10 Tried and Tested VPN Solutions To Consider in 2021Mayleen Meñez
The best VPN (Virtual Private Network) software hides your location and keeps your online activities anonymous. However, as VPN has shot into the mainstream, millions of people worldwide realize that they can do so much more than keep you private.
Doing your research and picking the best VPN is incredibly important, and, surprisingly, only a select few can do everything you might need.
The best VPNs anonymize you by routing your connection through encrypted servers all over the world. It hides your activity from your ISP, meaning that it cannot tell you are accessing restricted sites and subsequently cannot block them. What you’re doing will be hidden from governments, hackers, and even the VPN itself.
We have collected 10 of the best VPN software to date to help you pick the right one that suits what you need from a VPN service.
1. BitDefender Premium VPN
BitDefender Premium VPN is part of the Bitdefender security software because it does not come as a stand-alone product.
You get an excellent antivirus and VPN service with Bitdefender VPN. It makes use of Hotspot Shield’s servers, which are considered one of the fastest in the world. You get maximum privacy because Hotspot Shield’s servers have a clear zero-log policy and do not track your online activity.
The BitDefender security software also uses Catapult Hydra and the most secure encryption standard, AES-256. It assures you that it will not store your online activity.
It may take a record of your IP address only when you are using the service. Once you disconnect, the information is deleted afterward. However, it does not feature a kill switch as a protection measure if your VPN stops and leaves you exposed.
BitDefender is an excellent encryption solution when you want an all-in-one solution through your antivirus provider. Again, it is not available as a stand-alone VPN but comes with BitDefender’s robust antivirus solutions. One of these is Bitdefender Total Security.
Bitdefender Total Security is one of the most capable antivirus software today. It comes with various high-end features that other security software cannot match.
This benefit is more evident with Windows users. It provides hard protection from malware, on top of various privacy features such as the BitDefender Premium VPN, microphone monitor, webcam protection, and anti-tracker.
You can also enjoy system optimization and anti-theft security. Also, it allows you to install full-blown protection for your macOS and Android devices, and a few limited protection features on iOS. Bitdefender Total Security is indeed a security mega-suite.
2. AVG Secure VPN
AVG Secure VPN has undergone some additions to make it better. One welcome change is the addition of a kill switch. It helps protect and secure your data once the VPN cuts or drops (as it may sometimes happen) and keeps the identity of your IP address hidden.
It has moderately quick VPN speeds, but it does come with a VPN kill switch that is crucial, so if the VPN connection drops, the kill switch can block internet traffic and keeping your true IP address hidden. This VPN software also has no IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks.
The AVG Secure VPN can unblock US Netflix and BBC iPlayer and has optimized VPN servers for torrenting. It is a popular VPN because it is a user-friendly VPN app for multiple platforms.
However, AVG Secure VPN keeps VPN connection logs, which includes timestamps. Its server network also needs more expansion, as it only has networks in 36 countries as of date.
Its customer support also needs improvement, but apart from these areas, they need to work on, AVG Secure VPN is a decent choice for a VPN software. It can protect your data on public WiFi networks.
AVG Secure VPN uses different protocols for VPN for each of its custom apps, as follows:
- Windows and Android – OpenVPN (UDP)
- macOS – L2TP/IPSec
- iOS – IKEv2/IPSec
You can’t toggle between VPN protocols as they are well into the AVG Secure VPN apps. Some advanced features are also not available yet, like split tunneling or multi-hop features. But AVG Secure VPN’s encryption is via the strong AES-256 cipher. This encryption is an unbreakable encryption system used by other VPN software as well.
3. Avast! Hide My Ass! Pro VPN (HMA)
Hide My Ass! (HMA) is a product under Avast! security software that promises “more VPN for your money.” It has recently made significant changes to its user privacy policies to gain back its loyal subscribers’ trust. It has redeemed itself and has proven it can also compete with favorites other VPN favorites.
The HMA VPN can unblock several streaming sites at satisfactory speeds. It no longer stores logs and has hardened security features and added location options.
Overall, it’s most suitable for those looking to browse and stream securely, but could be an option for torrent users too. HMA also comes with unlimited bandwidth, quick speeds on nearby servers, and a kill switch for desktop apps.
The kill switch kills the internet connection should the VPN drop unexpectedly, preventing data leaks. You can set the kill switch to only work on specific apps, like torrenting, online financial transactions. You can also set it to start automatically when you begin using specific apps.
ExpressVPN consistently proves itself one of the fastest VPNs on the market, and actively promotes its commitment to privacy. The company tells us its network is powered by TrustedServer technology, which ExpressVPN built to ensure no log of users’ online activities. In the privacy world, ExpressVPN has a strong track record, having experienced a server seizure by authorities, which proved their zero-log policy true at the time. We also like the quality of the VPN’s setup guides and the detailed information in its FAQ.
Perfect for newbies as well as veterans, ExpressVPN offers that rare combination of simplicity and in-depth functionality. The apps retain the same clean, one-click-and-you’re-connected interface across all devices, but if you want to open the hood, you’ll be able to configure it exactly how you want it.
Fancy watching US Netflix when you’re abroad? Express can sort you out with that –plus any other regional library you might be interested it. It’ll also get you stuck into BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, Sky Go, Disney Plus. If you want to watch more, ExpressVPN can keep you stuck to your sofa for as long as you want.
While Surfshark’s network is smaller than some, the VPN services make it up on features. Let’s start with the biggest win. It offers unlimited device support. If you want to run your entire home or office on Surfshark’s VPN, you don’t have to worry about how many devices you have on or connected. It also offers antimalware, ad-blocking, and tracker-blocking as part of its software.
Surfshark received generally high marks when its Chrome and Firefox extensions were audited for privacy by German security firm Cure 53 (PDF link of full report) — though Surfshark commissioned that audit.
Surfshark’s no slouch in the privacy department, with a kill switch, split tunneling, and AES-256 encryption. If you want seriously powerful configuration in your VPN, then it’s probably not for you, but it’ll keep you secure – it wouldn’t be on this list if it wouldn’t.
CyberGhost has a feature-loaded, user-friendly interface with convenient buttons in the Windows client software for streaming media, torrenting files, protecting your Wi-Fi transmissions, and evading censorship.
Those streaming and torrenting features are handy, as it takes out the trial-and-error of testing individual servers to see if they work with Netflix and the like. While ExpressVPN’s always seems to work, individual servers of many other providers can drop Netflix support as they get detected, so CyberGhost makes it super easy to get streaming.
However, on the plus side, CyberGhost is still faster than Norton Secure VPN and was less taxing on my device’s processing power during testing. It also offers split-tunneling in its Windows client. Its servers are neatly organized into user-friendly categories: NoSpy servers, servers geared for torrenting, servers best for streaming, and servers best for use with a static IP address. CyberGhost imposes no data caps and allows unlimited server switching.
VyprVPN is a useful service that has a lot going for it. Firstly, we’d like to draw attention to its watertight no-logging policy, which has also been publicly audited. It is an excellent start if you’re after a VPN to keep your info private.
You’ll also get comprehensive device support, as Vypr offers many apps for pretty much any device you could ask for, including QNAP, TVs, and BlackPhone, with additional guides for Blackberry phones, OpenWRT, Boxee, and others. However, with only five simultaneous connections, you might have to pick and choose.
If you’re after a blazing fast VPN, though, VyprVPN might disappoint a little. Our tests performed well in the UK, but it didn’t come close to making the most of our ultra-fast line in the US. Still, it does provide usable speeds, and if you don’t have top tier internet, you’re unlikely to notice the difference.
8. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access (PIA) has been around for some time, and it’s built a dedicated following of users that appreciate its reliability and dedication to privacy.
It provides speedy connections on the majority of its servers, and while it doesn’t have the widest selection of location, it works well in most situations. We also like that PIA’s ‘Detect Best Server’ function takes the guesswork out of things for you by suggesting which of its 60+ locations you should adopt at any given time.
As you’d expect from any decent VPN, it has dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, and even Linux is among its line up. The mobile apps also don’t disappoint, providing excellent cover, whether you’re at home or out and about. However, while PIA can get you access to Netflix abroad, it struggles with BBC iPlayer. That might not be a significant loss, but for Brits abroad, it may well influence your decision.
PIA offers ten simultaneous connections, which should be plenty to cover your household’s devices on one plan. And, if you go for the more extended subscription, PIA offers excellent value, too.
9. Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield is a product that has had some ups and downs in terms of our editorial coverage. In 2016, it picked up some positive coverage based on founder David Gorodyansky’s comments about protecting user privacy. Then, in 2017, a privacy group accused the company of spying on user traffic, which the company flatly denies. Finally, in 2018, ZDNet uncovered a flaw in the company’s software that exposed users. Fortunately, somebody fixed that immediately.
A big issue is its logging policy. While it claims not to collect any identifying information about the user, hidden in the policy, it collects your bandwidth used, your time connected, your approximate location, and more. For those looking to stream overseas content, this won’t be a huge issue, but we’d highly recommend one of the providers further up this list for those seeking absolute online privacy.
Windscribe VPN’s probably best known for its excellent free service that gives users 10GB of data a month. It also offers a fairly-priced paid service that delivers unlimited data and lets you connect as many devices at once as you like. Most other VPN services permit only five to 10 at a time.
Windscribe is compatible with many platforms – including routers and Amazon Fire and Kodi TV set-top boxes. The service offers a great variety of connection options, has a broad geographic reach with hundreds of servers, and presents an appealing, if minimal, user interface. It’s also suitable for watching overseas Netflix and has dedicated ‘Windflix servers’ to enable this.
You can pay for a Windscribe subscription with Bitcoin, you don’t even have to provide an email address, and the service is based in Canada, which may appeal to users wary of US authorities. The only feature lacking is a kill switch to stop all internet activity if the VPN connection is lost while in use. But Windscribe argues that its built-in firewall prevents data leakage.
Many people started using a VPN to evade geo-restrictions. But more than that, a VPN is a great tool that can protect you and enhance your online experience over the internet. It can provide you with sufficient security and privacy for worry-free browsing.
When it comes to selecting the best VPN, you have plenty of choices. I included VPN protection that comes with your security software package. It is more efficient if you can get all your security needs in one complete product.
But as you can see, this list also includes stand-alone VPN products for those who prefer dedicated VPN services.
No matter what you choose, remember that the best marker of a good VPN service provider is that it has the right security you need and the right support to tie up the user experience you get from the product.
It is also crucial that you pair your VPN and security software with cloud-based solutions. This could include cloud-based servers and storage good for businesses and personal backup software for individual internet users. An example of this is the Acronis True Image Advanced.
Acronis True Image Advanced is the number 1 personal backup device worldwide. Acronis True image offers full cybersecurity. It integrates user-friendly but powerful backup with a trusted AI-based ransomware-defense system to create the strongest personal backup.
As the world is still under threat due to the global pandemic, businesses and consumers alike migrate their transactions and vital operations online. Having cloud-based touchless solutions is more crucial than ever. Internet activity has increased due to the pandemic that caused the world to stay at home. However, security threats have also increased. We need to be more vigilant than ever whenever we use the digital space, to protect ourselves, our businesses, and our data.