What is a VPN?
Having a VPN is a must in today’s world. You can trust your internet service provider (ISP) or your web browser antivirus software to keep you safe. A VPN ensures that you only share the confidential information that you want to share and opens up a new world of possibilities. Not only can you visit sites that are restricted in your area, but you can use streaming sites and see what the libraries in other countries have. At iReviews, we want you to find the best VPN for your home or work network, which is why we found and ranked the top five VPN services for 2021.
A VPN provides protection whether you surf the web for fun, do work for school or need the internet for work.
Benefits of a VPN
No matter why you use one, a VPN can have many benefits. This network hides your browsing history to keep others from seeing your searches, but it also hides your location. As it gives you a new IP address, none of the sites you visit will know where you are. This comes in handy if you are tired of seeing ads targeted at your past searches. A VPN does a good job of hiding your location when you use streaming apps too. You’ll no longer find yourself limited at what you can do just because of where you live. With a VPN, you can also keep your bank and credit card information secure when shopping online
How a VPN Works
Learning how a VPN works is a good way to see how it protects you. A VPN creates a tunnel or private network the goes from your device to the internet. While some people think they can only use a VPN with a computer, it works on most mobile devices too. It uses encryption protocols to ensure that no identifying data is available. A VPN often works as a standalone service that you can install on a device. You’ll also find extensions that work with your browser and services that attach to your router. It takes only minutes to set up a VPN on your network.
With a VPN, you create a tunnel that blocks others from following your online path.
How to Choose a VPN and What to Look For
If you subscribe to even one streaming service, you’ll want to make sure that the VPN can get around the blocks that those apps use. Netflix has a team of experts who track the most popular VPN services and find ways to block them and any new ones that pop up. When you choose the wrong VPN, you might find that Netflix still limits what you watch. Some streaming companies may cancel your subscription if they catch you using a VPN.
Number and Location of Servers
ITwo important things to consider are the number of available servers and their locations. VPN services with a larger number of servers can boost your internet speed. They can handle the large amount of traffic that comes from their customer base. Those with a fewer number of servers often have a hard time keeping up with that traffic, which can result in a dramatic decrease in your internet speed. You’ll also want to look at where those servers are. Using a VPN that has multiple servers in your home country and fewer in other parts of the world isn’t as useful as a VPN with servers around the world. You want to make sure that you can use the right server when you want it.
A good VPN service will have at least 1,000 servers in more than 20 countries.
When looking at the top VPN services and figuring out which one is right for your needs, you may want to consider those that come with a free trial. While some of the companies on our list do not include a free trial, a few do. The trial gives you full access to the virtual network and allows you to try all the top features. If you aren’t happy with anything about the service, you can cancel without paying anything.
We highly recommend narrowing down your choice for the best VPN service to one that includes a money-back guarantee. No matter how good the service looks on your computer screen, you won’t know if it can fulfill those promises until you use it. Many companies offer a money-back guarantee that lasts for anywhere from seven days to 30 days. Though you need to pay for a month or more of the service, you can get a full refund of the cost that you paid within that time frame.
Mobile vs. Computer VPN
Don’t forget to look for VPN services that work with your devices too. You may want one that works with a mobile phone such as a Samsung or iPhone or a VPN that you can use on your home computer. Many VPN services offer a standard product for desktops and laptops but also have an app that you can download to your phone or another mobile device such as a tablet.
Other Things to Consider When Choosing a VPN
- Number of devices
- Discounts for purchasing six months of service or more
- How many IP addresses you can use
- Internet speed
- Security protocols
- Ease of use
- Customer support
With the special offers available from NordVPN, you can get VPN services for as little as $3.49 a month, which is a savings of 70%. This price applies when you purchase a two-year or three-year plan, but you’ll find lots of deals when you sign up. Some of the top features that you get for the money include encryption for your data that keep it secure and fast connections that let you surf the web and do anything else you want with ease.
As it uses more than 5,100 servers in nearly 60 countries, you can pick the server that works best for your needs. The kill switch feature stops you from sharing dangerous info and content online adds an extra layer of protection. With P2P servers, you can share data with others too. Whether you want to share your favorite song or just send files to someone at work, those servers let you share without compromising your data.
Thanks to the address changes, NordVPN offers more protection than you might expect. It changes your IP address an impressive two times to cover your virtual tracks. You also get extensions that work with Firefox and Chrome when browsing the web that also works when you shop online. NordVPN also does a good job of blocking malware that would otherwise invade your computer.
- Good privacy and security
- Kill switch to prevent data loss
- Supports up to six devices at the same time
- Offers servers in nearly 60 countries
- Low price offers and savings
- Poor speeds in some areas
- Some servers don’t support torrenting
Bottom LineOur number one choice for the best VPN service is NordVPN. Though it doesn’t support torrenting via some servers, it has servers in 59 countries and offers a kill switch. You’ll find special offers when you sign up today too.
The best VPN for gamers and anyone who spends a lot of time online is ExpressVPN. It is compatible with all types of Windows and Mac devices but also works with gaming consoles. If you’re tired of logging in and finding that you can’t play a game or chat with friends online because of your location, this is the VPN for you.
ExpressVPN increases the number of servers that you can use to 160 and allows you to pick from more than 90 countries and locations. We like both the money-back guarantee and customer support that are available too. With 24/7 live support, you can visit the website whenever you want and chat with a live rep who can answer your questions and address your concerns. If you decide at any point within the first 30 days of signing up that you prefer a different VPN or that this one doesn’t meet all your needs, you get a full refund.
This is also a solid choice for those who love streaming at home through Apple TV or a Firestick. It’s compatible with most streaming devices and will create a new network that lets you watch videos and other content that aren’t typically available in your region or country. No matter how much you love streaming or playing, ExpressVPN can help you do it safely and securely online.
- Low prices
- Multiple plans available
- 160 servers in 94 countries
- Works on Mac and Windows devices
- Good customer service
- Does not offer a free trial
- Limits the settings you can use
Bottom LineWith ExpressVPN, you get a solid VPN with a wide range of server locations. It does limit some of the things you can do and lacks the free trial that other services have. We think it’s a good choice for those who enjoy gaming and streaming.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is one of the cheapest VPN services around and has both monthly and annual plans. Instead of giving you a free trial, it offers a seven-day money-back guarantee and promises that you’ll get a full refund if you’re not satisfied. You just need to contact customer support within those seven days to get a refund.
Another reason we like Private Internet Access is that it offers online support for those who need extra help. You can both read and watch tutorials that teach you how to pick a server and set up a network. There is also a forum where you can learn from other users as well as email support. The downside is that we found the customer service department a little lacking. It can take days for you to get a response to a message you sent.
If you don’t want to keep a credit card on file or share your bank account details, you can easily pay for the service you want with Bitcoin. As Private Internet Access does not limit your bandwidth, you can use it for a variety of things, including shopping on the web and online gaming. Not only do we think that Private Internet Access is one of the best VPN services, but we found that it’s one of the most affordable choices too.
- Supports up to five devices per license
- Highly affordable
- Seven-day money-back guarantee
- More than 3,000 servers in 28 locations
- Works with Android, Apple and Windows devices
- Customer support is slow
- No free trials
Bottom LineWhile you can’t try Private Internet Access before you buy, this is a good VPN service that offers affordable plans. With more than 3,000 servers available, you’ll have no problem finding one for your internet needs. You also get support for up to five devices when you sign up.
TunnelBear is one of the top names in the VPN industry and uses so many ads that you’ve probably heard about the company before. It also makes our list of the top VPN services because it features both free and premium options. You don’t need to pay money to get a basic VPN service through this company. We highly recommend upgrading to the premium VPN because of all the extra features that you get
The paid service is available by the month, but you can save money with a one-year or two-year plan. Each one allows you to stay safe and keep information private when you use a public network. It blocks both your history and the IP address from hackers and websites as well as any other dangers that you encounter on the web. The tunnel that it provides works well when you’re away from home too and gives you access to local news and information that you might miss.
One issue we had with TunnelBear is that it no longer works with Netflix. The streaming service constantly looks for new VPN services and finds ways to block them. You may find that it doesn’t work with other streaming apps too such as Disney+ or HBO Max. If you don’t need a VPN for streaming, you can rely on TunnelBear.
- Free and paid/premium VPN services available
- One of the easiest VPN options to set up
- Offers more than 900 servers in 20 countries
- Does not keep a log of your online actions
- Blocks sites that it thinks are dangerous or harmful
- Has average speeds that are sometimes low
- Does not work with Netflix
Bottom LineWith both paid and premium options available, TunnelBear has options for all types of customers. Not only is it easy to set up, but it gives you access to more than 900 servers. The main downside is that it does not work with Netflix.
VyperVPN is one of the best VPN services for those who want one that works with mobile devices and computers. Not only is it compatible with most devices, but it also works with various systems and can help you get protection for up to five devices at the same time. This is one of the top VPN services for streaming enthusiasts because you can use it with almost any of those apps, including HBO Max and Amazon. It can help you watch movies and television shows that are locked to specific regions.
Though it runs a little slower than other VPN services do, VyperVPN promises that it will never track anything that you do online. This means that you don’t need to worry about it keeping a log of the websites you visited or retaining a copy of your credit card. Hanks to the money-back guarantee, you have a full 30 days to try it out before deciding to keep it or get a refund.
We recommend VyperVPN for those who have questions or concerns due to the 24/7 live support. Live customer support specialists can handle anything that’s on your mind and are available every hour of the day. That support is just one reason why so many pick VyperVPN.
- Never tracks you online
- Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee
- 24/7 live customer support and chat
- Supports up to five devices at a time
- Maintains an extensive network of servers
- No Bitcoin payment option
- Slower speeds than other VPN services
Bottom LineAs VyperVPN owns its servers, it can handle any maintenance that they need to reduce your downtime. You’ll get 24/7 live customer support through the chat system and can use up to five devices at a time. It requires that you pay for the service with traditional methods though as the company does not accept Bitcoin.
There are hundreds of VPN services out there. You might use one because you’re in the military but want to watch live news from your hometown or because you travel often and like watching the same shows and films on streaming apps. Before choosing a VPN service, you should look at how a VPN works and the benefits of using one.
After researching all the best VPN services, we narrowed down the list to just the top five. You can use iReviews to see the pros and cons as well as the costs and protocols of each one. With low prices and top security features, NordVPN ranks as the best VPN service for 2021.