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Best VPN Services 2018

There are many good reasons to sign up for a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. VPNs give you a private connection that your Internet provider or hackers on the café’s network you just joined can't monitor you. They also let you connect to nodes in other countries so you can access streaming services that are only available locally.

When choosing a VPN, you need to consider the price, quality of customer support and the relative speed of data transfer. These are our top recommendations.

Best Overall

Our favorite VPN service overall, Private Internet Access offers fantastic speeds at a great price. For just $39.95 per year, you get access to more than 3,000 servers located in 30 countries around the world.

Perhaps because of its wide footprint, Private Internet Access had the fastest speeds when our colleagues at Tom's Guide conducted performance tests in New York City, Germany, The Netherlands and Azerbaijan. The service took an average of 3.3 seconds to establish its initial connection, which is nearly twice as fast as its nearest competitor.

Reasons to buy
+Fast speeds+Great price+Wide platform support+Global footprint
Reasons to avoid
-Random username-Driver reloads

Private Internet Access

Best Privacy

If you want to live, or at least surf, off the grid, you can't find a more private VPN service than Mullvad. The Swedish-based service doesn't even require you to enter an email address in order to sign up, and, if paying with a credit card, Paypal or Bitcoin aren't secret enough, you can send cash in an envelope, along with your account number.

Reasons to buy
+Super private, no email address needed+Easy setup+Can pay in cash
Reasons to avoid
-No mobile software-Relatively slow speeds


Best Free VPN Service

It's hard to argue with free. If you don't want to pay anything for a VPN, you get the first 10GB of data per month free from Windscribe. For unlimited, protected traffic you can pay a reasonable $49 per year or $69 for a lifetime subscription.

Reasons to buy
+Fast speeds+Free service+Available in many countries
Reasons to avoid
-Must use company's apps

Windscribe VPN

Best VPN Features

With connection points in 60 countries and more than 2,800 servers, CyberGhost has one of the most robust offerings of any VPN service. It also has unique and powerful features such as malicious site blocking and the ability to automatically open a connection when you launch certain programs (ex: Netflix).

Reasons to buy
+Servers in 60 countries+Blocks ads and trackers User-friendly interface
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Sub-par connection times


MORE: VPN Services in the Forums

Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.
  • abryant
    Archived comments are found here:
  • Dark Lord of Tech
    I've used several and NordVPN OUTPERFORMS them all.
    Access 5,087 servers worldwide
    No logs policy
    Connect 6 devices at the same time
  • tom10167
    I generally don't trust these kinds of things and one's values may be different than another's, but that Windscribe VPN looks REALLY good, even according to ThatOnePrivacy's ratings. Which is weird because they do offer a free service which in my mind is usually a flag. They offer paid plans too, but still.
  • moogleslam
    What's everyone's thoughts on AirVPN these days? I thought it was one of the more popular ones.
  • djspeller
    Isn't Romania where most computer viruses originate?
  • Larmo-Ct
    Has anybody ever heard of Tunnelbear???? I think they have great customer service, and a great bear related sense of humor. I've used it for a number years. My annual fee is $49.99. There is a free version, with a limited amount of use per month. It can be used on five devices at a time, and it's easy to select a country as your location.
  • sweetmelody56
    Nordvpn not even mentioned? Wow. With my roommates, we use Nord because it allows up to 6 devices, so having one account for all of us is more than enough as the speeds are pretty decent no matter what. And I like Nord's customer support, if you have a problem - they will help you immediately via live chat with REAL HUMANS, not robots or some other crap others do.
  • edward.tukiendorf
    I have NORD VPN as well. After trying some of these. No mobile support and only 1 device or so slow it is like using a slow DSL or less than 10MG. It sounds like this guy is getting a heck of a kick back here.
  • Vladimiros92
    Nord is very good, yet expensive if you do not share with others. PIA is my VPN of choice after testing 3-4 other providers. It's simple yet feature-packed, can get very cheap on occasion (look for discounts), speeds have been nothing less than stellar and I never had any issues with Netflix/torrenting whatsoever.