A VPN – or virtual private network – is a mobile and computing app that allows you to hide your location, identity and IP address from the rest of the internet. The best VPN services encrypt all your internet traffic and pass it through a private tunnel to their own secure servers so that no one can see what you’re reading or downloading – not the government, not your ISP, not even the VPN service itself.
All internet content is completely encrypted – securely jumbled so no one could read it even if they intercepted it – between the VPN server and your device.
By doing this, a VPN can protect your data, keeping it safe and anonymous while you connect with your online banking account, favorite retailer or adult entertainment site. So if you want to keep your emails, browsing history or bank details away from potential prying eyes, a VPN is the way to do it.
A VPN’s ability to encrypt traffic and change your location to be whatever you want it to be also allows you to bypass blocks, filters or restrictions on the internet or local networks. That means if there’s a Netflix block at your school, you can use a VPN to access it on your phone regardless. If you’re visiting China next month, you’ll be able to use a VPN to access Facebook and Whatsapp which are both blocked in that country. And if you’re on vacation in the UK and want to access your usual US Netflix or Disney Plus content – that’s easy too.
What’s more, the best VPN apps these days are super easy to use – there’s no need to be some sort of computing expert. They’re self-explanatory and easy to work out. That’s one of the main assets of our #1 pick ExpressVPN – in fact, that particular service ticks all of the above boxes.
So if you’re interested in the benefits of a VPN, on this page we have compiled our top 10 services to help you find the best VPN for you. You can also read our full reviews at the included links if you want to take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of each individual service.
The Best VPN Service 2020
Previously one of the best – but security concerns have been revealed
Number of servers: 5,600+ | Server locations: 60+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 6
- Quality mobile and desktop clients
- Up to six connections and value pricing
- Good performance in our tests
Tainted by security breaches
Not the best user experience at all times
Quality mobile and desktop clientsUp to six connections and value pricingGood performance in our testsTainted by security breachesNot the best user experience at all times
NordVPN’s current products match or beat the competition in just about every area.
You get a choice of over 5,600 servers in 60+ countries, 2048-bit encryption, 6-device support as standard, strong DNS leak protection, kill switches (application-specific and system wide), proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers, and with payment options that include Bitcoin, PayPal and credit cards.
There’s also a fast, smart DNS-like SmartPlay feature which can be used to get around geo-restrictions and unblock a large number of streaming and other services.
Our performance tests found that Nord has upped its game from previous testing, connecting to all servers each time. And download speeds were well above average on all but the most distant connections.
If we have one quibble, it would be with the user experience that NordVPN supplies. Just little things like the destination cities not being listed in alphabetical order or searching through menus for specialist task functions left us scratching our heads about whether Nord has done enough user testing. But, as we say, these are pretty minor minus points.
NordVPN has a few options available included monthly subscriptions and an excellent value three-year special offer. If you want to give the service a whirl before you commit, NordVPN provides a 30-day money back guarantee. So if you want something much better than one of the best free VPN choices, Nord would be an obvious choice.
That all said following the recent news that the popular virtual private network was hacked in 2018, we have decided to reduce NordVPN’s review score down to 4 from 4.5. We are continuing to monitor the fallout of this and we will, in due course, make any changes if deemed necessary for your benefit – you can read a more in-depth analysis here.
NordVPN subscription options:
36 month plan – US$3.49 per month (US$125.64 total cost)
12 month plan – US$6.99 per month (US$83.88 total cost)
1 month plan – US$11.95 per month (US$11.95 total cost)