(Pocket-lint) - If you're trying to use a VPN to keep yourself secure and hidden from prying eyes online, or want to access content from another country as if you are there then you are in the right place.
There are plenty of reasons to use a VPN on your desktop, mobile, or even TV, with a bevy of news stories about companies like Facebook collecting your data has sparked a huge debate about how companies use your data in the first place.
Here we round up the best VPN providers available including ExpressVPN, NordVPN, TunnelBear and more.
What is a VPN?
VPNs, or virtual private networks, are becoming more popular as a means to keep internet browsing private. In normal internet use, your data flows from your computer, mobile device or home network across your ISP and during this journey all manner of people could be snooping on your data.
Potentially put you in the firing line of hackers and cybercriminals, and by effectively creating a secure connection between your computer and a VPN server, your actual IP address is hidden from snoopers.
But VPNs have another trick up their sleeves: they can spoof your location, for unlocking specific regions websites such as Facebook in China or Netflix, Hulu and BBC iPlayer.
- 2-year 68% discount
- 5,000+ servers worldwide in 59 countries
- Six connections
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Our recommended plan costs $3.71 or £2.86 a month on a two-year deal and there's even a 30-day money-back guarantee to sweeten the offer, but plans do start from $11.95/£9.20 for a month.
A well-established name in the VPN world, NordVPN is known for offering very secure connections thanks to using military-grade 2048-bit encryption which it applies twice to connections to its 5,000 plus servers spread across 59 countries and counting.
A straightforward interface means you can easily connect up to six devices, whether they run Windows, Mac, iOS, Android or even BlackBerry OS, to the secure service.
Alongside peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing support, a kill switch, and fast connection speeds, NordVPN offers additional privacy features like the ability to use dedicated IP addresses, enable ad blocking, and pay using bitcoin.
NordVPN boasts no data logging and a cybersecurity option to help you avoid malware riddled websites while still enjoying your web surfing freedom.
Finally, unlimited bandwidth as well as being one of the few services to support access to The Onion Router (TOR) network over VPN completes NordVPN's features.
- Save 35%
- More than 3,000 servers worldwide in 94 countries
- 30-day money back guarantee no questions asked
Prices start a $12.95/£10.11 for a month, only Pocket-lint readers can get 35 per cent off a 12-month plan.
ExpressVPN supports up to three connections, but if you don't feel like it's going to fulfil your VPN needs then a 30-day money-back guarantee means you can give it a whirl across a couple of devices and see if the performance and features on offer justify the price.
Aimed at people who want a VPN outside their home country to access region-locked services like US Netflix from the UK, as well as keep their internet browsing private, ExpressVPN offers more than 3,000 servers across 94 countries.
Thanks to a clean user interface, ExpressVPN is easy to setup for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux devices, as well as offering support for kit such as smart TVs and games consoles, and it also comes with 24/7 live chat customer support if you happen to get stuck.
Alongside a reputation for solid support, the service offers a "kill switch" to hide your IP address if the VPN connection happens to drop, peer-to-peer support and powerful encryption.
- Save 83% on regular price
- Use on unlimited devices
- 3 months free when you purchase 2 years
- More than 17,000 servers worldwide in 63 countries
- 30-day money back guarantee no questions asked
Surfshark offers access to unlimited devices rather than just a limited amount. There's a range of plans on offer from one month, to half a year, and the best value - 2 years with an 83% discount.
The tech hides your IP address, protects access on public Wi-Fi and can deliver access to those region locked services, such as like Netflix in the USA from the UK.
This is all from more than 17,000 servers across 63 countries, giving you access to secure browsing no matter where you are or want to be.
That's protecting your identify while online banking, blocking malware, down to securing yourself when online gaming.
With support for Chrome, Firefox, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android Linux and Fire TV, there bound to be a platform ready for you to use at any and all times.
- Save 67%
- 22+ countries covered
- Easy to use
You can get 67% off, paying a modest $3.33 a month ina better value deal for 3 years rather than paying $9.99 for a month.
You can sign up to TunnelBear for free and get 500MB per month of data use, while a tweet to the service can win you another 1GB. Opt for the $9.99 a month package and the data is unlimited,
Sometimes you just want an easy way to get started with VPNs, that's TunnelBear's greatest strength. User friendly and easy to set up, TunnelBear works across a variety of devices, including Windows PCs, iPads, iPhones and Android devices.
TunnelBear might not have as many servers on offer as other VPN providers, but the Canada-based service still covers more than 20 countries and can be used with up to five devices per account.
A lack of technical jargon comes with the caveat that there's not a lot of options and features for advanced users to deeply customise their VPN configuration. But its ease of use is handy for people who want to quickly set up a VPN for streaming Netflix or using gaming services from abroad.
TunnelBear is also proficient at protecting privacy thank to avoiding logging session data and IP addresses assigned to the account and applying 256-bit encryption to connections.
- Save 76%
- 1,500 servers in 75+ countries
- 7-day money back guarantee
Fees commence at $11.99 a month, which some might find a bit expensive, but the best deal is reduced by 76%.
Aimed at providing a high-quality service over cost-savings, IPVanish is one of the more expensive VPN services in the market. But IPVanish boasts the fastest VPN connections with more than 1,500 servers in more than 75 countries and offers unlimited bandwidth for those connections.
Alongside offering geographically diverse server locations, it provides support for P2P connections, anonymous torrenting, and access to censored websites and apps. And it will do this while keeping your connection secure with 256-bit encryption and zero traffic logs.
The user interface of IPVanish isn't the most beautiful, offering function over form, but 24/7 support is available and there's a 7-day money back guarantee if you don't find its performance and support for up to five devices to be up to scratch.
- Save 85%
- 4,000+ servers, in 140+ countries
- PureVPN employs 256-bit AES encryption
- 3-day paid trial account
PureVPN has a 3-day paid trial account, the service assures users the safety of their money with a 31-day, no-questions-asked refund policy - features can be unlocked at a price of $10.95 a month.
But for a time-limited offer, you can get PureVPN for on a 5-year plan discounted by 85%.
A big name in the VPN world, PureVPN is aimed at people who want some of the fastest connections around, as well as a wealth of connection options and PureVPN leads the industry with its 4,000+ servers and 300,000+ IPs.
The service boasts compatible applications for all the leading operating systems, internet-enabled devices, and consoles. Moreover, its smart user-interface along with intuitive functionality provides users with a seamless user experience across screens.
PureVPN employs 256-bit AES encryption to secure users’ data against prying eyes. It uses Split Tunneling to give users the ability to work with a local network and the VPN simultaneously. The IKS ensures that the users’ VPN activities remain anonymous in the event of a connection drop.
- Save 82%
- Use on tablet and smartphones
- 6,600 servers across 89 countries
CyberGhost starts at $12.99/£10.89 for a month, and our deal saves 82 per cent on a three-year plan, with three months extra.
To make things easy for beginners, CyberGhost's interface asks people what they want to use the VPN service for, whether that's for surfing anonymously or torrenting, rather than ask users to select a server. Pretty much everything you need from a VPN has been designed to be enabled through just a single click.
There are more options available for more experienced users to dig into as well, such as being able to set up a proxy server, and live chat support is on offer if you need help to get more out of the service.
CyberGhost still offers access to more than 6,600 servers spread across 89 countries, with seven connections, if you decide you want to use it on your smartphone and tablet rather than just a Windows or Mac machine - and it now supports Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Sky streaming.
- Save 76%
- 3,200+ servers, in 25+ countries
- 45-day money-back guarantee;
- Unlimited data
- 24/7 tech support
Hotspot Shield's plans begin at $12.99 or £10.99 a month, but you can save 76% on a Pocket-lint deal priced at $2.99/£2.69 for two years.
That's with secure and private surfing online, being alerted to websites with malware and access to the likes of Netflix and YouTube, no matter where you are in the world.
70% of the world's largest security companies are noted to use its patented VPN protocol, so you're in good company if you take this out.
There's a good array of apps available: Windows, Mac, IOS, Android and even a Chrome extension - offering up access no matter what your preferences might be - up to 5 devices.
Private Internet Access
- Save 78%
- 18,000+ servers in 74 countries
- 7-day money-back guarantee
Private Internet Access will set you back $11.95/£9.99 for a month, and if you want to take a punt the most affordable pricing plan will give you a 78 per cent discount for two years.
In contrast to the more straightforward VPN services, Private Internet Access has been designed to help power users get the most of their VPN connections.
Private Internet Access comes loaded with support for all manner of platforms, including Chromebooks and routers, as well as support for P2P connections, unlimited bandwidth and a policy to not log any activity.
Access to a maximum of five device connections is on offer, and those devices can access some 18,000+ servers across 74 countries, with Private Internet Access claiming that these are real locations with access to real "bare metal" servers, though users are not able to select specific servers.
For both privacy and flexibility, there's a kill switch, ad-blocker and anti-tracker tools, while the ability to pay for the service with bitcoin adds another layer of anti-snooping.
The interface leaves a little to be desired in terms of slickness and clarity of information, but people familiar with using VPNs and keen to make use of the features Private Internet Access offers will not likely be put off by the user interface.
- 30-day money-back guarantee for Pocket-lint readers
- 700+ servers in 70 locations
- Free 3-day trial with unlimited data
The VyprVPN the Premium package offers five connections for a $12.95/£12.95 a month or a for 12 months use.
VyprVPN is another VPN focused on the sweet spots of performance and security, offering speedy connections mixed with features like a kill switch, 256-bit encryption and more than 200,000 IP addresses to choose from.
More than 700+ servers across 70 plus locations gives VyprVPN the reach to appeal to all manner of users, whether they're trying to access a wide range of gaming and streaming services or get around government censorship of certain websites and apps, thanks to VyprVPN's proprietary Chameleon technology.
A clean yet informative user interface provides all you need to set up connections for a good range of devices, from Windows and Mac machines to iOS and Android smartphones.