In my testing over the years, Surfshark consistently has some of the best speeds of any VPN I’ve used. Yes, it’s slower than not using a VPN, but I never had any problems streaming HD content via Surfshark. It’s fast enough that in most cases you won’t notice any speed degradation.
Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands which, although technically a UK territory, is generally considered a safe haven and has no data retention laws. What I don’t like is that Surfshark has not been legally tested. The company has a no-logs policy and you can (and should) opt out of in-app diagnostic problem reporting. However, you’re listening to Surfshark when it says it won’t keep a log of your internet activity. Encouragingly, the company’s browser extensions have gone through an independent security audit that doesn’t create any significant problems.
Surfshark recently merged with NordVPN. So far, we haven’t noticed any changes for our customers, but we’ll be monitoring it going forward.
Best for advanced users
Another thing I like is Mullvad’s system for accepting cash payments. If you want complete anonymity, you can generate a random account number, write the number on a piece of paper and send it along with cash to Sweden. In theory, no one should be able to connect you to that account. (The real paranoid would wear a tin hat, wear gloves, print from a public printer, and send mail from a remote mailbox.) I haven’t tested the cash option, but I recently extended my Mullvad subscription. mine with bitcoins and it works without bucket.
Part of what I like about Mullvad is its down-to-earth approach to its marketing and helping users take extra steps to protect their privacy. For example, the company has an entire page that shows you how disable WebRTC in your web browser. As long as WebRTC is enabled (and it is the default in most browsers), websites can see your real IP address even if you use a VPN.
Mullvad offers apps for every major platform, as well as routers. All apps are open source and you can check out the code yourself on GitHub. Service has been independent audit also. Advanced users can download configuration files and use them directly with OpenVPN or Wireguard.
In my testing, the speed was very good. I’ve never had a case where I couldn’t connect quickly. Over the years, Mullvad has been the VPN I trust every day.
Best for VPN Newbies
Choosing a VPN can be difficult. If you’re tired of the lock icons and security mumbo, TunnelBear might be the VPN for you. Its cute bear animations help shed light on what VPNs do, how they work, and what they can offer you. Sometimes, the easiest way to make technology more accessible is to put a friendly face on it.