Choosing the right VPN to give your private data and hard-earned money to is no small decision. You’re going to want to do your research and know what you’re getting yourself into.

Thankfully, we did the hard work for you. In this article you will find all the information everything you need to know about the best VPNs in 2019 and hopefully find the one that suits you best.

What is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a digital network comprised of many physical servers that can be located anywhere in the world. They allow you to change your IP address to a secure server and access any type of online content with an extra layer (or layers) of protection and encryption.

VPNs work by sending your data over tunneling protocols. This means that they route your activity and connection through a server located somewhere else in the world. This hides your online activity and, with the best VPNs, keeps your data private.

To put it simply: with no VPN, your data is sent straight to the websites you’re trying to access. This means your information is out in the open and any third party could take a peek if they wanted to. That could mean hackers, spying governments, or your internet service provider (ISP).

When you activate a VPN, it will appear as if you are accessing the website from another part of the world — shielding your identity and protecting your privacy.

What Can VPNs Be Used For?

If you’re looking for a VPN, it’s likely that you are trying to access a streaming site like Netflix in another country, download torrent files, or protect your private data from nosy third parties.

VPNs can be used for all of these things and more. Of course, as time goes on, premium streaming services get better at combating the use of VPNs.

It’s likely you understand some of the uses of VPNs. However, it’s even more likely that you don’t yet know the true potential a VPN can unlock:

  • Stream videos using services that are unavailable in your location. For example, let’s say you want to see a movie but it isn’t available on Netflix in your region. Chances are, it’s available in another country. Using a VPN can trick Netflix into thinking you are in that country. As a bonus, Some channels are also offer free online streaming services if you are in a given location, That means you can access free programming from like BBC, Discovery Channel, and ABC to name a few. Time to start looking!)
  • Avoid connection throttling. Many ISPs intentionally slow your connection when you are accessing certain types of content such as videos or games. This is called “throttling.” If you are use a VPN, your ISP won’t know what you are doing online and won’t slow your speeds.
  • Increase safety and privacy. Many VPN users take their privacy very seriously. VPNs can effectively prevent third-party eavesdroppers from snooping through your activities, even when connected to unsecured public WiFi.
  • Find better prices on airline tickets and car rentals. Not surprisingly, many airlines will give you different prices depending on where you are located. Simply connect to different countries using your VPN until you find a better price.

Now that you understand VPNs a little better, let’s take a look at the best VPNs on the market.

1. IPVanish Review

Pros

  • 10 simultaneous devices
  • Super-fast speeds
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not all features offered on all operating systems
  • Only a 7-day money-back guarantee

2. ExpressVPN Review

Pros

  • Consistently fast speeds
  • Lots of features for any operating system
  • Servers in over 90 countries

Cons

  • No ad-blocker
  • Premium price
  • Only supports 3 devices

3. NordVPN Review

Pros

  • More servers than any other VPN
  • Users report that it works great for torrents

Cons

  • Oversold and over-advertised
  • Inconsistent speeds
  • No whitelist capabilities

4. Hotspot Shield Review

Pros

  • Proprietary Catapult Hydra increases security and speed
  • Generous money-back guarantee
  • A good amount of servers and locations

Cons

  • Non-standard protocol makes some customization impossible

5. TunnelBear Review

Pros

  • Affordable yearly plan
  • Transparency
  • Easy-to-use platform
  • Free version (capped at 500mb/month)

Cons

  • Not good for torrents
  • Split tunneling only available on Android

6. Surfshark Review

Pros

  • Amazing monthly price for the 2-year plan
  • Unlimited devices
  • Extremely secure connections

Cons

  • A relatively small number of servers
  • Users consistently report that it is slower than other options on our list

7. VyprVPN Review

Pros

  • Strict no logging
  • Ultra-secure Chameleon protocol
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The interface isn’t very user-friendly
  • The Windows OS client is clunky and awkward

Should I Pay For A Premium VPN?

Premium VPNs generally offer the best speeds and protection, but they aren’t for everyone.

If you only need a VPN for one small task then it might not be necessary. On the other hand, if you want consistent protection, unlimited bandwidth, and fast speeds, you will probably have to opt for a paid service.

Of course, there are free VPNs available that we like. TunnelBear, a VPN on our list, offers 500mb a month on their free version that can be extended to a total of 1GB per month of free usage. Another VPN that almost made it to our list, ProtonVPN, offers a free VPN service with no ads or data limits. The drawbacks, however, are that they support only three locations, allow only one device, and admit that their free service is not as fast as their paid versions.

Whether or not a premium VPN is right for you largely depends on how you will use it.

What Makes a Trustworthy VPN?

If you have even the slightest feeling that your personal data isn’t secure with a specific VPN, then it isn’t a good choice. Any VPN that is worth your money should pride itself on the security of its user data.

When you use a VPN, you are relying on them to securely encrypt your connection, keep it encrypted, and to protect your identity from anyone who might be looking.

We’ve established that trust and security is everything when it comes to a VPN. Now let’s consider some specific things to look for in a trustworthy VPN:

Security Protocols

VPN protocols define how your data is handled and transferred between servers. Many VPNs let you choose from the protocols that they offer. However, they vary in security and should be evaluated carefully. Here are the primary protocols offered by most VPNs:

  1. PPTP (Point-To-Point Tunneling Protocol) This is mostly used for outdated computers. It’s easy to set up but not very secure. Never trust a VPN if this is the only protocol that they offer.
  2. L2TP/IPsec (Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol) This is a slightly improved version of PPTP that is combined with Cisco’s L2F protocol. Even improved, it still doesn’t offer complete security.
  3. SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol) This is a Microsoft-built protocol established with SSL/TLS encryption. This setup allows only the two involved parties to decode the data (i.e. you and the VPN.) SSTP is very secure.
  4. IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange, v2) This is another Microsoft protocol that offers even higher security. It offers some of the best security possible.
  5. OpenVPN. This is an open-source protocol that has thousands of developers constantly improving it and making it more secure. It takes your security to a whole new level.
  6. Killswitch

    Without a killswitch feature, your data and activities will become exposed if the connection to your VPN is interrupted for some reason.

    A killswitch will lock your data transfers until the connection to your VPN is restored. This way, your activities are never exposed to any third party.

    A killswitch should be considered a basic feature when it comes to security. However, many users have no need for it. Especially if you are just using your VPN for Netflix.

    DNS Leak Protection

    A DNS leak is most common with Windows OS. If you have a leak, it appears as if you are connected properly to your VPN, but your data is in fact unprotected and could still be viewed by your ISP (and potentially other more harmful parties.)

    Top-tier VPNs implement DNS leak protection to keep this from happening. If you suspect that you have a DNS leak, you can run a DNS leak test.

    Which VPN IS Right For Me?

    Which of the best VPNs of 2019 is right for you? It depends on your preferences and priorities.

    Want the cheapest 2019 VPN on the market?

    If you’re looking for the cheapest overall option and you’re willing to buy in bulk, there’s really no better deal than Surfshark’s $1.99/month deal on the 2-year plan.

    NordVPN comes in pretty close with their 3-year plan for $2.99/month, but you might not want to commit to three years right off the bat.

    If you don’t need years’ worth of VPN, you can opt for a free VPN or one with a low monthly price. In this case, you might want to consider Tunnelbear or IPVanish.

    Want to connect a large number of devices?

    If you’re looking to connect a family’s worth of devices or more, you want a VPN service that allows the maximum number of simultaneously-connected devices.

    Surfshark allows unlimited devices, so that’s your best bet for quantity. If you factor in top-tier quality, IPVanish has you covered with 10 maximum devices.

    Want the best security and access to restricted content?

    When it comes to unparalleled security, you want a VPN that has a state-of-the-art proprietary protocol. Our favorite for this is VyprVPN, because on top of having a super-secure protocol, they also own all of their servers.

    A close runner-up would be HotSpot Shield, which combines security with speed.

    Want a user-friendly interface?

    When it comes to ease-of-use, our favorite is Tunnelbear. It’s not complicated in the slightest, it’s fun to look at, and it works. If you need something simple and easy, Tunnelbear is our choice.

    Each one of the above-mentioned best VPNs on our list is a solid choice, depending on what you need it for. Take your time and perhaps try out a few different services. If you aren’t happy, cancel before the trial period ends and try out another one. What’s most important is that your data stays safe and your web usage remains uninterrupted.

    Happy surfing!

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    Experts

    Patrick Ward

    Patrick Ward

    Patrick Ward is the Consulting Editor for High Speed Experts, a broadband connectivity search engine and IT industry education platform. A writer featured in Forbes and Ad Age, he has worked extensively across the insurance, real estate, finance, travel, and tech industries, with notable clients including Allianz, Cathay Pacific, and Fiji Airways.

    Questions & Answers

    6 ANSWERED QUESTIONS

    What's the cheapest VPN?

    The cheapest VPN is Surfshark, which is relatively new on the market. It offers a number of features traditionally reserved for premium VPNs such as adblocker, whitelister, killswitch, DNS leak protection and ultra secure OpenVPN protocols. Its best benefit is that Surfshark doesn’t restrict the amount of devices you can use.

    Which VPN is the best?

    The best VPN in 2019 is IPVanish, because of its ultra fast speeds. We saw no more than a 5 Mbps hit to a 100 Mbps connection which is incredible considering your data is routed to another server when using a VPN, causing a drop-off in speed.

    Which free VPN is best?

    The best free VPN in 2019 is ProtonVPN, that has no data limits unlike our other option, TunnelBear. However, since it is free, they don’t support as many locations or devices and speeds can be an issue when compared to paid versions.

    How much do VPNs cost?

    The cost of a VPN depends on the features you want. In addition, most VPNs offer lower rates for longer commitments such as 1, 2 or even 3 years. In our list, the average month-to-month price is $10-$20/month while the average price for a year is $5-10/month.

    What is the safest VPN?

    The safest VPN is VyprVPN, due to its ultra secure protocol and total ownership over all of its servers.

    What is the easiest VPN to use?

    The most user-friendly VPN is Tunnelbear, with its straight-forward interface that is fun to look at. Starting out with VPNs? Use TunnelBear

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