A good VPN service is now essential for protecting your online privacy.
But sorting through all the noise in order to find the best VPN can be quite challenging.
This is particularly difficult because websites are often paid to promote inferior and untrustworthy services. You’ll also have to navigate through a minefield of VPN scams, malicious VPNs that steal your data, and various marketing gimmicks to lure in customers. And don’t even get me started on “free VPNs” and all the privacy risks they pose…
Consequently, many people waste time and money as they search for a VPN that actually works well. You see, VPNs can look perfect on the surface, but fail miserably when it comes to protecting your privacy (see the PureVPN review for example). And as with most things in life, you typically get what you pay for.
Every recommendation for this best VPN list is based on extensive testing and research.
All VPNs listed below were tested for IP address leaks (both IPv4 and IPv6), DNS leaks, WebRTC leaks, speed, reliability, and whether all the features work as advertised. Aside from test results, I also considered privacy jurisdiction (where the VPN is legally based), company policies, user feedback, and trust/honesty of the provider.
Overall, the top recommendation is Perfect Privacy. As for the other VPNs listed on this page, they also performed well in testing, and each has its pros and cons. Ultimately the “best VPN” varies depending upon your unique needs and uses for the service.
This guide is simply an overview highlighting the top performing VPNs, based on months of testing and research. I hope it helps you to achieve a higher level of online privacy and security.
Best overall VPN: Perfect Privacy
After testing out many different VPN services, Perfect Privacy has risen to the top of the list and is currently the top recommendation for 2017. You may have never heard of Perfect Privacy because they largely ignore marketing and instead focus on providing a high quality, privacy-focused VPN service. And unlike all the new VPNs currently flooding onto the market, Perfect Privacy has been around since 2008 offering a safe, reliable, no-logs VPN service.
Their VPN network is composed entirely of dedicated premium servers that provide you with exceptionally fast speeds, great reliability and plenty of bandwidth at all times (you can see real-time server bandwidth here). For features they offer multi-hop VPN chains, advanced firewall configuration options (DNS and IP leak protection), port forwarding, Socks5 and Squid proxies, obfuscation features to defeat VPN blocking, and a powerful TrackStop feature to block tracking, malware, and advertising domains.
And while this Switzerland-based VPN service is on the higher end of the price spectrum, the key thing to consider is value (what you get for your money). Perfect Privacy offers three main advantages over most VPNs: an unlimited number of connections, a powerful tracking and advertisement blocker, and numerous privacy features, such as multi-hop VPN chaining, proxies, and obfuscation features.
The final factor is trust. When you choose a VPN, you place an enormous amount of trust in the provider to keep your data safe. Perfect Privacy is a well-respected name that has earned praise from the tech community for exposing massive vulnerabilities with other VPNs. They have also passed real-world tests when two of their servers were seized by Dutch authorities last year (no customer data was affected due to no logs and the servers operating in RAM disk mode).
- Fast and reliable network
- Multi-hop VPN chains, with up to 4 servers (self-configurable)
- 100% no logs with no restrictions whatsoever (unlimited bandwidth, unlimited connections)
- Obfuscation features (Stealth VPN)
- Dedicated premium servers (no virtual servers or fictitious locations) with excellent bandwidth
- IPv6 support (gives you both an IPv4 and IPv6 address)
- Self-hosted, secure DNS
- Customizable firewall and port-forwarding options
- Excellent reputation with over 9 years experience (since 2008)
- TrackStop advertisement, tracking, and malware blocker
- Higher price
- Full VPN Manager client not available on Mac OS (but other installation options available)
Passed all tests.
VPNArea is not the biggest name in the VPN industry, but this Bulgaria-based provider did very well in testing for the review. They take customer data protection very seriously, with a strict no logs policy, good privacy features, and Switzerland hosting for business operations. Being based in Bulgaria, they do not fall under data-retention or copyright violation laws, which further protects their users.
Aside from being a privacy-focused service, VPNArea also offers numerous servers that are optimized for streaming and torrenting. They are one of the few VPNs that still works well with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Hulu and others. Torrenting and P2P downloads are allowed without any restrictions.
While it doesn’t offer as many advanced privacy features as Perfect Privacy, VPNArea still passed all the tests without any leaks or issues to report. They continue to improve their service and have recently added self-hosted, secure DNS, which includes ad blocking. If you’re looking for a privacy-focused VPN that isn’t too expensive, VPNArea is a solid choice.
- Competitive price
- No logs
- Live chat support
- Great for streaming and torrenting
- Strong security features, with self-hosted, secure DNS
- 6 simultaneous connections (which can be shared with others)
- Dedicated IP addresses available in some countries
- Fewer advanced features
6 (can be shared with others)
Passed all tests.
VPN.ac is Romania-based VPN service with excellent overall quality for a very reasonable price. It was founded by a team of network security professionals with a focus on security, strong encryption, and high quality applications. Their VPN network is composed entirely of dedicated premium servers with secure, self-hosted DNS.
VPN.ac’s network provides you with great speeds and reliability (see the review for details). Performance is maximized with excellent bandwidth on their network at all times. (You can see their real-time bandwidth stats by selecting VPN Nodes Status at the top of the website.)
For a lower-priced VPN service, VPN.ac offers an impressive lineup of features: maximum encryption strength, VPN obfuscation, advanced IP and DNS leak protection, double-hop VPN server configurations, and more. All support inquiries are handled promptly by the network security professionals who built the infrastructure (no annoying cut and paste answers).
The only downside I could find are the minimal connection logs, which are erased on a daily basis. When you consider everything in relation to the price, this is another excellent value for a premium VPN service. (See all VPN.ac features here.)
- Highest security standards for VPN server network (dedicated premium servers, with self-hosted encrypted DNS)
- Excellent speeds with plenty of available bandwidth at all times
- Multi-hop (double VPN) server configurations
- Obfuscation features with many different encryption options
- Professional and prompt tech support
- Low price for a very advanced VPN (good value)
- Minimal connection logs (no activity, erased daily)
Passed all tests.
ZorroVPN is a smaller VPN service that provides you with advanced features to attain the highest level of online anonymity. Their server network allows you to create multi-hop VPN chains with every server (up to four hops). For an even higher level of anonymity, you can create a multi-hop VPN chain that exits onto the Tor (anonymous / onion) network.
While this may seem complicated, these advanced features make ZorroVPN one the best VPNs for available for online anonymity. (See the ZorroVPN review for a detailed explanation of these features – or check out check out their website.)
The main drawback with ZorroVPN is that they don’t offer any of their own applications. This means you’ll need to use third-party software, such as Viscosity, Tunnelblick, or other open-source options. While this may be annoying for some, third party software (especially the Viscosity app) often outperforms clunky VPN apps.
Setup is also slightly more complex than other VPNs (but still not overly complicated). You will need to create and import the VPN configuration files, which is easy with the configuration wizard. And if you need help, the support team can assist you via email, Skype, chat, and even TeamViewer (direct remote assistance).
*Discount* ZorroVPN is offering RestorePrivacy visitors an 11% off discount. Just use the link/button below and then enter RESTOREPRIVACY as your coupon code during checkout.
- Features to give you the highest level of online anonymity and privacy
- Multi-hop VPN chains, up to 4 servers (self-configurable)
- VPN with Tor available on every server
- No logs whatsoever
- Strongest encryption available
- Fast and reliable
- Discount for RestorePrivacy visitors
- Requires you to use third-party software (no proprietary apps available)
- Setup is slightly more complex
- Higher price
*with 11% discount
Passed all tests.
VyprVPN is a Switzerland-based service that offers a great lineup of apps, high security, and excellent speeds. One unique benefit with VyprVPN is that they own their entire server network, including secure, self-hosted DNS (VyprDNS). This offers more security for your data (no third parties) along with excellent overall performance.
The main drawback, however, is that VyprVPN keeps connection logs. But this may not be a showstopper for some. VyprVPN is very transparent and honest about their policies, and deletes the connection data at 30 day intervals.
I put the VyprVPN apps (Windows, Mac OS, and Android) through a barrage of tests and did not find any leaks, bugs, or problems whatsoever. In terms of privacy, security, and performance testing, VyprVPN is on par with other premium VPNs. Despite being a low-cost service (with the 25% discount), VyprVPN offers great value and overall quality. And finally, all plans include a 3 day free trial.
- Entirely self-owned and operated server network, including secure DNS
- Excellent network security
- Great speeds and reliability
- Features to defeat VPN blocking (Chameleon protocol)
- User-friendly applications for many devices/platforms
- Minimal connection logs (no activity, erased every 30 days)
- Torrenting (P2P downloads) discouraged
*with 25% discount
Passed all tests.
If you’re serious about privacy…
Start using a VPN whenever you go online.
In just the last year there we’ve seen a number of unprecedented developments with corporate and government surveillance:
- Internet service providers in the United States can now legally record your online browsing history and sell this data to third parties and advertisers.
- Residents of the United Kingdom are having their online browsing history, calls, and text messages recorded for up to two years. This private information is freely available to various government agencies and their surveillance partners.
- Australia has also recently implemented mandatory data retention laws, which require the collection of text messages, calls, and internet connection data.
But none of this should be a surprise.
These surveillance trends have been unfolding for many years throughout the world – see the PRISM program. The point here is not to sound alarmist, but instead to illustrate what’s happening and how it affects you.
The good news is that there are very effective solutions to these problems. You can protect yourself right now with a good VPN and other privacy tools, rather than waiting for someone to eventually fix everything (because that’s not going to happen).
Ultimately, you are the best solution for restoring your privacy.
Recap – Best VPNs for Privacy, Security, and Speed