I tested the most recommended VPN providers using my credit card to find the best ones — and which ones you should avoid.

The only thing harder than finding a VPN provider is finding an honest VPN review website. Top results in Google for “best VPNs” are riddled with pay-to-play reviews and aggressive affiliate tactics that make sure companies with the largest marketing budgets always end up at the top.

In fact, websites that claim honesty and transparency like BestVPN and VPNMentor actually display pop-up alerts advertising their highest rated VPN.

I built this website because I wanted to finally get to the bottom of the question: which VPN providers are trying to build an honest long-term brand while also delivering an exceptional product experience?

I’ve distilled the results down to what I think are must have’s, nice-to-have’s, and absolutely forbidden. Because all VPNs end up delivering the same service, they are rated objectively on these measures, but also rated subjectively based on my impression of the overall experience.

I hope you’ll find this guide helpful. If I’ve missed anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, either by messaging me on Twitter or by shooting me an email.


Criteria

Important

  • DNS Leak Protection
  • IP address leak protection
  • WebRTC leak protection
  • Speed
  • OpenVPN or IKEv2/IPsec based
  • No logging or tracking
  • 3+ simultaneous devices
  • Honest billing practices
  • Honest marketing

Nice-to-have

  • Outside US/UK servers
  • Free trial
  • Anonymous payment
  • P2P & Torrenting
  • IPv6 Support

Forbidden

  • PPTP-based
  • Data throttling

VPNs

TunnelBear

8
2
0
Despite some shortcomings, TunnelBear is probably my favorite VPN product, and the one I use day-to-day. It's just so much fun to use.
My experience:
Commentary

OVPN

8
5
0
OVPN is a well-built operation and features thoughtful clients on all platforms. It also permits torrenting, which makes it a great alternative to TunnelBear.
My experience:
Commentary

VyperVPN

8
2
0
Not a bad product or company by any means. You can tell the company is quite invested into making this work. The speeds were good and the apps work but are kind of uninspired. Questionable privacy policy.
My experience:
Commentary

NordVPN

7
4
0
A solid product backed by a large company. Mediocre speeds.
My experience:
Commentary

ProtonVPN

8
3
0
Reliable product backed by reputable company. Borderline shady marketing and billing practices. No native clients except on Windows.
My experience:
Commentary

ExpressVPN

7
3
0
Overall solid product, not so great speeds, and kind of expensive.
My experience:
Commentary

IVPN

7
4
0
Solid website and branding, extremely pricey, semi-tricky marketing tactics, and mediocre applications.
My experience:
Commentary

PIA

9
3
0
Extremely transactional. You get in and get out. It delivers its experience the way a utility company would. Sometimes, that may be a good thing. But in this case, I'd rather give my money to a company who might put it to better use.
My experience:
Commentary

PureVPN

A heavily marketed company with a heavy product. Was unable to get it working due to the number of connections required. See commentary for more.
My experience:
Commentary

IPVanish

A heavily marketed product lacking inspiration which I ultimately couldn't get to work properly.
My experience:
Commentary

Windscribe

8
3
0
A mediocre experience with a light-on-the-details company to suit. Ultimately, couldn't get a proper connection working.
My experience:
Commentary

Unreviewed VPNs

The following VPNs were not reviewed due to their experience being poorly designed. This can mean poorly built applications, difficult navigation, heavy use of stock photos, utter disregard for detail, excessive and hard to follow text, non-defaulting to HTTPS, and overall poor usability.

About Me

I'm a full-time software developer with a passion for product design and digital privacy. I work on an encrypted notes app called Standard Notes, which is available for free on every platform.

Feel free to contact me on Twitter or through email with any feedback or comments. You should also join the conversation on the VPN Report forum.

If you've found this site useful, please share it with a friend who you think would benefit from safer, private browsing.

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