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The 10 Best VPN for iOS (2023 Update)

By Tibor Moes / November 2022

Why do you need a VPN? A VPN encrypts your web traffic and routes it through a server in another location. The increases your security and privacy.

  • Identity theft: Hackers steal your personal data, like credit card numbers, by on public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Advertisers are watching you: Advertisers track your browsing history and show you targeted ads.
  • Geo-restricted TV shows: Many streaming services restrict their movies to certain countries.

Buying the best VPN for iOS will protect your data from hackers and advertisers and unblock geo-restricted shows.

CyberGhost VPN - The best VPN

CyberGhost VPN

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  • 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

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  • 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

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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 iOS

We gathered 30 of the most popular VPN services on iOS, Android, Windows 10, Windows 11, and macOS. Each of these services was subjected to the following tests:

> Test 1: Logging policy

What is a logging policy?

A logging policy is a set of guidelines that dictate what data a VPN provider can collect about its users and how it can be used. Essentially, a logging policy helps protect your privacy when using a VPN.

When surfing the web using a VPN, your data is routed through the VPN provider’s servers. This allows the provider to track your online activity, including the websites you visit, the files you download, and your approximate location.

If a VPN provider does not have a strict logging policy, it could sell this information to advertisers or data brokers. Some free VPNs, like Hola VPN, engage in this practice.

Our research shows that approximately 30% of all VPN providers retain the originating IP address, and around 5% discreetly track your online activity.

As a result, it is important to choose a VPN provider with a robust logging policy to protect your privacy. Unfortunately, most policies use purposely complicated language to hoodwink users into thinking their data is well protected.

What do we test for?

We test each VPN service for various criteria, but one of the most important is privacy. We want to ensure that each VPN keeps your information safe and doesn’t log any data that could be used to identify you.

To do this, we read through the privacy policy of each VPN to see what information they track and how they use it. Some data, like bandwidth usage and server load, can be helpful for the VPN provider to improve their service.

However, we consider logging browsing activity or IP addresses completely unacceptable. This data can be used to track what you do online and approximately where you live. We believe this information should never be monitored or stored by a VPN provider.

> Test 2: Ownership

What do we mean by ownership?

When we talk about ownership, we’re talking about the companies that operate the service. These companies are usually owned by another company, which is known as a corporate holding structure. This is a very common arrangement.

Both the companies that own and operate the VPN service can theoretically access your data. This is because they can access the servers where your data is stored. Moreover, these companies are usually registered in countries with unique Data Retention Laws. This means the government of those countries can also request access to your data.

So, it’s important to know who owns your VPN service and where they are registered. This will give you an idea of how safe your data is. At first glance, it might seem like there are many different VPN services to choose from. However, when you take a closer look, you’ll see that only a few companies own the majority of the popular VPN services:

  • Ziff Davis, based in the U.S., owns SaferVPN, Buffered VPN, IPVanish, Encrypt.me, StrongVPN, and Perimeter 81, among others.
  • CyberSpace, based in the Netherlands, owns Surfshark, NordVPN, and Surfshark.
  • Gaditek, based in Pakistan, owns TouchVPN, Ivacy VPN, Unblock VPN, and PureVPN.
  • Aura (or Pango), based in the U.S., owns Hotspot Shield and JustVPN. It’s also a major technology partner for several antivirus programs that offer VPN services, including Bitdefender, Panda, and Kaspersky.
  • Kape Technologies, based in the U.K., owns ZenMate, CyberGhost VPN, ExpressVPN, and Private Internet Access.

What do we test for?

When testing VPNs, we take a close look at the company running the service. This includes researching their jurisdiction, data retention laws in that jurisdiction, and their history. We want to ensure that they are a reputable company that respects your privacy. For example:

  • Kape Technologies, which went by the name Crossrider until 2018, attempted to create a platform for the development of browser extensions. However, poor controls resulted in ad injectors and malware creators infiltrating the platform, dealing a serious blow to the company’s reputation.
  • IPVanish, which has always claimed a strict no-logging policy, provided Homeland Security with user logs in 2016. It was not supposed to have those logs in the first place. The company has since changed owners twice but has yet to regain the trust of most consumers.

> Test 3: Independent audit

What is an independent audit?

An independent audit involves a company hiring an outside party to assess a specific area of its operation. This could be anything from the server infrastructure, encryption standards, to the privacy policy.

The purpose of an independent audit is to ensure that the claims made by the company are accurate and that its practices are up to scratch. Often, an independent audit will uncover areas where improvement is needed.

Here are a few examples:

  • In 2019, PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) was commissioned to perform an independent audit of ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology to verify its efficacy. The main goal was to determine whether the company’s servers indeed deleted all user data after every reboot.
  • Deloitte conducted an audit of Private Internet Access (PIA) in 2022 to determine whether the company’s servers were compliant with PIA’s privacy policy.
  • PwC audited NordVPN in 2020, focusing on technical logs, configuration, and server infrastructure.

What do we test for?

First, we check to see if the VPN providers underwent an independent audit and what the audit investigated. This helps us to get an idea of how reliable and trustworthy the provider is. Second, we check to see what flaws the audit uncovered. This helps us to identify any potential areas of improvement for the provider.

Finally, we check to see if the provider has taken steps to address any issues raised in the audit. This helps us to determine whether the provider is committed to improving their service.

> Test 4: Available VPN protocols

What is a VPN protocol?

A VPN protocol is a set of communication rules that determines how a VPN server and a VPN app identify each other, how the app logs in to the server, how data is sent, and how encryption works. Different protocols can have different impacts on VPN connection speeds and security.

For example, switching from one protocol to another can dramatically improve download speeds. However, choosing a protocol that strikes the right balance between speed and security for your needs is important.

The most common protocols are OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP.

  • OpenVPN is widely considered the most secure option, as it uses high-level encryption and offers a variety of features.
  • WireGuard is a newer protocol that is growing in popularity due to its simplicity and efficiency.
  • IKEv2 is a good choice for mobile devices, as it is fast and resists battery drain.
  • L2TP/IPSec is a reliable option compatible with most devices and operating systems.
  • PPTP is the oldest VPN protocol still in use, but it is not as secure as the other options.

Which protocol should you choose? There isn’t a best answer for this question. Most VPN services offer OpenVPN as their default option but also provide WireGuard or IKEv2 as alternatives to suit various needs and preferences of users who may want more options.

What do we test for?

We test whether a given VPN provider’s protocols are available on all devices, not just specific ones. We also check to see if there is an option for connecting with the most current software, as this will help protect users against vulnerabilities in their system that hackers might exploit.

> Test 5: Supported encryption standard

What is an encryption standard?

Encryption is a process of transforming readable data into an unreadable format. This can be done using a cipher, which is a type of algorithm used for encryption. A key is used in conjunction with the cipher in order to encrypt and decrypt the data.

There are two types of ciphers: symmetric and asymmetric. Symmetric ciphers use the same key for encrypting and decrypting the data, while asymmetric ciphers use different keys.

The most common symmetric cipher is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). AES is a block cipher that uses a block size of 128 bits and a key size of 128, 192, or 256 bits. AES is used in most VPN protocols, as it is more secure than other ciphers and can be written in parallel, which increases its throughput.

What do we test for?

We test the default encryption standard of VPN services to ensure that they are utilizing strong algorithms such as AES-128 or 256. We also investigate whether other options are available, just in case someone prefers something other than what is offered by default.

> Test 6: Basic security features

What are basic security features?

There are several features that are commonly offered by VPN providers, and each can help keep your online activity safe in different ways.

  • AES-256 encryption is a strong form of data protection that can make it very difficult for anyone to intercept and read your internet traffic.
  • OpenVPN and WireGuard are two common protocols used by VPN providers. They can help create a secure and encrypted connection between your device and the server.
  • Split tunneling allows you to choose which apps will use the VPN and which will not. This can be especially useful if you want to use the VPN for some activities but not others.
  • A kill switch is a security feature that disconnects your device from the internet if the VPN connection is lost. This helps to prevent your traffic from being exposed if the connection is suddenly interrupted.

What do we test for?

We test whether the VPN provider offers each of the features mentioned above, and in the case of kill switches or split tunneling, we ensure they work as promised.

> Test 7: Advanced security features

What are advanced security features?

Many VPNs also offer additional security features, such as ad and tracker blockers, dedicated IP addresses, double VPNs, obfuscated servers, RAM-only servers, and the ability to override GPS locations.

  • A good VPN will block ads, trackers, and malicious websites. This will help to protect your privacy and keep your data safe.
  • A dedicated IP address is a unique IP address assigned to a user to help access restricted servers that can only be accessed by authorized IP addresses. It also helps bypass blacklists and captchas and can be used to disguise your online banking activity to make it harder to trace your true IP address.
  • Double VPN encrypts your traffic twice for extra security.
  • Obfuscated servers make it difficult for anyone to see you’re using a VPN.
  • GPS location override allows you to change your location so that you can access geo-blocked content.
  • RAM-only servers are more secure than traditional servers because they do not store any data. This means that even if the server is hacked, hackers would have no data to steal.

What do we test for?

We check to see the advanced security features offered by the VPN provider and whether they work as promised.

> Test 8: IP leak

What is an IP leak?

A VPN works by replacing your true IP address with a server-generated IP address that disguises your identity and location while browsing.

An IP leak occurs when your real IP address is exposed while using a VPN. This can occur if the VPN connection is not properly configured, if the VPN software contains bugs, or if the VPN server itself is compromised.

When your device connects to a VPN server, it should route all of your traffic through the encrypted tunnel. However, if there is a problem with the connection, some of your traffic may be sent outside of the VPN.

While IP leaks are often harmless, they can potentially expose you to privacy risks. Your ISP may be able to see your IP address and what you’re doing online. A leak can also allow an attacker to track your online activity and even locate your physical location.

What do we test for?

We connect to a VPN service and run an IP address lookup. If the IP address used is our own rather than one generated by the VPN’s server, that’s evidence of a leak.

> Test 9: DNS leak

What is a DNS leak?

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a system used to translate human-readable website addresses (like “www.SoftwareLab.org”) into machine-readable IP addresses (like “165.227.148.211”). This is necessary because the Internet is a massive network of computers that can’t understand human language, only numbers.

The DNS server is responsible for keeping track of all the IP addresses associated with websites and mapping them back to their corresponding human-readable website names. When you type a website address into your web browser, your computer contacts the DNS server to request the IP address for that website and then connects to the web server at that IP address to load the website.

A DNS leak occurs when your DNS requests are sent outside of the encrypted tunnel provided by your VPN. This can happen for several reasons, but the most common is when your VPN connection drops and your device automatically reconnects to your ISP’s DNS server.

DNS leaks can also occur if your VPN provider doesn’t properly route DNS requests or if you’re using a public Wi-Fi network that uses its own DNS servers. If your DNS requests leak, your ISP (and anyone else on the network) is able to see which websites you’re trying to visit. This can be used to track your online activity and even block certain websites from being accessed.

What do we test for?

We connect to a VPN service and run a DNS server lookup. We know we have a DNS leak when the VPN service does not own the DNS servers.

> Test 10: WebRTC leak

What is a WebRTC leak?

Though VPNs are designed to keep your data private, they can sometimes leak information through WebRTC.

WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is a technology that allows browsers to share information directly with each other, bypassing the need for servers. This can be useful for things like video chat, but it also means that your browser can unintentionally reveal your true IP address, even when using a VPN.

To prevent this, you can disable WebRTC in your browser settings. Some browsers also have extensions that will block WebRTC requests, providing an extra layer of protection.

However, using a reliable VPN service is the best way to avoid WebRTC leaks. The best VPN services allow authorized WebRTC connections, but they ensure the server-generated IP address is throughout to protect your true address.

What do we test for?

We run a VPN service followed by a WebRTC lookup. We know we have a leak when the original IP address is displayed.

> Test 11: Download speed via OpenVPN

What is OpenVPN?

OpenVPN is an open-source VPN protocol that was first introduced in 2001. Since then, it has undergone continuous improvement thanks to the fact that anyone can inspect and critique its source code.

Today, it’s widely considered one of the most secure VPN protocols. This is one of the reasons why it is the default option for many VPN services. In addition to being secure, it is also compatible with multiple operating systems.

OpenVPN comes in two different versions: UDP and TCP. The UDP version is typically the default option because it has the fastest download speed. However, the TCP version offers greater control over data transmission, even though it comes at the cost of a slower download speed.

What do we test for?

To test how fast a VPN service can go when downloading files, we set the Windows app to use OpenVPN and connect with a 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps) connection.

> Test 12: Supported speed via WireGuard

What is WireGuard?

WireGuard is a VPN protocol designed to be simpler and faster than other protocols such as OpenVPN and IPsec. It is open source and runs on all major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

WireGuard is also considerably more lightweight than other VPN protocols, with only 4,000 lines of code compared to close to 500,000 for OpenVPN. In our tests, we found that WireGuard was around 60% faster than OpenVPN.

What do we test for?

We test the download speed of each top VPN service to see how they perform under pressure. We set up an environment with a 1 Gbps (1 million bits per second) internet connection and then measure average File Transfer speeds

> Test 13: (Virtual) VPN servers and locations

What are (virtual) VPN servers?

A VPN server is a server that helps to create an encrypted connection between a VPN client and the internet. This is done through specialized software, which allows for a secure tunnel to be formed between the two points.

In some cases, specialized hardware is also present on the server, which helps create an even more secure connection. For instance, many VPN providers will have RAM-only servers, making it impossible for someone to hack into the system and steal data.

Most VPN servers are physical servers, which means they’re located in the country indicated in the VPN app. After connecting to one of these servers, your web traffic is routed through the physical server in that country, giving you a local IP address.

However, smaller or less developed countries usually don’t have the same level of server infrastructure as larger countries. For instance, Andorra, the small mountainous country between France and Spain, does not have any physical VPN servers.

That’s where virtual VPN servers come in. For example, they will give you an IP address from Andorra, even though the physical server is in France or Spain.

What do we test for?

We test the number of servers and locations a VPN provider offers. We also examine whether they can be selected on a country or city level, and whether a user can opt for a virtual server if a physical one isn’t available.

> Test 14: Streaming compatibility

What is compatibility with a streaming service?

If you’re a fan of streaming services like Netflix, you know that they can be a great way to watch your favorite shows and movies. However, you may also have noticed that some series and films are only available in certain countries.

This can be frustrating if you’re trying to watch a show that’s only available in the United States, for example. Fortunately, there’s a way to get around this limitation. A VPN service allows you to change your virtual location, thereby opening up access to content that would otherwise be unavailable.

However, streaming services have been developing tools designed to “catch” VPN users and stop them from unlocking geo-restricted content.

It’s become a game of cat and mouse, but the best VPN services have still managed to stay ahead of the curve.

What do we test for?

We run different VPN services to gauge whether they can unblock Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer in the U.S. For Netflix, we check more countries, including the U.K., Japan, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, and Australia.

> Test 15: Torrenting compatibility

What is compatibility with a torrent network?

Torrenting is a popular file-sharing method that allows users to download files (often large ones) quickly and efficiently. Files are first downloaded onto a user’s computer and then shared with other users through a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.

Because torrenting bypasses traditional servers, it can be much faster than other methods of downloading files. Additionally, because users are sharing directly with each other, there is no need for extra bandwidth or storage, which also makes torrenting more efficient.

Though torrenting is not illegal, it can facilitate piracy and the sharing of copyrighted material.

What do we test for?

We test different VPN services to check whether all their servers (or at least a few) allow the downloading of files via peer-to-peer networks.

> Test 16: Annual price and price per device

What is the annual price and price per device?

VPN services usually advertise their price per month, with a single-month subscription being the most expensive and the price falling as the duration of the contract increases. To make a fair comparison, we focus on the annual cost of a one-year contract and the price per device.

From this perspective, it quickly becomes apparent that most VPN services are priced similarly. ExpressVPN is an exception, as it is far more expensive than most other VPN providers.

Several VPN services, such as Surfshark and IPVanish, do not cap the maximum number of devices you can connect, significantly reducing the price per device. Such services are ideal for users looking to share the cost with family or friends.

What do we test for?

We look at how much each service costs per year and the number of connections you can have simultaneously with your account.

What VPNs for iOS 11 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.

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