5 Best VPNs for Privacy (Reliable, Audited & Quick)

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The best way to ensure you’re not being tracked is by using a VPN.

Luckily, NordVPN is the best VPN for privacy.

It has a zero-log policy, robust encryption system for keeping snoopers out, reliable security protocols, IP leak protection, and shared IPs to keep you hidden among thousands of other users.

There are alternative VPN services if NordVPN doesn’t meet your needs.

They include Surfshark (most affordable), CyberGhost (Wi-Fi protection), PureVPN (Reliable IP leak protection), and ExpressVPN (the best encryption).

Knowing where you stand on privacy, considering how interconnected we are today, is essential. Read this to the end to learn how to shield yourself from Big Brother and other snooping eyes.

The number of cyberattacks foiled each day is staggering. The more connectivity, the more victims. What’s worse is that most companies trusted with confidential user information, like Facebook and Google, keep finding ways to profit off this.

Add the government into the picture, and the situation becomes grim.

Since the internet is now a basic need for most people, asking users to reduce their internet usage isn’t practical. That leaves security and privacy tools like VPN technology as the only viable solutions.

You’re in the right place if you always feel like someone is watching you online.

Stay with me to the end to find out how you can keep yourself private online.

Do You Want to Keep Your Online Activities Private? Here Are the 5 VPNs at a Glance

Before you open your social media page or purchase that item on your favorite e-commerce platform, here are 5 trustworthy VPN provider options at a glance.

  1. NordVPN – Best Privacy Features + Double VPN
  2. Surfshark – Most Affordable Privacy VPN With MultiHop
  3. CyberGhost – Vast Server Network + Wi-Fi Protection
  4. PureVPN – Most Reliable IP Leak & DDOS Protection
  5. ExpressVPN – TrustedServer Technology + Best-In-Class Encryption

Of course, VPNs aren’t the only tools you can use; they’re not foolproof.

But they’re the most efficient compared to proxy servers, Tor, or Smart DNS.

Are you ready to learn how they protect you from external threats? Read on.

Top Reliable, Audited & Quick VPNs for Privacy

Ready to find out how each VPN holds up regarding security and privacy?

Then strap in and read this to the end.

NordVPN - Best Privacy Features + Double VPN

Location Servers Connections Surveillance Alliances Best Deal
Panama 5500+ 6 None Show Offer

Logging Policies

nordvpn no log header

NordVPN doesn’t keep user logs when you route your online traffic through the VPN. The VPN shields you from your internet service provider and any entity invested in getting that valuable information.

To further bolster this claim, this VPN service is based in Panama, which isn’t part of any surveillance alliances. This means that no one, not even the government, can access your private logs or internet traffic.

A warrant won’t work because Panama is outside any jurisdiction with data retention laws.

Examples of information not stored by NordVPN include

  • Incoming and outgoing IP addresses
  • Connection date and duration
  • Amount of data transferred
  • VPN servers used
  • Websites visited
  • Files downloaded
  • Software used

What’s more? NordVPN accepts cryptocurrencies, ensuring there’s no footprint tying anything back to you.

256-Bit Encryption

This VPN provider features the industry standard 256-bit encryption, one of the best in the game. It scrambles your online data, making it unreadable. 

This is your only defense against your ISP and government, who have a bad habit of spying on people.

Encryption is also the only deterrent against hackers when you connect to public networks. Not even the largest supercomputer ever created can hack this encrypted tunnel. So, don’t be scared to jump into Pornhub or PirateBay – no one can see you.

NordVPN offers four protocols on macOS; OpenVPN-UDP, OpenVPN-TCP, NordLynx, and IKEv2. On Windows and Android, you get NordLynx, OpenVPN-UDP, and OpenVPN-TCP.

OpenVPN and IKEv2 focus on security and reliability (respectively), while NordLynx is optimized for the best speeds.

IP & DNS Leak Protection

nordvpn kill switch feature

This VPN client offers a kill switch (two on Windows) that automatically disables the internet when the VPN connection is interrupted.

In short, you won’t access the internet until the VPN connection is restored.

Pretty inconvenient, right? No, that’s necessary.

If the internet isn’t disabled immediately, your actual IP is immediately exposed. So any active trackers on pages you’re on can see everything.

That’s never a good thing. So ensure the kill switch is activated at all times.

Shared IPs

specialty servers on nordvpn

An overcrowded VPN server usually gets a bad rapport, and for a good reason since the speeds can take a hit. The silver lining, however, is they make it harder for trackers to single you out. This is why streaming services have a hard time dealing with VPN use.

Therefore, avoid using dedicated IP addresses and blend into the crowd.

If they have to hack you, let them sweat for it a little.

Furthermore, NordVPN offers over 5000 servers for unblocking any restricted content. Among these are specialty servers designed to take user privacy and security to the next level. They include

  • Double VPN servers that route your traffic through two servers, encrypting your traffic twice for an added layer of protection.
  • Onion Over VPN servers that relay your traffic to the Onion network through a secure VPN in case your network’s privacy is compromised.
  • Obfuscated servers that hide traces of VPN activity from your traffic, making it hard for DPI to sniff you out.

In retrospect, while obfuscation and double VPN slow your connection speeds, the privacy you get in return is worth it.

NordVPN is also moderately priced, although it’s costlier than Surfshark and CyberGhost. Grab these fantastic deals before they run out.

Pros

Cons

Surfshark - Most Affordable Privacy VPN With MultiHop

Location Servers Connections Surveillance Alliances Best Deal
The Netherlands 3200+ Unlimited 14 Eyes Show Offer

Logging Policies

surfshark no log

Surfshark doesn’t store user logs for ultimate digital privacy.

This is their official privacy policy statement.

Our servers do store information about your connection to a particular VPN server (user ID and connection time stamps), BUT this information is automatically deleted within 15 minutes after termination of your session. And be assured that no information is stored about the websites you visit

Surfshark also conducts independent audits for transparency and operates RAM-only servers. This means every time you close the Surfshark session, everything is reset until the next time you log in.

The VPN doesn’t store any of the following user data:

  • IP address
  • Browsing history
  • Used bandwidth
  • Session information
  • Network traffic
  • Connection timestamps

However, This VPN company is now located in The Netherlands, which is part of the 14-Eyes Alliance. It was previously based in The British Virgin Islands, a move that created panic among its users in 2021.

The company claimed it relocated for business reasons.

Still, I trust Surfshark. Its privacy policy and constant audits have ensured the service is transparent with how it handles user data.

256-Bit Encryption

As one of the best VPN services, Surfshark uses AES-256-GCM encryption across all its protocols. You’re protected from data breaches when you use mobile data or public Wi-Fi, keeping the government, your ISP, or hackers from having a peek at the sites you visit.

You can choose three protocols on Surfshark for Windows: OpenVPN-TCP, OpenVPN-UDP, and WireGuard. For macOS and Android users, there’s an extra protocol, IKEv2.

OpenVPN and IKEv2 are optimized for security but can still handle fast speeds without many hiccups. The WireGuard VPN protocol is best suited for speeds while also offering reliable security and privacy.

On top of that, an ad and tracker blocker called CleanWeb enhances privacy by stopping online trackers and ads from loading on your device when you visit certain websites.

IP & DNS Leak Protection

surfshark kill switch

Surfshark VPN has a kill switch that immediately disabled my internet connection when I deliberately switched from mobile data to Wi-Fi.

I had to wait for the VPN to reconnect to access the internet on my Android phone. This protects your actual IP address and any other sensitive information from leaking.

Android users get an extra kill switch called the Android Native Kill Switch that disables the internet even for the apps you excluded from the VPN traffic through the Bypasser feature.

Shared IPs

surfshark vpn south africa server

Surfshark also has unique servers.

First, you can use shared Static IP addresses. This means you use the same IP every time you log in, giving you most of the benefits of a dedicated IP without the privacy risk.

Specifically, you won’t be the only one using the Static IP, so your internet traffic can’t be singled out. Surfshark is the only option offering this, giving it an edge over the rest on my list.

There are also MultiHop servers that route your traffic through two VPN servers (like NordVPN’s Double VPN). The difference is the MultiHop feature is much faster than NordVPN’s double VPN, and you can bypass bandwidth throttling if you get two fast servers.

Additionally, you get 3200+ servers that can unblock restricted content from anywhere. So you can enjoy your favorite shows and movies with all the privacy you need.

Plus, there’s an obfuscation feature called Camouflage Mode that’s automatically activated with OpenVPN protocol and can help you beat VPN blocks. The only catch is that connection speeds are slower.

Still, while Camouflage Mode is slower than ExpressVPN’s automatic obfuscation, it’s faster than NordVPN’s obfuscation.

Surfshark is one of the most affordable VPNs with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Remember to grab discounted deals if this VPN appeals to your privacy needs.

Pros

Cons

CyberGhost - Vast Server Network + Wi-Fi Protection

Location Servers Connections Surveillance Alliances Best Deal
Romania 8800+ 7 None Show Offer

Logging Policies

cyberghost no logs

CyberGhost doesn’t keep user logs of any kind and that was critical for me considering the sites I visit. I’m not at liberty to name these sites, but let’s say my Sunday school teacher would be disappointed.

Without user logs, there’s no proof that you were anywhere.

The other good news is that CyberGhost just got its first proper audit, proving the authenticity of its no logs policy. In the VPN business, transparency takes you far because you don’t want jittery customers.

Furthermore, CyberGhost has its headquarters in Romania, which like Panama, is outside the surveillance alliances. So you can rest easy knowing that no government is coming after you.

So what doesn’t CyberGhost store?

  • Your IP address
  • Your DNS queries
  • Your browsing history
  • The web content you accessed
  • Your connection timestamps
  • Your disconnection timestamps
  • Your session duration
  • Your bandwidth usage
  • The VPN servers you connect to

Furthermore, CyberGhost has NoSpy servers that offer end-to-end encryption, and they’re hosted on servers owned by CyberGhost.

This gives you robust privacy like NordVPN’s double VPN servers, but with better speeds.

256-Bit Encryption

CyberGhost is equipped with 256-bit encryption, a necessary security feature. Think of those times when you’re at a cafe and use free Wi-Fi to check something on your phone. Well, one of the things that keep you from being hacked on such an unsecured network is CyberGhost’s reliable encryption.

In addition, there’s separate Wi-Fi protection you can toggle for good measure every time you connect to a new network.

Plus, CyberGhost offers three protocols on Windows and macOS; IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard. Android users are limited to OpenVPN and WireGuard only. OpenVPN is more security and privacy-oriented, while IKEv2 and WireGuard are better for speeds.

Finally, there’s an ad and tracker blocker called Content Blocker that will take care of the pesky pop-up ads and online trackers when you play mobile games or open torrenting sites. It was the best ad blocker but not entirely foolproof. Some ads slipped through.

IP & DNS Leak Protection

cyberghost privacy settings

CyberGhost has a kill switch for protection against IP and DNS leaks, and I didn’t struggle to find it. Once activated, it disabled my internet when I interrupted the secure connection. So advertisers who may be prowling the website or app you’re on won’t get a chance to see your IP address.

But you won’t access the internet until the VPN connection is restored.

Shared IPs

cyberghost for streaming

You can use shared IPs with CyberGhost to hide your online activities among hundred other virtual IP addresses. This gives your ISP, the government, or streaming platforms a headache since they can’t follow your trail.

Keep changing your servers now and then to keep them guessing.

Furthermore, CyberGhost has the largest server network on this list, 8800+. That’s enough to unblock any restricted content from anywhere.

Although you may have trouble with DPIs since CyberGhost is the only VPN here that doesn’t offer obfuscation.

On a brighter note, CyberGhost is among the cheapest VPNs and the only one with a 45-day money-back guarantee. So get your subscription using these exclusive discounts to fully enjoy reliable, audited, and quick privacy with CyberGhost.

Pros

Cons

PureVPN - Most Reliable IP Leak & DDoS Protection

PureVPN website
Location Servers Connections Surveillance Alliances Best Deal
BVI 6500+ 10 None Show Offer

Logging Policies

purevpn no log policy

Like every premium VPN here, PureVPN doesn’t keep user data.

So the only person with access to every website you open or app you launch is you (and whoever has access to your physical device).

Furthermore, to boost transparency, PureVPN has an Always-On Audit Policy that allows surprise audits.

Plus, PureVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, a neutral jurisdiction without any connection to surveillance alliances.

User data not stored by PureVPN includes

  • Browsing Activities
  • Connection Logs
  • Assigned VPN IPs
  • Original IPs
  • VPN Session Timestamps
  • Browsing History

256-Bit Encryption

PureVPN uses the Advanced Encryption Standard to encrypt and decrypt your online traffic. This keeps everyone out of your business, including the government, your ISP, and hackers. This is the only thing that can protect you when using public Wi-Fi in public spaces like cafes and malls, something I do a lot.

Additionally, PureVPN offers four secure protocols; OpenVPN, IPSec, IKEv2, and WireGuard. The last two are best suited for speeds and mobile data, while the former is optimized for security. If you’re on Android, there’s an extra protocol called Proxy that’s supposed to offer the fastest speeds.

Lastly, PureVPN discontinued its tracker blocker called Content Filtering.

It’s the only VPN here without one, and ads appeared on my screen frequently during the tests.

IP & DNS Leak Protection

purevpn advanced settings

PureVPN’s kill switch is one of the best in the game and quite adept at blocking IP leaks when the VPN connection is compromised.

It took seconds for my device to lose connection when I tested it out.

Like the other VPNs, You won’t access the internet when the kill switch kicks into action; a small price considering what could happen if your real IP gets exposed when you’re on an unsafe website like RARBG.

Furthermore, like the other VPNs on this list, PureVPN has inbuilt DDoS protection that filters all incoming traffic, blocking anything resembling a DDoS attack. This is perfect for gamers who want to deal with DDoS injections that give their opponents an unfair advantage.

I bring attention to this feature here because PureVPN charges extra for it as an add-on, unlike the others. The rest provide it for free.

Shared IPs

Unless you purchase a Dedicated IP, every other virtual IP you get when you connect to a PureVPN server is shared. This camouflages your online footprint among hundreds of others like you, making tracking impossible.

purevpn servers

PureVPN also offers 6500+ servers you can use to unblock content from any corner of the globe. This is the second largest server network after CyberGhost, and I easily unblocked Hulu to stream Death on The Nile.

The app also provides obfuscation for bypassing VPN blocks in school and work networks and heavily censored regions. The obfuscation works automatically with OpenVPN, so your speeds may slow, but it’s not as slow as NordVPN.

PureVPN is reasonably priced with a 31-day money-back guarantee.

Take advantage of these exclusive discounts and get complete protection when surfing the internet.

Pros

Cons

ExpressVPN - TrustedServer Technology + Best-In-Class Encryption

Location Servers Connections Surveillance Alliances Best Deal
BVI 3000+ 5 None Show Offer

Logging Policies

ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy where no user data is stored or shared by anyone. Every website you visit with ExpressVPN connected is your private business; even ExpressVPN isn’t authorized to see it.

Furthermore, the VPN is based in The British Virgin Islands, which isn’t part of any surveillance alliances. The following information isn’t stored or shared.

  • IP addresses (source or VPN)
  • Browsing history
  • Traffic destination or metadata
  • DNS queries

One area where ExpressVPN edges others is through the TrustedServer technology that wipes all data with every reboot.

And since there are no physical drives, the risk of data loss or hacking is eliminated.

256-Bit Encryption

Encryption is another key area where ExpressVPN excels.

Using 256-bit keys, your traffic is encrypted from end to end, making it undecipherable to anyone without the keys. So you can rest easy knowing nobody is snooping in on you when you’re on public networks or mobile data. You’ll be surprised by how people downplay the risks of using public networks.

In addition, this app offers four VPN protocols: Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and WireGuard. The Lightway protocol is the fastest, with robust security and reliability.

Lastly, there’s an ad and tracker blocker called Threat Manager, but it’s not available for Android or Windows. It also had the least success blocking ads than any other ad blocker.

IP & DNS Leak Protection

expressvpn preferences 1

There’s a robust Network Lock kill switch that prevents IP leaks when the VPN connection is cut off. This could be due to a power blackout or switching from mobile data to Wi-Fi. All in all, it closes that small window of vulnerability until the VPN is restored.

Shared IPs

You can use ExpressVPN’s shared IPs to anonymously navigate the internet without the risk of being singled out by anyone. (It doesn’t offer dedicated or static IP addresses anyway). In addition, you’ll have access to over 3000 servers for all your unblocking needs, be it for streaming or torrenting.

ExpressVPN is also the only one that offers automatic obfuscation that works with all protocols and servers. This makes it the fastest of them all.

The only other issue with ExpressVPN is the price tag, as this is the most expensive VPN on this list. However, with these fantastic deals, you can save a tidy sum in the long run.

Pros

Cons

How to Set Up Your VPN for Privacy?

NordVPN offers several privacy features. Here’s how you activate them on Android.

Kill Switch

  1. Open the NordVPN app and go to settings by tapping the profile icon, bottom right.
  1. Tap the Settings icon (small gear) in the top right corner.
  1. Tap on Kill Switch tab.
  1. Tap on “OPEN ANDROID SETTINGS.”
  1. Tap on the gear icon next to NordVPN.
  1. Toggle “Block connections without VPN” on and confirm your choice by tapping “Turn on.” The Kill Switch is now active.

Obfuscation

  1. Open the NordVPN app and go to settings by tapping the profile icon, bottom right.
  1. Tap the Protocol section to set it to OpenVPN (UDP or TCP).
  1. Go back to the servers section and tap “Specialty servers.”
  1. Tap on Obfuscated and connect to any server. Obfuscation is now active.

Double VPN

  1. Open the NordVPN app and go to settings by tapping the profile icon, bottom right.
  1. Set to any protocol.
  2. Go back to the servers section and tap “Specialty servers.”
  1. Tap Double VPN and connect to any server.

Onion Over VPN

  1. Open the NordVPN app and go to settings by tapping the profile icon, bottom right.
  1. Set to any protocol.
  2. Go back to the servers section and tap “Specialty servers.”
  1. Tap on Onion Over VPN and connect to any server.

What’s the Best VPN Protocol for Privacy?

OpenVPN is the best VPN protocol for privacy. It’s open-source and has a long and reliable history. Also, OpenVPN supports many ciphers, including AES, and is supported by all the major operating systems.

You also get the Perfect Forward Secrecy, a feature that determines the generation of encryption keys for each VPN session. This reduces the chance of hacking.

At the moment, there are no known OpenVPN security risks.

The two drawbacks are that it’s the slowest VPN protocol and consumes more data than others. But if privacy is your priority, then OpenVPN is your best bet.

FAQ

The best VPN for privacy and speed is NordVPN. It offers good speeds and reliable connections, making it a good choice for streaming and downloading content. NordVPN also provides robust security and privacy protections, with AES-256 encryption and an audited no-logs policy. It’s also located in Panama, which is not affiliated with any surveillance alliances.

A free VPN isn’t good for privacy. First, most free VPNs store user data and sell it to third parties to create revenue. This puts users at risk, as they can be tracked.

Free VPNs also lack important security features like obfuscation, DDoS protection, etc.

Final Word

NordVPN is my top recommendation for its wide array of privacy and security features, like Double VPN and Onion Over VPN servers, a reliable kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy. But we can’t be the same; maybe another VPN caught your eye.

The bottom line is, whether it’s Surfshark, CyberGhost, PureVPN, or ExpressVPN, make sure you don’t take chances with your privacy.

Lastly, don’t forget to grab these fantastic NordVPN deals.

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