We’re not surprised you are here. There are numerous reasons why you would be searching for the best VPN in the world. You might be looking for a VPN to unblock Netflix or another popular streaming service that’s not available in your country. Perhaps you’re looking to stream BBC shows. Or maybe you just want to maintain maximum security and privacy while online.
Whatever your reason is, this article cuts through the fluff and offers one recommendation for the best VPN in 2018 based on our extensive tests and research.
Our team of experts tested more than 100 VPNs, ranging from the popular and well-established to the upcoming. We also based our results on the ongoing tests and comparisons that we carry out on a regular basis in order to help you find a service you can trust and rely on.
Note that if you’re purchasing a VPN from outside the US, we have listed the prices in dollars because most leading VPN services are global and therefore charge in dollars. However, when you visit the website to check the pricing, it may be listed in your local currency.
Before we tell you what our recommendation for the best VPN in the world is, we thought it would be important to first give you an understanding of the things to look for in a good VPN so that you can also do your personal research and testing in the future if you’re interested.
Factors to consider when deciding the best VPN
You ought to make a number of considerations when comparing various VPN services globally in order to decide which one is the best. Here, we’ve listed six of the most important factors to consider.
- Does the provider have servers in every region or country to suit your needs?
It’s an added advantage if the service has more than one server in the country you need. However, keep in mind that multiple servers in a country don’t necessarily guarantee top performance. So, don’t assume that twice the number of servers in a certain location translates to twice the performance.
- How many simultaneous connections does the service support?
Most providers allow 3 to 5 simultaneous connections, meaning you can protect your phone, tablet and laptop/desktop. However, note that even across devices, most providers allow for only one user per license and they often have a fair usage policy to prevent some users from hogging resources.
- What security protocols does the provider use?
For fast and secure connections, the best protocols are OpenVPN and IKEv2. Other options available include PPTP, SSTP, and UDP or TCP for OpenVPN. You don’t need to be familiar with the inner workings of the protocols, but having a wide variety to choose from is definitely an advantage as it aids reliable and fast connections.
- How is the usability of the VPN client?
Every VPN client has a button for connecting/disconnecting the VPN. That’s not all you’re looking for, though. Go for providers with clients that are easy to use but also offer advanced features in case you want more control over your VPN. Some clients display the ping time and server load of servers on the interface. Many allow you to create a list of preferred servers that you use often.
- Finally, how affordable are the subscription plans?
There are two reasons why you shouldn’t be too quick to go for the cheapest deals and free VPN services. First, you might find that these services have unreasonable limits of features, exclude taxes from the quoted prices, and charge expensively for the billing periods following the first charge, which is heavily discounted. Second, free VPNs often make money from selling user data, which beats the point of offering VPN services.
Once you identify a potentially good VPN service, test it by taking advantage of the trial period. Some providers offer a money-back guarantee so that if you’re unsatisfied with their services, you can get a refund. Based on our experts’ tests, research and comparisons of many VPN services, we found that the best VPN service overall is ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN has a large global server network spanning 94 countries, with a total of 145 locations. The provider has excellent clients for all major device platforms on desktop and mobile. These include MacOS, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and select Blackberries.
In addition to that, ExpressVPN offers VPN routers (with its own firmware), browser extensions, and DNS content unblocking for popular streaming services.
If you’re unfamiliar with VPN, ExpressVPN offers a lot of helpful online tutorials that are easy to understand, enabling you to get the service up and running in no time. The provider also provides 24/7 live chat support in case you have any questions or run into any problems. Other features include P2P support, an automatic kill switch (to prevent your identity from leaking in case the VPN connection drops), and impressive performance levels.
ExpressVPN might be the best, but it does have its downsides. The service only offers 3 simultaneous connections and the service is quite expensive compared to its competitors. However, many would argue that it’s worth it because you get highly secure, ultra-fast, and reliable connections.
Even though no free version is offered, the provider gives users’ a 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee in case they’re not satisfied with the service.