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Rae Hodge is an editor at , responsible for its coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools. She is a data-driven investigative journalist in the Software and Services team, examining VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance practices, and ethics in technology. Prior to joining in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, BBC and other local and international media.
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Russell Holly is an editor on the Commerce team at . He works with everyone to compile the best recommendations and help everyone find the best way to buy anything at the best price. When he’s not writing, you can find him riding his bike, running around in Jedi robes, or contributing to WOSU Public Radio’s Tech Tuesday segment.
Attila is editor for , covering software, apps and services with a focus on virtual private networks. He is a digital privacy advocate and has been quoted in online publications such as Computer Weekly, The Guardian, BBC News, HuffPost, Wired and TechRepublic. When he’s not using his laptop, Attila enjoys spending time with his family, reading and collecting guitars.
The title of “best VPN” is something we take seriously at . To receive this particular award, a VPN must meet exceptionally high standards of privacy, speed, and usability, while being completely transparent about its operations. And to retain that crown, he must maintain high standards. As of this latest update, ExpressVPN is currently our Editors’ Choice for best VPN overall, and Surfshark is our Editors’ Choice for best VPN value. Both of these awards are the result of recently updated ratings and reviews of these services, as well as NordVPN. We continue to compare and evaluate major vendors as the industry evolves and consolidates, and online security needs become greater than ever.
If you want to keep your browsing habits a secret and stay private online, a VPN is essential. Here’s how it works: A VPN, short for “virtual private network”, encrypts the connection between your device and the internet, protecting not only your browsing traffic, but all data from your device going over the internet. This encrypted connection will prevent your ISP from seeing what websites you visit and will prevent the websites you visit – unless you are logged in – from knowing where you are.
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We will teach you why it is important to protect your identity and your data. Plus, get recommendations for VPNs, password managers, and antivirus software.
A VPN gives you an extra layer of security even on public Wi-Fi networks, which is especially important if you’re sending or receiving sensitive information over the Internet. The best VPN helps you avoid ISP throttling and increases your personal security by making it harder for private and public entities to see your search and browsing history. And with the football season underway, it’s a good time to note that VPNs can also be used to bypass league suspensions and geo-restrictions. A VPN service lets you bypass content blocks, opening up your streaming options.
In recent years, a flood of VPN providers have entered the market, and this has both advantages and disadvantages. For one thing, the range of affordable VPN options now available means that no matter how critical or temporary your privacy needs are, there’s a VPN service to suit your needs. But it also means consumers have to sift through even more VPN hype.
Our hands-on testing and review process is designed to cut down on that hype. When we review each VPN service, we not only review them for their technical weaknesses, but we also review their individual performance strengths. We want to know what each service does best. We test each VPN with over 20 factors, and we’re constantly improving our methodology as we learn more.
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We test VPNs for browsing and streaming speed in multiple countries as well as connection stability and even the smallest potential privacy leaks. By testing across multiple devices and platforms, we can gauge which VPNs are best for gaming versus which are best for streaming, torrenting, or sharing sensitive information. Most importantly, we focus on the thorough research needed to verify each VPN’s historical credibility and ownership in a notoriously murky market.
The VPNs on this list earn our recommendation for more than just boosting their digital privacy strength – they allow easy streaming to overcome geo-blocked media, have torrent-friendly servers, and are fast enough to support gaming around the world. entire. Based on these ongoing reviews, you’ll see a few bullet points on each entry on our list, highlighting each VPN’s strengths and the uses we recommend it the most for. And because we strive to stay on top of a rapidly changing market, you’ll notice that each VPN service’s ranking changes as we learn more and retest.
Let’s take a closer look at each of our VPN providers below. Keep in mind that this list is constantly being updated. We’re actively working on more VPN testing and research, so expect this guide to change throughout the year as we put each VPN through its paces.
The list below features our overall favorites in 2022 so far. We will make a call when specific features make a better choice in a closer evaluation.
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ExpressVPN is currently the fastest VPN we’ve tested in 2022, dropping less than 2% in our overall internet speeds. Its apps for iOS and Android are designed with a streamlined approach that aims to get online quickly without hassle. A single button on the home screen gets you connected quickly, with the only option provided being a server location drop-down list with your fastest nearby city selected by default.
ExpressVPN’s other options — its security and privacy tools, account and settings options, and support page — are all neatly tucked away under a variety of three-bar garden in the top left corner of the screen. And they are worth the detour. ExpressVPN has included a built-in IP address checker, as well as two leak testers and a password generator.
Over the past year, ExpressVPN has increased its number of independent third-party audits, released details of its TrustedServer deployment process, joined the i2Coalition to call for better VPN industry ethics, and released a protocol for Lightway open-source encryption.
All of our top-rated VPNs have broad compatibility across platforms and operating systems, but ExpressVPN’s collection of setup guides, in-depth FAQs, and troubleshooting articles give it a distinct edge for users. . The same goes for its 24/7 customer support and 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee.
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The company has been around since 2009, and ExpressVPN has a massive network of over 3,000 RAM-only servers spread across 160 locations in 94 countries. ExpressVPN’s best plan offers five simultaneous connections for $100 per year (which includes an additional three months, for a limited-time contract totaling 15 months of service). You can also choose a $13 per month plan or pay $60 for six months.
Surfshark has an impressive suite of privacy and security features, unlimited concurrent connections, an easy-to-use interface, and an extensive global network. And it’s still significantly cheaper than most of its competitors. It’s what helped Surfshark win the Editors’ Choice for Best VPN 2022.
Along with standard VPN features such as a kill switch and DNS leak protection, some of Surfshark’s most notable features include stealth mode (which hides the fact that you’re using a VPN), split tunneling, NoBorders (which allows you to use Surfshark in areas where VPNs are restricted) and multihop VPN connections. You also get access to Surfshark’s CleanWeb technology, which blocks ads and malware and helps you avoid phishing attacks.
One innovation we’re excited to see Surfshark roll out over the next year is its Nexus Network, which connects the VPN’s entire server network and lets you choose multiple servers to route your connection to. The functionality is somewhat similar to Tor, but Surfshark says it’s faster. With the Dynamic MultiHop, IP Randomizer, and IP Rotator features, the Nexus Network can give you a few extra layers of protection when using VPN, which can be especially beneficial for users with critical privacy needs.
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Surfshark says it does not log any user activity. And while it’s nearly impossible to prove no-log claims with 100% certainty, German cybersecurity firm Cure53 said Surfshark’s security was “strong” in its 2021 VPN security audit. Surfshark says that a new audit will arrive later this year.
Since February 2022, Surfshark and NordVPN have shared the same parent company (Tesonet), but Surfshark has stated that it is legally bound not to share any information between devices that
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