The 6 Best VPN Services in 2021

A person touching a tablet with a blue glow on their finger and VPN text overlayed
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A VPN (virtual private network) service is a great way to ensure you have a secure network connection while online. We rounded up the best VPNs for a variety of budgets, devices, and use cases, so you can find the best one for your needs.

In addition, a good VPN also allows you to protect your browsing history, torrent files, and access content that is blocked or regionally restricted. They’re perfect to have while traveling or working at a remote public location.

Update, 8/24/21: Checked all picks for accuracy. Added picks for iPhone, Android, and Mac.

What Does a VPN Do?

Each of your devices (your computer, smartphone, etc.) have their own unique IP address, which tells services who, what, and where you are. A VPN sits in between your device and however it connects to the internet, spoofing your device’s IP address. Anything you do online goes first through the VPN, then to the router, causing your router (and everything outside of your device) to think you have a different identity.

VPNs are great to have when you are planning on hopping online over an unsecured connection (a network that does not ask you for a password), like at a cafe, as it keeps your information (such as your browsing history and any data you transfer) safe from prying eyes. A VPN offers other benefits, like accessing content that may be restricted geographically, as they allow you to interact with the internet as though you were doing so from the VPN’s location, not your own.

You can do a variety of other things with a VPN as well, including access your work or home network while traveling, bypass internet censorship, view streaming video content exclusive to other regions, and download files.

What to Look for in a VPN Service

If you need to use a VPN, it’s easy enough to get started: simply choose a service, sign up on the company’s site, and download the client. Here are a few things to look for when picking a VPN:

  • Lots of Servers: The more servers a VPN has, the faster your connection speeds are and, typically, the more country connection options you’ll have. This means you likely won’t have to deal with buffering or throttling issues.
  • High Simultaneous Connections: If you need to connect more than one of your devices to your VPN at the same time, more power to you. The best VPN services allow you to connect five of your devices simultaneously, if not more.
  • Great Ease of Use: For those who are new to VPNs, having a clean and clearly labeled interface, as well as easy access to customer support, is what’s important. For veteran users, this may mean an app that’s configurable and loaded with extras like a kill switch, data compression (for mobile), and automatic HTTPS redirection.
  • Excellent Security and No Logging: Good VPN services won’t monitor, log, or sell any of your personal info, like which websites you visit. They also ensure they are protecting you with strong encryption (AES 256-bit) and regular security audits. This is a surprisingly hard thing to find out about most VPNs, too, which is why we’ve made sure you can trust all the picks on our list.

Best Overall VPN: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN company name and logo against red background
ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN (starts at $6.67/mo) is our pick for the fastest and most powerful VPN service. It’s great for getting you past blocked websites and keeping your computer protected. It has over 30,000 IP addresses, 160 server locations across 94 countries, and more than 3,000 servers available. It is also backed by a strict no-logging privacy policy, so go ahead and surf with peace of mind.

That’s even more impressive when you pair that with its extensive platform support: native clients for Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS. Want your smart TVs, routers, and gaming consoles covered? They’ve got custom firmware options for them, plus browser extensions. The Android app even works on Chromebooks, so you’re covered across the board.

ExpressVPN doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to advanced features either. It offers split tunneling, a Network Lock kill switch, server speed tests, zero-knowledge DNS, and unlimited bandwidth. For beginner VPN users, no need to worry: ExpressVPN has tons of tutorials and guides you can use, as well as 24/7 live chat support so you can be up and running in no time.

Best Overall VPN

ExpressVPN

Get fast and secure VPN protection on any device.

Best Budget VPN: Tunnelbear

Tunnelbear name and logo against blurry mountain background
Tunnelbear

Tunnelbear (Free) isn’t just easy on your wallet, it’s easy on the eyes. With cute bears and an extremely user-friendly interface, it’s a great option for anyone new to VPNs. Its free service is limited to 500 MB per month, and should you want more, subscription options start at $4.95 per month, giving you unlimited secure browsing for five devices and priority customer service.

Though cute bear graphics make the service fun and approachable, Tunnelbear really shines with its un-bear-ably amazing privacy policy. It will never log or sell your browsing activity, and it performs independent annual service audits, something you won’t see with most other VPNs.

Tunnelbear is a simpler and less powerful VPN than leading options like ExpressVPN, but it’s still a solid option for new users and those that don’t care too much about having lots of customization and advanced features. It only has about 22 server locations and 1,800 servers, so it’s fine for working at a coffeehouse but probably not ideal for heavy users. Tunnelbear offers apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android, and browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. For being a free VPN, Tunnelbear is a solid choice.

Best Budget VPN

Tunnelbear

Browse safely and privately online without busting your budget.

Best VPN for Multiple Device Connection: IPVanish

IPVanish name in black and green against dark background
IPVanish

If you need to have several devices connected to a VPN simultaneously, IPVanish (starts at $3.75/mo) is your perfect match. With it, you can connect up to 10 devices at a time with no problem. IPVanish has superb stats, offering you over 1,300 anonymous servers across more than 75 global locations, and 40,000 shared IP addresses. It also has a clear zero-logs privacy policy and keeps your data safe with 256-bit AES encryption.

The VPN service has user-friendly apps for all devices: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Fire TV, and routers. The apps are solid and feature-rich, with options like automatic IP address cycling. The one major downside to IPVanish is that its interface isn’t quite as approachable and intuitive as others are, so it might not be the best choice for novice users. However, with its 24/7 customer support, users can quickly get answers to questions and issues when they need them most.

Best VPN for Multiple Device Connection

IPVanish

Connect all of your devices to your VPN and browse securely.

Best VPN for iPhone: ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN logo against dark background
ProtonVPN

Switzerland-based ProtonVPN (Free, with paid options) is a great VPN for iPhones as it offers a fast and secure service alongside tons of features. Its easy-to-use interface, robust Privacy Policy, and artillery of advanced privacy tools don’t hurt, either.

The VPN’s simple app interface is easy enough for anyone to use. When you open the VPN, you’ll see a world map, and from there all you need to do is tap one of the flags to connect. The intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate, find, and toggle menus and other settings to your liking, too.

The free plan offers 23 servers in three countries and a single connection at a medium speed. Upgrading to either the Basic or Plus plans (starting at $4 per month) gives you faster speeds, access to hundreds of servers in over 40 countries, supports multiple connections and P2P/BitTorrent, and more. Love ProtonMail? Bundle the two together in the Visionary bundle for $24 per month and enjoy all the perks of the Plus plan.

Best VPN for iPhone

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is our favorite pick for iPhone users, and it boasts fast service and an easy-to-use interface.

Best VPN for Android: Hide.me

Hide.me company name and logo against blue background
Hide.me

Using an Android smartphone or tablet? Go with Hide.me (starts at $4.99/mo). The Malaysia-based VPN has an interface that’s extremely easy to use, with two simple buttons: one for turning it on or off, and another to change location. Set the server, connect to it, and start browsing. It also has a thorough no-log privacy policy.

This is a good VPN for Android users (especially those who travel frequently), as it offers a large server network that’s spread across the world. It offers decent speeds, though it might not be the ultimate choice for 4K streaming marathons. Pricing for this VPN is decent overall but you’ll get a better deal if you spring for the yearly plan, as it’s just $4.99 per month.

Alternatively, any Android users who are also heavy-duty Google users may want to check out the VPN by Google One. If you have a 2TB or larger plan ($9.99/month), this fast and seamless VPN is automatically included and available to you. Plus, it’s super secure and private, with an open-sourced client library and regular independent audits on its end-to-end systems. This VPN is currently only available on Android, though Google is working to bring it to iOS, Windows, and macOS soon.

Best VPN for Android

Hide.me

Hide.me helps you stay safe while browsing or watching videos on your Android device.

Best VPN for Mac: StrongVPN

StrongVPN company name and logo against dark background
StrongVPN

If you’re a heavy-duty or advanced user, StrongVPN (starts at $3.33/month) is a stellar option, whether you’re torrenting or streaming Netflix. It even features a “Best Available Location” option if you don’t want to manually select a connection point.  The company has a strict no-logging privacy policy for your browsing history and IP addresses, but it is based in Florida so it’s subject to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes policies.

This VPN has more than 950 servers spanning 30 countries and can support twelve connected devices at once. If you sign up for StrongVPN’s annual plan, you’ll pay just $3.33 your first year. From there, it jumps $40 to $79.99 annually. You can also opt for the $10.99 monthly plan, or try the service out as a whole free for 30 days before committing to either plan.

Best VPN for Mac

StrongVPN

Use a Mac computer? This VPN is perfect for you, as it offers fast speeds and nearly 1,000 servers.

Suzanne Humphries Suzanne Humphries
Suzanne Humphries is the Commerce Editor for Review Geek. She has over six years of experience across multiple publications researching and testing products, as well as writing and editing news, reviews, and how-to articles covering software, hardware, entertainment, networking, electronics, gaming, apps, security, finance, and small business. Read Full Bio »

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