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Our best overall VPN is NordVPN, the best value VPN is Surfshark and best allrounder is ExpressVPN.

‘Best’ to our experts means the VPN best performance, best security, and best site unblocking features, all for a reasonable price.

A free VPN can be helpful in a pinch but it won’t have the same site-unblocking features as paid VPNs and you won’t get anywhere near the amount of data you’d need to stream video.

Aiming to find out about the best VPN services in 2024? We’ve looked at over 70 VPNs to determine which provider is optimal for the average user

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) help to protect your online identity by masking your IP address, keeping your connection secure, and hiding your personal information away from third-party sites. This is the case for many cheap VPN services – and even some free VPNs

The best VPNs go even further, equipping you with multiple tools to ensure a high level of online protection. Solid encryption, kill switches and split tunnelling are just some of the features offered by many VPN services, with other key advantages including secure online transactions, the ability to sidestep geographical restrictions, and safer connections to public wifi

How we wrote this guide

We’ve spent hundreds of hours reviewing and testing over 70 VPN services in terms of their speed, performance, security, privacy features, and affordability. We also detail what you should look out for when signing up for a VPN, and all the latest VPN news, so you can stay up to date and pick the best VPN for your needs. To find out more about the process, read our article on how we review VPNs.

200+
hours performance testing
750+
customer reviews read
200+
hours comparing products
70+
providers compared
4
VPN experts consulted

Our pick of the top three best VPNs

4 March 2024 update notes

We’ve taken another look at the providers that make up our list, updating lots of stats, including server numbers, key features, and much more in a large overhaul. This week we’ve also updated the deals on offer from our best VPNs and updated our testing data to give you the latest details on the speeds you can expect from the most popular providers.

This week’s best VPN deals

These top VPN providers are offering some fantastic deals to start the year – enjoy premium services for less.

  • Subscribe to one of NordVPN’s one- or two-year plans before 12 June 2024 and get three months free, with plans starting at £2.49 per month with a 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s our best overall VPN, with secure, fast, optimised servers and Double VPN encryption   
  • Our best value VPN, Surfshark, is offering its two-year plan for just £1.79 with a 30-day money-back guarantee. That’s a saving of 82 per cent, plus you can get two months free
  • ExpressVPN has lowered its 12-month plan by 35 per cent. Sign up now for just £6.77 per month with a 30-day money-back guarantee 
  • Our best VPN for gaming, CyberGhost’s two-year plan is currently 82 per cent off at £1.78 per month and comes with an extra two months free. The plan covers seven devices with optimised servers for gaming and streaming  
  • Install Atlas VPN on an unlimited number of devices for as little as £1.34 per month with a whopping six months extra when you subscribe to its two-year plan
  • Private Internet Access offers impressive performance and allows for an unlimited number of device connections. Subscribe now for £1.57 per month for a two-year plan with four months free and a 30-day money-back guarantee

The best VPNs compared

Provider Best for Price Rating Servers Server locations Devices Supported Review Streaming Independent audit
Visit NordVPN
Best overall From £2.49/m ★★★★½ 6,000+ 61 6 NordVPN review
Visit Surfshark
Best value From £1.79/m ★★★★½ 3,200+ 100+ Unlimited Surfshark review
Visit ExpressVPN
Best all-rounder From £6.77/m ★★★★½ 3,000+ 105 8 ExpressVPN review
Visit CyberGhost
Best for gaming From £1.78/m ★★★★ 10,000+ 1000 7 CyberGhost review
Visit Proton VPN
Best for torrenting From £4.27/m ★★★★ 3,000+ 70 10 Proton VPN review

Table definitions – why are these the most relevant criteria to measure a VPN by?

  • Servers: The network of servers gives an indication of the size and scale of the VPN service
  • Server locations: The total number of countries where you can get a new IP address with a VPN
  • Devices supported: How many devices the system supports with native apps
  • Independent audit: Has the provider had a recent independent security audit to assess its security protocols, and its logging policy?

The best VPN providers right now

We’ve spent hundreds of hours testing the best VPNs to assess the quality of their service in terms of privacy and security, performance, ease of use, cost, and value for money. Here are our recommendations for the best VPNs available right now.

Editor’s Choice – NordVPN: Best overall VPN ★★★★½

nordvpn app on multiple devices

Specifications
  • Number of servers: 6,000+
  • Server locations: 61
  • Number of devices supported: Six
  • Operating systems and browsers supported: Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, tvOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge
  • Cancellation policy: 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Pricing:
  • NordVPN 2 year
    £2.49
    /month
    NordVPN 1 year
    £3.59
    /month
    NordVPN 1 month
    £10.39
    /month

Pros

AES-256 encryption and double VPN Independently audited security features Effective kill switch

Cons

Monthly price is above average for Plus and Complete plans Automatic subscription renewal is enabled by default Basic browser extensions

Best VPN NordVPN on researcher's laptop
Our researchers spent several hours extensively testing NordVPN (Independent Advisor)

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Grab our Editor’s Choice with up to 70% per cent off the total price and get three months free

With a wide-ranging feature set, NordVPN is our top pick as the best provider on the market right now. It comes with sturdy AES-256 encryption, an independently verified no-logs policy, an automatic kill switch, unlimited bandwidth, and strong streaming support. What’s more, NordVPN offers a large network of more than 6,000 RAM-only VPN servers across 61 countries, making it easy for users to find a fast and reliable connection. 

Unique NordVPN features abound, such as Meshnet, which allows users to create a private network for up to 60 devices. Rather than being routed through a VPN server, Meshnet allows devices to communicate directly for safe file sharing, work collaboration, and multiplayer gaming. Surprisingly, Meshnet is available free of charge, even without a NordVPN subscription.

It’s a great pick for secure streaming thanks to SmartPlay, which combines smart DNS technology with your base VPN connection. This means it will change your DNS server to access content while cloaking your IP address – allowing you to access streaming sites without compromising privacy. NordVPN performed well during testing, accessing multiple services with ease. This includes BBC iPlayer, ITV X, and a wealth of international platforms. 

The custom NordLynx protocol helps to improve speeds with no security issues to speak of. When connecting to UK servers, we saw speeds of 423Mbps, with a baseline of 437Mbps. In other words, it retained 92 per cent of our normal speeds, which is a fair result. With US servers, this was boosted to 102 per cent (387Mbps).

These fast speeds allow users to engage in a range of different activities, such as streaming and gaming, without noticing any decline in performance.

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN437.53257.614
UK to UK423.42150.785197%59%
UK to US387.2168.3513288%27%
UK to Aus238.8516.9137355%7%

Date tested: 16/02/24. Protocol: NordLynx

NordVPN may not be the cheapest option on our list, but it has numerous great privacy features, along with plenty of server options and excellent customer support. Its use of AES-256 encryption paired with multi-layered privacy options such as Double VPN make it ideal for those who are aiming to protect their online activity. Its no-logs policy is regularly audited by independent third parties, backing up all of its security and privacy claims for the avoidance of doubt.

Subscription Term Standard plan Plus plan Complete plan
Monthly £10.39 ($13.26) / month £11.19 ($14.28) / month £13.09 ($16.71) / month
12 months (+3 months free) £3.59 ($4.58) / month (£53.85/$68.74 up front for 15 months) £4.39 ($5.60) / month (£65.85/$84.06 up front for 15 months) £6.39 ($8.16) / month (£95.85/$122.36 up front for 15 months)
24 months (+3 months free) £2.49 ($3.18) / month (£67.23/$85.82 up front for 27 months) £3.19 ($4.07) / month (£86.13/$109.95 up front for 27 months) £5.19 ($6.63) / month (£140.13/$178.89 up front for 27 months)

The provider’s range of extra features help it stand out from the crowd, such as Dark Web Monitoring and Threat Protection. The former works to alert you of any data leaks, while the latter blocks ads, malicious websites, and trackers. Meanwhile, a selection of speciality servers give users plenty of options for connecting to a location that’s best for the task at hand.

The main downside we found with NordVPN is its complicated pricing structure, which can make it difficult for users to determine which subscription level is right for them. However, by offering various options, NordVPN is able to appeal to a wider range of potential customers, depending on their budget.

Verdict

★★★★½

Read our full NordVPN review.

Today’s best NordVPN deals
NordVPN 2 year £2.49 /Month
£2.49 /Month
NordVPN 1 year £3.59 /Month
£3.59 /Month
NordVPN 1 month £10.39 /Month
£10.39 /Month

Surfshark: Best value VPN ★★★★½

surfshark vpn app on multiple devices

Specifications
  • Number of servers: 3,200+
  • Server locations: 100
  • Number of devices supported: Unlimited
  • Operating systems and browsers supported: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Fire TV, Chrome, Firefox, Safari
  • Cancellation policy: 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Pricing:
  • Surfshark 24 month
    £1.79
    /month
    Surfshark 12 month
    £2.29
    /month
    Surfshark 1 month
    £10.29
    /month

Pros

Unlimited simultaneous connections Large global server presence Multi-hop and split tunnelling tools

Cons

Some Windows kill switch issues Doesn’t notify users if connection drops No split tunnelling on iOS Renews annually after initial subscription at a higher price

Best VPN Surfshark on researcher's laptop
Surfshark performed well in our tests and our researchers were impressed with its app (Independent Advisor)

Despite a budget price tag, Surfshark offers AES 256-bit encryption, an audited no-log policy, Multihop support, an automatic kill switch, unlimited simultaneous connections, and a large network of more than 3,200 servers in 100 countries. Additionally, CleanWeb works to block ads, trackers, and malware, while Camouflage Mode and NoBorders allow secure access to the internet from anywhere on the planet.

Surfshark’s user-friendly interface and affordable pricing make it a popular choice for anyone who wants to enjoy a secure and unrestricted internet experience without breaking the bank, which is why we named it the best cheap VPN on the market. Additionally, Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer support, making it a reliable VPN service if you do happen to run into any issues. 

It’s particularly useful if you want to bypass geo-restrictions, access censored websites, or protect yourself from hackers and trackers. Surfshark works with a variety of streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more. It allows for an unlimited number of simultaneous device connections, which means you could stream on your desktop, Smart TV and mobile phone devices – all simultaneously, under one subscription plan.

Speeds reached 428Mbps on a UK server during the latest round of testing, so it’s unlikely to let you down if you’re in need of a reliable VPN for intensive tasks.

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN410.43265.633
UK to UK428.0893.1550104%35%
UK to US351.1525.8612786%10%
UK to Aus220.4916.4637654%6%

Date tested: 16/02/24. Protocol: WireGuard

Surfshark’s headquarters used to be based in the British Virgin Islands, but moved to the Netherlands in 2021. The Netherlands has a liberal political environment and legal system, which allows the company to retain its no-logs policy. However, one concern is that the Netherlands is a part of Nine Eyes – a covert intelligence-sharing network that includes the US and the UK.

The provider has acknowledged such issues and has been independently audited on numerous occasions. Surfshark passed the first independent audit of its no-logs policy in 2023, and regularly has its server infrastructure independently assessed.

Surfshark offers a brilliant service – it’s fast, secure, and one of the cheapest if you go for a long-term subscription. It’s hard to find many faults with what it offers. With that being said, monthly deals are pricey, while it’s based in the Netherlands, rather than a more privacy-friendly jurisdiction such as Panama. As such, anyone focused on anonymity may prefer to look elsewhere.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £12.23 ($15.45) / month
12 months £2.29 ($2.90) / month (£32.06/$40.66 up front)
24 months (+2 months free) £1.79 ($2.27) / month (£46.54/$59.03 up front for 26 months)

Verdict

★★★★½

Read our full Surfshark VPN review.

Today’s best Surfshark deals
Surfshark 24 month £1.79 /Month
£1.79 /Month
Surfshark 12 month £2.29 /Month
£2.29 /Month
Surfshark 1 month £10.29 /Month
£10.29 /Month

ExpressVPN: Best all-rounder ★★★★½

expressvpn app on multiple devices

Specifications
  • Number of servers: 3,000+
  • Server locations: 105
  • Number of devices supported: Eight
  • Operating systems and browsers supported: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, tvOS, Linux, routers
  • Cancellation policy: 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Pricing:
  • ExpressVPN 12 month
    £6.77
    /month
    ExpressVPN 6 month
    £8.12
    /month
    ExpressVPN 1 month
    £10.53
    /month

Pros

Offers strong encryption Wide range of server locations Great customer service

Cons

Expensive Speeds can vary quite a bit by server location and time of day

Best VPN ExpressVPN on researcher's laptop
ExpressVPN may be pricey, but its ability to bypass geo-restrictions impressed our researchers (Independent Advisor)

BEST PRICE: Get ExpressVPN for just £6.77

ExpressVPN is probably the best-known VPN service in this guide, and for good reason: it’s an excellent all-rounder. It offers a solid mix of features, from strong download and upload speeds, to privacy protections such as a strict (audited) no-log policy, an automatic kill switch, unlimited bandwidth, and a large network of servers in over 100 countries.

ExpressVPN is ideal for streaming, and can access almost any site or service you can think of. It aced our tests, even if it lacks servers dedicated to the task. 

It offers a range of core security and privacy features, including 256-bit AES encryption and DNS leak protection. Additionally, it comes with a kill switch (Network Lock), which will automatically disconnect you from the internet if your VPN connection drops unexpectedly. TrustedServer is a feature that ensures all data is wiped every time the VPN server is rebooted, while Threat Manager blocks malicious sites and trackers while enabled.

Using ExpressVPN is easy. It offers both PC and Mac versions of its app (in fact, we named it the best VPN for Mac), as well as Android and iOS versions for your smart devices. It’s our pick as the best VPN for Chrome thanks to its slick browser extension, and it’s also the best Fire Stick VPN. ExpressVPN can also be installed directly onto your router so that all the devices on your network can use the service. 

As for performance, ExpressVPN was fairly consistent across a trio of different server locations, but speeds were slower than some competitors. For example, UK-to-UK server speeds of 221Mbps are quick enough for 4K streaming, but are blown out of the water by the likes of Nord and Surfshark. It’s also worth noting that we used the Lightway protocol for testing, ensuring the fastest possible speeds.

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN490.02330.584
UK to UK221.23265.242545%78%
UK to US193.8741.1912240%12%
UK to Aus189.0816.4832139%5%

Date tested: 16/02/24. Protocol: Lightway UDP

On a better note, ExpressVPN’s customer service is perhaps the best you can find among VPN providers. Its support page has a wealth of content, including set-up and troubleshooting guides and a Knowledge Hub with tips on how to make the most of the service. There’s also a live chat option where you can speak to real humans to resolve any issues – a real rarity these days. 

With over 3,000 servers in 105 different countries, the service’s internet speed and usability for streaming content is best-in-class. For the privacy-conscious, ExpressVPN has a strict no-log policy, which has been tested via independent security audits. The only real downside to ExpressVPN is its pricing when compared to other top VPN providers – better value can be found elsewhere, even if it is a polished service.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.53 ($13.36) / month
6 months £8.12 ($10.30) / month (£48.75/$61.84 up front)
12 months £6.77 ($8.59) / month (£81.29/$103.11 up front)

Verdict

★★★★½

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Today’s best ExpressVPN deals
ExpressVPN 12 month £6.77 /Month
£6.77 /Month
ExpressVPN 6 month £8.12 /Month
£8.12 /Month
ExpressVPN 1 month £10.53 /Month
£10.53 /Month

CyberGhost: Best for gaming ★★★★

cyberghost vpn on multiple devices

Specifications
  • Number of servers: 10,000+
  • Server locations: 91 countries
  • Number of devices supported: Up to seven
  • Operating systems and browsers supported: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox
  • Cancellation policy: Up to 45-day money-back guarantee depending on your plan
  • Pricing:
  • CyberGhost 27 month
    £1.78
    /month
    CyberGhost 6 month
    £6.19
    /month
    CyberGhost 1 month
    £10.89
    /month

Pros

Large, well-distributed server fleet Several add-ons, including antivirus Newly completed third-party audit

Cons

Parent company has a poor reputation No double VPN, Onion over VPN, or obfuscated servers Geo-restrictions in some countries

Best VPN CyberGhost on researcher's laptop
CyberGhost performed the best in our online gaming and streaming tests (Independent Advisor)

CyberGhost is another popular VPN designed for a wide range of tasks. For instance, it’s a superb choice for anyone seeking to game online or download torrents, and can also be used by families or businesses who are aiming to protect their online activities.

The provider offers a range of privacy features, including AES 256-bit encryption, an audited no-log policy, an automatic kill switch, several simultaneous connections and a large network of 10,000+ servers spread across 100 countries. It’s this server fleet that gives it a real advantage over rivals, as it can optimise certain servers to cater to specific activities, such as streaming, online gaming, or P2P file sharing (the provider is our top recommendation as the best VPN for torrenting).

For example, you’ll find labelled servers for accessing various streaming services, removing any of the guesswork when logging in to catch up with content. In the UK alone, it had no trouble with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and ITV X during testing, while CyberGhost performs daily checks on these servers to ensure a seamless streaming experience. 

CyberGhost performed exceptionally well during our latest speed tests, especially when looking at UK and US servers. The former slightly exceeded the baseline at 418Mbps, while US servers (297Mbps) are also nippy. These fast speeds allow for seamless browsing, gaming, and other activities. Given all data has to be encrypted while being sent to and from your device, it’s impressive to see increased server speeds while connected to any VPN.

Speed test result

Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN418.57210.389
UK to UK418.95217.6315100%103%
UK to US296.9736.3612071%17%
UK to Aus210.9625.833950%12%

Date tested: 16/02/24. Protocol: OpenVPN

A choice of VPN protocols includes IKEv2, WireGuard and OpenVPN – all of which NordVPN, ExpressVPN and Surfshark also offer. Said protocols add a layer of safeguarding and have been proven to produce fast internet speeds (in terms of the speeds seen above, we used the WireGuard protocol). 

CyberGhost is a complete service, offering a mix of access to sites and services, security, privacy, and customer service, and all at one of the cheapest prices of any other VPN provider tested here, should you choose to invest in the longer subscription plan.

It comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee for long-term plans, while the industry standard is 30 days. Backed by 24/7 customer support, it’s a reliable VPN service for just about anyone.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.89 ($13.81) / month
6 months £6.19 ($7.85) / month (£37.14/$47.11 up front)
24 months (+2 months free) £1.78 ($2.26) / month (£49.92/$63.32 up front for 28 months)

CyberGhost offers the largest server network, and its standard features are of good use, although it doesn’t offer as many advanced privacy features as some other providers. It’s still an excellent choice for gaming, streaming, and those wishing to stay protected at a low price.

Verdict

★★★★

Read our full CyberGhost VPN review.

Today’s best CyberGhost deals
CyberGhost 2 year £1.78 /Month
£1.78 /Month
CyberGhost 1 year £6.19 /Month
£6.19 /Month
CyberGhost 1 month £10.89 /Month
£10.89 /Month

Proton VPN: Best for torrenting ★★★★

proton vpn app on multiple devices

Specifications
  • Number of servers: 3,055
  • Server locations: 70
  • Number of devices supported: 10
  • Operating systems and browsers supported: Windows, Linux, MacOS, android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox
  • Cancellation policy: 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Pricing:
  • Proton VPN 2 years
    £4.27
    /month
    Proton VPN 12 months
    £5.13
    /month
    Proton VPN 1 month
    £8.55
    /month

Pros

Numerous advanced privacy tools Unlimited data for free and paid plans AES-256 encryption

Cons

Slow customer support email response Premium pricing compared with other providers

Best VPN Proton VPN on researcher's laptop
Proton VPN’s superior privacy credentials nudged it into our top five VPNs (Independent Advisor)

Proton VPN is a good provider for a number of use cases, such as streaming, torrenting, and anonymity. The company takes its users’ privacy seriously, adhering to a strict no-logs policy, and is headquartered in Switzerland – a country that has strict data protection laws and is not part of any intelligence-sharing alliance. 

It offers a range of security features, including AES-256 encryption, split tunnelling, a kill switch, and its NetShield ad-blocker, which protects users from ads and stops trackers from monitoring any browsing history. A ‘VPN Accelerator’ feature claims it has the ability to boost your connection speed by up to 400 per cent, smoothing out buffering time when streaming and improving connection stability.

Proton VPN’s performance in our most recent speed tests demonstrated that it’s on the faster end of the scale, coming in at 356Mbps when connected to servers in the UK. US speeds dropped to 315Mbps, but that’s likely to be quick enough for most transatlantic users. However, it’s not exactly a 400 per cent boost in speeds.

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN418.21245.623
UK to UK356.76244.171285%99%
UK to US315.9835.9513276%15%
UK to Aus215.4430.8837552%13%

Date tested: 16/02/24. Protocol: WireGuard

Offering both a paid and free plan (in fact, we believe the free version of Proton VPN is the best free plan out there), Proton began as a crowdfunded project but continues to be supported by its community, meaning free plans are subsidised by paid users. With that being said, its paid subscription is reasonably priced and good value for money, considering the numerous extra privacy and security features that come as standard.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly €9.99 (£8.55) / month
12 months €5.99 (£5.13) / month (€71.88/£61.51 up front)
24 months €4.99 (£4.27) / month (€119.76/£102.48 up front)

For example, apps are open-source, while Secure Core servers work as a form of MultiHop, ensuring that the first server your data is routed through is located in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction before connecting to your preferred destination. It’s one of the few providers to offer port forwarding, along with support for Tor over VPN connections. 

What’s more, Proton VPN has a no-logs policy that has been independently audited, and the company is based in Switzerland, which has strict data protection laws. Switzerland is also not part of any intelligence-sharing alliance like some of the other VPN providers we have reviewed. The provider offers an excellent level of online privacy without compromising on user experience.

Free servers offer unlimited bandwidth, but are lacking streaming support, access to the fastest servers, and numerous notable features.

Verdict

★★★★

Read our full Proton VPN review.

Today’s best Proton VPN deals
Proton 2 year £4.27 /Month
£4.27 /Month
Proton 1 year £5.13 /Month
£5.13 /Month
Proton 1 month £8.55 /Month
£8.55 /Month

Best of the rest VPNs

These providers didn’t quite make our top five, but we still believe they’re worth considering on your search for a VPN.

Private Internet Access ★★★★

private internet access app on multiple devices
Specifications
  • Number of servers: 1,000+
  • Server locations: 91
  • Number of devices supported: Unlimited
  • Operating systems and browsers supported: Android, MacOS, iOS, Windows, Linux, Chromebook, routers
  • Cancellation policy: 30-day money-back guarantee 
  • Pricing:
  • PIA 2 years
    £1.57
    /month
    PIA 6 months
    £5.39
    /month
    PIA 1 month
    £10.99
    /month

Pros

Unlimited number of connected devices No-logs policy independently audited AES-256 encryption

Cons

Headquartered in the United States No free version

Best VPN Private Internet Access on laptop
Private Internet Access offers a few extra privacy features our researchers liked (Independent Advisor)

Private Internet Access (PIA) offers its users unlimited device connections, lots of privacy features, and a low asking price. 

Let’s get a potential stickling point out of the way. The provider is headquartered in the US, which is part of Five Eyes – an intelligence-sharing alliance. This could be problematic for the privacy-conscious, given the proximity to agencies such as the NSA. However, PIA follows a no-logs policy that has been independently audited, which means its users’ data and IP addresses are never stored or logged. 

PIA comes with a choice of two ciphers – 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption. Both of these have been proven to hide users’ IP addresses and protect all sensitive data. The provider also offers a choice of three protocols – OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard. 

Another layer of protection that PIA has is its proxy servers, ShadowSocks and SOCKS5 – these allow users to route their VPN connection through an additional server location, which further protects the origin of your connection. This is sometimes referred to as a multi-hop VPN. 

All of PIA’s privacy features, including the kill switch, split tunnelling and protocols are easy to locate within its settings. Overall, we’re impressed by how streamlined PIA’s apps are.

PIA struggled to sustain our baseline speeds throughout both our local and long-distance tests this month. UK servers saw speeds dip to 117Mbps, while the US dropped to 100Mbps. It’s a poor result, and significantly slower than any of the other best VPNs on this list.

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN351.21258.933
UK to UK117.1672.735333%28%
UK to US100.6344.3812129%17%
UK to Aus42.1729.1433812%11%

Date tested: 16/02/24. Protocol: OpenVPN

The provider has more than 1,000 servers in 91 different countries, including coverage in all 50 US states. It doesn’t offer the highest number of locations, but it does offer connections to an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. It’s worth noting that this focus on the US also translates to good streaming access, even if the same can’t always be said for UK platforms. 

PIA’s speed tests were decent and would be well-suited to anyone who is considering a VPN for browsing or streaming. It offers an advanced level of privacy and security while retaining affordable pricing, so there aren’t many downsides with this VPN service if you don’t need access to the fastest servers on the market.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.99 ($13.94) / month
12 months £5.39 ($6.84) / month (£32.34/$41.02 up front)
24 months (+4 months free) £1.57 ($1.99) / month (£43.94/$55.74 up front for 28 months)

Verdict 

★★★★

Read our full Private Internet Access VPN review.

Today’s best Private Internet Access deals
PIA 2 year £1.57 /Month
£1.57 /Month
PIA 6 month £5.39 /Month
£5.39 /Month
PIA 1 month £10.99 /Month
£10.99 /Month

Atlas VPN ★★★½

atlasvpn on devices

Specifications
  • Number of servers: 1,000+
  • Server locations: 49 countries
  • Number of devices supported: Unlimited
  • Operating systems and browsers supported: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Chrome
  • Cancellation policy: Up to 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Pricing:
  • Atlas VPN 2 years
    £1.34
    /month
    Atlas VPN 12 months
    £2.69
    /month
    Atlas VPN 1 month
    £9.83
    /month

Pros

Unlimited simultaneous connections IP-swapping servers Multi-hop connections

Cons

No privacy audits Poor functionality in Windows app Small number of server locations

Best VPN Atlas VPN on laptop
Atlas VPN may be lacking a privacy audit, but it performed well in our tests (Independent Advisor)

Atlas VPN’s network consists of 1,000 servers in 45 locations, offering unlimited devices, advanced features, and a low asking price. 

It comes with a no-logs policy, however this has not been independently audited, and the company is headquartered in the US – a part of the Five Eyes, an intelligence-sharing alliance. Again, we’d advise to stick with an audited service if privacy is your main aim. 

Features include Multihop, a malware blocker, split tunnelling, and a data breach monitor. Atlas VPN has downloadable apps for all major devices. Logging into its apps is slightly different from other VPNs we’ve used, as the service sends a one-time log-in link to your email address. We had to repeat the process as many as eight times, with the emailed link not working each time, before finally achieving a successful login. This also means you can’t use a dummy email address for increased privacy.

In our most recent tests, Atlas VPN retained decent download speeds, whether it was UK servers (230Mbps), or locations in the US (239Mbps). However, the Australian server only reached download speeds of 68Mbps, but this can be expected, given Atlas is positioned as a budget service.

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN420.48319.384
UK to UK230.3470.971755%22%
UK to US239.159.8812757%3%
UK to Aus68.026.1930016%2%

Date tested: 16/02/24

In addition to its paid subscriptions, there is a free version of Atlas VPN, but this is limited to 5GB of data per month and only supports three servers in three locations. As you might have guessed, a 5GB data cap will run out quickly, but it’s a simple way to test the service for yourself. If you’re in desperate need of a free VPN, we’d opt for the unpaid tier of Proton VPN instead, as it comes with an audited no-logs policy and unlimited bandwidth.

Overall, Atlas VPN is a user-friendly experience. Speeds were comparable with some other budget providers we’ve reviewed, but by no means are they the best on the market. The provider also offers good levels of security for its users via sturdy AES-256 encryption, SafeSwap servers, and features like MultiHop+. It also comes with a kill switch and split tunnelling, however the latter is currently only available on Android devices.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £9.83 ($12.47) / month
12 months £2.69 ($3.41) / month (£32.32/$40.99 up front)
24 months (+6 months free) £1.34 ($1.70) / month (£40.34/$51.17 up front for 30 months)

Verdict

Overall score: ★★★½ 

Read our full Atlas VPN review.

Today’s best AtlasVPN deals
AtlasVPN 2 year £1.34 /Month
£1.34 /Month
AtlasVPN 1 year £2.69 /Month
£2.69 /Month
AtlasVPN 1 month £9.83 /Month
£9.83 /Month

Windscribe ★★★½

windscribe vpn app on multiple devices

Specifications
  • Number of servers: 480
  • Server locations: 69 countries
  • Number of devices supported: Unlimited
  • Operating systems and browsers supported: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox
  • Cancellation policy: 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Pricing:
  • Windscribe 12 months
    £4.53
    /month
    Windscribe 1 month
    £7.10
    /month

Pros

Lots of features included with Windscribe Pro Ad block and malware blocker Reasonably priced

Cons

Not independently audited Headquartered in Canada

Best VPN Windscribe on laptop
Relative newcomer Windscribe held its own in our performance tests (Independent Advisor)

Windscribe is a relatively new VPN that offers three different plans; Free, Build a Plan and Pro. The company offers the option for users to not hand over any personal information by signing up without providing an email address and paying via Crypto. You’ll find servers to pick from in 69 countries worldwide. 

It does the basics well. Windscribe’s kill switch automatically disconnects users in the event their internet connection is interrupted. Its split tunnelling feature allows users to route selected traffic and apps through the encrypted tunnel, and choose what routes outside. 

The provider’s R.O.B.E.R.T. feature, available for Pro plan users, blocks ads, stops tracking, has a customisable block list and improves browsing speeds. It is customisable and users can choose which block lists they would like to include, from malware and ad trackers to gambling and social networks.

Windscribe says it follows a strict no-logs policy – although this has not been independently verified – and its VPN is encrypted by AES-256. However, the company is headquartered in Canada, another Five Eyes country. 

Our latest Windscribe speed tests revealed its robust performance, especially within the UK, where servers reached 387Mbps. The same was true for the US, while Australian servers came in at 261Mbps. It won’t let you down mid-stream, and it works to securely access heaps of content via platforms based in the US, the UK, Canada, and more.

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN418.17309.213
UK to UK387.1254.385593%18%
UK to US374.1318.2912989%6%
UK to Aus261.5719.3631863%6%

Date tested: 16/02/24. Protocol: WireGuard

Windscribe is reasonably priced and offers good value for money, but for the privacy-conscious, you may want to choose a VPN that has been audited for added peace of mind.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly $9 (£7.10) / month
12 months $5.75 (£4.53) / month ($69/£54.40 up front)
Build a plan From $3 (£2.37) / month

Verdict

★★★½

Read our full Windscribe VPN review.

Today’s best Windscribe deals
Windscribe 12 month £4.53 /Month
£4.53 /Month
Windscribe 1 month £7.10 /Month
£7.10 /Month

PrivadoVPN ★★★½

privadovpn app on multiple devices

Specifications
  • Number of servers: 330
  • Server locations: 48
  • Number of devices supported: 10
  • Operating systems and browsers supported: Windows, Linux, MacOS, android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox
  • Cancellation policy: 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Pricing:
    PrivadoVPN 2 year
    £1.99
    /month
    PrivadoVPN 12 month
    £2.50
    /month
    PrivadoVPN 1 month
    £10.99
    /month

Pros

Headquartered in Switzerland Reasonably priced AES-256 encryption

Cons

Not independently audited No split tunnelling for iOS and MacOS devices
Best VPN PrivadoVPN on laptop
Our researchers liked PrivadoVPN’s uncluttered app interface (Independent Advisor)

Headquartered in Switzerland, PrivadoVPN benefits from some of the best data privacy protection laws in the world. It offers both a free and paid plan – with the latter supporting 300+ servers in 47 different countries and 61 different cities. With a paid plan, customers can use an unlimited amount of data and connect up to 10 devices simultaneously.

The free version of PrivadoVPN limits users to one connection, 12 servers located in 10 countries, and just 10GB of data per month. As such, the paid version is a better choice if you need streaming support, or plan to use the VPN often. 

During testing, PrivadoVPN offered consistent speeds, even across long distances. In the UK, servers were steady at 417Mbps, while the US (316Mbps) and Australia (222Mbps) were similarly impressive.

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN412.29223.6611
UK to UK417.5664.9957101%29%
UK to US316.094.4112677%2%
UK to JP222.6313.3433054%6%

Date tested: 16/02/24. Protocol: WireGuard

Paid subscriptions can be taken monthly, annually, or every two years – with longer deals  working out the most cost-effective when broken down per month. Customers can also try the service before committing to a paid plan with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.99 ($13.94) / month
12 months £2.50 ($3.17) / month (£30/$38.05 up front)
24 months £1.99 ($2.52) / month (£47.76/$60.57 up front)

PrivadoVPN comes with streaming access, an ad-blocker, a kill switch, split tunnelling, and a SOCKS5 proxy. However, when compared with some of the options listed above, it falls short in terms of advanced features, as well as a smaller server count. 

It advertises a no-logs policy, but unfortunately, this is yet to be independently audited – this is particularly disappointing considering the provider does collect some logging information, including device identifiers and email addresses. We did find that Privado’s apps were easy to use but some features aren’t available for all devices. 

PrivadoVPN is ideal for beginners thanks to easy-to-use apps and simple privacy features. For any users looking for the best VPN service, this provider might not be a good fit, despite the impressive speeds on offer.

Verdict

★★★½

Read our full PrivadoVPN review.

Today’s best PrivadoVPN deals
PrivadoVPN 2 year £1.99 /Month
£1.99 /Month
PrivadoVPN 12 month £2.50 /Month
£2.50 /Month
PrivadoVPN 1 month £10.99 /Month
£10.99 /Month

IPVanish ★★★½

ipvanish app on multiple devices

Specifications

  • Number of servers: 2,200+
  • Server locations: 75
  • Number of devices supported: Unlimited
  • Operating systems and browsers supported: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Amazon Firestick, android TVand Kodi
  • Cancellation policy: 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Pricing:
    IPVanish 24 months: £3.58/month
    IPVanish 12 months: £3.58/month
    IPVanish 1 month: £10.49/month

Pros

Audited no-logs policy Unlimited simultaneous device connections Uses AES-256 encryption

Cons

Split tunnelling only available for Android and Amazon Firestick Slow internet speeds

Best VPN IPVanish on laptop
IPVanish was slow in our performance tests, but its app is very easy to use (Independent Advisor)

IPVanish has 2,400+ servers located in 75 different countries, which is a smaller network than our top recommendations, and it’s headquartered in the US, which isn’t best served for privacy purposes. However, this shouldn’t necessarily deter any would-be users, as IPVanish has a no-logs policy that has been independently audited, as well as offering excellent speeds and unlimited connections. 

Like the majority of providers listed above, IPVanish offers basic features such as a kill switch and split tunnelling. Its kill switch feature blocks all internet traffic from your device if your VPN connection drops, while split tunnelling allows you to choose which apps or internet traffic is routed through the VPN – currently, this is only available for Android and Amazon Fire Stick, which is a downside for the provider.

It’s missing out on some of the more advanced features seen above, including port forwarding and MultiHop servers. However, in our most recent speed tests, IPVanish demonstrated strong performance for UK users. When connecting to VPN servers within the UK, it reached 386Mbps, making it one of the speediest providers overall. As such, it’s ideal for any intensive online tasks.

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN417.82248.388
UK to UK386.4259.225592%24%
UK to US324.4344.3512378%18%
UK to Aus256.8119.1437361%8%

Date tested: 16/02/24. Protocol: WireGuard

It works with platforms like Netflix, Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, ESPN+, and more, so it’s reasonably comprehensive for anyone in need of a fast streaming VPN. 

IPVanish, when compared with other VPNs, offers advantageous privacy features and a no-logs policy that has been independently audited.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.49 ($13.31) / month
12 months £3.58 ($4.54) / month (£42.99/$54.53 up front)
24 months £3.58 ($4.54) / month (£61.49/$77.98 up front)

Verdict

★★★½

Read our full IPVanish review.

Today’s best IPVanish deals
IPVanish 2 year £3.58 /Month
£3.58 /Month
IPVanish 12 month £3.58 /Month
£3.58 /Month
IPVanish 1 month £10.49 /Month
£10.49 /Month

Other VPN providers to consider

VPN Provider Summary
StrongVPN StrongVPN provides a decent service and an easy-to-use app but has limited privacy features and lacks an independent audit.
HMA HMA is a fairly basic VPN with a handful of privacy features, which is suitable for users who simply need to conceal their online identity.
TunnelBear TunnelBear offers a decent level of privacy and security, with an audited no-logs policy. It has a larger server base, but these servers are only located in 47 different countries. Based in Canada.
VPNSecure VPNSecure offers a low server count and its customer reviews leave a lot to be desired. The service has not been independently audited and its subscription price is not good value for money.
ZoogVPN ZoogVPN boasts fast connection speeds and affordable subscription plans. The service also supports torrenting and file sharing.
Ultra VPN UltraVPN’s subscription plans are reasonably priced and allow for up to 10 device connections. It doesn’t offer the same level of protocols as its competitors and its no-logs policy is yet to be audited.
PureVPN PureVPN offers an impressive 6,000+ servers across 65 countries. It’s a safe and secure VPN with an audited no-logs policy and a reliable kill switch.
TorGuard With TorGuard, users can connect up to 12 devices and choose to route traffic through one of 3,000 servers. TorGuard has a no-logs policy, but this has not been independently audited.
VPN Area VPN Area supports up to eight device connections and comes with two VPN protocols. Its service is reasonably priced, and it has a no-logs policy, though this has not been audited.

What is a VPN and how does a VPN work?

A VPN creates a secure tunnel between your device and the internet by encrypting your data and routing it through a remote server. This means your online activities are kept private, as your data is not visible to anyone monitoring your connection. When you connect to a website, your data is sent through the VPN’s server, hiding your real IP address and location while also protecting your data from being intercepted. This will help to keep any interested parties such as your internet service provider (ISP) at bay, as they will only be able to see that you’ve connected to a VPN server. 

As such, VPN encryption is especially important, ensuring there are no data leaks to worry about. The same is true for no-logs policies, as the VPN itself could still have access to your data, and needs to get rid of it accordingly. Rather than taking logging claims at face value, look for a provider with an audited no-logs policy to remove the need for any guesswork.

How to choose the best VPN for you

Identify your needs

Work out why you want a VPN in the first place: are you aiming to access content from another country, or do you need improved security for connecting to public wifi? Do you want to use a VPN with lots of different devices, and are connection speeds important? Work out which VPN will be best for your specific needs. 

Level of security

The best VPNs should use strong encryption protocols and have a clear privacy policy. Typically, this will be outlined in an FAQ – or similar – page on their website. If it’s not, then you might want to consider an alternative. Consider any privacy features on offer, such as MultiHop, obfuscation, and tracker blocking. 

Audited ‘no-logs’ privacy policy

A ‘no-log’ privacy policy means the VPN won’t collect (or log) your browsing data. You can verify this claim if the provider has recently been audited by a respected third party to confirm this. As for why this is important, VPNs have access to your online movements, and unscrupulous companies have been known to sell user data to advertisers in the past. It’s never a good idea to trust a random company with your personal data, while free VPNs have been found wanting on multiple occasions.

phil-png

What are the key factors people should consider when deciding what VPN to get? – Dr Phil Legg, Professor of Cyber Security at UWE

If you are thinking of using a VPN service provider then choose a brand you can trust. Many will advertise the encryption scheme that they use, such as AES-256 (Advanced Encryption Scheme with 256 bits), which is considered as “military-grade” due to its approval by the NSA. Do bear in mind that you are entrusting that company with your internet activity in favour of not trusting the public hotspot or wifi that you are connecting to. You therefore want to have confidence that they will look after the data that they hold on you. As with all things there is risk, however, the risk of an attack on your VPN provider, or risk of them inadvertently leaking your data, is likely lower than somebody snooping on an insecure hotspot. 

Also, think about what devices you want to use the VPN service on. Are you securing a laptop, a mobile phone, or both? Some VPN tools come with mobile apps to help easily configure them for iOS and Android devices. VPN settings can be configured manually on such devices, however, for many, having an app makes this process easier. Furthermore, an app may offer further configuration, such as setting your VPN country if the provider has multiple servers globally. Some people favour VPNs as a way of concealing their location by connecting to a VPN and having their traffic appear as if they are based in another country.

Download/upload speed and latency (ping)

A VPN should provide fast speeds to ensure a smooth browsing experience. There will be some drop-off in performance when using a VPN, particularly to access international servers. If you want to use a VPN while gaming, then you’ll need to choose one with low latency, otherwise your response time will be negatively impacted. We’ve put together a handy guide for achieving faster speeds when using a VPN.

Time in the market

The VPN market is a lucrative one, which tends to attract new providers all the time. It’s not that new services are necessarily worse than existing ones, but there’s a lot to be said for experience and providers who have stood the test of time. Even so, an independent audit is more important, unless the VPN has recently proven its logging policy in court.

What devices you want to protect

Most VPNs will support PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, while only some will work with specific devices and operating systems such as Smart TVs and Linux. Check that the device you want to protect is supported. Alternatively, a lot of VPNs can simply encrypt your router, so that every device that connects to it via wifi will be secured.

Where the company is located

A VPN provider will have to comply with the data laws of the country in which it is registered, so this can affect the data it does and does not collect, which can have an impact on your privacy. Consider any jurisdictional issues before picking a VPN. More privacy-conscious users may decide to skip regions like the US and the UK entirely, given their proclivity for collecting user data.

Payment options

If you commit to a long-term contract with a provider you’ll usually get a much better price when compared to a monthly recurring plan. With long-term contracts, it’s important to note that the advertised price will be per month, but the entire contract must be paid upfront.

Free VPNs aren’t free

While you may not pay for a free VPN in the traditional sense, the provider might still make money from you through advertising or by selling your data. If you’re tired of intrusive ads, but don’t wish to pay a hefty price tag, you could consider a cheap VPN. Cheaper VPNs can be just as effective as premium ones, so long as they offer a good level of security and have an audited no-logs policy to protect your data.

phil-png

Why I use a VPN – Dr Phil Legg, Professor of Cyber Security at UWE

A VPN gives an additional level of assurance when connecting to unknown wireless networks, for instance in cafes, hotels and shops. It means that I know my traffic is encrypted as it passes over their network to my trusted VPN provider, so that other users of the same network are not able to access or intercept any of my activity. By also hosting my own VPN server at home or at work, I can remotely connect to devices within either my home or work networks when needed, such as a file server, that would not be accessible over a typical public facing network.

Latest VPN news 5 March 2024

  • The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has warned users to avoid Ivanti VPN gateways due to vulnerabilities that can be used to “bypass authentication, craft malicious requests, and execute arbitrary commands with elevated privileges”. These hacks have been used to target the US defence sector 
  • The Moscow Times reports that in Russia, “Roskomnadzor’s Order No 168 gives censors the right to add a page or an entire website to the prohibited resources registry (with subsequent mandatory blocking) if it contains information on how to access prohibited resources, advocates for the use of blocking circumvention technologies like VPNs, or offers to use or purchase them”. The new rule came into effect on 1 March

Which is the fastest VPN?

Although CyberGhost and PrivadoVPN both delivered above-average performance in local and transatlantic connections during our latest tests, Surfshark and NordVPN stood out this month, ensuring the strongest overall performance across all the distances and locations tested. With speeds of 428Mbps and 423Mbps respectively, they have to be seen as the best VPNs right now in terms of server speeds.

Download and upload speeds compared

VPNNo VPN Download speed (Mbps)No VPN Upload speed (Mbps)UK to UK Download speed (Mbps)UK to UK Upload speed (Mbps)UK to US Download speed (Mbps)UK to US Upload speed (Mbps)UK to Aus Download speed (Mbps)UK to Aus Upload speed (Mbps)
Surfshark410.43265.63428.0893.15351.1525.86220.4916.46
NordVPN437.53257.61423.42150.78387.2168.35238.8516.91
CyberGhost418.57210.38418.95217.63296.9736.36210.9625.8
PrivadoVPN412.29223.66417.5664.99316.094.41222.6313.34
Windscribe418.17309.21387.1254.38374.1318.29261.5719.36
IPVanish417.82248.38386.4259.22324.4344.35256.8119.14
Proton VPN418.21245.62356.76244.17315.9835.95215.4430.88
Atlas VPN420.48319.38230.3470.97239.159.8868.026.19
ExpressVPN490.02330.58221.23256.24193.8741.19189.0816.48
PIA351.21258.93117.1672.73100.6344.3842.1729.14

Download and upload speed degradation per cent compared

VPNRetainedUK to UK Download speed Retained UK to UK Upload speed Retained UK to US Download speed Retained UK to US Upload speed Retained UK to Aus Download speedRetained UK to Aus Upload speed 
Surfshark104%35%86%10%54%6%
NordVPN97%59%88%27%55%7%
CyberGhost100%103%71%17%50%12%
PrivadoVPN101%29%77%2%54%6%
Windscribe93%18%89%6%63%6%
IPVanish92%24%78%18%61%8%
Proton VPN85%99%76%15%52%13%
Atlas VPN55%22%57%3%16%2%
ExpressVPN45%78%40%12%39%5%
PIA33%28%29%17%12%11%

Best VPNs Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, VPNs are legal in the UK. It’s also legal to use a VPN to access geo-restricted streaming services, such as Netflix and Disney+, but we advise only accessing content from the country in which your subscription is based. However, it’s important to note that downloading, accessing, or sharing copyrighted material or conducting any other criminal activity, even while using a VPN, is illegal.

We’d opt for NordVPN as the best all-rounder, but each of our top recommendations will be useful for various tasks. For instance, if you want the fastest speeds, Surfshark is a great pick. Proton VPN has lots of advanced security features and a decent free tier, while ExpressVPN is especially beginner-friendly.

Very few VPNs offer a completely free option without any restrictions, and historically, the totally free services are not without their issues. These can be performance or privacy related, with some free services not utilising no-log policies like the paid-for providers. However, most companies offer time-limited trials and money-back guarantees that grant you access to their subscription features, while others offer tiered subscriptions, allowing you to select the level that suits your needs and budget. As for the best free VPN, we’d opt for Proton VPN, given it’s audited and has no bandwidth cap. Even so, speeds are slower than premium Proton VPN servers, while it’s missing features and streaming support.

When it comes to choosing a VPN, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It depends on your needs and budget. Free VPNs are usually limited in terms of features, speed and security. On the other hand, paid VPNs typically offer more features and better security. It comes down to the questions: how much is your privacy worth, and what are you willing to pay for it? It’s also worth noting that most paid VPNs have a money back guarantee period, while others offer a free trial, which could allow you to test whether it’s the best option for you without losing money.

Using a VPN will often slow down your internet connection a little bit, as the data has to be encrypted and decrypted before it can be sent and received. However, this slowdown is usually minimal and shouldn’t affect your browsing experience too much. You’ll typically experience the slowest connections when using free services, which is why many people opt for one of the paid VPN providers we’ve reviewed above.

Yes, a VPN is worth it – if you want to ensure your online privacy is protected, a VPN will do that for you. A VPN has many benefits, including encrypting your internet traffic and concealing your real IP address. It’s especially useful if you plan to torrent or wish to access geo-restricted content while travelling. However, not all VPNs are good value for money, and it’s not worth paying over the odds for a service – make sure you compare features and prices before you subscribe.

Round up of today’s best VPN deals
NordVPN 2 year £2.49 /Month
£2.49 /Month
Surfshark 24 month £1.79 /Month
£1.79 /Month
ExpressVPN 12 month £6.77 /Month
£6.77 /Month
CyberGhost 2 year £1.78 /Month
£1.78 /Month
Proton 2 year £4.27 /Month
£4.27 /Month
PIA 2 year £1.57 /Month
£1.57 /Month
Atlas 2 year £1.34 /Month
£1.34 /Month
PrivadoVPN 2 year £1.99 /Month
£1.99 /Month
Windscribe 12 month £4.53 /Month
£4.53 /Month
IPVanish 2 year £3.58 /Month
£3.58 /Month

How we research and rate VPNs

We are dedicated to bringing you the most accurate and up-to-date information so you can make an informed decision when it comes to buying a VPN. We will only recommend a VPN after hours of testing, head-to-head feature comparisons, and after taking into account verified customer feedback and reviews and the opinions of industry experts.

Our review scores are determined the following categories:

  • Privacy and performance (30%)
  • Features and functionality (30%)
  • Reputation and credibility (20% of the overall score)
  • Plans and pricing/value (10%)
  • Customer experience (10%)

We research and test a total of 25 elements within these categories including:

  • Number and location of servers
  • Streaming service accessibility
  • Security features such as AES-256
  • Performance (upload, download, latency)
  • Value for money, guarantees, and customer service
  • Independent server-site security audits

All of our VPN articles are fact-checked and verified by our in-house team, so you can be assured that our content is as accurate and up to date as possible.

Disclaimer

The data in this review is reported from a neutral stance and should be used for informational purposes only. We review VPN services from the perspective of:

  • The quality of the product based on the security and privacy it affords the user
  • User experience of the application(s)
  • Connection speeds, and overall performance in terms of reliability
  • Level and quality of customer service

Independent Advisor strongly recommends that you follow the local laws in your region whilst using a VPN. We do not condone the use of a VPN to bypass copyright restrictions, or to stream content without a valid subscription in your current region. Make sure to comply with any and all applicable laws and regulations whilst using a VPN with streaming services, and any other relevant platforms.

Overall Score: 4.5/5
Overall Score: 4.5/5

Our award for the best overall VPN goes to NordVPN, which costs just £2.49 per month and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. It has a great balance between the best-in-class security and price, so you’re looking to protect your privacy over everything else, then NordVPN is the best option, bar none. Performance is top-notch too, and it boasts a huge number of servers located in pretty much any country you’d need.

Surfshark: Best value
Overall Score: 4.5/5
Surfshark: Best value
Overall Score: 4.5/5

Surfshark is our choice of the best value VPN and can be had for as little as £1.79 per month with our exclusive deal and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Its security is also top-notch with AES 256-bit encryption, an audited no-log policy, and an automatic kill switch. Performance is impressive too..

ExpressVPN: Best all-rounder
Overall Score: 4.5/5
ExpressVPN: Best all-rounder
Overall Score: 4.5/5

If you’re looking for a great all-round option, which is very easy to use, then this is the VPN for you. ExpressVPN has all the features you could want from a premium VPN: top security, a fast, stable connection, and it’s a great option for streaming.

James Milin-Ashmore circle

James Milin-Ashmore

VPN Tech Editor

James Milin-Ashmore has covered cybersecurity and VPNs since the mid-2010s, writing for industry publications and services such as VPN Mentor, Liquid VPN, Comparitech, Bleeping Computer, ProPrivacy, AlwaysVPN, and more.

With a focus on ethics and digital privacy, his work has been featured in a range of publications, including the Activist Handbook and Reader’s Digest. In his spare time, he’s likely to be watching sports, or taking his dog for a walk around Hertfordshire.