ExpressVPN
NordVPN
SurfShark VPN

The Best VPN of 2021

These top-rated VPNs are the best way to browse the Internet safely and securely
The Usage is supported by its audience. Products and services featured on The Usage are independently selected by our editors and writers. The Usage may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.
Zackery Cuevas

If you’re concerned with Internet security, there’s no better option than a virtual private network, or VPN. VPNs create a private secure connection between you and the Internet and allow you to access geo-restricted media, to work around censorship, and to keep your search history safe from your Internet service provider. 

But before you download a VPN, take note of these things:

  1. Travel: VPNs are a great way to protect your data while you’re using the Internet in public spaces, but be aware of countries that restrict VPN use.
  2. Price: VPNs are offered on both monthly and yearly subscriptions, so consider how often you’ll use it before committing to a plan you might not need.
  3. Security: How secure would you like to be? While all VPNs offer great security, not every VPN comes with the same settings and features.
  4. Content: VPNs are the best and easiest way to access geo-restricted shows and movies.
  5. Features: Security features, privacy settings, and additional simultaneous connections should be considered before buying a VPN subscription.

VPNs guarantee safe and secure Internet browsing, perfect for home use and for those who find themselves using Wi-Fi in unsecured public places. To find the best VPN, we considered features, price, accessibility, and user reviews to help you pick the perfect VPN.

Our choice for the best VPN is ExpressVPN. With a huge number of servers around the world and great security and privacy options, ExpressVPN is a top contender in speed and reliability.

If you find this useful, take a look at our choices for the Best Smartphones, Best Soundbars, Best Rechargeable Batteries, Best Gaming PC, and Best Alexa Products.

Our Top Picks

See All Top Picks See All
Top Pick
Top Pick
ExpressVPN
Best Overall VPN

ExpressVPN

Manufacturer :

  ExpressVPN

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Good speed
  • Split tunneling
  • Lots of servers across the world
  • Great security and privacy options

Cons

  • More expensive than other VPNs
  • Limited number of simultaneous connections

Product Snapshot

ExpressVPN is our choice for the best overall VPN. While the initial subscription cost might be higher than the competition, ExpressVPN’s simple interface makes configuring and connecting to IP addresses easy, which is especially nice for inexperienced users. ExpressVPN is one of the more accessible VPNs, compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems, as well as Android and iOS.

ExpressVPN supports split tunneling, which allows you to choose which online traffic is funneled through the VPN. You can connect up to five devices at the same time for simultaneous use. The VPN speed is solid, so while you may browse at a slightly slower speed on the VPN, it’s not a deal breaker. ExpressVPN is backed by a network of VPN servers spread across over 90 countries.

While ExpressVPN offers great speeds, security, and an easy-to-use interface, its price may turn users away. It’s also missing some features found in other VPNs. But the privacy and speed are some of the best on the market, and its many servers mean you’ll always find a connection, domestically and abroad.

Specs

Price
$12.95 a month
(or) $99.84 a year
Free Version
No
Server Locations
94 countries
Simultaneous Connections
5

Where to Buy

Best VPN for mobile

NordVPN

Manufacturer :

  NordVPN

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Works great on mobile
  • Reliable speeds and security
  • Compatibility with Windows Phone and even Blackberry

Cons

  • Only six simultaneous connections allowed

Product Snapshot

NordVPN is another popular VPN choice. It boasts a fleet of servers in 59 countries, which is impressive (though that’s not as many as SurfShark or ExpressVPN). It does have around 5,600 servers across the world, including places with restrictive Internet policies like Hong Kong and Vietnam. Speed wise, NordVPN is incredibly fast, on par with other VPNs, and even outperforming them on occasion.

Other VPNs do work with phones, but NordVPN’s mobile compatibility, on both Android and iOS devices, is excellent, offering the same privacy options and speeds without any compromises. Another featured part of NordVPN is CyberSec, a feature meant to block ads and malicious websites.

NordVPN works well across all major platforms. While it did suffer a breach in 2019 that put its security in question, NordVPN has since upped its practices, moving to more secure measures like diskless servers. NordVPN remains reliable.

Specs

Price
$11.95 a month
(or) $60 for first year
Free Version
No
Server Locations
59 countries
Simultaneous Connections
6

Where to Buy

Splurge
Splurge
SurfShark VPN
Best Splurge VPN

SurfShark VPN

Manufacturer :

  SurfShark

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Great Value
  • Clean and easy-to-use app
  • Multi-hop and split-tunneling capabilities

Cons

  • Expensive month-to-month subscription

Product Snapshot

Surfshark is another VPN you may have already heard about from a YouTube ad. With Surfshark you’ll get unlimited device support with your membership. That means you can access Surfshark’s VPN from any number of devices, whether on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or even Linux. With over 3,000 servers across 65 countries, Surfshark offers a lot of coverage (though not as much as some other VPNs on this list).

Surfshark is also feature-rich: multi-hop allows you to move your connection and cover your tracks in the process, while Camouflage Mode masks your VPN activity entirely. A NoBorders Mode lets you use Surfshark in restrictive regions—just be aware that these workarounds can be potentially illegal in your country!

Surfshark is a great VPN, and its privacy features are fantastic. Surfshark is worth the price, thanks to its unlimited device connections, slick and accessible app, and unmatched privacy.

Specs

Price
$12.95 a month
(or) $59.76 for two years
Free Version
No
Server Locations
65 countries
Simultaneous Connections
Unlimited

Where to Buy

Best VPN for Newbies

IPVanish VPN

Manufacturer :

  IPVanish

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Good speeds
  • Great for those unfamiliar with VPNs

Cons

  • Not as reliable as other VPNs
  • Missing some privacy features found with other VPNs

Product Snapshot

If you’re looking for the simplest VPN on the market, IPVanish might be for you. With decent speeds and more than 1,600 servers in more than 75 countries, IPVanish offers a diverse lineup of server locations for those who are looking to use their VPN to access Netflix in other countries. It’s also easily configured, giving users plenty of options to customize their experience.

Offering unlimited simultaneous connections, IPVanish is a bit pricier than other VPN options. IPVanish is based in the US and not a country outside of the jurisdiction of the Five Eyes Oversight and Review intelligence-sharing agreement. Because of that, IPVanish’s privacy could be the subject of scrutiny, which is something to consider for those looking for absolute privacy.

Specs

Price
$10.99 a month
(or) $53.99 a year
Free Version
No
Server Locations
75 countries
Simultaneous Connections
Unlimited

Where to Buy

Best Value
Best Value
Best VPN for Security

ProtonVPN

Manufacturer :

  ProtonVPN

Where to Buy

Pros

  • Free version
  • Open source
  • Strong privacy features

Cons

  • Can’t be used in China
  • Fewest server locations

Product Snapshot

ProtonVPN service lies in Switzerland, the infamous neutral country that’s not part of any intelligence-sharing agreement. While their data surveillance stance has changed in recent years, it’s still one of the safer places for servers (and besides, you aren’t doing anything illegal anyway, right?). ProtonVPN also features Secure Core, a feature that can move your connection across privately owned servers, similar to the multi-hop feature on other VPNs.

ProtonVPN allows for unlimited server switching and has no data caps. The price also includes a kill switch and Perfect Forward Secrecy, a feature that changes encryption constantly to avoid security compromises. There’s even a built-in route to a Tor server. ProtonVPN also offers a free version of its service, though many features are missing, so it’s not a particularly great way to experience the service.

ProtonVPN is a winner in many regards, and its privacy is some of the best you can get out of a VPN, but it has its limits. There are limited torrenting capabilities, and if you happen to be in China, you won’t be able to use this VPN at all.

Specs

Price
$ 4 a month
(or) $ 48 a year
Free Version
Yes
Server Locations
54 countries
Simultaneous Connections
10

Where to Buy

Compare

Best Overall VPN
Best VPN for mobile
Best Splurge VPN
Best VPN for Newbies
Best VPN for Security
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
Pros
  • Good speed
  • Split tunneling
  • Lots of servers across the world
  • Great security and privacy options
  • Works great on mobile
  • Reliable speeds and security
  • Compatibility with Windows Phone and even Blackberry
  • Great Value
  • Clean and easy-to-use app
  • Multi-hop and split-tunneling capabilities
  • Good speeds
  • Great for those unfamiliar with VPNs
  • Free version
  • Open source
  • Strong privacy features
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
Cons
  • More expensive than other VPNs
  • Limited number of simultaneous connections
  • Only six simultaneous connections allowed
  • Expensive month-to-month subscription
  • Not as reliable as other VPNs
  • Missing some privacy features found with other VPNs
  • Can’t be used in China
  • Fewest server locations
Price
Price
Price
Price
Price
Price
$12.95 a month
(or) $99.84 a year
$11.95 a month
(or) $60 for first year
$12.95 a month
(or) $59.76 for two years
$10.99 a month
(or) $53.99 a year
$ 4 a month
(or) $ 48 a year
Free Version
Free Version
Free Version
Free Version
Free Version
Free Version
No
No
No
No
Yes
Server Locations
Server Locations
Server Locations
Server Locations
Server Locations
Server Locations
94 countries
59 countries
65 countries
75 countries
54 countries
Simultaneous Connections
Simultaneous Connections
Simultaneous Connections
Simultaneous Connections
Simultaneous Connections
Simultaneous Connections
5
6
Unlimited
Unlimited
10

FAQ

Why should you use a VPN?

VPNs are great for Internet users who don’t want their information tracked or shared. VPNs help keep you protected while using public Wi-Fi while also shielding you from government surveillance. 

Can I use a VPN to watch shows from other countries?

Yes! VPNs are commonly used to access geo-restricted content on streaming sites. 

Will I get in trouble if I use a VPN?

Some countries have banned the use of VPNs, but in places like the U.S., VPNs are legal. Your activities while using them, however, can still be considered illegal, so browse responsibly!