Best VPNs for Privacy & Security in 2020

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VPNs for Privacy & Security: A VPN’s tendency to provide users with a secure connection is fundamental, but some services do a much better job than others. Nevertheless, because the VPN market is so overcrowded, it cannot be easy to find a secure VPN service that offers you all the features you need.

In this guide, we list the five most secure VPN services, so you can be sure your provider takes your privacy as seriously as possible. 

1. NordVPN

VPN
NordVPN
Location
Panama
Servers
5,800+ in 59 Countries
Price
3.71$/mo
Support
24/7 Live chat
Refund
30 days
Website
  • Double encryption for added security
  • Automatic kill switch
  • A variety of platform support
  • Six simultaneous connections
  • Zero log keeping policy of internet activities
  • 3-Day free trial
Get 68% off NordVPN (drops the price down to $3.71 per month)
(Discount is applied automatically)
(See the NordVPN review for more test results and analysis.)

2. ExpressVPN

VPN
ExpressVPN
Location
British Virgin Islands
Servers
3,000+ in 94 Countries
Price
8.32$/mo
Support
24/7 Live chat
Refund
30 days
  • Unlimited Bandwidth with Ultra Speed
  • Provides all VPN protocols OpenVPN (TCP, UDP), L2TP-IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP
  • Dedicated VPN Apps for Android & iOS
  • High-End Security with OpenVPN 256-bits
  • Zero log keeping policy of internet activities
  • 3 simultaneous connections
Get 35% off ExpressVPN (drops the price down to $8.32 per month)
(Discount is applied automatically)
(See the ExpressVPN review for more test results and analysis.)

3. Surfshark

VPN
Surfshark
Location
British Virgin Islands
Servers
1,700+ in 63+ Countries
Price
2.49$/mo
Support
24/7 Live chat
Refund
30 days
Website
  • AES 256-Bit Network Encryption
  • Chrome Extension Available
  • Kill-Switch functionality
  • A variety of platform support
  • Zero log keeping policy of internet activities
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
Get 81% off Surfshark (drops the price down to $2.49 per month)
(Discount is applied automatically)
(See the Surfshark review for more test results and analysis.)

4. CyberGhost

VPN
CybberGhostVPN
Location
Bucharest, Romania
Servers
6,200+ in 87+ Countries
Price
2.75$/mo
Support
24/7 Live chat
Refund
45 days
  • Uses AES 256 Encryption
  • Supports OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP
  • DNS & IP Leak Protection
  • Uses 2048 Key & MD5 Authentication
  • Zero log keeping policy of internet activities
  • Up to 7 Simultaneous Connections
Get 79% off CybberGhostVPN (drops the price down to $2.75 per month)
(Discount is applied automatically)
(See the CybberGhostVPN review for more test results and analysis.)

5. Private Internet Access

VPN
Private Internet Access
Location
United States
Servers
3,320+ in 30+ Countries
Price
2.85$/mo
Support
24/7 Live chat
Refund
7 days
  • Offers all Protocols PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec including SOCKS5 Proxy
  • IPv6 Leak Protection & DNS Leak Protection
  • Kill-Switch functionality
  • Encrypted Wi-Fi Protection
  • Zero log keeping policy of internet activities
  • 10 simultaneous connections
Get 71% off PIA (drops the price down to $2.85 per month)
(Discount is applied automatically)
(See the PIA review for more test results and analysis.)

The Best VPNs for Privacy & Security

Below, we have summarized why each provider is one of the best VPNs for Privacy & Security. 

Also read: How VPNs can help to maximize business continuity

How do we determine VPNs for Privacy & Security?

There are lots of things that a VPN can do for you, but it is, first and foremost, a tool to protect your privacy online. If a VPN can’t do this, it’s putting your privacy at risk and creating a false sense of security – the exact opposite of what you want.

The main things that we look at when determining the security of a VPN are:

  • Encryption & VPN protocols – What do they offer, and are they strong enough?
  • IP Leaks – Is the VPN accidentally leaking your IP address from anywhere?
  • Kill switch – Will the VPN protect you if your connection to the server fails?

We cover the different ways that you can determine how secure a VPN is below.

Encryption and VPN protocols

To connect securely, VPN software on your device negotiates an encrypted connection with the VPN server. The mechanism used to do this is called the VPN protocol, which uses a series of authentication and encryption algorithms to ensure the connection is secure.

The main VPN protocols you are likely to encounter are:

PPTP – Not Secure

A widely supported VPN protocol that is no longer considered secure. There is very little to reason to use it these days; it should be avoided.

L2TP – Will Not Secure Your Data From Surveillance

A widely supported protocol. It’s not secure against the NSA but is suitable for general use. That said, why bother when IKEv2 and OpenVPN are available?

IKEV2 – Secure and ideal for Android & iOS

A new standard that is fast and is widely considered very secure. Because of this, it is quickly gaining popularity with VPN services, but it is not mature or battle-tested in the same way that OpenVPN has.

Mobile users, in particular, may prefer IKEv2 thanks to its improved ability to reconnect when an internet connection is interrupted (such as when switching between networks or between WiFi and mobile connections).

OpenVPN – Secure and recommended

An open-source protocol that is widely regarded as the most secure and versatile VPN protocol available. We generally always recommend using OpenVPN whenever possible (although IKEv2 is also a good option).

How we assess encryption

We focus on OpenVPN encryption when assessing the encryption used by VPN providers. This is because:

  • OpenVPN is the only VPN protocol we know to be entirely secure. IKEv2 is also considered secure, but this is mainly theoretical.
  • Just about every VPN service offers OpenVPN. This allows us to compare like for like across services.
  • The care a provider takes over its OpenVPN encryption details is a strong indicator of the care it takes over security in general.

OpenVPN is made up of several elements – but the devil is in the detail. The security of OpenVPN comes from how well it has been implemented. Meaning that if OpenVPN has been poorly implemented, then it’s no better than the other protocols we mentioned.

Below is a list of the component parts of OpenVPN protocol:

  • Cipher AES-256-CGM
  • Control hash auth HMAC SHA-1
  • Handshake RSA-4096 
  • Forward security DHE-4096
  • Connection logs 
  • Traffic logs

We recognize that implementing encryption protocols like OpenVPN to a high standard is a key feature of a secure VPN. So, we made it one of our primary considerations when choosing the five most secure VPN services. If a VPN can’t implement encryption protocols to a high standard, we don’t recommend them.

Can I use a free VPN to protect my privacy?

We advise against free VPN services for privacy-conscious users. These free service providers often collect data from users and share it with third parties to create advertising revenue. Even if they say they do not log, free VPN services still need to make money from users in one way or another.

These free services also lack the security of paid VPN services, such as kill switches and leak protection. A few free VPNs even act as honeypots to spread malware to users’ devices.

Lastly, free VPN services have subpar performance compared to paid VPNs. They tend to have lower data caps, speeds, poor encryption, and bandwidth limits.

Conclusion -VPNs for Privacy & Security

A VPN is a versatile tool with a wealth of functions, whether you want to spoof your location, access restricted sites, or stay safe on public WiFi hotspots – but primarily, a VPN is about security. When you connect to a VPN server, you’re shoring up your privacy. Nobody will snoop on your identifiable information, not your ISP, government, or any malicious cybercriminals.

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