Vpnetic: Best VPN Data and Statistics 2022 🎖️

Best VPN

A VPN is a simple way to ensure that everything you do in your digital life is encrypted and anonymized, which is especially important at a time when it feels like you’re being tracked and monitored more than ever.
The best VPN services, on the other hand, are more than just a security tool. Because they can effectively make your device think it is in a different place, they have quickly become an essential piece of software for anyone looking to get around internet censorship and geographic restrictions.
Read the rest of this article to learn everything you need to know about VPNs or take a look at the current rankings of VPN services by our expert Per-Erik. This list is based on real user data, company transparency, and the performance/price of the VPN.


BEST VPN SERVICES OF 2022

#
VPN SERVICE
DISCOUNT
FEATURES
VISIT
1
NordVPN Logo
60%
DISCOUNT

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • Fastest VPN
  • Servers: 5300+
  • Countries: 60+

WHY I LIKE NORDVPN: NordVPN has long been regarded as one of the strongest brands in cybersecurity. With one of the largest server offerings on my list and support for most, if not all operating systems, making NordVPN an obvious choice for many. They have 24/7 customer support if you need help getting started. Their app is one of the most well-designed apps I have ever used. NordVPN even accepts cryptocurrencies as payment for extra anonymity.

2
Private Internet Access VPN Logo
83%
DISCOUNT

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • Best Netflix VPN
  • Servers: 35500+
  • Countries: 84+

WHY I LIKE PIA VPN: PrivateInternetAccess is at the top of my streaming tests, which is a great combination with their easy-to-use UI, Open-Source software and built in adblocker. PIA is also perfect for those who want to be able to pay with PayPal which for some reason, many other VPN services do not support. 30-day money-back guarantee, multiple Netflix libraries, and extremely affordable are the three main selling points for this VPN service.

3
Surfshark logo
81%
DISCOUNT

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • Best cheap VPN
  • Servers: 3200+
  • Countries: 65+

WHY I LIKE SURFSHARK: Surfshark VPN is perfect for those who want a cheap and reliable VPN that also has many extra features. "Camouflage Mode" hides your usage from your ISP, "Kill Switch" suspends your connection and protects your information if you temporarily lose Internet access, "MultiHop" to connect from multiple countries at the same time just to name a few. My favorite feature of Surfshark is "Whitelists" which allow the user to exclude specific apps and programs from the VPN connection.

4
Cyberghost VPN Logo
82%
DISCOUNT

45 day money-back guarantee.

  • Best torrent VPN
  • Servers: 7400+
  • Countries: 91+

WHY I LIKE CYBERGHOST: CyberGhost VPN is the first choice of many other cybersecurity experts, and the reason is clear; they have the most complete VPN service. An incredible number of extra features that are best suited for the more advanced users but also work flawlessly for every-day purposes like P2P-filesharing. Cyberghost VPN also has the longest stretching money-back guarantee at a full 45 days.

5
Atlas VPN Logo
86%
DISCOUNT

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • Incredibly cheap VPN
  • Servers: 700+
  • Countries: 27+

WHY I LIKE ATLAS VPN: Atlas VPN is one of the best new free VPN services. With the free version, you get unlimited data, no ads and zero logging. During my speed tests, Atlas VPN performed very well and could compete with mainstream services. Kill Switch, Ad-blocker, and P2P support all included with a regular subscription, which is incredibly cheap for such a robust service.

6
ProtonVPN Logo
33%
DISCOUNT

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • Best free VPN
  • Servers: 1713+
  • Countries: 63+

WHY I LIKE PROTONVPN: ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland and is most known for their e-mail service ProtonMail. They currently offer the safest free VPN services on the market. There is also support for TOR usage and P2P file sharing. I highly recommend ProtonVPN if you are intending to do some extensive online sharing. It goes without saying that Proton does not collect logs of any kind and is completely safe to use.

7
PrivateVPN Logo
82%
DISCOUNT

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • Best gaming VPN
  • Servers: 200+
  • Countries: 63+

WHY I LIKE PRIVATEVPN: PrivateVPN is the strong underdog in the world of VPNs. With a shy number of servers, it is evident that they are focusing on quality over quantity. Overall, PrivateVPN is a very decent choice of VPN, especially if you had enough of the excessive advertising by some of the other more known brands in this list. Setting up the VPN requires extremely little intervention, and you can even pay with Bitcoin.

8
ExpressVPN Logo
49%
DISCOUNT

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • Best Android VPN
  • Servers: 3000+
  • Countries: 94+

WHY I LIKE EXPRESSVPN: ExpressVPN is one of the fastest and most reliable VPN services. With the 30-day money-back guarantee, you will have a fair chance to see if you are happy with the service. They support almost every device and OS out there, and their 24/7 customer support is the best I have experienced among all the VPNs in this list. The only pitfall that ExpressVPN has is the price. It is double the price as some of the other services in this list. Despite that, I strongly believe ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services you can get.

9
OVPN Logo
68%
DISCOUNT

10 day money-back guarantee.

  • Best reputation
  • Servers: 91+
  • Countries: 17+

WHY I LIKE OVPN: OVPN is the best alternative for people who expect heavy security from their VPN provider. No other operator has the same level of physical security that OVPN has. All their servers operate without any type of storing media, which would otherwise log information. One selling point that really stands out, is their insurance. They go out of their way to protect their customers by having insurance so that when some government requests documents, they will have the resources needed to fight the claim in court.

10
Hotspot Shield VPN Logo
77%
DISCOUNT

45 day money-back guarantee.

  • Fastest free VPN
  • Servers: 3200+
  • Countries: 80+

WHY I LIKE HOTSPOT SHIELD: Protect your personal information from hackers, snoopers, and ISPs with the fastest free VPN of 2021. That is right, the crown for fastest free VPN has already been claimed by Hotspot Shield, supported by multiple speed tests around the web, including my own. While their premium VPN service is one of the more expensive ones, the free version is good enough for people who just cannot pay for a VPN service, but still value their online privacy.

 


A VPN is an excellent solution to preserve your online privacy and secure your digital data. The best VPNs may also prevent your internet service provider from throttling your traffic and boost your personal safety by making it more difficult for public and private organizations to access your browsing and search history. A VPN may also let you access content that is blocked in your area, giving you more options for what to watch online.

This is how it works: a VPN, or virtual private network, secures your device’s connection to the internet. This encrypted connection gives you an extra layer of security, which is important if you send or receive sensitive information over the internet.

On the other hand, finding the best VPN for your requirements might be difficult. Over the last several years, a rush of VPN services has entered the market, bringing both advantages and cons. On the one hand, the abundance of low-cost VPN solutions presently accessible means that no matter how casual or important your privacy requirements are, there is a VPN service to meet them.

Virtual private networks are conveniently simple to use. Simply hit the Connect button, and a secure encrypted connection will be established between your device and the VPN server within a few seconds. This will ensure that you remain protected and anonymous even while utilizing the most dangerous types of public Wi-Fi.

But since there are hundreds of virtual private networks (VPNs), selecting the finest one might seem like a problem. That’s why we’re here to assist. In this post, we will provide you with further information on the operation of VPNs, as well as what you can do with them, how to choose a reputable service, and which providers now offer the finest VPNs available.

NordVPN

NordVPN Website Test

NordVPN has worked hard since its debut in 2008 to establish a reputation as a reliable and speedy VPN service with high privacy standards. In this review of NordVPN, it gets high marks for streaming because it usually gets past Netflix’s VPN defenses. This means that NordVPN’s customers can get all the benefits of a proxy network while still being able to watch American Netflix.

Pros

  • Great speed and performance.
  • Apps that are easy to use on most devices
  • Solid security features that have been checked by someone else
  • It allows streaming sites to work.
  • Helpful customer service.
  • A reasonable price.
  • Money-back guarantee for 30 days

Cons

  • The Linux client doesn’t have a graphical user interface.
  • There is no router app.
  • Static IP addresses
  • Customer service is hard to reach.
  • The iOS kill switch doesn’t turn off all of them.
  • Support for torrenting is limited.

Pricing

  • One-month plan: This plan allows you to use NordVPN for one month and is great if you want to give this VPN a try. This plan costs $11.99 per month.
  • Plan for one year: With this plan, you can use NordVPN for one year. Only $4.99 a month will get you this.
  • Two-year plan: You can get this subscription for 24 months if you want to use NordVPN for even longer. This subscription has a big discount and costs $3.29 per month. This discount is only good for a certain amount of time. Once the countdown is over, the price for one year goes up to $99.48.

There are several ways to pay for NordVPN. You can use a credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, ACH Transfer, or UnionPay to pay for your subscription. Lastly, you can also choose to pay with Bitcoin, Ripple, or Monero, which are all types of cryptocurrencies.

Servers and Locations

NordVPN has 5155 servers in 60 countries. As opposed to many other VPN providers, they also have specialty servers.

There are some specialty servers that offer a double VPN connection for extra safety. Double VPN connections route traffic through two VPN servers instead of one. Essentially, your data is encrypted twice instead of the usual one. It’s a bit slower, but ideal for maximum privacy.

PrivateInternetAccess VPN

PrivateInternetAccess PIA VPN Website Screenshot Review

Private Internet Access is the place to go if you want one of the cheaper providers. Private Internet Access has been in business since 2010, and it now has 110 simultaneous connections, a kill switch, and a 30-day refund period.

But even with these clear benefits, there are still some worries. PIA isn’t the fastest VPN out there, as it’s slower than some other major providers. It’s also not the best for streaming, as it can’t connect to some of the biggest streaming sites.

Pros

  • Excellent for downloading torrents.
  • All clients have a kill switch.
  • Ways to pay without being seen
  • Complete Linux application
  • Money-back guarantee for 30 days

Cons

  • No independent audit.
  • Based on a country with Five Eyes.

Pricing

With every plan, you get the same features. The only difference is how long your subscription is, which affects the price.

The two-year plan costs only $2.03 a month, or $79 for the whole duration of the subscription. This is the best deal. You will also get two more months for free.

If you buy a yearly subscription, it will cost you $3.33 a month or $39.95 a year. The most expensive plan is a one-month plan that costs $9.95. The monthly plan is, as usual, the most expensive.

Private Internet Access VPN doesn’t have a free trial, which is too bad. On the other hand, you can get your money back within 30 days if you decide that PIA is not for you.

Private Internet Access VPN lets you pay with a few different credit cards, gift cards, PayPal, and a large number of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.

Servers and Locations

PrivateInternetAccess provides 30000+ VPN as well as proxy servers in 78 countries. The servers are spread throughout Europe, South America, North America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Oceania.

Because physical servers are not permitted in certain countries for regulatory reasons, a tiny portion of the servers is virtual. Virtual servers keep working as if you were in the country you chose, but they may be more likely to give away the fact that you are using a VPN server.

Surfshark VPN

Surfshark VPN Criticism

Despite having a smaller network than others, Surfshark’s VPN service makes up for it with features and speed. Let’s begin with the most prominent feature it provides: limitless device compatibility. You don’t have to be concerned about how many devices you have on or connected if you want to operate your whole house or workplace on Surfshark’s VPN. As part of its software, it also provides ad blocking, anti-malware, and tracker blocking.

The company offers a wide variety of app support, including compatibility with Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Fire TV, and routers. Through DNS settings, other devices, such as gaming consoles, may be set up to support Surfshark. My favorite feature is the one that lets you whitelist certain websites and applications to use without the VPN.

Pros

  • There is a lot to offer.
  • Affordable
  • Good speeds.
  • Helpful customer support.
  • Guaranteed safety
  • All major streaming providers are unblocked.

Cons

  • In the U.S, speeds vary a lot.
  • The site could record IP addresses.
  • Not all servers allow you to use torrents.

Pricing

Surfshark doesn’t have a one-year plan like many other VPN providers. Its best deal is a two-year plan for $2.49 a month, for which you pay about $60 up front. A plan for 12 months costs $3.99 a month and requires about $48 upfront. A plan for one month costs $12.95 a month. Take advantage of the service’s generous 30-day trial to see if you like it. If you choose the two-year plan, you might want to set a reminder for 23 months to see if you can still get a discount from Surfshark.

Servers and Locations

Surfshark has over 3,200 servers dispersed over 140 server locations in 95 countries, which is potentially the most remarkable server spread out there. The Surfshark server network is made up of RAM-only machines that cannot store your connection records. The majority of its places are actual, while others are virtual. The network covers a large area, and works well even in places like South America and Africa that are often forgotten.

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost Advantages and Disadvantages

CyberGhost is one of the most popular VPN service providers. It lets the user download torrents and access most of the most popular online streaming services, like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. CyberGhost also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, a dedicated IP address, specialized servers, and the WireGuard protocol.

Pros

  • Extremely fast speeds
  • Seven connections can be made at the same time.
  • Help with live chat
  • Zero logs
  • Servers all over the world.
  • Most streaming sites are unblocked.
  • WireGuard tunneling protocol
  • Dedicated servers
  • Browser Add-on
  • 1 day for free
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Accepts cryptocurrencies

Cons

  • When used in China or the UAE, it doesn’t work very well.
  • Routers don’t have apps.
  • The parent company has a bad name.
  • There is no way to allow for local networking.
  • No audits by a third party.
  • Unintuitive Linux clients
  • Some connections fail.
  • A few bugs exist in apps.

Pricing

CyberGhost’s monthly plan costs $12.99 per month. Comparatively, that’s about the same price per month as ExpressVPN, which is a premium VPN that costs a lot. It’s one of the best cheap VPNs because longer subscriptions get a big discount, which makes it one of the best cheap VPNs.

With an annual plan, the price drops to $47.40 per year or $3.95 per month. This is about the same as Surfshark, another good VPN. But if you want to get the most for your money, the $2.15 per month plan is your best bet. This is for a three-year plan plus three months if you’re willing to commit to those three years.

Servers and Locations

CyberGhost has more than 8,000 servers in more than 114 locations in 91 different countries. You’d be hard-pressed to find a VPN with a better mix of a wide range of servers and a large number of servers.

Most of CyberGhost’s servers are in 49 different European countries. There are servers in more than 17 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In Africa and South America, there are servers in six countries each. Each of South America and the Middle East has five countries with servers.

Atlas VPN

AtlasVPN Speed Test

Atlas VPN is the best VPN that you can use for free. The free version has strong security features, doesn’t have any ads, and doesn’t keep any logs. The premium plans, on the other hand, are very cheap, making this a great VPN for people on a budget.

It is also based in the United States and uses the WireGuard tunneling protocol, which is the next generation. It has more than 750 servers in 37 different countries and a kill switch. The WireGuard tunneling protocol makes it possible for AtlasVPN to offer fast speeds. At the moment, it’s only available on Windows and Android, but the provider is likely to add it to macOS and iOS soon.

Pros

  • The free version doesn’t require any payment details.
  • It is compatible with US Netflix and other movie streaming services.
  • WireGuard has fast speeds.
  • All servers allow P2P traffic.
  • One of the least expensive VPNs.

Cons

  • Apps are simple and can’t be changed.
  • A small network of servers
  • Streaming doesn’t work with the free version.
  • American-based (Five Eyes country)
  • No add-ons for the browser.
  • The policy on logging hasn’t been checked.

Pricing

Atlas VPN has three paid plans besides the free one: a monthly plan, a one-year plan, and a three-year plan. The monthly plan still costs $10.99, which is high for VPNs. Prices go down a lot with the one-year and three-year plans, though. The monthly cost for the one-year plan is $3.29, and the monthly cost for the three-year plan is $1.99. You can pay with a credit card, Google Pay, or PayPal. Atlas VPN also accepts payments in cryptocurrency.

Servers and Locations

The service provider has more than 750 servers in 36 countries and 42 different places. The vendor does a lot of business in Europe, but it also does business in places like Asia, the Americas, and Oceania. Unfortunately, it ignores places like Africa that don’t get enough help. If all goes well, Atlas VPN should be able to add more servers in the future. All Atlas VPN servers are physical, which is a bright spot.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN Privacy and Reputation

Proton Technologies AG owns and runs ProtonVPN. Its main office is in Geneva, Switzerland. ProtonVPN is related to ProtonMail, which is a secure email service made to protect activists, journalists, and other people around the world.

In 2014, a group of scientists, engineers, and developers in Geneva started Proton. They all wanted to do the same thing, which was to protect civil liberties online. Together, they made ProtonMail, a service for sending encrypted emails that have 20 million users. ProtonVPN came afterward, and it was made as an extra layer of privacy protection.

Proton VPN is a safe VPN service with fast servers and good security features. Netflix also works with the VPN. But Proton VPN doesn’t have browser add-ons and doesn’t offer live chat support around the clock. All in all, Proton VPN comes recommended to people who care about their privacy and security.

Pros

  • Free version
  • It allows streaming services, like Netflix, to work.
  • It supports torrenting and is easy to use. Open-source apps are available.
  • Money-back guarantee for 30 days

Cons

  • Premium pricing
  • Most features are not on the Mac version.
  • Response times from customer service can be slower.

Pricing

The Plus plan can be bought once a month, once a year, or once every two years. The monthly package for Proton VPN costs $9.99, but if you buy it annually, you can save 40% and pay only $5.99. The two-year plan costs $4.99 per month, representing a 50% savings over the two years.

Servers and Locations

Proton VPN has more than 1,500 servers in over 60 countries. The important thing to know is that the number of servers you can connect to depends on the plan you have. Europe, Asia, and the Americas are the best places to find servers. Users who don’t pay can only connect to servers in Japan, the Netherlands, and the US. So, you get some coverage, but all of the options for people in South Africa are bad. It’s also the only plan without peer-to-peer servers.

The Proton VPN Plus and Visionary plan both give you access to all servers in 63 countries. The Basic plan, on the other hand, only lets you use 400+ servers. Only Plus and Visionary subscribers will be able to use servers with unique features like Secure Core VPN and TOR over VPN.

PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN doesn’t get enough credit. This VPN is great, and you can try it for free for 7 days. PrivateVPN has features that will help keep you safe and make your browsing experience pleasant. It’s great for torrenting because it has both an HTTP proxy and a SOCKS5 proxy. Also, streaming services won’t cause you to stress by limiting the content you want to watch. The app is easy to use and will give you strong protection. One of the best things about PrivateVPN’s apps is how easy they are to use. They’re easy to use and get around. They don’t come with a lot of extra software. They connect quickly and are very stable.

The speeds of PrivateVPN aren’t that great, and there are certainly VPNs that are faster. One reason for this could be that the WireGuard protocol, which provides strong security and some of the fastest speeds, is not being used.

Pros

  • 7-day risk-free trial
  • It unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more websites.
  • Excellent for torrenting.
  • Quick connections
  • 10 concurrent connections.
  • User-friendly
  • Encryption that is customizable

Cons

  • A limited server fleet
  • Unappealing mobile applications
  • There is no split tunneling.

Pricing

Overall, PrivateVPN’s prices are fair and a good deal for a middle-of-the-road VPN. Even though the monthly plan is a bit more expensive than most VPNs, the three-month and annual plans are better deals. The monthly PrivateVPN package costs $9.99, but if you pay three years in advance, the monthly cost drops by 85% to $2.00. There is also a $6 per month plan for three months.

Servers and Locations

Only about 80 servers were in PrivateVPN’s network, which was spread out over 61 countries. Even though it has enough locations to satisfy most users, it is still not as good as many of its competitors.

But the number of servers per location is even worse than the overall lack of servers.

Hopefully, PrivateVPN has plans to grow its network soon, but the fact that it has shrunk recently suggests otherwise.

In comparison, CyberGhost has a very large server network. It has a huge network with about 7,800 servers in 112 locations in 90 different countries.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the finest VPN services available. It’s a quick and safe solution that will get you into Netflix and other streaming services while keeping your data safe from prying eyes.

This VPN includes over 3,000 VPN servers spread over 160 sites in 94 countries, military-grade encryption, and a slew of other features. This service, based in the British Virgin Islands, has a rigorous no-logs policy. It’s also not a member of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes Alliances, so your data is safe and records of your real IP address, outgoing VPN IP address, connection timestamp, and session length are kept secret.

ExpressVPN’s services come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a month-to-month option if you don’t want to commit to a longer-term contract. The monthly service fee is $12.95, and a 12-month plan saves you 35%.

Split tunneling is a sophisticated feature provided with ExpressVPN’s service that enables you to send part of your traffic via the VPN and the rest over a direct channel to the internet. ExpressVPN also gives you unlimited bandwidth and a “kill switch” to keep your data safe even if your connection drops.

Pros

  • RAM-Only Servers that are Extremely Secure and User-Friendly
  • Supports Multiple Devices with No Significant Slowdowns
  • A free trial period of 30 Days

Cons

  • A little expensive.
  • There are no other features.
  • There is no support for torrenting or streaming.

Pricing

The starting monthly fee is $12.95. However, like with virtually other VPNs, long-term subscriptions save you a lot of money. A year costs roughly $100, which isn’t bad, but there are more cost-effective options out there. ExpressVPN accepts PayPal, credit cards, WebMoney, regional payment systems, and cryptocurrency as payment methods.

Servers and Locations

ExpressVPN offers over 3,000 servers in 160 VPN server locations across 94 countries. Whether you’re in New York or Delhi, you’ll have a VPN server nearby.

Also, all server locations support OpenVPN with UDP at the very least, and many of them support all of ExpressVPN’s protocols.

There are several VPN providers available, each with a large number of servers. However, ExpressVPN’s geographical variety is what stands out the most. It covers the world’s media hubs, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and practically all European nations. But ExpressVPN is different from other VPNs because it has servers in South America, the Middle East, and Africa.

OVPN

OVPN

OVPN is a Swedish VPN created by the same firm that created the Vilfo VPN router. It is a safe VPN that offers dependable service at acceptable speeds. In fact, given that it was created in 2014, it is exceptionally well-rounded.

Custom programs are available for all PCs and provide incredibly strong encryption. Furthermore, this VPN guarantees to keep no records. As a consequence, this VPN is excellent for increasing online privacy. While it lacks split tunneling (which Smart TV users may miss), it does include port forwarding, making it an excellent choice for torrents.

To be sure, OVPN offers fewer server locations than many of its comparable-priced rivals. It does, however, have servers in areas where most people are likely to need them. Perhaps the only drawback is the price of a membership, which seems a little expensive for what you receive.

Pros

  • A strict no-logging policy
  • There is very little speed decrease after installation
  • Excellent encryption
  • Kill switch
  • Multi-hop and dedicated IP solutions are available.
  • Streaming servers have been optimized.
  • Very transparent
  • Provides a high level of anonymity.

Cons

  • This VPN is not presently compatible with Netflix.
  • There are just a few servers and server locations.
  • There is no 24-hour live chat.
  • Fairly costly (comparatively).
  • When utilizing the IPv6 protocol and multi-hop, the location might vary.

Pricing

A one-month membership to OVPN costs $11, which is very typical for a single-month VPN subscription. Subscribing for six months cuts the cost to $6.99 per month and gives you access to the multi-hop option.

Finally, prospective members may subscribe for a year, which decreases the cost to the lowest accessible price: $59.88 per year (the equivalent of $4.99 per month). Compared to other services, the price is slightly more expensive for what you receive.

Location and Servers

According to its website, OVPN offers 90 servers in 17 locations across the globe. According to the figures stated in the OVPN transparency reports, this seems to be a big enough server network to support the bandwidth that the OVPN network receives. However, 17 nations are not a large number.

Hotspot Shield VPN

HotSpot Shield VPN

In 2008, Hotspot Shield, a VPN service based in the US and run by AnchorFree in California, came out as a free VPN. Since then, its service has been split into two products: a free service and a paid VPN called Hotspot Shield Premium. More than 600 million people all over the world have installed the VPN, which shows how popular it is on a global scale.

Most of these people use the free version, and there’s no doubt that Hotspot Shield has been a great help to people who live in areas where websites are blocked. It was the most popular VPN during the Arab Spring protests, for example.

Hotspot Shield has fast VPN speeds, a large number of servers, and easy-to-use apps. Because it logs everything, it’s not good for torrenting, and it no longer works with US Netflix. Overall, Hotspot Shield is good for general use, but you can’t use it to protect your privacy or get Netflix to work.

Pros

  • Free plan
  • Split tunneling
  • User-friendly interface
  • Pretty fast speeds

Cons

  • Collects and sells information about users
  • It is very expensive.
  • Questionable security

Pricing

With Hotspot Shield Premium, you can choose from four different plans with different lengths of time. There are the same things in each plan. As usual, a longer plan will give you the most value for your money.

A plan for 12 months costs a reasonable $7.99 per month, but a plan for three years costs just $2.99 per month, which is a very competitive price.

If you want to pay that way, Hotspot Shield costs $12.99 a month.

Servers and Locations

Hotspot Shield servers are in 80 different countries. There are a total of 3,200 servers, which is a lot. There are servers in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe.

VPN Definition

A Virtual Private Network creates a private network within a public network to enable devices to communicate directly with each other. Devices in a VPN, therefore, benefit from security, functionality, and management of the structure being used. This technology was created to allow employees of a corporation to access information through their mobile devices or branch offices. The connection is established using a tunneling protocol, and users have to pass authentication processes before accessing data.
In some cases, internet users use VPNs to prevent geo-blocking and censorship by the government or use proxy servers to ensure their private information is safe. Contrary to this, some websites have put stringent measures to prevent access from devices that use VPNs.

Why do I need a VPN?

Surfing the internet could put private data in jeopardy, especially if you are using unsecured networks. When signed into a local network, your device broadcasts its information on the network. A hacker can easily eavesdrop on what you are doing and can access or alter the data.

You risk exposure to your browsing habits and the sharing of private information. Therefore, VPNs should be crucial if you are concerned with your online security and privacy. The anonymity and encryption that a VPN provides protect all your online activities, including shopping, sending emails, and even paying your bills.

Moreover, your web browsing history will be anonymous.  Make a habit of using secure networks or VPNs if you are using an open system. Homes might seem to be secure from prying eyes due to low traffic. However, a hacker can get access to your trusted network if it is not adequately secured.

Furthermore, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been known to sell private information to third parties. ISPs say that the information is anonymized, and this is sometimes not the case. Having a VPN as part of your network adds another layer of security to the network. To ensure all systems work, you should add the VPN on the router since installing it on devices might cause errors to some programs. In addition to security, you will also be able to access and stream content that would have otherwise been unavailable in the country.

Working remotely is another thing that requires the safety and anonymity of data.  Sales teams, conferences, and advertising of a business can all be done with a simple click thanks to the advancement in technology. Given this simpleness of communication, security comes into play because the data and information being shared are private.

Recently, more companies have invested in the use of VPNs to help them protect information for their companies since they are accessed remotely. Such companies do need a customized VPN service due to their large-scale workforce and clients. Office servers hold proprietary data, which is only relevant to the company, and employees might need to access them remotely. With VPNs, this is possible and secure.

How a VPN Works

A VPN works through routing of a device’s internet connection through a selected VPN server rather than using your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The data transmitted comes from the server rather than your device. A VPN acts as a middleman between the computer and the internet, therefore concealing your IP address.

Moreover, the data sent is encrypted, and if by any means it is intercepted, then it is unreadable until it gets to the intended destination. Encryption is a term used to describe how the data is kept safe in transit. Only a computer with a known key can decrypt the data. Decryption is the process that is used to decode the data, which refers to making the info readable once more. In relation to real-life experience, when you enter your credit card information on a website, the data is encrypted until it gets to the destination.

Different VPN providers use a variety of encryption processes to ensure the data is secure from online hackers. However, there are three common procedures for doing this.

One: when you connect to the private network, a tunnel is used to encode your data. The data is now in an unreadable format as it moves between the server and your computer.

Two: your device acquires the same IP address as the local network of the VPN. This means your IP will be the same as the one on the VPN provider’s server.

Three: you can now browse the internet as you please without sharing your data. The effectiveness of the connection will depend on the type and protocol implemented by the VPN.

There are different VPNs in the market that you can use. Some of them include standalone VPNs, browser extensions, router VPNs, and corporate VPNs. Standalones are software that can be installed on PCs or smartphones. The application creates an encrypted connection to the private network that you can then use. Corporate VPN is an organization oriented toward its employees who work remotely. Since it is customized, it requires heavy IT resources and personal development.  Router VPNs are mostly implemented in homes and entail installing a VPN on your router.

Different Types of VPNs

VPN technology is a straightforward idea of securely connecting to trusted information through a network you don’t trust.  Tricks come in when you don’t know what type to use and in what instance.

Two basic types of VPNs are Client-Based VPN types and Network-Based VPN types.

Dynamic multipoint VPNs, and MPLS-based L3VPNs.

With these types, your network can be tailored to either voice or video traffic. This is not possible while using the internet. Moreover, the bandwidth in this scenario is much cheaper as compared to WAN. Enterprises are now adapting to VPN rather than the use of WAN due to this reason.

A Client-Based VPN is created between a single user and a remote network. Most of these networks are created by applications installable on PC or mobile devices. To start, you need to provide a username and password, which then creates a tunnel. The user will have remote access between the server and the tunnel. Examples of these types include Cisco’s AnyConnect and Pulse.

Most devices, including Windows, Mac, and mobile operating systems, have built-in client options. All these enable the users to connect to a secure tunnel from any location as long as they have an internet connection. Client-based VPNs are very secure since they scan the device that has the software installed before allowing them to the network.

Network-based VPNs connect two networks together through an unsecured network. An example is the IPsec-based WAN, where offices of a network can easily communicate with each other using IPsec tunnels. To successfully build a network tunnel, two devices must be selected to be endpoints, identify the authentication procedure between these devices, and finally choose the traffic that will be allowed to flow through the tunnel.

Policy-based VPNs can also be implemented on IPsec tunnels. Their function is to provide a crypto access list that defines the traffic flow. Use policy-based IPsec where a single tunnel is built between networks that have controlled access to resources. Such a scenario is a company doing business for another company.

Is a proxy connection a VPN?

A proxy is not a virtual private network since it lacks encryption.

A proxy will process your requests and change your IP address if desired but will not provide the security that a VPN would.

The limitations of a VPN

The few disadvantages you can experience while using a VPN are the following:

  • Slower internet connection.

While it is also common for users to circumvent ISP throttling, you will sometimes experience a slower connection when the VPN server you are connected to is overcrowded.

  • VPN-blocks.

Some streaming services (mainly Netflix) will continuously block VPN servers in order to uphold their geographic content restrictions. There are ways to get around this, mainly with an IP-refresh feature, but it is reportedly annoying to get interrupted while you are streaming.

  • Logging by VPN companies.

Some VPN operators will claim that they do not log any activity and do it anyway. There have been several examples of operators getting caught doing this, which is why it is important to do your due diligence when choosing which service to subscribe to.

There are also instances of operators selling their company and the new owners will start logging and selling information.

VPN Encryption Protocols

Now you know that VPNs assign your device a new IP address and use a tunnel to transmit data. However, not all VPNs are the same, depending on the encryption protocol being implemented.

Basically, encryption is the process of rearranging letters and numbers to encode information so that few people can have access to and understand it. In advanced stages, ciphers are used to perform the process of encryption and decryption of data. The operations of these ciphers follow a predefined number of steps depending on a provided key. Without this key, it is impossible to decrypt the data. The key length increases the security of the encryptions. Short lengths are susceptible to Brute Force Attacks. A key length of 256bit is considered a gold standard. VPN protocols are the processes and instructions followed by a VPN to ensure a secure connection between a VPN server and the client.

Commercial VPN services use different protocols.

The first one is SSL and TSL. This protocol is not specifically for VPN use, but it has been implemented in OpenVPN and HTTPS secure websites.  TSL (Transport Layer Security) was built as an improvement to the SSL (Secure Socket Layer). TSL implements a combination of public and symmetric keys to secure the network. TSL offers a secure connection, but issues usually arise in cases where a website uses one private key for sessions. If this key is compromised, then a hacker can easily get control.

Another protocol is OpenVPN, which is standard in commercial VPN providers. It can easily be configured, it is secure, and runs on almost every device. OpenVPN is open-source and its code is publicly shared. Experts can research it, fix errors, or improve it for use. This protocol implements TSL and OpenSSL protocols with other tools to create a reliable and secure connection.

It is recommended under most conditions.

Other protocols are the IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, WireGuard, and PPTP among others. PPTP is the least reliable in the list since it can easily be broken into and also obstruct. It uses the Point-to-Point Tunnelling protocol. It is advisable not to use this protocol unless it is necessary and is for non-critical use.

What does encrypt mean?

Encryption is the process of making the information unreadable for everyone who is not supposed to be able to. In order to make it readable again, you will have to de-encrypt it.

What can a VPN hide?

VPNs hide a lot of data that you share online apart from passwords. Web browsers have the ability to track and log your browsing data for easy retrieval. All this information is tied to your IP addressWithout a VPN, all this information can easily be on your network if it is not properly secured.

Reliable VPN services hide this information by changing the outgoing IP addresses. That means that the data that you search for or websites that you visit will not be shared.

Internet Service Providers are also known to share private information with third-party companies. Using a VPN will hide the information from the Internet Service Provider, keeping you safe from identity theft. IP addresses and location information is also hidden. Your location is tied to your IP address. As stated earlier, the IP address is a unique identifier to your device. VPN networks change this IP address, and therefore, the browsing data will not be tied to you since the IP is not your own.

Moreover, the location is also hidden. That means you can change the location to any place you want and access websites restricted in your country. Some VPN service providers also include your current location as one of the selectable countries. This benefits people who frequently move from one country to another. They will enjoy online content from their countries without going through too much hassle.

Devices and web activity are also hidden from the internet. These devices include desktops, laptops, and smartphones. If a cybercriminal identifies the device that you are using, there are tailored exploits that can be implemented to gain access to the device. Hiding the device using a VPN will prove difficult for such an activity.

VPNs also hide your torrenting activities. The government, as well as media companies, are working hard to prevent peer-to-peer file sharing through torrent networks. If you like torrenting, then it is advisable to use a VPN to hide your activity. The provider you choose should be reputable and offer fast speeds and track records, as well as using the latest encryption protocol technologies.

How to connect to a VPN

The easiest way to connect to a VPN on Windows, Android, Mac, iPhone, or any other operating system is to purchase a subscription and connect with their application.

Most services will have a very user-friendly interface that will allow you to pick and choose any server you want, from your desired new destination.

There are other ways to connect to a VPN service, which include creating a network in your OS and connecting directly to that.

Your VPN service will often have written guides to help you set it up.

Are VPNs legal?

While VPNs are certainly sometimes used for illegal activities, such as purchasing illegal contraband on the dark web.

But just using one is not a crime, in most of the world.

Countries where VPNs are prohibited, include North Korea, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and China just to name a few.

Using a VPN service in any of those countries, if detected, will most likely only result in a fine.

VPN Routers explained

If you want to avoid installing a VPN on every single device in your home, you may want to consider setting up a VPN for your entire home network.

This is especially useful if you wish to access another region’s library of Netflix on your smart TV.

Generally, there are 3 different kinds of VPN-routers:

  1. Routers with OpenVPN support.
  2. Pre-flashed routers.
  3. Manually configured routers.

For the vast majority of people, buying a router that is already configured for VPN usage is the easiest and fastest way, but may potentially end up costing more than the other alternatives.

I highly recommend that unless you are tech-savvy, you skip the extra steps of configuring a router on your own and buy one that is ready to go out of the box.

How to create your own VPN

Here is a quick guide on how to create your own VPN.

  1. Create an account on a cloud hosting provider of your choice.
  2. Download “Algo VPN” here.
  3. Install Algo’s core dependencies found here: GitHub
  4. Run the install wizard.
  5. Set your configuration options.
  6. Done!

You have now created a working private VPN server.

However, cloud hosting providers often do carry logs, and using such a service will not be any safer than using a known VPN provider.

Creating your own VPN is best suitable for people who just may want to be more secure on public Wi-Fi and want to avoid paying a bigger monthly cost for it.

Full testing data

Brand Average Rating Logs Netflix Lowest Price
ExpressVPN 91.25% No Yes $6.67
Surfshark VPN 88% No Yes $2.49
NordVPN 86,66% No Yes $3.29
Mullvad VPN 84% No No $5.50
PrivateVPN 81% No Yes $2.50
IVPN 80,16% No Yes $3.80
ZoogVPN 79,75% No Yes $1.87
LiquidVPN 79% No Yes $4.75
VyprVPN 78,14% No Yes $1.67
Hotspot Shield VPN 77,14% No* Yes $7.99
LimeVPN 76,40% No* Yes $1.49
ProtonVPN 76,37% No* Yes $3.29
Windscribe VPN 75,50% No Yes* $4.08
CyberGhost VPN 75,20% No Yes $2.25
PrivateInternetAccess VPN 74,71% No Yes $2.69
Malwarebytes Privacy VPN 74,25% No No $3.33
OVPN 74% No Yes $4.99
IPVanish VPN 72,42% No Yes $4.16
TunnelBear VPN 71,50% No No* $3.33
VPNUnlimited 70,50% No Yes $4.99
Trust.Zone VPN 68,50% No No* $2.33
Bitdefender Premium VPN 67% No Yes $2.49
HideMyAss VPN 63,57% Yes* Yes* $2.99
PureVPN 62% No Yes $3.33
Namecheap VPN 61,60% No No $1.88
Avast VPN 59,40% No No $3.99
Hola VPN 55,75% Yes* No $2.99

Common questions

🎖️ What does a VPN do?

  • A virtual private network can encrypt your online activity.

🎖️ Are VPNs legal?

  • VPNs are not prohibited in most of the world with the few exceptions being: Russia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Belarus, Oman, and Iran. In those countries, you should take caution and research each country’s laws locally.

🎖️ How much does a VPN cost?

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