Best VPN Services of 2023 - Free and Paid

Cybersecurity should be a concern for all Internet users. Over 36 billion records were stolen in the first half of 2020, and tracking has increased, with Internet giants tracking your every move. With the constant stream of data breaches, cyberattacks, and government surveillance, it’s no wonder that more internet users are turning to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) as their first line of defense. 

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve tested the top VPN services on the market and how they stack up in terms of security, speed, user-friendliness, and more. We’ve tested multiple VPNs on Desktop, AndroidMac, iOS, and more to determine the best VPNs.

These VPNs all have multiple server locations around the world and are great for unblocking geo-restricted content. Most VPN services offer free trials in the form of money-back guarantees so you can try it yourself. Read through to discover the best VPN services of 2023 to ensure that your online experiences are both private and secure.

ExpressVPN – Super-secure, fast, safe, easy to use, and affordable. Reliable for all your internet needs, including browsing, streaming, and torrenting. 

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network or a VPN consists of a private network of Internet connections and some type of interface for the end-user, normally an app, that allows you to connect to the VPN’s servers.

How Do VPNs Protect You?

When you connect to a VPN, you’re masking your Internet connection because all of your activity goes through the VPN’s servers first. The VPN will process all of your requests and send the data back to you. Since your provider (or at least the ones we recommend) uses high-end encryption, your ISP never knows your online activity. Here’s how a VPN works:

1. VPN Encryption 

At the core of a VPN’s security lies encryption. When you connect to a VPN server, it creates a secure and encrypted tunnel between your device and the server. This encryption ensures that all data passing through the tunnel is scrambled and virtually indecipherable to anyone trying to intercept it. In essence, it acts as a digital lock on your data, safeguarding it from prying eyes.

2. VPN Masks Your IP Address

Your IP address is comparable to your digital fingerprint, revealing your location and identity to websites and online services. VPNs allow you to mask your real IP address by routing your internet traffic through one of their servers located in a different region or country. This not only protects your identity but also enables you to bypass geo-restrictions and access content as if you were physically present in that location.

3. Most VPNs Have No-Logs Policies

Reputable VPN providers adhere to a strict no-logs policy. This means they don’t record your online activities or store any data that could potentially be used to identify you. By choosing a VPN with a no-logs policy, you further enhance your privacy and reduce the risk of your data falling into the wrong hands.

Here are the three Best VPN services in 2023:

  1. ExpressVPN: blazing-fast servers and consistently reliable connections for gaming, streaming, torrenting, and surfing the web anonymously. Has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. SurfShark: affordable price, unlimited simultaneous connections, P2P-friendly server, kill switch, and a large number of servers.
  3. NordVPN: Enhanced security at a competitive price. Free anti-malware protection, split-tunneling, and great speeds for streaming.

Why You Need a VPN?

Whether you’re a casual internet user, a business professional, or a security-conscious individual, here are compelling reasons why you need a VPN:

Protect Your Privacy

Online privacy is a fundamental right. Yet, without a VPN, your internet service provider (ISP), advertisers, and even websites can track your online activities. A VPN creates a secure tunnel for your internet traffic, encrypting it and shielding your data from prying eyes. This means your browsing history, personal information, and location remain private.

Secure Your Data

Whenever you connect to public Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops, airports, or hotels, your data is vulnerable to hackers. VPNs act as a digital bodyguard, encrypting your connection and ensuring that your sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details, remains safe from cybercriminals.

Bypass Geo-Restrictions

The internet is not one-size-fits-all. Some content is geo-restricted, meaning it’s only accessible in specific regions. A VPN allows you to virtually relocate to another country by connecting to a server there. This grants you access to restricted content, like streaming services, news websites, or online games, as if you were physically present in that location.

Anonymous Torrenting

Torrenting is a popular way to share files, but it comes with risks. Without a VPN, your IP address is exposed, making you vulnerable to legal repercussions and privacy breaches. A VPN conceals your IP address, allowing you to torrent safely and anonymously.

Bypass Censorship

In some countries, governments impose strict censorship on the internet, blocking access to certain websites and content. A VPN can help you bypass these restrictions by tunneling your connection through servers in other countries. This way, you can access information and communicate freely, even in regions with heavy censorship.

Avoid Bandwidth Throttling

ISPs often throttle your internet speed for certain activities, like streaming or torrenting. With a VPN, your ISP can’t easily detect what you’re doing online, which can help you bypass throttling and maintain consistent speeds.

Why it’s Important to choose the Best VPN Service?

Choosing the right VPN service is akin to choosing a digital guardian for your online presence. Not all VPN offers the same level of security and features. Choosing best VPN service for your needs serves as your shield against cyber threats, hackers, and prying eyes, encrypting your internet connection and ensuring your data remains confidential. It allows you to access geo-restricted content, stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks, and maintain anonymity while torrenting. Moreover, with the right VPN, you can bypass government censorship and browse the web freely, preserving your fundamental right to access information without restrictions. This is the main reason why VPNGuru was built – to provide consumers with information to make an informed decision about VPNs. 

Why You Can Trust VPNGuru

There are a lot of VPN review websites, so it’s essential to find a source you can trust for accurate, unbiased, and up-to-date information. At VPNGuru, we take pride in our commitment to providing you with the most reliable and trustworthy VPN recommendations. Here’s why you can put your trust in us:

VPNGuru’s Rigorous VPN Testing Process

    • Speed and Performance: We conduct extensive speed tests to assess how VPNs impact your internet connection, ensuring you can browse, stream, and download without compromising on performance.
    • User-Friendliness: We evaluate the ease of use, user interface, and setup process of each VPN to determine how accessible they are to both beginners and experienced users.
    • Server Network: The size and distribution of a VPN’s server network are essential factors. We test server reliability and geographical coverage to ensure you can access content from around the world.
    • Customer Support: We interact with VPN providers’ customer support teams to evaluate their responsiveness and effectiveness in resolving issues.

VPNGuru’s Transparency and Independence

At VPNGuru, we maintain our independence and do not accept payments or incentives from VPN providers to influence our reviews. Our VPN reviews are unbiased, and our goal is to provide you with accurate information to make informed decisions.

VPNGuru’s Regular Updates

The VPN landscape is constantly evolving, with new features, updates, and changes occurring regularly. Our team stays on top of these developments and ensures that our VPN reviews and recommendations are always up-to-date. This means you can trust our advice to reflect the current state of the VPN market.

VPNGuru’s Community Engagement

We understand that the best insights often come from real users. That’s why we actively engage with online communities, including platforms like Reddit, to gather feedback from VPN users. This community-driven approach allows us to uncover hidden gems and lesser-known VPNs that might not be in the spotlight but offer exceptional service.

Our mission is for VPNGuru to stand out as a trusted resource for VPN recommendations. VPNGuru’s commitment to thorough testing, independence, transparency, regular updates, and community engagement ensures that you can rely on us to help you navigate the complex world of VPN services and make the best choice to safeguard your online privacy and security.

Top 5 Best VPNs of 2023 to Remain Anonymous Online


1. ExpressVPN — Best Overall

ExpressVPN is our choice for the leading best VPN Mac and even Windows options this year among the 338 VPN providers we checked out. Connect using OpenVPN, IPSec, PPTP, L2TP, Split tunneling, and all leading protocols. Logs? They don’t have any as they have a no-logs policy — which it can maintain due to the unique privacy laws in its home jurisdiction, the British Virgin Islands. Speeds? Blazing fast, we had the pleasure of testing this ourselves – superb upload speeds among all the VPN services we’ve tested. ExpressVPN has a user-friendly interface so even a beginner won’t have any issues using this VPN service.

How fast is it?

They also have a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can try out ExpressVPN within the refund period and if you’re unsatisfied, you can simply reach out to customer support and cancel your subscription. You’ll get refunded the full amount so it’s totally risk-free. If you want a completely free trial, they have a 7-day trial on iOS and Android.

Final Thoughts

ExpressVPN only continues to get better. The provider keeps adding servers and stays at the forefront of online privacy and security. Customer support is top-notch, and there is a wide array of native apps that make connecting to the VPN a breeze for new and seasoned users. The platform is our Reddit Best Free VPN for a reason – it rocks. Read the full ExpressVPN review and find out more about why this is the Reddit Best Free VPN  on our list.

2. SurfShark — Runner Up

Surfshark is our runner up, but it’s still an amazing choice to secure your digital life. Users gain access to 3,200+ servers split among 65 countries – so you access content around the world. Logs are never stored, there’s a kill switch, DNS leak protection and multihop masking for the best privacy possible.

And the NoBorders mode makes sure that you can bypass any censorship online. Easily bypass streaming services like BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and more.

SurfShark VPN also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so it’s like using a free version – you can use all its VPN services and if you’re unhappy then you can simply cancel and get a full refund.

Final Thoughts

Surfshark is a great overall option for intense users, especially with their unlimited device options. The strict no-logs policy and a variety of modes make Surfshark a must-try for anyone looking for a solid VPN. Read the full Surfshark review.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN is an industry behemoth and one of the world’s best-known VPNs. The platform’s network has a vast number of servers at  5,400+ spread across 60 countries offering privacy anywhere you go. Obfuscated servers, options to connect six devices and split tunneling make NordVPN a top contender for Reddit Best Free VPN after a year.

What about logs? Never.

Double protection, kill switch, and leak protection makes sure that your information is never leaked and your IP address is masked.

NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can give this VPN service a try. If you mostly use mobile devices, they have a 7-day free trial for Android and iOS users.

Final Thoughts

NordVPN deserves to be on every best VPN list. The servers are fast, apps make it simple to use and there are advanced options, such as double protection and even options to use the Onion Router for further security. Its definitely one of the Reddit Best Free VPN  service we highly recommnend. Read the full NordVPN review.

Fast and reliable, Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the Reddit Best Free VPN out there, especially for anonymity.

Private Internet Access has more than 3,500 servers around the world. A no-logs policy and kill switch help keep your identity private. The VPN also has multiple protocols to choose from apart from its AES-256 encryption, Private Internet Access has malware protection, adblocking, port forwarding, and other features aimed at keeping you anonymous.

Private Internet Access has a 7-day free trial for mobile devices only, but they also have a 30-day money-back guarantee that allows you to really give the VPN service a try. If you’re not happy with it, ask for a refund within that 30-day period – no questions asked. You just have to contact the customer support within the refund period.

Final Thoughts

Private Internet Access is one of our Reddit Best Free VPN  services to stay anonymous online. The VPN’s focus on privacy and security plus 10 simultaneous connections make it a great option for new and seasoned users alike. Read the full Private Internet Access review.

There’s a reason why CyberGhost has more than 36 million users worldwide. The VPN boasts a strict no-logs policy and strong security features at a competitive price . One subscription can support up to 7 devices at once, and the no-logging policy helps you stay anonymous online. It also runs on AES-256 encryption so you don’t need to worry even if you’re connected to public wi-fi, so long as you keep the VPN service turned on.

Other great features, like 24/7 customer support and compatibility with virtually all platforms like Mac, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Windows, and more, CyberGhost remains one of the Reddit Best Free VPN for staying anonymous online. 

CyberGhost has a 45-day money-back guarantee this is one of the longest trial or refund periods any virtual private network provider has to offer. You can easily contact their customer support to cancel your subscription and get a full refund.

Final Thoughts

CyberGhost has more than ample server location options. Their no-logs policy and money-back guarantee make them a great option for anyone looking to browse the Internet anonymously even on public wi-fi. Read the full CyberGhost review.

How We Rate the Best VPNs

All VPN services always claim to be the best. But with hundreds of providers, there are only a few in competition to be considered as the best VPNs of 2023. Consumers aren’t going to spend the time or money to try hundreds of VPNs to find the best.

But our team of security experts, the same that write our reviews, do test virtually every VPN on the market.

If we think that a VPN is secure, fast, and beneficial to our readers, we’ll review it to give you an in-depth look into what the VPN offers. The factors that go into how we rate VPNs are:

Privacy and security are always listed on a VPN’s website, but security must go further than just encryption. We verify and look for other key features that protect your activity from prying eyes:

  • Encryption protocols
  • Killswitch or Network Lock
  • No-logs policy
  • Tunneling
  • DNS Leak Policy
  • Jurisdiction
  • Server Security

Great speeds allow for better streaming. But some VPNs have their server IP addresses flagged by streaming services. We go through the tedious task of testing servers in every country to see if the VPN works for streaming on:

  • BBC iPlayer
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • HBO
  • Discovery+
  • Disney+
  • Etc

If a VPN is truly secure, we then look at the number of servers, server locations and speeds. Some VPNs can bring your Internet to a crawl – no one wants their Netflix to buffer. We look for VPNs that impact your Internet speeds the least.

ISPs throttle connections enough – your VPN shouldn’t.

We test speeds across a large array of servers (another thing we look at) to see how your Internet speeds are impacted by your VPN.

You’ll always lose some speed, but we find VPNs with acceptable speed loss.

Want to pirate a movie or your favorite television show? A VPN can stop your information from being exposed. Copyright trolls are the worst and will target anyone with absurd claims. Greedy trolls will never get your information if you use the right VPN.

Our team will test to make sure there are no IP leaks and that the VPN keeps your browsing and downloading behind a layer of encryption.

We also look for P2P-specific servers, no-log policies and other features designed to keep your torrenting well-hidden.


How to Choose the Best VPN

When choosing the Best VPN for you, the factors above are a good start: privacy, speed, security, servers, torrenting, and streaming. But we often find people choose their VPN based on:

  • Operating system
  • Specific features they’re interested in
  • Streaming ability
  • Torrenting security
  • Capability to bypass geo-blocks

If you plan to use your VPN for torrenting, you might not care if it doesn’t work the best for streaming or doesn’t work well on Linux.

There are also several free virtual private network (VPN) services on the market like Hotspot Shield, Proton VPN, or Secure VPN but we seldom recommend those for our reader’s safety. We at VPNGuru believe that there’s no such thing as a free version VPN without any drawbacks.

Our team of security experts here in VPNGuru has researched, tested, and tried a lot of VPNs to provide you with the best VPNs in the market. We highly recommend ExpressVPN and you can try it totally risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee policy. The same goes for the other VPNs on our list. We know what VPN services offer the best value, security, and privacy. 

Best VPNs By Category

If you have a specific use for a VPN in mind, you might want to check out our in-depth list here:

These aren’t just VPNs we recommend. Our team here at VPNGuru uses these very VPNs to keep their online activity 100% safe, secure, and private.

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