Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a privacy tool that encrypts all of your online activity, increases your online anonymity, lowers the likelihood that you’ll be followed online, and even gives you access to streaming services like Netflix that are restricted in other countries. VPNs, formerly a difficult piece of software, are now simple to use and widely available.
Although they vary from device to product, you often just need to touch the connect button, wait a few seconds, and then you’ll be utilizing a secure encrypted connection, keeping you safe and anonymous even on dubious public Wi-Fi networks.
Finding the best VPN might be a bit of a pain with the hundreds of options out there, but don’t worry, we’re here to assist! We’ll go into greater detail about how VPNs operate, what you can do with them, how to choose a high-quality service, and which providers provide the best VPNs available right now in this post.
The best 3 VPN services for 2022
According to our most current 2022 testing, these are the best three VPN services if you just want to get up and running fast. Continue reading for in-depth analyses of our top selections.
How to choose the top VPN
Focusing on your primary requirements can help you choose the best VPN. It’s a fantastic start to have a supplier with several locations and applications for each platform, but the only thing that counts is if it covers the places and platforms you’ll really use.
Look for a VPN that unblocks your preferred services like Netflix or iPlayer if streaming is your top priority. Additionally, torrent users will want P2P functionality on as many servers as they can, a reliable kill switch to protect their identity, and an audited no-log policy to guarantee the privacy of their actions.
Many VPNs have restrictions on how many devices you may connect to at once. Choose a supplier that allows more simultaneous connections, or even has no limitations at all, if you need to safeguard many mobile devices, laptops, smart TVs, or other pieces of gear.
A good (or terrible) VPN may often be identified by visiting its help page. Look for extensive, well-written stuff that you believe would be useful to you in challenging circumstances. Although not required, live chat assistance is also appreciated since email support may be surprisingly quick, with some providers replying within minutes.
Of course, the cost must also be taken into account, but we advise focusing on functionality first. In other words, get a VPN that offers everything you need. There is some excellent value offers on our list, so it doesn’t have to be pricey, and you can always use pricing later to narrow down your selection to a final option.
The top VPN providers for 2022 are:
It’s very difficult to stay one step ahead of the VPN pack, but ExpressVPN has what it takes to seize the lead. Most individuals can get all the power and privacy they need thanks to strong core features. Every day, new features are introduced, applications are kept very simple to use by clever design, and expert engineering provides outstanding dependability in every way.
ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers, which is not the most in the industry, but they are distributed over a huge 160 locations in 94 countries (as opposed to Nord’s 80 or Surfshark’s 65).
A standout feature of ExpressVPN is the excellent caliber of its applications. In addition to supporting Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux, it also has the finest router software, downloads for Chromebooks, Amazon Fire TV, and Kindle Fire, and simple setup instructions for almost anything else.
In contrast to most other premium services, such as Surfshark and IPVanish, which go all out with unlimited connections, an Express subscription only supports five simultaneous connections. However, five is probably plenty for the majority of customers, since just one in ten VPN users really uses more than five, according to our own survey data.
Privacy and security:
ExpressVPN particularly impresses us with how well it considers every aspect of usability. Most popular apps have at least a few minor annoyances, such as an unsorted list here or an extra click that wastes time there, but Express’s developers not only don’t make those errors, but they also come up with cleverer workarounds that make things easier and make the entire VPN experience more streamlined.
In our most recent thorough speed testing, ExpressVPN’s download speeds peaked at an above-average 630Mbps. We are certain that this is the pace you can anticipate accomplishing since it is quite consistent with our prior two testings. Although we’ve seen services like Hide.me and TorGuard provide more, Express, in all honesty, is fast enough for the majority of customers. And we would anticipate that this will only get better now that Express has begun deploying servers with a 40Gbps bandwidth cap.
There’s good news if you require a VPN to unblock restricted websites or get around streaming restrictions. ExpressVPN shines in this area as well. In our most recent tests, the service not only unblocked a number of international Netflix catalogs, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer; however, you may need to try a few different servers before finding one that sticks. It has also done so for a very long time, which is a strong indication that it will continue to deliver for the foreseeable future.
ExpressVPN goes above and above in terms of features, including cutting-edge VPN protocols, encrypted DNS, leak prevention, Network Lock, split tunneling, and more. We found all of them to function flawlessly.
A customizable toolbar that opens your preferred applications or websites from the ExpressVPN app is one of the unique yet basic additions (no more fumbling around with your browser or the Windows Start menu). Every review adds something bright and new to the list, most notably the malware-blocking Threat Manager tracker function and the Parallel Connections option for faster connection times.
Customer service Quality VPN support depends on a number of different elements, and ExpressVPN satisfies all of them. There are pages on the help site that answer almost every query you could have in clear, thorough detail. They contain truly helpful information; for example, to gain higher speeds, they list all potential protocols in order of optimum performance, which is precisely what you need to know.
A well-organized website makes it simple to find what you need. If the support site is unable to assist, there is a live chat available. We found that responses to our inquiries were prompt and that competent agents did a great job of responding to our concerns, such as what servers are ideal to use for various streaming services.
ExpressVPN is more pricey than others in terms of price. You pay extra, but you can see exactly where your money is going thanks to the constant speeds, fresh features, frequent app upgrades, dependable unblocking, and sincere live chat support. With TechRadar’s special offer, you get three additional months for free in addition to a year of limitless Backblaze cloud backup, which is normally $60 in value.
Another question: We would be negligent if we did not discuss the fairly “interesting” week that ExpressVPN had in August 2021. First, it said that Kape Technologies, the organization below that owns CyberGhost and PIA and has a rather contentious past, had bought it. Then, a few days later, it was made public that its CIO had received a fine for prior hacking claims. Although we understand why they shook a few VPN industry cages, in TechRadar’s opinion, neither occurrence seems very significant, and we currently see no reason to discontinue recommending this company on this basis.
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ExpressVPN may not exactly be at the top of the heap in every single category (pricing being the primary gripe), but it excels in all the key ones. The overall excellence and meticulous attention to detail truly stand out, guaranteeing that you get a rock-solid, ultra-reliable service that takes all reasonable precautions to safeguard your online privacy. Our only VPN provider with a 5-star rating.
There is a tonne to admire about NordVPN, even if it just missed taking the first position in our rankings. The service is an easy pick for your VPN shortlist since it is quick, very powerful, affordable, and goes above and beyond to establish its privacy credentials in every area.
Servers, connections, and apps: With a whopping 5,000+ servers, Nord actually outnumbers ExpressVPN in terms of sheer server count. Express has 94 countries covered compared to 60 for NordVPN, but NordVPN probably has servers in any country you’re likely to require. It supports up to six simultaneous connections, which is one more than ExpressVPN, but many other providers, such as Surfshark, Windscribe, and a few more, don’t impose any restrictions on the number of connections.
You can get a good selection of programs for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chromebooks, Android TV, and other platforms. Edge, Chrome, and Firefox browser extensions are included as welcome bonuses, and setting up NordVPN on compatible routers enables use of the service with almost everything.
Security and privacy:
NordVPN has always had a tonne of security protections, but following a data breach a few years back, the firm went into overdrive and added layer after layer of privacy-protecting features and technology. You don’t have to believe us when we say NordVPN is capable since it now hires PricewaterhouseCoopers on a yearly basis to conduct a complete independent audit of its no-logging policy.
For instance, Nord controls and monitors several of its servers to prevent unauthorized access. Apps are loaded with sophisticated privacy protections and only use the most secure methods, such as robust AES-256 encryption. Secure DNS protects your browsing, a reliable kill switch safeguards you even if the VPN fails, and Nord has recently added the capability to scan downloads for malware with its (somewhat limited) Threat Protection feature. Double VPN, also known as multihop elsewhere, routes your traffic through two servers for additional security.
NordVPN has created NordLynx, a specialized version of WireGuard. The findings are outstanding, with connection speeds peaking at 880Mbps in earlier testing and hitting a considerably above average 760Mbps in our most recent evaluation. While it’s not the fastest speed we’ve ever seen (a few providers have hit 900-950Mbps), it still performs well and offers more than adequate speed for the majority of devices and connections.
NordVPN, which now ranks number two in our rankings, often requires a lot of effort to set up and use. However, there were a few minor flaws that set the applications apart from the competitors. Cities are not alphabetically arranged, OpenVPN connection times are longer than typical, disconnects need two clicks instead of one, there are no Favorites on the Windows software, and so on. Minor flaws that don’t detract from these programs’ overall excellence. However, we also can’t disregard these particulars at this level since they contribute to the distinction between a decent VPN and a superb one.
For unblocking a range of applications and streaming services, such as WhatsApp, YouTube, Disney Plus, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and others, NordVPN has long been a highly effective tool. And after a few shaky months, we are beginning to see it operating at peak efficiency once again in terms of providing you with access to international Netflix collections.
We’ve previously mentioned some of NordVPN’s security features, but other advantages include powerful DNS leak prevention, two very dependable kill switches (one for the system and one for the application), and assistance with crypto payments in addition to PayPal and credit cards. With a Dark Web Monitor that notifies you of data breaches and the most recent addition of the virus-scanning, ad, and tracker-blocking Threat Protection, it is also expanding into the area of internet security suites.
Customer service Although NordVPN seldom gives us any technical issues, there are a tonne of in-depth lessons and troubleshooting guides accessible if you do (many are available in multiple languages, sometimes eight or more). In addition, there is always a friendly, knowledgeable live chat support team and a perceptive chatbot available around the clock for genuine situations.
The monthly-billed subscriptions from NordVPN are a touch more costly than others, but the yearly option offers decent value for the money. However, if you’re eager to join up, the two-year deal (see below) outperforms most providers for the first year. NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you want to try the service out before committing.
Should you purchase it? NordVPN’s applications lack a little of ExpressVPN’s polish and attention to detail, but the differences are negligible. And it can be a wiser option if you place a high value on quickness or cheap costs.
The market-breaking headline price is the first thing you’ll notice when you visit the Surfshark website. This is a really amazing offer, but don’t simply concentrate on the numbers. There is so much more to Surfshark.
Surfshark has 3,200 servers in its network, which is not nearly as many as others, but with 100+ locations in 65+ countries, there is a very strong possibility that it will cover the places you want. Access to the network is possible via a variety of devices, including Amazon Fire and other smart TVs, as well as Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS ones. Furthermore, since Surfshark has no connection or device limits, unlike the majority of the competition, there’s no need to keep track of the hardware you have connected at any given time.
Privacy and security:
The applications from Surfshark more than meet the requirements for VPN privacy: secure protocols (WireGuard, OpenVPN), robust encryption, and a kill switch to avoid traffic exposure in the event that the VPN disconnects. But that’s just the beginning. The service employs a Multi-Hop VPN to make it even harder for others to monitor you, private DNS to protect your browsing activity, and ad, tracker, and malware blocking to ward off additional privacy-invading threats.
Speeds haven’t always been a strong suit for Surfshark, but we saw a significant improvement in the most recent assessment, with superb 790Mbps download peak speeds powered by WireGuard. In contrast, the slow OpenVPN connection speed was roughly 150Mbps. You can simply configure them to utilize WireGuard, so accessing Surfshark from the default applications shouldn’t present a problem. However, if you want to put Surfshark on a router or use it with a third-party program, it may.
With tabs, sidebars, and buttons to explore, Surfshark’s applications seem a touch more sophisticated than those of its competitors. The fact that they offer so many capabilities and, apart from a few minor usability issues (the Windows VPN software doesn’t organize cities alphabetically), are easy to use doesn’t really come as a surprise.
Additionally, several of Surfshark’s features might significantly simplify your life. Set up your VPN use in Surfshark’s Bypasser if you just require it for surfing, streaming, and maybe P2P, and everything else will utilize your normal connection.
Surfshark can assist if you’re sick of streaming providers blocking your access to foreign material. We were able to access Netflix in the US, the UK, Australia, Japan, and Canada as well as Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer right away. The Surfshark website also claims that it unblocks “HBO Max, Hulu, DAZN, Hotstar, YLE Areena, AbemaTV,” among other services, however, we did not test this.
Customer service The support site is available to assist you if you need assistance setting-up Surfshark or if it isn’t exactly what you were expecting. Although it doesn’t quite have the depth of the two suppliers mentioned above, the articles you do receive are quite informative. You won’t get much information when you open a “How to install” instruction for certain VPNs other than “go to this app store link and install it as normal.” If you do that at Surfshark, you’ll receive screenshots for each stage of the installation process, thorough instructions on how to use every function of the software, connections to other useful articles, and even a video lesson if you’d like.
You may also start a live chat session if that seems like too much effort. In a minute or two, we’re often speaking with an agent, and the majority of the time, the answers to our test questions were correct and useful.
Although Surfshark’s monthly-billed plan is more costly than others, if you sign up for the two-year contract, the actual monthly cost is less than $2.50, which is an incredible price considering everything you receive.
Any other information? Surfshark has started to roll out Surfshark Nexus, a sophisticated new networking technology that, according to the business, will enable it to introduce new privacy features and “stabilize and speed up your VPN connection.” We can’t comment on Nexus since these features won’t be available until 2022 and 2023, but it’s encouraging to see a provider that is so committed to coming up with creative new ways to enhance the service.
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The slight issues we have with Surfshark are unlikely to deter many prospective customers since a VPN service has to be an excellent option to rank in our top three. This VPN is amazing, and if cost is your major concern, it could be the finest option available.
What is the best VPN to use?
The next step is simple after you’ve selected the best VPN for you from the list above. Click the link to the one you prefer, then follow the simple on-site instructions to join up using the payment method of your choice—some sites these days even allow you to pay with cryptocurrency.
Longer-term subscriptions will cost less overall, but keep in mind that even if the costs are stated in monthly terms, you still have to pay the whole sum upfront.
You may download the clients and applications for whatever devices you wish to utilize your new VPN on after signing up. So go over to the App Store or Play Store for mobile, download, and you’ll be connected in a matter of seconds.
Once installed, you can proceed to install extensions to your preferred web browser and set about giving your numerous gadgets new capabilities. That covers not just your computer and smartphone, but also your tablet, gaming console, TV streaming equipment, and even your internet gateway.
The ideal moment to get a VPN is when?
There isn’t one, which is the quick answer to this question. There will almost certainly be excellent VPN offers available all year long.
Yes, the majority of retailers have succumbed to the Black Friday bug, so November and December often see some eye-catching price reductions. However, companies like NordVPN, Surfshark, and PIA typically provide discounts and additional free months of service in both locations.
Which VPN is the quickest?
VPN services often advertise that they offer the quickest speeds, but it is obvious that not all of them can be. For this reason, we evaluate the available speeds from all the leading VPNs using various worldwide servers and different protocols.
Are VPNs allowed?
In most of the remainder of the globe, including Western Europe, Oceania, and North, and South America, VPNs are legal. However, in certain nations, the situation is far more problematic.
Russian and China, for example, do not outright prohibit VPN usage, but they only let the use of providers be chosen by the government. They’ve also blacklisted pretty much everyone else, which should inspire you: The most recent restricted list from Russia contains Proton VPN, IPVanish, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and more.
In a similar vein, Turkey hasn’t attempted to outright prohibit VPNs, but it may restrict access to the websites or servers of providers that break its regulations. There are rules in the UAE and Oman that might get you into trouble while using a VPN. More severe countries that outright forbid VPN use include Turkmenistan, North Korea, and Iraq.
It’s a complicated topic, and when nations pass new legislation, the situation might alter at any moment. Although it’s doubtful that you’ll face serious consequences for, instance, using a hotel room in another country to access Twitter, it can’t be completely ruled out either. Repressive regimes already face criticism over concerns related to free expression. The defense “But I didn’t know” isn’t very effective, so if you’re going someplace where difficulty may arise, be sure to conduct some study beforehand and learn what you can and cannot do.