TechnologyBest VPN services 2021: Reviews and rankings

Best VPN services 2021: Reviews and rankings

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Choosing the right virtual private network (VPN) service is no simple task. A VPN should keep your internet usage private and secure, but not every service handles your data in the same way. 

Rest assured, we’ve done the legwork to determine if a VPN service has a history of good or bad behavior. A service has to protect online privacy; allow you to keep anonymity; offer a good variety of locations from which to direct your traffic; offer fast, reliable performance; and provide an easy-to-use interface.

Scroll to the bottom of this article to learn more about VPNs and what to look for when choosing one. (Or check out Macworld’d roundup of the best VPN for Macs.)

Updated 9/13/21 to include our review of the latest Mullvad VPN, which has the same great level of privacy as before, but now offers even more features and expands its number of servers, ensuring it remains one of our top picks. See links to all of our VPN reviews at the bottom of this article.

Best VPN overall

It’s hard to select the best overall VPN. Some services are weaker on privacy, but are significantly easier to use, while others could stand an interface redesign.

Nevertheless, the point of a VPN is to remain private and to have your internet activity kept as private as possible. For that reason, we’re choosing Mullvad as the best overall VPN (see our full review of Mullvad). The latest version continues to do a great job at privacy. Mullvad doesn’t ask for your email address, and you can mail your payment in cash if you want to. Like many other VPNs, Mullvad has a no-logging policy and doesn’t even collect any identifying metadata from your usage.

Mullvad is also fast, though not the fastest VPN we’ve tested. Last year, we said if Mullvad added a more user-friendly interface it would be nearly unbeatable and that is definitely the state of affairs at this writing.

Runner-up

If you like Mullvad’s focus on privacy, but want a service with more features take a look at OVPN. This service offers solid speeds, and it has excellent methods for protecting user privacy. On top of that, OVPN officially supports Netflix streaming for the U.S., Germany, and Sweden, and annual subscribers get its multi-hop feature for free. It’s expensive, and the country list is smaller than many services, but its approach to privacy is very interesting and hard to beat. (See our full review of OVPN).



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