Top 7 VPN services in 2022
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a special set of technologies that helps users around the world to visit websites that are blocked or not available in their country. But VPNs have many other uses. We will now discuss what a VPN really is, how it works, why you might want to use one and which VPN service to choose.
Table of contents:
What is VPN?
Imagine a standard connection to the internet. Without a VPN it looks like this:
The user enters the website address.
The server where the site is hosted accepts a request from the user with relevant data (IP, telemetry, etc.).
The server returns all the data that the user wants to see (media content, articles and so on).
Such a connection is not all that secure and anyone who uses it is left vulnerable (with their data exposed to third parties). It won't a problem if we use protected networks (like WiFi at your house with a WPA-2 password), but when it's a public network everything changes and a user might stumble upon some unexpected problems. Even mediocre hackers can intercept the data that is passed through free public WiFi in cafes or domestic libraries. Sometimes they just visit web pages, at other times credit card data.
VPN is a set of tools that in combination provides users with mechanisms that help to minimize the risk of data leakage while still allowing people to use free public networks. The core of any VPN is the server — the remote computer between you and the internet. Before passing any request to the server of the visited website you pass it to the VPN server using an encrypted channel and then the VPN server passes data further into the web. The best thing is that a VPN server gives a website depersonalized data without your IP address and other stuff you probably want to keep hidden from third parties.
Of course, a VPN can be used as an instrument to override all the obstacles that can appear while you try to access Hulu or Pandora outside of the USA. Such functions are really useful in countries with no access to popular products like Spotify, HBO, Netflix or even Google. All you have to do is to rent a VPN server in the country where all these services are available. Nothing will prevent you from watching your favorite TV shows.
How to choose a VPN service?
The most reliable and secure way to use a VPN is to deploy your own virtual private network using special utilities on top of a remote PC hosted on the hardware of the company that you can trust (or even your own). It is not possible to implement everything by yourself without specific skills and knowledge which is why not all the users choose this method. Anyway, you don't have to be a hacker if you want to use a VPN because there are a lot of services that provide users with a pre-configured VPN that can be set up in a click.
If you still wish to set up your very own VPN, you can rent a reliable and functional server at hostman.com. It then can be used to install and configure all the software that is necessary to run an almost independent virtual private network.
Every TOP of VPN services is formed using a certain set of criteria. We recommend you to consider:
The provider. The company that rents you a remote PC with a pre configured VPN should be trustworthy. Actually, you give it your personal data and you must be extremely picky while choosing a VPN service. Avoid ones which have already been compromised (experienced data leakage or was selling too much information to ad running companies).
The price. You should understand that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Every VPN service must monetise their business somehow. That is why we recommend avoiding totally free services. It is highly likely that they sell your data or bombard you with a loads of ads.
Number of servers and "their habitat". There is a simple rule that you should follow when choosing a VPN — the more servers around the globe the service has the better. It makes it possible to overcome restrictions and guarantees a fast and stable connection in any part of the planet. The VPN becomes much more powerful because of this.
Used protocols. Protocols like PPTP and L2TP are considered outdated. You should avoid them. There are reliable and secure alternatives like
OpenVPN and Wireguard. Pick them instead.
Functionality. It is the must for the modern VPN service to have features like kill-switch or DNS-leakage protection.
Based on these criteria we created a TOP of free and paid VPN services.
Official website: https://www.hidemyass.com
HMA VPN was created by Czech company Avast in 2005. The service itself quickly became notorious because of its aggressive marketing. But this one is popular not only because of the promotion it has received but because of its quickness. It is one of the fastest VPNs from the list of paid ones. The best feature of HMA — the tremendous number of servers around the world. There are some drawbacks, for example, because HMA works in an EU country it has to store user logs and nobody tries to hide this fact.
Monthly plan will cost you about 12 dollars (the annual one costs less).
1100+ servers in 290 locations.
Servers that are really great for streaming and organizing P2P-connections.
Capability of using 5 devices in parallel.
But it is not anonymous. User logs are stored on the company's servers for three months (sometimes for more if your behavior is suspicious).
Official website: https://www.astrill.com/
This service was developed by Astrill System Corp, a company registered in the Seychelles. It has been going for 13 years now. This VPN allows you to use up to 5 devices simultaneously with one account. Astrill can be installed on all popular operating systems. The price may upset you but for this money you will get one of the fastest VPNs available on European servers. Lots of users love this service because of the Seychelles being an offshore jurisdiction. That means that Astrill doesn't have to follow all the strict laws of the EU and US. So you can be sure that nobody will demand user logs from this particular VPN.
The price of the monthly plan is 25 dollars.
Servers in 106 cities in 56 different countries.
The company is based in the Seychelles.
Special servers designed to work with YouTube, Netflix and Twitch.
Some servers have restrictions that stop users working with torrent trackers and other P2P software.
Logs are not stored but information about the last 20 connections is still saved.
There is support for third-party DNS-servers.
Official website: https://www.cybergohstvpn.com
A service created by a Romanian provider in 2011. There is a standard list of advantages that you would expect from a good VPN. It allows you to use up to 5 devices simultaneously and doesn't cost that much. Even though the company itself must follow EU rules it promises not to store any logs (it is up to you to believe them or not but we think it is a bit suspicious). Along with the service application you will get a function for blocking ad services and malware.
A decent price (12 euro per month).
1300+ servers around the globe.
Additional privacy services that block third-party connections and protect devices from malware and viruses.
Servers from the US might not be suitable for working with torrent trackers.
Cyber Ghost offers its own DNS-servers.
Every instance of CyberGhost applications can be used with a separate VPN server.
Mediocre bandwidth is about 50-60 Mbps.
Official website: https://nordvpn.com/
This VPN service is juridically located in an offshore zone (in Panama to be exact), that's why many users call it secure (no harsh laws requiring the storage of user logs there). Nord VPN has worked for more than 14 years. It allows you to connect up to 6 devices simultaneously. The best part of this service is an extremely low ping (latency of the signal from servers). For this reason NordVPN is loved among gamers. And that is not all. There are features like double VPN (hiding two connection points at once), capability of connecting to the TOR network through the VPN, dedicated IP address, DDoS-protection.
Monthly plan costs 10 euros.
The download speed on European servers is about 65 Mbps.
Nord VPN works with OpenVPN protocol by default but you can configure another protocol if you wish to.
Noticeably low latency of signal.
A lot of additional features that can't be covered in this article.
Official website: https://privatevpn.com
Private VPN was developed by Swedish developers in 2009. It is easy to describe PrivateVPN in a few words: it is fast, it allows you to use P2P and torrent trackers and offers special servers exclusively for streaming. The company itself is registered in the EU so you know where your data is stored. To mention something specific we should highlight the opportunity to forward the dedicated port for torrent trackers right inside the PrivateVPN application.
Monthly plan will cost you 8.5 euros.
The speed of data transferring varies but usually sits around 65-70 Mbps.
The ping is quite low (less than 2ms).
PrivateVPN has its own dedicated DNS-server.
Not so many servers. About 200 in 63 locations. This leads to some problems with connectivity and speed in rush hours (servers might be overloaded).
VPN provider from Malaysia that established its business in 2012. There's a classic set of features you would expect from such services. For instance, an ability to connect up to 5 devices to one account. The developer of HideMe itself says that the idea of the service is to provide excellent speed without any sacrifices to privacy. Logs are stored but only till you drop the connection. There are more specific features like randomizing ports at every connection. Users trust HideMe and call it one of the most secure and trusted VPNs out there.
Fast connection (up to 250 Mbps on servers located in Great Britain).
The plan costs aorund 10 euros.
HideMe can offer its own DNS servers.
Ping in EU servers is less than 2ms.
But what is really great is that HideMe offers a great free plan (10 Gb traffic limit, only 5 locations, 1 connection at the moment).
Official website: https://protonvpn.com
Proton VPN can be described with two words: Swiss reliability. This product is made by the company which has developed one of the most secure and trusted email platforms. ProtonVPN can boast of a large selection of plans. There's a free one that comes with unlimited connection to 50 different servers in 3 countries. The main advantage of ProtonVPN — location. This company was established in Switzerland where extremely strict laws keep users' personal data protected from third parties.
Quite a large set of plans (from a free one to one that costs 24 euro per month).
Located in Switzerland.
The speed is about 80 Mbps on European servers.
An opportunity to pass the traffic through Tor network.
All the data passed through ProtonVPN is always forwarded between many servers before it goes right to the service you want to use while staying anonymous.
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