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The Top 10 Best VPN Services for 2019

January 11, 2019

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 2019.

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 2019. 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 2019 are:

  1. PureVPN – The best VPN we’ve tested, fast and easy to use.
  2. NordVPN – Another VPN for experts, and a fast one at that.
  3. IPVanish – An excellent choice for expert users, with deep features.
  4. Torguard – Great data protection, and unlocks Netflix.
  5. Private Internet Access – A good all rounder that offers good value for money.
  6. Windscribe – Fast and effective, although not best suited for beginners.
  7. Proton VPN – An expensive option, but with an impressive suite of options.
  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.

Scroll horizontally to view full table on mobile devices

PureVPNNordVPNIPVanish VPNTorGuardPrivate Internet AccessWindscribeProton VPNHide Me VPNAirVPNExpress VPN
PureVPN logoNordVPN logoAirVPN logoExpress VPN logo
Tech.co Rating★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★☆
No. of devices555551010553
No. of servers7503605100030003035480112150601500
Data logging
Killswitch
Email Support
Live Chat
Ease of use★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★★★★★★★★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★★★★
Features★★★★★★★★☆☆★★★★★★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★★★★★★☆☆★★★★★★★★★★
Privacy★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Speed★★★☆☆★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★★☆★★☆☆☆
Help & Support★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★★★★★☆☆★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★★☆
Value for Money★★★★★★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★★★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★★★★★★☆★★★☆☆
Free trial
Price per month$2.80 (1-year plan)$2.99 (3-year plan)$6.49 (1-year plan)$9.99$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)
DiscountsSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offers

Pure VPN UIPureVPN

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.

Pros:

  • Effective privacy and security features
  • Smart Mode-based approach
  • Clear notifications

Cons:

  • Not as fast as billed
  • Doesn’t unblock Netflix unless you use the browser extension

Sign up for Pure VPN today

NordVPN mapNordVPN

NordVPN is fast, it’s powerful, and it’s a cost-effective solution to what ails anyone in need of a VPN service. Granted, you’ll need to commit to service plan of a year or longer in order to get the best value for your money, but the service is more than worth it.

The 256-bit AES encryption is military grade, so you’ll be retain your anonymity and safety regardless of which public wifi outlet you log your laptop into. Additional security features include the ability to use two VPN links at the same time and access to the privacy-centric TOR network. And, with 3600 servers in 62 countries, NordVPN has a network of servers that’s even larger than it needs to be.

Pros:

  • Fast and effective
  • Packed with features
  • Excellent value

Cons:

  • Not the most intuitive VPN
  • Can’t unblock some streaming services
  • Assumes some technical knowledge

Sign up for Nord VPN today

IPVanish LocationsIPVanish

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

Given it has over 1000 servers in 60 countries, there’s plenty of global 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.

Pros:

  • Crammed with settings that put you in control
  • Strong privacy and security features
  • Decent speeds

Cons:

  • Slightly intimidating
  • Priced above some rivals

Sign up for IPVanish today

TorGuard VPN

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.

Pros:

  • Strong global presence
  • Great features and control for expert users
  • Impressive VPN perfomance

Cons:

  • Not great for less experienced users
  • Awkward sign-up process
  • Tiny text when you sign in

Sign up for TorGuard today

Private Internet Access

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.

Pros:

  • Good features
  • Good local speeds
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • PC app isn’t user friendly
  • Better-suited to technically confident users
  • Long distance speeds suffer

Sign up for Private Internet Access today

Windscribe Select VPNWindscribe

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.

Pros:

  • Distinctive app and add-on combo approach
  • Good free option with no nagging and no ads
  • Decent speeds
  • Unblocks Netflix

Cons:

  • Technical style

Sign up for Windscribe today

ProtonVPN Servers

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is another solid option for experienced users intent on keeping their civil liberties: The speed isn’t the fastest, but the privacy and level of control it offers users is unbeatable. The raft of advanced features includes multiple profiles with settable protocols and server types.

The concern for privacy extends to the company itself: It’s based in Switzerland, a country with privacy laws strong enough to border on stereotypical, and ProtonVPN internally enforces a strict no-logging policy.

Pros:

  • Impressive interface
  • Powerful features
  • Lots of hands-on control

Cons:

  • Premium plans are expensive
  • Can be intimidating
  • Average speeds overall

Sign up for ProtonVPN today

HideMe SettingsHide Me VPN

Beginners who might be scared off by ProtonVPN or Private Internet Access would do well to check out Hide Me VPN: It’s ease to set up, has an intuitive interface, and delivers on its promise of helping users stay private.

The one downside is that Hide Me’s speed leaves something to be desired, and the price tag is a little above average. Still, for anyone who’s new to the internet and just wants to keep their privacy intact, taking things slow in exchange for a simple, understandable VPN service is a smart trade-off. If that’s you, Hide Me might be the right option.

Pros:

  • Easy to set-up
  • Intuitive, well-designed app
  • Decent free plan

Cons:

  • Slow
  • Not great value

Sign up for HideMe VPN today

AirVPN

AirVPN is anothAirVPN Overviewer option that serves up all the technical details upfront, which certainly appeals to those who know what they’re doing, but also earns it just three out of five stars in the “ease of use” section of our full AirVPN review. Still, its service plans are flexible and at relatively low costs, making this one of the best options for power users who just need a VPN service for a few days.

Each plan offers the hefty encryption and privacy that VPN users need, and AirVPN is clear about its no-logging policies, which should keep expert users happy.

Pros:

  • Low costs and flexible plans
  • Strong encryption and privacy options
  • Clear no-logging policies
  • Good speeds

Cons:

  • Complex and technical
  • Tricky to get started
  • No dedicated mobile app

Sign up for AirVPN today

express vpn screenshotExpressVPN

A popular VPN service around the globe, ExpressVPN is largely a strong offering, but with two massive downsides. The good: It’s very secure, with an intuitive interface and features that make it ease to set up and to use. The bad: It’s also very slow and very expensive.

To be more specific, ExpressVPN’s internet speeds were a little erratic in our tests, in which we were able to connect at 12Mps once only to see our speeds drop almost in half when connecting to the same server ten minutes later. Still, the service is workable, including its great mobile app, and it does the job well enough to earn a spot on our list of the best VPNs out there.

Pros:

  • Easy to use with great support
  • Extensive features
  • Smart location selection

Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds
  • Pricey on per-month plan

Sign up for Express VPN today

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 2019

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 strong free VPN options out there, even the best tend to offer 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.

Scroll horizontally to view full table on mobile devices

NordVPNIPVanish VPNHide Me VPNTunnelbearPsiphonOperaWindscribeProton VPNTorGuardHola VPN
nord vpnIPVanish-VPN - tech.coHide Me VPNTorguard tech.co
VerdictFast, effective, and one of the bestPowerful features and security, but priceyThe all-around best free VPNFun and easy to useFree, fast, ad drivenSimple, limited to browserLimited to just 2GB of dataTough to understand, slow to useGood service at good speedsDemonstrably unsecure. Nuff said.
Free?30-day trial7-day trialYesYesYesYesYesYes7-day trialYes
Tech.co Rating★★★★★★★★★★★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★☆☆
No. of devices5555UnlimitedUnlimited10105Unlimited
No. of servers36051000522N/A5111123000N/A
Free data limitUnlimitedUnlimited2 GB500MB/ monthUnlimitedN/A10GB/ monthUnlimitedUnlimitedN/A
Data logging
Killswitch
Email Support
Live Chat
Ease of use★★★★★★★★★★★★★★☆★★★★★★★★★★★★★★☆★★★★★★★★★★★★★★☆★★★★☆
Features★★★☆☆★★★★★★★★☆☆★★☆☆☆★★☆☆☆★★☆☆☆★★★☆☆★★★★★★★★☆☆★★☆☆☆
Privacy★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★☆☆★☆☆☆☆★★☆☆☆★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★☆☆☆☆
Speed★★★★☆★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆
Help & Support★★★★☆★★★★★★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆★★☆☆☆★★★☆☆★★★★☆★★★☆☆★★★☆☆
Where to get itSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offersSee offers

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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.