In my testing over the years, Surfshark has consistently had the best speeds of any VPN I’ve used. Yes, it’s slower than not using a VPN, but I’ve never had any issues streaming HD content through Surfshark. It’s fast enough that you won’t notice any slowdowns at all in most situations.
Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, which, although technically a British territory, is generally considered a safe haven and has no data retention laws. What I don’t like is that Surfshark is not legally tested. The company has a zero-logs policy, and you can (and should) opt out of diagnostic crash reporting in the app. Still, when Surfshark says it doesn’t keep logs of your internet activity, you still believe it.Encouragingly, the company’s browser extension has experienced Independent Security Audit This didn’t present any major issues.
Surfshark recently merged with NordVPN. So far, we haven’t noticed any changes in its customers, but we’ll continue to monitor it as it evolves.
Best for advanced users
Another thing I like is Mullvad’s system of accepting cash payments. If you want complete anonymity, you can generate a random account number, write the number on a slip of paper, and mail it to Sweden along with cash. In theory, no one can connect you to that account. (The real paranoid would put on a tinfoil hat, put on gloves, print from a public printer, send mail from a remote mailbox.) I haven’t tested the cash option, but I did extend my Mullvad subscription using bitcoin recently, and it’s in Not tethered.
Part of what I love about Mullvad is its down-to-earth approach, not overly hyping its marketing, and helping users take extra steps to protect their privacy.For example, the company has an entire page showing you how Disable WebRTC in your web browser. As long as WebRTC is enabled (most browsers do it by default), websites can see your actual IP address even if you use a VPN.
Mullvad provides apps for every major platform as well as routers. The apps are all open source, and you can check out the code yourself on GitHub.The service has independent audit Too.Advanced users can Download configuration file and use them directly with OpenVPN or Wireguard.
In my tests, the speed was very good. I’ve never had a situation where I couldn’t connect quickly. Over the years, Mullvad has become my daily reliance on the VPN.
Best for VPN newbies
Choosing a VPN can be overwhelming. If you’re tired of giant and locked icons for security, TunnelBear might be the VPN for you. Its cute little bear animation helps demystify what VPNs do, how they work, and what they can offer you. Sometimes the easiest way to make technology more approachable is to put a friendly face on it.