which one to choose in 2022? The top of the comparison

Here is our complete comparison of the best and most popular VPNs on the market in 2022 . Discover all our advice to understand how to use a VPN and browse the web safely. This guide has been updated and will allow you to find the best software to protect yourself on the Internet. With surveillance and hacks on the rise, VPNs have become a staple – both on mobile and desktop.

best vpn

Definition of VPN: why use it?

Before getting to the heart of the matter, it is important to understand what a VPN is and especially why it is useful in 2022. The abbreviation stands for Virtual Private Network or Virtual Private Network in French. As the name suggests, the basic idea is to create a private network between computers isolated from the rest of the world.

This functionality is still used today in companies in order to be able to access the company’s servers remotely when you are on the move for example. But the technology has much more potential and the VPN is now used by the general public to protect their privacy.

A VPN can act as a gateway to the internet, hiding the user’s IP address. It is therefore untraceable on the net, including with its ISP. This is how VPNs are used to evade the eyes of an authoritarian state that would control the internet. Please note that not all publishers are created equal. It is therefore crucial to find the best VPN, without logs, to have good coverage.

Anonymat-VPN

In our democracies, the idea is above all to avoid being followed by advertisers and to access services reserved for given regions, such as TV channels for example. You will be able to watch French TV on the go or in England. Remember that in USA the use of a VPN is perfectly legal. On the other hand, the use that you can make of it will not necessarily be, such as downloading files not free of rights or bypassing regional filters.

For the sake of the test, we had to bypass said filtering, but we do not recommend this type of use. In this comparative VPN ranking, we have analyzed dozens of players on the market. Only a small handful met our requirements. You have to know how to remain very vigilant, especially when you don’t know the stakes well.

Are VPNs legal in USA?

Before going any further, it seems important to take stock of the legality of VPNs. In USA, no law prohibits the use of VPNs. Internet users can browse freely with a VPN, without any risk. In opaque countries that censor the web (China, Russia), this software is necessarily prohibited. That said, everyone uses them to access services like social networks.

However, it is not allowed to do illegal activities (prohibited by French law) with a VPN. This is the case of P2P file sharing in particular. But that is no surprise to anyone. It’s common sense. It’s the same principle as if you weren’t using a VPN. In any case, this practice is not authorized by law.

Why use a VPN?

A VPN alone is an easy way to increase your security and access resources on a network you’re not physically connected to. What you end up doing using a VPN is another matter. Broadly speaking, VPN users can be divided into different categories:

  • You are in a public network (café, train, airport)

If you’re using a public WLAN, a VPN is your best friend, even if it’s password protected. Because if a hacker is in the same WLAN, it is quite easy for him to recover all your data. The basic security offered by your average Internet cafe, namely a WPA2 password, is not enough to provide solid protection against other network users.

By using a VPN, you add an extra layer to your data security by bypassing your internet cafe’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) and encrypting all of your communications. Pirates will thus move on to easier prey. With the hacks that keep growing, you have to choose the best VPN to run no risk. If you work on the train, your sensitive data is at risk.

vpn-smartphone
  • You are traveling to a censored country

If you’re traveling to a foreign country (like China, where websites like Facebook are inaccessible), a VPN can help you access services that may not be available in that country. The best VPN will be able to answer this point, you can find it in our comparison. ExpressVPN for example is the most complete from this point of view.

Usually, the VPN gives you the ability to access streaming services that you pay for and have access to in your home country, but are blocked in another country due to international legal issues. With a VPN, you can therefore enjoy the service in the same way as at home.

General VPN usage shows huge spikes in non-US countries during events such as the Super Bowl (US American Professional Football League, National Football League, NFL Finals) and March Madness (National College Basketball Championship ).

Netflix is ​​constantly trying to take action against VPN users, but many VPN companies are responding with appropriate tweaks to their services. Typically, with your French subscription, if you are in the United States, you will not have the same catalog of content visible on the Netflix interface. With the best VPN, you can deport yourself there with just one click – thus accessing many other movies and series.

Travelers could also get a cheaper price using the Netflix service, as prices may vary from region to region. That said, we recommend that you once again do things according to the rules of the art so as not to run any risk.

  • You are a nomadic worker or student

Typically, a VPN service provided by the company or school is used for this purpose. This allows access to content on the go or at home. Additionally, a VPN can protect network resources when you’re on public WI-FI networks like those often found in airports or coffee shops.

  • You are a dissident politician

Some countries do not enjoy the same protection of freedom of the press, freedom of expression as many Western countries. Some regimes take drastic measures to spy on and fight those they see as a threat.

In fact, it almost has to be taken for granted that using a VPN for the internet is a must for political dissidents (along with other data protection tools) in a repressive regime. However, they are not always the right solution and governments are starting to crack down on their use. However, they struggle to compete against the best VPNs on the market.

  • You just want some privacy

Even from the comfort of your own four walls, using a VPN for your regular internet activity isn’t a bad idea. In general, this will prevent you from leaving traces on the Internet that could be spied on by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Although you certainly have nothing to reproach yourself with, it is just a solution to manage a minimum of privacy.

If you’re looking for a VPN for everyday browsing, it’s worth researching thoroughly. In our VPN comparison, we have already sorted out the best players on the market for you. You just have to make your choice.

  • You want to do good business online

If you are one of those Internet users who make frequent purchases on the Internet, VPNs might be of interest to you. Indeed, very often, the price of services and items on online sales sites varies by country. Websites rely on your IP to know where you are and give you local prices. Thus, by changing your IP address and relocating using a VPN, you will have access to different rates. The differences can be significant.

Of course, sometimes it takes multiple trials in different territories to see which offers the best benefits. A few minutes of research can be worth it when you know that it is sometimes possible to achieve reductions of up to tens or even hundreds of euros. The most telling example is that of plane tickets, but online subscriptions can also hold some nice surprises.

  • A combination of the previous points

This division is not mutually exclusive and many of us will fall into one category or another. In all these cases, a VPN service can be useful.

Even if none of the above aspects work for you, you can still benefit from a VPN. You should definitely use one if you are traveling or working from an untrusted network (i.e. one that you don’t own or manage). Opening your laptop in an internet cafe to log into Facebook or checking your emails at the airport using your mobile phone can be a potential risk.

Are you safe with a VPN?

Without making the suspense last longer, yes, a VPN can ensure your online security if you choose it correctly . If you’re not an expert, you’re in luck: we’ve tested a large number of VPNs and identified the best ones. So you can use this comparison to move forward.

With a VPN, your ISP may no longer have access to your browser data, but you cannot prevent your VPN provider from doing so. Some unscrupulous VPN vendors even sell this data to third parties, which would take you back to the beginning when it comes to data security. This is why you should be especially careful with “free” VPN vendors. Since these services always want to make money, your data is probably the main source of income.

In a nutshell: if for whatever reason you’re concerned about privacy, using a VPN is a good option. However, the prerequisite is that you read the little asterisks of your VPN editor. And don’t believe everything you’re told, because some VPN providers claim they don’t store user data, but third parties have found evidence to the contrary.

To ensure its reliability, it is therefore preferable to choose a VPN ideally located, that is to say outside of American or European intelligence alliances, but rather in territories that attach importance to online privacy. . The industry giants of the past decade – ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, NordVPN – are renowned on all these points. You have no risk with them.

Which free VPN to choose? Why avoid them?

Free is always a tempting price, but it often makes sense to pay. Free VPN providers are more likely to log your data and show pop-up ads when you connect. They will also be more likely to use information collected about your browsing habits to personalize your advertisements. The less scrupulous will even go so far as to resell your personal data to third parties. Often, free VPNs also offer fewer exit options and weak data protection obligations.

If you want to access services from abroad, it must be said that free publishers are often identified by online services (like Netflix) and they are blocked faster. So you might be forced to change it. If you have concerns about registration and privacy is important to you, you should avoid these providers.

However, those on a budget won’t have to give up on these tools and can consider subscribing to a cheap VPN that will offer an increase in their online security while minimizing the risk of eavesdropping or data theft. Another alternative is to opt for a free subscription with a paid VPN. The best VPNs are paid, but they still don’t cost much.

It should be noted, however, that some paid VPNs can collect user data and activities, which means that you should always be careful when researching the providers’ privacy policies.

As you will see, we have therefore chosen to only compare paid VPNs. The free services that we looked at while preparing this article do not, in our opinion, meet sufficient reliability criteria. Insofar as the vocation of a VPN is to protect one’s private life, it seemed rather illogical to us to propose free offers which must sometimes be remunerated… by advertising.

How to choose a VPN? 11 VPNs in the test

For this comparison we have selected these VPNs:

  1. ExpressVPN that emphasizes speed, with a “ high-speed, secure and anonymous” service
  2. Humbler CyberGhost VPN simply calls itself ‘ fast and secure’
  3. NordVPN touting itself as the “ best VPN service”
  4. Surfshark VPN which offers to “ secure your digital life”
  5. HideMyAss
  6. Private Internet Access VPN (PIA)
  7. TrustZone
  8. Freedome
  9. Ivacy VPN
  10. ZenMate VPN
  11. Avast SecureLine VPN
  12. PureVPN

Choosing a VPN depends on individual needs, but the best VPN is usually suitable for most people. In this ranking and comparison, we have chosen to review the best known to select only the three best VPNs, i.e. those that offer the best performance on the greatest number of criteria.

VPN prices

The first thing we can look at is the price of the packages. Each service offers various formulas at decreasing prices depending on the duration of the commitment. Note that the VPNs below offer several parallel connections per account allowing you to use the VPN on different devices without having to subscribe again.

ExpressVPN

Explore all ExpressVPN offers

CyberGhost VPN

  • 11.99€ per month
  • €3.50 with the annual subscription, i.e. €42 in total
  • €2.75 per month with a two-year subscription, i.e. €66 in total
  • €1.89 per month with a three-year subscription + 3 months, i.e. €73 in total

Discover all CyberGhost offers

NordVPN

  • 10.59€ per month
  • €4.36 per month with a 12-month subscription, i.e. €52.27 in total
  • €2.92 per month with a two-year subscription, i.e. €69.99 in total

Discover all NordVPN offers

Surfshark VPN

  • 11.43€ per month
  • €5.73 per month or €34.38 for 6 months
  • €1.95 per month or €52.76 for 24 months

Discover all Surfshark offers

HideMyAss

  • €4.39 per month or €52.68 for 12 months
  • €3.99 per month or €95.76 for 24 months
  • €2.99 per month or €107.64 for 36 months

Discover the HideMyAss offer

Price isn’t the only determining factor in choosing a VPN – far from it. You really have to consider the quality of the service as a whole (and in particular on the data protection part). In the end, the price must simply be there to validate the value for money. The software should be simple, have a large network of servers, not slow down your connection, etc.

test time

Now let’s move on to application testing. This is really what will make it possible to judge the performance of the VPN. In order to compare the twelve services we have chosen several objective criteria, such as the speed of the connection or the speeds offered, but also more subjective factors such as the simplicity of the interface and finally the presence of certain additional services offered by the suppliers. .

How to configure a VPN?

For the installation part, no problem on the horizon, these services do not have major differences and we did not encounter any particular problems. Just download the application from the provider’s site and start the installation. They all work on Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. Note, however, the absence of browser extensions at TrustZone.

Connection speed

Now that the installation is done, we can move on to the actual test. We started with a series of throughput tests through the SpeedTest tool. To be fair, we forced the VPN to connect in the same region (Spain, Singapore, New York), but let it choose the fastest server. With regard to ZenMate, RingVPN and PureVPN, and PIA, on the other hand, we carried out the tests after the others, which does not place them at quite the same level, which is why we have not integrated the average obtained into the graph for this VPN (although we have listed the scores obtained in detail in the table in the case of ZenMate).

We ran several tests and selected the best knowing that the results don’t vary hugely from test to test. We set aside the ping, a function of distance, which is more or less identical between all services within 1 or 2 ms. Besides, who would think of using a service that requires low latency behind a VPN?

For reference, our throughput without VPN exceeds 140 Mb/s. No other service has done so much, so we can exploit the full bandwidth of remote servers.

VPN downstream rate graph
Downstream rates

Results: ExpressVPN lives up to its name and deserves its best VPN ranking. It is clearly the fastest VPN service in our comparison. Of all our tests, it is he who obtained the best figure in upload and download speeds all locations combined, even exceeding 100 Mb / s in New York. If it is not found in these graphs, in particular because we tested it a posteriori, PureVPN, which presents itself as “the fastest” is not left out either, with 59 Mb/s in Singapore. On the other hand, it does not offer a location in Spain or directly in New York. 

Then come CyberGhost, NordVPN and, not far behind, Ivacy. The latter, on the other hand, is disappointing in Singapore. On pure speed, ExpressVPN wins the game on average. As for ZenMate, which we also tested a posteriori, we can see quite incredible speeds in Spain, but rather disappointing in New York and average in Singapore. Overall, it’s still a good VPN when it comes to sheer speed. RingVPN, finally, gave us bad results almost everywhere ( 40.98 Mb/s in Spain, 22.46 Mb/s in New York and 16.52 Mb/s in Singapore), so it is hardly recommended .

Streaming

With the exception of TrustZone in certain circumstances, all services are expected to offer sufficient speeds to watch streaming video. For testing, we attempted to connect to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in the US, US, UK and even Australian TV channels.

As far as Netflix is ​​concerned, the firm has been on the hunt for VPNs for some time, due to numerous reactions from rights holders in each country. As a result, many VPNs no longer allow you to connect to foreign Netflix catalogs. Despite everything, VPNs adapt and most of the time provide solutions to access the different catalogs according to geo-locations, but the situation is unstable, which is why our test may very well no longer be valid in a month.

However, TrustZone, Freedome, Avast SecureLine, and HideMyAss failed to connect to Netflix’s US catalog or Canadian catalog. On the other hand, the other services, i.e. ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, NordVPN and Surfshark have succeeded, even if accessing the content takes a little longer than with a French connection. Same observation for using Amazon Prime Video which did not detect our VPN. This is a key point in our VPN ranking.

Overview-Catalog-Canadian-Netflix
Preview of Netflix’s Canadian catalog © Journal du Geek

Special mention to ExpressVPN in this situation, since it is the only VPN to offer a Chrome extension that automatically unblocks streaming sites. You can launch the software directly from the browser extension to access your content in streaming format.

For British TV, the BBC in this case, no worries in any case. The experience is quite up to par and the same is true in Australia. Note that CyberGhost VPN offers a dedicated server for the BBC Group, but we didn’t see any difference with other services. In the USA, it’s the same. It is indeed possible to watch CNN or Fox News with ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, NordVPN and Surfshark. With the others, however, this is only the case for 10 minutes, after which the subscriber number of the operator distributing the television will be required. Impossible without having someone on site to give you theirs. So we are stuck.

In any case, we note that the streaming experience varies depending on the VPN used. Some are very unstable to circumvent the geographical restrictions of SVoD services. So we recommend ExpressVPN, CyberGhost or NordVPN since they worked every time.

Download (P2P)

On file download, we tested mainly with the BitTorrent protocol. In accordance with what we could already see with the SpeedTest, TrustZone and HideMyAss struggle to exceed 500 KB/s while ZenMate and PureVPN oscillate around 1 MB/s (even on a server supposed to be optimized for this use with the latter) . Surfshark and NordVPN do better thanks to a more efficient dedicated server for P2P use and thus reach 3.5 MB/s or more. On the other hand, their performances are not always very stable, so that it remains difficult to advise them in the state.

On this point, it is the VPN ExpressVPN which obtains the best performance with speeds regularly exceeding 8 MB/s, well above the others. CyberGhost is clearly not outdone in terms of speed since it sometimes exceeds 7 MB/s in P2P.

It is therefore ExpressVPN that wins, neck and neck with CyberGhost.

The Kill Switch, the little extras and the use

We can now tackle the various “bonus” features of VPNs. The good news: all of them offer a “Kill Switch”, except RingVPN. It allows you to cut network access if you lose connection to the VPN software. During our tests, this never happened to us, but you never know. Concretely, this means that the traffic will not be redirected to your ISP in the event of a problem, so you will remain anonymous. This is a significant plus.

In terms of features, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost and NordVPN are the richest. We are going to avoid endless inventories, but we must remember that they are the most complete by offering servers optimized for certain services or uses. NordVPN also adds “Onion Over VPN” features and double VPN, if you’re really worried about being tracked. CyberGhost and NordVPN also offer the possibility of generating a dedicated IP.

ExpressVPN offers Split Tunneling on Windows just like CyberGhost and NordVPN. Split tunneling allows you to choose which part of the traffic to exclude from the secure VPN connection. In some cases, this can be very handy.

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The ExpressVPN interface is the most streamlined © Journal du Geek

In use, we also preferred ExpressVPN. The latter connects very quickly, suffers from fewer bugs and has a clearer interface than the others. We also salute the interface of CyberGhost, very well thought out and ergonomic, and which directly offers tabs for streaming content on different platforms such as Netflix, Hulu or HBO Now, and for downloads.

Five services have indeed encountered a few too many bugs or malfunctions during the tests: RingVPN, TrustZone, ZenMate, PureVPN and IPVanish. Too bad for the latter, which could be a service with an advantageous quality/price ratio if it did not suffer from these defects.

What is the best VPN in 2022?

First conclusion, TrustZone and RingVPN, despite their very low prices, are not up to par with a paid VPN service, both in terms of speeds and usage. We can therefore exclude them from our selection of the best VPN in 2022. From a speed perspective, Freedome and HideMyAss are also out of the running. As for ZenMate and PureVPN, they offer good speeds in streaming as well as in P2P, but they suffered from frequent bugs when we changed location.

Between the best VPNs, the choice is more difficult: ExpressVPN is the fastest and most pleasant to use for daily use. It is also the most suitable for torrents since it emerged as the leader in our tests. It is, however, slightly more expensive than its rivals. CyberGhost is quite comprehensive but failed to circumvent blocking in some countries. NordVPN offers a lot of features, but also a bit more expensive. Finally, despite its young age, Surfshark is reliable and, although more simplistic, it has the merit of being quite inexpensive. Let’s also mention PIA, which offers a significant package, particularly in terms of speed and stability, but we encountered a few scattered bugs, especially on Netflix.

Conclusion: if you are above all looking for the best speed to simply browse the net and access blocked or censored sites, ExpressVPN will be the most suitable. CyberGhost VPN also offers very good performance and is stable, it is recommended for users who seek simplicity above all. Finally, for a complete, pleasant and easy experience, opt for NordVPN which is ultimately the most versatile service.

Helpful questions about VPNs

Do you still have questions about these software? Our complete guide to the best VPNs got you lost? Below, here are some questions we are asked on a regular basis. If you are still lost, you can also always contact us. This page will be updated over time as new information comes to us.

What is a VPN?

Simply put, a Virtual Private Network is a group of computers (or individual networks) connected to each other through a public network, the Internet. Companies use VPN technology to connect remote data centers. Individuals can use a VPN when they are not physically on the same LAN (local area network) to gain access to network resources. Or they use it as a method to secure and encrypt their communications while using an untrusted public network.

When you connect to a VPN, you first start a VPN client on your computer (or click a link on a website designed for this purpose), log in with your credentials, and then your computer exchanges trusted keys with a remote server. Once both computers verify each other’s identity, all of your Internet communications are encrypted and protected against eavesdropping.

Why do you need a VPN?

A VPN alone is an easy way to increase your security and access resources on a network you’re not physically connected to. What you end up doing using a VPN is another matter. In general, VPN users can be divided into different categories: you are in a Public WLAN (Station, Cybercafé for example), you travel, you are a nomadic worker or student, you are a politically dissident person, you just want a bit of privacy

What makes a good VPN service?

The best VPN services offer a good combination of features, server location, connection protocols, and price. Some providers are designed for casual use, while others are designed to circumvent location restrictions that companies apply to their apps and services. Also, there are VPN services that are ideal for users who want to download a lot of data and at the same time have as much privacy as possible.