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The Best VPNs of 2020

Table of Contents

Looking for a VPN? You’ve come to the right place. In this review, I’m looking for the best of the best of VPNs in 2020 for a variety of situations and needs. Whether you are a Mac or Windows-user, whether you want Netflix or access for multiple users, I have the right VPN for you. Of course, I’m not just judging the VPNs on those categories, but on a variety of factors like their privacy jurisdiction, speed, security, customer support, apps— the list goes on. At the bottom of this best VPNs review you’ll find a section on methodology explaining my choices in further detail.

Let’s get started!

Best All-Around VPN
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN

We appreciate ExpressVPN for its no-logging policy, split tunneling, great app, fast speeds, and access to Netflix. 

Doesn't expire

Best VPN With Free Option
ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN

They say the best things in life are free, and ProtonVPN is no exception, allowing connections in three countries on one device on the house. 

Doesn't expire

Best VPN for Torrenting
HotSpot Shield
HotSpot Shield
HotSpot Shield

If you want to torrent books, movies or TV shows, HotSpot Shield is a great option with over 3,200 servers in more than 70 countries. 

Doesn't expire

Best VPN for Mac
CyberGhost
CyberGhost
CyberGhost

CyberGhost had the best performance on my Mac in terms of download speed, upload speed, and latency. 

Doesn't expire

Best VPN for Windows
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access

Out of all the VPNs I've reviewed, Private Internet Access performed the best on my Windows Vivobook in terms of speed and security. 

Doesn't expire

Best for Netflix
NordVPN
NordVPN
NordVPN

If you want a seamless Netflix experience, NordVPN delivers with over 5,500 servers around the world, including special servers just for Netflix.

Doesn't expire

Best All-Around VPN

ExpressVPN App

ExpressVPN

There’s very few bad things to say about ExpressVPN. They have a strict no data logging policy and will never keep your IP address, browsing history, traffic, or DNS queries. The VPN offers split tunneling, so you’ll be able to access a public and a private server at the same time. You can use Netflix with ExpressVPN, its app is highly-rated, and most customers rated their customer support to be top-notch. 

Finally, ExpressVPN killed it in my speed and security tests for both my Mac and Windows computer, so overall, it’s a great choice. 

To learn more, read our full review of ExpressVPN. 

Get Best Offer
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN

Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN is one of our favorite options with over 2000 servers in 148 locations. 

Best VPN With Free Option

Transparency Report on the ProtonVPN App

ProtonVPN

If you’re not looking to spend any money, ProtonVPN has a free option in three countries that’ll cover one device at a medium speed. Of course, it has many features you expect in a VPN, from a strict logging policy to a kill switch, from apps for many different platforms to strong encryption methods. ProtonVPN also includes a Forward Secrecy feature, meaning that it generates a unique encryption key for every session. That makes it nearly impossible for your data to be hacked, the point of a VPN in the first place. 

Now, if you’re willing to spend a little money, ProtonVPN lets you torrent with unlimited bandwidth and special P2P servers. You’ll still get the feature that protects your emails, plus, ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, known for being a non-member of any international surveillance alliances. When it comes to your privacy, ProtonVPN has got it covered whether you pay or not. 

For more information, read my full review of ProtonVPN.

Get Best Offer
ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN

They say the best things in life are free, and ProtonVPN is no exception, allowing connections in three countries on one device on the house. 

Best VPN for Torrenting

The Hotspot Shield App

HotSpot Shield

If you want to torrent files without getting in trouble, check out HotSpot Shield. Not only is it lightning fast with super quick download and upload speeds, winning Ookla’s “World’s Fastest VPN” award last year, but it also automatically blocks phishing, malware and spam, so it’s kind of a two for one deal. Using proprietary Catapult Hydra VPN technology, HotSpot Shield optimizes multiple server connections, creating a private network that’s stronger and faster even over long distances. 

As far as app ratings go, HotSpot Shield shines, with a 4.5 from iPhone users and a 4.1 from Android users. A premium subscription will get you 24/7 customer support in the form of both email and live chat, in addition to their online help center, which is nice. Plus, if you’re not in love, you can get a full refund within the first 45 days, making HotSpot Shield completely risk-free. 

For more information, read my full review of HotSpot Shield.

Get Best Offer
HotSpot Shield
HotSpot Shield
HotSpot Shield

If you want to torrent books, movies or TV shows, HotSpot Shield is a great option with over 3,200 servers in more than 70 countries. 

The Best VPN for Mac

CyberGhost App

CyberGhost

In a nutshell, CyberGhost performed really well on my Macbook Air. Take speed for instance. Using CyberGhost, my download speed slowed down by less than three percent, my upload speed slowed less than eight percent, and I only saw my latency increase by 14%! These results are out of this world, considering most VPNs see slowdowns of twice and three times as much.  Aside from speed, the CyberGhost VPN had no DNS or WebRTC leaks on my Mac, ensuring that my data is being kept well within the encrypted tunnel.

Aside from its excellent test results on the Mac, I appreciate that CyberGhost is based in Romania, outside of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes jurisdiction. The VPN has a kill switch, which makes sure that your data is protected even if CyberGhost fails, plus, it allows for both Netflix and torrenting.

For more information, read our full review of CyberGhost. 

Get Best Offer
CyberGhost
CyberGhost
CyberGhost

Based in Bucharest, Romania, CyberGhost will never be forced to hand over customer's data, making it ideal for your privacy. 

Best VPN for Windows

Private Internet Access Desktop App

Private Internet Access

Speed and security-wise, Private Internet Access killed it on my Windows Vivobook. It has a download difference of about 15%, an upload difference of only about five%, and an increase in latency of 33%, making it the fastest VPN for Windows that I’ve reviewed. It also aced the DNS and WebRTC leak tests, confirming that my activity and traffic is secure and encrypted. 

Aside from winning the tests on Windows, Private Internet Access has great apps from both the Apple store and the Google Play store as well as an incredibly strict no-logging policy. All of your IP addresses will be anonymous, and you’ll get a new one every time, making it that much harder to track. With a kill switch, Netflix, and torrenting access, Private Internet Access is a wonderful choice for any Windows-user. 

To learn more, read our full review of Private Internet Access

Get Best Offer
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access has a no-logging policy, great app reviews, and fast speeds on Windows. 

Best for Netflix

NordVPN App

NordVPN

If you’re looking for a VPN to watch Netflix, NordVPN delivers. They have over 5,500 servers in 58 countries, including specialty servers for Netflix from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Germany and more. NordVPN even lets you bypass bandwidth caps that could otherwise limit your video streaming of services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO GO. 

Besides a seamless Netflix experience, NordVPN has highly-rated mobile apps for iOS and Android. It also has a strict, down-to-earth no data logging policy. And when it comes to speed, NordVPN didn’t disappoint on Mac or Windows. These features combine to make a great case for NordVPN as the best VPN with Netflix, and a solid VPN choice overall.

For more details, read our full NordVPN review.

Get best offer
NordVPN
NordVPN
NordVPN

If you want a seamless Netflix experience, NordVPN delivers with over 5,500 servers around the world, including special servers just for Netflix.

Methodology

Want to learn more about how Security Baron reviews VPNs? Take a look at our methodology, which will truly make you an expert when it comes to Virtual Private Networks.

First we start with the VPN itself, making sure it has all the features necessary to a VPN and putting it through speed and security tests.

Speed

Like I say in individual reviews, we test all of our VPNs on a private Optimum network in my Brooklyn apartment. Being the only one on the network, I can make sure that my Internet speed without a VPN is an objective control to measure against.

I also test everything on both a Macbook Air and a Windows Vivobook to give useful information to more readers. To test download speed, upload speed, and ping (latency), I use the website SpeedTest.net, performing tests with then without the VPN. While download and upload speed are measured in megabits per second, latency is measured in milliseconds. After I determine these figures,  I figure out the difference between the two measurements in terms of a percentage, as the natural speeds of Macs and Windows computers differ wildly.

Ideally, VPNs have no more than a 40% difference in any of the speed categories, but it’s always important to remember how much speed can vary by a number of factors: distance to the server, operating system, device, etc. So while I try to be as objective as possible, I urge readers to take the speed test results with a grain of salt.

Security

Many people who use VPNs are doing so in order to protect their web traffic, composed of domain name servers (names of websites) and their respective IP addresses.  I also want to make sure that users’ private IP addresses are not being leaked due to WebRTC, which allows browsers to communicate directly with each other and is the default on browsers like Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Opera.

I test for DNS leaks using DNSLeakTest.com. By comparing my computer’s IP address with the IP addresses that come up on the website, I can see if there was a DNS leak with the VPN or not. Next, I tested for WebRTC leaks using the tool available on ExpressVPN’s website. Again, by looking at the local and Public IPv4 IP addresses, I can determine if there were any WebRTC leaks.

Aside from testing for DNS and WebRTC leaks, I also look into a company’s privacy jurisdiction and data-logging policy. Ideally, companies are based in countries that are non-members to Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes, international surveillance alliances that could legally force companies to hand over customer information. As far as data-logging goes, I prefer companies that only keep users’ account information like their name, email, and payment information. I do not think that it’s necessary for VPNs to keep any information about when customers use their VPNs, for how long, how much data they’ve transferred, etc.

In my longer reviews, I analyze the VPN’s encryption methods and Internet protocols to ensure that they meet industry standards, which typically includes AES-256 and OpenVPN, the most secure methods around. I also look for private domain name servers and anonymous and dynamic IP addresses, as they are harder to track. Finally, I make sure that each VPN has a kill switch, which will shut down all Internet browsers in the event that the VPN fails.

Performance

As many people use VPNs for media like movies and television, I look for VPNs with Netflix and torrenting access. Keep in mind that Netflix constantly updates its code to block any VPN connections, so there is no guarantee that it will ever work on a VPN.

Another feature I look for is split tunneling, which allows users to access the VPN and the public network at the same time. This allows for lower bandwidth, which can create faster speeds. I also prefer double or multi-hop VPNs, as they encrypt data multiple times through multiple servers.

Subscriptions

Not only do I give readers the most objective information about a company’s subscription options, I also tell them whether or not the price is reasonable, based on competitors’ pricing as well as features offered. VPNs can be anywhere from under a dollar to $15 a month in the most expensive case, mostly falling around $4 a month. I prefer plans that offer monthly as well as annual options, to give users flexibility, and I also point out if they have a trial-period or money-back guarantee, common for VPNs. Finally, I outline what a subscription actually entails in terms of the numbers of server switches, simultaneous connections, and devices allowed. Typically, VPNs allow for unlimited server switches and devices and anywhere from one to unlimited simultaneous connections.

Customer Support

Although VPN companies are not known for their customer support, ideally they have a live chat feature in addition to their online help center. 24/7 live chat is preferred, and extra points if they also have a phone line. I check customer reviews from Amazon, Google, and Trustpilot, focusing on reviews that mention support specifically, as well as judging from my own experience. Ideally, companies have ratings of at least 3.5 out of five stars.

App

Finally, I review the app for both iPhone and Android, as well as its ratings. If an app has a rating below three stars, I cannot recommend the product to the device-owner which the app goes with.

That’s it from me! If you have any other questions or comments, leave them below— I’m happy to help out.

FAQs

What is the best VPN for 2020?

The best VPN for 2020 is ExpressVPN. There’s very few bad things to say about ExpressVPN. They have a strict no data logging policy and will never keep your IP address, browsing history, traffic, or DNS queries. The VPN offers split tunneling, so you’ll be able to access a public and a private server at the same time. You can use Netflix with ExpressVPN, its app is highly-rated, and most customers rated their customer support to be top-notch.

Finally, ExpressVPN killed it in my speed and security tests for both my Mac and Windows computer, so overall, it’s a great choice.

What is the top rated VPN?

On our website, ExpressVPN is top-rated, followed by CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, NordVPN, Windscribe and FastestVPN.

What are some good VPNs?

Some good VPNs include ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, NordVPN, Windscribe and FastestVPN.

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.