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.
As part of building a product with the goal of being the world's most durable and private notes app,
I realized we had another large problem:
Finding a truly private way to connect to the Internet in the first place.
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
or by shooting me an
Outside US/UK servers
P2P & Torrenting
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.
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.
A solid product backed by a large company. Mediocre speeds.
Reliable product backed by reputable company. Borderline shady marketing and billing practices. No native clients except on Windows.
Overall solid product, not so great speeds, and kind of expensive.
Solid website and branding, extremely pricey, semi-tricky marketing tactics, and mediocre applications.
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.
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.
A heavily marketed product lacking inspiration which I ultimately couldn't get to work properly.
A mediocre experience with a light-on-the-details company to suit. Ultimately, couldn't get a proper connection working.
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.
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
with any feedback or comments.