The Top VPN Services of 2023: Safeguarding Your Online Privacy

best vpn for 2023

A VPN is essential for online privacy. We’ve tested and reviewed many. These are our top picks.

The following is a review of the best VPN services of 2023.

In a positive trend, people realize online privacy risks and want to act. However, personal data is valuable to many parties, including governments and advertisers. It means people need to be vigilant about who they share their data with, including their ISPs.

Surveillance capitalism is a systemic problem with no easy solution. A VPN can offer some privacy. We tested.

d reviewed many, here are the top choices and what to look for.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Top Pick


Express VPN is one of the most commonly used VPNs in the world. We have done an expressvpn review in 2023.

At first glance, ExpressVPN looks like any other VPN service, but once you start using it, you’ll see the difference.

Proton VPN

proton logo

Why We Picked It

ProtonVPN offers numerous connections and Tor network access. The interface is user-friendly. The best part? A great free subscription and an average-priced core product.

Proton VPN’s product line revamp includes access to Proton Mail’s secure email service. The value-add is impressive. Proton VPN’s Stealth feature earns it a rare 5-star rating.

Who It’s For

Proton VPN provides detailed features for experienced users and a user-friendly interface for beginners. It’s reasonably priced and offers a fantastic free option. Overall, it’s an excellent VPN choice.



  • Good pricing, including the best free subscription
  • Numerous advanced privacy tools
  • Strong customer privacy stance
  • Slick, accessible client
  • Excellent speed test scores


  • Awkward ChromeOS implementation



Why We Picked It

NordVPN is known for its all-encompassing VPN service, featuring multi-hop connections and access to Tor. These features still need to be popular among other VPN providers. NordVPN has become an established player in the VPN industry, acquiring new companies and developing new products. As a result, NordVPN remains a top choice for those seeking a comprehensive VPN service.

NordVPN has maintained a reliable and modern design across all platforms. It’s one of the first VPN providers to introduce the WireGuard VPN protocol and RAM-only servers. However, the premium features are more costly than other VPN providers. Nevertheless, NordVPN remains the appropriate option for users seeking a secure and modern VPN service.

Who It’s For

NordVPN caters to different users with its many features. Privacy enthusiasts admire its unique tools. Streaming content fans gain from its robust server selection and specific location selection. Newcomers will find it easy to navigate and may also like NordVPN’s additional services.

NordVPN has a diverse range of offerings for different user preferences. Privacy advocates can benefit from its unique privacy tools. Those seeking to penetrate streaming content can choose from NordVPN’s vast server network. First-time users will find the VPN easy to use, with additional services available such as encrypted storage and a password manager. Overall, NordVPN caters to a broad range of users.



  • Multi-hop split tunneling, and Tor connections
  • Excellent design
  • Traffic routing and file-sharing with Meshnet
  • Built-in antivirus tools


  • Expensive
  • Lackluster malware-blocking results
  • Limited utility of free Meshnet traffic routing

Surfshark VPN


Why We Picked It

Surfshark is a new VPN provider that quickly caught up to its competitors. It offers multi-hop connections and supports the WireGuard protocol. While it may lack some features, Surfshark is still a solid choice for users seeking a fast and modern VPN service.

Surfshark VPN’s blue color scheme and higher pricing resemble NordVPN. Although NordVPN recently acquired Surfshark, both operate independently. Surfshark VPN provides antivirus protection at an additional cost, expanding its services.

Who It’s For

Surfshark’s key selling point is its unlimited device connections with a single subscription. Most VPNs limit users to five devices. This feature is ideal for large families or households with multiple devices seeking a comprehensive VPN service.



  • Limited utility of free Meshnet traffic routing
  • Large global server presence
  • Intriguing potential in Surfshark Nexus


  • High monthly price
  • Some issues with the IP rotator feature in testing
  • Privacy policy needs clarification

TunnelBear VPN

Why We Picked It

Although TunnelBear VPN may appear less powerful with its bear-themed app and limited features, it’s an easy-to-use VPN. It offers a free subscription option and is an excellent choice for VPN beginners. TunnelBear VPN has one of the most trustworthy audit processes in the industry, building trust with its users.

Who It’s For



  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Excellent privacy policies
  • Annual independent audits
  • Friendly, approachable design (with bears!),


  • No multi-hop connections
  • Split tunneling is not available on all platforms
  • Data limit on the free subscription

CyberGhost VPN

Cyber Ghost vpn logo

Why We Picked It

CyberGhost VPN boasts the largest collection of VPN servers and server locations in 90 countries. This makes it a top choice for global VPN coverage. However, it doesn’t offer multi-hop connections and has not released third-party audit results.

Who It’s For

CyberGhost VPN has numerous server networks and multiple server locations to choose from. It also offers several options for masking your location. Despite having a higher monthly subscription rate than the average, its annual rate is more affordable than many competitors. This makes it perfect for anyone who travels frequently or needs a VPN with a selection of servers.



  • Large, well-distributed server fleet
  • Allows up to seven simultaneous connections
  • Several add-ons, including antivirus
  • Newly completed third-party audit
  • Outstanding speed test scores


  • Expensive
  • Confusing privacy policies


express vpn logo

Why We Picked It

ExpressVPN’s app has been improved with a large presence across 94 countries. It uses its own LightWay tech and the OpenVPN protocol. ExpressVPN eschewed the new WireGuard VPN protocol. The new design isn’t just a cosmetic upgrade.

Who It’s For

With numerous server locations, ExpressVPN is an excellent choice for anyone living or traveling outside the US. Anyone keen on spoofing their location should be well served, too.



  • A large, diversely distributed fleet of servers
  • Strong privacy and security practices
  • Split tunneling
  • Stylish interface


  • Expensive
  • No multi-hop connections

Private Internet Access VPN


Why We Picked It

Previously, Private Internet Access had an affordable price and a bad interface. However, that’s changed. Its interface is now customizable and modern. Although its monthly cost has gone up, it’s still worth going for compared to others.

The VPN includes multi-hop connections for privacy. A customizable interface helps with advanced settings. It can also tuck them away.

Who It’s For

A customizable interface makes Private Internet Access appealing to perfectionists. Privacy enthusiasts appreciate its features. Multiple simultaneous connections allow coverage on all household devices.



  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Split tunneling and multi-hop
  • Numerous server locations
  • Good Speedtest scores
  • Completed third-party audit


  • Expensive
  • No free version



Why We Picked It

IVPN and Mullvad VPN offer unique privacy features. They use a low personal information account number system. Both accept cash payments. IVPN lets you choose multi-hop entry and exit points but costs more.

Who It’s For

IVPN appeals to those who value anonymity. Advanced features provide good network security control. It’s perfect for privacy-conscious individuals.



  • Flexible, affordable pricing
  • Powerful multi-hop system
  • Privacy is baked into its account system
  • Strong stance on transparency


  • Offers few servers locations
  • Multi-hop and account ID features might confuse some

Mullvad VPN

mullvad logo

Why We Picked It

Mullvad VPN and IVPN share two unique features. Mullvad VPN goes further in privacy by not accepting recurring payments. They offer transparency and affordability, just 5 euros ($5.09) per month. Customers receive a lot of information about how the service works.

Who It’s For

Mullvad VPN prioritizes customer privacy, with some trade-offs. The interface isn’t the best. It still offers great value with advanced features. It’s comparable to other top VPNs.



  • Affordable
  • Mozilla VPN
  • quires no email or account information
  • Radically transparent
  • Multi-hop split tunneling, and port forwarding


  • Awkward desktop interface
  • Servers in a small range of countries
  • The pay-as-you-go system may confuse some customers

Mozilla VPN


Why We Picked It

Mozilla is a well-known advocate for free Internet. They lack motivation for data gathering. They support themselves with subscription payments for VPN services. Mozilla VPN has a straightforward but modern interface and is easy to use.

Mozilla VPN uses Mullvad VPN’s service. It has strong privacy and security. Both are critical to VPN services.

Who It’s For

Mozilla VPN offers a simple interface. It costs more than Mullvad VPN but supports a non-profit. The value may vary depending on the customer’s preferences.



  • Helps support nonprofit Mozilla
  • Powered by privacy hawk Mullvad
  • Simple, snazzy design
  • Multi-hop and split tunneling
  • Excellent Speedtest scores


  • Few servers’ locations
  • Expensive and limited compared to Mullvad

Buying Guide: The Best VPN Services for 2023

What Is a VPN and Why Do I Need One?

A VPN routes your traffic through an encrypted connection to the VPN server. Your traffic exits onto the web from the VPN server. VPN usage can improve your online privacy.

A top VPN will offer strong security features, fast connection speeds, and a large server network to choose from.

A VPN protects your internet traffic and makes it difficult to track your activities. It’s like driving in an underground tunnel and switching cars to throw off anyone following you. With a VPN, your online activities are more private and secure.

A VPN keeps your online activity private from snoops and tracking on your network. These include public Wi-Fi, which is used by attackers to spy on people’s internet activity. It’s easy for attackers to create fake networks with the same name as legitimate ones to trick people.

It is good not to trust your ISP, which contains information about your online activities. In the US, Congress allows ISPs to sell your anonymous browsing history. This seems unfair, especially since you are already paying for their service. 

A VPN hides your real IP address behind the VPN server’s address. This makes it difficult to track you across the internet. Observers have a hard time verifying everyone’s traffic.

When you hide your IP address, snoops can’t track your location. This lets you connect to distant VPN servers and hide your location. Spoofing your location can happen for various reasons.

To connect to a VPN, you’ll typically need to download and install a VPN client on your device and enter your login credentials. Once you’ve successfully connected, your internet traffic will be encrypted and routed through the VPN server.

Your choice of internet service provider can affect the performance of your VPN, so make sure to choose a reliable ISP.

What Are the Limitations of VPNs?

VPN services can’t protect you from all threats like ransomware or phishing attacks. It’s important to use antivirus software, multi-factor authentication, and a password manager. These extra layers of security can better protect your online presence.

Using a VPN has some limitations on how anonymous you can be. Advertisers can still gather your data and track your movements. They use various methods like online trackers and browser fingerprinting. You can improve your privacy by using anti-tracking features and installing ads or tracker blockers.

VPN services often have their own DNS resolution system to protect users’ privacy. This helps prevent intruders and snoopers from your online activities or attackers from directing you to fake websites. 

If you’re experiencing issues with your VPN connection, it may be worth troubleshooting your network settings or reaching out to your VPN provider for assistance.

Security experts have different opinions on VPNs’ usefulness because HTTPS now encrypts most sites. Secure DNS services like Cloudflare exist because some feel VPNs are too much. Nonetheless, VPNs add an extra layer of protection for unencrypted data and enhance online privacy.

VPNs not only improve individual privacy, but they are also crucial for personal and professional safety. VPN services are used by journalists and political activists to safely communicate. Similarly, for checking local laws before using a VPN in repressive internet policy countries.

Using the free Tor network offers comprehensive traffic anonymization. Tor bounces your traffic through volunteer nodes making it difficult to track. Tor grants access to Dark Web sites, which a VPN cannot do.

If you’re looking for the best experience when streaming, you should consider getting a device with high-quality streaming capabilities.

Although no security system is foolproof, a VPN can protect against mass data collection. It can also prevent criminals from easily accessing your data.

How Do I Choose a VPN?

The VPN market has grown, with many providers offering protection against cybercrime and surveillance. As a result, it’s become difficult to distinguish legitimate services from fraudulent ones. Some VPNs may even be fake, so it’s important to be cautious.

When choosing the best VPN service, value should be a top consideration. Remember not to focus on speed, it is not something you have much control over. Look for extra features like split tunneling and multi-hop connections to get more for your money. 

To determine if a VPN suits you, use it at home to test accessibility. Similarly, evaluate if the interface is easy to use and if the speed is satisfactory. Take advantage of free trials and money-back guarantees to ensure satisfaction. Make sure you are satisfied before signing up.

We recommend starting with a short-term subscription to ensure you’re happy with the VPN. It’s tempting to sign up for a year. With a shorter subscription, you won’t lose a lot of money.

When looking for the best value VPN, consider factors such as price, features, and user reviews to find the right fit for your needs.

A VPN tacked on to another service can be challenging to compare. They typically have a different feature set than a standard VPN. Google One’s VPN, for example, lacks many VPN tools but offers 2TB of cloud storage. Consider your VPN needs before deciding on a tacked-on VPN.


Is There a 100% Free VPN?

Free VPN services are available, but most have limitations like few simultaneous connections or data restrictions. Some also limit server access. It’s worth trying a free VPN, but you should carefully evaluate the features before using it.

While free VPNs may seem like a tempting option, they often come with significant drawbacks, such as limited bandwidth and slower speeds.

To find the best free VPN, balance the restrictions. TunnelBear limits data to 500MB-1GB per month. ProtonVPN places no data restrictions but limits server access.

Can You Be Tracked Even If You Use a VPN?

To trust a VPN service, consider its reputation, especially of companies that have been around longer. However, the VPN industry is young, and some companies play dirty, making it difficult to identify trustworthy providers. To route your internet traffic, you must trust your VPN service provider.

In VPN reviews, PCMag focuses on privacy practices, not just technology. They assess privacy policies and interview company reps. The criteria evaluate user info protection, minimal collection, and retention.

During the research, we determined the company’s location and the legal framework it follows. Some countries lack data retention laws, making it easy for a VPN to promise to not keep any logs. We also investigate the circumstances under which a VPN company would provide information to law enforcement and what information it would have.

A clear privacy policy is essential for the best VPN services. It should explain what data is collected, how it is used, and how it is protected. However, some companies collect data without explaining how they use it, while others are more transparent.

What Are the Best VPNs for Streaming and Banking?

Using VPN may raise concerns from security-conscious companies like banks due to login location differences. This may trigger multi-factor authentication requests and captchas. Be aware of potential red flags.

Streaming services like Netflix often block VPN access due to regional restrictions. However, these restrictions are unpredictable, making it hard to guarantee access. This can be a problem, especially for those using VPNs for streaming.

VPN services have improved their ability to access streaming content. Previously, it was rare to find a VPN that could access Netflix content outside the US. Accessing region-locked content may violate terms of service, and PCMag doesn’t offer legal advice.

More states passing age restriction legislation may make porn region-locked content require a VPN. Porn sites like Pornhub are blocking visitors from certain states such as Utah. Read “How to Watch Porn Safely” for guidance on accessing adult content.

When a VPN encrypts your data, it can make it impossible to access local devices. For example, Chromecast won’t work with VPN running. Split-tunneling lets you choose which applications bypass the VPN. Some VPNs include an option to make traffic visible to LAN devices.

How Many Devices Can My VPN Protect at Once?

A VPN account can link up to five devices; fewer connections are rare. Note: each protected device requires a connection, so 2-3 licenses won’t suffice for one user.

VPN accounts allow up to five devices, with few exceptions. To secure all your devices, connect each to the VPN service. 

For even greater privacy and security, consider using Tor over VPN to encrypt your internet traffic and anonymize your online activity.

VPN services now offer more than five simultaneous connections, and some don’t limit them. Services such as Avira Phantom VPN, and Encrypt. me VPN, IPVanish VPN, Surfshark VPN, and Windscribe VPN are examples. This paradigm shift provides greater convenience to VPN users.

Many devices require internet access, but can’t run VPN software. VPN companies offer router configuration instructions to protect the whole network. However, this may cause unforeseen complications and isn’t recommended for beginners. Configuring a router to use a VPN should be done by experienced individuals.

In a household, devices like game systems, tablets, and smart home gadgets require internet access. These devices can’t use VPNs alone, but router configuration from VPN providers is available. It can protect all networked devices, but there are debates over unforeseen issues. This solution is best for experienced and patient individuals, not recommended for others.

Where Are My VPN’s Servers?

Consider the distribution of VPN servers for better connection speed and reliability. A diverse server network ensures nearby servers no matter where you travel. You don’t need to connect to distant servers for security, as a local server can provide the same protection.

We evaluate the use of virtual servers and locations by VPN companies. Virtual servers are software-defined servers running on shared hardware. Virtual locations appear to be in different locations than their physical server. Transparency is crucial when VPNs use these technologies to ensure the selected server is the one connected.

What’s the Fastest VPN?

Using a VPN may cause slower download and upload speeds and increased latency. However, it’s still faster than dial-up. A VPN’s benefits outweigh its minor drawbacks.

To test VPNs, we use Ookla’s speed test tool for metrics on latency, download, and upload speeds. Download speed is typically the most important measurement, given today’s digital consumption. See “How We Test VPNs” for more details (Ookla is owned by our parent company).

Our recent speed test results are presented in the chart below, with a separate piece on the fastest VPNs. Read “COVID-19 Upended How We Test VPN Speeds” for pandemic-related testing updates.

Should You Use a VPN?

A VPN is a simple tool for online privacy and bypassing internet restrictions. Though not perfect, it’s still a valuable tool for personal security. Having a VPN in your toolbox is recommended.

Visit the review links for the best VPN providers’ comprehensive analysis and performance results. After choosing a VPN, read our guide to set up and use it effectively. Maximize the benefits of your chosen VPN service.

If you want a VPN that offers both strong security and fast speeds, look for providers with optimized server networks and advanced encryption protocols.

If you need a vpn support, don’t hesitate to reach out to them.

VPN technology has come a long way in recent years, making it easier than ever to protect your online privacy and security.

Many people wonder if VPNs are legal, and the answer is generally yes. However, it’s always a good idea to check the specific laws in your country or region.