Welcome to the ultimate best VPN guide, where we discuss Surfshark, followed by other choices like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, PureVPN, and CyberGhost on 9-factors, including Jurisdictions, Logging Policies, VPN Leaks, Transparency Reports, Servers, Performance, Compatibility, Obfuscation, and Pricing.
5 Best VPN Services – August 2019 List
After putting in 480+ hours and researching 180+ services, here are detailed VPN reviews on 5 recommended providers for personal or commercial use:
#1 Surfshark VPN
A Budget-Friendly Versatile Provider
|Trust Pilot||9.2 Rating|
|2 Year Plan||$1.99/mo|
|1 Year Plan||$6.99/mo|
|Servers||800+ in 50+ countries|
Launched in 2018 and based in BVI, reviewing the newcomer “Surfshark” took me 20 hours. It is the best inexpensive VPN in my opinion, good for unblocking, torrenting, and anonymity.
It provides users with an expansive network of 800+ servers in 50+ countries worldwide, which worked smoothly in unblocking Netflix.
After changing the protocol from IKEv2 to OpenVPN, I was able to download torrent files securely and even stream directly through uTorrent web.
Advanced features offered by the provider, include CleanWeb (ad/tracker blocker), MultiHop, WhiteListerTM and unlimited simultaneous logins (one of the USPs of the low cost VPN).
The provider is safe from all WebRTC/DNS/IP address leaks, utilizes only two VIRTUAL servers, and offers average speeds of 76.22Mbps and upload speed of 66.18Mbps on my 100Mbps connection.
A commitment of 2-years will bring down the costs from $11.95 to $1.99/mo., backed by a 30-day money back guarantee. Downsides? Not many apart from the bugs in the Android app.
or receive more insights into the provider by reading this Surfshark review
A Service Ranked as “The People’s Choice”
|Trust Pilot||4.7 Rating|
|3 Year Plan||$3.49/mo|
|2 Year Plan||$4.99/mo|
|Servers||5,650+ in 59 Countries|
Established in 2012 and located in Panama, reviewing NordVPN took me a good 36-hours, which is a reliable service for unblocking VoDs, bypassing VPN bans, and leveraging anonymity.
Ranked as the most trusted VPN in the marketplace, thanks to its secure location, verified no logs policy, and third-party audit, the provider offers 5,480+ servers in 60 countries worldwide.
Almost all servers I tested NordVPN for unblocking Netflix, excluding suggestions from the support team. P2P/torrenting was also quick and secure as hell, thanks to the kill switch feature.
For encryption, NordVPN uses AES-256-CBC ciphers with HMAC SHA256 hash authentication. Features made available include DoubleVPN, CyberSec, Obfuscated servers, and Onion over VPN.
The provider is safe from all WebRTC/DNS/IP address leaks, utilizes ONLY physical servers, and offers average speeds of 80.00Mbps and upload speed 56.68Mbps on my 100Mbps connection.
A subscription of 3-years will drop the monthly costs from $11.95 to $3.49/mo., backed by a 30-day refund. Downsides? Sluggish DoubleVPN performance (which honestly is to be expected).
or check this NordVPN review out for a more detailed analysis
A Universal Service for Streaming, Torrenting and Privacy
|Trust Pilot||9.5 Rating|
|1 Year Plan||$8.32/mo.|
|6 Months Plan||$9.99/mo.|
|Servers||3000+ in 160+ Locations|
Founded in 2011 and headquartered in the British Virgin Islands (a safe jurisdiction), I invested 48 hours into reviewing ExpressVPN, which is an all-rounder service for streaming, torrenting, and privacy.
Ranked as the best logless VPN with a verified no logging policy even the Turkish Authorities could not bypass, the provider offers 3,000+ servers in 160 locations over 94 countries.
I could access Netflix US, UK, and Japan via 13 “working” Servers in amazing speeds. With kill switch in place, I could also torrent anonymously, guaranteeing safety from the DMCA.
The provider offers Network Lock also known as Kill Switch, Split Tunneling, and Obfuscation, which comes in handy for leveraging anonymity in countries like China, Iran, Iraq, UAE, Turkey, etc.
ExpressVPN is safe from all WebRTC/DNS/IP address leaks, utilizes both physical/virtual locations, and offers average speeds of 82.45Mbps and upload of 64.13Mbps on my 100Mbps connection.
A commitment of 15-months will bring down the costs from $12.95 to $6.67/mo., backed by a 30-day money back guarantee. Downsides? None that I can think of.
or receive more insights into the provider by reading this ExpressVPN review
A Feature-Packed VPN Service for Online Browsing
|Trust Pilot||9.5 Rating|
|2 Year Plan||$3.29/mo|
|1 Year Plan||$2.95/mo|
|Servers||2000+ in 140+ Countries|
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Hong Kong, I invested 30 hours into reviewing PureVPN, which is a feature-rich provider that offers excellent compatibility for bypassing geo-restrictions.
It provides its clientele access to an expansive network of 2,000 servers in 180 locations over 140+ countries worldwide, which sometimes work/may not work for unblocking Netflix.
Mostly, the service offers good support for torrent users, delivering stable speeds for downloading while keeping your identity safe – thanks to the addition of a SOCKS5 proxy.
Advanced features available include NAT Firewall, Split Tunneling, Ad/Tracker blocking, IPv6 Leak Protection, Port Forwarding, Kill Switch, DDoS Protection, and dedicated IPs for personal VPN use.
PureVPN is safe from all WebRTC/DNS/IP address leaks, utilizes a mixture of physical and virtual locations, and offers average speeds of 72.35Mbps and upload speed of 64.71Mbps.
A subscription of 1-year will drop the monthly costs from $10.95 to $2.95/mo., backed by a 31-day money back guarantee. Downsides? Inconsistent Netflix performance and sluggish TV apps.
or check this PureVPN review out for a more detailed analysis
#5 CyberGhost VPN
A Powerful VPN for All Your Unblocking Needs
|Trust Pilot||9.4 Rating|
|3 Year Plan||$2.75/mo|
|2 Year Plan||$3.69/mo|
|Servers||3800+ in 60+ countries|
Established in 2011 and based in Romania, reviewing CyberGhost took me 28 hours, which is a reliable VPN in terms of unblocking VoDs and allowing users to bypass geo-restrictions smoothly.
It gives users access to a listing of over 4,815 servers in 61 countries worldwide, among which 9 out of 12 tested worked in unblocking Netflix UK and US and their content libraries.
I also received good torrenting support with specialty servers available for the very purpose. Users can access them by entering “p2p” in the search bar present in CyberGhost apps.
Native protocols supported by the service include PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN (TCP or UDP) and encryption is provided via AES-256 cipher, RSA-4096 key encryption and SHA384 hash authentication.
The provider is free from all WebRTC/DNS/IP address leaks, utilizes a mixture of physical and virtual locations, and offers average speeds of 70.22Mbps and upload speed of 59.29Mbps.
A commitment of 3-years will bring down the costs from $12.99 to $2.75/mo., backed by a huge 45-day refund. Downsides? 1-day free trial is to short!
or receive more insights into the provider by reading this CyberGhost VPN review
Providers that Do the Job – The Underrated and Upward Trending
Where the above listing focuses on the best choices available in the market, here are some underrated and upward trending VPN providers, which also get the job done (based on my research):
#6 Private Internet Access (PIA)
Launched in 2010 and headquartered in the US, I invested 36 hours into reviewing PIA, which is a great option for p2p torrenters, who want to download pirated files.
For a US-based service, Private Internet Access has remarkably defended its no logs policy twice in the past four years. It offers a vast listing of 3341+ servers in 32 countries, for location switching.
I did face trouble in unblocking streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime, but PIA’s addition of a SOCKS5 proxy helped me download torrent files in fast speeds.
Specialty features offered by PIA include ad/tracker/malware blocker, Wi-Fi protection, port forwarding, auto connect, and a kill switch tool on all platforms/devices.
PIA does not suffer from any WebRTC/DNS/IP address leak issues, utilizes both physical/virtual locations, and delivers average speeds of 75.99Mbps download and 62.77Mbps upload.
A subscription of 1-year will drop the costs from $9.95 to $5.99/mo., backed by a 7-day refund policy. Downsides? Fails to unblock VoDs like Netflix or BBC iPlayer. Poor Linux app.
Read more Private Internet Access review for a more detailed analysis
Established in 2009 and based in Sweden, it took me 24 hours to review Mullvad, which in my opinion is an excellent choice for increasing online anonymity, keeping you safe from prying eyes.
It offers 311 OpenVPN servers, 60 WireGuard Servers (as a first in the VPN industry), and 11 bridge servers, each of which provides excellent performance and unblocking capabilities.
Mullvad successfully manages to unblock US/UK Netflix and BBC iPlayer UK, while keeping your identity hidden for p2p/file sharing using OpenVPN (UDP) and WireGuard servers available.
Mullvad also offers a vast list of features like ShadowSocks, Socket Secure (SOCKS5) Proxy, DNS Leak Protection, Teredo Leak Protection, Port Selection, and Automatic Kill Switch.
The provider is free from WebRTC/DNS/IP leakages, utilizes only physical servers, and delivers average speeds of 80.55Mbps download and 77.13Mbps upload on a 100Mbps connection.
Mullvad only offers a single monthly plan, starting at €5, backed by a 30-day refund guarantee. Downsides? Missing apps for Android, iOS, Chrome, and Mozilla.
Get more insights into the provider by reading this Mullvad review
Founded in 2010 and located in Romania, I invested a good 20 hours in reviewing ibVPN, which is an affordable no-logs service that works for unblocking VoDs and engage in p2p/file sharing.
It offers users an assortment of 100+ servers in 47 countries, specified for varied purposes. You have servers for regular browsing, P2P, DoubleVPN, and Tor over VPN.
The p2p ones work for both: torrenting and unblocking the UK version of Netflix only, but the DoubleVPN and Tor over VPN allow users to access websites in countries like China.
The provider also offers quite a lot of advanced features, such as ShadowSocks Proxy for P2P/file sharing, StealthVPN for access in banned countries, and SmartDNS for instant unblocking.
ibVPN is free from WebRTC/DNS/IP leakages, utilizes only physical servers, and delivers average speeds of 69.68Mbps download, and 71.91Mbps upload on a 100Mbps connection.
A commitment of 1-year on the “Ultimate VPN” plan will drop the costs to $4.83/mo. from $10.95. Downsides? No apps for Linux, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. Slow speeds.
or check this ibVPN review out for a more detailed analysis
Launched in 2009 and headquartered in Switzerland, it took me 14 hours to analyze VyprVPN, which is a remarkable option for novice VPN users, who want fast speeds for streaming on VoDs.
It offers an expansive list of 700+ servers spread across 70+ countries worldwide. Using the Chameleon Protocol, I was able to unblock US Netflix and stream “ALI G INDAHOUSE.”
VyprVPN also permits P2P/Torrenting, and I encountered no leaks, which could result in getting a copyright infringement fine. Thanks to obfuscation, I was even able to bypass the VPN ban in China.
The VPN offers the following current protocols: PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, and Chameleon. I recommend users to go for the last two, as they provide more protection and security.
VyprVPN is free from WebRTC/DNS/IP leakages, utilizes both physical and virtual servers, and delivers average speeds of 81.03Mbps download and 67.88Mbps upload on a 100Mbps connection.
A commitment of 12-months will lower the pricing from $12.95 to $6.67, backed by a 30-day refund guarantee. Downsides? Missing browser apps. No anonymous payment options are available.
Receive more insights into the provider by reading this VyprVPN review
#10 Avast SecureLine
The VPN offers a limited 55 servers in 34 countries worldwide, but the good thing is you receive excellent performance on them for unblocking and indulging in P2P/torrenting for downloading files.
Out of the sixteen servers offered in the US, three of them worked for unblocking Netflix. Torrenting was also secure, and I did not receive any copyright infringement notices.
The VPN is free from WebRTC/DNS/IP leakages, utilizes only physical servers, and delivers average speeds of 75.59Mbps download and 77.72Mbps upload on a 100Mbps connection.
Check this Avast SecureLine review out for a more detailed analysis
How We Picked the Best VPNs – Testing Criteria!
I analyzed over 100 domains on the internet; only to uncover that ONLY FEW websites had a rating criterion for their recommendations!
Unlike other VPN websites, BestVPN.co takes on an approach based on hard facts and research with proper testing.
While yes, the factors above assessed by these domains are vital. There is a lot to analyze when it comes to VPN services, and this is exactly what I am focusing on: providing users with accurate knowledge.
Countries part of the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes Alliance indulge in the sharing of intelligence, gathered by imposing mandatory data retention (for telecom, internet, and VPN providers) and mass surveillance laws.
VPNs present in these unsafe internet jurisdictions can’t be trusted one bit. At any time, they can be issued a subpoena with a gag order to cooperate with the government.
So VPN location can prove detrimental to those, who want to keep their identity hidden online. This is why I created an entire guide on “Internet Enemies”, highlighting providers present in such unsafe locations.
Make sure the VPN you sign up with is not based in countries that don’t respect the common man’s right to privacy. If they are, only go for ones with a verified no logging policy.
All VPN providers do indulge in some recording/storing of information. There have only been a few rare instances, where providers were put to test, verifying their LOGLESS claims.
Until an incident occurs concerning a subpoena from the Government, you can’t really tell whether or not a particular VPN is safe. This does not mean you stop using them altogether though.
Some VPNs are transparent about the logging information they record, while others blatantly lie and get caught later. Regardless, you need to be wary in either cases.
Hence, I took out the time to analyze the logging policies of over a 100+ providers. Among them 35 keep dangerous logs, 48 don’t store vital data/info, and only 15 prove to be logless!
When assessing the reliability of a VPN, you need to conduct a proper leak test. The last thing you need is your WebRTC/DNS/IP address leaking, revealing your identity.
IP/DNS leak protection is very important for individuals who indulge in p2p/torrenting or downloading of copyright material. A simple leak can end up costing you thousands in DMCA fines.
While most VPNs that leak are usually “free” there are plenty of paid counterparts that suffer from leakages too, and it’s important to avoid using them. Otherwise, you’re risking your privacy.
I conducted an in-depth leak test on over 105 providers in the marketplace. I’ve created separate listings for VPNs that are dangerous (no leak protection) and secure (leak-free).
VPNs allow your internet connection to pass through a secure and encrypted tunnel. They also hide your location by giving you a new IP address based on the server you select.
Recently though, there has been a massive increase in websites, VoDs, and countries with tough internet laws like China, Iran, Egypt, Russia, UAE, etc. that indulge in blocking VPNs.
They use Deep Packet Inspect (DPI) for blocking targeted apps/protocols, which mandates that providers use Obfuscation. This feature cloaks VPN traffic as HTTPs traffic, making it impossible to block.
For your convenience, I’ve listed some of the best providers that offer Stealth VPN, obfuscation mode, or selected obfuscation servers in different countries.
Next parameter on which I tested VPNs was performance. ISPs may impose throttling of your original IP address. Without a VPN, you will notice that the speeds you receive are not equal to your subscription PLAN.
Therefore, upon connecting a VPN, the endpoint shifts, as you gain access to a separate IP address and DNS, which bypasses any bandwidth caps and removes ISP throttling.
However, not all VPNs can maintain good performance, while offering exceptional encryption to keep your identity hidden. So I conducted a thorough performance test.
In the Speed Test guide, you can find a detailed analysis of the fastest VPN providers in the marketplace currently.
Despite the usage of VPNs increasing worldwide, a lot of users claim that they don’t continue using these services because of the lack of transparency from providers.
Netizens sometimes have little to no idea about the headquarters, owners, investors, the board of directors, warrant canaries/transparency reports, and auditing processes (if any) of VPNs.
This lack of transparency from providers urged me to contact them privately on email and learn more about different VPN services by asking THEM invasive questions.
The process involved emailing around 180+ providers, from which I’ve received responses from 15.
Some VPN services may not be transparent about the kind of servers they offer. Providers may state that they offer physical servers in varied locations, while most of them are VIRTUAL.
What this means is that upon connection to a server in one country, you will receive an IP address from another country. For instance, a server in Dubai could be in the US.
You do get a Dubai IP address, but the traceroute indicates the connection routing from a server in the US. Only a few providers are honest about using virtual locations.
With so much uncertainty regarding physical and virtual servers, it’s only wise that users conduct a proper test for determining the TRUTH. I did the same, and the results were fascinating!
For smartphone users, selecting a VPN is an even tougher task because not many are aware of the complexities concerning these tools and the app “permissions” they require.
Permissions typically fall into two categories: normal and dangerous. The former doesn’t have any risks attached to them, while the latter could be risking your privacy and digital identity.
I conducted a comparative analysis on the 80+ providers, based on the permissions that they request. The goal is to give you a better idea about “Safe” choices.
Is Having a VPN legal?
VPNs are completely legal, generally. However, different countries around the world may have exclusive laws, which may place restrictions on using VPN service.
For instance, those located in China, Russia, and Iran, Oman, can only use government-approved VPN services (that definitely can’t be considered safe).
In the UAE, anyone caught using a fraudulent IP address could face imprisonment or fines up to $400,000. Other countries were VPNs are completely banned include Turkey, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Belarus, and North Korea!
Is it Safe to Use a Free VPN Service?
I always tell my viewers to be wary of signing up with free VPN services, as they are the bane to your digital privacy. You know why? Because they can’t be trusted.
These “free VPN swindles” use shady practices for coming up with the costs of managing their service: app development/updates, bug releases, technical support, server expansion, etc.
If you still want to go for a free service though, some less risky options from our analysis of 180+ providers include: Hide.Me and Speedify.
VPN Comparison 2019 – Over 180 Providers Tested!
BestVPN.co might be a relatively new VPN review site. However, the team behind it has an experience of over a decade serving in this industry. My team and I were there before such privacy protection tools started gaining fame in the marketplace.
During this time, we have successfully directed a whopping 1 million+ users towards relevant VPNs for unblocking streaming sites, P2P/torrenting, receiving maximum privacy online, or bypassing firewalls and even VPN blocks.
To give users a better idea about different services, my team and I also performed an analysis of over 180 providers in the marketplace. The results we scaled from this ginormous analysis have been highlighted in the table presented below.
Wrapping Things Up
I tried my best providing online users as much info as possible regarding the best VPNs available and some underrated services in the marketplace currently.
With this, I’ll end this guide. Do let me know what you found most useful and which of these top five recommended providers will you try and why?