Finding the right VPN is incredibly tricky.
On the surface, all VPNs should operate the same way. These Virtual Private Networks are designed to provide a sense of security and privacy to your normal day to day activities on the world wide web.
In essence, VPNs act as a way for you to not worry about having your address, search history, or browsing preferences checked. As more and more websites utilize cookies and other nefarious methods to get into your data, VPNs become more and more viable in the present day.But no matter what ends up swaying your opinion, we hope that you can take these trustworthy VPNs and make an effort to keep yourself safe online. Vigilance and control over your information are both highly important in today’s world, and we’re confident that with one of these options by your side, you may be able to sleep just a little bit easier.
There are lots of VPNs out there, but the best VPN for you is going to be the option that’s able to leverage your needs without forcing you to pay for services or offerings that you’re just not going to use.
That’s why we’ve put together seven of the best VPN services at the lower end of a price range that are trustworthy, reliable, and come with the features that you need them too. We’ll also go over what you need to look for in a VPN and go in-depth throughout our article on the best (and worst) parts of each of our picks.
What You’ll Need in A Good VPN
Before we go into our VPN picks, you’ll need to be able to recognize what makes a good VPN—and, what sets the good apart from the bad. At the same time, you need to be able to recognize the amount of use you’ll get out of the various services and offerings from each company—and the only way to do so is to uncover what you do and don’t want.
To help you decide, we’ve put together a short list of some of the most important attributes of a VPN for most users. They are:
Of course, there are other products and features desired by many; but those above will give you a good place to start with VPNs.
The first, and arguably the most important for some, is bitcoin acceptance.
For those unfamiliar, Bitcoin is a digital currency that can be bought and sold securely—without ever needing to give out lots of personal information. If a VPN service accepts bitcoin, that service could be severely limited in what it knows about you. No credit card information or billing address will be collected, and your anonymity can be ensured.
Bitcoin acceptance is usually seen as a sort of “failsafe” for working with a VPN. Should your VPN lose your information, leak it, or otherwise sell it, you will be safer having paid with bitcoin than having paid with a personal credit or debit card.
The second major feature most consumers are looking for is the number of devices per license.
We live in an interconnected world—where more than just our personal computers are connected to our home Wi-Fi. Most people have their cell phones, televisions, computers, laptops, tablets, and phones connected to their router at all times. And if you want to keep your home browsing secure, all of these devices need to be connected to the VPN.
For most VPNs, you’re purchasing a license to use the private network—and granted a certain number of devices to run on that network co-currently. So, if you have a phone, laptop, computer, and console you want to connect, you’ll need a VPN with at least four devices per license allowed.
The VPN with the highest number of devices per license allowed is not always the best VPN for you, so make sure that your prospective picks can at least meet the minimum number of devices you’re willing to accept. Chances are, more than one of the products on our list meets that criteria.
The next consideration to make is a simple one; the availability and length of a free trial.
More so than most products, VPNs need to be tested on a system before being fully integrated. For some, the networks connected to by the VPN don’t work well for their home, whether it be for latency issues or simply an issue with geo-location. We’ll get more into geo-location in a moment, but for now, it’s important to remember to try before you buy.
That’s why we’ve noted the availability of each of our products as a free trial—as well as noted the length of these trials. Once you’ve picked out your top few options, be sure to take each for a spin. You may notice that some of the products may be easier or more intuitive to work with than others, which is important to note before pulling out a credit card. Or bitcoin.
The final note we’d like to make on VPNs is the issue of Netflix.
It’s no secret that many users want to gain access to a VPN not necessarily to protect their online identities, but gain access to the myriad of TV shows and movies offered by Netflix.
Netflix often locks certain programs to different regions and different countries—often, in large part, due to contracts and obligations. The process is complex, but the short of it is that your Netflix options are greatly limited to your location and country.
By design, a VPN allows you to mask your location and choose the one that you would like to present to different websites as you browse the web. That means that—theoretically—you could set your VPN to a different country and access the shows that only those in that country have access to.
This is ethically complex—as Netflix is consistently cracking down on such practices by instilling strong geo-location protocols into their content.
That means that not every VPN is going to be able to circumvent Netflix’s complex design, which aims to thwart all VPNs that attempt to do so. We’ve noted the VPNs with Netflix compatibility, partial or fully, in the descriptions below, but just to be clear, these were last checked at the publication of this article.
Generally speaking, compatibility with Netflix is an ongoing battle, and your prospective VPN may or may not be able to compete. However, if you’re going to be using a VPN for this reason, we strongly recommend taking the time to ensure that your prospective pick is going to be able to circumvent Netflix when needed.
Best VPNs You Can Trust
You never have to fear surfing the internet again with a good VPN on your side. Check out these seven VPNs that we think are worth trusting in:
Perhaps more so than most of the other VPNs on our list, NordVPN has a reputation for being one of the largest and most ubiquitous options for everyone on the web. NordVPN has also recently been undergoing a major marketing campaign, which has increased awareness as well as the number of users on the service dramatically.
NordVPN works hard to ensure that its products can be used on the various platforms that make up our everyday access to the internet. That’s why NordVPN works on personal computers, Apple computers, Linux, phone systems like iOS and Android, as well as Android TV.
NordVPN, like many of the other picks on our list, can also be installed directly onto a wireless router. This top-down approach to routing the information through the VPN can make it easy to bump into the VPNs devices per license limit of nine.
At the same time, should you never need to run more than nine devices on a VPN at a time, you may be more interested in more professional offerings.
Still, about their applications, we greatly appreciate the approach to aesthetic design and a reliable system that functions and flows well. NordVPN is one of the most consistently fast VPNs on the market today.
Even when you’re attempting to connect to servers across the world, NordVPN is quick to the draw and makes sure that you’re browsing the internet with missing a beat.
Like many of the other VPNs on our list, NordVPN doesn’t log or track what you’re doing. This intentional lack of oversight means more privacy on your end and gives you the peace of mind needed to completely trust the VPN.
Bitcoin is also accepted by NordVPN, and should you have any issues running the service; the 24/7 customer service access should be able to sort out your problems and get you on your war.
NordVPN also runs a seven day trial on top of a 30-day money back guarantee. These two fail-safes allow you to try the product for up to five weeks before committing. And speaking of commitment, if you pay yearly for NordVPN, it works out to be one of the most affordable products on our list.
As for complaints about NordVPN, we only have a few.
The first is the issue of customer support. While access to customer support is immediate, most of the processing goes through email rather than live people. Should you have an immediate problem, you may need to wait until someone gets back to you, or you find the answer you need in the support library yourself.
Likewise, NordVPN doesn’t work natively on many of the platforms featured and supported by some of the other VPNs on our list.
At the same time, where NordVPN succeeds is offering a low-cost service that is generally one of the most favored by the public and protects your privacy in just about any way possible.
NordVPN is one of the best overall VPN picks you can make. If your needs align with the offerings of NordVPN, we fail to see how you could be anything less than satisfied with the result of launching an installation.
Our second VPN pick is another popular option that’s focused on space conservation and consistency in operation.
Express VPN is a long-long-running VPN service that’s built a reputation for success not through viral marketing or sponsorships, but rather through word of mouth and customer referrals. The result is a product built from the ground up to serve the customers that created it.
Express VPN, alongside the installation on a router, offers the apps you need to run the VPN with the tap of a button. These applications are also heavily streamlined so that your computer or phone isn’t working overtime just to run the private network.
We also appreciated the focus on fast connections and consistency. Even more so than most of the VPNs on our list, Express VPN was efficient with time and made it easy to connect to just about any country you could think of.
When it comes to Netflix support, Express VPN is one of the most reliable and consistently-updated products there is. As of the writing of this article, you should have no issues circumventing Netflix’s geo-location tactics with this VPN.
Express VPN also accepts bitcoin to ensure that your safety is guaranteed, and should you have a problem with running the software or getting your network up and running, the company offers 24/7 customer service support and live chat at all times.
While many of the VPNs on our list offer support, far fewer can claim that live chat is offered to them. You can also use the service for up to 3-months free, and a 30-day money-back guarantee is heavily advertised.
However, that doesn’t mean that everything with Express VPN is perfect. For example, we found the three devices per license to be a fairly low offering considering the high price. Even when compared to the other VPNs on our list, we are surprised by the cost you pay for Express VPN.
Still, the live chat functionality and streamlining of Express VPN are much of the reason why we appreciate this product. We recommend giving Express VPN a shot for something consistent and easy to maintain.
Our next VPN offers quick ways to shut down functionality and seems tailor-made for gaming and streaming.
IPVanish has made waves recently for taking their simple, affordable plans and lowering their costs further. IPVanish works on six different platforms on top of the usual router installation process, which makes using their network fairly simple no matter which of the major devices you’re using. And speaking of devices, you’re afforded five simultaneous connections.
Bitcoin is accepted by IPVanish, and when it comes to tracking or logging your activity, you can rest easy—IPVanish does neither. But while these features tend to come included with many VPNs, what’s surprising is the focus on streaming and gaming.
Websites like YouTube and streaming platforms like Twitch perform exceptionally well on IPVanish. Traditionally, VPNs can struggle with the latency needs of these platforms and make them more difficult to run. The focus on streaming is much appreciated and certainly a plus.
IPVanish also offers unlimited bandwidth, which can further improve the quality of any streams you may be running. VPNs have earned a reputation for struggling with these sorts of issues, so to see a VPN focused on making sure that HD video is running as smoothly as possible is much appreciated.
However, for a product that’s so good at running YouTube, we are a bit disappointed in the lack of support for Netflix. While some of the servers on the network will run the streaming platform, many will not.
At the same time, those that want to try IPVanish for free will have a hard time. There is currently no free trial offered by IPVanish, but the 7-day money-back guarantee could be theoretically taken advantage of to make a free trial.
It’s also worth noting that P2P file transferring is also unmonitored and unlimited by the VPN. While many VPNs tend to avoid allowing P2P file sharing for fear of litigation, the allowance here is surprising but certainly worth appreciating.
IPVanish offers multiple options that can be tailored to your specific needs, so you won’t be paying for services that you aren’t going to use. Customer support isn’t live, but by all means, is responsive and ready to help you with whatever problems you may run into while running the product.
Overall, IPVanish is yet another great option for those who need a bitcoin-based product. We also think that IPVanish should get special recognition as a platform that easily runs the type of steaming that millions of people use each day. We think that there’s a whole lot to love when it comes to IPVanish.
CyberGhost VPN’s website can be a little bit alarming at first—with a clear, bright red “EXPOSED” text reminding you that anyone can track your precise location if undetected. However, this level of sales is certainly effective—as CyberGhost VPN is one of the most popular options throughout the VPN world and certainly on our list.
With CyberGhost VPN running, you’ll be far more protected from those who may be interested in your location, internet service provider, and IP address. The service offers full VPN coverage that can connect to seven different platforms. CyberGhost is also known for being reliable not just on the standard United States servers, but all around the world as well.
Bitcoin is an accepted form of payment as is PayPal. Both payment methods can offer you a shield of protection not just from those on the internet looking for your information, but from CyberGhost should a leak, or unwanted sale of information occurs. While CyberGhost is known for respecting the privacy of its users, having the extra layer of protection can be rewarding.
And on the subject of privacy policies, CyberGhost VPN carries one of the strongest on our list by a considerable margin. In the age of government organizations asking and sometimes forcing companies to hand over information, CyberGhost’s commitment not only to keeping that information from companies and governments but from themselves is somewhat harrowing.
Rounding out their options and features are multiple subscription options that can be focused exclusively on what you need and leave out what you don’t. You can connect up to seven devices per license, which is enough to cover all of the devices of two or three people without much of a struggle.
Still, not all is well with CyberGhost VPN. The total cost, even when factoring in the more affordable payment plans, is higher than many of the others on our list. Likewise, the American version of Netflix is currently the only version you can connect to. CyberGhost VPN has yet to find a solution to move around the geo-location feature in other parts of the world.
Likewise, CyberGhost VPN seems to be focused on running American servers—as your options become exponentially more limited when you start looking abroad.
Overall, we still think that CyberGhost VPN offers a service worth keeping. If you need something that takes PayPal, comes with a live chat for customer service and troubleshooting, and is focused on United States servers, this may be the VPN for you.
If the name Avast is familiar to you for reasons other than virtual private networks, we’re less than surprised.
For those of you unfamiliar, Avast is a freeware company that’s been producing internet security products for decades. Avast has always been focused on free products that are designed to work with the end user and open up the possibilities to the hundreds of thousands of programmers and coders around the world.
While the company still produces free security products to this day, their VPN option is one that warrants attention. And while it may not be free, it certainly comes backed by one of the most reputable software companies currently in operation.
Avast VPN, otherwise known as Avast SecureLine VPN, is a simple and easy to use VPN that operates almost entirely on a simple switch. Want to connect to the servers? Simply flip the switch and go online. Need to disconnect? Hit the kill switch and connect to the internet without protection.
While this sort of design leaves something to be desired for those more familiar with VPNs, for the layman, this sort of design is one of the best available for any product on our list. Virtual private networks are already complex enough for those who may be adopting computers for the first time or are otherwise unfamiliar with the nomenclature.
In keeping with the tradition of the company, the simple design makes this easily one of our highest recommended for those who may not be great with operating a computer. At the same time, there are a host of features that even the most studious of internet users would appreciate.
For instance, Avast offers customer service through a few avenues.
The first is a simple trouble ticket system that gets back to you relatively quickly. The second is a phone line that answers during daylight hours and allows you to talk directly to a representative about your problems. The third is the online library that allows you to read explanations from other users as well as from representatives from Avast.
The net result is an exhaustive customer service list that’s sure to appease just about anyone of any skill level with VPNs.
Likewise, live customer support is offered on the website—as well as e-mail tracking to ensure that prior conversations with representatives don’t need to be repeated. Avast also accepts bitcoin and will allow you to connect up to five devices onto their secured network with one license.
That doesn’t mean that everything is perfect with Avast, however, and many people still have their complaints about the simplicity of the software. Likewise, Netflix support is hit or miss depending upon the server you pick, and more often than not, finding a server that supports Netflix is simply a matter of trial and error.
The number of servers that Avast has is constantly changing and is also not made available to the public. Therefore, accurate comparisons by this metric to other companies is next to impossible. Finally, Avast does block access to some sites known to case legal trouble and issues.
While we can understand the stance taken by Avast when it comes to these websites, we do have to say that censorship from a virtual private network company is certainly a bit of a drawback. Still, for what the software is, we can greatly appreciate Avast’s efforts to streamline the process of getting a VPN up and running.
As such, we’re more than confident recommending Avast VPN to first time users, older users, and those who may already know and appreciate products from the Avast line.
Much like with Avast, AVG is another company well-known in the industry for offering low-cost and free services that benefit the end user. However, unlike Avast, AVG is focused almost exclusively on its VPN offering, and for several very good reasons.
AVG offers strong, simple, and encrypted internet browsing through its host of servers located both domestically and abroad. And speaking of encryption, AVG is quick to brag about the military-grade 256-bit encryption method that it uses.
Similarly to some of the other VPN options on our list, AVG uses a simple method to keep you safe from all prying eyes; even their own. AVG ensures that the encryption can only be broken by the end user—which means that, even if they wanted to sell your information, they would have no access to it.
Otherwise, the company is also big on ensuring that streaming services work with the VPN servers they keep online. The website boasts that over fifty locations are available to choose as a streaming source, and from what we can tell, Netflix and other platforms are certainly supported on most.
Other features that make AVG stand out from some of our other options include both a week-long trial as well as a month-long money-back guarantee. Five weeks of continuous use are available free of charge if you need to make sure that AVG is right for you.
Likewise, AVG makes their phone lines available to you alongside a traditional trouble ticket system. The service accepts bitcoin to help you ensure that your information is safe with them, and covers all major platforms as well.
We appreciate the focus on accessibility as well. While we would argue that AVG is more accessible as a VPN than Avast, both are just as easy to use. This is a testament to the amount of work that AVG put into making sure that robust doesn’t always have to mean hard to use.
Still, that doesn’t mean that AVG isn’t without any flaws, and one of the major ones comes from reputable customer service.
While it is true that AVG customer service is some of the best in the industry, what is far less advertised is the fact that you are charged by the minute for accessing that customer service.
And while AVG is one of the more affordable VPN options, it would still be nice for the company to offer phone service free of change, much like some of the other options we’ve mentioned so far.
Likewise, AVG is not a monthly product, which means that at the end of your trial, you’ll be expected to put up the money for an entire year’s worth of work. While the price is still low for a month, this is a lot of money to put up for software you may not be familiar with.
The final major issue to note is that AVG does keep some of your data on hand for about 30 days. The company swears that this is due to customer service needs, but at the same time, we are a little hesitant to recommend this VPN as a fully-secure option when some of your personal information is kept on hand—even temporarily.
We still think that AVG has put together a product that’s worth looking into—even putting aside some of the more serious of problems with it. AVG has a history and a reputation for quality, and that can be seen in this product.
Our final VPN is the only option on our list that is not only affordable but is free to use.
Many of those who aren’t familiar with VPNs are going to want an option that’s low-risk, and low-reward. Even if the excess features aren’t all there or customer service isn’t as responsive as it could be, having experience with a VPN and getting your feet week can be a really helpful task.
Betternet VPN is one of the best services available for experimentation with VPNs and what they can do you for you.
Betternet makes no qualms about the limitations of their service—as they have to be able to provide free, secured internet to millions of people. As such, you won’t be able to install Betternet onto your router and connect multiple devices to it. Likewise, you aren’t going to be able to have a clear grip on your prospective server’s location.
Many of the simple tasks of a VPN are taken away from the control of the user to make the service as streamlined as possible. And even when compared to Avast or AVG, Betternet is the simplest VPN of them all to use. You simply turn the product on and off with the push of a button.
Still, a premium service is offered that grants more efficient customer service and more control over where your VPN’s set location is at. You can also count on Betternet never to log your information—which is particularly important, since as a free service, Betternet needed to find a way to keep the doors open, which typically comes through advertising.
And while ads are very much a part of Betternet, these aren’t tailored specifically to you by your search history or location. These ads are just a part of the requirement of keeping such a complex network online without monthly bills.
Betternet also has a severely limited scope of connections it can make to other servers, and is not compatible with Netflix in any way, shape, or form. These two limitations may be enough to send experienced internet users away, but we still think that there is a lot to love about Betternet.
Betternet fills an important void in the market—and reminds us that a free VPN is possible that won’t sell our information to governments or corporations. If you or a loved one want a simple way to keep safe online and don’t want to deal with extra features or even any extra cost, then there’s simply no better option than Betternet.
No free VPN comes close to the level of quality, and we highly recommend this product if you can’t afford another monthly bill.
Finding the right VPN for you is going to take lots of trial and error. And even after going through each of our options above, you may find yourself struggling to see which option is right for you.
Our advice would be to simply go through the VPNs that align with your needs closely and begin a free trial of each. Also, take some time to consider whether or not fiddling with your VPN settings constantly is something you’re willing to put the time and effort into.
We think that products like Avast VPN, AVG VPN, and Betternet fill an important role in the VPN marketplace as products that are easy to use and keep you safe. While NordVPN and Express VPN is going to be more robust and more powerful overall, not every user is going to benefit from these sorts of extraneous features.
Likewise, make sure that you’ve got your payment method sorted out. We made sure that all of our paid picks offered bitcoin support, which makes it easy to encrypt your payments and keep yourself safe online.
If you’re unfamiliar with bitcoin and want to get started with cryptocurrencies, you may want to look into the official website and see about further investing in protecting your personal information.
It never hurts to have an extra layer of protection between you and nefarious organizations, and bitcoin provides a valuable way for you to protect yourself even from the companies designed to protect you.
Ultimately, your decision in which virtual private network to get may come down to a personal preference on the aesthetics and design choices in the application, or the number of devices you need to connect to the internet at the same time.