First of all, I’m ignoring all VPNs now owned by Kape Technologies. Kape Technologies (formerly Crossrider) has a nefarious history and to this very day is responsible for one of the most widespread and notorious tech support scams. The scam, formerly known as Reimage Repair and now known as Restoro, is owned and operated by Kape Technologies, a company I would neither trust nor recommend. VPNs under the Kape Technologies umbrella include:
- Private Internet Access
- CyberGhost VPN
- ZenMate VPN
Kape Technologies also owns two VPN review sites – VPNMentor.com and Wizcase.com – both of which specialize in VPN reviews focusing heavily on the VPNs owned by Kape Technologies. Clearly an unethical practice and conflict of interest.
Best VPNs – 2023
All of the following recommended VPNs share common features, such as a kill switch, DNS leak protection, highly secure encryption, multiple servers across the globe, multiple device support, and of course, all claim a strict no-logs policy.
ProtonVPN (best overall)
Proton is a respected privacy-centric company based in Switzerland. Not only does Switzerland have some of the strictest privacy laws in the world but it is also outside of EU and US jurisdiction and is not a member of any intelligence-sharing alliances. Providing excellent speeds and guaranteed privacy, ProtonVPN is my number one choice. With its value 2-year plan priced at $4.99 US per month (at the time of writing), ProtonVPN is a little more expensive than some of its competitors but, in my opinion, well worth the additional outlay. ProtonVPN also supports up to 10 simultaneous connections, which is more than the norm.
NordVPN And Surfshark
I’ve lumped these two together because they are both owned by the same company, Nord Security. For the moment, these VPN services are operating as completely separate entities with separate VPN infrastructures. However, it would make perfect business sense for the two to consolidate resources at some time down the track.
NordVPN (best for speed): NordVPN operates under Panamanian jurisdiction which is not part of the 5-eyes, 9-eyes, or 14-eyes intelligence-sharing alliances and connection speed is among the best available. My one reservation with NordVPN is the convoluted ownership trail involving half a dozen different companies, making it difficult to ascertain exact ownership. Two-year plans provide the best value starting at $3.19 US per month for basic (at the time of writing).
Surfshark VPN (best value): Surfshark is based in the Netherlands which is part of the 9-eyes intelligence sharing alliance. As mentioned earlier, Surfshark was acquired by Nord Security in early 2022 however, at this point in time, NordVPN and Surfshark are operating as separate entities. Surfshark is known for its inexpensive plans, with the value 2-year plan starting at $2.40 US per month (at the time of writing). It’s also the only VPN that supports unlimited simultaneous connections (most are limited to 5- 6 simultaneous connections).
What You Need To Look For In A VPN
Intelligence-Sharing Alliances: 5-Eyes, 9-Eyes, and 14-Eyes are the names of groups of countries that participate in intelligence sharing. Some VPN reviewers place a heavy importance on this aspect but I do not. I believe it’s far more important to verify/confirm that a VPN provider’s claim of a no-logs policy is 100% true. Let’s face it, if nothing is logged, there is nothing to share.
Trust: Similar to privacy policies, trust is an important part of selecting your VPN service. Read as many editorial and user reviews as possible to get a handle on whether the company you are thinking of dealing with is trustworthy.
VPNs and Security: It’s important to note that, contrary to claims made by some VPN providers, VPNs do very little to enhance security. I noticed that some VPN providers are now offering an antivirus component at a small additional cost. Personally, I would prefer to leave my antivirus in the hands of a company that specializes in providing antivirus solutions… horses for courses.
Do you use a VPN? If so, which service are you using? Let us know via the comments.