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Best VPN: 2021 VPN Services

What is the best VPN in April 2021? To determine the best service, TopWhich Editorial uses its best experts to comb through VPN services to measure their speed, data security and privacy. What if in 2021 you decide to better protect your data on the internet?

How do I choose the best VPN? Depending on your profile, and based on the features you’re looking for. Based on our tests, this VPN comparison analyzes the performance of the top 10 paying VPNs.

1. CyberGhost VPN: the best VPN 2021

Cyberghost is a major VPN and stands out for its performance and comprehensive functionality. It is quickly understood that tens of millions of Internet users trust this Bucharest service, which invests heavily in the security of its infrastructure.

Download VPN CyberGhost Apps

CyberGhost VPN

  • GUI
  • Performance
  • Servers optimized for streaming and P2P

The best VPN 2021

Very impressive, CyberGhost brings together all the qualities you would expect from a consumer VPN in terms of performance, security and functionality. On the novelty side, The implementation of WireGuard on all platforms ensures stability and connection speeds never achieved here with the VPN. It is one of the best services for accessing geoblocked content as well as for downloading torrents. Not to mention a value for money currently unbeatable.

Founded in 2011 in Romania, CyberGhost is one of the most reliable solutions on the market. Despite its success, the supplier continues to improve its service year after year. In addition to a new interface that is even more efficient than in the past and compatibility with the majority of platforms, it has the largest infrastrcture on the market with more than 7000 servers in 90 countries and 111 locations.

Download CyberGhost Apps: Visit Site

Full service

This year again, CyberGhost has spared no effort to fine-tune its service. The latter has extensive multiplatform coverage including the main OS on the market (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS), web extensions for Chrome and Firefox, as well as applications for Amazon Fire and Android TV platforms. A Premium version also allows you to manage all kinds of devices such as Linux routers, Raspeberry Pi, NAS or Chrome OS.

CyberGhost’s privacy policy is unequivocal. The company does not keep any data on the activities of its users or any logs. It also offers a full range of security features including 256-bit AES encryption, various VPN protocols (OpenVPN, PPTP, L2PT…), Kill Switch, a Wi-Fi protection mode, or ad blockers and malicious sites.

The most important infrastructure and the best interface on the market

CyberGhost, which already had one of the best interfaces on the market, did not hesitate to completely renew it to do even better. Thanks to a well-crafted ergonomics, it has the advantage of being able to suit both novices and the most experienced users.

2. NordVPN: the best value for money

NordVPN has been on the market since 2012 and has been in serious strength in recent years. Based on one of the largest infrastructures on the market, it offers a wide range of features and increased security.

Download NordVPN

As a leading figure in VPNs, NordVPN continues to evolve on a forced basis. Its performance has gone up a notch thanks in part to the implementation of the latest generation NordLynx VPN protocol. In addition to outstanding applications and now fully Frenchized, it stands out for its simplicity of use and excellent stability. A service that can only be recommended, if you are looking for a VPN without a headache.

It’s impossible to escape the many advertisements and promotions that NordVPN has been running on the web for the past two years. It is one of the largest VPN providers with an infrastructure that consists of no less than 5508 servers in 59 countries. Based under Panama’s jurisdiction, it has a strict privacy policy of not collecting or sharing user data.

Download NordVPN: Visit site

NordVPN has continued to grow year after year to become one of the most comprehensive VPN services on the market. It has a range of advanced tools to fine-tune many safety settings. In addition to a 256-bit AES dual encryption that encrypts end-to-end exchanges, it has the Kill Switch feature that cuts off Internet access, but also sets the apps to close if the VPN connection stalls. Not to mention the functions of Wi-Fi protection, DNS leak protection, access to the Tor network via certain servers and the ability to choose from OpenVPN VPN protocols,IKEv2 and its modern NordLynx home protocol.

Like most worthy VPNs, data transfers and speed are unlimited. Without matching the performance of ExpressVPN or CyberGhost, the connection is stable and fast. One of its big strengths is the “SmartPlay” in-house feature that allows you to access streaming services (Netflix, HBO, Prime Video US…) or French TV services from abroad in the blink of an eye.

NordVPN: limited multi-platform coverage compared to market tenors

Platform coverage is not as extensive as ExpressVPN or PureVPN, but it does support major OS (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS), as well as Chrome and Firefox and Android TV browsers. The application is nice to use with clear menus, well arranged and now françized. It is possible to connect up to 6 devices simultaneously.

3. ExpressVPN: Better performance

A must-see reference for VPN ExpressVPN publishers has a range of features and services that are among the most comprehensive on the market. With no less than 3,000 VPN servers in 160 locations in 94 countries, it shines with its connection speed and ease of use.

At the cutting edge of technology, ExpressVPN offers a world-class level of service. It’s hard to take it if it’s not for its privacy policy, the performance and security of its servers, the quality of its applications or its multiplatform coverage. It also offers many well-groomed educational guides to understand, install and use its VPNs on a daily basis.

Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN is an independent company not subject to the Patriot Act offering serious guarantees on the privacy and data protection of its users and does not register any logs.

ExpressVPN: versatility and performance

ExpressVPN offers extensive coverage that supports most operating systems and connected devices. In addition to traditional OS (PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux…), VPN supports Kindle Fire, Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox, BlackBerry, Linux routers or streamers such as Chromecast! The service allows you to use up to 5 devices simultaneously, but it offers a router app that connects an unlimited number of devices on the same network. However, this is less interesting than some competing offers such as CyberGhost (7 devices) and Surfshark, which offers an unlimited number of devices.

ExpressVPN remains one of the fastest VPN services on the market with impeccable stability. Whether it’s browsing the web, bypassing the geographic blockages of services like Netflix US, or downloading data, the performance is remarkable. Data transfers and speed are unlimited and protected by 256-bit AES encryption.

ExpressVPN: simplicity and automation

Although settings are limited, users can activate no months of 5 network protocols (UDP-OpenVPN, TCP, IKEv2, L2PT, and PPTP) or opt for automated mode. The service has an original feature called “Speed Test” to see at a glance which servers are the fastest.

Download ExpressVPN

For the rest, ExpressVPN favors simplicity even if it hides some very popular features. The selection of the fastest server, for example, is fully automated and works in a completely transparent way by selecting not a particular server, but a country via the “Recommended” section. Ditto for the Kill Switch option (responsible for cutting off Internet access if the user is not connected to a VPN server) that is self-managed. Note that all servers are compatible with P2P/torrents downloads.

Download ExpressVPN: Visit site

ExpressVPN continues to offer a range of routers with a dedicated VPN subscription to secure all devices connected to the home network.

4. SurfShark VPN: attractive rates

Founded a little over a year ago, Surfshark is a particularly promising new VPN provider. It focuses on increased security, an unlimited number of devices and some of the most competitive rates on the market.

Surfshark is a great surprise. This new player offers a leading service that is almost at the level of the best VPNs on the market. It stands out by offering unlimited simultaneous connections and particularly aggressive rates. This is one of the most attractive offers for the general public.

SurfShark VPN Download

Still young, Surfshark currently offers much more limited coverage than those of industry tenors such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN or CyberGhost. To date, the supplier offers 3,200 servers in 65 countries around the world. Based in the British Virgin Islands (such as ExpressVPN), it is not subject to the US Partiot Act and does not retain any data on its users.

SurfShark: optimized connection and increased security

To compensate for the absence of a very large number of servers, Surfshark has a feature called “Fastest Server” that automatically selects the server geographically closest to the user in order to offer the best possible throughput. The connection speed is generally very satisfactory, but it fishes by its stability according to the settings. Once activated, the “CleanWeb” option that blocks ads and trackers tends to cause Internet outages.

For the rest, Surfshark also features advanced treats like the Kill Switch and protections against DNS, WebRTC and IPv6 leaks.

SurfShark VPN Download: Visit Site

SurfShark: a full service

Surshark offers a very comprehensive service with the ability to access Netflix catalogs in many countries, servers optimized for P2P and torrents, a white list “Withelister” to allow applications and web services to bypass the connection to the VPN, different protocols as well as the “MultiHop” mode to move the connection via 2 servers , and 256-bit AES encryption.

VPN SurfShark a full service

Available on all classic OS (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS), it has a web extension for Chrome or Firefox and an app for Amazon Fire TV. It should be noted that despite its young age, this service has the merit of being françized. Quite responsive, customer support includes a chat service available only in English. He also responds by email in French through a translator within 24 hours.

5. VyprVPN: a pioneer of the market

VyprVPN is one of the most reputable historical VPNs on the market. With strong security features, it has the advantage of owning and managing its own computer servers in more than 70 locations around the world.

In marked progress, the Swiss VPN has accumulated many assets. In addition to a high level of security, it has well-groomed customers and offers satisfactory speeds for all types of use. It is also one of the few suppliers to own and manage its own end-to-end infrastructure. On the other hand, we regret its outdated business practices and its high rates. However, it is an excellent choice for those looking for a reliable and secure VPN.

VyprVPN Download: Visit site

Created by Golden Frog, a Swiss IT security company, VyprVPN has many advantages. Very respectful of the privacy of Internet users, the company does not keep any information about its customers and it guarantees 100% anonymous exchanges.

VyprVPN: complete and versatile

In use, the VPN, which offers unlimited data transfers and bandwidth, is one of the most reliable and fast on the market. Over the years, the supplier has developed its own infrastructure that includes more than 700 servers in 70 countries around the world on 5 continents. It also provides access to an impressive selection of more than 200,000 IP addresses.

Vypr VPN a pioneer of the market

Accessible to both lay and experts, its neat applications cover the most popular platforms (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS), but also routers, SINs and even smart TVs. It is possible to use up to 5 devices simultaneously. Able to connect without batting an eyelid to streaming services in the USA or to French, English, Spanish etc… content from abroad, it blocks P2P downloads and torrents (except legal torrents).

VyprVPN: a unique, top-nots security

VyprVPN also stands out by offering its VPN technology called Chameleon that can scramble metadata and prevent VPN blockages in countries such as China. However, the publisher leaves the choice to users who can opt for other VPN protocols such as OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and the modern WireGuard protocol.

The service also has its own DNS system. So much security that makes the VPN connection totally undetectable and circumvents the geographical restrictions and censorship of totalitarian countries. Not to mention the essential Kill Switch function to cut off the Internet connection in the event of a VPN server failure.

6. Private Internet Access: Comprehensive features

After CyberGhost and ZenMate, it’s Private Internet Access’s turn to fall under the hands of Kape Technologies. Purchased in 2019, the VPN has undergone a real makeover that propels it among the top ten VPNs on the market.

Private Internet Access Download: Visit site

With good value for money, Private Internet Access is in the top of the range of VPN offerings. It is one of the first VPN services to implement WireGuard at a lower rate than its competitors. PIA, although full of qualities, must also work on its ergonomics and multiplatform coverage in order to become a tenor of the market.

Founded in the United States in 2010, Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the services that stand out in terms of functionality and security. Despite an interface accessible to as many people as possible, it is a VPN that is primarily aimed at experts who want to be able to configure the service down to the smallest details.

PIA: A serious alternative

PIA’s infrastructure consists of 19,453 proxy servers in 76 countries (97 regions) and 5 continents (Europe, Asia, Pacific, America, Africa). Unlike other VPNs, there are no servers specifically dedicated to P2P or access to geoblocked streaming platforms. All of its servers can potentially be used for these uses without any bandwidth limits. The service that allows up to 10 simultaneous connections has relatively limited multiplatform coverage.

PIA supports major OS (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS) as well as Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers. On the other hand, it ignores dedicated applications or manual configurations for TV boxes (Android TV, Apple TV, Fire OS…), game consoles, or smart TVs. However, the VPN can work on most routers on the market to protect the entire network. In use, the VPN is particularly good at unlocking streaming services such as Netflix US and UK, BBC iPlayer, HULU, or Disney. It is also one of the most reputable VPNs for P2P downloads.

PIA: Advanced security and functionality

While its location in the United States (subject to the Patriot Act) rightly raises many concerns, PIA has been able to demonstrate that it does not prevent it from practicing a 100% “zero log” policy. The company, which has been subpoenaed several times in U.S. courts to provide activity logs on users involved in criminal cases, has provided evidence that it does not retain any data on its customers.

PIA stands out for its many advanced features, including an emergency switch, DNS leak protection, ad blocker, tracker and malware. In addition to the classic OpenVPN, L2PT/IPsec, and PPTP VPN protocols, it connects via the latest-generation WireGuard protocol. It should be noted that PIA is one of the few providers to offer 100% anonymous payment methods: PayPal, bitcoin, BitcoinCash, Zcash, ethereum, litecoin, gift cards (Apple, GAP, Starbucks, Uniqlo…), etc.

7. HMA (HideMyAss): The VPN made in Avast

As one of the best and best known VPNs in France and the world, HideMyAss has serious arguments to make for the general public. A neat service particularly convincing for streaming.

VPN HMA (HideMyAss) Download

VPN HMA (HideMyAss) Download: Visit site

HMA is a good VPN, but it is no longer at the level of market tenors in terms of throughput and functionality. It is a service recommended above all to beginners who want a nearly fully automated VPN and who are not too keen on the confidentiality of their data.

Founded in 2005 by a 16-year-old, HMA (formerly HideMyAss) is one of the oldest VPNs on the market. The donkey mascot service, which boasts no less than 400 million users, has 1,100 VPN servers in 290 locations and 190 countries. Purchased by Avast (a Prague-based company), it offers an excellent level of safety, but is less efficient than other heavyweights on the market.

HMA: a must of almost fully automated simplicity

Compatible with major platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS) and some routers, its application available in French is a model of simplicity. Each feature is combined with a small description that allows you to easily understand and make each adjustment. However, these can be summed up in the essentials with an “Emergency Stop” (Kill Switch) function, the ability to activate the TCP protocol (only), to define the network connection in private or public mode, or to change the IP address at regular intervals.

The web interface simply displays account and license information and allows the app to be downloaded. HMA clearly hunts on the land of novices. As with most competing VPNs, it is advisable to connect to the nearest servers geographically (in France for the hexagon for example) to enjoy an optimal connection speed.

HMA: servers dedicated to streaming and P2P optimized

Despite the size of its network, the speeds are nowhere near as satisfactory as those of ExpressVPN, PureVPN or CyberGhost. HMA, on the other hand, is more convincing in accessing Netflix’s catalogues and other streaming services based in the US, England and Germany thanks to specifically optimized servers. Similarly, the service has many servers dedicated to P2P/torrents that are quite effective overall.

In terms of security, HMA encrypts the end-to-end connection (AES) and does not keep any logs on its users’ activities. It is possible to protect up to 5 devices simultaneously with the VPN, compared to 7 for CyberGhost or unlimited for Surfshark. Data transfers and bandwidth are unlimited. Special mention for the SAV as reactive as effective and accessible 24 hours a day in English especially by chat.

8. Hide.me: a streaming ace in the USA

After a few difficult years, Hide is making my big comeback in the spotlight of the VPN market. Thanks to a complete and efficient redesign of its service, it is positioned as one of the best VPNs for streaming.

Download VPN Hide (Dot) me: visit site

Thanks to the optimized implementation of the WireGuard VPN protocol, Hide . is both more efficient and more secure than in the past. Despite these improvements, it is not yet at the level of the tenors of the market. Its performance and stability remain highly variable depending on the location, and its aging interface is no longer really up to date. With far higher rates than the market average, the Malaysian service offer is not at all competitive.

Founded in 2012 in Malaysia, Hide. me is known for its truly zero log free VPN. This one becomes even more interesting because its transfer limit has increased at the beginning of 2020 from 2GB/month to 10GB/month. The paid version underwent a complete overhaul that allowed Hide. me to come back in force on the VPN market. In addition to a self-managed infrastructure, the Malaysian supplier is distinguished by numerous innovations, including the implementation of the latest generation WireGuard VPN protocol.

The best VPN service in 2021:

Security and streaming made simple — get the best VPN

The best VPN services today

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is simply the best VPN available thanks to its fantastic apps, ease of use, superb speeds, excellent 24/7 customer-service support, and wide compatibility across devices. You can use the service on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, even Linux or BlackBerry, and you can also install it on your Android TV, games console, or your home router.

Get three months FREE of the very best VPN on the market
Tom’s Guide readers can claim both 1 year of Backblaze and three months free on a 12 month plan with ExpressVPN – that’s 15 months for the price of 12. But if you want to try before you buy, you’ll still be covered by that 30-day money-back guarantee to make sure it’s the right VPN for you.

2. NordVPN

Save big on NordVPN’s longest plan
If you want to save some money when signing up to Nord, you’re best off going for its longest two-year plan. You’ll get a price of $3.71 a month which makes Nord super affordable – especially considering it’s such a close runner-up to the best VPN ever made.

3. Surfshark

A thoroughly premium service at a bargain price
Surfshark is a great option for those who want a simple VPN to set and forget. It’s perfect for streaming almost any service, the apps are super simple, and you’ll get a 30-day money-back guarantee as standard so you can test-drive the VPN before you commit.

4. Hotspot Shield

So, if you’re after seriously fast streaming in just about any service, or want to download torrents in safety as quickly as possible, Hotspot Shield is definitely one to watch.

Sign up now on the Hotspot Shield website

5. CyberGhost

CyberGhost’s performance isn’t quite up there with the best, and the apps are a little fickle at times, but it’s still a top-tier VPN that we strongly recommend.

Sign up now on the the CyberGhost website

6. IPVanish

But, if you’re just after a cheap monthly VPN, IPVanish might be a strong contender – its introductory offers are seriously good value, and great for the short-term.

Sign up now on

7. Private Internet Access (PIA)

While its support and unblocking capabilities aren’t up there with the best, if you’re looking for a simple, secure VPN to get you going with a minimum of fuss, PIA is certainly a good shout.

Sign up now on the PIA website

8. Windscribe

Overall, for those looking to test out a VPN with a free service and then sign up once you know it works, Windscribe is an excellent option.

9. ProtonVPN

If you just want to give it a go before buying, we’d thoroughly recommend its free version. If you like that, there’s not a huge amount of reasons not to upgrade.

Sign up now on the ProtonVPN website

10. TunnelBear

But, if you’re after a VPN to set and forget, TunnelBear’s not a bad option. Sign up now on

11. VyprVPN

With prices starting from as low as $1.66 a month it’s also incredible value, but as an all-round package, we’d probably recommend spending a a small amount more for a lot in return.

Sign up now on VyprVPN’s website

12. StrongVPN

You’ll get 24/7 customer support, including a phone line with more limited opening times, plus decent speeds in almost every server location, which makes it pretty usable. For those looking for secure storage plus a simple, easy VPN, StrongVPN isn’t a bad option.

Sign up now on the StrongVPN website

13. HideMyAss! (HMA)

HMA isn’t perfect for streamers, unless you only watch Netflix – Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+ all remain blocked – but P2P is allowed, so torrenting is still on the table. Overall, it’s a good VPN that it might be worth taking a look at.

Sign up now on the HMA website

14. Bitdefender VPN

While we’d prefer to see a bit more configuration available, for newbies or those looking to get access to Catapult Hydra without paying Hotspot Shield’s premium pricing, Bitdefender VPN could look tempting..

Sign up now on the Bitdefender website

15. Ivacy

Overall though, you can’t sniff at that price, and if that’s your only concern, Ivacy might be for you.

Sign up now on the Ivacy website

Best VPN FAQ

What is the best VPN for 2021?

Right now, ExpressVPN tops our list of the best VPN. The reasons are many (and explored in depth in this article) but in short it’s because it delivers reliable, fast server connections; is jam-packed with security smarts; is a joy to use whether on desktop, mobile or other devices; has a proven track record of unlocking blocked websites and streaming services; and in the unlikely event you do run in to difficulties, has fantastic, human customer support available 24/7.

You can try it out for 30 days risk-free thanks to its completely no-quibble money back guarantee. And when you sign up for an annual plan now, it also throws in a whole year of secure, unlimited cloud storage – courtesy of Backblaze.

When is the best time to buy a VPN?

For most products like laptops, smartphones, mattresses and more, we’d usually suggest you wait until Black Friday deals or other sales events hit. And while the best VPN providers are starting to get the hang of these sales seasons, there are pretty much constantly some excellent VPN deals to be had across the entire year – so don’t feel like you have to wait.

Should I pay for a VPN?

Some companies now offer a basic service that won’t cost you anything at all. So, are free VPN services as good as their paid-for counterparts then?

In short… no. As you’d expect, there are catches, and they typically start with a data cap. TunnelBear VPN’s free plan limits you to 500MB a month, for example.

Free products also typically have usage restrictions. Most companies don’t want you to soak up all their bandwidth on torrents, so ZPN is typical in blocking P2P. Then there’s the adverts and the session limits and the general lack of service level agreement: free means that it doesn’t come with any implicit warranties.

Free plans are fine for simple needs, then – maybe protecting your laptop’s wireless hotspot traffic on the occasional trip – but if you’re looking for anything more advanced, a commercial product is best.

How do I get a VPN?

Thankfully, downloading and installing your new VPN is much easier than trying to understand the ins and outs of how they work! All of the best VPNs listed above make it really quick to get started on desktop or, if you’re on mobile, then you could go to the App Store or Play Store and download them there, instead.

Usually, the prices are quoted in their effective monthly cost, but note that you will need to pay the full amount upfront.

Once installed, you can then get extensions added to your chosen web browser, and go about adding functionality to your various devices. That includes your computer and mobile phone of course, but also your games console, tablet, TV streaming devices – even your internet router.

Which is better NordVPN or ExpressVPN?

Ultimately, though, NordVPN is the better option. It’s significantly faster, has more servers to choose from, and provides more control over your security setup than ExpressVPN does. It’s a solid choice for streaming too, thanks to its strong unblocking ability and dedicated IP address option.

What is a VPN? (definition)

The acronym VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, a virtual private network in the language of Molière. Behind this barbaric acronym is a very practical security measure to prevent data theft while browsing the Internet. The VPN also has the big advantage of masking your real IP address – generally that of your Box – in order to give you access to certain foreign sites otherwise inaccessible.

The principle of a VPN is simple: a program is installed on your computer / smartphone / tablet. It will encrypt all your data going out to the vast Internet and forward it to a remote server where it will then be decrypted before reaching its final goal. This encrypted “tunnel” will prevent hackers from reading poorly protected data such as your passwords or worse, your payment card number.

The sites you contact will usually only see fire. For them, only your IP address will be different: it is that of your VPN provider’s server that they will see and not that of your Box. Thanks to this, you will be able to connect to certain foreign sites that sometimes block IP addresses from France. Rather practical, no?

Why use a VPN?

Even so, it’s worth remembering that VPNs are by no means the ultimate measure against all web nuisance. If you download a questionable file from an even more questionable site, your VPN will not prevent you from a nice virus infection on your PC!

On the other hand, if you regularly use open WiFi access points such as we find in airports or cafes, then in this case you will be better off activating a VPN with effective encryption.

In a few years, the use of VPN (virtual private networks in French) has become widely democratized among individuals. Whether on a fixed computer, a mobile terminal, even a router or a smart TV, these services allow you to hide your IP address behind that of the VPN server and by extension to preserve your identity, personal data and geographical location. For example, they are a simple and efficient way to surf safely on public networks (airports, train stations, shopping centers, hotels, etc.) on the move and avoid any risk of intrusion.

A VPN can be used for different reasons:

  • preserve personal information
  • protect yourself from cyber attacks
  • maintain anonymity online
  • hide your country of origin
  • avoid censorship in certain restrictive countries (China, Iran, Russia, etc.)
  • access foreign sites and services that are usually inaccessible

A large number of customers use a VPN to access the catalogs of streaming services based in particular in the USA (Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, Pandora …) or to be able to enjoy French content from abroad (MyTf1, Canal +, beIN SPORTS …). You should also know that some VPN providers do not allow streaming and / or downloads on P2P sharing platforms and torrents.

How to choose a VPN?

The VPN offer has literally exploded in recent years, in particular with the awareness of users of the exposure of their personal data on the internet and the risks of harmful use, but also of the possibility of protecting their anonymity thanks to a VPN. As a result, a host of new players, including many publishers of antivirus solutions, are competing for this highly competitive market. But beware, not all VPNs are created equal and it is better to ensure the reliability of a provider before passing all of its web traffic through its servers. Keep in mind that the VPN provider can have access to all the data that passes through its service.

Based on this observation, it is advisable to favor known and recognized players offering serious guarantees on the protection of private data, as well as reliable and easy-to-understand encryption tools. Note that suppliers based in the United States in particular are subject to the Patriot Act and may therefore be liable to give access to their customers’ data if the authorities ask them to do so. In all cases, VPNs which do not keep any connection log or any information of any kind should be preferred.

For increased security, the best services include a feature called Kill Switch which is responsible for blocking the Internet connection in the event of a bug or breakdown of a VPN server. This helps prevent data leaks until the connection through a secure and encrypted tunnel is active again. Some providers even offer the option of taking out a subscription without having to provide an email address and name and pay in Bitcoin in order to ensure the utmost anonymity to their customers.

Adopting a VPN will give you an extra layer of security. There are, however, a few things to know before taking the plunge. VPN providers are numerous and not necessarily of equal quality.

The main criteria for choosing your future VPN provider are:

  • network infrastructure (servers, locations and locations)
  • connection speed
  • security level
  • the ergonomics and usability of the VPN client
  • the number of devices included in a package

How does a VPN secure your data?

If you choose to subscribe to a VPN, it is because you want to secure your communications. Therefore, it is important to check the security used by your future supplier. Generally, serious VPNs all provide AES 256-bit encryption.

The choice of protocol is also important. The most reliable at the moment is OpenVPN. While many VPNs still use PPTP, this protocol is unreliable and old. So avoid VPNs that only rely on it.

Beyond security, it’s also wise to check which country your provider is hosted in. Some governments have the power to claim users’ private data in specific cases. So don’t hesitate to do some research before you start.

What is the connection speed with a VPN?

Encryption and transit through a third-party server invariably impacts connection speed. To avoid too big drops in speed, we recommend that you check the number of servers of your future VPN provider. The more there are, the less risk of congestion and the more stable the connection will be.

In the same vein, a large number of servers will ensure that you can find one close to you. The further away a server is, the slower the connection will be. So do not hesitate to consult the tests to make your choice with confidence. Also take advantage of the trial periods offered by paying providers to get an idea of the connection quality according to your uses.

Should you opt for a free or paid VPN?

If it’s free, you are the product. An adage that fits perfectly with the use of VPNs. The recommendation is simple here: avoid completely free VPNs, they will inevitably have something to hide. A free VPN provider will be happy to resell your data to third-party companies, which you clearly don’t want … There are a few exceptions like ProtonVPN or ZenMate which offer free VPNs that are privacy-friendly, but speedy. connection and functionality is very limited.

VPN services offering a stable and secure connection are chargeable. But a large majority offer a trial period ranging from a few hours to a few weeks. Following this, you will be asked for a monthly or annual contribution. The prices charged are variable, on average from 5 to 20 $ / month.

There is not necessarily need to opt for the most expensive to have quality. First of all, think about your uses: do you need to download in P2P or to unblock streaming services? Are you more aiming for online gambling? Or do you just want to secure your data?

What is the minimum number of servers for a VPN?

The more servers a VPN has, the more options you have for comfortable browsing. The average is between 50 and 60 servers spread around the world. But some providers go up to several hundred, even several thousand (CyberGhost, NordVPN …). Therefore, blockages are less frequent, so the cuts a priori less regular.

Beyond the raw number, the multiplication of servers also allows a multiplication of uses. Thus, some servers are devoted to downloading P2P files – legal, of course – or viewing streaming on services like Netflix.

VPN compatibility and interface

Last important point before choosing your VPN provider: is it compatible with your devices? In most cases, the best-known VPNs are widespread on classic fixed and mobile platforms: Android, iOS, Windows 10, MacOS. If, on the other hand, you want to use a VPN on a GNU / Linux distribution, a specific router, a SmartTV, or Android TV, it’s a different story to find a compatible VPN.

Another point to check: the availability of a mobile application. The more serious providers usually have a regular update for Android and iOS. If this is not the case, you will have to get your hands dirty and enter the parameters hard in your precious smartphone. Nothing very complicated, but this kind of manipulation can quickly become time-consuming if you have to configure several devices.

Moreover, we also recommend that you check if your future VPN takes into account several machines simultaneously. Most providers protect five or six devices with one account. Beyond that, you will have to pay an additional amount. You should also know that some providers also offer the possibility of installing their VPN on a router in order to protect all devices connected to the network.

Comments: 

Hotspot Shield: “An unlimited lifetime version is also available for the ultra competitive price of $ 139.99.” This option no longer exists for this VPN, you may need to update your info. On the other hand, a “Boost” option is available for those who need a good bitrate, for video streaming for example. How? ‘Or’ What ? For barely more, the user will go through dedicated servers with a limited number of connections. The longest option available is 3 years renewable.

References:

  1.  RFC 3809 – Generic Requirements for Provider Provisioned Virtual Private Networks. sec. 1.1. doi:10.17487/RFC3809RFC 3809.
  2. ^ RFC 6434, “IPv6 Node Requirements”, E. Jankiewicz, J. Loughney, T. Narten (December 2011)
  3. ^ “1. Ultimate Powerful VPN Connectivity”www.softether.org. SoftEther VPN Project.
  4. ^ “OpenConnect”. Retrieved 8 April 2013OpenConnect is a client for Cisco’s AnyConnect SSL VPN […] OpenConnect is not officially supported by, or associated in any way with, Cisco Systems. It just happens to interoperate with their equipment.
  5. ^ “Why TCP Over TCP Is A Bad Idea”sites.inka.de. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  6. ^ “Trademark Status & Document Retrieval”tarr.uspto.gov.
  7. ^ “ssh(1) – OpenBSD manual pages”man.openbsd.org.
  8. ^ c@cb.vu, Colin Barschel. “Unix Toolbox”cb.vu.
  9. ^ “SSH_VPN – Community Help Wiki”help.ubuntu.com.
  10. ^ Salter, Jim (30 March 2020). “WireGuard VPN makes it to 1.0.0—and into the next Linux kernel”Ars Technica. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  11. ^ “Diff – 99761f1eac33d14a4b1613ae4b7076f41cb2df94^! – kernel/common – Git at Google”android.googlesource.com. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  12. ^ Younglove, R. (December 2000). “Virtual private networks – how they work”Computing & Control Engineering Journal11 (6): 260–262. doi:10.1049/cce:20000602ISSN 0956-3385.
  13. ^ Benjamin Dowling, and Kenneth G. Paterson. “A cryptographic analysis of the WireGuard protocol”. International Conference on Applied Cryptography and Network SecurityISBN 978-3-319-93386-3.
  14. ^ (PDF) https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/switches/lan/catalyst6500/ios/12-2SXF/native/configuration/guide/swcg/pfc3mpls.pdf. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ E. Rosen & Y. Rekhter (March 1999). “BGP/MPLS VPNs”. Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). RFC 2547.
  16. ^ Lewis, Mark (2006). Comparing, designing, and deploying VPNs (1st print. ed.). Indianapolis, Ind.: Cisco Press. pp. 5–6. ISBN 1587051796.
  17. ^ Ethernet Bridging (OpenVPN)
  18. ^ Hollenbeck, Scott; Housley, Russell. “EtherIP: Tunneling Ethernet Frames in IP Datagrams”.
  19. ^ Glyn M Burton: RFC 3378 EtherIP with FreeBSD, 03 February 2011
  20. ^ net-security.org news: Multi-protocol SoftEther VPN becomes open source, January 2014
  21. ^ Address Allocation for Private InternetsRFC 1918, Y. Rekhter et al., February 1996
  22. ^ RFC 2917A Core MPLS IP VPN Architecture
  23. ^ RFC 2918, E. Chen (September 2000)
  24. ^ Yang, Yanyan (2006). “IPsec/VPN security policy correctness and assurance”. Journal of High Speed Networks15: 275–289. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.94.8561.
  25. ^ “Overview of Provider Provisioned Virtual Private Networks (PPVPN)”. Secure Thoughts. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  26. ^ RFC 1702: Generic Routing Encapsulation over IPv4 networks. October 1994.
  27. ^ IETF (1999), RFC 2661, Layer Two Tunneling Protocol “L2TP”
  28. ^ Cisco Systems, Inc. (2004). Internetworking Technologies Handbook. Networking Technology Series (4 ed.). Cisco Press. p. 233. ISBN 9781587051197. Retrieved 15 February 2013[…] VPNs using dedicated circuits, such as Frame Relay […] are sometimes called trusted VPNs, because customers trust that the network facilities operated by the service providers will not be compromised.
  29. ^ Layer Two Tunneling Protocol “L2TP”RFC 2661, W. Townsley et al., August 1999
  30. ^ IP Based Virtual Private NetworksRFC 2341, A. Valencia et al., May 1998
  31. ^ Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)RFC 2637, K. Hamzeh et al., July 1999
  32. ^ Phifer, Lisa. “Mobile VPN: Closing the Gap”SearchMobileComputing.com, July 16, 2006.
  33. ^ Willett, Andy. “Solving the Computing Challenges of Mobile Officers”www.officer.com, May, 2006.
  34. ^ Cheng, Roger. “Lost Connections”The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2007.
  35. ^ “Virtual Private Networking: An Overview”. 18 November 2019.
  36. ^ “Businesses, consumers uncertain ahead of China VPN ban”Reuters. Retrieved 3 April2018.
  37. ^ “Man jailed for 5½ years, fined US$76,000 for selling VPN in China”South China Morning Post. 21 December 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  38. ^ Cimpanu, Catalin. “Chinese man arrested after making $1.6 million from selling VPN services”ZDNet. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  39. ^ “Using a VPN to watch porn gets a man punished in China”South China Morning Post. 30 July 2020. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  40. ^ 翻墙”网民受罚 中国进一步强化网络管控” [Internet User Fined for Scaling Great Firewall – China strengthens Internet Control]. BBC News 中文 (in Chinese). 11 January 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2020.

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