The best VPN service providers of 2018 – Unbiased comparision

When it comes to choosing the best VPN service provider, you got to be careful. As of 2018, there are hundreds of providers claiming that they are the best and fastest one in the market. Just do not fool for the promotional statements and keep on reading our unbiased article.

We are fully aware that there are plenty of categories where you can use a VPN service. Yet, each provider might not give you what you actually want. Therefore, we covered up all possible VPN related areas and compared the professional providers you can actually trust.

Our comprehensive review will lead you through privacy > device compatibility > features > encryption types > performance test > traveling choices > gaming and prevent tracking features. Depending on what actually you need, you will be able to choose the right VPN provider. In the end, we will come to a conclusion and choose the overall the best VPN service providers!

Let’s move step by step…

VPN features

  • Privacy levelConsidering the log policy as well as protocols offered by the provider.
  • Country / Server coverage
  • Simultaneous connection
  • Speed performance
  • Torrenting
  • Browser extention
  • Unlimited traffic
  • Netflix / BBC iPlayer etc...There are only few providers in the market adding dedicated servers only for streaming...
  • Logs / Juristiction
  • Money Back guarantee

NordVPN

2.75$/ month
2.75$/ month
  • HighNordVPN has the all protocols available in the market. Moreover, it also offers double hop server to encrypt your data twice.
  • 60+ / 4400+
  • 6 devices
  • Low
  • No activity logs / OffshoreNordVPN is under Panama jurisdiction and operates under "no data retention law".
  • 30 days

ExpressVPN

6.67$/ month
6.67$/ month
  • High
  • 90+ / 2000+
  • 3 devices
  • Average
  • No activity logs / OffshoreExpressVPN is under British Virgin Islands jurisdiction and operates under "no data retention law".
  • 30 days

SaferVPN

2.5$/ month
2.5$/ month
  • Low
  • 34+ / 700+
  • 5 devices
  • Super fast
  • No activity logs / USASaferVPN is under USA jurisdiction and has to keep some logs and give info to authorities if asked.
  • 30 days

Privacy

importance of privacy when choosing a vpn serviceWhen you are doing something online, simply you would not want anyone to spy on your activities. This is your very privacy right and the data should stay secure between your pc and the provider. In this sense, having a strongly encrypted connection will help you grant greater security.

Yet, even if dedicated VPN services can provide you with a great deal of encryption, none of them can make you disappear online. They can only help you disguise at some level.

The power of the online anonymity can be enhanced by the way a VPN service operates. Here some of the big bonuses to your privacy:

  • If a VPN service is located on a country (Panama, offshore Islands etc…) where there is no data retention law, your online activities will be safe. Not %100!
  • The ones that accept Bitcoin will also add up some more privacy to your identifiable data.
  • Clear log policy will help figure out the privacy level you would be getting from the service. If there are so many sentences that do not make any sense, stay away from the provider.
  • Strong encryption protocols will only make sense if the VPN service can provide stable connection. Make sure to go after big players, not the startups! Even if a startup company can provide great download and upload speed, it is very likely to have stability as well as software bug issues with their services. Stable server = more privacy!
  • DNS leak checker and Kill Switch features are also crucial to your privacy level. In case your VPN connection drops, these features will cease the connection and make sure nothing is being leaked to third parties.

Last but not least about privacy, no VPN service will allow you to use their service for hacking, sending spam emails, accessing globally censored content etc… Do not fool yourself to use a VPN to hide your IP address so that you can hack, spam or involve in anything illegal. These activities are not tolerated by any service provider.

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Compatibility

Let’s move few years backward…

The number of the devices to connect to the internet was super limited. Yet, now, smartphones, smartwatches, smart TVs, tablets, and even your car can access the internet. In other words, the areas where you need privacy have extended.

While streaming a torrent on your smart TV, you may want to install a VPN service to your router. When you are using a Chromebook, you may need a browser extension to encrypt your data. The list goes on and on…

The main point of these examples is to find a VPN service compatible with as many devices as possible so that you don’t have to look for an additional service and spend extra money.

Furthermore, while choosing a good VPN service, make sure to check how many devices it can support simultaneously. If you are a techy guy using so many smart devices, you may want to go for more than 5 simultaneous connection services. However, while doing so, check “supporting device” page to see if the service can support your device preferences.

Easy to use features

Not everyone is a tech geek. After setting up a VPN service, we closely investigate if it is user-friendly or not.

Any product that needs a manual to work is broken

Elon Musk

Features we seek are:

  • One or two clicks (at most) to establish VPN connection
  • Easy to navigate servers (Search bar)
  • “Purpose” feature – new users can easily pick a server for the desired purpose
  • “Favorite” feature – faster access to pre-connected servers
  • Clean “setting page” where you can adjust security enhancements – preferably on-off buttons.

Same features apply to the mobile apps as well.

If a VPN service gives you plenty of unnecessary VPN features, it means that they do not know the user intends. The idea is to have a private connection not to struggle with gratuitous privacy settings.

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Encryption types

VPNThere are a variety of VPN protocols we can make use of. Each of them has different encryption, speed and stability performance. While using a VPN service, you have to make sure of right VPN protocol for specific activities.

Simply check the table below to have a general overview of each protocol.

 SpeedReliablityEncryption (upto)
PPTP⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Not secure128 bit
OpenVPN⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️Secure256 bit
SSTP⭐️ ⭐️Secure2048 bit
L2TP⭐️ ⭐️Not secure256 bit
IPSec⭐️ ⭐️Not secure-
Softether⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️Secure256 bit
IKEv2⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️Secure256 bit

Depending on what you like to do, find the proper and reliable VPN protocol and establish your VPN connection.

Some examples:

  • PPTP – Bypassing censorship, unblocking Netflix or BBC iPlayer or playing online games in the dorms.
  • OpenVPN – Banking activities, visiting websites when you need more privacy, downloading torrent files.
  • SSTP – connection activities requiring extreme privacy…
  • IKev2 – a great choice for MAC users for any activities.
  • Softether – suitable for any activities. It is fast and has a great encryption.

Some VPN companies moved to default OpenVPN protocol and do not provide anything else. At some point -as for the user experience, it may look convenient. However, you might want to add some additional security layer to your privacy. That is the time when protocol selection feature becomes crucial.

We have evolved our review according to the privacy needs of the users. That is why NordVPN, as well as ExpressVPN, are top notch selections in our article. When you choose these services, you will be making use of all possible VPN protocols without any limitation.

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Speed performance

you need a fast vpn service for better experience

Nobody likes slow online activities. That is why we run harsh speed tests with the VPN providers. Unfortunately, the greater privacy you seek, the less speed you get.

Our speed tests indicate that top VPN providers are actually the slowest ones. Because of the privacy level provided and, many providers are overloaded with so many users that they cannot meet the speed expectation properly.

For example, ExpressVPN performs super bad when compared to SaferVPN. The simple conclusion is you will be trading off your privacy  for the sake of speed.

Last but not least, we would like to illuminate you with the performance tests.

Below you can learn more about our speed test progress.

  1. establishing VPN connection with the desired location
  2. visiting speedtest.net
  3. pingback our ISP – that can handle up to 1000mbit downloads.

So far we have tested more than 20 companies.

It is really hard to define the fastest provider in the market. However, the average speed performance table will give you enough insight which one to pick.

(Mbps)USA down/up*Europe down/upMobile (4G)**Torrent***
CyberGhost
4.8 / 3.311.6 / 4.59.061.2
VPNUnlimited
13.8 / 4.318.2 / 492.4
SaferVPN
17.2 / 320.6 / 4.59.122.3
PrivateVPN
13 / 326.8 / 4.223.224.5

Comparison notes

* In order to create a fair comparison table, we have tested all download and upload test by pinging back to our IPS with a 50mbit fiber connection.

** Mobile speed test was handled on Samsung A7 (Android) with a 4.5G connection up to 200mbit (closest VPN server)

*** We chose Netherland with all providers while downloading torrents. All files had more than 1000 seeds each.

Download, upload, torrenting

The average download and upload speeds above give us an idea of what we could get from the VPN service in harsh environments. It may come to your attention that torrent download speed is a bit less than normal speedtest.net performance. This is because torrent downloads are directly related with download seed amounts -just like Popcorn time.

Streaming

Streaming a TV show with low quality will turn your watching experience into a disaster. That is why we have placed the Netflix and BBC iPlayer streaming quality to the table. Moreover, the streaming websites always block the VPN servers. Yet, the companies above find a way around to bypass this restriction and feed the service with the best streaming service available.

No VPN company can guarantee you that their service will work %100 with the streaming websites. (24/7)

Social media

There are plenty of reasons to use a VPN service while browsing a social media website or app.

  1. VPNs can prevent cookie tracking technologies so that you get rid of targeted ads.
  2. Bypass throttling on social media by changing your IP address. (Good choice for Turkish, Russian users…)

While doing so, your social media experience might become unbearable if you cannot have speed performance. That is why stability and the good speed are the core features you should be seeking.

Considering the overall performance related categories: download, upload, torrenting, popcorn time, online streaming and social media, our top choice would be PrivateVPN, SaferVPN, and Cyberghost.

Why?

By choosing these companies, you will get:

  • good encryption
  • untapped speed performance
  • additional security layers for torrenting (Killswitch, DNS leak)
  • easy to use mobile apps for smart devices
  • cookie blocking (Cyberghost only)
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Traveling

Imagine you are traveling to Turkey to enjoy the sun and get some tan. All travel is set and you are there. At the very beginning, everything is fine. Your holiday is going amazing, cheap hotels, amazing food, crazy beaches, and bright sun…

Then you are realized that there are some problems when connected to the internet; you cannot access Wikipedia, use Booking.com or Paypal; all betting, gambling and adult websites are blocked or BBC iPlayer is inaccessible.

In such cases, a VPN service that works in Turkey becomes handy. Therefore, we can add two additional subcategories to the usage purpose of the VPN service:

Access geo-restricted content

Because of the copyright issues, you cannot access your favorite shows in other locations. For example, you must have a UK IP address to watch BBC iPlayer, or USA IP address to watch dedicated USA Netflix shows. By using a VPN service, you can easily change your IP and access geo-restricted content wherever you are.

Bypass censorship

Some contents are not welcome in some countries. Muslim countries do not allow any adult, gambling and betting websites, while China runs “great firewall” to make the information inaccessible.

In such cases, we do need a VPN service to change our IP address to another country where censorship does not apply.

Thinking of the continuous blockage as well as VPN censorship, we strongly suggest travelers choose NordVPN, ExpressVPN or VyperVPN (Best for China)

Why?

These companies run obfuscated VPN servers and unique protocols to bypass censorship, and they continuously investigate blockage problems in censoring countries.

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Gaming

you need fast and low ping vpn when playing online gamesGaming was the first time I needed a VPN service to bypass an MMORPG server restriction. An online game called Knight Online opened a server “Carnac West” only for European IP addresses.

When I was trying to access that server to play with quality players, I had to use a VPN and connect to a German IP address.

Bypassing restricted games or servers

A quality VPN service can help you change your IP address easily and play any games or in any servers like you are in the available area.

Buying cheaper codes

Did you know that the gaming platform Steam has different pricing policy for each different country? The very reason is the income in the USA is not same as Russia or China. The purchasing power has a great impact when buying a game code.

While a steam game code could cost you 14.99$ in the USA, in China it will be around 7.44$ or in Russia 7.9$. You can check this unfair pricing policy here.

A VPN can be budget saver at this point. By simply creating an account as if you are China or Russia and connecting to those IP addresses to make it look legit, you can save some bucks.

Playing games in dorms

A dorm is like a hell for online gamers. Because of the filters applied in the dorm routers, you cannot access any platform you want easily. In the worst scenario, one of them could be steam.

The easiest way to bypass the filter is to use a VPN service to cover your connection and make you anonymous. As your connection is now encrypted, you can access any game or desired website with VPNs help.

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Prevent tracking and blocking ads

Cookies are the main sources of ads providers. When you search for something online, a cookie is stuffed to your browser and it can be used by any other websites to deliver you relevant ads.

Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter or any other platform use such technologies to make more money. Some browser ad blockers can fight with the ads but still, they cannot prevent the cookies. On the other hand, VPN services can now prevent ads with the software or browser extensions and let you know which service is collecting cookies from your end.

CyberGhost is a great option when it comes to blocking ads and tracking cookies. The service can offer this feature both for PC and smartphone users.

How to choose a good VPN

Above, I have listed many categories where you can use a VPN service. Before purchasing one, ask yourself, why would I need a VPN?

If it is a good match with the list, pick one and use it. However, a VPN service cannot guarantee you %100 privacy, bear that in mind.

If your intent is to hack, abuse copyrights, access illegal content online etc… no service will allow you to do so. In this case, your account can be terminated and your personal info can be given to authorities if asked. Hidemyass, PureVPN, IPVanish had to do so!

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Summing up

A good VPN can service can provide you with plenty of features you can use daily. More privacy; secure browsing and torrenting; accessing blocked websites, bypassing any kind of online censorship, enjoying best TV shows on the go, even accessing restricted servers of your favorite game. The list goes on and on.

The very key point of this article is to depict the core idea while choosing the VPN service: what you need, which one you should pick.

NordVPN can be a great option for the privacy, yet you will not like download speed on PC.

ExpressVPN is an amazing offshore company keeping no activity logs but they do not provide standalone browser extension.

CyberGhost is a relatively perfect company but when they are blocked in one country, they cannot recover from the blockage as just because they do not have mirror websites.

Last but not least, SaferVPN is the fastest and simplest VPN provider in the market. The downside is they are under USA jurisdiction.

Simply picking the best VPN service totally depends on how you want to use it. At some point, you have to sacrifice speed in return for greater privacy or vice versa…

Overall, we can only provide you with our test results. Final decision lays under the way you are going to use the VPN.

VPN features

  • Privacy levelConsidering the log policy as well as protocols offered by the provider.
  • Country / Server coverage
  • Simultaneous connection
  • Speed performance
  • Torrenting
  • Browser extention
  • Unlimited traffic
  • Netflix / BBC iPlayer etc...There are only few providers in the market adding dedicated servers only for streaming...
  • Logs / Juristiction
  • Money Back guarantee

NordVPN

2.75$/ month
2.75$/ month
  • HighNordVPN has the all protocols available in the market. Moreover, it also offers double hop server to encrypt your data twice.
  • 60+ / 4400+
  • 6 devices
  • Low
  • No activity logs / OffshoreNordVPN is under Panama jurisdiction and operates under "no data retention law".
  • 30 days

ExpressVPN

6.67$/ month
6.67$/ month
  • High
  • 90+ / 2000+
  • 3 devices
  • Average
  • No activity logs / OffshoreExpressVPN is under British Virgin Islands jurisdiction and operates under "no data retention law".
  • 30 days

SaferVPN

2.5$/ month
2.5$/ month
  • Low
  • 34+ / 700+
  • 5 devices
  • Super fast
  • No activity logs / USASaferVPN is under USA jurisdiction and has to keep some logs and give info to authorities if asked.
  • 30 days
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Things you have to be careful with!

  • Do not ever have the feeling that you are %100 invisible and secure while using a VPN service. Edward Snowden explains it:
  • Even if a VPN company offers unlimited data transfer, you cannot burden the servers by downloading torrent files 24/7. It is against their fair usage policy.
  • Do not use any free VPN apps. They ask so many permission and even sell your data to third parties… Like Hotspot Shield did.
  • If your priority is privacy, then stay away from EU, and USA based companies.
  • If you are traveling to restricted countries like China, Iran, Russia etc, make sure to do deep research as most of the promoted (affiliate) companies that do not work on those locations. You might have to go after less popular companies.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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