It is good to seek protection online due to widespread hacking, internet censorship, and surveillance. Fortunately, a virtual private network (VPN) uses encryption and other security features to safeguard your online privacy. But you must ensure to use the most secure VPN only to stay safe.
Nonetheless, using a VPN is helpful in other ways too, apart from keeping you safe online. For example, it helps you bypass geo-blocks of popular streaming sites to enjoy your favorite content. Also, you can torrent anonymously if it supports P2P sharing. But of course, your privacy and safety come on top. Hence, you need to be specific about choosing a VPN service.
This article has compiled the best secure VPNs after thorough research and testing. So, be assured that the providers below prioritize users’ privacy and security.
Quick list of the most secure VPNs
Are you in a hurry to pick the safest VPN? Then, check out this quick list of the top VPNs with the best security features.
- NordVPN – The best-encrypted VPN on this list. It is highly secure and does not compromise on performance or speed.
- ExpressVPN – Fastest and secure VPN option. Most of its servers are super-fast, and the encryption is well-implemented.
- Private Internet Access – Extensive server network and excellent security. It has more than 20,000 servers and is packed with impressive features.
- ProtonVPN – A secure no-logs VPN. The provider uses the latest security features such as AES 256-bit encryption, WireGuard protocol, and Secure Core servers.
- Surfshark – Value for money and highly encrypted VPN. It allows you to connect unlimited simultaneous devices on a single plan.
Best VPNs with top-notch security- The detailed list
We tested more than 50 VPN services, especially on security and privacy. Here is our compilation of our best secure VPNs.
Top recommendation for all privacy freaks. Its impressive server obfuscation, double VPN, optimized RAM-based server network, and audited no-logs policy make it the most secure VPN of today.
- Solid security and privacy
- Multiple protocols
- Tremendous device compatibility
- Double VPN feature will slow your connection
NordVPN is our top choice most secure VPN. It uses state-of-the-art features such as encryption, two kill switches, and multiple protocols to protect your connections.
Let’s first look at the encryption. The provider uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, virtually impenetrable even with the most powerful computer. Also, it adds perfect forward secrecy to change the encryption key every time you launch the VPN.
Moreover, there are several options available when it comes to security protocols. First, it has NordLynx, a proprietary protocol based on the WireGuard protocol. NordVPN combines it with double NAT because WireGuard isn’t entirely safe. Second, it offers OpenVPN in both UDP and TCP ports. Finally, you can opt for the IKEv2/IPSec protocol since it is more lightweight than OpenVPN, hence a bit faster.
NordVPN is one of the best encrypted VPNs. While IP leaks can still occur even with encrypted VPNs, revealing your identity to third parties, something undesirable to maintain online anonymity, it doesn’t happen with NordVPN. We tested it and did not notice any DNS, IP address, or WebRTC leaks with this service.
Unlike other VPNs, NordVPN offers two kill switches. The first is the internet kill switch that will cut off your internet traffic if the VPN connection drops. This is a great security feature, especially when torrenting or accessing the dark web. The second is the app kill switch that allows you to choose which apps to close if the VPN fails.
This industry veteran is also a credible secure VPN provider. Besides speed, ExpressVPN also warrants watertight security with RAM-based servers, obfuscation technology, and anti-tracking feature.
- Plenty of security features
- Supports torrenting
- Does not keep logs
- A bit expensive
ExpressVPN is a well-established and secure VPN service. It is filled with unique features and does not compromise on speed.
The VPN has outstanding security with features such as AES 256-bit encryption combined with SHA-512 HMAC authentication, 4096-bit RSA key, and AES 256-bit cipher. Also, there is a kill switch (network lock), DNS leak protection, and perfect forward secrecy.
Another reason why we choose ExpressVPN is the strict no-logs policy. It does not retain any private information to maintain your internet privacy. Also, it is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is out of reach by the 14/9/5 Eyes Alliance.
ExpressVPN employs another unique security feature known as TrustedServer technology. It ensures that all its servers run only on random access memory (RAM), not storing any data. Also, the company reboots its servers regularly, which ensures that you remain completely anonymous.
The VPN can unblock content on streaming services globally like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, etc. In addition, ExpressVPN servers are optimized for streaming to enable you to watch movies and TV shows in high definition.
3. Private Internet Access (PIA)
A classic US-based VPN provider that takes no pressure from the governments to compromise users’ security. Its customizable encryption feature is also one-of-its kind.
- Water-tight security
- Massive server network
- Great for torrenting
- Connection issue on some servers
Private Internet Access (PIA) has a long-standing reputation as a secure VPN. In addition, it has customizable encryption, a no-logs policy, and many other fantastic features.
Unlike other VPNs, Private Internet Access (PIA) allows you to customize the encryption level with AES 128 or 256-bit encryption. Also, we didn’t see any DNS, IP, and WebRTC leaks during testing. On top of that, it has a kill switch to break your internet traffic if the VPN connection is interrupted to keep you anonymous.
On the downside, Private Internet Access is headquartered in the US, which is not privacy-friendly. Fortunately, the provider does not store any data that can reveal your identity or location.
It supports P2P sharing and offers unlimited bandwidth, so you can download any torrent you want. In addition, some of the servers are super-fast, and there is also an option to use port forwarding, which can help improve the speeds.
PIA is compatible with almost all operating systems, including macOS, Android, Windows, iOS, and Linux. The VPN offers ten simultaneous connections on a single subscription. However, you can also configure it with your router to add devices that don’t use VPNs like gaming consoles, smart TVs, etc.
A robust Swiss-based VPN that gives top priority to user privacy. Aside from its privacy features and strict no-logs policy, its highly guarded server network is one of its most impressive security traits.
- Multiple simultaneous connections
- Robust encryption
- Excellent customer support
- Some servers are slow
ProtonVPN is a Swiss-based secure VPN service. It employs several measures to protect your security, including military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. Also, the VPN offers various tunneling protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, PPTP, and L2TP/IPSec.
In addition, ProtonVPN is one of the few VPN services that have embraced the WireGuard protocol. This protocol is more stable and faster than its predecessors, but it’s still in the development stage.
Furthermore, the VPN provides a Secure Core feature that routes your traffic through the Secure Core servers located in privacy-friendly jurisdictions like Switzerland. As a result, the weak or vulnerable VPN IPs won’t reveal your identity.
ProtonVPN also offers a perfect forward secrecy feature. It is designed to prevent access to your information or online activities by constantly changing the encryption key. Let’s not forget that it also has DNS/IP leak protection to maintain your privacy.
The best secure VPN to protect your entire family. Its affordable price tags, unlimited simultaneous connections support, and top-notch privacy features, are worth trying for everyone.
- Excellent value for money
- Supports P2P
- 24/7 live chat support
- macOS app lacks some features
Surfshark is another best secure VPN. It is packed with an arsenal of security and privacy features to keep you safe online with value for money.
The VPN offers apps for all platforms, including Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, and Linux. Fortunately, it allows you to connect unlimited simultaneous connections, making it an excellent choice for big households or small businesses.
All the VPN apps have advanced security features such as kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption, and DNS leak protection. In addition, the service has multiple protocols, perfect forward secrecy, and Camouflage Mode (obfuscation servers). Together, these features protect your information and activities from hackers and other third parties.
Keep in mind that Surfshark has a strict zero-logs policy. It means the provider does not retain any identifiable data or do it online.
Surfshark also has impressive unblocking capability, besides keeping it safe and private. So, you will be able to access content on popular streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer from anywhere. In addition, it supports P2P sharing, making it suitable for torrenting.
Do secure VPNs offer sufficient speed?
Yes, all the VPNs recommended above offer adequate speed to handle most tasks, including streaming in HD, online gaming, etc. In fact, we did a speed test, and below are the results so you can see which is the fastest VPN.
|Provider||Average speed||Maximum speed|
|NordVPN||67.85 Mbit/s||81.36 Mbit/s|
|ProtonVPN||54.72 Mbit/s||74.76 Mbit/s|
|Surfshark||50.95 Mbit/s||61.81 Mbit/s|
|ExpressVPN||69.21 Mbit/s||88.54 Mbit/s|
|Private Internet Access||44.85 Mbit/s||46.84 Mbit/s|
What makes the VPN most secure
A VPN can come in handy in many ways, but its primary use is to keep you safe online. So, it is crucial to choose a VPN service that prioritizes internet security and privacy.
Here are some of the features we considered when compiling these VPNs.
The VPN software creates an encrypted tunnel to establish a secure connection with the server. This mechanism is known as the tunneling protocol, which protects your connection by using encryption and other authentication mechanisms.
Here are the most popular VPN protocols you might encounter.
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)
PPTP is one of the oldest VPN protocols as it has been around since Windows 95 and is still widely used. Microsoft developed it to improve a protocol known as Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP). It is effortless to configure and computationally fast, and it can be helpful in applications where speed is necessary, like streaming.
However, the PPTP protocol has severe security vulnerabilities. This is because the underlying authentication protocols like MS-CHAP-v1/v2 are essentially weak and have even been intercepted by hackers. Therefore, you should avoid it if you value your online security.
OpenVPN is an open-source VPN protocol that you will find with the most popular VPNs. The biggest advantage is that security flaws in the code are quickly identified and resolved by the open-source community. Hence, it is a highly secure tunneling protocol, especially if you combine it with a solid encryption algorithm.
Some premium VPNs like ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer OpenVPN protocol with UDP and TCP ports. However, User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is the best port to run the OpenVPN protocol because it doesn’t let the recipient accept the data or resent request information. As a result, it initiates connections and transfers data faster.
On the other hand, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) verifies if the recipient has received the data correctly and can request it again. This mechanism increases reliability but also affects latency significantly.
Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2)
Usually, you will see it indicated as IKEv2/IPsec because it is mainly implemented together with the IPsec encryption.
It is more stable and lightweight than OpenVPN while still maintaining utmost security. The protocol is also fast, so it is well-suited for mobile devices.
The protocol is usually paired with IPsec as it doesn’t have robust authentication and encryption. This combination is secure, but firewalls sometimes block it.
WireGuard is the latest entrant in the VPN protocols space. It is open-source, faster, and more flexible than the older options like OpenVPN and IKEv2. However, it is still being developed and has inherent security risks. Thankfully, some providers like NordVPN have configured it with double NAT technology to improve security.
A VPN encryption converts plaintext into an indecipherable mixture of numbers and letters that can only be decoded with the correct key. This helps protect your private data and traffic from cybercriminals when using the internet.
Most premium VPN providers offer AES 256-bit encryption, which the US government and other security experts worldwide also use. 245-bit implies 2^256 possible combinations, so it is highly secure to withstand brute-force attacks or other cyber security threats.
Data logging practices
Privacysavvy does not consider a VPN secure if the provider retains your connection and traffic logs. That is because it can provide your data to authorities, copyright trolls, and other third parties at a moment’s notice. That is why we only choose VPNs that have a no-logs policy. Unfortunately, some VPNs claim not to keep logs to lure new customers, yet they do it behind the scenes.
A VPN that does not keep identifiable logs will not have any data to hand over when requested. Therefore, rest assured that your online activities will remain completely private and anonymous. Check out our review of the best no-logs VPNs to find the most secure VPNs in this regard.
DNS/WebRTC/IP leak protection
Another fundamental element in VPN security is DNS/IP/WebRTC leak protection.
Usually, your traffic is directed through an encrypted channel when you connect to the internet with a VPN. However, sometimes data bits can leak through, exposing your identity and activities.
Here are some of the common VPN leaks.
DNS request leaks
The domain name system (DNS) translates the domain names of the websites you visit into IP addresses. So, DNS leaks occur when your DNS requests route through your ISP servers instead of the VPN servers. It means that the ISP can easily see what you are doing online.
IP address leaks
IP address leaks occur when IPv4 or IPv6 are exposed to your internet service providers (ISPs).
Most VPNs can conceal older IPv4 addresses. However, problems arise with the IPv6 addresses as they are still newer. Thankfully, you can solve this issue by turning off the IPv6 or using a reliable service like NordVPN that can also hide it.
WebRTC is a valuable technology that makes it easy to make VoIP calls without additional plugins or apps. However, while the technology is incredible, it has some flaws, such as exposing your IP address to the websites you visit. Such exposure can easily reveal your identity or even your location.
Even for the best service like NordVPN, a VPN connection can sometimes drop for whatever reason.
That is why every reliable provider, like NordVPN, keeps you secure if the VPN connection drops. It uses a technology known as a kill switch that will cut your traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly. It will ensure that your actual IP address does not get exposed to all and sundry.
Below are the two main types of kill switches.
Firewall kill switches
A firewall kill switch solves the IP leak issue by redirecting your internet traffic via a VPN interface. As a result, no traffic can leave or enter your device if the VPN is not active.
There are two types of firewall-based kill switches. The first one is configured through the client and will stop functioning if the client crashes. While the second type alters the macOS and Windows firewall rules. Hence, traffic will not enter or exit your device if the VPN software crashes.
Reactive kill switches
A reactive kill switch will shut down your internet connection if it detects the VPN connection is dropped. However, the problem is that your IP address can leak during the micro-seconds the kill switch takes to identify the leak.
Can I get a free secure VPN?
You also have the option to use a free VPN if you don’t have enough money to purchase a subscription. However, remember that most free services have few congested servers, poor security, data restrictions, and slow speeds.
In addition, it is tough to get a reliable and high-quality free VPN. Therefore, ensure you consider certain features if you value your privacy when using a free VPN service. Most of them are useless, have inadequate security, or make money by selling your data. In addition, some free VPNs have intrusive ads that may even contain malware.
Alternatively, you can opt for freemium VPNs instead of entirely free VPNs. These are premium services that offer a free version like Tunnelbear and ProtonVPN. Also, you can check out these best cheap VPNs on the market to find an affordable pick.
Is there a secure mobile VPN app?
All the VPNs recommended above offer dedicated OS and Android apps to protect your online privacy on mobile devices too. These apps safeguard your phones and tablets the same way the VPN provider does on other platforms.
Using a mobile VPN app is an excellent way to protect your online privacy on the go, especially if you connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots. Also, you can check out these iOS and Android VPNs for more information about the best safe VPNs for smartphones.
The easiest way to protect your internet security and privacy is with a secure virtual private network (VPN). It conceals your IP address and encrypts the connection to ensure no one can access your activities or information. NordVPN is our top recommendation as the most secure VPN because of its high-level encryption and other dependable features. Also, its plans are affordable and even offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Usually, your ISP will see that you are using a VPN but not what you are doing online. This is because a VPN uses encryption to hide the data transmitted through your device. Besides, some VPNs also offer obfuscated servers (stealth mode) that make your VPN traffic look like regular traffic. Thus, it becomes difficult for your ISP to detect your VPN use in such cases.
Yes, besides protecting your online security, a VPN can also help you evade geographic restrictions. It will change your IP address when you connect to a server, tricking the streaming services that you are in that country. It means you can stream Netflix libraries in different countries such as the US, the UK, Canada, Japan, etc., from the comfort of your home.
Yes, if you choose the right service. Unfortunately, some VPN providers claim to offer solid security, yet they collect user data in the background. Fortunately, the VPNs on this list are trustworthy and will protect your online security and privacy.
Many VPNs use different techniques to secure data and internet connections. For example, you will find military-grade AES 256-bit encryption on most services. Additional VPN security features include kill switches, double encryption, DNS/IP leak protection, etc.
Yes, you can use it in your business to protect your data and traffic. A VPN offers robust security measures to prevent the ISP, government, and third parties from intercepting your internet connections.
A remote-access VPN allows corporate employees to access and use company resources securely. It creates an encrypted tunnel between the organizational network and the remote user. Essentially, the connection will be virtually private even if the user is in a public location.
Yes, a VPN is a great tool to safeguard your connections when accessing your online bank, especially when using public Wi-Fi. However, you should use a local VPN server because the bank can block your account if you use a remote server.
The police cannot track your VPN traffic. However, it does not permit you to do illegal activities, like stalking or downloading copyrighted content. The authorities can obtain a court order to compel your ISP to hand over your information for prosecution anyway.
It is effortless to know whether your VPN is actually functioning. First, find out your device’s actual IP address before connecting to a VPN. Usually, the VPN should change the IP address to the server you are using. The VPN might have an issue if your IP address does not change after connecting to a VPN server.