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

The 10 Best VPN for Firestick (2023 Update)

By Tibor Moes / November 2022

Why do you need a VPN? Advertisers and hackers are spying on you. Luckily, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can protect you. Here are the top reasons why you need one:

  • Avoid identity theft. Stealing your credit card details on a public Wi-Fi network isn’t difficult for hackers. A VPN will encrypt your data and make it unreadable.
  • Protect your data from advertisers. Advertisers want to gather as much data as possible on you. A VPN hides your browsing habits from them.
  • Access blocked TV shows in your region. Streaming platforms don’t offer the same movies in every country. A VPN allows you to watch geo-restricted shows from anywhere.

Using the best VPN for Firestick gives you an extra layer of security, privacy, and convenience.

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 Firestick

We tested 30 free and paid VPNs across different platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows 11, Windows 10, and macOS. For each of these VPNs, we performed the tests below. 

> Test 1: Logging policy

What is a logging policy?

Users tend to think that their privacy is guaranteed when using a VPN. But not all VPNs have your privacy interests at heart. Since your data passes through their servers, some VPNs can choose to track it at best or store and sell it at worst, just like your ISP.

For example, a VPN can track the following: 

  • Your current location using your public IP address.
  • Your online activities, including the sites you visit and the files you download.

Hola VPN has a reputation for tracking users’ data. But it isn’t the only culprit. Our study discovered that 5% of VPN services track your online behavior, and a staggering 30% trace your IP address. A VPN provider should clearly state whether they keep your data and what they do with it. They should also specify the kind of data they hold. Unfortunately, these policies are difficult to comprehend because they are poorly written.

What do we test for?

We read a VPN’s logging and privacy policy to discover the kind of information they are tracing. Some information, such as bandwidth usage and server traffic, help the service providers improve their services. Plus, this information doesn’t reveal anything about you, so that remains off our “alarming” list.

> Test 2: Ownership

What do we mean by ownership?

Corporate holding structures span many entrepreneurial fields, and VPNs are no different. A VPN service might be owned by a company that another larger company owns, and the hierarchy goes on and on. These parent companies can access your data if they want to.

If these companies are registered in countries like the Netherlands and United States, then your data may be subject to the data retention laws in these countries. It is, therefore, important to know what company owns your VPN provider and where they are registered. 

From afar, it seems like there are many VPN providers. But the truth is, just a few companies own the VPNs. In fact, a single company might own multiple VPNs. Let’s break down some examples:

  • Kape Technologies is based in the U.K. and owns multiple VPN giants, including ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost VPN, and ZenMate.
  • Ziff Davis is based in the U.S. and owns IPVanish, StrongVPN, Encrypt me, Perimeter 81, SaferVPN, and Buffered VPN.
  • Aura, also called Pango, is based in the United States and owns Hotspot Shield, JustVPN, and TouchVPN. The company also provides VPN technology for other VPN companies like Bitdefender, Panda Kaspersky, and others.
  • CyberSpace is based in the Netherlands and owns some big names in the industry, including Surfshark, NordVPN, and Atlas VPN.
  • Gaditek is based in Pakistan and owns PureVPN, Unblock VPN, and Ivacy VPN.

What do we test for?

We analyze the parent company of a VPN service, the region in which they are based, and the data retention laws of that region. We also examine the company’s history and whether it has been involved in any scandals or controversies.

Here are some of our interesting findings:

  • Kape technologies, previously called CrossRider, created a development environment for browser extensions. Sadly, the platform served as a breeding ground for malware creators and ad injectors which ruined the company’s reputation.
  • In 2016, IPVanish handed data to Homeland Security. This is controversial because, according to their privacy policy, they were not supposed to have this data in the first place. While the VPN service has already changed ownership twice, users who care about their privacy are still apprehensive about using the platform.

> Test 3: Independent audit

What is an independent audit?

VPN services claim to deliver exceptional results in their advertisement material. Often, you’ll hear buzzwords like “Strict no-logs,” “Military Grade Encryption,” and “Obfuscated servers” being thrown around. But how do we ascertain these claims? Well, that’s why we need independent audit trails.

A VPN service can decide to hire an independent auditor to test certain aspects of its infrastructure and operation. In most cases, an editor might examine the privacy policy or the server infrastructure. So the only way to know whether a VPN company is telling the truth is by looking at independent audit reports.

According to our research, here are a few VPN providers that have successfully done an independent audit:

  • In 2022, Private Internet Access VPN(PIA) was audited by Deloitte to examine if the server environment was consistent with the provider’s privacy policy.
  • In 2021, SurfShark was audited by Cure53 to examine if the server had any vulnerabilities.
  • In 2019, ExpressVPN requested a PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) audit to analyze whether their servers erased all the data whenever the server was restarted.
  • In 2020, NordVPN requested an independent audit from PwC to examine the configurations, technical log trails, and server infrastructure. Employees were also interviewed during the audit to verify their professionalism.

What do we test for?

We don’t run any independent audits. However, we investigate whether a VPN provider ordered an independent audit, the audited system parts, and the issues discovered. We also check to see if the company resolved the problems discovered.

> Test 4: Available VPN protocols

What is a VPN protocol?

A VPN protocol is a set of rules that govern how a VPN app and VPN server communicate. These rules specify many aspects of the VPN infrastructure, including:

  • How data is transmitted between the VPN app and the server.
  • How the encryption between the app and server works.
  • How the VPN app and the VPN server identify each other. 
  • How the VPN app logs on to the server.

Here are some commonly used protocols:

  • OpenVPN: This is perhaps the most common VPN protocol because almost all VPN providers use it. It is customizable, fast, secure, and versatile. OpenVPN is also open-source and supports all the major operating system software.
  • WireGuard: Think of this VPN protocol as a better version of OpenVPN. It is Open Source, contains a few lines of code making it easy to customize, and offers faster download speeds. 
  • IKEv2: This VPN protocol was designed by Microsoft in collaboration with Cisco. It is secure but not exactly fast. Our speed analysis indicated that it’s slower than both WireGuard and OpenVPN.

Unfortunately, we can’t say that one VPN protocol is better than the other. While most VPN providers use OpenVPN as their default protocol, they usually opt for WireGuard and IKEv2 as the best alternatives.

Some VPN providers have also designed their own protocols. Here are some excellent examples.

  • NordyLynx VPN protocol was created by NordVPN and is based on the WireGuard code.
  • Catapult Hydra was designed by Hotspot Shield from scratch.
  • Lightway VPN protocol designed by ExpressVPN from scratch.

What do we test for?

We identify the protocols provided by a particular VPN service. We also check whether the provided VPN protocol is supported on all operating systems or limited to just a few.

> Test 5: Supported encryption standard

What is an encryption standard?

Encryption is what prevents third parties from understanding data because it transforms it into something like a secret code. On the other hand, an encryption standard defines how computer data should be encrypted. The first symmetric key encryption standard was released in 1977 and was called Data Encryption Standard (DES). This encryption uses a single key to encode and decode data.

In 2002, the U.S. government replaced the DES with Advanced Encryption Algorithm (AES). Unlike DES, AES is asymmetric and uses the same code of 128, 196, or 256 bits for encryption and decryption. AES is so secure that breaking it requires computational powers that exceed the capabilities of modern computers. 

Nearly all VPN protocols encrypt and decrypt their data using AES-128 or AES-256 in CBC or GCM version. But the GCM version is preferred because it is faster and has higher throughput. It also offers better security because every block is encrypted and decrypted independently. 

What do we test for?

We check to see what the default encryption standard of a VPN provider is and the alternatives they provide.

> Test 6: Basic security features

What are basic security features?

Each VPN service we test should have at least the following basic features:

  • AES-256 encryption:This is perhaps the most secure encryption standard because it can’t be hacked using brute-force methods.
  • Split tunneling:This mechanism allows select programs to connect to the internet by bypassing the VPN tunnel.
  • Kill Switch: This security mechanism blocks the internet connection if the VPN’s encrypted tunnel is compromised.
  • WireGuard and OpenVPN:These are the top open-source and secure VPN protocols. So a VPN service should have at least both of these in its security infrastructure.

What do we test for?

We examine if a VPN service provides the above primary security features. We also check that the Split Tunneling and Kill Switch features work as the provider claims.

> Test 7: Advanced security features

What are advanced security features?

The presence of advanced security features differentiates an “okay” VPN service from a VPN service that’s committed to upholding the privacy of its users. Here are essential advanced security features:

  • Ram-only servers:These are the servers that don’t contain hard drives. They are perfect for hosting VPN services because they wipe out all the data once rebooted. 
  • Dedicated IP address:This distinctive IP address doesn’t change often. It is perfect for websites that require an authorized IP address and online banking websites that don’t condone ever-changing IP addresses. It also comes in handy in avoiding captchas and denylists.
  • GPS spoofing:This feature allows you to set the location of your VPN server as your GPS location. With the feature enabled, apps such as Instagram and Google Maps will not know your exact location.
  • Obfuscated servers:These servers try to conceal the fact that you’re using a VPN. This can be helpful in countries such as UAE and China, where VPN traffic is highly disregarded.
  • Double VPN:Think of this feature as using two VPNs at once. It transmits traffic through two VPNs, thus offering double IP address privacy, security, and encryption.

What do we test for?

We check whether a VPN provider offers advanced security features and whether they work as the provider claims.

> Test 8: IP leak

What is an IP leak?

Every device has a unique private IP address and a public IP address, and the two help identify it on a network. These addresses allow a device to communicate with one another. Devices communicate via the private IP address when connected on the same network, for example, on a home network. They communicate via the public IP address if they are connected over the internet.

Usually, the public address is assigned to you by your ISP. Most public IP addresses are IPv4-based, but they can also be IPv6-based because the latter is slowly taking the internet by storm. 

A public IP address poses some serious privacy concerns:

  • Your ISP can see your approximate location.
  • It can reveal you personally when paired with your browsing habits.

Fortunately, a good VPN should easily eliminate the above threats because it replaces your public IP address with that of its servers. This is a good thing for multiple reasons. First, the websites and the apps you visit see the IP address of your VPN and not yours. So they have no idea who you are. Lastly, the ISP simply knows you’re using a VPN, but they cannot view or track your browsing habits.

If the VPN you’re using is quirky, then your own IP address will be relayed to websites and ISPs, instead of your VPN’s. When this happens, we say that an IP leak has occurred.

What do we test for?

We connect to a VPN app and perform an IP address lookup test. If the results contain our IP address, the VPN service doesn’t protect users against an IP leak.

> Test 9: DNS leak

What is a DNS leak?

Think of the Domain Name System (DNS) as the phonebook of the web. It translates human-readable domain names into their respective IP addresses that a computer can understand. For instance, if you open your browser and type in “softwarelabs.com,” the DNS won’t send the hostname that you’ve typed to the DNS server. Instead, it will translate it into its respective IP address, in our case, “165.227.148.211,” for the DNS server to process your request. 

DNS servers, in simple terms, are the databases that contain domain names and their respective public IP addresses. In most cases, these servers are managed by ISPs. So your ISP has your browsing history because they get your public IP address from DNS servers. But this can’t happen if you use VPN providers that have their own DNS servers.

A DNS leak is likely to occur if a VPN provider does not own DNS servers. This means your data is transmitted directly to your ISP’s DNS because your VPN providers don’t own a DNS server. If they had, the data would be routed through the VPN’s DNS, and the IP address that your ISP gets is not your own but rather that of your VPN server. 

What do we test for?

We connect to a VPN app and perform a DNS server lookup. If the results don’t return the VPN DNS, then the VPN doesn’t protect you against a DNS leak.

> Test 10: WebRTC leak

What is a WebRTC leak?

WebRTC, also called Web Real-Time Communication, allows web browsers to form real-time communication media. WebRTC is the engine behind services requiring real-time data transmissions, such as streaming and live chats.

Your browser and the website you’re visiting exchange data packets that contain your local IP and public IP address. Sadly, this is how WebRTC works, and there is nothing much you can do unless you have a VPN. A VPN will allow your device to send packets as usual, but the IP address that will be relayed will be that of the VPN instead of yours.

What do we test for?

We visit a website via a VPN and run a WebRTC lookup. If the results contain our own IP address, then the VPN doesn’t have a mechanism to prevent a WebRTC leak.

> Test 11: Download speed via OpenVPN

What is OpenVPN?

OpenVPN is one of the industry’s leading open-source VPN protocols. Therefore, anyone can analyze, critique, or improve its code. Open-source projects usually improve over time, and OpenVPN is no exception.

OpenVPN has been a go-to protocol for many VPN providers, but WireGuard is slowly taking the spotlight because of its fast download speeds.

What do we test for?

We install the desktop versions of various VPN apps on our Windows computers and the OpenVPN protocol. We then open the apps and examine their download speeds. We also examine the speeds using a 1Gbps internet connection to see how well the apps perform under such strict conditions.

> Test 12: Supported speed via WireGuard

What is WireGuard?

WireGuard is a simple, fast, and open-source VPN protocol. While other VPN protocols have up to half a million lines of code, WireGuard’s code is slightly leaner and contains only 4000 lines. A smaller code makes it easier and faster for developers to customize the code. It is also easier to debug it and run Quality of Service (QoS) checks.

In the beginning, WireGuard was developed for Linux, but later on, the code was customized to include big-name operating systems like macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. We examined VPNs that used WireGuard and discovered that they are 60% faster than those that solely use OpenVPN.

What do we test for?

We install the desktop version of the VPN app on our Windows local machine along with the WireGuard protocol. We then launch the app and examine the download speeds. We also examine the speed using a 1Gbps internet connection to see how well the service performs under such stringent conditions.

> Test 13: (Virtual) VPN servers and locations

What are (virtual) VPN servers?

VPN providers require VPN servers. These servers host VPN software and provide a way for it to create encrypted VPN channels with various VPN clients. Sometimes, the servers are integrated with specialized software for better performance. For example, Ram-based VPNs are used by Surfshark and NordVPN and are specifically designed for VPN services.

Nearly all VPN servers are physical, meaning that the server is situated in the country that’s displayed on your VPN app. When you connect to one of the listed servers, your traffic is passed through the physical server in the stated country, and that’s how you end up with a local IP address.

Unfortunately, not all countries have the resources to set up infrastructure for local servers. Let’s take the example of Andorra. It’s a small country with mountainous terrain and hence lacks the ability to set up physical servers. But that doesn’t stop VPN providers from routing users’ traffic in Andorra, thanks to the concept of virtual VPNs. When using a virtual VPN server, you still get a local IP address of that particular country, even if the server is physically not located in that country.

Most VPN providers with expansive networks have VPN servers across many countries. Sometimes as many as 60 countries. But just a handful of these servers are physical; most are virtual. 

What do we test for?

We count the number of locations and servers that a VPN provider has. We also examine which of the servers are virtual and which are physical. We also test to see if a VPN provider allows users to choose a server based on the country or region.

> Test 14: Streaming compatibility

What is compatibility with a streaming service?

You’ve probably noticed that certain streaming shows are not available on a global scale. Using a VPN is an excellent way of unlocking geo-restricted content on streaming services. But how does it work? When you sign in to your streaming service using a VPN, your device is assigned a local IP address situated where your VPN server is located. Let’s say you’re using a VPN and decide to switch to a server in the U.S.; then, you’ll be able to watch all the local shows in the country.

But streaming giants don’t like the idea of people using VPNs to access geo-restricted content. In fact, they are actively trying to implement mechanisms that detect whether a user is connected to the service using a VPN. If you’re using a VPN, your device will be temporarily blocked until you disconnect the software.

This is a big challenge for VPN providers. It means they have to constantly evolve their software to prevent streaming services from detecting VPN connections. As you can see, this is a brutal cat-and-mouse game, and just a few VPNs can stay on top of the game.

What do we test for?

We test to see if a VPN service can unblock streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and HBOMax in the U.S. Our tests are a bit tight with Netflix. So we check other countries like the U.K., Australia, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, and Germany.

> Test 15: Torrenting compatibility

What is compatibility with a torrent network?

Torrenting is the act of downloading files that other users have uploaded to a site or a network. You can think of it as peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading. The process doesn’t require a dedicated server because users download files from one another.

Torrenting isn’t illegal, but the shared files are usually copyrighted; hence the practice is often associated with piracy.

What do we test for?

We test whether a VPN provider supports torrenting on their servers. It’s good if the provider allows the practice on all their servers, but it is still acceptable if they only support it on a few servers.

> Test 16: Annual price and price per device

What is the annual price and price per device?

While a few VPN providers offer the service for free, the most reliable ones are those that charge customers monthly or yearly. Usually, VPN providers will break the subscriptions into various durations, ranging from a month to a year.

A closer look at a one-year contract price and the price per device from different providers reveals that the price is almost similar across various providers. However, ExpressVPN stands out from the crowd because it is the most expensive provider. 

Some VPN providers generously allow you to log in to the service with unlimited devices. This makes them perfect for those who want to share the service with other family members and friends. Some options that allow logins from unlimited devices include IPVanish and Surfshark.

What do we test for?

We determine the yearly price of a one-year contract. We also calculate the cost per device by dividing the annual fee by the number of allowed connections.

What VPNs for Firestick 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-"]