in its own right, but also boasts an impressive suite of additional security features. One of these is Ozone, a tool that gives you content filtering tools, and has intrusion-detection features that alert you if someone is trying to hack into your PC.
Then there's a tool called Gravity. This is an ad-blocker that stops ads appearing during your browsing.
For VPN first-timers, PureVPN is also brilliantly simple to use. You don't have to delve into complex settings to get up and running, and there's support on hand, too. Best of all? You don't have to spend much – it's a great-value VPN.
- Effective privacy and security features
- Simple ‘mode' approach keeps things easy
- Clear notifications
- Excellent value
- Not quite as fast as billed
- Doesn’t unblock Netflix unless you use the browser extension
NordVPN takes your security very seriously. To begin with, it uses military-grade 256-bit AES encryption to protect your information, a great bonus if you're looking to use public WiFi networks without concern.
As well as built-in malware blocking, NordVPN also features a Kill Switch option.
This will stop your browsing dead should your connection to the VPN fail, instead of continuing your activity on your ISP.
- Fast and effective
- Packed with features
- Excellent value
- Not the most intuitive VPN at first
- Can’t unblock some streaming services
- Assumes some technical knowledge
Unlike some other VPNs, IPVanish has a policy of not logging your data. This means that records of your online searches and the websites you have visited won't be kept.
IPVanish has over 1,000 servers in 60 countries, and owns them all outright, rather than leasing them from third-party data centres. This means that your data is passing purely through IPVanish's systems, rather than a faceless third party.
It's a powerful VPN to choose, though arguably a little technical if you've never used one before. However, the privacy conscious will love the ability to deep-dive into the settings and features.
- Crammed with settings that put you in control
- Strong privacy and security features
- Decent speeds
- Slightly intimidating
- Priced above some rivals
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