We may earn a commission when you make a purchase via links on this site.

The 10 Best VPN for Android (2023 Update)

By Tibor Moes / November 2022

Why do you need a VPN? You must protect your online privacy because companies track your browsing history to send targeted ads. You can regain control with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which lets you protect your data and privacy. 

  • A stolen identity causes many problems. Do you often use public Wi-Fi? That leaves your data vulnerable. Hackers can grab your passwords, credit card details, and more.
  • Escaping ads is nearly impossible. Advertisers like Facebook, Google, and even your Internet Service Provider want to know what you browse and stream.
  • Some TV shows are unavailable in your country. You can unblock foreign movies and sport-events when you use a VPN server in another country.

The best VPN for Android solves these issues. It allows you to restore your online anonymity and privacy.

CyberGhost VPN - The best VPN

CyberGhost VPN

Limited Time: Save 83% 🔥

  • Security and Privacy 100% 100%
  • Speed 100% 100%

CyberGhost is the best affordable VPN of 2023. It’s ultra-fast, private, and secure. And it temporarily offers deep discounts.

✓ Stream: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and more
✓ Torrent: Optimized P2P servers
✓ Return: 45-day money-back guarantee
✓ Privacy: Maximum (no logs)
✓ Servers: 91 countries
✓ Protect: 7 devices

Try it risk-free, thanks to its 45-day return policy.

NordVPN - The most advanced VPN

NordVPN

Exclusive: Save 68% 🔥

  • Security and Privacy 100% 100%
  • Speed 100% 100%

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN of 2023. It has the best privacy technology (RAM-Servers and Double VPN) and a beautiful design.

✓ Stream: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and more
✓ Torrent: Optimized P2P servers
✓ Return: 30-day money-back guarantee
✓ Privacy: Maximum (no logs)
✓ Servers: 59 countries
✓ Protect: 6 devices

Try it risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

Ranking of the best VPN services of 2023

We have tested cybersecurity software since 2014. Below, we have selected the top 4 from 30 paid and free VPN services (Virtual Private Networks).

Click the links or scroll down for more.

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN Review

Ranked #1 out of 30 VPNs

CyberGhost VPN Review

CyberGhost: Temporarily save up to 83%  🔥

CyberGhost VPN Review

CyberGhost is the fastest VPN in our test. It also has the lowest price and the biggest server network. It's one of the best VPN services you can buy.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix US, Disney, Amazon, HBO Max, and more
  • Torrenting: Allowed on P2P servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 9,000 Servers in 91 countries
  • Connections: 7
  • 1-Year Price: € 47.64
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 45 days

Streaming

CyberGhost has dedicated streaming servers for Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, and more.

Torrenting

CyberGhost has optimized P2P servers. It is an excellent VPN for torrenting, thanks to its kill switch, IP- and DNS-leak protection, and no logs policy.

Privacy

CyberGhost has a strict no-logs policy: It does not monitor or record what you do online, and it does not store your IP address. Therefore, you are completely anonymous when using CyberGhost.

Ownership

CyberGhost is owned and operated by CyberGhost S.A. from Romania. Its parent company is Kape Technologies from the UK, which also owns ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and ZenMate.

Speed

We test all VPN services on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the best VPN services:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

CyberGhost applies the most important security and privacy features:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling (on Windows and Android)
  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP

But it lacks RAM-only servers and Double VPN, which NordVPN does offer.

Censorship

CyberGhost does not use obfuscation technology, which hides your VPN usage. Therefore, it is not the right VPN for high-censorship countries like China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, or the UAE.

Servers

CyberGhost has a huge number of servers: 9,000 in 91 countries.

60 Countries have physical servers within their borders, while the other 31 are virtual servers. Although virtual servers are not located within the indicated country, they will give you a local IP address from that country.

It also offers specialized servers:

  • Servers optimized for P2P
  • Servers optimized for streaming
  • Servers with static IP addresses
  • Servers with dedicated IP addresses
  • Fully owned NoSpy servers

Devices

You can install CyberGhost on 7 devices at the same time. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and a range of routers. It also has browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Prices

CyberGhost has the lowest 1-year price in the industry.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is CyberGhost VPN the best VPN software of 2023?

CyberGhost is the fastest VPN in our test and has the most affordable 1-year contract. On top of that, it is secure, private, and has one of the largest server networks. It's excellent.

You can try CyberGhost risk-free, thanks to its 45-day return policy.

NordVPN

NordVPN Review

Ranked #2 out of 30 VPNs

NordVPN Review

NordVPN Review

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN service you can buy. It uses the latest privacy technology, like RAM servers and double VPN, and works in China. It's one of the best VPN providers you can buy.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more
  • Torrenting: Allowed on 80% of its servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 5,600 Servers in 59 countries
  • Connections: 6
  • 1-Year Price: € 52.68
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

Streaming

NordVPN unblocks Netflix in 10 countries, including the United States. It also works with Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.

Torrenting

NordVPN allows torrenting on most of its servers. On top of that, it has optimized P2P servers for extra high download speeds.

Thanks to its no-logs policy, kill switch, DNS- and IP-leak blocking, it is a safe choice for torrenting.

Privacy

NordVPN has a strict no-log policy. So it does not record your IP address or online activities. It was the first VPN company to subject its privacy policy to an independent audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ownership

NordVPN is owned and operated by NordVPN S.A. from Panama. Its parent company, Nord Security, merged with the parent company of SurfShark to form Cyberspace BV in the Netherlands.

Speed

We test all VPN services on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the best VPN providers:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN in our comparison. It includes both the mainstream security features and the highly advanced ones:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling
  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP
  • RAM-only servers
  • Double VPN
  • Onion over VPN
  • Obfuscated servers
  • Meshnet (on Windows and Linux)

NordVPN is also available in a bundle, including NordLocker (encrypted cloud storage) and NordPass (password manager and data breach scanner).

Censorship

NordVPN is one of the few VPNs that work in highly censored countries like China, the UAE, Iran, Russia, and Turkey. This is thanks to its obfuscation technology that hides your VPN traffic.

Servers

NordVPN has an extensive VPN server network, with 5,600 servers in 59 countries. They are all physical servers, meaning every server is located within the country's borders.

It also offers specialty servers:

  • P2P servers
  • Streaming servers
  • Static IP address servers
  • Double VPN servers
  • Onion over VPN servers
  • Obfuscated servers

Devices

You can install NordVPN on 6 devices at the same time. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and some routers. It also has browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Prices

Considering that NordVPN is the most advanced VPN, it is a bargain.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is NordVPN the best VPN service of 2023?

NordVPN is the most advanced VPN software you can buy, thanks to its RAM servers, double VPN, Onion over VPN, and obfuscated servers.

You can try NordVPN risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

SurfShark VPN

Surfshark VPN Review

Ranked #3 out of 30 VPNs

SurfShark VPN Review

Surfshark VPN Review

Surfshark offers the best value for money. It is fast, secure, and affordable. And it allows you to install it on an unlimited number of devices. It's one of the best VPN programs you can buy.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more
  • Torrenting: Allowed on all of its servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 3,200 Servers in 95 countries
  • Connections: Unlimited
  • 1-Year Price: € 47.88
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

Streaming

Surfshark can stream Netflix in 10 countries, including the United States. It also works with Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.

Torrenting

Surfshark allows P2P file-sharing on all of its servers and offers optimized P2P servers for higher download speeds. Due to its kill-switch, no-logs policy, and leak-blocking, Surfshark is a safe choice for torrenting.

Privacy

Surfshark has a clear no-logs policy. It does not track what you do online and does not store your IP address. In 2021, Surfshark underwent an independent server audit by Cure53, a German cybersecurity firm.

Ownership

Surfshark BV from the Netherlands owns Surfshark. In 2022, its parent company merged with Nord Security, creating the holding company Cyberspace BV, also located in the Netherlands.

Speed

We test all VPN services on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the best VPN programs:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

After NordVPN, Surfshark is the most advanced VPN in our comparison. It covers all mainstream and advanced features:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling
  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP
  • RAM-only servers
  • Double VPN
  • Onion over VPN
  • Obfuscated servers
  • Rotating IP
  • Override GPS Location on Android

Next to its VPN service, Surfshark also offers antivirus software, personal data breach alert, and a private search engine. These features are sold separately or together with the VPN in SurfShark One.

Censorship

Thanks to its Camouflage and NoBorders Mode, Surfshark works well in censored countries like Russia, the UAE, Turkey, and Iran. However, it does not consistently work in China.

Servers

Surfshark has an extensive network, with 3,200 servers in 95 countries. However, some of these servers are virtual. That means that although you get a local IP address from the country of your choice, the physical server is located in a different country.

Surfshark also offers specialized servers, including:

  • P2P servers
  • Static IP address servers
  • Double VPN servers (Multihop servers)

Devices

Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and some routers. It also has browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Prices

Surfshark's price is excellent. Especially considering that you can install it on an unlimited number of devices.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is Surfshark the best VPN service of 2023?

Surfshark offers the best value for money in the VPN industry. It is advanced, affordable, and allows you to protect an unlimited number of devices. It is one of the best VPN deals out there.

You can try Surfshark risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

IPVanish VPN

IPVanish Review

Ranked #4 out of 30 VPNs

IPVanish VPN Review

IPVanish: Temporarily get 61% OFF  🔥

IPVanish VPN Review

IPVanish is an excellent VPN. It's fast, secure, and affordable. And it allows you to install it on an unlimited number of devices. However, it's not as advanced as the others in this list and has a smaller server network.

Specifications

  • Streaming: Works with Netflix USA, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu
  • Torrenting: Allowed on all of its servers
  • Logging: No Logs
  • Servers & Countries: 2,000 Servers in 50 countries
  • Connections: Unlimited
  • 1-Year Price: $ 47.89
  • Money-Back Guarantee: 30 days

Streaming

IPVanish is not the best VPN service for streaming. Although it works with Netflix in the United States, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, it has problems with streaming services like Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max.

Torrenting

IPVanish allows torrenting on all its servers. And thanks to its no-log policy, kill switch, and no DNS leaks, it is a safe option to do so. The kill switch is necessary because it will block the internet traffic if the VPN connection drops.

Privacy

IPVanish has a clear no-logs policy. However, in 2018, it handed user data to the US government. Data it wasn't supposed to have, according to its log policy. Since then, it has changed owners twice, but the reputation remains.

Speed

We test every VPN service on a 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) internet connection, with the VPN connection set to the WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest. These are the test results of the fastest VPN connections:

VPN WireGuard
CyberGhost 825-850 Mbps
NordVPN 725-800 Mbps
Surfshark 700-800 Mbps
IPVanish 700-725 Mbps

Security

IPVanish is the only VPN in our comparison that owns all of its servers and doesn't rely on third-party server parks, which is excellent. That said, it is not the most advanced VPN in our test.

It includes the following mainstream features:

  • AES-256 encryption
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling

But it misses many of the advanced features:

  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker
  • Dedicated IP
  • RAM-only servers
  • Double VPN
  • Onion over VPN
  • Obfuscated servers

Censorship

IPVanish does not work in censored countries like China, the UAE, Iran, Turkey, or Russia.

Servers

IPVanish has 2,000 VPN servers in 50 countries. All servers are physically located within the country and entirely owned by IPVanish. Because it doesn't rely on third-party server providers, it has complete control over the hardware and software, which theoretically should increase its security.

Devices

IPVanish allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. It works with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and some routers. But it has no browser extensions.

Prices

IPVanish has a very attractive price, especially as you can install it on an unlimited number of devices.

VPN 1-Year Price
CyberGhost € 47.64
Surfshark € 47.88
IPVanish $ 47.89
NordVPN € 52.68
ExpressVPN € 99.84

Is IPVanish the best VPN provider of 2023?

IPVanish is fast, secure, and affordable. It owns its entire server network and allows you to install the software on unlimited devices. But it's not the most advanced VPN in our test and not the best option for streaming.

You can try IPVanish risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

Comparison table of the best VPN services 

CyberGhost
NordVPN
Surfshark
IPVanish
Icon
CyberGhost VPN Icon
NordVPN Icon
Surfshark VPN Icon
IPVanish VPN Icon
Ranking
#1 / 30
#2 / 30
#3 / 30
#4 / 30
Logging Policy
No Logs
No Logs
No Logs
No Logs
Operating Company
CyberGhost S.A. (Romania)
NordVPN S.A. (Panama)
Surfshark BV (Netherlands)
Ziff Davis, Inc (USA)
Holding Company
Kape Technologies PLC (UK)
Cyberspace BV (Netherlands)
Cyberspace BV (Netherlands)
Ziff Davis, Inc (USA)
VPN Protocols
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, WireGuard
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard)
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, WireGuard
IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, WireGuard
Encryption
AES-256
AES-256
AES-256
AES-256
US Netflix




Torrenting




VPN Kill Switch




Split Tunneling




Ad & Tracker Blocker



No
Smart DNS



No
First-Party DNS


No

Dedicated IP


No
No
Double VPN
No


No
RAM Servers
No


No
Works in China
No


No
Countries
91
59
95
50
Servers
9,000+
5,600+
3,200+
2,000+
Speed on WireGuard or proprietary protocol
825-850 Mbps
725-800 Mbps
700-800 Mbps
700-725 Mbps
Comptatible Devices
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Router
Number of Connections
7
6
Unlimited
Unlimited
1-Month Price
€ 12.65
€ 10.49
€ 12.95
$ 10.99
1-Year Price
€ 47.64
€ 52.68
€ 47.88
$ 47.89
2-Year Price
€ 74.88
€ 69.36
€ 59.76
-
3-Year Price
€ 82.29
-
-
-
Customer Support
24/7 Live Chat & Email
24/7 Live Chat & Email
24/7 Live Chat & Email
24/7 Live Chat & Email
Free Trial
1 Day
7 Days
7 Days
No
Money Back Guarantee
45 Days
30 Days
30 Days
30 Days

How we test the best VPN for Android

There are numerous VPN services available on the worldwide market. We tested 30 free and paid VPN providers for Windows 10 and 11, macOS, iOS, and Android operating systems. We completed 16 different tests to check the quality of their services and see which of them offers the best service for the average user.

> Test 1: Logging policy

What is a logging policy?

It is a mistake to think that using any VPN guarantees your privacy. Some of them log your data as it goes through their servers. But not all VPN services do this. So, it’s important to check their logging policy.

What can a VPN service with a lousy logging policy track?

They can learn where you live based on your IP address. They can also see which websites you visit and what types of files you download.

This type of logging policy is something users should avoid. For example, a free VPN can monitor which websites you use for shopping or streaming.

Upon logging that data, they will sell it to many advertisers and even data brokers. Data logging is why these VPN services are free, and that’s precisely why most don’t deserve your attention.

We took the time to complete detailed research on this topic. As expected, we learned that around 30% of all VPN platforms track and store the IP addresses of their users. They also keep track of over 5% of browsing activity.

The VPN provider you choose should clearly say whether they track users. If you can’t easily find an answer on their website, they likely do track. Sometimes they use complicated language to confuse users about their logging policy.

What do we test for?

You don’t have to read the logging policy. We will do it for you. If the VPN provider logs some data that improves their service, that can be all right. For example, a reliable VPN service may track aggregated bandwidth usage and server load data. This is not usually a problem.

Our main goal is to investigate if they collect these types of data:

  • IP Address – We check if the VPN service logs your originating IP address. This can tell them where you live and which Internet Service Provider you use. Your VPN should not store or sell this data.
  • Browsing activity – We check if the VPN provider monitors and logs your online activity. Even if the provider deletes the logs immediately after a VPN session, we don’t approve.

> Test 2: Ownership

What do we mean by ownership?

Who owns the VPN service is incredibly important. In theory, these companies can access your data and choose to abuse it. Often, another company owns the company that operates the VPN.

We call that a corporate holding structure. It’s not unusual, but we need to find out who the boss is.

Every VPN must register to a specific country, such as the U.S. or France. This is important because each country has different data retention laws.

You might find it surprising that only a handful of corporations own the most widely used VPN providers. Here are the examples.

  • Kape Technologies – A company from the U.K. owns ZenMate, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, and Private Internet Access.
  • Ziff Davis – A company from the U.S. owns StrongVPN, SaferVPN, Encrypt.me, IPVanish, Perimeter 81, and several others.
  • Aura (or Pongo) – Another U.S. company that owns JustVPN, Hotspot Shield, and TouchVPN. They also work with platforms like Kaspersky, Bitdefender, and Panda, providing them with VPN services.
  • CyberSpace – A company from the Netherlands is the owner of Surfshark, Atlas VPN, and the popular NordVPN.
  • Gaditek – A Pakistan-based company owns UnblockVPN, PureVPN, and Ivacy VPN.

What do we test for?

Our task was to analyze the company that owns the VPN service. We examined all relevant data retention laws. Also, we checked the company’s history and looked for major scandals.

Here are two examples:

  • IPVanish shared user data with Homeland Security in 2016. However, they weren’t supposed to have this data in the first place. Since this incident, they’ve changed their policy. But it’s important to stay aware.
  • Kape Technologies has a history with malware creators and ad injectors. The company had to change their name from Crossrider to Kape Technologies to restore their reputation.

> Test 3: Independent audit

What is an independent audit?

Like any other business, VPN services must advertise to draw in customers. This can lead to them promising services like “Military Grade Encryption,” which sounds great but might not be accurate. They may also brag about their “Zero-log policy” but in reality, they still keep track of your data.

This is why independent audits exist. Reliable VPN services will hire unbiased auditors to examine specific parts of their infrastructure. These audits frequently focus on privacy policies and server infrastructure.

These examples will give you the right idea:

  • ExpressVPN had an independent audit in 2019. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) checked whether ExpressVPN TrustedServer technology erased all data when their server rebooted.
  • NordVPN was audited by PwC in 2020. They reviewed their server infrastructure, technical logs, and configuration. Even NordVPN employees were interviewed.
  • Surfshark had an independent audit in 2021. Cure53 performed the audit and looked for flaws in the server infrastructure.
  • Private Internet Access (PIA) had an audit in 2022 by Deloitte. The focus of the investigation was the server environment regarding their privacy policy.

What do we test for?

Our job is to check whether the VPN provider in question had an independent audit and if so, the investigation’s focus.

> Test 4: Available VPN protocols

What is a VPN protocol?

A VPN protocol is a set of processes and programs that determine whether a VPN server and VPN app communicate. No VPN protocol is perfect. However, some will offer much better performance, including download speeds and security.

There are many VPN protocols available, but these are the most common:

  • OpenVPN – Probably the most popular VPN protocol today. It’s open-source, secure, and customizable. You can use OpenVPN with most operating systems, and all the best VPN providers use it.
  • WireGuard – This is another open-source VPN protocol. It’s more sophisticated and faster than OpenVPN. However, it’s still new, so more data is required.
  • IKEv2 – Microsoft and CISCO designed this VPN protocol. It’s reliable and fast, but not as fast as WireGuard and OpenVPN.
  • L2TP/IPsec – Older and mostly outdated VPN protocol.
  • PPTP – Very old VPN protocol with many security issues.

Providers like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Hotspot Shield have designed their own VPN protocols. Some, like ExpressVPN, even have open-source protocols.

  • ExpressVPN uses Lightway, a completely new protocol
  • Hotspot Shield uses Catapult Hydra, a fully proprietary protocol
  • NordVPN uses NordLynx, which is based on WireGuard

Many reliable VPN providers use OpenVPN as their default protocol, but they also have several alternatives for users.

What do we test for?

This test includes checking for available protocols across all 30 VPN providers. Additionally, we check whether the protocols work with all operating systems.

> Test 5: Supported encryption standard

What is an encryption standard?

The first encryption standard came out in 1977. You may have heard of Data Encryption Standard (DES) before. This encryption standard, and any other, specifies how we encrypt digital data. DES is a symmetric key algorithm, which means you can use it for encrypting and decrypting data.

The U.S. government introduced Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) in 2002. Since then, it has entirely replaced DES for governmental use.

The AES is essentially a version of the Rijndael block cipher, which uses a block size of 128 bits. The key size it uses is 128, 192, and 256 bits. Today, most VPN protocols rely on the AES-128 or AES-256.

What do we test for?

We look at the default encryption standards and determine if they’re sufficient. Ideally, the VPN service uses AES-256. We also check for alternative standards.

> Test 6: Basic security features

What are basic security features?

A VPN provider should offer the following basic security features:

  • AES-256 encryption – By far, this is the most secure encryption standard. It’s essentially impossible to be hacked with this kind of protection.
  • OpenVPN and WireGuard – These are the two best and most modern VPN protocols. Both are open source.
  • Split tunneling – This security feature allows the software to bypass the VPN tunnel and connect to the internet directly.
  • Kill switch – This protection automatically blocks the internet connection should the VPN tunnel fail.

What do we test for?

We aim to check if the VPN service offers all the security features. Also, if they have a kill switch and split tunneling, we make sure they’re working correctly.

> Test 7: Advanced security features

What are advanced security features?

When choosing a VPN, users should understand available advanced security features. Here are the most important ones available:

  • Ad, tracker, and malicious website blocker – It blocks ads and cookies tracking, and prevents access to suspicious and dangerous websites.
  • Dedicated IP address – VPN service should offer dedicated IP addresses. They enable access to restricted servers. They also reduce the chance of blacklisting.
  • Double VPN – This feature allows users to redirect traffic via two VPN servers instead of one. This is also called VPN server changing, and it doubles the encryption.
  • Obfuscated servers – These servers change your data to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN. This is helpful in countries where the government blocks VPN traffic.
  • Override GPS Location – This feature is also known as GPS spoofing. It allows users to set their GPS location to the VPN server they use.
  • RAMonly servers – These are particular types of servers without hard drives. The Random Access Memory (RAM) information is wiped automatically when the server restarts. If the server is ever confiscated, no data will be found.

What do we test for?

The main goal is to test whether the VPN providers have these advanced security features as their services.

> Test 8: IP leak

What is an IP leak?

You probably have more than one device that supports an internet connection. When two different devices communicate over the same network, they use private IP addresses.

However, a public IP address is used when you connect the device to the internet. The public IP address comes from the Internet Service Provider, typically the IPv4 address. However, IPv6 is widely used too.

So, why does this matter? Two reasons come to mind:

  • If someone learns your IP address, they can know approximately where you live
  • Your IP address, together with your browsing history, can help hackers identify you

But with a reliable VPN service, users can avoid these problems. Officially, your IP address is provided by one VPN server. Here’s how that helps users:

  • Even though your Internet Service Provider sees that you’re using a VPN, they still don’t know what you do online
  • Websites and apps can see your new IP address but don’t know precisely who or where you are

You’re dealing with an IP leak if your original IP address is visible instead of the VPN server address.

What do we test for?

We test the VPN service by connecting to a specific server and running an IP address search. If an IP leak occurs, we make sure to log it.

> Test 9: DNS leak

What is a DNS leak?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is an internet protocol that translates code into readable information. Whenever you visit a website or app, your computer communicates with the Internet Service Provider and requests the DNS resolver to identify an IP address for that website.

This happens every day more times than one can count. The problem occurs when Internet Service Providers use DNS to jeopardize your online privacy. Remember that your ISP has access to your entire browsing history because of DNS.

A DNS leak happens when a DNS request goes through the ISP DNS server instead of the VPN tunnel provided by the VPN service. Not all VPN providers have private DNS servers, meaning users are vulnerable.

That’s why finding a VPN provider without a DNS leak problem is so important. A DNS leak can occur if users make a mistake when manually customizing their VPN settings. VPN providers should always check for potential DNS leaks.

What do we test for?

Our DNS leak test is pretty straightforward. We connect to a specific VPN service and run a DNS server check. A DNS leak is inevitable if the VPN provider doesn’t have DNS servers.

> Test 10: WebRTC leak

What is a WebRTC leak?

Web Real-Time Communication or WebRTC is a technology that enables video chat apps to run faster, and better browsers, like Chrome or Firefox. It also allows users to stream live audio and video without installing additional programs. WebRTC has other significant benefits, including:

  • Lag time reduction
  • Constantly improving technology
  • Better sound quality
  • Mobile device compatibility

When modern web browsers communicate with websites in real time, they exchange a wide range of data. That includes your local and public IP address. This IP address visibility or “leak” is pretty much inevitable.

If your browser uses this functionality, your IP stays vulnerable. Sure, you could turn off the browser and stop the WebRTC leak. But you can also use a VPN service. A trustworthy VPN provider will not prevent WebRTC connection. Instead, it will assign a different IP address and keep your location and identity hidden.

What do we test for?

As with IP address and DNS leaks, we connect to the VPN service and run a WebRTC lookup. If we see our original IP address, a WebRTC leak has occurred.

> Test 11: Download speed via OpenVPN

What is OpenVPN?

As an open-source protocol, OpenVPN allows developers, or anyone with the right skills, to inspect source code. This feature is one of the main reasons this VPN protocol has improved so much since its creation in 2001.

People continue to improve it, and today it’s one of the most secure and reliable VPN protocols. Older and more vulnerable VPN protocols don’t have OpenVPN’s speed, especially across many operating systems. When it comes to download speed, OpenVPN is available in two versions:

  • OpenVPN UDP (User Datagram Protocol) – The fastest option, and usually the default setting for VPN providers.
  • OpenVPN TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) – It gives users better control over data transmission but slows download speeds.

Many cybersecurity experts believe nothing beats OpenVPN when it comes to speed and safety. However, WireGuard offers faster speeds and might replace OpenVPN as the golden standard in the near future.

What do we test for?

We set the Windows app to the OpenVPN protocol and tested the download speeds. Our team went through each of the 30 VPN services. Our goal is to push the VPN service to its maximum and test the rates at a 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps) speed.

> Test 12: Supported speed via WireGuard

What is WireGuard?

Like OpenVPN, WireGuard is an open-source VPN protocol. Its implementation is meant to bring significant changes in the VPN industry. However, because developers are still making improvements, it’s not yet the industry standard.

It’s more modern, has fewer lines of code, has better speeds, and is generally popular. WireGuard makes security audits easier and faster because it has fewer bugs. Overall, it’s about 60% faster than OpenVPN. Other benefits of WireGuard include the following:

  • Configurations – You only need public keys to configure WireGuard. Other open-source protocols typically require a certificate infrastructure.
  • Security – It provides incredibly secure online connections. It relies on a cryptographic routing process.
  • Platform support – WireGuard can be used on nearly all platforms, including Linux, macOS, Android, Windows, and iOS. Initially, WireGuard was designed for Linux kernel only.

What do we test for?

We use the Windows app to set up the WireGuard protocol on each VPN service. The test ran at 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps) to ensure the VPN service was tested to its limits.

> Test 13: (Virtual) VPN servers and locations

What are (virtual) VPN servers?

When you think of a VPN server, you probably imagine a physical server. Usually, these boxy devices are stored in a safe place and managed by companies. A physical server is located in a country you see on your VPN app.

When you get online and connect to a VPN, your online traffic runs through that physical server. Every VPN server contains dedicated VPN software that creates encryption tunnels for VPN clients. RAM-only servers have dedicated hardware too. Surfshark and NordVPN are perfect examples.

But not all VPN providers will have physical servers in specific countries. Perhaps the country in question doesn’t have local server infrastructure. That’s a pretty common occurrence for smaller countries and less developed nations.

Server parks are complicated to build, and places like Andorra don’t have physical VPN servers. However, you can still connect to a VPN server in Andorra.

How is that possible?

These days, virtual VPN servers are a standard service from VPN providers. They provide a local IP address even though the physical server is in an entirely different location. You can have an IP address from Andorra, but the server may be in Germany or Spain.

On average, VPN providers have an excellent server network that counts around 60 countries, sometimes more. If they offer IP addresses from hundreds of countries, they probably use a lot of virtual VPN servers.

What do we test for?

Our team analyzes the number of locations and servers for each VPN service. We check to see if you can select servers on a country level alone or can choose a city. Also, we examine which servers are physical and which are virtual.

> Test 14: Streaming compatibility

What is compatibility with a streaming service?

Looking for a movie or TV show on Netflix can feel frustrating. Some markets offer content not available in other countries. It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the business model of nearly all streaming services.

You may know HBO Max offers a specific title in the U.S. but not the European Union. A reliable way to bypass this problem is to use a VPN service.

When you connect to the internet, a VPN allows you to choose a server from the U.S. It assigns a U.S. IP address and enables you to watch the restricted content.

That’s the theory, anyway. Reality is a little bit different. For example, Netflix may block access to their services for users connected through a VPN. The best VPN services are always trying to outsmart streaming platforms and allow their users to access localized content.

What do we test for?

Our team tests whether the VPN service can access content from Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. Because Netflix is the biggest platform, we also test for other countries like Brazil, Australia, Japan, the UK, and Germany.

> Test 15: Torrenting compatibility

What is compatibility with a torrent network?

Many people use VPNs for torrent downloading. This is a form of peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing and means you download files from other users. It also means that a centralized server or service doesn’t exist.

The entire concept of torrent downloading depends on the willingness of participants to share their files with others online. Torrenting requires software like BitTorrent, but you may also stream torrents with services like Popcorn Time.

You may think that torrenting is illegal, but it is not. However, sharing copyrighted materials like movies and music is illegal in most countries.

What do we test for?

Testing includes using all available servers of a VPN client for torrenting. Ideally, all servers should allow peer-to-peer downloading.

> Test 16: Annual price and price per device

What is the annual price and price per device?

Most VPN providers offer subscription-based services. You create an account, choose a payment method, and pay a fixed fee for a set period. Paying a monthly subscription is typically the most expensive option.

The majority of VPN providers want you to commit for at least a year. So, they usually reduce the annual price significantly. The monthly amount drastically reduces if you pay once for the entire year. Most VPN providers offer similar prices for the same list of services.

The only notable exception is ExpressVPN. It’s one of the most expensive VPN providers today. Also, VPN clients like Surfshark allow users to install their apps on numerous devices, reducing overall expenses.

What do we test for?

We consider the annual price and price per connection to determine which service offers the best value. Also, we compare services included in each subscription plan.

What VPNs for Android have we tested?

We have tested 30 paid and free VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). Proton VPN is the best free VPN service. But if you have the money, we recommend getting a paid VPN service.

In the best case, the free version allows you to protect only one device and doesn’t offer you unlimited bandwidth / unlimited data. And in the worst case, the free VPN providers show you ads or secretly sell your browsing history to advertisers and your internet service provider.

And should you be strapped for cash, don’t opt for an expensive VPN like ExpressVPN. Instead, get a cheap VPN, like Surfshark, that allows you to install it on an unlimited number of devices and share the cost with a friend.

  • Astrill VPN
  • Atlas VPN
  • Avast SecureLine VPN
  • Betternet VPN
  • Bitdefender VPN
  • CactusVPN
  • CyberGhost VPN
  • ExpressVPN
  • HideME VPN
  • HMA VPN (HideMyAss VPN)
  • Hola VPN
  • Hotspot Shield VPN
  • IPVanish VPN
  • Ivacy VPN
  • IVPN
  • Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
  • McAfee Safe Connect VPN
  • Mozilla VPN
  • MullVad VPN
  • NordVPN
  • Norton Secure VPN
  • Private Internet Access VPN
  • PrivateVPN
  • Proton VPN
  • PureVPN
  • StrongVPN
  • Surfshark VPN
  • Tunnelbear VPN
  • VyprVPN
  • Windscribe VPN

The best are: CyberGhost, NordVPN, and Surfshark.

Frequently asked questions

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) protects your online privacy. It creates an encrypted VPN tunnel between your device and a VPN server. This tunnel hides your IP address, restores your anonymity online and makes you safe on public Wi-Fi networks.

Why do you need a VPN?

You need a VPN to restore your online privacy and security. Without a VPN, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and advertisers can track everything you read, watch and download online. On top of that, if you don’t use a VPN, hackers will be able to steal your data on public Wi-Fi networks, which can lead to identity theft.

How does a VPN work?

A VPN creates an encrypted connection, called a VPN tunnel, between your devices and a VPN server. This hides your IP address and what you do online. As a result, your ISP won’t be able to see what websites you visit, and advertisers won’t be able to know what your IP address is.

What is the best VPN?

CyberGhost, NordVPN, and Surfshark are the best VPN services of 2022. NordVPN is the most advanced VPN service. CyberGhost has the highest download speeds and the lowest one-year price. And Surfshark allows you to install the software on unlimited devices.

What is the fastest VPN?

CyberGhost, NordVPN, and Surfshark are the fastest VPN services of 2022. Although CyberGhost is slightly faster than the other two, the difference is not noticeable for most users.

About the author

Tibor Moes

Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]