When you begin to take a closer look at the various issues concerned with VPN security and encryption, you realize just how tricky a business it is. As you may well know, the primary function of a VPN is to ensure your online security and privacy by routing your online data via an encrypted tunnel so that ISPs, governments and hackers can’t spy on you.
If the idea of researching and testing all the leading VPNs seems overwhelming, you need not worry because our experts have done the work and compiled the following list of providers with top-of-the-line security.
As far as encryption and security go, this provider is the best.
ExpressVPN leaves nothing to chance when it comes to security. The provider pretty much exclusively employs 256-bit AES encryption with OpenVPN technology. Furthermore, the service uses the SHA512 hash message authentication code (HMAC), an RSA-4096 handshake (to negotiate the connection between the VPN server and your device), and Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). Other notable features include a kill switch, DNS leak protection and WebRTC leak protection.
Unfortunately, ExpressVPN offers no free trial and the price tags are among the highest on the market. However, it’s safe to say that you’ll be getting value for your money considering the quality and variety of features offered by the provider.
Moreover, you can test the features by taking advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee, which comes with all its subscription plans.
This one is easily the fastest VPN.
When we tested for performance, this service came out on top with exceptional download speeds over short distances and even good speeds over longer stretches. It has apps for all device platforms and installation instructions for a number of other devices.
Advanced users like this service because it provides low-level settings for them to work with. We did, however, note some slight network glitches with the VPN’s Windows client, especially when other VPNs were installed on the computer.
In terms of security, the provider uses 256-bit AES/CBC encryption, an SHA256 hash algorithm, kill switch, multiple protocol support, DNS (both third-party and proprietary), and an OpenVPN scramble for ‘stealth VPN’. IPVanish is equally impressive when it comes to privacy.
This VPN is well-known for its double encryption.
Based in Panama, NordVPN goes the extra mile as far as security is concerned. Its most prominent feature is ‘Double VPN’, which routes your online traffic through two routers, rather than a single one for added security.
However, the number of servers with the ‘Double VPN’ feature is limited. Thankfully, though, NordVPN also offers the option to use the VPN together with The Onion Network (Tor). In addition to that, suspicious ads and websites are blocked. The encryption protocol used is 256-bit AES accompanied by the IKEv2/IPSec protocol, which has been tailored to the provider’s iOS and MacOS apps. For Windows and Android, OpenVPN is available.
During our test, the service performed well. A wide variety of clients are available. If you’re using a device for which the native app isn't supported, you can use one of the numerous tutorials available. Privacy-minded users are not left behind because the provider keeps no log of your online activity.
Compared to its closest competitor ExpressVPN, NordVPN is quite affordable. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
A great option for balancing price and performance.
Based in Italy, this provider is based on OpenVPN and is run by activists and advocates of online privacy and security. If you’re particularly concerned about Internet censorship in your location, this is the perfect service.
Security-wise, AirVPN offers top-level encryption technology including 256-bit AES/CBC encryption, 4096-bit RSA keys, HMAC SHA1 control channel, Perfect Forward Secrecy, Internet DNS solution, and OpenVPN coupled with SSH, SSL and Tor.
Top local speeds were confirmed by our tests. Admittedly, some servers did exhibit slower speeds. With only 20 server locations worldwide, AirVPN’s server pales in comparison to the others on this list.
The Windows client app offered many features and settings which the advanced user might like. You can subscribe to the service using one of 5 price plans.
Among free VPNs, this provider is the best.
At the top of the list of benefits that come with this provider is the fact that it lets users connect to an unlimited number of devices for the same plan. It is, therefore, a good choice for families. Additionally, the provider offers 10GB of data per month, which is far more than any of its competitors offer.
The results for performance were mixed. For example, it was interesting to note that speeds for servers that were close were slower than those for servers that were further away. Nonetheless, the performance is good enough for browsing and occasional streaming.