Best Personal VPN

A VPN (or Virtual Private Network) is a piece of software that is designed to ensure your online activities remain private and anonymous. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic and allows you to mask your real location. This means that by installing the best personal VPN service, you are ensuring that your desktop PC, laptop, mobile, and even gaming console, are protected online.

Many users download a personal VPN for privacy reasons. You may want to make sure that all of your internet activities are protected from hackers, spies, and cybercriminals. Or you might want to ensure that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or government does not know what you are up to online.

Also, because the best personal VPN services enable you to change your IP address to one in an entirely alternate location, you can enjoy a range of additional benefits. VPNs are great for streaming fans who want to gain access to a host of geo-restricted television shows and movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. Also, when you are abroad and notice that your favorite app or website is banned, a personal VPN will allow you to continue to use the internet as if you were at home.

There is an extensive array of personal VPNs available on the market and it can be difficult to choose the best personal VPN for you. However, we have done the hard work for you and have compiled a list of the best personal VPN services for 2021.

Table of content

What is a Personal VPN?

A personal Virtual Private Network is a means of protecting your online anonymity and increasing your freedom on the internet. It works by passing your private internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel of VPN servers, masking your real IP address and location.

This means that it appears as if your internet activity is originating in the location of the VPN server, instead of your actual geographical location, so that no one, including your Internet Provider, can link your online activity to you. Your device is tricked into believing it is in a different location, enabling you to gain access to geo-restricted content on streaming sites, websites, and apps.

By installing and using a VPN server, you are making sure that your mobile phone, desktop computer, laptop, and tablet are secure when connected to the internet. Many users choose to install a personal VPN for internet privacy and security reasons. Whether you are worried about your online safety and fear threats such as identity theft, or you simply want to regain your freedom on the internet, we would recommend using a VPN.

Many ISPs even store and sell private user data to third parties for profit. By downloading a VPN service, you will keep your private information hidden from your ISP, the government, or any other third party that may be trying to access it.

Virtual Private Networks also offer a range of additional benefits. When you use a VPN, your web traffic appears as if it is originating in an alternate location and your real IP address is masked by that of the VPN server. Therefore, many users download VPN services for the purpose of IP address “spoofing” to gain access to a host of geo-restricted television shows and movies across the world.

Whether you travel frequently, or you simply want more streaming choices, a VPN will enable you to watch a host of additional streaming libraries on sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, and more.

How to Choose the Best Personal VPN service

In recent years, the VPN market has expanded significantly and there is an overwhelming array of VPN services to choose from, making it difficult to choose the best personal VPN service for you.

Many malicious VPN services even profit from internet security concerns, making it difficult to identify those that are reliable and secure. It is thus necessary to remain cautious when choosing a VPN provider. Premium, trustworthy VPN providers will offer a clear no-logging policy, security audits, and transparency reports.

When it comes to user experience and functionality, the best way to find out whether a VPN service is right for you is to test it out. In this way, you will be able to see whether the VPN offers all of the features you require and provides access to your favorite streaming sites. We would recommend utilizing a free trial period or a refund guarantee to test the VPN product, server speeds, and user experience before you commit to a paid subscription plan.

When choosing a VPN, look for an extensive server network in a decent range of locations, a good privacy policy, and a range of additional features such as a kill-switch and split tunneling.

It is usually a good idea to choose a provider that offers a free trial period or opt for a shorter-term subscription plan of a few weeks to a month, to begin with, to make sure that you are satisfied with the service provided. Even though you may receive a discount if you commit to a longer period, you are putting more money at risk if you decide later on that the service is not right for you.

protect yourself on public wi-fi

The Best Personal VPNs for 2021

Here are some of the best personal VPNs on the market in 2021.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is arguably the best VPN provider on the market thanks to its fast connection speeds, smart security features, and excellent user experience. Plus, you can try it risk-free for 30-days.

ExpressVPN is another one of the VPN companies that are consistently at the top of the best VPN lists. The VPN offers an impressive server network across 160 countries and protection for up to 5 devices simultaneously. It is easy to use and compatible with most devices and operating systems including Windows computer, macOS, iPhone, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Roku, Amazon Fire, smart TVs, Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox, and router.

The VPN connection operates on AES-256 bit encrypted and a range of advanced protocols including IKEv2, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec ensuring complete online security. ExpressVPN utilizes cryptographic key technology that encrypts and decrypts data with a unique key for every server. There is also Perfect Forward Secrecy technology which alters the encryption key every time you connect to the VPN, meaning that your previous sessions cannot be linked to your current one.

The personal VPN app is a great option for streaming fans thanks to its wide range of server locations and unblocking capabilities. It is successful at accessing content on streaming services and websites including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Disney+. The provider also allows P2P sharing.

If you need assistance while using the VPN client there is a range of comprehensive user guides available on the support page of its website as well as 24/7 live chat support. ExpressVPN also offers a 30-day refund guarantee, enabling you to test the product on your device or operating system before you commit to a paid subscription plan.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is another popular VPN service that offers a client that is packed with useful features, enables access to a host of streaming sites, and comes with an independently audited no-logs policy for additional peace of mind. It is an impressive VPN product that offers great value if you are happy to commit to a longer-term plan.

NordVPN offers one of the best online privacy services on the market in 2021. The company is consistently investing and improving its VPN product and has recently launched its proprietary protocol, NordLynx. This protocol ensures that the provider’s server speeds are faster and more reliable than ever before, even on long-distance server connections.

The VPN also operates on secure OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols. We would recommend utilizing OpenVPN when it comes to security, while IKEv2 offers optimal VPN speeds for streaming and gaming. It also utilizes military-grade AES-256 bit encryption as standard.

The VPN company also provides the option to activate its DoubleVPN feature, which encrypts your internet data twice rather than just once by rerouting it through two different servers. The second server will not be connected to your actual IP address, offering an additional layer of online privacy protection in the case that your VPN server connection fails or any data is leaked. However, this may come at the cost of reduced connection speeds as your data traffic is running through two VPN servers instead of just one.

If you require even more security, NordVPN offers an Onion over VPN feature which is also known as Tor over VPN. This operates in a similar way to the DoubleVPN software but provides multiple server layers to ensure your real IP location is hidden. It may also enable access to a greater number of blocked websites. There is a reliable kill-switch too, to protect your data in case your VPN server connection fails, as well as complete DNS and WebRTC leak protection.

NordVPN is based in Panama, a country that is free of strict data retention laws, meaning that the company is not obligated to store user information. The provider offers a strict no-logging policy which is audited annually by independent security company PricewaterhouseCooper. This level of security and transparency is rarely seen in VPN services and is the reason we would recommend NordvPN if online privacy is important to you.

The VPN company offers an eye-watering number of over 5000 servers across 60 countries, meaning that you will never be stuck for choice when it comes to VPN server connections. Thanks to its impressive server network, the VPN is also one of the best if you want to access the geo-restricted content on streaming sites such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video, which it unblocks with ease.

There is protection for up to 6 devices simultaneously and the product is compatible with Android, macOS, Windows, iPhone, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and more. NordVPN also offers excellent customer service with a live-chat support feature in case you run into issues while using the service. There is a 30-day refund guarantee too for additional peace of mind.

3. Surfshark VPN

If you are looking for a more affordable personal VPN, Surfshark is one of the best options on the market in 2021. For just $2.50 a month you can enjoy a premium VPN service on all of your devices thanks to its policy of unlimited simultaneous connections.

Surfshark is unrivaled when it comes to affordability thanks to its low monthly cost and generous offer of unlimited simultaneous connections. The service is compatible with Windows, macOS, iPhone, Android, and Linux.

Despite its low price, Surfshark does not cut corners when it comes to security technology. The VPN utilizes Wireguard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 protocols, as well as industry-standard AES-256 bit encryption to protect all of your online activities. There are private DNS technology and Double VPN connections too.

If you are worried about viruses and malware, Surfshark offers a built-in ad-blocker and anti-malware feature, CleanWeb. There is a reliable kill-switch too, to ensure your private data is secured even if the VPN server connection drops. A kill switch cuts the transfer of data if the connection is lost so that no unencrypted data or your real IP address is exposed. This is a feature that we like to see in every VPN app.

Surfshark also offers a transparent, although unaudited no logs policy. This states that the company does not store internet browsing history, activity data, or IP addresses. It appears that the only information that is stored is account and billing details, which is standard.

The service is also successful at accessing geo-restricted content on streaming sites including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube, meaning that you can watch your favorite content no matter your location, whether you are at home or abroad.

Surfshark offers a 30-day refund guarantee, allowing you to test the product risk-free before you commit to a paid subscription plan.


4. Hotspot Shield VPN

Hotspot Shield is an excellent VPN service that has significantly improved its product in recent years.

HotspotShield enables access to a decent network of over 1800 servers across 80 countries. Its super-fast connection speeds make it an excellent choice for streaming, gaming, and torrenting. The provider offers support for 5 simultaneous connections and the service is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, and routers.

There is, however, room for improvement when it comes to the provider’s privacy policy. Hotspot Shield admits to logging a limited amount of user data including VPN session information, bandwidth used, domains accessed, and IP addresses. Although this information is encrypted and deleted at the end of every session, we would like to see an independent audit to back up the provider’s claims.

Hotspot Shield offers a range of relatively affordable subscription plans, and there is a refund guarantee in case you try it and are not happy with the service. There is also a free, although limited, plan too. The free version offers 1 device connection and 500MB of data usage per day, making it one of the best free personal VPN options on the market.

5. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost is a well-known VPN service that is popular for its extensive server network and premium security features.

CyberGhost offers a range of user-friendly features and an impressive server network with over 6500 servers across 90 different countries it is one of the largest of any personal VPN providers. This means you will have an endless choice when it comes to picking a server connection.

The app also operates on AES-256 bit encryption and advanced VPN protocols including OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec to ensure a completely safe browsing experience. There is Perfect Forward Secrecy protection too, which alters the encryption and decryption keys frequently, making it almost impossible for anyone to decipher them.

CyberGhost also boasts a range of no-spy servers that are located in Romania, a country with excellent data privacy laws. The provider manages all of its no-spy servers end-to-end, which means that any issues are quickly detected and resolved.

There are more advanced security features too, including a reliable kill-switch, ad-blocking technology, DNS and IP leak protection, and Double Encryption technology. The VPN also operates on RAM-only memory which ensures all information is deleted when you turn off the VPN server connection. And more importantly, the VPN service offers a strict no-logs policy to ensure your privacy is protected.

CyberGhost is a great choice for streaming fans as it is successful at unblocking content on websites including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and more. It also provides a handy list of the best streaming servers to make watching your favorite shows even easier.

The VPN enables 7 simultaneous device connections which are more than enough for the typical user. The app is compatible with all major devices and operating systems too. There is a generous 45-day refund guarantee too, allowing you to test the service risk-free.

6. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is one of the best VPN providers when it comes to user security and privacy. The Switzerland-based company has an impressive reputation in the internet security industry.

In recent years, ProtonVPN has invested heavily into its VPN servers. It now offers access to over 1000 locations across the world and provides improved apps for iOS, Android, and Linux.

The provider utilizes secure OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols and military-standard AES-256 encryption. There are encryption cipher suites, Perfect Forward Secrecy technology, complete DNS and WebRTC leak protection, and a reliable kill-switch too.

Proton’s Plus and Visionary Plans enable access to the Secure Core Network which utilizes advanced technology to provide an additional layer of protection for your internet activities. The network is fully managed by Proton, meaning that your data is safe from any third party that may be trying to access it.

It has an excellent no-logs policy to reassure users that it will never store or misuse private data. The only data that is stored is a timestamp of your latest session, however, this information cannot be used to connect you to your online activity. Proton’s apps are also regularly audited by an independent privacy company, evidencing its security claims. The company is also based in Switzerland, a country that is free from data retention laws which means that the provider is not obligated by law to store user data or present it upon request by the authorities.

ProtonVPN is also behind the popular encrypted email service ProtonMail. This offers further evidence to back up the company’s claim to offer the highest levels of security and privacy in the VPN industry. This means you can rest assured that your anonymity will remain protected if you choose ProtonVPN.

The provider offers a range of subscription plans including an excellent, although limited, free version. There is also the option to pay anonymously with Bitcoin, which is great for users that want to remain completely unknown online. Proton does offer a 30-day refund guarantee, however, it is limited to a pro-rata basis. This means that if you sign up for a monthly plan and use the service for 2 weeks, you will only receive a 50% refund of the subscription cost.

Do I Need a Personal VPN?

When you use a VPN, your internet traffic will be rerouted through an encrypted tunnel of servers that are operated by your chosen VPN service. After leaving the encrypted server tunnel, your web traffic will run as normal on your favorite search engines, websites, and apps, however, your real IP address and location will be hidden.

When using a VPN service, anyone that has access to the same internet connection or network as you will be unable to see or steal your information or monitor your activity. Installing and using a good quality personal VPN is especially important whenever you connect to an unsecured public Wi-Fi network in hotels, coffee shops, or airports. Public WiFi hotspots are often unsafe and are easy targets for cybercriminals and hackers who are looking to steal private user data.

Even if you do not use public Wi-Fi hotspots when you are out and about, VPNs are still useful. Your home internet connection may not be as private as you think. Internet Service Providers have access to worrying amounts of information regarding your online activity. Many even store and sell private user data and browsing information to third parties, resulting in personalized advertisements on search engines and even higher online shopping prices.

Make sure to use a high-quality VPN service to mask your real IP address, secure your internet connection, and prevent malicious advertisers and your ISP from monitoring and misusing your private internet data.

Author Cliff Durward

Hey guys, I'm Cliff! I live in Cleveland, Ohio with my wife and my kids. I love cybersecurity and I've been writing about it for a decade!
Read more about the author

PrivacySharks » Best VPN of 2021 – Rated by our Experts » Best Personal VPN
Last updated: April 8, 2021