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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.

hours performance testing
customer reviews read
hours comparing products
providers compared
VPN experts consulted

Our pick of the top three best VPNs

11 April 2024 update notes

We’ve taken a detailed 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. New services make an appearance, as we look at the best VPNs in a number of different scenarios. We’ve also tweaked our methodology, aiming to make it easier to understand how and why each VPN has made the list. This week we’ve also refreshed 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 on the planet.

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 £6.79 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 £6.79/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 £4.26/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

  • 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
    NordVPN 1 year
    NordVPN 1 month


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


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

Why we recommend NordVPN: 

NordVPN is my top recommendation as the best VPN for the majority of would-be users, given it excels in a wide range of scenarios. It might lack a free trial, but it’s a capable streaming solution that offers an independently audited no-logs policy. Unique features abound, boosting speeds, anonymity, and security in the process. It’s based in Panama which is especially privacy-friendly, and you’ll find over 6,300 servers to pick from worldwide spread across 111 countries. It’s an extensive network, with more locations to get an IP address than any of the alternatives I’ve listed below.

The provider has long been seen as one of the best VPNs on the market, supplanting a number of competitors over the years due to constant improvements that keep it at the forefront of the industry. For example, it comes with a custom protocol (NordLynx), which was built using WireGuard as a basis. Available for Linux, Windows, iOS, macOS, and Android, NordLynx offers the improved speeds seen with WireGuard without compromising on security. 

You’ll find apps and support for all popular operating systems, it’s relatively affordable, and NordVPN recently upped the number of devices that can be used at the same time with a single account from six to 10. As with its ever increasing number of server locations, it’s another way in which the service is aiming to raise its game to exceed the competition. In fact, fewer simultaneous connections than average used to be a minor flaw, and makes it even tougher to find tangible drawbacks in the present. A somewhat convoluted pricing structure is one potential headache, as there are a trio of plans to choose from. Unless you’re in need of encrypted cloud storage, the Plus tier is likely to be the best option for the average user.

NordVPN is reasonably affordable, but it still manages to offer a more comprehensive package than pricier alternatives. It scores highly in a range of criteria, and it’s my top pick as the best VPN right now.

What to expect from NordVPN:

In terms of the nitty-gritty, NordVPN manages to pack a significant punch. Features include everything from a custom protocol (NordLynx) to P2P servers, while Double VPN works to encrypt your connection twice for added security. In practical terms, this makes it harder to track the user, and can be paired with a kill switch to ensure anonymity. 

Threat Protection is essentially an ad-blocker, working to stop malware and web trackers, while split tunnelling lets you choose which apps are protected by the VPN connection. Meshnet is another interesting feature, as it 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.

Users opting for the Plus tier get access to a data breach scanner, a tracker and ad blocker, along with malware protection and a password manager.

In terms of performance, NordVPN earned high marks during every round of testing. There were no DNS or IP leaks to speak of, so your data is safe and secure, while average UK connection speeds worked out to 423Mbps. That’s quick enough to stream 4K content without breaking a sweat. Here’s a rundown of the latest results:

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 worked well with the likes of BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and ITV X, and has no trouble accessing the majority of popular streaming platforms available worldwide. It might not have any specific streaming servers that are dedicated to the task, but Smart DNS is a feature that helps to bypass IP blocks, and it works automatically while connected to the VPN. In other words, you just have to select a server and you’ll be good to go.

Subscription Term Standard plan Plus plan Complete plan
Monthly £10.39 ($12.99) / month £11.19 ($14) / month £13.09 ($16.38) / month
12 months (+3 months free) £3.59 ($4.49) / month (£53.85/$67.36 up front for 15 months) £4.39 ($5.49) / month (£65.85/$82.37 up front for 15 months) £6.39 ($7.99) / month (£95.85/$119.89 up front for 15 months)
24 months (+3 months free) £2.49 ($3.11) / month (£67.23/$84.09 up front for 27 months) £3.19 ($3.99) / month (£86.13/$107.73 up front for 27 months) £5.19 ($6.49) / month (£140.13/$175.28 up front for 27 months)

NordVPN key features:

  • Privacy and security: NordVPN scores well for privacy and security, whether you’re in need of advanced features, or you would prefer to stick with an audited no-log provider. Having passed the most recent of its four security audits in January 2024, this time it was Deloitte who confirmed that NordVPN adheres to its policies correctly in terms of data logging. In other good news, It’s based in Panama, while a security breach in 2018 prompted a switch to RAM-only servers. Relevant features include Double VPN, AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and more. 

(Star Rating:) 5/5

  • Speeds and performance: speeds were consistent across a range of locations, and actually improved while connecting to US servers. There was no notable slowdown while accessing various streaming services, and it’s a great solution for quick file sharing. If you’re in need of the quickest connections, there are faster VPNs available that I’ll discuss below. Even so, upload and download speeds were impressive via nearby servers.

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: NordVPN aced our streaming tests, working with multiple services in various locations. It does lack specialised streaming servers, which can be found with the likes of CyberGhost, but it’s still a good result for the provider. NordVPN also includes support for Smart DNS, making it easy to bypass any VPN blocks while streaming content. There are no P2P servers, but you’ll be able to torrent files across the entire network. 

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Servers and compatibility: over 6,300 servers in 111+ countries is impressive, while the same goes for support found on a wide range of devices. This includes mobile and desktop operating systems, along with support for routers, browsers, and more. As well as standard servers, it offers Multihop servers (Double VPN), obfuscated servers, Onion over VPN servers, and dedicated IP addresses. That’s especially comprehensive. 

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Pricing and support: NordVPN works out to be one of the cheaper options on the list if you’d like to sign up for a while. On the other hand, its pricing structure is somewhat convoluted, and some features are reserved for Plus and Ultimate users. If you’re not in need of a suite of cybersecurity extras, Basic accounts will still get the job done. 

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Additional features: we’ve mentioned the likes of Threat Protection and Meshnet above, while Dark Web Monitoring works to alert you of any data leaks. NordVPN has lots of additional features aimed at a wide range of users, whether it’s for privacy, entertainment, or various other online tasks. As for notable missing features, there’s no support for port forwarding.

(Rating:) 5/5

Overall score: 27/30

Final verdict:

NordVPN is stealthy, sleek, and affordable if you’re planning to sign up for longer periods. I’ve used it for years, and it continues to lead the charge even as it surpasses the old guard in many respects. It’s packed to the brim with advanced protection and notable features, and it’s great for streaming, torrenting, browsing, or anything in between. 

Read our full NordVPN review to find out more.

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

  • 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
    Surfshark 12 month
    Surfshark 1 month


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


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)

Why we recommend Surfshark:

Surfshark is able to compete with the best providers in the market, despite being one of the cheapest VPNs if you’re looking at longer subscriptions. Unlike the majority of affordable options, it comes with an audited no-logs policy, and it’s adept at accessing numerous popular streaming services. 

Some features are reserved as premium add-ons, and might be helpful for a select user base. Regardless, Surfshark’s basic tier is likely to be ideal for most readers, and you’ll be able to use a single account to connect with as many devices as you like. This means you can share the VPN with others, whilst protecting every smart device you own. 

What to expect from Surfshark:

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 it’s our 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 uses the WireGuard protocol to great effect, and actually boosted my upload and download speeds ever so slightly in the latest round of testing whilst connected to UK servers.

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.

Surfshark is particularly useful if you want to bypass geo-restrictions, access censored websites, or protect yourself from hackers and trackers. It works with a variety of streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more. 

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £12.29 ($15.38) / month
12 months £2.29 ($2.87) / month (£32.06/$40.12 up front)
24 months (+2 months free) £1.79 ($2.24) / month (£46.54/$58.24 up front for 26 months)

Surfshark key features:

  • Privacy and security: Surfshark ticks a majority of the boxes in terms of privacy and security, even if it’s now based in the Netherlands. It comes with a customisable kill switch, and uses strong AES-256 encryption. Further privacy and security features include rotating IP addresses, MultiHop servers, and static IPs.

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Speeds and performance: Surfshark is one of the nippier services on the market, despite a lower price tag. Download speeds were impressive via UK and US servers, while Australian servers found on the other side of the world were faster than local options offered by some competitors. There were no issues to speak of in terms of lag, and the VPN connection was reliable throughout the time Surfshark was in use. 

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: I found it easy to stream with Surfshark using a wide selection of UK-based services. It might not be able to access quite as many platforms as the best in the business, but it’s still a great result for the price. It openly advertises the ability to access content via local and international platforms like Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Hulu, Hotstar, YLE Areena, AbemaTV, and more. You’ll also find support for P2P throughout it’s network.

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Servers and compatibility: Over 3,200 RAM-only servers found in 100+ countries is a decent selection, especially considering that Surfshark is a budget service. As for additional server types, Camouflage Mode works as a form of obfuscation to hide VPN usage from your ISP, while further speciality options include dedicated IP addresses, MultiHop, and more. Surfshark also scores strongly in terms of compatibility, with unlimited device connections, and apps and support for any popular OS you can think of. A simple Quick Connect button makes it easy to get started within the app itself.

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Pricing and support: Given it’s our best cheap VPN, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Surfshark earns a perfect score in this respect. However, a recent decision to increase the cost for monthly subscriptions is difficult to justify when compared to the likes of NordVPN. 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.

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Additional features: With a decent selection of features to choose from, it is worth noting that Surfshark does have an extra paywall for some of the more interesting extras on offer. This includes real-time breach alerts, and a private search engine. The app itself has tabs for some of these add-ons, even if you’d prefer not to opt for Surfshark One. However, Starter plans give access to Surfshark’s VPN with no limitations, as well as an ad and pop-up blocker. 

(Rating:) 5/5

Overall score: 26/30

Final verdict:

Surfshark is perfect if you need a cheap VPN for the long-haul, and puts many expensive alternatives to shame when it comes to features, streaming support, and connection speeds. It’s disappointing that prices for monthly subscriptions have increased in 2024, but it’s still one of the best VPNs if you’re working with a tighter budget. 

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 £12.29 /Month
£12.29 /Month

ExpressVPN: Best all-rounder ★★★★½

expressvpn app on multiple devices

  • 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
    ExpressVPN 6 month
    ExpressVPN 1 month


Offers strong encryption Wide range of server locations Great customer service


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 £6.79

Why we recommend ExpressVPN:

Once an undisputed industry leader, ExpressVPN still combines fast speeds and strong streaming support to great effect. The provider has been through a range of third-party audits over the years, while notable extras include a custom protocol (Lightway), an ad blocker, and more. 

As with NordVPN, ExpressVPN has upped its game in recent months, increasing the maximum number of simultaneous connections from five to eight, while significantly expanding its network of servers to include 105 countries. At the top end, providers tend to be in an endless struggle to offer the best VPN service possible. This is great from a user perspective, as there always seems to be an improvement or two if I don’t use a specific provider for a couple of months. 

ExpressVPN stands out as one of the best VPNs for beginners, or for anyone else who baulks at the prospect of some of the more technical features offered by specialist providers that are solely focused on privacy above all else. 

What to expect from ExpressVPN:

For the most part, expect an especially polished service, that is intuitive if you’re a new user. ExpressVPN was a clear market leader for a long time, and it still manages to match up to the best VPNs in a number of categories. It has a well earned reputation for secure streaming, while live chat is quick to respond to any queries.

Speed tests were conducted using ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol. Even so, it didn’t offer the best result, lagging behind the competition listed above to an extent. It’s still quick enough for 4K streaming, exceeding 220Mbps via nearby servers:

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

ExpressVPN key features:

  • Privacy and security: despite some issues relating to ownership in the past, the current iteration of ExpressVPN is secure in every sense of the word. You’ll find all of the basics, including a system-level kill switch (Network Lock), AES-256 encryption, and an audited no-logs policy. Meanwhile, it’s based in the British Virgin Islands, so it’s clear of any of the more troublesome jurisdictions worldwide. 

(Rating: 5/5)

  • Speeds and performance: even with the addition of a custom protocol, performance lagged behind other VPNs during the latest round of testing. You’re still unlikely to notice any slowdown given UK servers reached 230Mbps, and it’s reliable if you’re in need of a VPN for tasks like live streaming. 

(Rating: 3/5)

  • Streaming and torrenting: the provider accessed every platform we could throw at it, earning high marks for streaming support. In my experience, I’ve found that it tends to work well with many obscure services, along with heavy-hitters like Netflix. Smart DNS support is also helpful for streaming, working as a proxy to access geo-restricted content. ExpressVPN allows for torrenting, although servers aren’t labelled within the app itself. 

(Rating: 5/5)

  • Servers and compatibility: you’ll find apps for all operating systems, alongside router firmware that works to connect to every device you own via wifi. Server numbers are a separate matter, insofar as the provider has chosen to remove this information from its website in recent months. When I contacted support, they said; “With this one, ExpressVPN does not provide a specific number of available IPs or servers, since that may change depending on demand and other factors.” That’s not especially helpful, and it leads to lower marks, in spite of the provider offering VPN servers in 105 countries. The total number of servers was 3,200+ when the information was last made publicly available, although the number of countries has continued to increase in the meantime. In any case, it would be good to see more transparency about its network.  

(Rating: 4/5)

  • Pricing and support: given ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive providers on the market, I’d advise to look elsewhere if you are aiming for the best VPN in terms of value for money. 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 – which can be a real rarity these days.

(Rating: 3/5)

  • Additional features: you’ll be able to test VPN server speeds within the app if you’re looking for the fastest option available. The same goes for DNS and WebRTC leak testing. It comes with an IP address checker, while the Preferences menu contains further options including an ad blocker, parental controls, and IPv6 protection. There’s support for split tunnelling, and it uses the Lightway protocol by default. However, some advanced settings aren’t available with ExpressVPN, whether it’s MultiHop, or Tor over VPN servers. 

(Rating: 4/5)

Overall score: 24/30

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.56 ($13.21) / month
6 months £8.15 ($10.20) / month (£48.90/$61.19 up front)
12 months £6.79 ($8.50) / month (£81.53/$102.02 up front)

Final verdict:

Even if it’s no longer a clear frontrunner, ExpressVPN manages to keep pace with the leading pack for the most part. Everything from ease of use to customer support is still impressive, and it’s great for streaming, torrenting, or browsing.  

With over 3,000 servers in 105 different countries, the service’s security 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 in most respects.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Today’s best ExpressVPN deals
ExpressVPN 12 month £6.79 /Month
£6.79 /Month
ExpressVPN 6 month £8.15 /Month
£8.15 /Month
ExpressVPN 1 month £10.56 /Month
£10.56 /Month

CyberGhost: Best for gaming ★★★★

cyberghost vpn on multiple devices

  • 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
    CyberGhost 6 month
    CyberGhost 1 month


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


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)

Why we recommend CyberGhost:

Next on my list of the best VPNs on the market right now,

CyberGhost is a suitable solution for anyone aiming to access streaming services securely. As with ExpressVPN, it’s especially easy to use, and speeds are impressive from a range of locations found worldwide. 

If you’re aiming to sign up for a while, its 2-year deal works out to only £1.78 per month, so it’s one of the cheapest VPNs on this list. Meanwhile, CyberGhost comes with a simple refund policy if you’re hoping to test whether it works with a specific site or service. 

What to expect from CyberGhost:

CyberGhost offers a selection 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 11,800+ servers spread across 100 countries. This server fleet 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).

It has a vast selection of servers to pick from, making it exceptionally easy to get an IP address from anywhere on the planet. 

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

CyberGhost performed exceptionally well during our latest speed tests, especially when looking at UK and US servers. 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.

Dedicated streaming servers not only work with a range of popular platforms worldwide –  you’ll also find options that are optimised for devices like Fire Stick and Android TV.

UK streaming and torrenting servers offered by CyberGhost VPN
(CyberGhost’s UK streaming servers)
Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.89 ($13.63) / month
6 months £6.19 ($7.75) / month (£37.14/$46.48 up front)
24 months (+2 months free) £1.78 ($2.23) / month (£49.92/$62.47 up front for 28 months)

As seen above, you’ll find streaming servers for a range of locations clearly labelled within the app, while there are also servers for peer-to-peer activities. The same goes for international streaming platforms, and the provider supports dedicated IP addresses. 

CyberGhost key features:

  • Privacy and security: CyberGhost’s no-logs policy was independently audited by Deloitte Romania in 2022. That’s a good start, and the provider uses RAM-only servers that are easily wiped remotely. It aced all of my leak tests, and it comes with a sturdy kill switch. In terms of downsides, it’s worth noting that CyberGhost lacks obfuscation, which helps to hide VPN usage from your ISP and other interested parties.  

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Speeds and performance: speeds tend to be impressive whilst connected to CyberGhost servers, and it’s one of the few providers to exceed my baseline speeds during testing. Given the manner of encryption tends to cause some slowdown, the provider earns top marks. 

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: streaming and torrenting is a strong point for CyberGhost, as it makes an effort to make it easy to access a range of content, no matter your experience level with VPNs.

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Servers and compatibility: CyberGhost used to proudly display the number of server locations on offer at any given time, although that has changed in recent months. I did have a long winded conversation with live chat, although that didn’t get me anywhere. It’s unsurprising to an extent, as some providers tend to be cagey when questioned directly about specifics. Both ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are owned by Kape Technologies, and used similar reasoning when pressed for more information about their networks. Instead, I decided to manually count the total number of servers that can be found via CyberGhost’s website. (11,844.) As I suspected, it was close to the 11,000 I’d seen advertised previously. You’ll find servers optimised for tasks like streaming and torrenting, removing any guesswork when connecting to the provider. 
CyberGhost live chat support server number query

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Pricing and support: one of the most affordable VPNs on the market if you’re planning to sign up for a year or more, there’s no denying that support was especially patient with me during my repeated requests for server information. With less than a few minutes to get a response from a real person, it’s a great result. CyberGhost comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee for long-term plans, while the industry standard is 30 days. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Additional features: with an emphasis on streaming, server numbers, and support, there aren’t many notable CyberGhost features that I haven’t already mentioned. The basics are covered, in terms of DNS leak protection, and split tunnelling. A Content Blocker is the only option found in the Privacy Settings menu, working to prevent ads, trackers, and malware. Otherwise, it’s relatively sparse compared to the likes of Proton VPN and NordVPN.

(Rating:) 2/5

Overall score: 24/30

Final verdict:

CyberGhost is perfect for accessing geo-restricted content, has excellent speeds, and works out to be highly affordable. It’s a great combination for many would-be users, while almost 12,000 servers worldwide is undeniably a massive network. 

It doesn’t offer as many advanced privacy features as some other providers, but it’s still an excellent choice for gaming, streaming, and for anyone wishing to stay protected at a low price. If you’re in need of an affordable secure streaming solution, CyberGhost is easily one of the best VPNs available. 

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

  • 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
    Proton VPN 12 months
    Proton VPN 1 month


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


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)

Why we recommend Proton VPN:

There aren’t many providers that focus on security and privacy to the extent of Proton VPN. Given it’s also capable of coming up with the goods in terms of performance and entertainment, it’s especially useful if you don’t mind paying a slightly higher asking price. A free tier with no bandwidth cap is another feature that isn’t found elsewhere, and it goes some way to explaining why it’s a more expensive solution.

Proton VPN is another service that isn’t resting on its laurels, adding new features on a consistent basis. Server numbers are constantly increasing, up from 2,700 to 4,400+ in a span of 12 months. Previously offering connections to servers in 67 countries, it’s now 91 at the last count. 

What to expect from Proton VPN:

A long list of industry leading 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. To that end, it performed reasonably well during speed tests, especially when connecting to nearby Proton VPN servers found in the UK.

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

It’s likely that most users will ignore some of the more advanced features on offer, but it’s arguably better to have and not need, rather than being forced to do without.

Subscription Term Price
Monthly €9.99 (£8.53) / month
12 months €5.99 (£5.11) / month (€71.88/£61.37 up front)
24 months €4.99 (£4.26) / month (€119.76/£102.24 up front)

Proton VPN key features:

  • Privacy and security: the company takes its users’ privacy seriously, adhering to an audited 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. Secure Core servers work as a form of MultiHop, ensuring that the first server your traffic is routed through is located in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction before connecting to your preferred destination. As you might have guessed, it comes with a kill switch, AES-256 encryption, and allows the user to pay with Bitcoin for increased anonymity. Stealth is a custom obfuscation protocol which helps to bypass censorship, while Proton supports perfect forward secrecy, meaning a new encryption key is generated every time you connect to the provider. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Speeds and performance: the VPN Accelerator does feel like a gimmick, but Proton was undeniably impressive whilst connected to UK servers. (For some reason, the Accelerator isn’t toggled on by default). Speeds did dip to an extent with faraway locations, but it’s still a solid result for the provider. I had no issues with CAPTCHAs, and connections were reliable for the most part. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: Proton VPN is one of the more dependable options if you’re hoping for secure streaming access, and the same goes for torrenting. Compatible servers are clearly labelled with a corresponding icon within the app. For anyone who is interested in P2P activities, you’ll also find support for port forwarding. Free servers offer unlimited bandwidth, but are lacking streaming support, access to the fastest servers, and numerous notable features. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Servers and compatibility: the provider displays its server numbers online, with an ever-increasing array of locations and options on offer. This includes support for Tor over VPN, along with optimised P2P and streaming servers found in various locations worldwide. Proton VPN has open-source apps available for all major operating systems, and a paid account can be used with up to 10 devices at the same time. 

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Pricing and support: Proton VPN 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 decently priced and offers good value for money, considering the numerous extra privacy and security features that come as standard. However, there are numerous cheaper options available, and it can take a while to get a response from support staff. Proton comes with a standard 30-day money-back guarantee, giving users a chance to test the service risk-free. 

(Rating:) 2/5

  • Additional features: everything from a Stealth protocol to a toggle for DNS leak protection can be found in the Preferences tab on desktop devices, and you can opt in to early access for new updates. It’s tough to think of many features that can’t be found with Proton VPN, so it scores high marks once more. Even the free tier is a cut above the competition, giving access to a handful of locations with no bandwidth cap.

(Rating:) 5/5

Overall score: 24/30

Final verdict:

Proton is likely to be the best VPN for anyone hoping for a solution with lots of advanced features, strong security, and the ability to access streaming content. Secure Core servers are great for added privacy, while a free tier is decent if you’re in desperate need of basic coverage in the meantime. 

On the other hand, it’s fair to say that the top two services are considerably cheaper, even if you look at Proton VPN’s longer subscriptions. Even so, it’s our top pick for torrenting, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best VPNs available right now.

Read our full Proton VPN review.

Today’s best Proton VPN deals
Proton 2 year £4.26 /Month
£4.26 /Month
Proton 1 year £5.11 /Month
£5.11 /Month
Proton 1 month £8.53 /Month
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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: large server network ★★★★

private internet access app on multiple devices
  • 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
    PIA 6 months
    PIA 1 month


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


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)

Why we recommend Private Internet Access:

Private Internet Access (PIA) offers its users unlimited device connections, lots of privacy features, and comes with a low asking price. It’s a little rough around the edges in some respects, but it has a massive selection of servers to pick from (35,000+), even if that information can’t be found anywhere on its website. Being based in the United States isn’t great for privacy, but PIA’s no-logs policy has been audited by Deloitte. Live chat support was responsive and helpful, and it offers a reliable SOCKS5 proxy.

What to expect from Private Internet Access:

Features include split tunnelling, MultiHop servers, and port forwarding, so it’s reasonably comprehensive. Unfortunately, speeds are one area in which PIA needs to improve if it hopes to match up to the very best in the business.

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

Connection speeds dipped no matter which location I chose, so I’d advise to look elsewhere if you need the best VPN for tasks like streaming or file sharing. However, it does have optimised servers for accessing popular streaming platforms in a long list of countries, including smaller European nations like Finland, as well as the US, the UK, and many more.  

Private Internet Access key features:

  • Privacy and security: 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 its proximity to alphabet 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. Privacy features include an ‘Advanced’ kill switch, which blocks all traffic even if the VPN is switched off. PIA MACE helps to block ads, trackers, and malware. 

(Rating:) 2/5

  • Speeds and performance: with connection speeds far slower than every other provider listed, it’s a poor result for PIA. Even nearby servers in the UK dipped down significantly, making it tough to recommend for any intensive tasks. In any case, speeds still exceed the recommended minimum for accessing streaming services like Netflix.

(Rating:) 2/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: PIA works well with a number of streaming platforms, including ITV X, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer in the UK. Speeds might be slightly slower than alternatives mentioned above, but the provider does offer strong support for watching video content. As for torrenting, PIA allows for P2P traffic across its network. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Servers and compatibility: PIA has 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. The provider allows the user to connect with an unlimited number of devices, while all of PIA’s privacy features, including the kill switch, split tunnelling and protocols are easy to locate within its settings. Overall, I’m impressed by how streamlined PIA’s apps are. As for specific server numbers, PIA is another provider that has decided to remove this information from its website. I figured there was little point, but I got in contact with support staff at the Kape-owned VPN once more. This time, I was told; “​​PIA has over 35,000 servers in numerous server locations, giving you more choices to spoof from and increasing your chances of finding a server near you.” 

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Pricing and support: It’s hard to argue with an audited VPN that comes in at £1.57 per month at the current time of writing. There are lots of detailed guides if you’d like to learn more about specific features, and live chat staff was quick to get back to me with my query regarding server numbers. 

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Additional features: I’ve mentioned the likes of port forwarding already, which is a notable feature that isn’t found with many other VPNs. It’s a reasonably comprehensive package, although the providers mentioned above tend to be more well-rounded. 

(Rating:) 4/5

Overall score: 22/30

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.99 ($13.75) / month
12 months £5.39 ($6.74) / month (£32.34/$40.47 up front)
24 months (+4 months free) £1.57 ($1.96) / month (£43.94/$54.98 up front for 28 months)

Final verdict:

Apps look slightly dated by modern standards, but PIA is still a decent option if you’re looking for an affordable alternative to the likes of Surfshark and CyberGhost. There’s an abundance of servers to pick from, even if connection speeds leave a little to be desired.

Read our full Private Internet Access VPN review.

Mullvad: best VPN for anonymity ★★★½

Mullvad VPN logo

  • Number of servers: 650+
  • Server locations: 41 countries
  • Number of devices supported: Five
  • Operating systems and browsers supported: Android, MacOS, iOS, Windows, Linux, Chromebook, routers
  • Cancellation policy: 30-day money back guarantee
  • Pricing: €5

Simple pricing
Multiple advanced privacy and security features
Audited no-logs policy
No streaming support
Fewer servers to pick from

Why we recommend Mullvad:

Mullvad is a specialised service that helps to improve online privacy and security. For instance, it doesn’t ask for any information that will identify the user, while it allows for anonymous payments via cryptocurrencies, or by sending cash directly to its offices. Speeds are impressive via local servers, and it’s packed with advanced privacy and security features. 

If you’re interested in anonymity above all else, Mullvad is a clear contender as the best VPN to get the job done. 

What to expect from Mullvad:

Let’s start with a few negatives. Downsides include a lack of reliable streaming support, so you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re hoping to use a VPN to access content safely. For example, I’ve tried it with BBC iPlayer numerous times, but it was impossible to access the service no matter which UK server I selected. Only five simultaneous devices is another flaw, even if that should still be enough for the average user.

Speed test results

Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)Latency (ping)Percentage of base download speedPercentage of base upload speed
No VPN409.81265.044
UK to UK418.6293.8754.67102%35%
UK to US251.1929.1716761%11%
UK to Aus69.405.93203.3317%2%

Date tested: 16/02/24

Mullvad key features:

  • Privacy and security: there’s no doubt that Mullvad deserves top marks when it comes to privacy and security. Transparency goes a long way to build trust, and the service is open and honest in terms of its own capabilities. Open-source apps are packed with privacy features, and it has been audited on multiple occasions. Mullvad is headquartered in Sweden, and it’s possible to sign up anonymously. This includes no email address, as you’ll simply be assigned with a random account number.  

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Speeds and performance: Mullvad is remarkably consistent in terms of local connections, even if there are fewer servers to pick from. The same can’t be said for Australian servers, which slowed to a crawl during testing. 

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: look elsewhere if you’re hoping for any significant streaming support. Mullvad can’t be used with many platforms, but the entire network is optimised for P2P.  

(Rating:) 1/5

  • Servers and compatibility: with only 650+ servers to pick from in 41+ countries, Mullvad’s network is far smaller than many of the alternatives listed above. Regardless, speeds are impressive, and the provider is compatible with a long list of devices and operating systems. A limit of five simultaneous devices per account is a downside, and could be improved upon considering it’s the lowest number on this list.

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Pricing and support: personally, I think that Mullvad’s simple pricing is a breath of fresh air, especially when compared to the convoluted plans and multiple tiers that are found elsewhere. The price is the same no matter how long you sign up for, and hasn’t changed since the service was launched in 2009. That’s a solid commitment, although a flat rate also means that you won’t see the significant savings seen elsewhere if you’re sticking with a VPN long term. On the other hand, it’s a cheaper option if you’re only in need of coverage for a short period of time. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Additional features: Mullvad comes with a DNS content blocker, IPv6 support, and many additional features designed to protect the user. A lack of port forwarding is one flaw, especially as support was withdrawn in July 2023. However, a long list of advanced features make Mullvad a viable option for anyone aiming to improve privacy and anonymity. 

(Rating:) 5/5

Overall score: 21/30

Final verdict:

Mullvad ticks many boxes, especially if you’re interested in online privacy above all else. I tend to use it for browsing, working, and anything that doesn’t involve accessing streaming sites and geo-restricted services. It’s the best VPN if you’re in need of a trustworthy, anonymous provider, and it’s also suitable if you’d like to pay a low price for coverage over a short period of time. However, there are cheaper options available, and many alternative VPNs offer a more well-rounded service.

Read our Mullvad review to find out more.

Windscribe: speedy free VPN servers ★★★½

windscribe vpn app on multiple devices

  • 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
    Windscribe 1 month


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


Not independently audited Headquartered in Canada

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

Why we recommend Windscribe:

Windscribe has built up a decent reputation over the past decade; and a large user base swears by its free tier. Speeds are excellent, and it’s capable of accessing lots of streaming platforms. Monthly subscriptions are relatively affordable, and you’ll be able to connect with unlimited devices. 

What to expect from Windscribe:

It does the basics well. Windscribe’s kill switch automatically disconnects users if 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. Aiming to port users over from the free tier, speeds are some of the fastest I saw during testing.

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

  • Privacy and security: Windscribe says it follows a strict no-logs policy – although this has not been independently verified – and its VPN uses AES-256 encryption. However, the company is headquartered in Canada, which is another Five Eyes country. Given it hasn’t been audited, Windscribe might not be the best option if you’d prefer a more robust security package.

(Rating:) 2/5

  • Speeds and performance: it’s fair to say that Windscribe impressed me during testing, with a selection of speedy servers to pick from in multiple locations. UK and US speeds were comparable to having no VPN connected, and that’s all you can ask for in terms of performance.  

(Rating:) 5/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: you’ll be able to access various services with Windscribe, whether it’s a platform in the UK, the US, Canada, or elsewhere. You can also use the VPN for P2P activities, excluding servers in India, Lithuania, Russia, South Africa, and Bosnia. This is in an effort to adhere to local laws regarding torrenting and P2P traffic. Windscribe also supports port forwarding. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Servers and compatibility: Windscribe is another VPN that doesn’t clearly label the number of servers you’ll find. Once again, I got in contact with the support team (bot), who said; “Windscribe does not publicly disclose the exact number of individual servers. We focus on the quality and the geographic diversity of our server locations to ensure the best performance for our users.” In any case, it’s not a great result, while servers in 69 countries are on the low side for this list. At least you’ll be able to connect with an unlimited number of devices at the same time, with apps for every operating system and browser you can think of. However, Windscribe makes it clear that plans are meant for personal use, and you’re not supposed to share an account with others. 

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Pricing and support: a free tier is notable, even if you’ll be capped at 10GB of data per month, and that’s if you confirm an email address. Unfortunately, while monthly paid plans are slightly lower than average, you’ll find that there’s better value to be had elsewhere if you’re willing to sign up for 12 months or longer. Then there’s the money-back guarantee. Three days might not be enough to test the service, while ‘you must have used less than 10GB on the paid plan’ to be eligible. In other words, it’s easy to be caught out by the data cap, and it’s not especially consumer friendly. 

(Rating:) 2/5

  • Additional features: Complementing what I’ve already mentioned above, you’ll be able to get a static IP address for an extra monthly fee. Windscribe has access to residential IP addresses in the US and Canada, which may be helpful for some expats or travellers. 

(Rating:) 3/5

Overall score: 19/30

Subscription Term Price
Monthly $9 (£7.19) / month
12 months $5.75 (£4.60) / month ($69/£55.15 up front)
Build a plan From $3 (£2.40) / month

Final verdict:

Windscribe is undeniably speedy, while potential users are likely to be tempted if they test out the free tier first. Unlimited devices and streaming access are always helpful, but the lack of an audited logging policy leaves a lot to be desired. As such, it misses out on a spot on our list of the best VPNs available right now.

Read our full Windscribe VPN review.

PrivadoVPN: affordable with fast server speeds ★★★½

privadovpn app on multiple devices

  • 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
    PrivadoVPN 12 month
    PrivadoVPN 1 month


Headquartered in Switzerland Reasonably priced AES-256 encryption


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)

Why we recommend PrivadoVPN:

PrivadoVPN is ideal if you’re in need of a low-cost streaming VPN, offering a decent selection of servers, along with impressive speeds. A free tier with a 10GB data cap can be used to test it out with a range of geo-restricted services, and the provider is based in Switzerland. There are some downsides to consider, but it’s a solid up-and-comer. 

What to expect from PrivadoVPN:

PrivadoVPN offers streaming access, an ad-blocker, a kill switch, split tunnelling, and a SOCKS5 proxy. However, when compared with some of the alternatives 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. I did find that Privado’s apps were easy to use but some features aren’t available for all devices. Speeds were impressive, with results that match up to the very best in the business. 

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

PrivadoVPN key features:

  • Privacy and security: despite the name, privacy in one area in which PrivadoVPN comes up short. It does have a no-logs policy, but it has yet to have been independently audited for added peace of mind. I got in contact with the provider a few months ago to see if there were any plans for an upcoming audit in the pipeline, but there was no news as of yet. PrivadoVPN is based in Switzerland, and comes with solid AES-256 encryption, IP leak protection, and a range of secure protocols to pick from. 

(Rating:) 2/5

  • Speeds and performance: Privado is capable of blistering speeds from local servers, and exceeded the baseline while connected to a location within the UK. That’s a great result, especially as PrivadoVPN is a cut-price option. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: streaming tends to be a strong point for PrivadoVPN, even if you’re using its free servers. Of course, free locations do come with a data limit, capped at 10GB of data per month. PrivadoVPN allows for torrenting across its network, and you’ll be able to make use of its impressive download and upload speeds while connected. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Servers and compatibility: a total of 800+ servers is a small selection, with coverage in 49 countries. Fewer servers doesn’t necessarily indicate a subpar service. For instance, PrivadoVPN has a smaller network than every other provider on this list bar Mullvad, but speeds were still on the faster side during testing. However, PrivadoVPN doesn’t include server numbers openly on its website, and I had to get in touch with support to confirm. You’ll find apps for iOS and Android, along with support for routers, Windows, Linux, MacOS, Chrome, and Firefox. 10 simultaneous devices should be enough for the average user.  

(Rating:) 2/5

  • Pricing and support: a cheap option if you’re signing up for 12 months or more, customers can also try the service before committing to a paid plan with its 30-day money-back guarantee. The same goes for the free tier, albeit with a data cap that will run out quickly. As for customer support, there’s a ticketing system, and you’ll be able to talk to support staff directly on its website. I got an instant response when I got in touch to confirm current server numbers, and it was a pleasantly transparent conversation compared to some of the more established providers seen above. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Additional features: the free version of PrivadoVPN is one of the more notable extras, giving users a taster with no need for a financial commitment. Privado Control Tower is an ad and malware blocker, while it also allows the user to set parental controls, such as blocking social media platforms. We’ve mentioned that it comes with a kill switch and split tunnelling, so it’s a decent feature set, if nothing special. 

(Rating:) 3/5

Overall score: 19/30

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.99 ($13.75) / month
12 months £2.50 ($3.13) / month (£30/$37.54 up front)
24 months £1.99 ($2.49) / month (£47.76/$59.76 up front)

Final verdict:

PrivadoVPN is ideal for beginners thanks to easy-to-use apps and simple privacy features. A decent free VPN tier has helped the service to garner a substantial user base, and it continues to improve over time. However, for any users looking for the best VPN service, this provider might not be a good fit, despite the impressive speeds on offer. It lacks an audited logging policy, while server locations are few and far between.

Read our full PrivadoVPN review.

IPVanish ★★★½

ipvanish app on multiple devices


  • 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: £2.14/month
    IPVanish 12 months: £2.92/month
    IPVanish 1 month: £10.49/month


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


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)

Why we recommend IPVanish:

One of the more powerful providers on the market, IPVanish should definitely be in the mix if you’re looking for the best VPN in terms of connection speeds and US coverage. It can be used with unlimited devices, comes with an audited no-logs policy, and it’s capable of accessing a wide range of streaming services with no hassle. 

What to expect from IPVanish:

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

As for positives, IPVanish is nippy no matter which server you select. This makes it another solid solution for tasks like torrenting, as you’ll never have to worry about significant slowdown while connected to the provider.

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

IPVanish key features:

  • Privacy and security: Leviathan Security Group audited IPVanish’s no-log policy back in 2022, although the service is based in the United States. As with the UK, there are better options from a jurisdictional perspective. With no anonymous payment methods, there are also better options available in terms of hiding your identity. IPVanish uses AES 256-bit encryption, and offers DNS leak protection as standard.

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Speeds and performance: impressive speeds tend to be a hallmark for IPVanish, having been a core feature over the years. At the current time of writing, a number of competing providers have caught up, or offer even faster speeds. Even so, IPVanish is reliable, and can be trusted for more intensive online tasks. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Streaming and torrenting: on that note, IPVanish works well 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. Given it’s a US-centric service, it’s capable of accessing lots of platforms in the region without breaking a sweat. The same goes for the UK, having no issue with services like BBC iPlayer and ITV X during my tests. IPVanish offers support for P2P across its network. 

(Rating:) 4/5

  • Servers and compatibility: 2,400+ VPN servers in 90 locations is a decent selection to pick from, even if it pales in comparison to many of the alternatives seen above. This includes coverage in all 50 US states. In any case, IPVanish does have impressive speeds, while you’ll find apps for every popular desktop and mobile device you can think of. Unlimited simultaneous connections is another plus, so you won’t have to worry about any restrictions. 

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Pricing and support: monthly subscriptions are relatively expensive, while the price drops for longer deals, but not enough to consider IPVanish as a true budget VPN. As such, it’s hard to recommend if you’re looking for the best premium option, especially compared to our top picks mentioned above. IPVanish also has a seven-day free trial which is available on iOS and Android devices, which is a great way to test it out for yourself at no risk.

(Rating:) 3/5

  • Additional features: IPVanish is missing out on some of the more advanced features seen above, including port forwarding and MultiHop servers. As a package deal, it’s not a bad result, but the selection of extras pales in comparison to some of the best VPN alternatives listed above. As such, it ends up with a middling score, but it might be good enough depending on your needs. 

(Rating:) 2/5

Overall score: 19/30

Subscription Term Price
Monthly £10.49 ($13.13) / month
12 months £2.92 ($3.65) / month (£34.99/$43.78 up front)
24 months £2.14 ($2.68) / month (£51.32/$64.22 up front)

Final verdict:

IPVanish may lack some of the bells and whistles seen elsewhere, but it’s still a capable audited service with a lot to offer. Unlimited devices, streaming support, and fast speeds across its network are clear positives, although it is pricey, and ideally it wouldn’t be based in the United States for privacy reasons.
Read our full IPVanish review to find out more.

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.


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.


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)
Proton VPN418.21245.62356.76244.17315.9835.95215.4430.88
Atlas VPN420.48319.38230.3470.97239.159.8868.026.19

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 
Proton VPN85%99%76%15%52%13%
Atlas VPN55%22%57%3%16%2%

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 £6.79 /Month
£6.79 /Month
CyberGhost 2 year £1.78 /Month
£1.78 /Month
Proton 2 year £4.26 /Month
£4.26 /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 £4.60 /Month
£4.60 /Month
IPVanish 2 year £2.92 /Month
£2.92 /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.


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.