5 Best VPNs: 2021 Editor's Picks for Optimal Privacy

Use a VPN, and whether you’re streaming, browsing, shopping, or online banking, it will be impossible for scammers to track you or intercept your sensitive information.


Gemma Davison
Updated 11 August 2021
5 Best VPNs: 2021 Editor's Picks for Optimal Privacy
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United States Scam & Fraud Statistics 2020


$3.3 billion total fraud losses
4.7 million fraud reports

1.4 million reports of identity theft

Source: 2019-20 Consumer Sentinel Report

Sections on this page
  1. The Best VPNs for 2021
  2. NordVPN: Best All-Around VPN
  3. ExpressVPN: Best VPN for Streaming
  4. Surfshark: Best VPN for Large Families
  5. CyberGhost: Best VPN for Beginners
  6. Private Internet Access: Best VPN for Online Anonymity
  7. What is a VPN?
  8. Benefits of a VPN
  9. Frequently Asked Questions

Are you concerned about the threat of scammers stealing your sensitive data online? While your browser will provide you with some protection, especially if you use a security extension, it may not be enough to safeguard your personal information completely. A virtual private network (VPN) will give you an extra layer of protection against online threats every time you use the internet. Here are our picks for the best VPNs.

The Best VPNs for 2021

Best for VPN Monthly Cost 6-Month Cost Yearly Cost
All-Around NordVPN $11.95 $71.70 $143.40
Streaming ExpressVPN $12.95 $59.95 $99.95
Large Families Surfshark $12.95 $38.94 $59.76/2 years
Beginners CyberGhost $12.99 $77.94

$47.88
$83.76/2 years
$87.75/3 years

Online Anonymity Private Internet Access $9.95 $59.70

$39.95
$79/3 years

NordVPN: Best All-Around VPN

NordVPN
NordVPN
  • Malware and adware blockers.
  • Secure 6 devices at once.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

Advanced security features.
Protects against phishing and malware attacks.

Key features of NordVPN:

  • 5,200+ servers in 60 countries.
  • Secure 6 devices at once.
  • Malware and adware blockers.
  • Browser extensions.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

NordVPN is our top all-around VPN. It offers plenty of advanced security features to keep you safe online, excellent unblocking abilities, and a worldwide network of high-speed servers.

If you’re worried about the threat of online scammers, you can secure your sensitive data with NordVPN. It encrypts your connection to the internet, so no sneaky cybercriminals can eavesdrop on the websites you visit or the data you share. Also, NordVPN’s CyberSec feature blocks malicious websites and ads to prevent you from falling victim to phishing attacks.

Additional security features include:

  • DNS leak protection prevents any prying eyes from seeing what websites you visit, online services you use, and more when you send online queries to DNS servers.
  • An automatic kill switch automatically cuts your connection to the internet if you lose your link to NordVPN. This stops any of your online traffic - including your sensitive info - from appearing on the unencrypted web.
  • Strict no-logs policy, which means that NordVPN won’t collect, track, or share your private data, ever.
  • A double VPN to change your IP address twice, covering your internet traffic with an extra layer of security.
  • Streaming is smooth and fast with NordVPN’s speedy servers. Offering over 5,200 servers in 60 countries, you can stream all your favorite shows and movies from hundreds of streaming services around the world. 
  • The whole family can watch their favorite shows at once with NordVPN’s six simultaneous connections. Device compatibility is great. NordVPN works with all the major operating systems, routers, many smart TVs and even has excellent browser extensions.

ExpressVPN: Best VPN for Streaming

Express VPN
Express VPN
  • Find the fastest server in your location.
  • Use on up to 5 devices.
  • Robust data encryption.

Best for streaming.
Unlock all major streaming services.
30-Day Free Trial

Key features of ExpressVPN:

  • Over 3,000 servers in 94 countries.
  • Lightning server speeds and unlimited bandwidth.
  • 5 simultaneous device connections.
  • Robust encryption.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

ExpressVPN’s network of super-fast servers is spread across 94 countries, opening up a world of restricted content. Thanks to unlimited bandwidth, you can stream as much as you like without buffering or long loading times. We really like the built-in speed test feature, which allows you to find the fastest server in your chosen location for vivid HD streaming without annoying broken pixels.

Plus, the MediaStreamer feature allows you to unlock all the major global streaming services—including Netflix, ESPN, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more—on devices that don’t support VPNs, like some smart TVs and games consoles.

Your sensitive information is kept far from the prying eyes of scammers behind a wall of unbreakable encryption. Safe browsing is enhanced by ExpressVPN’s additional security features, which include an automatic kill switch and a no-logs policy.

While ExpressVPN is a little more expensive than the other VPNs on this list, you do get a lot for your money. Better yet, you can test out all of ExpressVPN’s features (on up to five devices at once) before committing with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Surfshark: Best VPN for Large Families

Surfshark
Surfshark
  • Military-grade encryption.
  • Protection for unlimited devices.
  • Allow specific sites to bypass VPN.

Great for families.
Connect unlimited devices simultaneously.

Key features of Surfshark

  • 3,200+ servers in over 65 countries.
  • Built-in malware blocker.
  • Advanced security features.
  • Connect unlimited devices at once.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

Fast and reliable, Surfshark has an impressive network of over 3,200 streaming-optimized servers in 65 countries, ideal for watching your favorite shows, no matter where you are. In addition, this VPN is perfect for watching Netflix, as it can grant you access to 15 different regional libraries.

Test out the streaming capabilities for yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You get unlimited simultaneous device connections with your subscription so that you can try out streaming on all your devices at once. Thanks to unlimited bandwidth and no speed caps, no matter how many devices are in use, you’ll never experience freezes or long load times.

Surfshark is just as impressive when it comes to security. Along with military-grade encryption, your sensitive data is also protected online with an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a strict no-logs policy. Plus, the CleanWeb feature makes sure you’re surfing the internet free from threats by blocking trackers, malware, and phishing attempts.

We also really like the Whitelister feature, which allows specific apps and websites to bypass the VPN. It works well with mobile banking apps. Plus, if you’re concerned about online privacy, you can use the Camouflage Mode, which ensures that not even your internet service provider knows you’re using a VPN.

CyberGhost: Best VPN for Beginners

CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost VPN
  • Use on up to 7 devices at one time.
  • Simple setup across all devices.
  • Extensive coverage with 7,200 servers globally.

Global server coverage.
Great for travelers with servers in over 90 countries.

Key features of CyberGhost:

  • 7,300+ servers in 90+ countries.
  • Up to 7 devices are protected simultaneously.
  • Unlimited bandwidth and traffic.
  • Dedicated streaming servers.
  • 45-day money-back guarantee.

If you’re new to the world of VPNs, CyberGhost is a great choice, thanks to a user-friendly interface. It’s straightforward to set up across all your devices, and compatibility is really good with CyberGhost working with all major operating systems, games consoles, smart TVs, and more.

Simplicity doesn’t mean that your security is sacrificed. Connect to one of CyberGhost’s servers with a single click, and your IP address is hidden so no one can track you online. Plus, from the moment you connect to CyberGhost, all of your internet traffic is sent through an encrypted tunnel, protecting your sought-after data from scammers.

You get all the top-shelf security extras, including robust VPN protocols, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch. You can browse, stream, and online shop on all your devices at once, with seven connections allowed at once with a single CyberGhost account.

CyberGhost has extensive global server coverage with over 7,200 servers in more than 90 countries for a safe and anonymous internet wherever you are. Such a vast network also makes CyberGhost an excellent VPN for streaming. It has many servers optimized for specific streaming services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and many more.

The lightning-fast servers are not just good for streaming; they also provide hassle-free gaming, torrenting, and endless scrolling through social media. With unlimited bandwidth and traffic, you can access almost a limitless amount of content with CyberGhost.

Private Internet Access: Best VPN for Online Anonymity

Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access
  • Ad and malware blocking.
  • 24/7 customer support.
  • Scan your email for breaches.

Open source code for transparency.
Check the code yourself to ensure optimal security.

Key features of Private Internet Access:

  • Servers across 78 countries.
  • Zero restrictions on bandwidth.
  • Use on 10 devices at once.
  • Blocks ads, trackers, and malware.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

Private Internet Access (PIA) lives up to its name, offering solid protection of your sensitive information every time you go online. Super strong encryption and a robust security protocol ensure all your internet activity is completely private and untraceable.

Thanks to a no-logs policy, you’ll know that none of your browsing data (or anything else) won’t be collected on PIA’s server to be sold on or stolen by third parties at a later date.

Further protection to your online safety comes courtesy of the VPN’s built-in malware blocker, MACE, which prevents scammers from infecting your devices with spyware or other malicious programs.

A vast network of servers spans 78 counties and provides high speeds for streaming. Plus, PIA can unblock dozens of streaming services, including:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • HBO Max
  • Disney+
  • Hulu

The whole family can be protected online at once, with 10 simultaneous device connections. Compatibility with your devices won’t be a problem thanks to compatibility with:

  • Mac
  • iOS
  • Windows
  • Android
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Routers
  • Some games consoles

What is a VPN?

A VPN is essentially a secure tunnel between your device and the internet. Everything you do on the internet is done within this encrypted tunnel, which nobody can see into, including scammers and fraudsters.

This ensures that your online activity remains private and secure, meaning that malicious prying eyes can’t get their hands on your sensitive information.

Why Use a VPN?

The internet is a potentially dangerous place. Online scammers are always looking for an opportunity to steal your data or gain access to your device to install malware. Adding a security extension to your browser can help, but if you want complete online protection against scammers, you need a premium VPN.

A VPN keeps your personal information far out of reach of scammers by protecting it behind a wall of unbreakable military-grade encryption. Your data is further protected by additional security features, such as an automatic kill switch, leak-protection, and malware blockers.

But that’s not all a VPN can do. If you’re an avid streamer, you’ll be pleased to know that a VPN can help you access global streaming services and regional libraries that you couldn’t usually, by changing your IP address. 

With a VPN, you can browse, shop, and bank safely online and open up a world of restricted content.

Benefits of a VPN

There are several benefits of a VPN, with the number one benefit being to keep your information safe.

Change Your Digital Location

Connect to a VPN server, and it changes your IP address, the unique number that identifies the location in the world, as well as what content you can access. With a new IP address, you can browse the internet and stream as if you were in the UK, Australia, Japan, France, or any country where the VPN has servers located.

VPNs are useful for more than just keeping you safe online. They can also help you unblock geo-restricted content, such as streaming services and libraries that are only available in other countries. 

Safeguard Your Online Privacy

Masking your IP address with a VPN helps to prevent websites, apps, services, and scammers from tracking you online.

Improve Your Online Security 

Thanks to a strong layer of encryption, a VPN protects you from numerous security breaches, including phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks, and rogue WiFi networks. A VPN also protects you when you’re connected to unsecured public WiFi.

Unblock Restricted Websites and Content

If you live in or are traveling to a country that restricts access to sites like Google, YouTube, news websites, or social media, a VPN allows you to connect to a server in a region where the internet is unrestricted. Not only can you get back access to the free internet, but you can also use a VPN to beat firewalls on office or school networks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there free VPNs?

Yes, there are dozens of free VPNs out there. However, free VPNs are unlikely to be as secure as some generate revenue by selling your data to third parties or by bombarding you with ads. Plus, you may find a VPN doesn’t have the unblocking power to access your favorite global streaming services. Finally, you may find your bandwidth to be severely restricted with a free VPN, limiting you to just a few hours of streaming.

So, if you do decide to go with a free VPN, make sure you do your research first. It’s also worth mentioning that many premium VPNs, including those on this list, offer free trials or money-back guarantees, so you can try them out before committing.

Can I use a VPN on my mobile devices?

Absolutely! All of the VPNs on our list have excellent mobile apps so that you can protect all your gadgets at home and on the go. The top VPNs also allow you to connect multiple devices at once so you can secure your online activity on all your devices at the same time.

When should I use a VPN?

Ideally, you should use a VPN every time you go online. That way, everything you do online will be protected by military-grade encryption. You can browse the internet, shop online, and stream content without worrying if scammers are tracking you or intercepting your account details or login credentials.

A VPN runs in the background, so it won't get in the way while you use other apps, play games, or stream your favorite shows, so there is no reason not to use one all the time. But, there are some situations where a VPN is beneficial:

  • While streaming to unblock streaming services around the world without your internet service provider limiting your speeds.
  • When traveling to access your local internet services, even if you’re on the other side of the world.
  • While connected to public WiFi to protect your private information when you’re browsing on unsecured networks.
  • During gaming to unlock maps and other add-ons from around the world and reduce lag.

How do I choose a VPN?

All of the VPNs on our list are great choices; they all meet several important criteria, including:

  • Robust encryption to prevent scammers from stealing your personal information
  • A worldwide network of servers to access global streaming content and beat censorship blocks
  • High-speed servers to prevent buffering when streaming and lagging when gaming.
  • A simple interface for ease of use
  • Widespread device compatibility so you can protect your internet connection on all of your gadgets.
  • Good customer service to quickly resolve any issue you have

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