Tech

Best VPN Deals 2021: How to Stay Safe and Anonymous Online

Written by Jacob Farmer | September 6, 2021

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In today’s fast-paced digital environment, experts advise everyone to use a virtual private network (or VPN). VPNs encrypt your web traffic and change your IP address, allowing you to remain more anonymous online. There are many reasons to seek this kind of privacy. For one, VPNs protect you from hackers, especially when you’re accessing a public Wi-Fi network, like in a coffee shop or store. They can also hide your activity from marketers and internet providers, and they are especially useful for people in countries with strong internet restrictions or censorship laws.

Which VPN Is Right for You?

Most reputable VPNs, including the ones listed below, offer similar levels of protection in terms of encryption, though they sometimes use different protocols. Among other considerations, what ultimately separates a VPN from its competitor is:

  • Device compatibility
  • Number of servers (and their locations)
  • Pricing

Since everyone’s digital privacy and protection needs are different, we’ve broken down some of the best VPN options available, along with the specific areas they excel in — and the latest top VPN deals offered by each.

Top VPN Deals and Services in 2021

NordVPN

NordVPN — Best VPN for Overall Security

Compatible Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox

Best Deals Today

NordVPN not only uses the industry standard AES-256 encryption, their Double VPN system can be utilized to encrypt users’ internet traffic twice. That extra layer of security is great for users who value privacy over any other feature a VPN service provides. It also has a kill switch that automatically stops your downloads and disconnects you from the internet should you lose connection to the VPN. NordVPN has over 5,300 servers across 60 countries, which is far more than some of its major competitors, like ExpressVPN.

Like most VPN services, you can save more money by choosing a long-term plan over a short one. Right now, Nord is offering their two-year plan for $3.30 a month, plus three months free, which is an excellent deal considering their one-month plan costs $11.95. If you’re worried about committing to such a long-term plan, keep in mind NordVPN comes with a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • Double VPN system
  • Over 5,300 servers

Cons

  • IP addresses are static
  • Split tunneling only available for Windows and Android

Features

  • 24/7 customer support
  • Connect up to six devices simultaneously
  • Kill switch
ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN — Best VPN for Speed and Compatibility

Compatible Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Routers, Smart TVs, Game Consoles

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Express VPN can support virtually any platform, making it a smart choice for someone who wants to protect a wide variety of devices. This not only includes Macs and PCs but also game consoles like the PlayStation 5 and a wide variety of smart TVs. Unlike NordVPN, ExpressVPN has true split tunnelling capabilities, which means you can access both a private network and a public network at the same time. This comes in handy if you need to access, say, your company’s network from a café or library. And while NordVPN may technically have thousands more servers than ExpressVPN, Express VPN has 160 servers in 94 countries. This range of locations helps keep its overall speeds high.

ExpressVPN is more expensive than NordVPN, regardless of which plan you choose. However, ExpressVPN also offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • Servers in 94 countries
  • Runs on virtually any platform

Cons

  • Only supports five simultaneous connections
  • More expensive than other options

Features

  • Kill switch
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Split tunnelling
Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield — Best VPN for Streaming

Compatible Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Routers, Smart TVs

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Hotspot Shield is known for delivering on speed, making it perfect for streaming, gaming or torrenting. It does log VPN sessions though, which might not be ideal for those especially concerned about privacy and potential data breaches.

Both Hotspot’s yearly and monthly plans are more expensive than Nord’s, though they come with a generous 45-day, money-back guarantee. Hotspot Shield also offers family plans with the ability to add five member accounts and connect up to 25 devices.

Pros

  • Great for streaming or gaming
  • Servers in over 73 countries

Cons

  • More logging than some competitors

Features

  • Proprietary Hydra Protocol
ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN — Best Free VPN Option

Compatible Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chromebook, Android TV

Best Deals Today

  • Free plan at ProtonVPN
  • Basic plan for $4 per month
  • Plus plan for $8 per month
  • Visionary plan for $24 per month

ProtonVPN lacks the quantity of servers compared to competitors like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, though it continues to grow by the year. We recommend the Plus package that allows up to 10 simultaneous connections (that’s double the five that ExpressVPN allows). ProtonVPN also has a strict no-log policy and its apps are open source and audited, adding to their overall promise of privacy and transparency.

Additionally, ProtonVPN has one of the best free VPN options out there. Full disclosure: Most free VPNs aren’t really worth using, as they either have prohibitive data caps or log your data. ProtonVPN’s free service actually has the same no-logging policy and unlimited data usage as its paid options. The cons? You’ll only be able to access the VPN on one device, and the number of servers drops to a mere 23.

Pros

  • Based in Switzerland (strong privacy laws)
  • 10 simultaneous connections with Plus package

Cons

  • Fewer servers than competitors
  • Expensive pricing

Features

  • Kill switch
  • No-log policy
Surfshark

Surfshark — Best VPN for Unlimited Devices

Compatible Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Smart TVs, Chrome, Firefox

Best Deals Today

Surfshark offers unlimited (yes, unlimited!) simultaneous connections at a hard-to-beat price. For just $2.49 a month, you can get a two-year plan that comes with top-notch security features like a kill switch and multi-hop, which sends your internet traffic through servers in multiple countries at the same time. Surfshark also has a Camouflage Mode that prevents your internet provider from knowing you’re using a VPN. And like many other VPNs, Surfshark comes with a 30-day trial period.

Pros

  • Lower cost with 2-year plan
  • Unlimited devices
  • Easy-to-use interface

Cons

  • Not as fast as major competitors
  • No 1-year plan

Features

  • Strict no-log policy
  • Kill switch
  • Camouflage mode
StrongVPN

StrongVPN — Best Cheap VPN

Compatible Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Routers, Fire TV

Best Deals Today

  • 1-year plan for $3.33 per month (for first year)
  • 1-month plan for $10.99 per month

StrongVPN touts its use of the newer WireGuard VPN protocol, which is generally considered to be faster and simpler than OpenVPN. Of course, the relative lack of servers and locations probably limits its overall speed. On the plus side, StrongVPN allows up to 12 simultaneous connections and comes with 250 GB of SugarSync cloud storage. And while its monthly plan of $10.99 isn’t significantly lower than competitors, its 1-year plan adds up to only $3.33 a month.

Pros

  • 12 simultaneous connections
  • 250 GB free cloud storage

Cons

  • Less servers than most competitors

Features

  • No-log policy
  • WireGuard VPN Protocol
Norton Secure VPN

Norton Secure VPN — Best VPN for Customer Service

Compatible Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS

Best Deals Today

Norton is well known for its antivirus software and overall presence in the cybersecurity community, so it’s no surprise they offer a VPN service. Unfortunately, it doesn’t match its major competitors in terms of compatibility. It’s only available on Windows, the Android, the Mac, and iOS — and its kill switch feature doesn’t exist for Macs, iOS or PCs.

Despite these limitations, Norton is backed by its decades-long trusted reputation and its robust customer service, which includes 24/7 live phone support. Its annual plan for five devices is also reasonably priced at $39.99 for the first year and is less expensive than ExpressVPN and Hotspot Shield.

Pros

  • AES-256 encryption
  • 60-day, money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Limited platform options
  • Less macOS and iOS functionality

Features

  • Multi-hop
  • 24/7 live customer phone support
PureVPN

PureVPN — Best VPN for International Travel

Compatible Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Routers, Smart TVs, Chrome, Firefox, Game Consoles

Best Deals Today

PureVPN not only uses industry-standard AES-256 encryption, it also provides a kill switch and offers a dedicated IP address for an additional $2.99. This means you won’t be sharing an IP address with other users; this significantly decreases the chance a website would recognize and block your IP address.

Where PureVPN really shines is in its sheer number of servers and locations across the world. This makes it an apt choice for people who travel a lot, especially to places with questionable Wi-Fi networks or countries with strong censorship laws.

Pros

Up to 10 simultaneous connections Over 6,500 servers

Cons

No live phone support

Features

  • Kill switch
  • Split tunneling
CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN — Best VPN for Downloading

Compatible Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Smart TVs, Chrome, Firefox, Game Consoles

Best Deals Today

Boasting over 6,900 servers in over 91 countries, CyberGhost matches its industry standard AES-256 data encryption with the ability to quickly and easily stream and torrent. While CyberGhost does provide its own transparency report, it’s worth noting that it has not had an independent audit in quite some time.

Pros

  • Over 6,900 servers
  • Affordable long-term plans

Cons

  • No recent independent audits

Features

  • Kill switch
  • No-log policy
IPVanish

IPVanish — Best VPN for App Configuration

Compatible Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Fire TV, Chrome

Best Deals Today

IPVanish is a suitable choice for users who want to customize and configure their VPN interface, as it has plenty of settings and options to play around with. On the downside, streaming services are sometimes limited and don’t always work.

Costs are slightly lower than some competitors, with yearly plans going for $3.75 a month for the first year. IPVanish also offers a VPN + Backup bundle. This package adds 500 GB of cloud storage with ransomware protection to its VPN service for a price of $4.58 a month for a yearly plan.

Pros

  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • 24/7 live chat, email, and phone

Cons

  • Streaming is sometimes limited
  • Only 1,900+ servers

Features

  • AES-256 encryption
  • Unthrottled speed
  • Kill switch

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