Best VPN services in 2023
This review presents the Top 10 VPN services according to Cooltechzone's test results. We have compared more than 80 VPNs and selected those that showed the best results in terms of speed, servers, streaming, and torrenting.
In none of the tested locations, did we find spontaneous shutdowns or a significant decrease in speed.
We'll talk about the most advanced VPN features that help you maximize security and privacy even under strict censorship.
Choosing a VPN is becoming increasingly difficult. The market leaders are rapidly evolving, while others are stuck in outdated technologies. At the same time, each provider claims to be the best. In this article, we will tell you about the true top VPN services that you can trust.
If you choose the right VPN, you can set it up on any of your devices within minutes and use it 24/7 without slowing down your Internet speed or reducing your battery life.
You may also receive additional discounts when signing up for a VPN using our links.
Best VPNs in 2023: shortlist
- NordVPN: Best overall VPN with NordLynx protocol
- Surfshark: Low-cost VPN with no device limit
- Atlas VPN: Top freemium VPN service
- IPVanish: Popular American VPN
- PureVPN: Affordable VPN with 20 Gbps servers
- PrivateVPN: Streaming-oriented VPN provider
- ExpressVPN: Powerful VPN service with TrustedServer technology
- Proton VPN: Swiss VPN with a great free version
- VyprVPN: Security-focused VPN
- CyberGhost: Largest VPN for streaming
In this article, you will find answers to these questions:
- Can I trust a VPN to protect my connection?
- How do I choose a VPN without getting it wrong?
- Which VPN service is the best if I plan to use it full time?
- Can I subscribe to one VPN for my whole family?
Top 10 VPNs in 2023
All of our best VPNs use military-grade encryption and reliable kill switches. Moreover, each provider has a strict no-logs policy, meaning your data isn't monitored or stored. Finally, these Top 10 VPN services have apps for major platforms and support plenty of other devices.
1. NordVPN – top VPN with exceptional speeds
The best overall VPN in 2023 is NordVPN. It is the perfect choice for long-term use, as it has perhaps the most user-friendly interface and a full set of features. At the same time, it has excellent security, privacy, and performance.
It all starts with military-grade encryption, two kill switches, and protection against leaks. Furthermore, NordVPN has an independently-audited no-logs policy and is registered in the privacy-friendly jurisdiction of Panama. Features like Double VPN and Tor VPN will get you extra protection, and obfuscated servers will hide your connection in countries with restricted internet access. You can also pay for NordVPN with cryptocurrencies or cash.
Thanks to the proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol, you'll have some of the fastest, if not the fastest, speeds across the globe. Besides, all 5900+ servers in 60+ countries are bare-metal, and most use RAM-only technology, meaning they don't store any data at all. Therefore, expect 4K streaming and quick P2P downloads.
NordVPN unblocks Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, and more streaming platforms. It's also great for safe torrenting, enhanced by split tunneling and a SOCKS5 proxy. There are dedicated apps for major platforms, including Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, but NordVPN supports most smart TVs, routers, and game consoles.
All pricing plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 7-day free trial (requires Android). The Complete version will add NordPass password manager and 1 TB of NordLocker cloud storage. At the moment, the best deal is $2.99/month for a 2-year NordVPN plan with 69% off.
To learn more, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – low-cost VPN with no device limit
Combining high speed and powerful functionality, Surfshark does not limit the number of devices used. It's also one of the cheapest providers with an excellent price-to-value ratio.
In many cases, Surfshark is the go-to option for bypassing VPN blocks in censored countries due to its Camouflage Mode. This provider also unlocks Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and more streaming options. Torrenting is allowed on all servers, with Bypasser (split tunneling) letting you choose which apps should use the VPN tunnel.
The WireGuard protocol will ensure maximum performance on all 3200+ RAM-only servers in whopping 100+ countries – the best selection among all VPNs on this list.
Surfshark uses bank-grade encryption and a reliable kill switch for your protection. It has a strict no-logs policy and is based in the Netherlands (Nine Eyes country). Moreover, users get CleanWeb which works against ads and malware. There's also the Surfshark One package with antivirus, safe search, and protection against identity theft.
Surfshark has apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire Stick. New subscribers also get a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 7-day free trial which can be activated with a smartphone. You can get Surfshark VPN for just $2.21/month for a 2-year plan with an 86% discount.
To learn more, read our Surfshark review.
3. Atlas VPN – top freemium VPN service
Atlas VPN is the top freemium option on this list. With solid security, awesome speeds, and unblocking capabilities, Atlas VPN seems too inexpensive to be true. Yet it is, while also offering a viable free version.
Furthermore, one account gives you an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, which is still a rare feat among VPNs. However, while Atlas VPN has apps for major platforms, including Android TV and Amazon Fire Stick, it lacks support for routers and other devices
Utilizing WireGuard, this provider doesn't lack performance in any of its 1000+ servers in 42+ countries. Moreover, Atlas VPN lets you watch Netflix, HBO Max, Peacock, and more. Torrenting is allowed, but some users might miss split tunneling or a SOCKS5 proxy.
Atlas VPN has a no-logs policy that effectively negates the US jurisdiction's impact. Besides, the MultiHop+ feature connects you to two servers and rotates the exit gateway for extra protection. There's also SafeBrowse for avoiding those pesky ads and malware.
You can grab Atlas VPN for a mere $1.64/month – that's two years with 86% off. All subscribers are entitled to a 30-day money-back guarantee. Choose Atlas VPN if you seek quality for the lowest price!
Read our Atlas VPN review.
4. IPVanish – popular American VPN
IPVanish is a time-tested quality VPN that has been operating for more than a decade. During this time, it has gathered a whole army of fans. This probably has something to do with unlimited simultaneous connections, solid server selection, and free VIPRE antivirus.
Even though IPVanish is located in the US, it has an independently audited no-logs policy. From the security standpoint, there's not much more to ask – you get NASA-grade encryption, WireGuard, and Stealth VPN. However, we did miss the option to pay anonymously or with cryptocurrencies.
You can torrent on all IPVanish 2200+ self-owned servers in 50+ countries. A SOCKS5 proxy is available in case you want to hide your IP without encrypting the traffic. Officially, IPVanish doesn't unblock streaming platforms, but we were able to stream Netflix US and some other libraries without hiccups.
To sum up, this service is suitable for most tasks other than unblocking geo-restricted video streaming. For $2.99/month, you get the annual IPVanish plan and save 76%. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our IPVanish review.
5. PureVPN – affordable VPN with 20 Gbps servers
PureVPN is one of the cheapest providers with a massive server fleet. What's more, this provider unblocks most streaming platforms and provides good speeds while maintaining top-notch protection.
While it may not have many special features, the price and quality ratio is off the charts. Registered in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands, PureVPN also sports an independently-audited no-logs policy. It has WireGuard for Windows and Android plus the next-gen Quantum-Resistant Encryption Keys.
PureVPN's server list is not only about size. Most of the 6500+ servers in 78+ countries are 10 Gbps, with 20 Gbps options sprouting across the globe as we speak. With such capabilities, watching Netflix, Hulu, or BBC iPlayer in 4K won't be an issue. However, P2P is allowed in countries where it's legal, and port forwarding will cost a bit extra ($0.25/month).
This VPN is a great all-rounder that offers security, privacy, and streaming without breaking your bank. Try the two-year PureVPN plan for $1.95/month with 82% off and 10 simultaneous connections. Finally, there's a 31-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind.
Read our full IPVanish review.
6. PrivateVPN – streaming-oriented VPN provider
PrivateVPN is a streaming-focused provider with the lowest number of servers, but it retains a global presence thanks to the quality of its self-owned network. At the same time, this service comes with good speeds for streaming and torrenting.
Even though it's based in Sweden, a Fourteen Eyes company, PrivateVPN negates that with a robust no-logs policy. Also, it takes your online safety seriously by offering military-grade encryption, a reliable kill switch, and Stealth VPN.
With PrivateVPN, you can stream multiple Netflix libraries, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and more. Torrenting is allowed on all 200+ servers in 63+ countries with a SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding. Additionally, there are apps for the most popular platforms, including Android TV and Amazon Fire TV, but you also get support for routers, smart TVs, and game consoles.
The only reason it's not higher in our rankings is the lack of WireGuard protocol, which should unlock the full potential of this service. The 3-year IPVanish deal comes with 10 devices, an 85% discount, and will cost you $2.00/month only. Alternatively, you can try PrivateVPN for 7 days for free.
Read our IPVanish review.
7. ExpressVPN – powerful VPN service with TrustedServer technology
ExpressVPN is one of the top providers that checks all the boxes except for the price. With this VPN, you get excellent security, speeds, streaming, torrenting, and 24/7 customer support. However, a recent ownership change has raised questions about ExpressVPN's commitment to privacy.
Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN has an independently-audited no-logs policy proven in court. Unfortunately, it now belongs to Kape Technologies, which has a record of distributing malware and is tied to Israeli surveillance. If that wasn't enough, ExpressVPN's CIO, Daniel Gericke, has a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the US.
Despite these controversies, ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs, thanks to its in-house Lightway tunneling protocol. Moreover, all of its 3000+ servers in 105+ countries are RAM-only, meaning no data is stored on hard drives. ExpressVPN easily unblocks Netflix and other streaming platforms with MediaStreamer, while allowing torrenting on all servers with port forwarding and split tunneling features.
Among other features, users will find Threat Manager, which stops ads, malware, and tracking. There's also Stealth VPN for use in countries like China and an app for routers.
Overall, ExpressVPN is a great service that knows its worth and isn't afraid of charging for it. You can grab the annual ExpressVPN deal for $8.32/month and save 35%. One account comes with a 5-device limit and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our ExpressVPN review.
8. Proton VPN – Swiss VPN with a great free version
Proton VPN is one of the two best VPNs with a free plan, which makes it ideal for beginners. However, it's the premium version that shows its full potential with hundreds of 10 Gbps servers plus support for P2P and streaming.
Cooltechzone recommends Proton VPN because of its focus on user protection which shows in the number of features, such as Tor over VPN or Netshield against malware, ads, and trackers. This service also uses AES-256 encryption, accepts anonymous payments, and has its no-logs policy audited by a third party, among other things. What's more, ProtonVPN is characterized by offering extra-protected Secure Core (multi-hop) servers in a special data center in Switzerland buried 1000 meters deep!
Streaming fans will be glad to learn that this VPN unblocks Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and other content platforms. In the meantime, torrenting is possible on select servers with split tunneling and port forwarding features. Thanks to the WireGuard tunneling protocol and VPN Accelerator that increases speed up to 400%, one can expect good performance on all 3000+ servers in 69+ countries.
Proton VPN has clients for all popular platforms, including Android TV and Chromebook. You can try it for free or get the premium Proton VPN version with a 10-device limit for one year for $3.99/month with a 50% discount.
Read our Proton VPN review.
9. VyprVPN – security-focused VPN
VyprVPN used to be higher on the list of top VPNs until it decided to ramp up its price. While it added WireGuard, audited its no-logs policy, and focused on streaming support, there are still quite a few providers that will get you even more for a much smaller amount.
Putting the cost aside, VyprVPN offers top-notch privacy and security. It uses military-grade encryption, a reliable kill switch, and Chameleon protocol for use in countries with censored internet. VyprVPN is also based in Switzerland, a country without data retention laws.
Additionally, this provider unblocks multiple content platforms and reliably protects torrenting activities. You'll be able to watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, or Sky Go and download P2P files safely using split tunneling if you like. In total, there are 700+ servers in 64+ countries, all owned by VyprVPN.
This service has apps for major platforms, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and routers, allowing 30 simultaneous connections. You can try it risk-free thanks to the month-long money-back guarantee. Subscribe to VyprVPN's annual plan with 50% off for $5.00/month.
Read our VyprVPN review.
10. CyberGhost – largest VPN for streaming
While CyberGhost VPN is easily the largest VPN by server count, not all of them offer the same performance despite the next-gen WireGuard protocol. What's more, it's operated by the ill-reputed Kape Technologies, which also owns ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access (PIA), and ZenMate.
Apart from that, CyberGhost is a good choice for P2P and streaming with apps for major platforms and 7 simultaneous connections allowed. Torrenting fans will find split tunneling and a SOCKS5 proxy at their service, while streamers will have no trouble unblocking Netflix, HBO Max, Peacock, and more content. CyberGhost VPN also separates itself from the pack by providing totally free browser extensions that require no registration to use.
CyberGhost VPN uses bank-grade encryption, an always-on kill switch, and comes with its own ad & malware blocker. On top of that, you get the so-called NoSpy servers owned by the VPN itself that also promise faster connections. In total, there are 10200+ servers in 100+ countries to choose from.
There's a 1-day free trial available for Windows and Mac users plus a 45-day money-back guarantee – no other VPN offers such a lengthy period. Currently, the 3 years + 3 months CyberGhost plan is available for $2.03/month with 84% off.
Read our CyberGhost VPN review.
Most of the best VPNs are pretty affordable, but there are also both cheap and expensive options, not to mention free versions. At the same time, as our experience has shown, paying more for a VPN doesn't guarantee you'll get a better service.
We offer you a price comparison of all top VPNs in the same order as they were listed above. Not all VPNs have offers for each period in the table and some may offer 5-year or 3-month options, while others have more than one plan. In such cases, we added the price of the shorter plan in italics.
|VPN||3 years||2 years||1 year||6 months||1 month|
As the table shows, the cheapest option is Atlas VPN – you can get it for $1.83/month. The most expensive choices are ExpressVPN and VyprVPN. PureVPN and CyberGhost are most flexible when it comes to billing periods – they have 4 options each. The former also includes a plus a 5-year deal for $1.50/month that appears as a pop-up on their website.
To sum up, the best VPNs according to quality and price for every billing period are as follows:
- 5 years – PureVPN for $1.50/month
- 3 years – PrivateVPN for $2.00/month
- 2 years – NordVPN for $3.29/month
- 1 year – Surfshark for $3.99/month
- 6 months – Surfshark for $6.49/month
- 3 months – IPVanish for $4.44/month
- 1 month – PrivateVPN for $8.99/month
As always, don't forget that all of these services have a month-long (or longer) money-back guarantee period, allowing you to try all the features risk-free before comitting. Also, consider choosing a long-term plan because the prices go up each year, meaning you can actually save even more money.
How to choose the best VPN
The main parameters of the best VPN services in 2022:
- Number of platforms supported. It is better when applications are offered for all OSs. Support for smart TVs and streaming devices is a big plus.
- Countries. A good indicator is servers in 50 countries or more.
- Number of servers. The more servers there are, the more evenly the load is distributed. They should also be bare-metal for optimum performance.
- Speed. Average internet speed with a VPN connected (taking into account ISP capabilities).
- Speed stability. It can change at different locations and depending on the time of day.
- Connection protection functions. All good VPNs have a kill switch feature and leak protection.
- Support for streaming services. Only the top VPN providers can bypass the geo-blocks of Netflix and other content platforms.
- Torrenting support. A VPN should allow P2P on most servers and offer useful features like port forwarding and split tunneling.
- Tunneling protocols. Look for WireGuard for maximum performance. OpenVPN and IKEv2 a solid but slower options.
- Number of simultaneously used devices. This ranges from five up to an unlimited number of connections per account.
- Logging policy. Most VPN services claim that they do not record user activity, but only a few have confirmed this in court or by undergoing an independent audit.
Choosing a wrong VPN
What happens if you don't go into details and get the first VPN you find?
Let's take an example.
Recently, while we were analyzing reviews of VPNs on Reddit, we noticed a comment with negative feedback about one of the major VPN providers. It said that VPN didn't bypass the geo-restrictions of the Hulu streaming platform.
But the service worked perfectly against the Great Chinese Firewall and helped the residents of China gain access to blocked sites outside the country.
So is it a good VPN or bad? The main mistake of inexperienced users is choosing a service randomly, without learning its capabilities.
That's why we listed the main characteristics to consider when choosing your VPN. In the Top 10 VPNs according to test results, you will find fact-driven data to select your VPN quickly.
Why do you need the top VPN in 2023
The number of security risks is increasing at an alarming rate. As we spend more and more time online, it's time to think about protecting ourselves from snoopers, hackers, viruses, and other dangers. A VPN is essential cybersecurity and privacy tool that can integrate anti-malware features for all-around safety. We at Cooltechzone strongly believe that getting the best VPN is a well-worth investment. And since the prices are rising while the plans are becoming shorter each year, the best time for protecting yourself is now.
Below are the key reasons why you need not just any but a top VPN service.
Securing public Wi-Fi connections
Free Wi-Fi in cafeterias and hotels is great, but it comes with a cost. If a network is not protected with a password, cybercriminals can easily access it. A VPN makes sure that your information is encrypted with a military-grade cipher, and your IP address is hidden from all snoopers. Learn more about Wi-Fi security.
Bypassing geo-restrictions of media content
In recent years, VPNs have evolved into feature-rich tools that literally break boundaries and limits. They are now not simply used for work but play as well.
With a VPN, you can change your virtual location and access video and audio content from Netflix and other geo-restricted video services and TV channels.
Video services try to block the IP addresses of VPNs, so not all providers can fully work with popular streaming sites. This is especially true for BBC iPlayer, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix. Choose only VPNs that have been tested with these video services. Read more in the review VPN for streaming.
Safe and fast torrenting
While we don't condone piracy, torrenting is unsafe, even when downloading freeware. That's because any peer can see your IP address and approximate location. When you turn on the VPN, you get its server's IP in addition to traffic encryption. What's more, using a VPN might even increase the speed if your ISP throttles P2P bandwidth.
Finding better prices
You may have already noticed that certain goods and services cost differently across the world. And we're not talking about shipping costs. For example, users in India pay less for Netflix than those in the US. The same can be said about flight tickets, hotels, etc.
The best VPN providers have servers in dozens of countries. That lets you easily compare the prices and save substantial money.
Circumventing government censorship
Not all countries care about freedom, be it offline or online. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and many others block certain websites and services like YouTube or Facebook while actively monitoring citizen behavior. Some even implement sophisticated Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to detect VPN usage.
Luckily, our top VPNs armed with traffic obfuscation tools can bypass even the Great Firewall of China.
Protection against IP and DNS leaks
VPNs are designed in such a way that data protection occurs only inside the virtual tunnel. However, some less-reputable providers have problems with keeping your personal data hidden. For this reason, you simply might not notice that your IP or DNS address is visible to everyone.
Of course, even the best VPNs might sometimes fail; even if they automatically reconnect, some of the data may have already been sent to the internet without protection.
IP and DNS leaks can occur due to:
- Problems on the side of the VPN service
- Unstable internet
- Changing Wi-Fi points
- Automatic updates of VPN software
- Change of location
But fortunately, there is an effective way to protect against such leaks – a kill switch technology. It blocks all traffic outside the VPN tunnel in case of failure. There is also a kill switch variant that closes only specified applications. Learn more in the article Best VPNs with a kill switch.
Are VPNs legal in every country?
Countries with strong censorship may have laws or technical means that prevent VPNs from working.
We have compiled a list of countries and the specifics of their VPN countermeasures. If you are in one of them, using a regular VPN may not be possible or safe.
|China||VPN services not controlled by the government are legally prohibited. Together with this, the so-called Great Chinese Firewall operates in the country. It not only blocks IP addresses but is also capable of detecting and blocking VPN activity.|
|UAE, Oman||The degree of blocking is highly ISP-dependent. Some VPNs are allowed for businesses.|
|Russia, Belarus||Only state-authorized VPNs are legal.|
|Iran, Iraq, Turkmenistan||Blocked IP addresses + DPI (Deep Packet Inspection)|
|Turkey, Egypt||Blocking VPN servers and websites. However, VPNs are usable.|
|North Korea||Banned for the locals. Visitors should have no trouble.|
|India||VPNs are required to log data on Indian servers.|
In all of these countries, save for India, you should use a provider with Stealth VPN technology. It hides your VPN connection and enables to bypass governmental blocs. Out top recommendation is NordVPN, now 69% off.
Best VPN services video review
Finding a reliable VPN that protects you at all times can be a real challenge. However, to make things easier for you, our team has prepared an in-depth video review that will answer all of your questions.
After testing dozens of VPN providers, we came to the conclusion that NordVPN is the best VPN in 2023. It offers excellent security and privacy, blazing-fast speeds, and the ability to unblock most streaming services, including Netflix. At the same time, it will protect your torrenting activities and work just fine in countries with internet censorship. Most importantly, it has a strict no-logs policy which has been audited independently.
Of course, NordVPN might not be the best service for you. Therefore, make sure you check the whole list where you can find some alternatives. And once again, don't put yourself in danger with a free VPN and use a reputable freemium option instead.
Which VPN is the best?
According to our test results, the best VPN in 2022 overall is NordVPN.
Can a VPN be trusted?
Only VPNs that experts have tested are worthy of your trust. A Virtual Private Network works by transmitting your data through the VPN service's servers. Only a few services have proven that they do not record user activity. Cooltechzone recommends NordVPN and Surfshark as the top options.
Can I use a VPN for free?
Absolutely, yes. You can take advantage of a money-back period, a VPN with a trial period, or a limited free plan, such as the one offered by Atlas VPN.
Which VPN is the best, according to Reddit?
NordVPN is the best VPN, according to Reddit. Check out the complete list of top Reddit VPNs.
Which VPN has all countries?
HMA VPN has servers in more than 210 countries. However, this VPN has poor security and is known to cooperate with the authorities. Among the best VPNs, Surfshark has the most countries with 95+.