Five Best VPN Service Providers

Whether you're killing time at a cafe or travelling for work, keeping your data out of the wrong hands will usually necessitate a virtual private network (VPN). Most VPN service providers encrypt your online traffic in the same way, but they're not all created equal. Here are five VPN service providers that stand out for their reliability, features, security and affordability.

Photo by cloki (Shutterstock).

BolehVPN

BolehVPN is praised for its personal touch. The people working behind the scenes openly work to improve its service by taking feedback and suggestions seriously. You get all the usual features that come with a good VPN service, including anonymous surfing, masked IP addresses and encryption of all your internet traffic. BolehVPN also offers completely proxied servers, so you can choose how much traffic you want to route through its servers. Check out BolehVPN's pricing and plans here.

Astrill VPN

Astrill VPN is known for its simple setup, one-click activation and low prices. You can buy a router that comes pre-configured with Astrill VPN so you don't need an additional client to protect your data. Astrill supports Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, and it offers up servers in 17 countries that are all ready to anonymise and encrypt your traffic while you're on-the-go. You can see all of Astrill VPN's pricing and plans here.

Hamachi

Hamachi is one of our favourite VPN tools. We've shown you how to secure yourself on public networks with Hamachi, as well as how to use it to roll your own VPN for gaming, multimedia and security. You have the option to subscribe to its managed plan, but it's just as easy to pick up the free client and use that as a VPN when you travel. It's easy to set up, and you can encrypt your traffic or route it back through your home internet connection, which makes it the ideal solution for DIY enthusiasts.

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access (appropriately named) supports a surprising number of devices, has servers in dozens of countries, and doesn't log your activity, so you can be completely anonymous and encrypted. It comes with everything you'd expect from a good VPN — encryption, user-friendly setup and decent prices — but its commitment to anonymity has earned high praise from users. You can check out all of the pricing and plans here.

Witopia

Witopia topped our list last year, but now it's up against stiff competition. It still offers some of the best and most robust VPN services you'll find, thanks to a massive network that won't leave you struggling for a connection, around-the-clock customer assistance, an easy-to-use client, and support for just about every possible transport protocol. Witopia supports Android, iOS, and even Chromebooks. Need secure DNS? That's on offer too. You can read up on Witopia's pricing and plans here.

The honourable mention this week goes to BoxVPN, which is favoured by many for its international support and low prices. AirVPN is another one worth noting specifically for its high-level data encryption, compliance with data security best practices, total net neutrality, and the fact that bitcoin is accepted as a form of payment.

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Did your favourite not get mentioned? Make your case in the comments below.


Comments

    Or make your own on Amazon EC2!

      That's horrible for anonymity. Amazon would reveal you to anyone with a badge.

      Ipredator is awesome, I use them. Ipredator.se. No openvpn right now, but it's coming.

        No openvpn?! Hope you're not using PPTP, easily crackable now..

          Ipredator now has openvpn, previously its just pptp. I wish they would stop using pptp instead have l2tp/ip sec which should be safer.

            I have used boxpn and they are providing 2048bit encryption with SSTP protocol. Great company.

              I tested by my self its 543kb out of 4 mb...

                Since 2012 a lot has changed. This list needs to be revised. Many good vpn services have entered in the VPN market and one of them is Ivacy VPN which is good for online security and privacy. It has more P2P optimized country servers which help you access Geo restricted content also stops data retention. You can read more information here. https://www.ivacy.com/buy-vpn/

                Last edited 22/04/16 12:18 am

      I was spending a lot of time finding a VPN service but have just gone with Express VPN http://bit.ly/express-vpn , great speeds , allows torrents and what seems to be good security.

      Last edited 07/07/16 2:41 pm

    I realise it doesn't make any difference if other people disagree with these types of lists, but this one is in no way accurate! Not to say that "NZBMatrix" is any better or worse but I use it all the time and it is IMO excellent. I'm sure there are heaps more just as good or better, my point is, check around and find one that suits all your needs, don't just pick one of those above, which were I suspect compiled in the US anyway.

      That is a usenet search engine... not a VPN provider. 2 completely different things.

        Ahh yeah, I put down the wrong service , I'm using VPN.S for this. I'm using NBZMatrix for my TV shows!.... Doh!! Dumbass.. :)

    Would this be enough to do the job of btguard? Also for fooling the server in China to think that I am from China? (for viewing content restricted to China).

    What about telling us about which ones log their traffic. Some vpn providers have been forced in the past to cough up logs to authorities whilst some providers do not log at all providing full anonymity

    I'm currently using:
    http://www.cryptip.com
    and haven't had any problems so far - it's initially setup-ed and their
    servers are reliable and fast - also thinking about changing to L2TP protocol
    since PPTP seems to not be reliable anymore.

    Witopia is not torrent friendly. The only reason I mention this is because it's in a list of VPN providers that are torrent friendly. Torrents are not supported by them at all, which you are told when the cease and desist notice is forwarded on to you, in quite an unfriendly manner too I might add.

    Buried deep in Astrill's setup instructions is the disclaimer that only servers marked with a * in their server list support using bittorrent. There are many other providers that do this too, but it's usually in countries with cheap bandwidth and very loose internet/copyright laws which is usually in europe geographically.

    This can be a bit slower for Australians but at the end of the day if you follow the rules the VPN you are using will be around for longer and so will your service. I don't mind this approach to it - it's very transparent and honest. TorGuard and others use this same approach.

    *edit* Just signed up for Astrill - Countries in their server list that allow torrents as at 4/Oct/12:
    - Malaysia
    - USA (only Dallas - no idea what makes that city special)
    - Canada (only one server)
    - Netherlands (2 servers)
    - France (3 servers)
    - Luxemberg
    - Sweden (only 1 of 2 servers)
    - Romania (2 servers)
    - Russia

    I find PPTP to be very insecure and unreliable in Windows, but the oppositte is true on Android or Linux. L2TP can be surpringsly fast in comparison, but it depends on the carrier. OpenVPN, where available, is the most robust however - speed well that can be a different story.

    So far I've used witopia, hidemyass and airvpn. HIdemyass is very cagey on torrenting, if they get a letter about your activity, you will get an e-mail asking you to remove that file from your computer. AirVPN are very open, also allow port forwarding, but only have servers in 6 countries, but this does include UK/US. They encourage payment by bitcoin or paypal and are happy for you to use a fake name during signup. They never log.

    Overall i've been a bit dissappointed with their performance which is why I might try Astrill on the 6 month plan to see how it goes in comparison.

    Hidemyass are great for watching TV etc from other countries but P2P appears to be throttled. Their Australian servers get *very* congested especially at night and on weekends. They have been known to provide info before, most famously against Julian Assange, but there are many other cases involving the FBI etc. How unfortunate when you only find these things out after signing up lol

    Last edited 04/10/12 5:37 pm

    In past I never had problems with Witopia it all changed when they started to require phone verification & etc during signup even for existing user I don't agree with this thus I have since left their service. I believe its all for the best that I left their service as their some of their servers started to give me slow speeds, I think they maybe oversubscribed. They do have logs maybe for a week or so I am not certain.

    So far after I left them I have tested Ipredator/ Cryptocloud / Torguard / AirVPN & BolehVPN.

    BolehVPN despite being p2p friendly only has port forwarding available on its Luxembourg & Switzerland servers I believe while others like Canada has no port forwarding & its US server is just for web browsing not even a fully routed VPN server. Their service is mostly OpenVPN, they also have L2TP/IPsec as a bonus but its password is changed monthly and you can't seem to connect to it constantly as I seem to get disconnect every few hours on L2TP/IPsec. Overall the price is slightly more expensive as well. Despite all this they are still fast. I have no issues with speed. BolehVPN claims to have no logs.

    AirVPN meanwhile does occasionally have some server issues but I rather liked their network status page which shows which servers are available and how much bandwidth is still available on certain servers, everything seems real-time. They also have a page for users to port forward which another great thing about them. Speed-wise most of the time its fast but sometimes there are hiccups along the way which you get uncertain speed or even unable browse anything at all. The biggest gripe I have with them is simply this, when I disconnect from their server to change servers I usually need to wait 5mins or so before I can do that or I will keep getting authentication fail. I never seen this happen with any other vpn service. Sure 5mins isn't much but for me its a long time when I can switch servers instantly with any waiting time with other vpn service. No Logs.

    Torguard's openvpn is worse of the bunch. It has a lot of issues, their service seems to be unstable. Just couple of days ago all US servers are slowed to crawl & Canada servers are dead. They seem to fix those issues but it took days and no status update on this or any issues. They have network status page but its not connected to any of their servers which defeat purpose of having that page. Lets not forget they also at times have same issues as AirVPN where speed is unstable at times or even unable to browse at all. Overall when its ok their speed is fast when there are issues it is pretty bad. Also I noticed their servers despite being p2p friendly doesn't seem to have open port forwarding? No logs.

    Ipredator loved the service at first when I started subscribing its only pptp now they have openvpn but its only a single server entry point outgoing several different ips. Their speed is quite fast but at times speed is unstable and even slow which I believe is due to being oversubscribed. They are very p2p friendly no logs!

    Cryptocloud and previously TorrentFreedom. When it was torrentfreedom their service was horrible, speedwise its a crawl no two ways about it. Then they chaned to Cryptocloud at first its still same as previous name also just as bad but it started to get better. I won't say their service is as good as others but its been giving me ok speed not great but ok speed. On to security they are among the earliest vpn service that I know of that has no logs! They also have port forwarding as its p2p vpn service. Price however is very expensive!

    In past before I subscribed to Witopia I have also tried HideMyAss VPN, I have subscribed to them for quite a while. Let me tell you the speed is ok not great but ok. Then came the lulzsec incident which I found out they gave up logs and etc. Ever since that incident I totally stopped using them despite having several months of access left in my subscription. I am not sure what to think with so many reviewers giving them thumbs up. They are not there to protect your anonymity, they log everything and may keep logs up to 2 years! I do not think any ISP will even keep logs that long. They also do not allow p2p. So why would someone get their vpn service I won't understand. Usually people subscribe to vpn either for anonymity/security or for p2p reasons but HideMyAss doesn't do both of them.

    I've been using BTGuard for more than 2 years now. I got a couple of emails from MPAA and BayTSP prior to using BTGuard, Since using BTGuard, I've received not one notification after several TBs of DLs and ULs.

    I have been using VPN servers for quite a few years now. Recently I came across an amazing server called SaferVPN. It is by far the fastest, safest and most affordable VPN server out there.

    have a look at it and see if you agree: http://www.safervpn.com

      I tried it out and you're right. I can watch German TV like Zattoo or other Streaming services without problems... and they offer amazingly fast support. I had a problem with my Ipad App and they directly found the solution. Awesome Service... I recommend! SaferVPN is much better than everything else that I tried out so far!

    ello all
    Just doing the rounds researching VPN's
    Why I hear you ask
    Well after almost 1 year of using AUSTRILL - generally a bare able service in China, as I guess most are.
    Today I can not get access, after corresponding via the support email I am told that I have been using a SPAMMING tool.
    There after communications ceased. After contacting them again via the online chat line, I was told that my account was closed.
    So if you want a reasonable services which could disappear at any time with no real hope of gaining a refund.
    This is the VPN for you. Enjoy the donation without the tax deduction.

    Free vpns are good way to access blocked websites but they keep logs and ultimately it can hurt you and your precious activities can be leaked and will use against you. I recommend you to follow cheap VPN options rather than to take free but risky one's.. Here are some recommended VPN services according to customer reviews. http://www.vpnanalysis.com/best-vpns-list/

    Got some issues on Hamachi after couple of months using it. Glad I switched to CyberGhost VPN. And I'm still using it until today without any issues faced. Pretty surprised its not on your list while for me, it's highly recommended.

    The VPNs you listed are all good but most of them are free and my experience is that you should never trust anything that is free. There are many premium vpn providers available in the market which aren't that expensive. you should give it a try.

      Agreed with the point buddy, you should get cheap then free..

    This is an old article which was written in 2012 and now is 2015. In 2015 game is change. Here is an updated list of 2015 Best VPN Software providers(http://www.vpnranks.com/5-best-vpn-software) which you can try.

    Private Internet Access would be the best option for those who are looking for some free VPN's, its not free with pretty low price but high quality services they are providing. If i say which one is best then i will check through speed test, protocols, payment methods & pricing plan off course. For streaming content i would highly recommend Expressvpn, use it from anywhere you want its perfect.

    I would never recommend a free VPN because who knows what they might be doing with your data. I would rather prefer a cheap and affordable VPN service.

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