Top 5 VPN providers – A comprehensive comparison [2019]

Top 5 VPN providers - A comprehensive comparison

What is a VPN and why do you need one?

A VPN aka ‘virtual private network’ allows you as the user to browse the internet through a secure connection. A VPN is a form of a shield for your device when browsing, streaming, buying online.

The VPN can be setup for different geographical location as well, if you country of location has certain restrictions. A VPN also allow you to have a non-tracked and non-logged browsing experience where it’s not possible to track and view your online activity with cookies, Facebook data etc.

These are just some of the most known and popular features of using a VPN. Everybody would be able to use a VPN and they are often really easy to setup. You’ll pick the provider you want, setup an account and download the app (if on mobile devices) or just access their webpage where you can toggle between the different VPN settings. 🌍

This doesn’t require any technical know-how or experience and you can be up and running within 5 minutes even if you didn’t know anything about a VPN before you started reading this article.

The concept behind a VPN is that it allows your computer, smartphone or tablet to browser through a “virtual private network” which is then the VPN providers server which is then encrypted and locked.

CyberGhost VPN Cyber Ghost review and comparison

Pro’s of using a VPN

  • Bypass geographic restrictions on websites or streaming audio and video.
  • Watch streaming media like Netflix and Hulu (with full privacy)
  • Protect yourself from snooping on untrustworthy Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Gain anonymity online by hiding your true location and IP address
  • Block ads
  • Bypass censorship
  • Protect yourself from being logged while torrenting.

Con’s of using a VPN

  • The good VPN’s aren’t free of use

Why use a VPN when streaming movies?

When streaming movies and TV show etc. online you might run into a few issues. Depending on where you are streaming from you can have som geo-restrictions from the government which then doesn’t let you access certain websites from certain locations.

You might also get tracked and logged while streaming, so it’s possible for the owner of the site to see and view your activity, however when using a VPN it’s always private.

And one of the most important parts, if you are streaming movies online, some websites aren’t 100% secure and might contain spammy or harmful malware which they can inflict your device with when streaming or downloading their “free” movies or TV shows.

However one of the pro’s of using a VPN is also that it’s much more safe and secure because you browse through the shield of the VPN server.

Out of 30 VPN’s tested, below is the 5 absolutely best VPN products (NordVPN, Surfshark, ExpressVPN, Perfect Privacy & Cyber Ghost)

How much does a VPN cost?

Surfshark VPN

This depends on what kind of quality you expect from the VPN provider, what kind of speed you want for your connection as well server quality as well as payment plans. A lot of VPN providers offer huge discounts when buying their 1 or 3 yearly plans instead of monthly.

However a VPN typical ranges from anywhere from $4.99 to $14.99 a month (if paid monthly). Because of this we have done a comprehensive research to find the best, fastest and cheapest VPN services on the market, which you can find later in this post.

Which devices will a VPN work on?

Most common VPN services works on all devices, both android, iPhone, all kind of tablets as well as Mac and PC. No matter which devices you have the setup process is usually very simple and straight forward, so don’t worry about this part. 💻📱

Is it legal to use a VPN?

Yes, it’s 100% legal.

Top 5 VPN services

When we’re comparing the 5 best VPN providers (5 out of 30 tested) we have measured the following factors as the most important for our comparison of this test:

  • Download speed
  • Privacy and security features/flaws
  • Jurisdiction and logging policy
  • Torrenting and Netflix/ Hulu/ SolarMovies availability
  • Usability and support
  • Cost – Value/for money

In our review process we have bought and tried 30 different VPN services, ran them on both mac and windows as well as android and iPhone to get a full overview of the metrics mentioned above, and to give you the best possible review.

Below is the list of our top 5 VPN providers (NordVPN, Surfshark, ExpressVPN, Perfect Privacy & Cyber Ghost)

NordVPN

NordVPN website and company

NordVPN is among one of the most popular VPN providers, and in this post I’ll go more in-depth everything you need to know about NordVPN, their encryption, features, pricing, speed and much more.

They have a large server network with 5000+ servers using OpenVPN protocol and AES-256bit encryption (double data protection) which however is the industry standard.

Good features of NordVPN:

  • IP Hiding
  • Torrenting /P2P allowed
  • No-logs policy
  • Ad blocker
  • 5000+ servers in more than 60 countries
  • Smart play which allows you to get access to more than 400 geo-stricted streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, BBC etc.
  • Double data protection

Speed & Connectivity

Very fast connection. This is one of the things we really care about and where you can have a lot of difference between VPN providers. Without mentioning names we tested one free VPN provider with wifi connection on a mac normally running 100 mbps, but with VPN only 35 mpbs. Thats a loss of almost 70%, that’s insane.

However though, with NordVPN (yes we know it’s a paid option) you get really really solid speed with only 5-10% loss depending on your device and connection type.

Features & Safety Encryption

NordVPN

NordVPN features double data protection, which is basically a double encryption technology to keep your connection extremely safe. This feature means that no-one gets access to your data, not even NordVPN, and you will browse/stream through NordVPN’s ip address so you are basically “unknown” to everybody else online.

It’s generally a very secure connection and as far as we have tried, got no problems or issues what so ever with the encryption and safety.

As well as encryption NordVPN also features no-logging policy which means they don’t even log your data. Not that you should be worried about if they did, it’s just a nice bonus that they don’t even keep your data if you decide not to be a customer at NordVPN one day.

Customer service & Reliability

NordVPN

Well we haven’t had any real complaints so we haven’t really used the customer services, besides just trying their live-chat for the sake of trying. They seem very nice and helpful and without a long boring queue to wait for.

The connection is super reliable on all platforms we have tried (both Android, Iphone, Mac & PC) without any problems. Overall hassle free experience.

Remember they have 24/7 support, which is pretty handy.

Ease of use & User experience

NordVPN

I think a lot of the VPN services are somewhat same for this approach since a lot of their apps and interfaces looks like each other. Either way, NordVPN ain’t bad at all. Just a very normal clean looking user interface with all the basic functions you need.

Nothing special here, I would say a lot of the providers are generally good at this, even though the design often looks a little too similar, but that doesn’t matter.

Pricing & value for money

nordvpn pricing

Well NordVPN isn’t free, but their service is definitely worth the money. Depending on the plan you like you’ll be paying between 2.62$ and 10.50$ a month as shown below.

I think it’s a good value for money VPN service and you can pay with both credit card, crypto, Amazon pay so shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.

Refund policy

NordVPN have a 30 days money-back guarantee so you are safe with trying out NordVPN yourself. If you don’t like, you can get a full 100% refund within the first 30 days. I think this should be the standard for any VPN providers since there are so many horrible solutions out there in the market.

Even though 30 days is nice to have, but you would probably not use it because NordNPV is actually pretty good. Try it out yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

So did NordVPN work with Netflix? As many of you might know already, Netflix has blocked many proxies and therefore a lot of VPN solutions doesn’t work for Netflix particular. However NordVPN does seem to work with Netflix at least for US, UK, Canada, France, Japan and Brazil because of their Smart Play technology.

Surfshark
Surfshark VPN review

Surfshark is another very popular VPN provider which we of course have covered in our comparison review as well. This VPN is also very popular by our team and is very easy to use. Beginners of VPN can be up and running in a few minutes.

Good features of Surfshark:

  • Connect unlimited devices simultaneously
  • No-logs policy
  • IKEv2/IPsec protocols
  • AES-256-GCM encryption
  • Very easy to use
  • Incredible secure connection
  • P2P & Torrenting allowed
  • Livechat 24/7 support

Speed & Connectivity

Surfshark VPN reviewThe overall experience with Surfshark is great speed but somewhat inconsistent. Because speed is an important factor for VPN use, it’s important to get accurate measurements of the speed.

Overall depending on the server you choose you can expect to lose anywhere from 10%-45% depending on your connection and server choice both for upload and download.

Tip: Remember when you chose a server with your VPN, the longer away you physical are from the location the more speed you lose.

So all in all when we tested Japan/US we lost about 45% but considering the range the speed is actually pretty decent.

So the speed was overall fast, but inconsistent which means suddenly drops of up to 45% in speed.

Features & Safety Encryption

A series of VPN providers simply fail when it comes to unlocking geo-fences and actually hiding your IP and secure your connection.

This isn’t the case with Surfshark, where we tested 8 different locations for Netflix, Hulu (Brazil, US, UK, France, Canada, South Korea, Russia & Hong Kong) where we got 8/8 unlocked with high speed connection.

Another reason why we like Surfshark is that it’s also have no-logs policy which is great.

Surfshark VPN review

This means that Surfshark only collect absolutely minimum information about their users, and from their own policy page they claim that they only collect the following:

  • An email address for account management.
  • Billing information.
  • Diagnostics such as crash reports.

This is really good comparing to cheaper or even free VPN products where everything get logged and tracked. Which essentially means you get no privacy and the company can view and collect everything from your VPN session.

Customer service & Reliability

Surfshark also offers 24/7 support and they are quick to reply. Another good experience when it comes to customer service. There isn’t much more to tell about this.

Regarding reliability Surfshark got good connection and we did not see any disconnections or issues regarding connectivity while torrenting, streaming or just casual browsing.

Ease of use & User experience

The best thing about Surfshark overall all is probably their user-friendly interface and setup. It’s so easy to use that absolutely no guidance is needed. It’s just plug and play. The other VPN’s on this list is definitely also good when it comes to user experience, this is just our favourite regarding ease of use.

Pricing & value for money

Surfshark VPNThis is Surfshark’s own pricing table, which gives you a overview of their pricing.

Remember this does not take into account different discounts and promotion campaigns that each VPN company offers. However Surfshark is one of the cheapest available in our review as well, which then means they are good value for money as well.

In order to lock in at 1.99$ a month you’ll need to buy 24 months instead of 1 or 12 months. As you can see below in, if you pay monthly you’ll have to pay 11.95$.

Surfshark VPN review

Not the fastest in our test, but still rich on features and overall a good choice of VPN.

Refund policy

Surfshark also offers 30 days money-back guarantee which is pretty much standard in our test. Most of higher quality VPN offer this.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN was one of the best products when it comes to privacy and security. Another great overall VPN service but had some strengths of good encryption, kill switch, lots of servers and a lot of privacy options and settings.

Good features of ExpressVPN:

  • Fast speed
  • No logs policy
  • Torrenting & P2P allowed
  • 3000 + servers
  • Easy to use
  • OpenVPN, IPSec & IKEv2 encryption

Speed & Connectivity

With ExpressVPN you can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously with unlimited bandwith. Yes unlimited. So no matter how fast connection you can get on your Wifi ExpressVPN can follow up on that.

ExpressVPN can connect on any device such as iOS, Android, Mac, SmartTV, Apple TV, PC and Linux.

We did the same speed test for ExpressVPN as the other VPN’s and ExpressVPN is also pretty fast.

ExpressVPN-download-and-upload-speed

This was our baseline for the test, and depending on the location, Wifi and computer you could expect to se 10-40% drop in speed. I know 40% sounds like a lot, but  if the server is 5000+ miles away and you get all kinds of encryption on the go, you will simply just lose speed.

Many free VPN’s can lose up to 90% of their original speed, because of poor hardware and software connectivity, so ExpressVPN is just fine.

Features & Safety Encryption

ExpressVPN service - Review and comparison

ExpressVPN also got all the standard features of many VPN providers, but do focus more on the privacy and security part of your experience. You will still get AES-256 encryption like the other in this test (awesome by the way), but you’ll also get no-logs where nothing from your browsing or streaming experience will be logged.

You will get kill switch, VPN split and much more! While testing ExpressVPN these stuff aren’t something you can experience “up front” because it’s happening behind the scenes but it’s still very valuable and therefore one of the best recommended VPN providers in our test.

VPN tunneling protocols are the method that your device uses to connect to a VPN server. While most users will only need the default (and most secure) “OpenVPN”, ExpressVPN also supports SSTP, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP protocols.

If you are extremely concerned about your personal security, ExpressVPN allows you to combine the TOR networks on top of your existing VPN in order to maximize your privacy and all but eliminate vulnerabilities in your data’s security.

With ExpressVPN you can still download torrents, unlock geo-fences to watch or stream any movie or TV series from anywhere in the world, with an extremely secure connection.

Customer service & Reliability

Once again an awesome VPN service with 24/7 customer support at ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN offers their “support center” where you get acces to live-chat, e-mail support, troubleshooting guides and more. We often found the live-chat to be most helpful if you need a clear answer immediately.

Reliability is once again one of top services. We couldn’t find any issues with our streaming and browsing sessions, so this is also a “passed test”.

Ease of use & User experience

Easy to use app, but not as visually appealing and smooth as some of the other ones in the test. If you need help to setup the VPN on any device they have a full A-Z instructions guide from their “support center” page where you can find much more informations.

The overall experience was mediocre, not bad but also not perfect.

Pricing & value for money

ExpressVPN service - Review and comparison

This is not one of the cheapest solution, but you will also get more premium security and really amazing overall hardware for the connection. Really stable and hassle-free experience. The value to money ration isn’t bad compared to all features either, but you will just pay more to get some the premium security.

Refund policy

ExpressVPN offers 30 days money-back guarantee so you can try it out yourself with no risk at all.

ExpressVPN also offers a variety of different payment options such as Paypal, all kinds of credit card and bitcoin, so you should be covered.

PerfectPrivacy

Perfect Privacy VPN provider - comparison reviewPerfect Privacy is a less known, but still very powerful VPN service. The name is easy to remember and they are a little bit underrated in our opinion.

Perfect Privacy VPN was launched back in 2014 and has since then been popular VPN provider, here is why…

Good features of Perfect Privacy:

  • No-logs policy
  • Torrenting & P2P allowed
  • Kill switch
  • Netflix, Hulu and more works
  • Unlimited devices
  • Up to 1000 mpbs bandwith

Speed & Connectivity

For our whole test we had a strong and reliable connection through Perfect Privacy’s servers and App, both on computer and smartphone. The speed is average compared to the other providers tested in this comparison review.

On average you can expect to see a drop of 20-45% in speed depending on your device, connection type, signal and of course, choice of servers and range. Perfect Privacy ins’t the fastest nor the slowest but the speed seem somewhat stable in the whole testing period.

Perfect Privacy - review

Features & Safety Encryption

Perfect Privacy starts strong, offering the OpenVPN protocol, along with IPSec and SSH, plus SOCKS5 and PPTP proxies.

Torrenting is allowed but limited because you’ll have to choice the premium servers only (the most expensive ones). Perfect Privacy has a few less servers and networks compared to some of the other ones available, but their hardware and software is still solid.

You can connect a lot of different devices, as shown below is connected a PC (windows) but it’s also compatible with iOS, Android and of course MacOS.

Perfect Privacy - review

It’s easy to use and setup, and also features a no-logs policy which means that Perfect Privacy logs nothing but a few informations like name, address and e-mail. They can’t view any of your sessions through their servers, get access to your session or computer or anything else. It’s Perfect Privacy with no-logs policy.
Perfect Privacy - reviewHere we tested for vira (virus in plural) and the connection is therefore a safe to use, no problem once again.

Customer service & Reliability

The customer service was overall good.

They have a decent FAQ page to help with some of the most common questions, but we would like to see a live-chat at least 24/5. As for now you can either get e-mail support, use the manual, FAQ or their Perfect Privacy forum which is actually more helpful than it sounds.

Their service and reliability felt overall good, with a good level of expertise, however they can’t still get a top-score in points because they miss the live-chat.

Ease of use & User experience

Perfect Privacy is easy to use. Their app isn’t as modern looking as some of the other ones available from the top tier in this test. However it’s still good and gets the job done.

Our user experience using Perfect Privacy in general was good and smooth with no bugs or issues. Always nice to have a virus-free, no-logs policy, solid encryption VPN service. A lot of free VPN’s lacks a lot in these areas.

However some servers didn’t seem to get trough all geo-fences with Netflix for example only available in certain regions.

Pricing & value for money

Perfect Privacy VPN provider - comparison review Perfect Privacy’s pricing is somewhat in medium-high in pricing. They don’t offer quite a big of discounts when buying annual plans, however you can still save 31% if you decide to go for 2 years billing.

The value for money compared to the strong connection and good hardware is Ok. If cost is really important for you, you will still be happy if you go for some of the cheaper alternatives in this test, since this is the top 5 best VPN’s out of 30 VPN’s products we tested.

Refund policy

Perfect Privacy offers a 7 day money-back guarantee. Not as strong as 30 days like some of the others, but you can still get a risk-free experience with the software and try it out.

CyberGhost

CyberGhost VPN Cyber Ghost review and comparison

CyberGhost VPN is another big VPN provider with now more than 30 million users worldwide. That’s a lot of private browsing.

Good features of CyberGhost:

  • Good value for money
  • AES 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN + IPSec
  • No-logs policy
  • Torrenting allowed
  • Hide IP + Kill Switch feature
  • About 4000 servers

Speed & Connectivity

You can connect up to 7 devices simultaneously with CyberGhost. The setup of their VPN is just as easy as it looks. It’s plug and play, and 1 minute after signing up, you will have instant access to their VPN servers.

You can connect to any device such as iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, Linux, Amazon Firestick and more.

The speed is fast and somewhat close to NordVPN and Express VPN with a loss of only 10-35% in speed again depending on location, connection type, range and server of choice.CyberGhost VPN Cyber Ghost review and comparison

 

When connecting to a server, it’s just click on a desired one (if you don’t want to use the automatic selection) and click on the “power” button and that’s it. You’ll be connected the CyberGhost’s encrypted servers.

CyberGhost VPN Cyber Ghost review and comparison

Features & Safety Encryption

CyberGhost also offers no-logs privacy so you are also 100% covered when it comes to privacy and information leaking. Nothing is stored, saved or used by anyone.

CyberGhost offers a lot of features when it comes to encryption, protection (from malware, virus and hacking) and privacy, so this is definitely a good choice if this is a priority of yours.

CyberGhost VPN Cyber Ghost review and comparison

Maybe NordVPN is faster, but this is even more secure and you will have some of the strongest servers available.

Your ID-address will be hidden, you can browser anonymously while sitting on a public un-secure Wifi-spot or what-ever you like. Both on your phone, tablet, smartTV and computer, you’ll be covered.

Customer service & Reliability

Customer service is often lacking with free, cheaper or in general lower quality VPN products, and CyberGhost was once one of them.

However in recent years they have updated their customer service quite significant (which they definitely needed) and now features both live-chat (a quality one, not one of the slow and useless ones) as well as a huge library of guides and troubleshooting.

CyberGhost VPN Cyber Ghost review and comparison

CyberGhost VPN Cyber Ghost review and comparison

This is just a small screenshot to show what their guides page looks like, and it’s more in-depth than a lot of the competition and has way more than what is shown above, along with FAQ etc.

Ease of use & User experience

The user experience is good and solid overall. Nothing over-the-top amazing, but nothing bad to say either. Just a hassle-free and great experience with the setup, software use, great and easy to understand and works perfectly on both mobile and laptop devices.

Great solution with no bugs or flaws at all.

Pricing & value for money

CyberGhost VPN Cyber Ghost review and comparison

Their pricing structure looks a lot like NordVPN and have similar discounts available, while if you lock in at 3 years annual plan you can get it the VPN for 2.75$ a month. If you pay monthly you’ll pay 12.99 $ quite similar to the other tested VPN products.

The overall money for value is great. CyberGhost aren’t the cheapest nor the most expensive but they have a really solid and well tested product that is extremely secure and offer good speeds and overall a good user experience. Definitely worth the money.

Refund policy

CyberGhost actually providers a stunning 45 days money-back guarantee of their service. Is 1 1/2 months of risk-free VPN streaming, downloading and browsing right there.

This is a good sign, since this means they must be quite sure that their users like it, otherwise they would just cancel within 45 days of using the VPN.

What about FREE VPN’s then?

Yes there are free VPN solutions available but there is a reason why they are “free”. They provide no support, poor connectivy, often not even a secure connection and they monitor and track all your data (which is the directly opposite you want with a VPN) to sell the data to third party companies and partners. This is the actual way the “free” VPN providers make money.

Therefore we don’t recommend these services since the whole idea of having a VPN falls to the ground and doesn’t actually solve the problem that the VPN is supposed to do. We totally think it’s worth 3-4-5$ a month (unless you just go for annual plans and then pay 2-5$ a month in total) to actually get a REAL working VPN service with good support, NO tracking og logging, secure and FAST connection.

View this example from FTC Complaint and Betternet. Pretty scary right?..

VPN Scam

Conclusion

Well, no matter which of the 5 above VPN companies you decide to go for, I’ll promise you that you will be 100% satisfied with your experience. Our team have hand picked these 5 VPN providers, after scanning, testing and researching the whole market for VPN services.

This whole process takes a lot of time and effort in order to actually make the review, it have been totally worth it. I’ve tried to be as honest as possible in this post, and there are many horrible and almost useless VPN services (won’t mention specific names here), but I will spare your time to read about those.

Both NordVPN,  ExpressVPN, SurfShark, Perfect Privacy and CyberGhost will give you the most performance, features and security for the least amount of money. This is the best you can get, and with fair value for money rating.

Overall all these 5 VPN options will fit your needs, have a try yourself and see which one fits your needs the best.

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
NordVPN, SurfShark, ExpressVPN, Perfect Privacy & CyberGhost
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

3 thoughts on “Top 5 VPN providers – A comprehensive comparison [2019]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *