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The 10 Best VPN for Netflix (2023 Update)

By Tibor Moes / November 2022

Why do you need a VPN? Your privacy and identity are at risk. Advertisers study your browsing habits, and hackers steal your data. But with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can guard your privacy and protect your identity.

  • Stop advertisers, like Google and Facebook, from snooping on you. Guard your browsing history against advertisers who track and sell your data.
  • Protect yourself from identity theft. If you use public Wi-Fi connections, a VPN stops hackers from stealing your passwords, credit card details, and more.
  • Watch any TV show with a VPN. You can access foreign movies on streaming services, like Netflix, by logging into a foreign VPN server.

When you buy the best VPN for Netflix, you can bring anonymity back to the web.

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

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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 Netflix

We looked at 30 free VPN providers across several operating systems. These include Windows 10, Windows 11, iOS, macOS, and Android. Here are the tests we ran on each one.

> Test 1: Logging policy

What is a logging policy?

A VPN should protect your data from other people. But does it offer protection from itself?

That’s the question we answer when looking at logging policies. A VPN can track your data because that data gets routed through the VPN’s servers. That means a VPN can see what you’re doing just like an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

A VPN’s logging policy tells you whether the service keeps track of what you’re doing online. Sadly, many free VPNs, such as Hola VPN, do. They can offer a free service because they log your data and sell it to advertisers. Their product is only free because you become a product for them.

About 30% of VPN providers store your originating IP address, with 5% also tracking browsing behavior. A VPN needs to tell customers about the data it’s collecting in its logging policy.

What do we test for?

We study the logging policy of any VPN we test to see what it says about the data the VPN tracks. Specifically, we want to see that the provider collects no information about your IP address or browsing habits.

Hence, we analyze whether the VPN’s logging policy lets them store your IP, which shows your location and which ISP you use. A good VPN never stores this data. We also check that the VPN doesn’t monitor or store data about what you do online. We even check to see that it doesn’t store and then delete data while you’re browsing.

The logging policy should say that the VPN only collects server load data, bandwidth usage information, and data that are needed to provide the service.

> Test 2: Ownership

What do we mean by ownership?

Corporate holding structures are rife in business. For example, the VPN service you use may be owned and operated by a company, which is owned by another company, and so on. The more companies that are involved in the ownership structure, the more may have access to your data.

It gets even more complicated.

A VPN provider could be based in the United States but be owned by a company in a different country. Alternatively, the VPN may come from a country other than the one you’re residing in. Each of those countries has its own data retention laws, which may affect your usage.

Our research found that there aren’t as many VPN companies as you’d think. Though there are a lot of different services, they tend to come from the same collection of companies. You need to know where these companies are before making your choice:

  • Aura (or Pango) – Based in the United States and offering several VPNs, including JustVPN, Hotspot Shield, and Touch VPN. It also offers the VPNs that a lot of big companies use, including Panda and Kaspersky.
  • CyberSpace – This Netherlands-based company owns some massive VPN services. These include Surfshark, Atlas VPN, and Nord VPN.
  • Gaditek – A Pakistani company that owns Unblock VPN, PureVPN, and Ivacy VPN.
  • Kape Technologies – The owners of ZenMate, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost VPN. This company is based in the United Kingdom.
  • Ziff Davis – This American-owned company operates several VPNs, including StrongVPN, Perimeter 81, IPVanish, and several others.

What do we test for?

We’re looking at four things in this test:

  • The owner of the VPN service
  • Where that owning company is based
  • The data retention laws in the country where the owner is based
  • The company’s history

Our tests have revealed some interesting facts.

For example, we found that IPVanish broke its own logging policy rules by collecting data it wasn’t supposed to have. In 2016, it had to hand this data over to Homeland Security. The company changed owners a couple of times to distance itself from the damage this incident caused.

We also found that Kape Technologies traded under the name Crossrider until 2018. That company offered a development platform people could use to make browser extensions. This platform was a favorite of malware developers and ad injectors, leading to a bad reputation. As a result, Crossrider changed its name when it decided to get into the VPN business.

> Test 3: Independent audit

What is an independent audit?

VPN companies may hire independent auditors to check out certain elements of their infrastructure or claims. For example, you may hear stuff like “Military Grade Encryption” or “Zero-Log Policy” in the VPN’s marketing material. Audits check those claims are valid.

After all, you want to know if those assertions are true. By undertaking an audit, a VPN can prove that it’s the real deal.

Examples of audits include:

  • Surfshark had Cure53 carry out an audit for flaws on its server infrastructure in 2021.
  • PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) analyzed ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology in 2019. They checked that the tech wiped all data every time a server got rebooted.
  • Private Internet Access (PIA) engaged Deloitte to audit its server environment as it relates to PIA’s privacy policy in 2022.
  • Like ExpressVPN, Nord VPN had PwC run an audit on its technical logs, server infrastructure, and configuration in 2020. PwC also quizzed NordVPN’s employees.

What do we test for?

We’re not the people running the audits. Instead, we’re looking for evidence that the VPN provider underwent an audit, what it looked for, and what issues it found.

> Test 4: Available VPN protocols

What is a VPN protocol?

For a VPN to work, the app needs to communicate properly with the VPN server. The VPN protocol enables that communication by outlining how the two identify each other. It also determines what the app does to connect to the server, how it sends data, and the encryption used, among other things.

Most VPNs use one of a selection of common protocols:

  • IKEv2: Created by Microsoft and Cisco, this protocol is extremely secure. However, it sacrifices some speed compared to a few other protocols.
  • L2TP/IPSec: One of the oldest and slowest VPN protocols.
  • OpenVPN: An open-source protocol that is customizable as well as fast and secure. It’s the most popular protocol as almost all VPN services use it.
  • PPTP: Another old protocol that now has some major security issues.
  • WireGuard: Think of WireGuard as the next step up from OpenVPN. It’s open source and uses fewer lines of code, making it easier to customize while offering faster download speeds.

A few VPN providers have their own protocols that they design themselves:

  • ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol
  • Hotspot Shield’s Catapult Hydra
  • NordVPN’s NordLynx, which is based on WireGuard

Only ExpressVPN makes its protocol available for others to check. Regardless, most VPNs use OpenVPN as standard, while offering either IKEv2 or WireGuard as alternatives.

What do we test for?

We look at which protocol each VPN service uses and whether the protocol is available across all operating systems. Some providers limit their use of certain protocols to specific operating systems.

> Test 5: Supported encryption standard

What is an encryption standard?

Encryption is what stops hackers from getting hold of data. An encryption standard sets the encryption rules. From 1977, companies could use the same encryption key to encrypt and decrypt data thanks to the creation of the Data Encryption Standard (DES).

However, DES was replaced by the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) in 2002. Developed by the United States government, AES uses the Rijndael block cipher and has a block size of 128 bits. Key sizes vary between 128, 192, and 256 bits.

The majority of VPNs use ASE-128 or AES-256 in either the CBC or GCM versions. We prefer GCM because it can encrypt blocks independently, making it more secure. It also writes in parallel rather than in series, which leads to larger throughput.

What do we test for?

Ideally, we want to see that the VPN uses AES-128 (GCM) or AES-256 as its default encryption standard. We also look at any alternatives the service offers.

> Test 6: Basic security features

What are basic security features?

Every VPN we test needs to have the following basic security features:

  • AES-256 encryption: Brute force attacks rarely work against AES-256, making it the most secure encryption standard.
  • Split tunneling: This allows selected programs to connect directly to the web without going through a VPN tunnel.
  • OpenVPN and WireGuard: The two main players in open-source VPN protocols are essential for VPN security.
  • Kill switch: A kill switch blocks the internet connection if the VPN tunnel’s encryption fails.

What do we test for?

Simply put, we look for the presence of these features and check that the kill switch and split tunneling work as advertised.

> Test 7: Advanced security features

What are advanced security features?

Beyond the basics, a good VPN offers more advanced security features to improve privacy:

  • Ad trackers and malicious website blockers: This technology blocks tracking cookies, ads, and any URLs associated with dangerous activity, like phishing.
  • Dedicated IP address: A unique IP address that can help you to avoid captchas and blacklists. A dedicated IP may also allow you to access restricted servers that only grant access to authorized IPs.
  • Double VPN: Doubles your encryption by using VPN server chaining to route internet traffic through a pair of VPN servers. You also get more IP protection and increased privacy.
  • Obfuscated servers: If you don’t want people to pick up on the fact you’re using a VPN, obfuscated servers are the way to go. They’re useful in countries like the UAE and China, which try to block VPN usage.
  • Override GPS location: Stops apps like Google Maps from knowing where you are with GPS spoofing that matches your location to the VPN’s server.
  • RAM-only servers: Instead of traditional hard drives, many VPN servers use RAM-based hard drives. These come with the benefit of wiping themselves whenever the server is restarted. This means there’s no data to find if the server gets confiscated.

What do we test for?

We look for the availability of these features and whether they actually work.

> Test 8: IP leak

What is an IP leak?

Your IP address creates security issues for two reasons:

  • It indicates where you are down to the zip code or neighborhood level.
  • When combined with your browsing history, it can show people who you are so they can see your surfing habits.

The problem is that every internet-connected device has a pair of IP addresses. There’s the public address used to communicate via the web and the private IP address used when communicating with devices on the same network.

Your ISP assigns your public IP address, which all devices connected to your router share. Most are IPv4 addresses, though some ISPs use IPv6, which was created as a replacement for IPv4.

A good VPN replaces this public IP address with the VPN’s servers address, which has two benefits:

  • Prevents your ISP from tracking your surfing habits. All they see is that you’re using a VPN.
  • Apps and websites can only see the VPN server’s IP address, meaning they don’t know who or where you are.

So, what are IP leaks in VPN apps?

IP leaks occur when your public IP address is visible instead of the VPN server’s address.

What do we test for?

We run an IP address lookup once we connect to the VPN service. If we see our IP address instead of the VPN’s, we’ve found an IP leak that compromises security.

> Test 9: DNS leak

What is a DNS leak?

When you type a URL into a web browser and hit Enter, a Domain Name System converts it into the website’s IP address. This is required to grant access. For example, a DNS turns SoftwareLab.org into the IP address 165.227.148.211 that allows you onto our site.

A DNS is like a phonebook, with the servers hosting the DNS being the operators who connect you to who you’re trying to call. In most cases, your ISP operates the DNS servers you use. The issue is that this setup gives your ISP access to your entire browsing history. You’re using their DNS servers, so they can see exactly what you’re doing.

VPNs counter this by using their own DNS servers. A DNS leak happens if your DNS queries go to your ISP’s servers instead of the VPN’s. Several issues can cause these leaks, such as mistakes when manually adjusting your VPN or the VPN not having its own DNS servers.

What do we test for?

After connecting to a VPN, we run a DNS server lookup. We’ve found a leak if that lookup reveals the VPN doesn’t have its own DNS servers.

> Test 10: WebRTC leak

What is a WebRTC leak?

Without Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), internet browsers like Edge, Firefox, and Chrome can’t communicate with websites in real time. If that line of communication isn’t there, you can’t stream video, audio, or games from the site without using extra software.

Any communication between browser and website involves an exchange of data, which includes your public and local IP addresses. Blocking WebRTC requests is possible, though it’s tricky and can lead to a loss of browser functionality.

A good VPN service gets around this by ensuring its server’s IP addresses get sent through WebRTC connections. This allows authorized connections to continue without compromising your IP address. A leak happens if the VPN fails to stop your IP address from being used for WebRTC transmissions.

What do we test for?

We run a WebRTC lookup after connecting to a VPN service. A leak occurs if we see our IP address.

> Test 11: Download speed via OpenVPN

What is OpenVPN?

As it’s one of the most secure VPN protocols, the majority of VPN services use OpenVPN. The protocol is also open source, meaning anybody can check it out to find issues and suggest improvements. It’s these features that have allowed continuous improvement of OpenVPN since its 2001 introduction. They’re also why we prefer to see OpenVPN as the protocol of choice for a VPN service.

There are two versions of OpenVPN:

  • OpenVPN UDP (User Datagram Protocol): This version offers the fastest download speeds, making it the default choice for many VPNs.
  • OpenVPN TCP (Transmission Control Protocol): Some download speed gets sacrificed in return for more control over data transmission.

Even with the introduction of WireGuard, most VPNs still use OpenVPN as their default protocol. However, some now prefer WireGuard because of its higher download speeds, though many of those still offer OpenVPN as an option.

What do we test for?

After setting the Windows version of the VPN service to the OpenVPN protocol, we test its download speed. We use a 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps) connection to really push the VPN to see how fast it can download data.

> Test 12: Supported speed via WireGuard

What is WireGuard?

Designed to be simpler, faster, and leaner than OpenVPN and IPSec, WireGuard is fast becoming the leading open-source VPN protocol. Though it was created for Linux, the protocol now runs on major operating systems, including Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS.

WireGuard’s biggest advantage is that it only has 4,000 lines of code. When compared to the 50,000 lines in OpenVPN, it’s easy to see how WireGuard increases the speed of debugging and security audits. It’s a lot easier to fix an issue that occurs with WireGuard than it is for OpenVPN.

Our tests, which we conducted across several VPN servers and services, show that this lean code also improves the speed of use. WireGuard is approximately 60% faster than OpenVPN.

What do we test for?

Using a 1 Gbps internet connection, we test the speed of the Windows version of each VPN service using the WireGuard protocol. We’re looking for the fastest speed possible, so we use a high-speed connection to get the most out of the VPN.

> Test 13: (Virtual) VPN servers and locations

What are (virtual) VPN servers?

A VPN provider needs a server to host the software that lets it create encrypted VPN tunnels with the service’s clients. It’ll use a VPN server, often with specific hardware, to achieve this. For example, both Surfshark and NordVPN use RAM-only servers that get wiped after every reboot, making them ideal for VPN services.

Most VPN services use physical servers located in the country displayed in your VPN app. When you use your VPN, you connect to one of these physical servers, giving you an IP address that’s local to the server’s location.

The challenge is that some countries have poor local server infrastructure, such as a lack of server farms. This makes hosting a physical VPN impossible in some smaller or less developed countries. Andorra is a good example of a country that doesn’t have physical VPN servers.

Despite Andorra not having physical servers, some VPN providers still offer VPN servers in the country. They do this using virtual VPN servers.

A virtual VPN server allows providers to give you a local IP address from a country despite that country not hosting the provider’s physical server. In the Andorra example, a VPN service in the Netherlands may give you an Andorran IP address despite its physical server being nowhere near the country.

We know that most VPN services that have extensive server networks will have physical servers in about 60 countries. If we see a VPN offering IP addresses from more than 60 countries, we know the provider probably uses virtual servers.

What do we test for?

We start by checking the number of servers and locations the VPN service offers. Then, we dig deeper to check if these servers allow you to select a location on the country or city level. Finally, we test to see if the VPN service has physical or virtual servers.

> Test 14: Streaming compatibility

What is compatibility with a streaming service?

A lot of people use VPNs to access streaming services so they can watch TV shows and movies that aren’t available in their countries. For example, the American version of Netflix hosts shows that aren’t available on the United Kingdom version. British people can use a VPN to access the U.S. version of Netflix so they can watch those restricted shows.

The idea is that you use a VPN to connect to Netflix via a U.S. server. This gives you a local IP address, which you can use to watch the American version of Netflix. Unfortunately, a lot of apps, including Netflix, use software designed to help them see if somebody connects via a VPN. They’ll then block access if they locate a VPN-based connection.

Accordingly, we’re looking for VPNs that update regularly to overcome the software these apps use to lock people out. A good VPN service aims to stay one step ahead of the apps so users always have access to the version they want.

What do we test for?

We load up the VPN and test whether its U.S server can unblock access to the following apps:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Disney Plus
  • HBO Max

We take it a step further for Netflix as we also check if the VPN offers access to the Australian, Brazilian, Mexican, German, Japanese, and UK versions of the service.

> Test 15: Torrenting compatibility

What is compatibility with a torrent network?

If you remember the old peer-to-peer (P2P) services like Napster and LimeWire, you understand the basics of torrenting.

Torrenting is a form of P2P downloading where people create files for other users to download. As the users download from one another, the torrent doesn’t need its own servers. Examples of torrenting clients include BitTorrent and μTorrent. Some torrents even have streaming capabilities, such as Popcorn Time.

The act of sharing files via a torrent isn’t automatically illegal. However, many of the files shared contain copyrighted materials, such as movies and video games, which is why many people associate torrenting with piracy.

What do we test for?

We use the VPN service to try and download files from a torrenting client to check if the service allows this on some or all of its servers.

> Test 16: Annual price and price per device

What is the annual price and price per device?

Though some VPN services are free, the best ones charge a monthly subscription fee. You’ll usually find that paying for a single-month subscription is the most expensive option. A more long-term commitment typically nets you a lower per-month price.

In our quest for value for money, we look at the VPN’s price for a one-year contract. We then use this price to determine how much you’re paying per device.

Some VPNs, such as IPVanish and Surfshark, allow unlimited devices within their subscriptions. This makes them ideal for multiple devices and sharing with friends. Others, such as ExpressVPN, have a much higher subscription cost than competitors, which factors into our testing.

What do we test for?

We test the one-year contract price for each provider. We then take this one-year price and divide it by the price per connection to come up with a per-device cost.

What VPNs for Netflix 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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