Ranked: The 3 Best VPN on the Planet in 2020 (Based on Anonymity, Security & Speed)
Despite all the research I did into VPNs prior to diving into them, I felt as if my eyes had been opened only after experiencing each one personally. Some VPN service providers offer money-back guarantees or free trials (no harm asking even if they don’t offer it openly). Take advantage of that to test out the service.
Believe me, you will appreciate it before sinking in $100 into a 3-year deal.
While there are literally dozens of comprehensive reviews around, computer systems are a fickle thing and having two, associated tech things (your PC and a VPN service) work with each other out of the box can result in strange happenings.
Even worse if you’re in a different time zone from where the VPN technical support team is and 6 to 12 hours has to pass between each emailed response.
Yet here, I’ve done my level best to share with you all of the trials and tribulations I faced in assessing the top 3 VPNs in 2020.
How Do We Choose The Best VPN?
I have spent months testing each of our top 3 in detail and that’s what cumulates into #5 (User experience). Let’s have a look at them all though;
- Speed Obviously, you need to expect a bit of a speed drop when using any VPN, but I’ve found that the best usually only cost you perhaps a 5% to 10% extra in overhead.
- Availability The more countries a VPN is in and the greater number of servers it has the better, believe me. Some will be in countries that have terrible speeds, some will be overloaded, so with more, you’ll have more options.
- Anonymity & Security As a rule of thumb, higher security protocols tend to lower speeds. However, I also look at logging policies, evidence of leaks, detection prevention and other small line items. Even anonymous payment methods are scrutinized.
- Customer Service A less than ideal experience with NordVPN customer service dropped it down form 2nd to 3rd place. That’s how important customer service is. It can make or break an otherwise fantastic deal.
- User Experience At the end of the day, if a service hits all the right spots and checks all the right boxes, you may just feel uncomfortable with it for some unknown reason. I find that these feelings are usually accurate, or at the very least, worth saying no to a service over.
Without further ado, here is the list of top VPN providers:
- Over 5,000 servers
- Obfuscated servers
- Secures up to 6 devices
- No logging policy
- Multi-hop available
"One of the most powerful yet well-priced VPN services around, NordVPN is a top choice."
To me, NordVPN was a little bit of a difficult decision. On my first go-around, I felt that everything was going a little too smoothly. It was fast, easy to use – basically like a well-oiled machine.
Then I realized that was because everything I was seeing was basically an idiot-proof setup. Just click and go, that’s all. For the pros, tweakable features still exist, so don’t worry about that.
- PGP Keys Increase Customer Communication Security
Aside from multiple protocols and 256-bit encryptions, NordVPN even uses PGP keys to secure communications with their customers. To my knowledge, PGP is pretty much unbreakable, so that’s an added privacy bonus. Oh, and you can pay anonymously with Cryptocurrency as well.
- Double VPN
Instead of just bouncing off one VPN server, NordVPN can route you through two! How’s that for paranoia? For a VPN service, this is an advantage, but personally (and this is just me I mean) I think it’s a bit excessive.
- Massive Number of Servers
With well over 5,000 servers deployed, wherever you are, NordVPN has you covered. Literally.
- 3-Year Plan at Only $3.49 per Month
That’s one of the lowest prices I’ve seen a reputable commercial VPN go for and that’s the truth. You might find a cheaper service but not at these levels of performance. Unfortunately, this price is only available if you sign up with NordVPN for 3 years, which might be a bit of a long stretch for some.
The Downside: Some Slow Locations
With such a huge spread of servers, a few hiccups isn’t surprising. What makes it annoying is that slower servers can be remarkably so. For example, their Malaysia server is local for me and it’s practically unusable.
Read our in-depth NordVPN review to find out why it’s our #1 VPN!
- Consistent speed
- Great pricing
- Unlimited connections
- Shadowsocks protocol
- Support many platforms
"Surfshark is a newer service that has really got its act together in terms of both performance & price."
Surfshark may be quite new – it was only introduced in late 2018 – but it certainly is a service provider to keep a close eye on. Maintaining an excellent entry price point of only $1.99 per month for their two-year plan it poses a serious challenge to industry veterans.
- Shadowsocks Protocol
Where many VPN providers are beginning to give up on the China market, Surfshark still maintains hope here with their inclusion of the Shadowsocks protocol. This is supposedly able to get you over the Great Firewall of China and may be the last bastion of privacy on the mainland.
- Consistent Speeds
Surfshark has a decent network of over 1,700 servers spread across 60-odd countries. Among top-tier VPN providers, that isn’t overly much. However, it makes up for this by offering solid performance all-round.
- Multiple Payment Types Accepted
While you can pay via most traditional forms such as credit cards, Surfshark introduces new concept payments such as Google Pay, Amazon Pay and Alipay. For the more paranoid you can also opt for cryptocurrency as well.
- Unlimited Connections
This is the first high-performing service which I’ve come across to be so generous. Most VPN will restrict you to a certain number of connections. That goes out the door with Surfshark, so run as many as you want at the same time.
The Downside: It’s a Newbie!
In the field of security, reputation means a lot since you need to be able to trust the provider who you are hoping will keep you safe. Being relatively new in the market, Surfshark simply hasn’t the street cred yet to buy it an automatic pass into trust.
See our full Surfshark review to find out more!
- No logging policy
- Over 6,000+ servers
- 256-bit AES encryption
- 45-day money back
- Dedicated streaming servers
"CyberGhost is a well-known name and they have vastly improved their service over the years."
CyberGhost offers a service that is pretty solid all-round. This ranges from their technical specifications to the very attractive price it goes for. To top it all off, performance has also increased remarkably over the years.
- Over 6,400 Servers Available
In terms of sheer grit alone, this number should let you know that CyberGhost is serious about their service. If you’re looking for a VPN with a big range of possible connection locations – this is hands down the one for you.
- Works With Netflix
Since many video streaming services lock content by region, using a VPN is a great way to simply get more for your money. CyberGhost has been tried and tested to work with a number of services like Netflix.
- Top-Notch Encryption
For those more interested in security over privacy, CyberGhost boasts the use of 256-bit encryption. This keeps your information safe from threats like data miners and hackers. You can connect with freedom to any sites you like.
- NoSpy Servers
CyberGhost has a special set of NoSpy servers which it maintains under strict control. Only they access the hardware and software on these, and they guard them zealously. NoSpy servers support P2P activities as well.
The Downside: A Few Lame Ducks
Similar to NordVPN, having such a massive server pool can be a bit of a double-edged sword. It takes a huge amount of dedication to upkeep this equipment to the maximum, so at times you may find some slower connections on CyberGhost.
Head over to our complete CyberGhost review for more information!
Best of The Rest
If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, take a look at these other VPN brands. We’ve gathered a list of other high-quality service providers for you to check out:
Premium pricing for excellent speed, security, privacy and features.
Designed specifically for P2P file sharing users.
Though based in the US, it offers fair speed & features.
Decent quality & features with secure email services.
Fuss-free VPN that is reliable with great security.
Great for those looking for strong security & wide coverage.
A budget-friendly VPN with decent security & speed.
If you are looking for a specialty VPN, here are some “Best VPN” lists that you might find handy:
Best VPN Series
The best VPN Chrome extension to secure your browsing activities.
The best VPN for Australians looking for privacy.
Remain anonymous online for Canadians.
Who could be the best VPN provider for British?
Roam the internet freely in India with the best VPN.
The best VPN for Indonesia-based users (in English).
VPN terbaik untuk pengguna berbasis di Indonesia (dalam Bahasa ID).
Best for Malaysians accessing content on the other side of the globe.
Stay anonymous online with a VPN for New Zealand users.
Reclaim privacy with a VPN for Singaporeans.
Get the internet speed you paid for with VPN (In Vietnamese)!
Protect yourself with VPN on the internet in the Philippines.
Bottomline: Which VPN Should I Go For?
If you notice my comments for the top 3 VPNs listed here, I’m sure all of you are probably thinking: “Each has their own merits”. You would be correct in this thought. While I do have preferences for some over others, everyone’s needs are unique, and each person’s setup varies.
My advice to you would be to take your own needs into account, be it greater anonymity or security, or even perhaps a preference for a very pro-P2P VPN service provider.
Finally, discard your concerns over pricing. In the case of VPNs, you’re paying for a very niche and yet key service. Price should be the least of your considerations, especially since for the most part, the best VPNs are closely matched in price.