Best VPN 2020: Top 9 VPN options for security and streaming

VPNs are a great investment if your conscious about the security of your data, but finding the best VPN in a crowded market is no easy task. 

We’ve rigorously tested all these VPNs and are committed to updating this list regularly, including both free and paid-for options. But if money is particularly tight, you can also check out our Best Free VPNs list. These will usually cap data and endpoints, but are still all perfectly usable.

And if you’re not clued up on VPNs and don’t know what to look for, read the following to check the difference between a free and paid for VPN. Otherwise, keep scrolling down to find the best VPN for you.

Our recommended best VPNs

  • Best value VPN: Windscribe
  • Best for privacy: Private Internet Access
  • Best free unlimited VPN: ProtonVPN
  • Best overall, but costly: ExpressVPN
  • Best VPN performance: NordVPN
  • Best free smartphone VPN: VPNHub
  • Best long-term value: CyberGhost
  • Best endpoint coverage: Hide My Ass! Pro VPN
  • Best lifetime deal: KeepSolid VPN Unlimited

Scroll down for our complete roundup of the Best VPNs and links to our full reviews.

A screengrab of the Windscribe desktop client running on Windows 10.

1. Windscribe

The best free VPN – with an excellent paid-for option too


  • Generous free tier
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Extremely good value
  • Great for streaming


  • Slightly slow result in Netherlands speed test

Windscribe is best known for its free-tier VPN subscription – and for good reason. Without paying a dime, you get 10GB downloads per month and access to 11 countries. Pay for the very reasonable £6.82 monthly or £37.11 per year subscription, and you’ll unlock download restrictions and gain access to 50 countries. It’s one of the very best value VPNs we’ve tested.

The Canada-based firm is very transparent about its privacy policies, with the VPN keeping logs to manage the service, but promises that it does not retain any identifying information.

Data transfer speeds weren’t the absolute fastest, but they were reasonable in the majority of regions although the likes of Netherlands did have an uncharacteristic blip. Performance speeds for UK and US were solid though. If you’re happy to sacrifice a little bit of speed to keep expenditure down to a minimum, we strongly recommend plumping for this VPN.

Private Internet Access desktop client

2. Private Internet Access (PIA)

Best VPN for security – excellent features and server choice


  • Fast transfer speeds
  • Wide range of privacy and security features
  • Clear no-logging policy, demonstrated in court
  • Cheap


  • Frequently detected by most streaming services

Private Internet Access (PIA) is our top recommended VPN for the security conscious who aren’t fussed about video streaming. With a no-logging policy, which has been demonstrated in court, and an abundance of security features, you can have peace of mind in terms of your privacy.

It offers rapid transfer speeds too, at least for Europe – its US connection speeds aren’t quite as impressive. And with affordable subscriptions – £7.54 per month, £27.23 every six months or £30.25 per year – Private Internet Access truly is one of the best value VPNs for security.

You’re best looking elsewhere for streaming video though, as it often fails to access geo-locked services such as BBC iPlayer and All 4.

Proton VPN desktop client

3. ProtonVPN

Best free VPN with unlimited usage


  • Unlimited-bandwidth free tier
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Plus tier is great for streaming
  • Quick download speeds


  • Slightly confusing pricing
  • Basic tier doesn’t include streaming endpoints

The best thing about ProtonVPN is that its free tier puts no restrictions on usage – you can download as much as you want without paying anything. Instead, ProtonVPN’s free tier limits you to three endpoint servers: the US, Netherlands and Japan.

Pay £3.79 per month (or £36.35 per year) for the entry-level plan and you’ll expand your access to 44 countries. And then there are the Plus and Tier subscription tiers, which expand the simultaneous connections limit. Having multiple tiers offers great flexibility, so you can make sure you’re getting excellent value.

However, since ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland you have to be mindful the service could be subject to Swiss data collection orders. Still, this is one of the greatest free VPN options available thanks to unlimited data transfers, especially if you’re content with just the US, Netherlands and Japan as your endpoints.


4. ExpressVPN

Proven privacy credentials, excellent speeds, and international streaming service access


  • Good HTTP transfer speeds
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Clear no-logging policy, demonstrated in court and by audit
  • Excellent video streaming performance


  • Expensive
  • Confusing display prices

ExpressVPN is the all-round best VPN you can buy, offering superb security, speedy transfer speeds and international access to all your favourite video streaming services.

The no-logging policy is perhaps the best feature, and has been tested by a court of law and an independent audit. On both occasions no logs were found on the systems, giving you peace of mind that your search history remains safe.

The biggest issue with ExpressVPN is the price, as it’s one of the more expensive options on this list especially when compared to the likes of Windscribe. But if money is no issue, this is the best VPN available.

Nord VPN

5. NordVPN

The best performing VPN is let down by transparency concerns


  • Large number of servers
  • Wide range of privacy and security features
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Clear, audited no-logging policy
  • Great for video streaming


  • Relatively expensive
  • Late disclosure of 2018 server breach

NordVPN used to be our overall favourite VPN, which should come as no surprise considering it offers the fastest HTTP transfer speeds in our tests and proves to be among the best for video streaming.

However, the 2018 security breach has seriously dented its credentials for transparency, as NordVPN failed to disclose the details to the public in a timely fashion. To be fair, NordVPN has made great strides forward since that scandal by introducing a bug bounty programme and committing to better communication practices, but it’s still worth bearing in mind.

If you are happy to forgive its missteps with the data breach, you’re getting decent value here considering all the features and high speeds you get in return.


6. VPNHub Premium

Great VPN with free plan for smartphones


  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Typically fast performance
  • Excellent for streaming


  • More expensive than most rivals
  • Doesn’t support less common devices & operating systems
  • Free version only works on Android and iOS

VPNHub has a superb free plan that provides unlimited downloads, but it’s unfortunately only available on smartphones. Desktop and laptop users will have to pay for the Premium account instead, and even that’s limited to macOS and Windows.

If you’re just looking for a VPN that provides excellent data transfer speeds and streaming performances, then VPNHub is among the best, although Private Internet Access is available for less than half the price.

With that in mind, we VPNHub only has one standout feature and that’s the free unlimited smartphone plan.

7. CyberGhost

Great value long-term subscriptions


  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Clear no-logging policy
  • Good streaming performance
  • Extended subscriptions are very good value


  • Poor US connection speeds
  • High monthly subscription fees

CyberGhost offers a great all-round experience, catering to both the security conscious and the video streamers, and if you’re happy to commit to a long-term subscription it also offers superb value working out at roughly £2.10 a month.

If you’d prefer to sign up to a monthly or annual plan, then CyberGhost becomes pricey, making the likes of Windscribe a far better alternative. But if you’re confident you’ll be using a VPN for the next few years, subscribing to CyberGhost makes a lot of sense.

That said, CyberGhost’s no-logging policy is yet to be proven in court or by an independent audit, meaning rivals have far more evidence of their reliability when it comes to protecting your personal information.

Screenshot of HideMyAss running on Windows 10.

8. HideMyAss! (HMA)

Unbeatable for server and endpoint choices


  • Generally quick transfer speeds
  • More endpoint countries than any rival
  • Good for streaming services


  • Keeps logs
  • Expensive

The defining feature of HideMyAss! is the massive number of endpoints it offers, covering 190 countries and territories in total. This proves handy if you want to use a server in a specific country not normally covered by VPNs.

Such reach comes with many disadvantages though. Firstly, HideMyAss! Will log your IP address, as well as connection times and bandwidth usage. It’s completely upfront about this, so you can’t criticise its transparency, but may prove a dealbreaker for the privacy conscious. It’s not the most ideal option for media streaming either.

The biggest blow for HideMyAss! is its price. Costing £59.88 per year despite its limitations seems very excessive. With this in mind, HideMyAss! is only really worth coughing up the cash for if you want to access a country not normally covered by competing VPNs.

Screenshot of HideMyAss running on Windows 10.

9. KeepSolid VPN Unlimited

Cheapest lifetime subscription


  • Wide range of supported devices
  • Good range of endpoint countries
  • Generally good for media streaming


  • Keeps some logs
  • Poor UK transfer speeds

The most enticing feature of the KeeSolid VPN Unlimited is the incredibly cheap lifetime subscription, available for just $39 from StackSocial. That gets you unlimited downloads, a range of different endpoints and a speedy performance, although we were downloaded with the UK transfer speeds.

There are a number of drawbacks with KeepSolid though, namely that it logs some of your data, including device information and time zone. It also collects your IP address, but KeepSolid claims your IP address is not stored once your connection is terminated.

The privacy policy is also yet to be tested, leaving some uncertainty for those who prioritise security. If that’s your main concern, you’re better off going with Private Internet Access or ExpressVPN instead.

How we test each VPN

While it’s not possible to carry out conclusive performance testing on VPN services due to the wide range of factors that can affect the speeds users see, we carry out speed tests to get a general feel for how each service performs. We test all services using their clients’ default settings.

We run tests from a London-based connection that typically sees speeds of around 10MB/s (80Mbps). We test multiple endpoints from each provider in three locations: the UK, the Netherlands and the U.S.

Our tables show the best results we are able to obtain by carrying out large file downloads via both FTP and through a web browser using HTTP. However, it’s important to note that these figures are a snapshot of performance at a single point in time, rather than being fully representative.

While UK and Dutch endpoints typically have only a moderate impact on speed with most providers, connection speeds to the US are usually a bit slower, averaging around 6MB/s (48Mbit/s). A handful of services with highly optimised network actually improve on our VPN-free reference speeds.

Related: Best antivirus 2020

We also test whether we’re able to view region-locked streaming video content from five key providers. In this round of tests, we looked at the Netflix, Crunchyroll and Shudder in the US, and All 4 and BBC iPlayer in the UK. Although Shudder and Crunchyroll only do minimal region checking based on IP addresses, Netflix, iPlayer and especially All 4 work hard to identify and block IP addresses associated with VPN endpoints, so what works one month may not the next.

Following a change to EU law that requires streaming media services to make European users’ home content available to them when they travel anywhere else in the EU, it is no longer possible to access other European Netflix services, so we have ceased testing European Netflix support.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.
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