2018 is here with us, and I know you are anxiously looking for the best VPN services to secure your online data.
The VPN industry has grown tremendously amid challenges from many fronts. Several countries have enacted unfriendly privacy laws such as the Metadata laws in Australia.
China, on the other hand, has not only continued with their notorious internet censorship (The Great Firewall of China) but has also gone ahead to block OpenVPN.
Apparently, the need to use a VPN is more of a necessity in the year 2018. And the VPN industry has grown exponentially to meet your needs.
However, not every other VPN service will provide you with maximum protection against privacy invasion, snoopers, identity thieves and other cyber-criminals.
With my team, we’ve come up with a list of the best VPN services in the market that can protect your online activities. The compilation consists of battle-tested best VPN services.
Quick Links to our Best VPN services to use in 2018
The Best VPN Service to Use In 2018
Strictly no logs
Based in Panama: means no government spying
Double data encryption technology
6 simultaneous connections
4,895+ worldwide servers in 62+ countries
IPV6 leak protection
NordVPN is an excellent VPN service that provides you with a perfect balance between performance and privacy.
Moreover, Nord boasts of more than 4,895 servers spread across 62 countries. I like the fact that the servers specialize in a specific area so that you get servers for fast TV, Tor, anti-DDOS, Standard VPN, and Double VPN.
You also get servers for Netflix USA, and even for Torrenting and file sharing. Consequently, I chose NordVPN as the best VPN service to use in 2018.
For those in heavily censored locations like China, NordVPN helps with their Double hop VPN whereby your traffic is channeled via two servers as it is encrypted with the military grade AES 256 security protocol.
Notably, NordVPN has an easy to use client and a zero logging policy.
Other great features include the DNS leak protection that ensures your data is protected at all times, Onion Over VPN for maximum online security and Browser Proxy Extensions.
NordVPN uses the Smart Play technology to help you gain secure access to your favorite streaming websites. Generally speaking, Nord allows P2P and has one of the best Customer Support in the VPN industry.
Save 66% Exclusive Offer @ $3.99/Month
30-Days Money-Back Guarantee
Works on all devices
Blazing fast-Excellent for streaming
Ultra secure 256-bit encryption
Zero logging of your data
Full access to Smart DNS services – Great for unblocking US Netflix and BBC iplayer
ExpressVPN is the runners-up on my list of the best VPN services to use in 2018. First, with ExpressVPN you get blazing fast speeds, an extensive collection of server locations distributed across the globe, and free fully featured DNS service.
Secondly, you get 30-days money back guarantee, as well as a superior customer service.
ExpressVPN works with all devices, and provides ultra-secure AES 256 encryption coupled with zero logging of your network, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited server switches.
The VPN is excellent at bypassing Geo-restrictions, and we can confirm that it works with Netflix, and it’s among the few VPN services that successfully bypasses the Great Firewall of China.
Though ExpressVPN is a bit pricey, it offers excellent value for your money. The VPNs features include an internet kill switch, Private, Zero-Knowledge DNS, and Split Tunneling that allows you to route some of your traffic via the VPN while other apps or devices maintain direct access to the internet.
Similarly, I also liked its .onion dark web address.
Based in Switzerland-No government spying
Easy to use apps
5 simultaneous connections
Great customer support
VyprVPN is another stellar performer that claims its place among the best VPN services. VyprVPN is based in Switzerland which is a most friendly location for a VPN service.
The VPN champions for a free open web, gives you fast speeds, robust encryption, proprietary software, worldwide server locations, easy to use apps, and great customer support.
VyprVPN is a Tier-1 server network with more than 200,000 IP addresses and 700+ servers. Non-involvement of third parties means you will get end-to-end privacy.
The wide collection of servers is helpful because connecting to a server near your location will ensure you get fast speeds. In case you are looking at accessing Geo-restricted websites, then, a server near the location of the desired site will result in excellent speeds.
I liked the VyprVPNs chameleon proprietary VPN technology that’s awesome for bypassing notorious firewalls like the ones in Turkey, Russia, Iran, Syria, and most of all the famous Great Firewall of China.
The chameleon protocol works by scrambling OpenVPN Metadata thereby evading deep packet inspection (DPI).
Apps for all major platforms
1300 servers in 60+ countries
7 simultaneous connections
strictly no logging of your online activities
7-Days Free Trial
CyberGhost is the VPN that will give you fast speeds coupled with strong privacy. The Romanian based VPN will help you access restricted websites, hide your IP and thus make it difficult for third parties to track your online activities, and protect you while browsing on public WiFi.
CyberGhost will also provide you with simultaneous connections up to 7 devices, 256-bit AES encryption, OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec and PPTP protocols, access to over 1300 servers and 30-day money back guarantee so you can test their service without risk.
CyberGhost provides you with NAT Firewall that protects your data from hackers, snoops, and other cyber criminals. They also have an Internet Kill Switch that disconnects your internet connection should the VPN disconnect thus preventing your real IP address from leaking.
3000+ servers in 55+ countries
5 simultaneous connections
Allows peer-to-peer (P2P)
10mb free private email
TorGuard is a VPN service based in the Nevis, West Indies that provides maximum anonymity to Torrent seeders and leechers. The VPN is excellent at unblocking websites, hiding a user’s IP address, and bypassing censorship.
As a matter of fact, the VPN supports many protocols, exhibits blazing fast speeds, provides protection against all leaks, and uses robust OpenVPN encryption.
TorGuard has over 3000 servers in more than 55 countries, and supports all leading OS platforms. TorGuard has the Stealth VPN that we found to be helpful for bypassing DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) firewalls which makes it among the few VPNs that can bypass the notorious Great Firewall of China.
850 servers in 60+ countries
256-bit AES encryption
Internet Kill Switch
IPvanish VPN campaigns for an open and safe internet. It has shown consistent performance in our various tests for the best VPN services.
IPvanish not only exhibits fast speeds but also has a vast collection of servers that are spread across the world. They use the military grade AES 256-bit encryption and allow up to 5 simultaneous connections.
IPvanish is a 1st -Tier VPN service that’s compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chrome-book, Fire TV, and Router.
Among the features that come with IPvanish are the DNS leak protection, NAT Firewall Protection, and an Internet Kill Switch that will disconnect your internet connection when the VPN connection drops.
How to Find the Best VPN Services
Arriving at the best VPN service requires consideration of some fundamental factors which includes:
Location of the VPN
Location of the VPN service can affect the kind of privacy you get from a VPN. Some locations have unfriendly privacy laws.
Worst locations for the best VPN services
Countries that are members of the Five Eyes Alliance (FVEY) and which includes the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand should be avoided if possible.
If you’ve never had about the Five Eyes Alliance, just know that the countries are party to the UKUSA Agreement.
UKUSA is a multilateral treaty for sharing intelligence that conspires to spy on you.
Yes, that’s what they do.
They intentionally spy on each other’s citizens and share the collected information.
Simple, to circumvent stringent domestic laws on spying.
While the Five Eyes are the main actors, you also have those I would refer to as “enablers” who also happen to spy on each other.
So that the list grows to 9 eyes: France, Denmark, Netherlands, and Norway. And further to 14 eyes: Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, and Sweden. In 2013, leaked NSA and GCHQ documents (thanks to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden) laid bare the extent to which governments spy on its citizens.
VPN services based in the 5 EYES region mitigate this issue by having a strictly no logs policy. Meaning even where they are slumped with a subpoena to release your logs, they won’t have any to give.
They also employ the military grade AES 256-bit encryption which is arguably the perfect solution for your data security.
Some great Locations for the best VPN Service include Romania, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Panama
Number of Servers and server locations
If you are intending to access streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, BBC, etc. You will require an IP address from the specific country where the service is based.
To access the Netflix USA library, you will require a US IP address. The same goes for Amazon Prime Instant.
In the case of BBC iPlayer or ITV on demand, a UK IP address will suffice. A VPN service with servers in your location means fast speeds.
Protocols used by the best VPN services
The best VPN service is one that gives you multiple protocols. Some of the VPN protocols used by the best VPN services include OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, and IKEv2.
Which is the best VPN protocol?
We highly recommend OpenVPN as the ideal protocol you should ask from a VPN service.
OpenVPN is an open source software tunneling application that uses SSL/TLS for exchange purposes.
The protocol is famed for fast speeds even on connections with high latency and also for its ability to traverse Firewalls.
OpenVPN is stable and reliable on Wi-Fi hot spots as it creates secure point-to-point connections in bridged configurations.
Consider Speed and bandwidth of the best VPN services
VPN speed is a topic in its entirety. In brief, you need to know that a VPN encrypts and decrypts your traffic.
Honestly, this requires some extra processing power which results in a deep in your internet speed.
So when you’re looking for the best VPN service, consider a VPN service like NordVPN that gives a perfect balance between privacy and performance.
Another factor that is proven to affect speed and which I have discussed above is the location of the VPN servers.
The further the server you access the slower your traffic.
That’s why I recommend you go for a VPN service like ExpressVPN which has widespread server locations.
However, also remember that the bandwidth is equally essential. If you connect to an overcrowded server, even though it’s near your location, your speed will be disappointing.
Before I forget, a VPN protocol can also affect your internet speed. Protocols with high encryption will provide you with a secure connection but will also slow down your connection. In case your online activity does not require robust security but needs high speed, I’d recommend you use the PPTP (128-bit encryption).
Can the best VPN services increase your internet speed?
I guess your answer is “hell NO!” But let’s indulge a little bit.
You’ve ever heard of “internet throttling” by your ISP?
Here is where your ISP deliberately slows down your internet speed.
Video streaming sites like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, file sharing sites, and online gaming sites are mostly targeted by ISP’s because they want to regulate and minimize bandwidth congestion.
That’s where the best VPN services come to your rescue. The VPNs mask your real IP address making it difficult for your ISP to track your online activities so that they can’t know when you’re connecting to services that are on their throttling list.
So, do the best VPN services increase your internet speed?
Let’s say they prevent your ISP from slowing down your speed so you can enjoy blazing fast speeds while streaming, gaming, or file sharing.
Isn’t that great?
When searching for the best VPN services, it is essential you go for a VPN that does not log your online activities.
Going by the NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden revelations, our online activities are continually monitored by the NSA.
And so, using a VPN service is more of a necessity.
But even then, it is not safe to use a VPN service that logs your online activities.
Not logging means that your online activities remain anonymous because they are not stored on any server or any database.
Which also means that even if your VPN service provider is under pressure from government agencies to produce your traffic history, they won’t have any to produce.
DNS Leaks and the Internet Kill Switch
Be careful to ensure that the best VPN service you use has an inbuilt DNS leak protection tool.
Whenever you use a VPN service, it is of utmost importance that all your traffic routes through the VPN service.
That way, your traffic does not leak outside of the secure VPN tunnel.
VPN services that do not provide DNS leak protection might be a threat to your anonymity because they might be giving you a false sense of protection while your data leaks and thus provide the opportunity for third parties to log your online activities.
An internet Kill Switch is another important feature that you should look for in the best VPN services.
The Internet Kill Switch is the all-important feature that will block your internet connection whenever the VPN is disconnected. Internet Kill Switch ensures that you never connect to the internet without the VPN protection.
Pricing and payment methods
We all want to get a VPN service at affordable pricing. And so, we are naturally inclined to choose a VPN based on pricing.
But just think about it, would you rather have a cheap VPN that gives you bullshit service or a premium VPN like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or CyberGhost that offers you a superior service ranging from security, anonymity, unblocking Geo-restricted content, and bypassing censorship including the notorious Great Firewall of China?
We both know the answer.
When it comes to payment methods, apart from PayPal, and major credit cards, an anonymous payment option is important for those who want complete anonymity.
When using credit cards, you must provide your private information such as your full names and billing address. In the case of PayPal, your email address is normally exposed to the VPN service provider.
The problem is that such links can enable your VPN account to be traced back to you.
So where your safety or security depends on absolute anonymity, I’d recommend you use untraceable payment methods such as cryptocurrencies the popular ones being Bitcoin and Litecoin.
Other untraceable methods would be the payment using stores gift cards from Amazon, Walmart, Target, Bestbuy, etc.
Concurrent Connections Allowed
The number of devices that you can connect to a single VPN account is among the leading factors that can affect your choice of the best VPN service.
You might want to set up your VPN access on various devices like a smartphone, tablet, laptop, and even a desktop or router.
In fact, in a family set up the more simultaneous connections allowed by the VPN, the better.
NordVPN provides you with up to 6 simultaneous connections, CyberGhost allows up to 7 connections which is currently the highest in the industry.
Cross–Browser Compatibility is also a feature to look out for. The best VPN services should work with any Web Browser.
The kind of support a VPN service provides will undoubtedly determine the kind of user experience that you get from a VPN service.
Whenever I’m reviewing a VPN service, I make sure to get in touch with their customer support severally with my team so that I can gauge and rate their support services.
It’s frustrating and utterly annoying when you experience challenges with your VPN connection, and no quick assistance is forthcoming. My above listed best VPN services will provide you with a superior Support.
Best VPN Services to Use in 2018: Summary