Are you searching for a great VPN service to beef up your security and anonymity? Read on to discover the best VPN service 2023 for your phone, PC, or MAC.
A Comprehensive Review of the Best VPN Service 2023
If there’s one thing that people embraced recently, it’s working remotely. And while it was an alternative pre-Covid, remote work became the only option during the pandemic.
With many people taking up remote work, it’s more crucial than ever to use a VPN to secure your sensitive information. A virtual private network (VPN) will help increase your online anonymity, encrypts your internet usage, and tricks your phone, PC, or laptop into thinking it’s in a different location.
But with an ever-growing demand for VPNs and the influx of new VPN services in the market, how do you choose the best VPN service? Sifting through the many options to select what works best can be challenging. That’s why we’ve done it for you.
We’ve researched and tested so many VPN services, rounding off the best options that are fast, reliable, and will ensure that your privacy is totally protected.
We evaluated factors including security, price, logging, number of server locations, ease of remote access, dynamic and dedicated IP, client software, bandwidth caps, and customer support. Our top options for the best VPN service 2023 include popular providers such as Express VPN, Nord VPN, Surfshark, IPVanish, etc.
The Top 7 VPN Services of 2023
Best VPN 2023
Our number one VPN service is Express VPN. It meets all the criteria - straightforward to use, fast server connections, high security, configurable privacy features, and great reliability. You even get to try the service for 30-days risk-free.
Most Popular VPN
2. Nord VPN
Coming in second is Nord VPN. Arguably the biggest player in the VPN market, you've likely heard of it. With Nord, you get a premium service that's highly secure and fantastic for streaming for a mere $ 3.71 per month.
Best Value VPN
Our budget pick is Surfshark. Even though its network is smaller than some, this cheap VPN service makes it up by providing fast speeds and unlimited device support. You can enjoy this premium, fantastic, and simple-to-use service at only $2.50.
Read on to learn more about our top 7 VPN service providers.
The Best VPN of 2023
Express VPN is the best VPN service, hands down. It's our top pick because right from the get-go, the VPN service lets you choose from over 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 94 nations.
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- Best overall VPN for streaming
- Enterprise-grade encryption
- Easy to run on almost all platforms
- 24/7 customer support
- Super-fast VPN servers in over 90 countries
- Fewer simultaneous connections than others
It can allow five simultaneous connections as you browse through apps on Mac, Windows, Android, Linux, and iOS (and dedicated extensions for Firefox and Chrome).
The user-friendly service will keep your data safe thanks to its user industry-standard encryption and several other protocols put in place.
Express VPN is really fast, with premium connecting speeds across servers in several countries. With plans underway to roll out its very own Lightway protocol, you can expect the speeds to increase further.
The best VPN for Netflix should unlock restricted services/sites and get around TV streaming barriers easily. Express VPN allows you to access services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, Spotify, HBO NOW, and Spotify from abroad.
Express VPN ticks all the boxes, making it the best VPN service on our list. Don’t believe us? Sign up for their 30-day risk-free subscription and experience it for yourself. Express VPN money-back guarantee assures that you get your money back if you didn’t like the service.
- Bitcoin payments
- P2P support
- Kill switch
- Clear and verifiable no-logging policy
- DNS leak protection
- Comprehensive setup guides.
- Helpful 24/7 customer support
Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, BBC iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 3,000+ | Server locations: 160 | Countries: 94 | Maximum devices supported: 5
Nord VPN is among the key players in the industry that have been around longer. We love Nord because it stands out in terms of privacy and security.
- Their NordLynx protocol delivers great speeds
- Lots of servers
- Some of their subscription options offer great value
- The user experience could be better
It’s also a preferred choice because it provides servers globally and at a competitive rate.
The VPN service uses advanced encryption, and it isn’t required to store user logs since its headquarters are in Panama. So, you’re assured of an even higher security level for the connections.
The service lets you access Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc. So, you can watch the American version of these programs from abroad. It’s also the best VPN service for torrenting. It is easy to download torrents using P2P networks via their dedicated servers.
It is the best VPN for iPhone, Windows, Android, and even Mac, allowing up to six different devices at a go. No need to stress about VPN leaks. This service comes with two different kill switches, and you can customize DNS settings to prevent leaks.
And to top it off, there’s the Nord VPN money-back guarantee, meaning you get a refund if you’re not satisfied with the service in 30 days.
Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux | Streaming sites unblocked: YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, SkyTV | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 5,400+ | Server locations: 59 | Countries: 59 | Maximum devices supported: 5
Best Value VPN
What we love about Surfshark is that it gives you access to unlimited internet. It's our best Value VPN because it provides a host of exclusive features at super-low prices.
- Offers the cheapest VPN price
- Covers unlimited devices
- Very user-friendly
- Great at unblocking
- Not as fast as the top two
- Lacks some functionality
One unique bonus you’ll get from the provider is unlimited simultaneous connections, making it perfect for multi-device households. While it can’t compete with Express’s or Nord’s speeds, it still maintains fast and steady speeds.
It also has high unblocking power, allowing you to access popular streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, etc. What’s more, you get a refund if you’re not satisfied with the VPN service after 30 days.
- Split tunneling
- Double VPN so you get dual encryption
- CleanWeb, which is a security suite for blocking ads and preventing malware
- NoBorders mode that provides additional obfuscation settings
Works on: Windows, Mac, Linux, browsers, Apple TV, FireTV, and more | Streaming sites unblocked: YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Fox Go, SkyTV, Spotify, DAZN, BBC iPlayer, and more | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 100 | Countries: 65 | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Best Gaming VPN
Hailing from the States, this click-and-go VPN delivers very swift connections in the country, consistently pushing 200 MB. That's really fast, meaning no lags
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- Owns and controls its own servers
- Powerful, easy-to-configure apps
- Performance is above average
- Unlimited connections
- Isn’t so good at unblocking iPlayer and Amazon
- Based in the US
IPVanish is a deep and exceedingly configurable product that provides unlimited simultaneous connections on routers, Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Chrome, Linux, Kodi, and Fire Stick. To top it off, its wide device support makes this possible. Even though it cannot access iPlayer, it works well as a Netflix VPN.
IPVanish takes the crown as the best VPN for gaming because it displays detailed information about its servers. While this is overkill in most cases, this is really useful if you’re a gamer.
And even though its experience isn’t as top-notch as the best VPNs, it’s still a good option if you’re after a fast, reliable, and detailed gaming VPN.
Works on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS | Streaming sites unblocked: YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and more | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 30 days | Number of servers: 1,600+ | Server locations: 75 | Countries: 50 | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Most User-Friendly VPN
CyberGhost is a fantastic choice for its security, reliability, price, and ease of use. Based in Romania, this provider has all the essentials, including serious encryption, no logging, and an outstanding network of 6,500 servers in 90 nations.
- Wide server spread
- Tons of features on the desktop apps
- High-performance levels
- Supports torrents
- Hard to access BBC iPlayer
- Interface could be better
It also comes with an additional switch and leak-proof apps for good measure, making it stable and secure. It features a one-click setup and use and an automatic connection to the quickest server.
Navigating the app’s basic and advanced settings is easy. You can set up smart rules and personalize your connection features easily.
Its dedicated servers can also unlock a long list of popular sites and streaming services. While not the speediest, it offers great speeds for buffer-free streaming and more.
It is the best VPN for Android, MAC, Windows, Chrome, iOS, etc., allowing up to 7 devices. Experience it yourself risk-free, with a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied after 45 days.
Works on: Windows, Mac, Linux, browsers, iOS, Android, routers, and streaming devices | Streaming sites unblocked: YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Kodi, BBC iPlayer, Crunchyroll, Spotify, Vudu, and more. | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 45 days | Number of servers: 1,500+ | Server locations: 105 | Countries: 89 | Maximum devices supported: 7
Best VPN For Multiple Devices
Hotspot Shield is popular as a free VPN. However, it does have a fully-equipped, paid-for VPN that's surprisingly good. This easy-to-use service offers breakneck VPN speeds and at a fair price.
- Astonishingly fast connection speeds
- Has a great free version
- Servers in Russia and China
- Some minor issues with logging
- It lacks manual setup on routers
These high speeds have a few snags, including the fact that Catapult Hydra can’t be set up on routers manually. However, the service has improved over time.
It now features a newly-added Linux app, an irresistible price cut for its yearly plan, freebies such as 1Password, and an increase in the number of countries covered (currently over 80).
There are still a few logging issues, but they aren’t that huge. There’s still no risk of potentially connecting you to your activity. This is a compromise you can make, considering the speeds of over 400Mbps.
Works on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and more. | Streaming sites unblocked: YouTube, Netflix, Hulu iPlayer, Amazon, and more | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: 45 days | Number of servers: 1,800+ | Server locations: 110 | Countries: 80 | Maximum devices supported: 5
Best Free VPN
Proton is a trusted brand in the VPN industry, delivering a high-quality service and plenty of other features. It covers unlimited devices on Mac, Windows, Android, Linux, iOS, and even slick browser extensions (Opera, Firefox, and, Chrome).
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- Proton protocol increases speeds
- Unlimited connections
- Great chrome VPN extension
- Not the fastest
- No live chat support
Proton server connections have fast speeds that outrank the likes of CyberGhost and Surfshark while using the default OpenVPN protocol. Turning on their recently added Proton protocol increases speeds even more.
You can stream restricted services and sites easily, watching your favorite programs overseas. They have approximately 400 servers in over 60 countries, a smaller number than what other VPN services offer.
One drawback is that they lack 24/7 support. This is a big miss since all the big names in the industry offer prompt help. While it is not the best, it does have some good features. You can try out their free plan and see what they store for you.
Works on: Windows, Android, Mac, Linux, iOS | Streaming sites unblocked: YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iPlayer | 24/7 support: Yes | Trial period: Unlimited Free Plan | Number of servers: 1,800+ | Server locations: 110 | Countries: 63 | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best VPN
How do you choose the best VPN that meets all your needs? There are a couple of factors that you need to consider. We’ve discussed six below.
Number of Servers
Does the VPN service have servers in every region and country you need? Having more than one server is good to help spread the load. However, this doesn’t assure improved performance. So, a plan with 5,000 servers doesn’t automatically beat another with 2,000.
Number of Simultaneous Connections
The least number of simultaneous connections you should accept is five. This will allow you to have your mobile, tablet, and PCs connected in one go. The more, the better.
Note that many companies say that this is for one user only, and they’ve put in place fair usage policies to avoid people hogging resources. Letting your whole family stream and download videos separately may land you in trouble.
Check out whether the provider has listed the connection protocols they use. Some good choices include IKeV2 and OpenVPN since they’re secure and fast. You may see PPTP and the recent SSTP and protocol options such as UDP or TCP for OpenVPN.
You don’t have to understand the low-level nitty gritties. Having the additional choice, however, can help the service make quicker and more reliable connections.
All VPN companies promise that they don’t log whatever you’re doing on the internet. However, they inevitably collect some data. Some providers record when your account is logged on, the amount of data used, and delete the rest of the information when the session closes.
The Client And The Software Handling Your Connections
All services will provide you with a list of their servers and a Connect/ Disconnect button, but what if you need more? Some services will display ping time and server load in the interface, helping you select the right server. A regular user may appreciate a “Favorites” system for saving and recalling specific servers. If you’re a pro with VPNs, accessing low-level network settings will help you customize the whole system.
Be cautious of extremely cheap deals. They may fail to include taxes, have restricted features, offer a discount only for the first billing period, and renew automatically.
So, that apparent one-time $5 may turn to $10 next month.
Check the “Price” link, go through the small print, and if possible, make payments via PayPal since it’s easy to check and cancel the subscription yourself.
Once you’ve chosen the best VPN candidate, make sure to try it out first before spending big money. A free VPN trial can only reveal so much.
So, once it expires, make a one-month risk-free payment, refundable by most VPN companies. This lets you run all the tests you need, after which you can upgrade to the better-value yearly plan if you’re satisfied.
Best VPN Services FAQ
You, of course, have a lot of questions about VPNs. You’re wondering, “Are VPNs illegal? How do you set up a VPN?” This section covers the frequently asked questions on VPNs.
What Is A VPN?
It is a piece of software that lets you use the internet through secure, encrypted tunnels. This prevents prying eyes from getting hold of any personal data or information you share.
It also enables you to spoof your IP address to another part of the world, allowing you to stream sports and TV shows from abroad and unblock restricted sites.
How Does A VPN Work?
A VPN is devised to make internet use safer, more convenient, and private. It establishes a secure connection between you and the website or service you want to access.
All traffic between you and the website or service is encrypted, making it worthless to anyone else. A VPN makes this possible by taking your internet traffic and rerouting it through its own servers.
So, instead of going this way:
Your device to the site and back again from the site to your device
It instead goes from:
Your device to secure VPN servers to the site
It then goes back again from:
The site to secure VPN servers to your device
The main reason for doing this is to improve security. Another added advantage of using a VPN is that it hides where you are. Your device might be in Frankfurt, but as far as the site is concerned, you could be connecting from New York, London, New Delhi, name it.
So, VPNs are great for protecting your privacy and getting around “geo-blocking.” This is when a site uses your location information to determine whether or not it’s going to let you hear or see something.
Why Should I Get A VPN?
There are a couple of reasons why you might need a VPN, with the most important one being data security, especially when you’re moving up and down. How often do you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot in public places, such as a train station, bus terminal, airport, or café?
Wi-Fi hotspots aren’t especially secure, but with a VPN, you can rest assured that no one will know what you’re up to on the internet. A VPN will also protect you from fake, convincing-looking hotspots, which are created to steal people’s personal information and data.
A VPN can also protect you by hiding your location. So, it will prevent ubiquitous trackers from checking your every move on the internet. It also enables you to get around geoblocking when traveling, making it handy for catching up on your favorite shows when you’re not in the same country as your subscription.
A VPN is even life-saving for other people because it prevents censorship and monitoring of communications by the government. A VPN will make it very difficult to find the source of an upload or what site you might have visited.
When Should I Buy a VPN?
We suggest that you wait for Black Friday deals or on other sales events to buy a VPN, just like you do for other products like smartphones, laptops, mattresses, etc.
And while most VPN providers are getting the hang of the sales seasons, you can still get some great VPN deals throughout the year. So, you can always take advantage of the available deals when you don’t want to wait until sales season.
Should I Use A Free VPN?
Some providers have a free basic service, which you don’t have to pay for. But is it worth it?
Short answer- no.
Free plans come with a catch, and they generally start with a data cap. An example is TunnelBear’s VPN which limits users to 500MB monthly.
Free VPNs also have usage restrictions, adverts, and session limits, and you’ll get no service level agreement. So, a free service will only work for simple needs, like protecting your phone’s wireless hotspot traffic when you’re out and about.
But if you’re looking for something more advanced, it’s wise to invest in a paid VPN service.
Besides, the burgeoning VPN market is so competitive right now, meaning you can get a good VPN for less than $5 a month.
How do I Set Up a VPN?
It’s easier to download and install a VPN than try to figure out the ins and outs of how it works. All the VPNs on this list make it really fast to get started on any device. For phones, you can go to the Play Store or the App Store on your phone and download the app there instead.
While most VPNs quote their rates in their effective monthly rate, you will be expected to pay the entire amount upfront. After installing the app, you can add extensions to your preferred web browsers and add functionality to several devices, including phones, computers, games, tablets, internet routers, and TV streaming devices.
How Do I Use A VPN For Netflix?
Some countries censor their media. If you live in or are traveling to one, you cannot access geo-restricted content. They will help you circumvent restrictions or access online streaming services such as Hulu or Netflix.
Choose a VPN that allows you to pick which country you prefer to connect through manually and one that has obfuscation. If you want to try out other VPNs, choose one with a significant number of IP addresses, preferably over 10,000.
Once you’ve installed it, connect to the location whose content you want to view, restart the browser, and then visit the streaming site.
If the VPN is working, the site should treat you like a resident of the chosen country, offering content assigned to that particular audience.
Are VPNs Illegal?
No, they aren’t illegal. They’re legal in most countries. However, some nations have either prohibited them altogether or placed severe restrictions on their usage.
These bans are more appropriate for people living there than for those traveling there. We don’t know of any tourists who’ve gotten in trouble for running a VPN to secure their café Wi-Fi.
However, you’ll need to be careful in more repressive governments.
Some nations restrict VPN usage, with a distinction between approved and unapproved VPNs. For instance, VPNs in China have to be approved by their government, suggesting that they can’t be relied on to hide your online activity from the Chinese government. Using an unapproved VPN puts you at risk of heavy fines.
- Countries that can fine you over $500,000 or throw you in jail for using any VPN include the United Arab Emirates and Russia.
- Using an unapproved VPN in Iran can land you in prison.
- ISPs block all VPN services in Uganda.
- Oman bans unapproved VPNs, while North Korea, Iraq, Turkmenistan, and Belarus ban all of them.