Best VPN Services of 2020

The best VPN services with the most features, perks, and protection.
  • NordVPN
    Monthly price
    US$11.95/mo.
    Number of VPN servers
    5,760
  • Hotspot Shield
    Monthly price
    US$7.99/mo.
    Number of VPN servers
    3,200+
  • ExpressVPN
    Monthly price
    US$12.95/mo.
    Number of VPN servers
    3,000+
  • CyberGhost
    Monthly price
    US$12.99/mo.
    Number of VPN servers
    6,200
  • PureVPN
    Monthly price
    US$10.95/mo.
    Number of VPN servers
    2,000+

A VPN (virtual private network) provides a basic service for all online activity—namely that you can protect internet connection, your IP address, and your personal information from hackers and criminals trying to steal your data.

At the most basic level, as long as the VPN is turned on and functioning normally, you can trust that your privacy and anonymity are safe. A VPN adds encryption to your connection and makes it almost impossible to hack your IP address. Employers and government agencies won’t be able to find out what you’re doing online. If you’re worried about someone stealing your credit card number, date of birth, or other personally identifiable information, a VPN protects you.

Interestingly, while every VPN provides this basic security function (e.g., encrypting your connection), they’re not all created equal.

Budget-minded VPN services tend to only offer the basic encryption—it’s either on or off. They might cost less but they don’t provide any other perks or advanced features, and they typically don’t offer too many servers for connecting when you travel or have other needs. They’re also a bit slow, mostly because a budget-minded VPN might not be capable of handling the added encryption.

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What about a free VPN service provider?

It’s hard to find a good free VPN service. The whole point of using VPN software is to protect your identity and free VPN service providers tend to be a little sketchy. If you’re unsure, we recommend trying out a VPN free trial of one of the more reputable VPN providers.

The best VPN services go the extra mile. Each of these VPN services is top-rated, offers extra features, uses a clean and professional interface, and just has that “something extra” that makes them worth the extra price on a monthly basis. Check out or top picks for the best VPN services of 2020.

Best VPN services price comparison
BrandPriceNumber of VPN serversMost powerful featureDetails
NordVPNUS$11.95/mo.5,760Free malware protection softwareView Plans
Hotspot ShieldUS$7.99/mo.3,200+Free password managerView Plans
ExpressVPNUS$12.95/mo.3,000+Best interface that’s clear and easy to useView Plans
CyberGhostUS$12.99/mo.6,200Access on up to seven devicesView Plans
PureVPNUS$10.95/mo.2,000+Includes innovative "mode" settingsView Plans

Data effective 5/28/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

NordVPN: Best VPN service

NordVPN is an all-around top VPN with a high number of servers.

NordVPN just has an “ultimate” vibe. The interface is clean and professional, there are a high number of servers (5,760 total), and the VPN even includes a free malware service. The company itself is solid—it offers an extensive amount of information on its website. Some of the specs don’t quite match up perfectly—for example, CyberGhost does have more servers available worldwide but it’s also more expensive than NordVPN. Plus, the NordVPN interface and extra features are more compelling. You’ll get the second-most servers for the best price and free malware. It’s also the second fastest VPN service we tested, behind CyberGhost. In our view, it’s the king of the hill.

NordVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
NordVPNUS$11.95/mo.5,760Free malware protection softwareView Plans

Data effective 5/28/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Who is NordVPN best for?

  • Includes a free malware client
  • Very high number of servers
  • Clean and professional interface
  • VPN app available for mobile devices

Want to know more? Read our full-length NordVPN review.

Hotspot Shield: Best VPN for password management

A top pick that includes a free password manager.

Once again, we always like to tour the interface for any VPN. When the professional look and feel is sound you can find features faster and easier. Hotspot Shield has one of the best interfaces we’ve found, and the VPN service includes a free password manager as well. Like NordVPN, the number of servers (which stands at over 3,200) means you can always find a connection even if you travel or need to find a faster speed.

Hotspot Shield plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
Hotspot ShieldUS$7.99/mo.3,200+Free password managerView Plans

Data effective 5/28/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Who is Hotspot Shield best for?

  • High number of servers
  • Free password manager included
  • Very clean and professional interface
  • VPN app available for mobile devices

Want to know more? Read our full-length Hotspot Shield VPN review.

ExpressVPN: Best VPN interface

A well-designed interface with a loyal fanbase that’s slightly spendy.

Our only ‘ding’ against ExpressVPN is that it’s slightly expensive at $12.95 per month. You might call that an “ultimate” price and we’d argue for that train of thought. It’s one of the best options around with a high number of servers, a clean interface, and exceptionally clear instructions and website information. One of the reasons why NordVPN and Hotspot Shield both scored higher is that they include extra apps. (NordVPN includes a malware checker and Hotspot Shield includes a password manager.)

ExpressVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
ExpressVPNUS$12.95/mo.3,000+Best interface that’s clear and easy to useView Plans

Data effective 5/28/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Who is ExpressVPN best for?

  • Best VPN interface we’ve found
  • Exceptional instructions and website info
  • High number of servers
  • VPN app available for mobile devices

Want to know more? Read our full-length ExpressVPN review.

CyberGhost: Best VPN for gaming and highest server count

The fastest VPN service with more VPN servers than anyone.

With 6,200 servers available for connecting from all over the world, CyberGhost is a true powerhouse and deserves high accolades. This VPN service provider lets you have up to seven simultaneous connections, unlike the more typical five device limit. CyberGhost scored high on our list with 4.5 stars, but only slips out of the top three because the interface is a little less polished.

CyberGhost plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
CyberGhostUS$12.99/mo.6,200Access on up to seven devicesView Plans

Data effective 5/28/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Who is CyberGhost best for?

  • Most number of servers we’ve found
  • Very fast and robust
  • Access on up to seven devices
  • VPN app available for mobile devices

Want to know more? Read our full-length CyberGhost review.

PureVPN: Most customizable VPN

Highly-rated VPN client with a few unusual perks.

PureVPN doesn’t quite rank as high on our list but still rates 4.5 stars—higher than a vast majority of VPN clients. That’s due to the intuitive and professional interface, which provides different modes that match your needs. With 2,000 servers worldwide, you can still connect easily—although that’s not as high as the server count for NordVPN or CyberGhost. PureVPN also costs a bit less than some at $10.95 per month.

PureVPN plans and prices
PlanPriceNumber of VPN serversUnique featureDetails
PureVPNUS$10.95/mo.2,000+Includes innovative "mode" settingsView Plans

Data effective 5/28/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Who is PureVPN best for?

  • Lower cost than other top-rated VPNs
  • Professional interface
  • Modes for connecting the way you want
  • VPN app available for mobile devices

Want to know more? Read our full-length PureVPN review.

What makes our VPN top picks the best?

When we evaluate what makes the best VPN service, we look at the interface, number of VPN servers available, extra features, and pricing considerations.

Interface

It all starts with the interface. Two of our top picks, ExpressVPN and NordVPN, have a professional look and feel. You can easily find the features you need and trust that there was some care and attention involved in making the clients. It gives you the confidence that the client is not the side project of a developer working in his or her basement but there’s an actual company supporting it, improving it, and backing it.

Number of VPN servers

A high number of servers means you can always find a connection, even if you travel overseas and even if you need to access a service remotely. One example of this is if you decide to watch a Netflix movie while you’re in Europe. You can still connect to a server in Sydney and watch your shows and movies. You can also try out different servers close to you and then test the speed and see which server works best—even for a specific download or streaming media you’re viewing.

Extra features

Another reason a VPN is rated as “the best” has to do with extra features. One good example of this is with Hotspot Shield which includes a password manager. That extra layer of security—being able to use long and complex passwords and letting the password manager do the hard work of remembering them—means you are less likely to get hacked when you type in a credit card or other personal information. (Remember that a VPN encrypts your connection and protects you, but if you type in data at any website or using an app, you are still exposing that data to the website.)

You may want to consider things like simultaneous connections, mobile app integration, or whether a VPN service has a browser extension.

Pricing considerations

Anything rated as “ultimate” can seem like it is also expensive or even includes features you might not use. That’s not the case with a VPN. What you will quickly discover is that a VPN tends to cost around $10 per month, although you can sign up for a one year contract or a three-year contract and pay far less. We’ve tested VPN clients that cost only about $3 per month when you sign up for a three-year plan.

Final thoughts

And, a lot of this is about peace of mind. A VPN works in the background and protects everything you do—such as gaming, streaming movies, watching Netflix, visiting websites. You can use one with your smartphone, laptop, or even a smart tv. Our top picks are flexible enough to work for you on just about any device and for any need.

We can’t list out every reason they are ultimate picks, but the cumulative reason is that these VPN service providers rise above the rest of the pack. Each one includes extra website info and instructions, good technical support, and worked reliably in all of our tests.

You can pick a VPN software for various reasons—you might be drawn to the fact that a VPN claims to never record any of your logs on their server, for example. Yet, for the best overall picks, the five VPN clients on our list will meet most if not all of your online security needs.

Recap: What’s the best VPN service?

Our pick for the best VPN provider is NordVPN.

All in all, the best VPNs include all of the most important features—a high number of servers, the best interface, a company that backs the product, and extra features like a free password manager or a malware client to protect you online. NordVPN checks all of these boxes and remains affordably priced among its competitors. But you really can’t go wrong with any of these VPN top picks.

  • NordVPN: Includes a free malware client
  • Hotspot Shield: Includes a free password manager
  • ExpressVPN: Our top pick for a professional interface
  • CyberGhost: Highest number of servers available
  • PureVPN: Unique modes to help you connect

Additional contributors

Chyelle Dvorak