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The 5 Best VPN Services for 2020

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Sead Fadilpasic Avatar
Sead Fadilpasic
3 February, 2020 • Updated 5 days ago
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NordVPN

To fully enjoy online freedom and complete anonymity in whatever place your work takes you, you should always have a powerful VPN platform at your side.

We are all now living and working in the global village where technological advances and various forms of travel have brought closer the once distant countries, people, and businesses. What this means is that there is a large chance your work might take you to a faraway and/or exotic location, if it hasn’t already.

Unfortunately, not all governments are democratic and some are even actively looking for ways to spy on people and censor websites, apps, and other forms of media and communication they deem unfavorable. Sometimes companies themselves are blocking access to their services in certain regions for their own reasons.

If your job happens to bring you to such an area or situation, you might want to consider getting a VPN or virtual private network, a service offering privacy and anonymity online, as well as access to content unavailable in some places.

Things to Consider

When looking for the best VPN service to conceal your identity and allow you access to censored websites and services, there are several important points to consider.

1. Security

Your VPN of choice has to have all the security mechanisms in place like strong encryption, a kill switch if the connection drops, as well as a guarantee and a proven track record of not retaining users’ private information.

2. Platform support

It has to support the specific devices and platforms you might be using, otherwise it beats its purpose. Extra features in the form of malware blocking or split-tunneling are always a welcome addition.

3. Server network

Furthermore, it needs to have a solid number of servers scattered across enough locations to suit your needs for speed and access to various geo-restricted websites and apps with no hassle.

4. Performance

Speaking of speeds, it doesn’t only have to provide fast download and upload transfer rates but should be able to establish a VPN connection within seconds.

5. P2P and Netflix

Some users also place a high value on torrenting support and a VPN’s ability to unblock some of the most popular geographically restricted pay-per-view services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

6. Price

Last, but not least important, is the price which needs to be balanced with what the VPN vendor has to offer.

QUICK OVERVIEW

The Best VPN Services for Business Travelers


EDITOR’S PICK
NordVPN
TOP PICK
ExpressVPN
BUDGET PICK
Surfshark

Best VPN Service for Business Travelers

NordVPN

NordVPN

Features

  • 5,510+ P2P optimized servers
  • Located in Panama
  • CyberSec ad/malware blocker and DoubleVPN
  • PRICE RANGE: $3.49-$11.95/month

There’s a lot to be told about the winner of the Best VPN award at CES 2019 and the Best Customer Service award from BestVPN.com. NordVPN is secure, affordable, and abundant with privacy-oriented features like DoubleVPN and CyberSec.

The former routes your online activities through two secure VPN servers, while the latter blocks pesky ads, phishing sites, malware, and other malicious sources from reaching your device. Let’s not forget the super-secure 256-AES encryption and the industry-standard kill switch, a mechanism activated in the event of a VPN connection breakdown, effectively preventing any data leakage.

NordVPN has a vast network of 5,510+ servers (many of which are specialized for P2P traffic) all over the world to ensure the best possible performance. The platform will let you safely access the geographically limited services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Facebook, and more, wherever you might be.

Apps are available for a vast selection of platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and Linux, browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome, as well as the manual installation support on many other devices, including routers. If you require it, you can activate the NordVPN protection on as many as six of these devices at the same time, while installing on a router extends it on as many devices as you want.

You can be sure that this Panama-based VPN provider will never keep track or retain any of your online activities, IP addresses, connection times, etc. because it has a strong no-logging policy. It was even put to the test in a public audit which confirmed the company was true to its word.

All these advantages (and more) can be yours at just $3.49/month if you decide to go for the three-year subscription (charged $125.64 every three years). Otherwise, you can choose between monthly, yearly, and two-year subscriptions at slightly higher rates.

If you cancel the service during the first 30 days after the purchase, you’re eligible for a full refund.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Secure and private
  • Plenty of servers
Cons
  • Not all servers are P2P-friendly

Best VPN Service for Netflix

ExpressVPN

Features

  • Headquartered in the British Virgin Islands
  • 3,000+ P2P-optimized servers
  • TrustedServer technology and zero-knowledge DNS
  • PRICE RANGE: $8.32-$12.95/month

Located in the privacy haven – the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN is a high-end anonymity service with a hefty price tag that suits its superior characteristics. Its annual subscription costs $8.32/month or $99.95 billed for the entire year. There are no two-year or three-year options to bring down the price further, but there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee if you find that ExpressVPN doesn’t suit your needs.

You can install this VPN service on Firefox, Chrome, and all the major platforms (Windows, Android, iOS, Mac OS, Linux…), as well as many minor ones. The VPN connection can be simultaneously established on up to five devices (unlimited if you install it on a router).

The security characteristics list all the best – the 256-AES encryption, a kill switch, and detailed no-logs policy. ExpressVPN is a proud member of the company of independently audited VPN vendors, evidencing its transparency and dedication to user’s privacy and anonymity in the face of outside demands for private data.

Besides split-tunneling, the provider employs its TrustedServer technology which entails VPN servers running on RAM instead of hard drives, wiping all data with every reboot, and re-installing the entire software stack fresh on every server at startup.

ExpressVPN also runs its own private DNS on every server, instead of third-party DNS used by some of the competition. Using its own zero-knowledge DNS allows it to bring an additional level of privacy protection.

On top of it all, the provider has 3,000+ P2P-friendly servers in every corner of the world, ensuring superior speeds and access to all sorts of geo-specific content. Speaking of which, services that are typically blocked in certain areas, including Netflix, Spotify, BBC iPlayer, Twitter, YouTube, and more, can be 100% unblocked everywhere thanks to ExpressVPN.

Pros
  • Extensive server network
  • Passed an audit
  • Superior performance
Cons
  • Initial connection takes long time
  • Expensive

Best Budget VPN Services

Surfshark

Features

  • BVI-based
  • 1,700+ P2P-friendly servers
  • Whitelister, MultiHop, CleanWeb, Camouflage Mode, NoBorders
  • PRICE RANGE: $1.99-$11.95/month

Surfshark is another BVI-based VPN vendor. It stands out from the crowd primarily with its low price and lack of limitations on simultaneous connections. It doesn’t miss out on advanced features either.

Users opting to go for this fast-growing provider will get access to 1,700+ P2P-friendly servers, a kill switch, the usual AES-256 encryption, Netflix-unblocking capabilities, and a Whitelister feature on Android. It allows you to choose which websites and apps are safe to bypass your VPN connection.

Special features include MultiHop that connects you via multiple locations for increased privacy and Camouflage Mode or obfuscation which masks your VPN traffic and makes it look like regular online activities.

The CleanWeb tool blocks ads, trackers, malware, phishing, and other annoying culprits that affect your online experience, while the NoBorders mode removes all restrictions on enjoying global content (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) everywhere.

As every respected VPN company, Surfshark has apps for all major devices and browsers, in addition to supporting manual installation on numerous other platforms. Unlike the previous two VPN companies, Surfshark doesn’t support its no-logging claims with any external audits, although its Chrome and Firefox extensions have been independently tested for any security concerns.

This is one of the cheapest VPN vendors thanks to its two-year subscription priced at a measly $1.99/month or $47.76 billed every two years. You also get a 30-day money-back period if you change your mind.

Pros
  • Very cheap
  • Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Lots of features
Cons
  • Not as established as other providers

Cyberghost

Features

  • Teams in Romania and Germany
  • 6,100+ servers
  • Split-tunneling, HTTPS redirection, data-compression, ad/malware blocking
  • PRICE RANGE: $2.75-$12.99

Headquartered in Romania, CyberGhost has teams in both Romania and Germany, with a sizeable server collection covering 6,100+ units in around 90 countries, making it one of the largest networks in the entire industry. These numbers are growing rapidly and many of the servers are optimized for smooth and seamless torrenting.

The provider supports up to seven simultaneous connections and can be installed on a wide selection of platforms including Windows, Android, Mac OS, iOS, Linux, FireOS, and more, as well on Firefox and Chrome as browser extensions. As always, installing the service on a router removes the limitation on concurrent VPN connections.

CyberGhost’s kill switch tool, military-grade 256-AES encryption, strict no-logs policy, and specialized NoSpy servers in Romania all guarantee your online activities will remain private. The no-logs policy hasn’t been tested yet but the company had successfully passed an audit and verification for the implemented Information Safety Management System (ISMS) under the international industrial standards ISO9001 and ISO27001 and it issues annual transparency reports.

Extra features include split-tunneling on Android, data-compression tool for mobile connections, ad/malware blocker (Mac, Android, and Windows), automated HTTPS redirection for Mac and Windows, as well as the option to pre-define whether the VPN will be activated when connecting to unknown networks.

The vendor also facilitates unrestricted access to video-on-demand channels like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime.

Interested users can pick out among several pricing options, with the three-year one standing out as the cheapest – only $2.75/month (billed $99.00 every three years). You can give this vendor a trial run for 24 hours if you install it on Windows or Mac OS or seven days if your platform of choice is iOS or Android.

There’s also a generous 45-day money-back guarantee if things work out after the purchase (14 days if you got the monthly subscription).

Pros
  • Seven simultaneous connections
  • Abundant with features
  • Not very expensive
  • Generous money-back guarantee
Cons
  • No consistency in free trial policies

Best VPN Service for Beginners

TunnelBear

Features

  • Free plan (although limited to 500MB/month)
  • 23 server locations with P2P capabilities
  • Vigilant Mode, GhostBear, SplitBear
  • PRICE RANGE: $0.00-$5.75/month

Canadian TunnelBear may only have servers in 23 locations but they’re all P2P-optimized and its apps are extremely user-friendly and its devotion to customers’ security has been independently confirmed more than once. Of course, it promises not to store users’ personally identifiable information, ever.

By default, the 256-AES encryption is there to accompany the kill switch called Vigilant Mode and the GhostBear option – obfuscation technology that makes your VPN signature look like normal traffic. The split-tunneling feature called SplitBear can be enabled on the provider’s Android app.

TunnelBear has software for Windows, Android, Mac OS, and iOS, and limited support for Linux. Extensions can be downloaded for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. Unfortunately, there is no manual installation support for other platforms but it might not even be necessary for a casual user who only needs protection on their business trip(s).

Users can choose between three pricing options – free, which limits you to 500MB of monthly data traffic, the Unlimited plan, starting from $4.99/month under the annual contract (billed $59.88 annually) and allowing unlimited browsing on five devices at the same time, and finally, Teams – for businesses counting at least three users.

The Teams subscription will cost you $5.75/month. It allows five simultaneous connections per user and provides a dedicated account manager, as well as centralized team billing and management. It also comes with a free seven-day trial so you can test its capabilities to the maximum.

Do note that there’s no clear money-back policy and refunds are issued at the discretion of the company. Also, this provider isn’t a good choice if you’re intent on accessing geographically restricted streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Geo-limited content on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and some others, on the other hand, can be accessed.

Pros
  • Passed two independent security audits
  • User-friendly
  • All servers support P2P
Cons
  • Doesn’t unblock Netflix and the like
  • Unclear money-back guarantee

Conclusion

This concludes our analysis of the best five VPN products that are extremely useful not just abroad but at home, as well.

We recommend NordVPN as the best balance between the price and what is included in it – thousands of servers all over the planet, unblocked geo-restricted services, all the security mechanisms in place to protect your identity and keep you surfing freely, and more.

As an alternative, you can go for our premium Top Pick – ExpressVPN, intended for the VPN elitists, or our Budget Pick – Surfshark, that provides all the VPN necessities at an even lower cost. Whatever VPN you decide to go with, make sure to do your due diligence and carefully weigh the products’ pros and cons beforehand.

Sead Fadilpasic Avatar
Written by
Sead Fadilpasic
Sead is a seasoned tech journalist, based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In his 15+ years of experience, he's done hundreds of product reviews, broke and fixed more gadgets than people usually use in a lifetime. When he's not writing for MuchNeeded, he spends his time raising his daughter, playing guitar and occasionally hitting the gym.