• aossdaily

Best VPN 2021: Top VPN services reviewed

we look at a bunch of our top VPN solutions. We'll cover many of the best VPN service providers, how to access the native VPNs built into your desktop machine, and even how to use your NAS as a VPN client and host. If you're curious about VPNs, you can learn a lot more :


ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN providers out there, offering a wide range of platforms and protocols. Platforms include Windows, Mac, Linux, routers, iOS, Android, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, and even the Nook device. There are also browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Plus, ExpressVPN works with PlayStation, Apple TV, Xbox, Amazon Fire TV, and the Nintendo Switch. There's even a manual setup option for Chromecast, Roku, and Nvidia Switch.

With 160 server locations in 94 countries, ExpressVPN has a considerable VPN network across the internet. In CNET's review of the service, staff writer Rae Hodge reported that ExpressVPN lost less than 2% of performance with the VPN enabled and using the OpenVPN protocol vs. a direct connection.

While the company does not log browsing history or traffic destinations, it does log dates connected to the VPN service, amount transferred, and VPN server location. We do want to give ExpressVPN kudos for making this information very clear and easily accessible.


  • Simultaneous Connections: 5 or unlimited with the router app

  • Kill Switch: Yes

  • Platforms: A whole lot (see the full list here)

  • Logging: No browsing logs, some connection logs

  • Countries: 94

  • Locations: 160



At two bucks a month for a two-year plan (billed in one chunk), Surfshark offers a good price for a solid offering. In CNET's testing, no leaks were found (and given that much bigger names leaked connection information, that's a big win). The company seems to have a very strong security focus, offering AES-256-GCM, RSA-2048, and Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption. To prevent WebRTC leaks, Surfshark offers a special purpose browser plugin designed specifically to combat those leaks.

Surfshark's performance was higher than NordVPN and Norton Secure VPN, but lower than ExpressVPN and IPVanish. That said, Surfshark also offers a multihop option that allows you to route connections through two VPN servers across the Surfshark private network. We also like that the company offers some inexpensive add-on features, including ad-blocking, anti-tracking, access to a non-logging search engine, and a tool that tracks your email address against data breach lists.

  • Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited

  • Kill Switch: Yes

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Firefox, Chrome

  • Logging: None, except billing data



NordVPN is one of the most popular consumer VPNs out there. Last year, Nord announced that it had been breached. Unfortunately, the breach had been active for more than 18 months. While there were failures at every level, NordVPN has taken substantial efforts to remedy the breach.

In our review, we liked that it offered capabilities beyond basic VPN, including support of P2P sharing, a service it calls Double VPN that does a second layer of encryption, Onion over VPN which allows for TOR capabilities over its VPN, and even a dedicated IP if you're trying to run a VPN that also doubles as a server. It supports all the usual platforms and a bunch of home network platforms as well. The company also offers NordVPN Teams, which provides centralized management and billing for a mobile workforce.

Performance testing was adequate, although ping speeds were slow enough that I wouldn't want to play a twitch video game over the VPN. To be fair, most VPNs have pretty terrible ping speeds, so this isn't a weakness unique to Nord. Overall, a solid choice, and with a 30-day money-back guarantee, worth a try.


  • Simultaneous Connections: 6

  • Kill Switch: Yes

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox

  • Logging: None, except billing data

  • Countries: 59

  • Servers: 5517



IPVanish is a deep and highly configurable product that presents itself as a click-and-go solution. I think the company is selling itself short doing this. A quick visit to its website shows a relatively generic VPN service, but that's not the whole truth.

Its UI provides a wide range of server selection options, including some great performance graphics. It also has a wide variety of protocols, so no matter what you're connecting to, you can know what to expect. The company also provides an excellent server list with good current status information. There's also a raft of configuration options for the app itself.

In terms of performance, connection speed was crazy fast. Overall transfer performance was good. However, from a security perspective, it wasn't able to hide that I was connecting via a VPN -- although the data transferred was secure. Overall, a solid product with a good user experience that's fine for home connections as long as you're not trying to hide the fact that you're on a VPN.

The company also has a partnership with SugarSync and provides 250GB of encrypted cloud storage with each plan.

  • Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited

  • Kill Switch: Yes

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, plus routers, Fire Stick, and Kodi

  • Logging: None, except billing data

  • Servers: 1,500

  • Locations: 75



We really like the ProtonVPN story. The company was created by engineers and scientists who met at CERN (the European Center for Nuclear Research -- where the Web was invented) with a focus on creating encrypted email and VPN communications with the idea of protecting the communication of activists and journalists. The company is also headquartered in Switzerland, which has very strong privacy laws.

In terms of product, ProtonVPN has a belt-and-suspenders approach to security, layering strong protocols on top of perfect forward secrecy, on top of strong encryption. Not only does ProtonVPN have a kill switch, but it also has an always-on VPN, which attempts to restore VPN service if it's dropped mid-communication. Finally, we like that all apps are open source and the company reports that they are independently audited.

Finally, the company offers a very generous free VPN service, allowing one machine to connect at medium speed, but there doesn't appear to be any limit to the amount of data used in the free plan.

  • Simultaneous Connections: Depends on plan

  • Kill Switch: Yes

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers

  • Logging: None, except billing data

  • Countries: 54

  • Servers: 1,077