2023 Comparison of Popular VPNs: What is the best VPN?

A comprehensive guide and factors to consider in choosing the best VPN

VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are critical to protecting your online activity and personal data

VPNs shield your sensitive data from prying eyes, including Internet Service Providers and third-party businesses. They ensure the protection of your private information and enable unrestricted access to blocked content by masking your IP address, thus safeguarding your online activities. Whether you need a Wi-Fi hotspot shield, encryption for private data, or safe access to streaming media, a VPN can deliver security, privacy, and reliability to online experiences. 

While VPNs are now universally accepted as vital to protecting the safety and security of online activity, not all VPNs are created equally. There’s many competing VPNs available for purchase, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. We take choosing the right provider very seriously, and have some tips on how to decide which VPN service is right for you.

Factors to consider when choosing a VPN

What makes for an effective VPN? When choosing your VPN it’s important to consider the following factors:

Security and Anonymity: VPNs require strong encryption protocols and should have a no-logging (recording) policy to protect the privacy of your online activity. Server Network: Access to high-speed servers around the globe ensures your Internet traffic can always be safely and quickly routed. Connecting to one closest to where you live will make the connections through it faster. Speed: Servers and service should be speedy and reliable so streaming and downloading is too. We crave uninterrupted entertainment and information at our fingertips, without the annoyance of buffering interruptions.
Access to Content: The best VPNs allow users to skip arbitrary restrictions and unfair governmental censorship, so content can be consumed without limitations.Connections: A great VPN allows users to connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously, for maximum protection.Independent Verification: VPNs should be independently verified to ensure commitments to privacy, security, and efficiency are upheld. It’s also important to consider the reviews on reputable sites like TrustPilot, TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, VPN Monitor, Forbes, and Comparitech. 
Pricing: The right VPN fits your budget. Look for VPNs with crystal clear pricing structures and a variety of price ranges to suit different needs.User-Friendliness: How easy is it to set up and use the VPN? Simplicity is the name of the game here. Consider a provider that has it mapped out for easy setup, regardless of you device type.Beyond the Basics: Other factors to consider when choosing a VPN include the option to pursue a free trial, a money back guarantee, customer support, and any unique or noteworthy features that contribute to your specific security, privacy, and reliability needs.

The pros and cons of popular VPNs

There’s a wide variety of VPNs available. Some of the most popular options include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, Proton VPN, and IPVanish. Each VPN comes with their own benefits and drawbacks.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a VPN service offered by the British Virgin Islands-registered company Express Technologies Ltd.

Benefits of ExpressVPN

One of the most well-known VPNs, ExpressVPN is lauded for its speed around the world. (Although the popularity of the VPN can lead to problems during peak use periods.) ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee (but no free trial period) and standard VPN benefits like masking IP addresses and encrypting Internet traffic.

Drawbacks of ExpressVPN

Despite its position as the “popular” VPN service, ExpressVPN lacks standard important security features like ad-blocking, malware and ransomware protection, while still being on the pricier side for VPN services. Additionally, in 2021 an ExpressVPN exec (and 2 others) were fined $1.6 million USD by the U.S. Department of Justice for serving as mercenary hackers for the UAE, as part of Project Raven. The loss of trust was swift, and general unease lingers amongst U.S. consumers – something we wouldn’t recommend overlooking.

NordVPN

NordVPN is a cloud-based VPN service provided by company Nordsec Ltd with applications for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Android TV. 

Benefits of NordVPN

Known to be quick, thanks to a connection speed of 6730+ Mbps and thousands of servers in 60 countries, NordVPN delivers on the need for speed. However, it’s important to note that some users complain about torrent speed and the speed in certain countries. Security alerts include dark web compromises.

Drawbacks of NordVPN

As a cloud-based product, NordVPN is more susceptible to data breaches and cybersecurity attacks, thanks to common cloud misconfiguration errors. Additionally, the OpenVPN Configuration is notoriously unfriendly to users, making the setup and use of this VPN much more difficult than it needs to be. Additionally, NordVPN also only allows for connection to six devices – making it a poor fit for users looking to connect all their devices.

Surfshark

Surfshark is a brand of VPN services including data leak detection, private search, antivirus, and personal data removal tools, offered by a Netherlands-based company.

Benefits of Surfshark

Surfshark fans like the large amount of servers the company runs, which enables a quick download and connection speed. Forbes also praised the ease of the split tunneling feature, which allows users to white-list specific websites that prevent access with a VPN. 

Drawbacks of Surfshark

Their month-to-month pricing plan is more expensive than competitors. In a similar vein, in order to get common (and critical) VPN services like antivirus protection and security notifications, users must pay an additional amount, plus tax, on top of their standard monthly subscription fee. 

Proton VPN

Proton VPN is a high-speed Swiss VPN.

Benefits of Proton VPN

The biggest benefit of Proton VPN is its price point. ProtonVPN is free, unless you upgrade for more features to their Plus plan of Proton VPN. A free account gets you VPN connection on 1 device in 3 countries. Swiss law also dictates a no-logs policy, which is a huge benefit. 

Drawbacks of Proton VPN

ProtonVPN is decried for slower speed, thanks to the limited number of servers in a limited number of countries. With offering only 1 connection for 1 device, the protection of Proton VPN is also quite limiting for individuals and organizations that require protection for multiple devices.

IPVanish

IPVanish is a U.S. based VPN service known for a focus on security, privacy, and safety that provides users the ultimate protection during online activity.

Benefits of IPVanish

With lightweight and advanced VPN protocols, unlimited bandwidth, and a global network of servers, IPVanish delivers on lightning fast, high-speed performance, as noted by tom’s guide. Other notable qualities include advanced encryption to protect your online identity and help prevent ISPs, advertisers, and cybercriminals from monitoring online activity and collecting personal data. Pricing is also very reasonable (with special promotions available) and there’s unmetered VPN connections for devices.

Drawbacks of IPVanish

IPVanish is often overlooked in favor of its more popular competitors.

What’s the best VPN?

Overall, the best VPN available is IPVanish, thanks to its advanced encryption, safe remote access, enhanced features that protect online anonymity (and your personal data), as well as the unmetered connections, which allow for the protection of as many devices as needed.

Why No-IP joined forces with IPVanish

At No-IP, we aim to provide our customers with the absolute best tools to enhance your online privacy. That’s why we’ve partnered with IPVanish, a leading VPN provider known for its commitment to security and privacy. IPVanish is our preferred VPN provider because of their dedication to meet the same standards that No-IP prides itself to uphold.

Massive Global Server Network

IPVanish provides access to over 2,000 high-speed servers in 75+ global locations, which means Internet traffic is always routed securely. With our over 100 points of presence, we take reliable infrastructure seriously.

Unrestricted Access

IPVanish offers users the freedom to access the content you desire without limitations, whether it’s streaming shows or visiting websites unfairly blocked in your region.

Independent Verification

IPVanish has undergone rigorous independent verification to uphold its commitment against logging. Glowing reviews for IPVanish’s security, reliability, and ease of use abound on top tech review websites like tom’s guide and TrustPilot.

Level up your online privacy with IPVanish

If you’re ready to protect your online activity and identity, it’s time to get started with IPVanish

For a limited time, sign up today and secure two years of IPVanish for just $2.49 per month as a valued No-IP customer. 

Together, we’re offering you an opportunity to take control of your online identity and enjoy unparalleled protection. Don’t hesitate – take advantage of this opportunity today and unlock a safer, more secure online experience.