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Best VPN 2022: Secure your privacy with the most reliable VPNs for streaming and security


Our pick of the best VPNs to protect your online privacy, stream content and browse the web anonymously from anywhere

If you want to ensure your personal data doesn't fall into the wrong hands, you need a VPN. Short for “virtual private network”, it's a service that you can run on your PC, smartphone or router to encrypt all your internet traffic and forward it to its destination through a secure server, normally outside of the UK.

This means no-one can see what you're doing online – not even your ISP can see which websites you browse, which videos you watch, which items you buy and so forth. Using a VPN can also unlock websites and streaming services that aren't normally available to us Brits by making apps and websites think you're in the country where your chosen VPN server is located.

The best VPN services offer thousands of servers spread all over the world, so you can conceal your identity and disguise your location.

Best VPNs: At a glance

How to choose the best VPN for you

How does a VPN work?

When you first launch a VPN app on your PC or mobile device, you'll be prompted to select a country or server. Most VPNs will default to a server near to where you live to ensure you get the fastest possible connection. As soon as you connect, you'll get instant anonymity with little or no impact on your browsing speed.

If you prefer, you can choose a server in a different country. This makes it even harder for anyone to track your activity, and it can also let you access websites and streaming services that are blocked in your country. For example, if you choose a VPN server in the US, you can access US-only content such as HBO Max, Hulu and the American Netflix library.

A VPN can also open up access to sites that your ISP has blocked for whatever reason, or content that's not available in regions with high levels of internet censorship such as China. And if you use BitTorrent to share files, a VPN conceals your identity and protects you against legal issues.

What are the must-have features of a good VPN?

1. No-logs policy

A no-logs policy means that the VPN operator doesn't keep any records of the sites you visit or the data you exchange with them. This ensures your privacy is protected, even if the service suffers a security breach, or is legally compelled to hand over information about its customers. Many free VPN services can't make this promise, as they make their money by selling your personal information to advertisers – for this reason, we'd suggest you be wary of them, although they can be a good way to test the water before you commit to a long-term service.

Conversely, two of our favourite VPNs – ExpressVPN and NordVPN – have not only made this commitment, they've gone a step further and had their services audited by the Big Four auditing firms, who have independently confirmed that they don't log or store any identifiable user data.

2. Encryption

Security is everything when it comes to using a VPN. We only recommend services that use at least AES 256-bit encryption. That’s the same level of security most government agencies use to protect classified data.

3. Speed

Routing your internet connection through other countries naturally has an impact on speed. How much of an impact depends on a few variables: our favourite VPN providers make big investments in powerful servers and fast connections to ensure that their services don't slow your browsing to a crawl. We found that ExpressVPN, to name one example, barely slowed us down even when connecting to servers based in the US and Australia.

4. Access streaming services and geo-blocked websites

Some video-streaming services and other sites try to detect and block connections from outside of their home country. A good VPN should be able to get around this and let you access whatever you want to watch: we test every VPN with a variety of services to see which can successfully unblock foreign services like Netflix US, and we try BBC iPlayer and other British sites to check that you can watch UK shows while you're abroad. CyberGhost is a standout service here – it has a long list of dedicated streaming servers, which can help you access video services all around the world with one click.

5. Simultaneous connections

All VPNs let you connect from more than one device – that's handy if you want to keep the VPN running on your phone, as well as on a desktop computer or smart TV. All of our top VPNs can be used on a minimum of five devices simultaneously, and some (such as Surfshark VPN) allow unlimited simultaneous connections. If you have the right hardware, it's also often possible to install a VPN on your router to protect all your home devices in one go, although this does mean they all have to go through the same server.

6. 24/7 customer support

A VPN is a paid-for service, and you're entitled to expect decent customer support. All our top VPNs offer online tutorials to help you get the best from their features and 24/7 customer support is on hand – normally via live web chat – in case you need help with anything at any time of the day.

How we test

Every VPN we review is subjected to rigorous first-hand testing. We start by installing both the desktop and mobile clients, trying out each one’s features and exploring the interfaces for ourselves.

We then test internet performance, using the Google Speed Test tool. We establish a baseline by testing speed with the VPN deactivated, then repeat the test while connected to VPN servers in London, New York and other locations around the world, to see how upload and download speeds are affected.

Next, we try a range of video streaming sites, including Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer and Now TV; on desktop platforms we launch each site in the browser, while on mobile devices we use the dedicated app. We test whether it’s possible to access US-only content by connecting through a server in the US, and we also test whether British sites are accessible when using a server in the UK – if so, that means you can use the VPN to watch iPlayer and other services from abroad. Remember, though, streaming services can update their region-locking systems without warning, so no VPN is guaranteed to work 100% of the time.

Finally, we use online tools such as DNS Leak Test to confirm that the VPN isn’t revealing any information about our DNS requests, as this could compromise your privacy. All of these tests are taken into account in our ratings and recommendations.

READ NEXT: Best VPNs with a free trial

The best VPNs to buy

1. NordVPN: The best all-round VPN

Price: £66 for 24 months (£3/mth) | Buy now from NordVPN

NordVPN is based in Panama, well beyond the reach of any authorities that might want to snoop on your activities. Naturally, it also has a no-logging policy and has put itself through two independent audits in recent years to confirm its trustworthiness. There's built-in ad and malware blocking too, for the best possible browsing experience.

The service is exceptionally fast. Using a 200Mbits/sec fibre line, we were impressed to see download speeds of 182Mbits/sec from NordVPN's US servers. And, once connected, we had no problem accessing US content from Netflix and Disney+, meaning this is also a top choice for video streamers.

With servers in 59 different countries it's very likely you'll be able to find a connection that suits, and there are also dedicated servers for anonymous file sharing over BitTorrent. Best of all, it's very reasonably priced: we have an exclusive reader offer that gets you two years of service for just £65.86, equivalent to just £2.74 per month.

Read our full NordVPN review for more details

Key specs – Independent no-logs audit: Yes; Maximum simultaneous connections: 6; 24/7 customer support: Yes; Streaming service access: Yes; Money-back guarantee: 30 days; Based in: Panama

Get a MASSIVE 68% off a two-year plan with NordVPN

NordVPN is our favourite all-around VPN service and currently there's a huge 68% off when you purchase its two-year plan. With built-in ad and malware blocking, there's a lot to love about its service, but even if you don't NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee to give you complete peace of mind.
Was £212 for two years
Now £66 for two years

2. ExpressVPN: The best VPN for streaming

Price: £76 for 12 months (£5/mth) | Buy now from ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN provides almost everything you could ask for in a VPN: it offers more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries around the world and is fast enough to stream multiple 4K videos at once, even from the US.

It also did an excellent job of unblocking streaming services for us, letting us enjoy the US libraries of Disney+ and Netflix as well as several UK services without a hitch.

Perhaps one of ExpressVPN's greatest strengths is security. It's based in the British Virgin Islands, so it's well outside the jurisdiction of the UK, EU, US or any other major body. It also maintains a strict zero-log policy.

Our exclusive reader offer gets you 15 months for just over £5 a month, making this not only a very versatile VPN but a very affordable one too.

Read our full ExpressVPN review for more details

Key specs – Independent no-logs audit: Yes; Maximum simultaneous connections: 5; 24/7 customer support: Yes; Streaming service access: Yes; Money-back guarantee: 30 days; Based in: British Virgin Islands

3. Surfshark: The best-value VPN

Price: £45 for 24 months (£2/mth) | Buy now from Surfshark

If you're turned off by the cost of high-end VPN services, give Surfshark a look. It's a fully featured VPN that's terrifically cheap: an annual subscription costs a very reasonable £45, and the second year is free for new subscribers, so a 24-month subscription works out to less than £1.90 a month. Even better, there's no limit on the number of simultaneous connections, so you can use it on as many devices as you want.

Despite the low price, Surfshark is fast – in our tests, we found it had enough bandwidth to let us simultaneously stream multiple 4K movies from US servers. It had no problem unblocking the American libraries of Disney+ and Netflix either, and boasts support for a wide range of streaming content across 15 different countries, including the popular Indian service Hotstar.

Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark operates out of the British Virgin Islands, so your data is kept well away from European authorities – and the obligatory no-log policy means that nothing is stored about your activity anyway.

If there's one catch with Surfshark it's that, once your 24-month deal expires, the price effectively doubles. But the market might look quite different by then anyway: if you're looking for a VPN with an emphasis on value, Surfshark is an easy winner.

Read our full Surfshark VPN review for more details

Key specs – Independent no-logs audit: No; Maximum simultaneous connections: Unlimited; 24/7 customer support: Yes; Streaming service access: Yes; Money-back guarantee: 30 days; Based in: British Virgin Islands

Save a GIGANTIC 82% on the two-year Surfshark plan

Among all the VPNs currently on offer, Surfshark is the cheapest when you choose its two-year deal plan. It's also the only VPN service where a single subscription works on unlimited devices, making this a truly outstanding deal. And, best of all, you're protected by a 30-day moneyback guarantee while also getting three months of free protection.
Surfshark VPN
Was £10/mnth
Now £2/mnth

4. The most feature-packed VPN

Price: £100 for 24 months (£4/mth) | Buy now from

A great roster of features sets apart from the crowd. It offers specialised servers for streaming video from countries around the world, including Turkey and Japan, and a customisable multi-hop function that lets you route your data through multiple territories, to defeat even the most determined snoops.

We didn't find it to be quite the fastest VPN around, but we still measured downstream speeds of 77Mbits/sec when connected to's New York server – around three times what you need to stream 4K HDR movies. And while we weren't able to get BBC iPlayer or other British services, Netflix and Disney+ happily showed us their US libraries.

Since is based in Malaysia, it's well outside European and US jurisdiction, and the company insists that it doesn't store any user data. If you sign up for a two-year subscription, it costs the equivalent of £4 per month, which lets you connect up to ten devices at once. Unusually, there's also a free service, though it offers a limited selection of servers and only lets you transfer a maximum of 10GB a month.

Read our full VPN review for more details

Key specs – Independent no-logs audit: Yes; Maximum simultaneous connections: 10; 24/7 customer support: No; Streaming service access: Yes; Money-back guarantee: 30 days; Based in: Malaysia

Save a MASSIVE £160 on the two-year plan has knocked a vast £160 off the price of its two-year VPN plan, while throwing in two months of usage for free. For peace of mind, you're also covered by the company's 30-day money-back guarantee.
Was £260 for two years
Now £100 for two years

5. CyberGhost VPN: The most user-friendly VPN

Price: £56 for 24 months (£2/mth) | Buy now from CyberGhost

CyberGhost VPN has a fairly simple PC client interface with only a basic on/off switch, but expand the toolbar and you'll discover a world of possibilities. We like that it displays your distance to specific servers and its current load percentage – the higher the distance/load, the slower the connection. Most people these days use VPNs for torrenting and streaming and CyberGhost has handy options specifically for those tasks. Servers are marked for specific streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, YouTube and ESPN, and all these work as advertised. Useful additional extras include the option to block ads, malicious websites and online tracking.

Its app looks similar to the PC client, which means there's no learning curve involved. Apps also retain the PC client's best features, including the option to access streaming services and mark servers as favourites for easy access. Its killswitch is turned on by default so your browsing activity won't leak if the VPN accidentally disconnects. Unusually, CyberGhost's servers are all physically located in the country/area they claim to be, unlike other VPN services, which sometimes have virtual servers. The service automatically chooses the best VPN protocol based on the device you're using.

Perhaps the biggest selling point here, however, is the incredibly generous 45-day money-back guarantee. Pair this with CyberGhost's competitively low prices on longer subscriptions and you'll see that you have very little to lose. It's perfect for dipping your toe into the water of VPNs.

Read our full CyberGhost VPN review for more details

Key specs – Independent no-logs audit: No; Maximum simultaneous connections: 7; 24/7 customer support: Yes; Streaming service access: Yes; Money-back guarantee: 45 days; Based in: Romania

Save a MAMMOTH 76% off two-year VPN plan with CyberGhost

You can grab a gob-smacking 76% off CyberGhost's two-year VPN plan, saving you £183. CyberGhost is so confident you'll love their VPN that there's a 45-day money-back guarantee in case you ever change your mind.
Was £240 for two years
Now £56 for two years

6. Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN: The best VPN for expert users

Price: £65 for 36 months (£2/mth) | Buy now from Private Internet Access

Better known as PIA, Private Internet Access VPN has been around for almost a decade. This shows in a well-rounded product that can be instantly installed on multiple devices. Unlike other services on this list, you can use it on a generous ten devices at the same time, making it an ideal option for a family to secure their browsing. PIA VPN has over 3,000 servers in 30 countries, mainly concentrated in North America and Europe, with three locations in the UK. While it has a strict no-logs policy and speedy connections, it doesn't have 24/7 customer support, so we couldn't feature it higher up this list.

Its Windows client has a good balance between features, speed and ease of use. Even though it's easy enough for first-timers to simply install it and start enjoying its many benefits, we like that it has several options that will appeal to more technical users. This includes a configurable killswitch and an advanced PIA Mace feature that blocks domains used for ads, trackers and malware. You can also set up split-tunnelling to choose which apps only use the VPN.

Read our full Private Internet Access review for more details

Key specs – Independent no-logs audit: No; Maximum simultaneous connections: 10; 24/7 customer support: No; Streaming service access: Yes; Money-back guarantee: 30 days; Based in: US

Save 83% on the PIA three-year plan

A single Private Internet Access subscription covers ten devices and you can now take advantage of this offer, which gives you an additional saving when you choose the three-year plan. Like the other top VPNs above, it also comes with a 30-day moneyback guarantee.
Private Internet Access
Was £390 for three years
Now £65 for three years

7. StrongVPN: The best basic VPN

Price: $44 for 12 months | Buy now from StrongVPN

StrongVPN may not boast of the same features as the other VPNs on this list in terms of speed, servers and functions, but if you're looking for a simple VPN that's easy to use, look no further. All you need to do is sign up, download the app, enter your credentials and you're ready to go. So many other VPN services can make this initial setup process a chore.

In terms of coverage, StrongVPN has servers in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and most of western Europe, but if you're looking to gain access to streaming services in Africa or India, you better look elsewhere. In terms of streaming services, StrongVPN is great for streaming US or UK Netflix and even other US-based services like Comedy Central, but we did have a problem accessing BBC iPlayer from the UK when we last checked. Apart from that, it has all the basics – such as customer support, speeds and protocols – well covered.

Read our full StrongVPN review for more details

Key specs – Independent no-logs audit: No; Maximum simultaneous connections: 12; 24/7 customer support: Yes; Streaming service access: Most; Money-back guarantee: 30 days; Based in: US

Save $44 on a one-year StrongVPN plan

StrongVPN has carved a healthy $44 off the price of its one-year VPN plan, reducing it to just $44. To sweeten the deal, you're also getting 250GB of SugarSync cloud storage and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Was $88
Now $44

8. IPVanish: The best VPN for downloading torrents

Price: $45 for 12 months ($4/mth) | Buy now from IPVanish

Most VPN services let you choose which country or location you want to connect to within a neat screen. We like that IPVanish takes this a step further by letting you choose your country, city and even individual server if you want. If you want to keep things simple, you can just choose the country and leave the other two to Best City and Best Server. Alternatively, if you prefer a graphical map-based interface, you'll see the option to zoom into the city that you can select.

IPVanish's big drawback is that it doesn't bypass most geo-blocked content, which means you won't be able to access BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime or Hulu and need to talk to customer support to check which US servers unblock Netflix access. HBO and YouTube are a little more forgiving and the VPN compensates a little by letting you install it on Kodi and use it to download torrents.

It's protected by highly secure AES 256 encryption and uses OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocols, keeping it on par with other reputed VPNs. IPVanish supports a generous ten multiple connections and there's 24/7 customer support. When we first reviewed it, there was only a seven-day money-back guarantee, but this has now been increased to 30 days, bringing it on par with the other good VPNs on our list.

Read our full IPVanish review for more details

Key specs – Independent no-logs audit: No; Maximum simultaneous connections: 10; 24/7 customer support: Yes; Streaming service access: No; Money-back guarantee: 30 days; Based in: USA

Buy IPVanish now

9. HMA VPN: The best UK-based VPN

Price: £69 for 24 months (£3/mth) | Buy now from HMA

If you fancy a bit of virtual globe-trotting, HMA VPN is for you. It claims to have servers in more than 190 countries, meaning there's only a handful of nations where you can't browse the web like a local. While the list of exit nodes may seem a little overwhelming, the software is simple and friendly to use. Performance is merely decent, however: connecting via the US saw us attain only 57% of our regular UK download speeds.

A single subscription lets you use the service on five devices at the same time. The company's based here in the UK, which isn't the best thing when it comes to VPNs because most developed worldwide countries have a contract to share data if needed for security reasons. If you're concerned about your privacy, it might be worth looking at one of the options above instead.

Read our full HMA VPN review for more details

Key specs – Independent no-logs audit: No; Maximum simultaneous connections: 5; 24/7 customer support: No; Streaming service access: Yes; Money-back guarantee: 30 days; Based in: UK

Save a cool 64% on a two-year HMA VPN plan

Our best UK-based VPN just got a lot cheaper, with HMA reducing its two-year plan to a mere £69 from £192. There's also a three-year option that will save you even more, with 70% off the usual price of £288 to make it £86. All of HMA's plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Was £192 for two years
Now £69 for two years

10. PureVPN: The best VPN for advanced users

Price: $48 for 24 months ($2/mth) | Buy now from PureVPN

Normally sending your traffic halfway around the world has a major impact on the speed of your internet connection. Thankfully, using PureVPN we were able to download files via the company's New York server at almost 90% of the speed of our regular UK connection, which is commendable. We were also very happy to find that the service let us access different streaming services including US Netflix, Disney+, BBC Player, HBO and others.

It's based in Hong Kong, which doesn't have any data-sharing arrangements with the British authorities, so you can expect a good degree of privacy, too. One thing we were disappointed with is its interface, which looks overwhelming and dated compared to other services on this list. It's also a little more complex to navigate, meaning it's definitely not the best service if you haven't used a VPN before.

Read our full PureVPN review for more details

Key specs – Independent no-logs audit: No; Maximum simultaneous connections: 5; 24/7 customer support: Yes; Streaming service access: Yes; Money-back guarantee: 31 days; Based in: Hong Kong

Get a GIGANTIC 82% off PureVPN's two-year plan

PureVPN has an eye-boggling deal for you: $215, or 82%, off the price of its two-year plan. Sign up quickly to avoid disappointment and there's a 31-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind.
Was $263 for two years
Now $48 for two years

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