Top 6 Options When Looking for the Best VPN (2019 Edition)

If you want security and privacy on the Internet, then a good VPN is a must have.

Picking one can be hard though, especially since there's tons of providers to choose from. So which ones are actually good, and how are they different?

For this guide we're answering that question in depth, we've tested 27 different VPNs and have whittled down a list of the top 6, each a winner in its own category.

Here's a list of the VPNs we'll be reviewing in detail:

  • Express VPN
  • HideMyAss
  • CyberGhost
  • NordVPN
  • HotSpotShield
  • SurfShark VPN

Check out zenmate vpn if you are looking for something month to month

Best VPN Overall: CyberGhost

CyberGhost's Standout Features

  • No logging, great Torrenting
  • 45 Money Back Guarantee
  • Fast streaming speeds
  • Fast and Reliable Customer Service

CyberGhost Pros

1) Located in Romania

CyberGhost is operated by a 55-person team located in Bucharest, Romania (recently acquired by Robert Knapp and Crossrider Limited) and it has over 15-million users, which is an admittedly-impressive statistic.

This means they are outside 14 Eyes – a surveillance alliance of countries sharing data between themselves.

2) No Logging

Many VPN providers advertise “zero logging”, yet only a few of them deliver on that promise.

Luckily, CyberGhost doesn’t waiver on their logging policy. They don’t monitor or store any of your data – no browsing history, search preferences, IP addresses.

CyberGhost also offers a leak-free system.

3) Awesome User Experience

One of CyberGhost’s biggest strengths is its ease of use – it takes a total of 5 minutes to install, launch and start the app.

Once, you are inside the software the usability gets even better.

The layout is crispy clean, and things are so clearly spelled out that even your grandparents could use it easily.

CyberGhost even has a feature which allows users to automatically launch a secure private browser with only the click of a button.

4) Cheap Price

CyberGhost offers a month-to-month plan for $12.99/month, but the best way to save remain committing to one of their long-term options.

Their 3 years package gives you the best value per money - $2.50/month for three-years. This makes them one of the cheapest options in the marketplace.

  • Monthly: $12.99 per month ($155.88 per year)
  • 1 Year: $5.99 per month ($71.88 per year)
  • 3 Years: $2.75 per month ($99 every 3 years)

CyberGhost Cons

1) Shady Parent Company

CyberGhost was sold to Kape Technologies (formerly known as Crossrider Plc), an Isreali based ad tech company infamous for creating and distributing Malware.

The irony is that after the buyout, CyberGhost’s CEO himself admitted that both companies had opposing goals – the VPN provider seeks to protect user data and privacy, while Crossrider wants to gain data to make money as an ad tech company.

2) Not the fastest VPN

If you are in the market for a “Budget VPN” you should expect slower download and upload speed at times. The benchmark without VPN is 98.71 download speed.

CyberGhost speeds are nothing to brag about with their download speed of 18.41 Mbps.  However, other VPN providers like ExpressVPN are nearly 2x times faster.

When it comes to speed, CyberGhost is ranked somewhere in the middle compared to similar VPNs.

Best Cheap VPN: ZenMate

ZenMates's Standout Features

  • Secure encryption
  • Simple and easy-to-use apps
  • 5 different connections
  • Can use most streaming services

ZenMate Pros

1) Protocols & Encryption

ZenMate uses high-grade encryption across all its VPN apps. It’s AES-256 encryption and is standard for the industry. It’s highly secure and virtually unbreakable by modern computes.

ZenMate generates a new encryption each time you log out and then back onto their service. That’s great because even if someone managed to compromise your encryption when you log out, they wouldn’t be able to access your account.

2) Logging

ZenMate may have a long and wordy privacy policy, but you don’t have to read too far down to find what ZenMate does and doesn’t log.

They don’t record, log, or store any data that is related to Internet activity when using their VPN. ZenMate is clear that they don’t keep activity logs.

However, they do keep some data. They log your name, address, email, username, payment info, IP address, country, items purchased, transaction information, billing method, the price paid, ay chargeback requests, and partial credit card info.

You don’t have to worry as many VPN providers will store this type of data.

3) Streaming

When it comes to streaming, ZenMate is pretty reliable. They have dedicated and optimized servers for watching BBC iPlayer. Also, using ZenMate, you can stream Hulu, YouTube, Yle, HBO Now, Globo, SportTV, Fox Sport, Eurosport, Channel 4, ORF, Player.PL, Comedy Central, and Globo.

You get access to tons of content using ZenMate VPN.

ZenMate Cons

1) Jurisdiction

Unfortunately, ZenMate’s headquarters are in Berlin, Germany. That means they are subject to EU data protection and privacy laws. Also, Germany is a member of the 14 Eyes intelligence group.

This means ZenMate VPN has to share all your data if it’s required by one of the members. However, they don’t store logs of your activity or access.

2) Problems with Streaming Netflix

ZenMate VPN says that it offers all of its users, optimized servers that unblock US, UK, and German Netflix. However, in reality, you have to change servers frequently.

The US and UK have tons of connection issues, which made watching a long movie extremely difficult. This seems to happen more at peak hours, so it could be just a case of increased demand.

However, it’s something ZenMate has to improve.

Best VPN for Netflix: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN's Standout Features

  • Provides you with an anonymous IP
  • Kill-Switch protection
  • Access Netflix from anywhere in the world

ExpressVPN Pros

1) No Logging Policy

  • They claim not to keep any “important” log files like DNS queries, IP addresses or metadata.

However, according to the company’s website, they do collect:

  • Successfully activated apps and app versions
  • Dates when you have connected to the VPN service
  • Your choice of VPN server location
  • The total amount (in MB) of transferred data per day

Collecting the above information is a pretty standard practice which is necessary to ensure your optimal user experience, and does not store your identity or location.

2) The Fastest VPN

The greatest strength that ExpressVPN has is its fast upload and download speeds.

You will be able to get a download speed of 83.15 Mbps with a 100 Mbps connection, which makes ExpressVPN the fastest VPN to date.

Keep in mind, to take speed testing with a grain of salt because it relies on a lot of variables, such as your physical location, your computer specs, your Internet connection etc.

3) Strong Encryption

To ensure your data protection is at the highest levels, ExpressVPN uses robust encryption (256-bit AES encryption).

There are a lot of technical details about the AES 256 key, but to summarise in one sentence:

When the CIA or FBI decides that they want to protect the transmission of sensitive data, they use AES-256 encryption.

If you want to feel extra safe online, ExpressVPN gives you the option to combine the TOR networks on the top of your existing VPN to eliminate all little vulnerabilities in your data’s security.

4) 24/7 Live Customer Support

While many providers rely on outdated contact forms and laggy email chains, ExpressVPN offers a 24/7 live chat feature which has been consistently rated one of the best in the business.

On the other side, if you want to use a more traditional method like contact forms and support emails, ExpressVPN does offer them, but if you opt to use them, you will be quickly redirected to their live chat.

ExpressVPN Cons

1) You Can Only Use it on Three Devices

It’s unlikely if this is an issue for users who are only interested in personal security, but it’s frustrating if you are trying to ensure the safety of the entire family’s data and devices.

It becomes even more annoying when you compare ExpressVPN’s device limit to those of other companies which consistently offer 5-7 simultaneous connections.

2) Not a Very Transparent Company

Similar to NordVPN, ExpressVPN remains pretty anonymous company - there are no visible phone numbers either business contact on the website, which seems odd for a service used by millions.

However, remaining anonymous in the VPN business is pretty much an industry standard to protect customer’s data.

3) They Charge Premium Prices

Although every plan comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, ExpressVPN is far from a “budget service”.

They charge $12.95 on a month-to-month plan, $9.99/month on a 6 months plan (billed $59.95 every six months) and $8.32/month (billed $99.95 every 12 months).

However, if you keep an eye on ExpressVPN’s website, you can occasionally find great deals and get their service for $6.67/month or lower.

You can purchase ExpressVPN using all major credit cards, PayPal or anonymous payment methods such as Bitcoin.

Best VPN for Gaming: NordVPN

ExpressVPN's Standout Features

  • Kill Switch
  • Onion over VPN - for accessing the dark web NordVPN offers you the ability to route your traffic first through their VPN and then send it to the Onion Router 
  • Double data protection, you can enable this setting to encrypt your data twice

NordVPN Pros

1) No Logging Policy

While some or even most of the VPN providers keep some logs, NordVPN doesn’t.

However, they do monitor less important data like:

  • Service performance data
  • E-mail address
  • Payment data (if you don’t use bitcoins)

You shouldn’t be worried about this data because most if not all VPN providers are tracking it.

2) Great For Both Torrenting and Streaming

NordVPN has many services which work very well with torrenting and bypassing geo-restrictions on streaming platforms like Netflix.

You can always get in touch with NordVPN’s customer support which will help you choose the right servers for fast streaming.

NordVPN have made special P2P servers created to keep your torrenting activities fast, safe, and private.

3) Reliable Speed

One of the most important things when it comes to VPN reviews is speed testing.

This is our starting benchmark without VPN using 100 Mbps Cable Internet connection:

-    7 ms Ping

-    98.71 Mbps download speed

-    53.00 Mbps upload speed

NordVPN performed excellently providing us with 74.15 Mbps download speed when using the EU server.

4) Great Customer Support

Recently, NordVPN has begun offering 24/7 live chat which will assist you with any question you may have – it’s quick to help, but it comes with copy/paste answers.

You will receive another assistant who will help you with your VPN if the live chat agent was not able to fully resolve your issue.

Also, you will have access to more than 500 guides and tutorials to learn more about Internet privacy.

5) Cheap Price

NordVPN offers you 4 different payment options:

  • Monthly: $11.95 ($143.4 per year)
  • 1-Year: $6.99 a month ($83.88 per year)
  • 2-Year: $3.99 a month ($47.88 per year)
  • 3-Years: $2.99 a month ($35.88 per year)

Also, you can buy it anonymously with Bitcoin as well as with Credit Card or even AliPay.

If you sign up for 3-years upfront, NordVPN is the cheapest VPN provider you can get.

NordVPN Cons

1) Slow Refund

The only negative about NordVPN is its slow refund policy. They may offer 30 days money back guarantee, however, it takes up to 7 days to receive your refund after your initial request.

NordVPN Features

1) Kill Switch

NordVPN automatically kills your connection if your VPN connectivity is interrupted, blocking your device or terminating specific programs from accessing the Internet.

2) Onion Over VPN

If you desire to visit the dark web (TOR network) or just want extra protection, NordVPN offers you the ability to route your traffic first through their VPN and then send it to the Onion Router.

3) Double Data Protection

In short, your data gets encrypted twice making it even more secure.

However, you won’t need it, especially if you’re using NordVPN only for torrenting and Netflix unblocking because it reduces your Internet speed.

Best Cheap VPN: Surfshark

Surfshark's Standout Features

  • Unblocking Netflix and Torrenting is Allowed
  • Very Fast and Responsive Chat Support
  • One Click Simplicity for App
  • Instant access after payment
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

Surfshark VPN Pros

1) Leak and Virus Proof

Surfshark can offer you a level of security a lot of other VPN providers simply cannot.

It was put through a couple of Virus and Leak tests, and the results were remarkable - they don’t allow any cracks or chinks to compromise your IP address.

They also do a great job of hiding your location.

2) Based in the British Virgin Islands

Before I get into the reason why it’s a good thing for one VPN provider to be based in the British Virgin Islands, I should explain to you what "the 14 Eyes" is.

"The 14 Eyes" are specific regions worldwide which collect data from those under their jurisdictions. The countries in "the 14 Eyes" have the power and authority to demand and get the user’s info and data from a VPN provider without the user’s knowledge.

That’s why the fact that they are based in the British Virgin Islands is excellent – they have no data retention laws.

This means that your information as a Surfshark user is safe from those who want to take it away from you. Even more, their data protection ensures that no one can play and access your data.

3) No Logs Policy

This is one of Surfshark most significant selling points. Their privacy policy claims that they don’t collect any logs. However, you should know that all VPN providers still collect specific info about their users.

You shouldn’t be worried about Surfshark because they only collect your email address for account management, your billing information, and diagnostics such as crash reports.

These types of logs are not a cause for concern.

4) Good Speed

A crucial part of any VPN provider is the server’s speed. Surfshark may not provide you with the fastest server speed compared to other VPNs. Their speed is still tremendous plus the security they provide.

Our base speed (without VPN) is:

  • Ping: 7ms
  • Download: 98.71 Mbps
  • Upload: 53.00 Mbps

So, I randomly picked four of their servers from Surfshark network around the globe:

Their results are great providing 71.06 Mbps download speed.

Surfshark VPN Cons

1) Little to No Transparency Behind the Scenes

In these days, most big VPN providers like to keep it to themselves. Surfshark is no different.

If you check out their website, you will notice that there is a lack of information regarding the company’s background, contact numbers, etc.

Even the chat support can’t provide you with full information – they answer to the best of their abilities, and sometimes they come up empty-handed. The best answer you will receive is a short sentence talking about their jurisdiction and the year they were created.

Best VPN for Using at Schools or Libraries: HMA!

HMA (Hide My Ass)'s Standout Features

  • Access HMA! on 5 Devices Simultaneously
  • Easy-to-Use App
  • 30 Days Money Back Guarantee

HMA VPN Pros

1) Consistant Servers

With Internet connection of 100 Mbps, they provide you with 64.42 Mbps download speed which is not the fastest by any stretch.

However, the US, EU, and UK servers were all consistently reliable, which is an excellent indication of overall performance across their other servers.

However, Asia one is slower and drags them down a bit.

2) Over 930 Servers in 280 Locations

HMA’s servers reach out across all six inhabited continents reaching remote destinations like Greenland, covering Africa, the Middle East plus a few smaller Pacific Islands, too.

This is a significant selling point, because many other VPN companies have a huge server list, only to have the majority of them located in North America and Europe – leaving the rest of the world without many options.

The more available servers, the more chances you have to find a less-crowded server closer to your physical location, which tends to be faster than ones further away.

3) Leak Free Connection

Not all VPN connections are as secure as they appear to be, but HMA does a great job of hiding your information.

On a series of DNS and WebRTC leak tests, the VPN came out clean and safe, which shows that you can trust HMA! to protect your privacy.

4) 24/7 Live Customer Support

While many providers rely on outdated contact forms and laggy email chains, ExpressVPN offers a 24/7 live chat feature which has been consistently rated one of the best in the business.

On the other side, if you want to use a more traditional method like contact forms and support emails, ExpressVPN does offer them, but if you opt to use them, you will be quickly redirected to their live chat.

HMA VPN Cons

1) They Collect Some Log Files

Their logging policy confirms that as they hang onto your username, the amount of data you transmitted and your IP address.

That’s already not good, because it gives them a direct link between online activities and your location and potentially your identity.

They also monitor your usage of the network, prevent and detect its abuse, such as spamming, file sharing or other illicit activity.

It may sound harmless on the surface, however, they have handed user’s information to the government in the past – they gave the data of one of the hackers of Sony Picture hack attack of 2011.

2) Part of the Security Alliance

HMA! is owned by Privax Limited, a UK-based organisation, which makes them a card-carrying member of the Five Eyes security alliance.

In short, this alliance permits HMA! provide your data to the government if the government wants it.

Many of their users have been complaining about having their accounts suspended for violation Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) statues, which means that this VPN provider is logging your activity and even sharing it with the UK courts.

The worst part is that those courts are sharing your data with government agencies across the world.

3) Customer Support is Bad

HideMyAss!’s support team may be available on social media and email, but they don’t respond quite as quickly as you would like to. Many support requests on Twitter are referred to their standard channels.

Also, Hide MyAss! support team is not responding fast enough email either. It takes more than a day to get a simple confirmation email.

Best VPN for Using at Schools or Libraries: HMA!

HMA (Hide My Ass)'s Standout Features

  • Access HMA! on 5 Devices Simultaneously
  • Easy-to-Use App
  • 30 Days Money Back Guarantee

HMA VPN Pros

1) Consistant Servers

With Internet connection of 100 Mbps, they provide you with 64.42 Mbps download speed which is not the fastest by any stretch.

However, the US, EU, and UK servers were all consistently reliable, which is an excellent indication of overall performance across their other servers.

However, Asia one is slower and drags them down a bit.

2) Over 930 Servers in 280 Locations

HMA’s servers reach out across all six inhabited continents reaching remote destinations like Greenland, covering Africa, the Middle East plus a few smaller Pacific Islands, too.

This is a significant selling point, because many other VPN companies have a huge server list, only to have the majority of them located in North America and Europe – leaving the rest of the world without many options.

The more available servers, the more chances you have to find a less-crowded server closer to your physical location, which tends to be faster than ones further away.

3) Leak Free Connection

Not all VPN connections are as secure as they appear to be, but HMA does a great job of hiding your information.

On a series of DNS and WebRTC leak tests, the VPN came out clean and safe, which shows that you can trust HMA! to protect your privacy.

4) 24/7 Live Customer Support

While many providers rely on outdated contact forms and laggy email chains, ExpressVPN offers a 24/7 live chat feature which has been consistently rated one of the best in the business.

On the other side, if you want to use a more traditional method like contact forms and support emails, ExpressVPN does offer them, but if you opt to use them, you will be quickly redirected to their live chat.

HMA VPN Cons

1) They Collect Some Log Files

Their logging policy confirms that as they hang onto your username, the amount of data you transmitted and your IP address.

That’s already not good, because it gives them a direct link between online activities and your location and potentially your identity.

They also monitor your usage of the network, prevent and detect its abuse, such as spamming, file sharing or other illicit activity.

It may sound harmless on the surface, however, they have handed user’s information to the government in the past – they gave the data of one of the hackers of Sony Picture hack attack of 2011.

2) Part of the Security Alliance

HMA! is owned by Privax Limited, a UK-based organisation, which makes them a card-carrying member of the Five Eyes security alliance.

In short, this alliance permits HMA! provide your data to the government if the government wants it.

Many of their users have been complaining about having their accounts suspended for violation Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) statues, which means that this VPN provider is logging your activity and even sharing it with the UK courts.

The worst part is that those courts are sharing your data with government agencies across the world.

3) Customer Support is Bad

HideMyAss!’s support team may be available on social media and email, but they don’t respond quite as quickly as you would like to. Many support requests on Twitter are referred to their standard channels.

Also, Hide MyAss! support team is not responding fast enough email either. It takes more than a day to get a simple confirmation email.

Best VPN App for Android/iOS: HotSpot Shield Elite

HotSpot's Standout Features

  • Highest Rated VPN App on the App Store
  • No Hidden fees & clauses
  • Torrenting and P2P is Fully Supported
  • Instant access after payment
  • 45 Day Money Back Guarantee

Hotspot Pros

1) Excellent Speed

Hotspot Shield Elite is one of the fastest VPNs, on the right servers.

For example, when we tested Hotspot Shield on an EU server in Estonia, they performed faster than any other VPN providers.

If you paid attention to the other VPN reviews, you should know that these results are awe-inspiring. Hotspot Shield Elite is about 10 Mbps faster than any of their competitors on all European and Asian servers.

The odd thing is that their United States servers inexplicably ran at speeds which were almost twice as slow as their competitors even though the company is based in San Francisco.

2) Incredible User Experience

Hotspot Shield Elite is the most beautifully designed VPN you can use on the market.

The entire installation process is just 2 minutes, and after that, you can pretty easily adjust your settings and VPN location.

They may not offer a lot in terms of advanced settings or customisation, but they have an incredibly simple, intuitive and user-friendly VPN software.

3) Double Encryption

Their network uses an AES-256 Encryption which you should know by now is a very secure way to ensure that all your data stays private.

For now, Hotspot Shield Elite don’t keep any logging information, so no government or surveillance agency can access your browsing history or network activity.

4) Netflix Compatible

It may be slightly more complicated to stream Netflix with Hotspot Shield compared to ExpressVPN, but if you follow their instructions displayed on their website you can find a server which will work.

Unfortunately, only the Canada server unblocks Netflix.

However, as of now, you should be able to access Netflix geo-blocking with Hotspot Shield Elite.

Hotspot Cons

1) Suspicious Company

For all its benefits, Hotspot Shield Elite remains somewhat a suspicious company.

You should know that this US-based VPN provider was launched with $52 million of Series C funding from investment giant Goldman Sachs, and whose parent company is partnered with many advertising and marketing companies.

This fact should be enough for you to know to be cautious when giving them access to your data.

They were under an FTC investigation recently, and there are some serious accusations against them for using their customers' data to serve advertisement.

This is very worrying considering their 650 million+ users who rely on Hotspot Shield Elite to keep their privacy safe and secure.

2) Questionable Privacy and Logging Policies

AnchorFree is associated with several third-party advertising companies which it's not very good because they enable the company to make Hotspot Shield free to use.

The term “personal information” is intentionally ambiguous throughout their policy and does not include your IP address.

A CSIRO study found out that Hotspot Shield uses tracking codes to gather information about its users and then sells that data to advertisers.

They also concluded that Hotspot Shield would regularly redirect user traffic through one of their affiliate networks to profit from purchases that their customers made while using their VPN.

To make things worse, their Chrome extension leaks your DNS.

3) Poor Customer Support

It is crystal clear that most if not all of Hotspot Shield’s resources have been poured into only three things:

-    Creating a huge list of lightning fast servers

-    Crafting a beautiful user interface

-    Finding ways to exploit your privacy to profit as much as possible

Most noticeably, reliable customer service isn’t on that list - it’s nonexistent.

The only way to reach and contact their support team is through a slow ticket support system.

Also, after you reach them, it will take them one week to get back to you.

3) It's Expensive

They may not offer you the best customer experience, and on top of that Hotspot Shield charges premium prices.

Their $5.99 a month for 12-month package offer is a couple of dollars more expensive than NordVPN (our pick for the best VPN overall on the market) and only $1 cheaper than ExpressVPN.

Here is a breakdown of their different pricing plans which they offer:

  • Monthly: $12.99
  • 6 Months: $53.94 ($8.99/mo)
  • 12 Months: $71.88 ($5.99/mo)
  • 3 Years: $125.6 ($3.49/mo)

However, if you are located in the EU, you will be charged even heftier prices ( 6.99 euros/mo for the 1-year plan, for example).

Their packages may be a little pricey, but they are all backed with a generous 45-day money back guarantee, which is the best guarantee in the VPN industry.

Best Cheap VPN: ZenMate

ZenMates's Standout Features

  • Secure encryption
  • Simple and easy-to-use apps
  • 5 different connections
  • Can use most streaming services

ZenMate Pros

1) Protocols & Encryption

ZenMate uses high-grade encryption across all its VPN apps. It’s AES-256 encryption and is standard for the industry. It’s highly secure and virtually unbreakable by modern computes.

ZenMate generates a new encryption each time you log out and then back onto their service. That’s great because even if someone managed to compromise your encryption when you log out, they wouldn’t be able to access your account.

2) Logging

ZenMate may have a long and wordy privacy policy, but you don’t have to read too far down to find what ZenMate does and doesn’t log.

They don’t record, log, or store any data that is related to Internet activity when using their VPN. ZenMate is clear that they don’t keep activity logs.

However, they do keep some data. They log your name, address, email, username, payment info, IP address, country, items purchased, transaction information, billing method, the price paid, ay chargeback requests, and partial credit card info.

You don’t have to worry as many VPN providers will store this type of data.

3) Streaming

When it comes to streaming, ZenMate is pretty reliable. They have dedicated and optimized servers for watching BBC iPlayer. Also, using ZenMate, you can stream Hulu, YouTube, Yle, HBO Now, Globo, SportTV, Fox Sport, Eurosport, Channel 4, ORF, Player.PL, Comedy Central, and Globo.

You get access to tons of content using ZenMate VPN.

ZenMate Cons

1) Jurisdiction

Unfortunately, ZenMate’s headquarters are in Berlin, Germany. That means they are subject to EU data protection and privacy laws. Also, Germany is a member of the 14 Eyes intelligence group.

This means ZenMate VPN has to share all your data if it’s required by one of the members. However, they don’t store logs of your activity or access.

2) Problems with Streaming Netflix

ZenMate VPN says that it offers all of its users, optimized servers that unblock US, UK, and German Netflix. However, in reality, you have to change servers frequently.

The US and UK have tons of connection issues, which made watching a long movie extremely difficult. This seems to happen more at peak hours, so it could be just a case of increased demand.

However, it’s something ZenMate has to improve.

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