Tech

The best VPN services in 2020 in comparison


VPN services offer privacy protection, help against geo-blocking and can protect against DDoS attacks. The market is confusing – we provide an overview of the most important providers and their services.

Most Internet users in Germany currently do without VPN (Virtual Private Network) or only occasionally use this option. One reason for this could be that VPN is unknown territory for many. There are good reasons for using it. They range from better privacy protection to the possibility of bypassing IP blocks to the defense against distributed DoS attacks. We explain the technology behind VPN and provide a market overview. We have updated and expanded the latter.

What is a VPN?

A virtual private network is an encrypted connection tunnel between two networks or parts of a network. All data traffic through this tunnel is not visible to third parties, can neither be tracked nor read. A distinction must be made between a direct VPN connection between two computers or networks for purposes such as remote maintenance and the use of a VPN service for Internet use. We focus here on the second aspect.

Via VPN to the Internet

The use of a VPN service requires an existing internet connection, so it does not replace the access provider. This applies both at home (landline) and on the go (mobile phone), as well as when using other WLAN hotspots. If the VPN software installed by the provider is started with an existing online connection, it will set up an encrypted tunnel to a server (also VPN gateway) somewhere on the Internet. You can usually choose where that should be. Only its IP address (and not that of your router or mobile device) is visible to online services such as web servers, search engines, social networks or streaming services. Any tracking of usage behavior by an online service based on the IP address ends at the VPN gateway, which is used by many people.

Why VPN?

For many internet users, especially in countries with restrictive regimes, protection from state scouts is very important. You use a virtual tunnel to a third country to access websites that are blocked or prohibited in your country. This enables dissidents and foreign journalists to gain access to uncensored information or to put their own content online.

Related to this is access to content that is restricted to a specific region by so-called geo-blocking. If a web server uses your IP address to determine that you are not in the region in question, it denies access to certain content. That could be the media library of a television station. The VPN service offers you the option of connecting to a gateway in the desired region, so that you seem to be using an IP address from this country and thus have unlimited access. In this way, you can also watch the latest crime scene on holiday in South America or see a new series of series at home that Netflix has so far only offered in the USA.

Online gamers are sometimes faced with the problem of being troubled by troublemakers with DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service). If successful, the entire Internet access of the household is paralyzed. With a VPN service you direct the attacks on the VPN gateway. Its operator has better options to protect its servers in order to ward off attacks or simply to endure them. In this way, trouble with the roommates can be avoided.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots, including those in hotels, generally offer too little protection against attempts by other users to spy on them, such as online banking. Even if the data traffic with the bank runs over HTTPS, i.e. is encrypted, attacks are possible. With a VPN service, you first build a tunnel to a server in Germany and then connect to your bank’s website.

Market overview VPN services

There are now several dozen providers of such VPN services on the market. Depending on the size of the company, they operate 20 or even several thousand VPN gateways worldwide. The marketing of some providers likes to claim that their company is the only service that operates its own server, offers access to all streaming services, or simply the largest, best, fastest, most popular provider on the market. Since this is always said by several people, it can hardly be taken seriously. We first compare more than 30 of the most important VPN services in one overview. In a second step, we selected individual providers and took a closer look at them.

The information provided by the companies on the key data is often incomplete and seldom clearly arranged in an easily findable place. To make it easier for you to keep an overview, we have summarized important information in a table. Almost all of them stated that they would not log any user data and would therefore not be able to disclose it to authorities and warners. Some limit this by admitting that they have to comply with the legal requirements of the country in which they reside. Companies based in Germany emphasize this to emphasize how important data protection is to them.

Trial offers

Many VPN services offer a free version or a limited trial offer with a money-back guarantee. The free versions are usually subject to considerable restrictions. The data volume is often limited to 50 to 500 MB per day. This hardly allows potential new customers to get a meaningful picture of the performance of a VPN service. This is one of the reasons why many providers prefer to use a time-limited money-back guarantee. In the long run, the free services are only suitable for low-data-intensive purposes. They often also offer no or only a very limited selection of international gateways.

To use a service without bandwidth and data volume restrictions, you have to spend money. Annual subscriptions are often cheaper than monthly billing. Some providers bill in US dollars, but most in EUR. You can pay by credit card or PayPal, sometimes other payment options are also offered, such as direct debit, Giropay or Bitcoin. We have not considered short-lived special offers in the table.

VPN software

To use a VPN service, you usually have to install its VPN software. These are mostly available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Some companies also support Linux or routers that work with the open source firmware OpenWRT. Extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers are relatively new, which restrict VPN use to the browser. Some companies have taught their software how this works in other ways and call it “split tunneling” or similar. Instructions for installing and configuring the software are available from practically all companies, but some are only available in English.

We have not listed some special solutions because they only cover part of the functionality. That’s how it is

                        
Tor network
however, a good tool to maintain privacy is not suitable for data-intensive applications like video streaming. The in

                        
Opera
integrated VPN service is naturally limited to this browser. After all, both solutions are free.

VPN services: our favorites

According to the information provided by the companies,

                        
NordVPN
and

                        
Cyberghost
currently most servers, HideMyAss and

                        
PureVPN
offer the largest country selection. F-Secure Freedome,

                        
Kaspersky
, Private Tunnel / OpenVPN and Zoog are currently the cheapest providers in this overview. Please also note exclusive price offers, which you can only reach via the links in this article. If you not only look at the price, but prefer instructions in German, you will find something for example at Avira, Shellfire, Steganos and VyprVPN.

Overview of VPN services – Part 1: Provider, prices

(Note: Below you will find another table with all technical information about the providers)

providers

Price / month

Annual subscription

Head office

Free version / test

manual

Website

Astrill VPN

$ 15.00

$ 120.00

Seychelles

yes * / 7 days

de / en

To the provider

Avast SecureLine VPN

€ 79.99

Czech Republic

7 days trial / 30 days money back

de

To the provider

AVG Secure VPN

€ 79.99

Czech Republic

yes * / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

Avira Phantom VPN Pro

€ 7.95

€ 59.95

Germany

yes * / 30 days money back

de

To the provider

Buffered / Encrypt.me

$ 9.99

$ 99.00

Gibraltar / USA

14 days trial / 30 days money back

en

To the provider

BullGuard

€ 73.49

Great Britain

30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

CyberghostVPN

€ 12.99

€ 71.88

Romania

1 day * / 45 days money back

de

To the provider

ExpressVPN

$ 12.95

$ 99.95

British Virgin Islands

30 days money back

The End

To the provider

F-Secure Freedome VPN

€ 29.90

Finland

5 days / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

Goose VPN

€ 12.99

€ 59.88

Netherlands

30 days money back

de

To the provider

hide.me VPN

€ 12.99

€ 99.99

Malaysia

yes * / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

HideMyAss

€ 10.99

€ 71.88

Czech Republic

7 days trial / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

Hotspot Shield

€ 12.99

€ 95.88

United States

Yes * / 45 days money back

en

To the provider

IPVanish

$ 5.00

$ 39.00

United States

7 days money back

en

To the provider

Ivacy VPN

$ 9.95

$ 42.00

Singapore

1 day / 30 days money back

en

To the provider

Kaspersky Secure Connection

€ 4.95

€ 29.95

Russia

Yes*

de

To the provider

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited

$ 9.99

$ 59.99

USA + Ukraine

7 days money back

en

To the provider

mySteganos Online Shield VPN

€ 7.95

€ 49.95

Germany

yes * / 30 days money back

de

To the provider

NordVPN

€ 10.63

€ 74.65

Panama

7 days / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

Norton Secure VPN

€ 69.99

United States

60 days money back

de / en

To the provider

oVPN

€ 11.00

€ 39.95

Sweden

10 days money back

en

To the provider

Panda Dome VPN

€ 10.99

€ 61.74

Spain

Yes*

en

To the provider

Private internet access

$ 9.95

$ 119.40

United States

30 days money back

en

To the provider

Private tunnel / OpenVPN

$ 6.00

$ 36.00

United States

7 days

en

To the provider

Pure VPN

€ 9.60

€ 61.92

Hong Kong

7 days trial / 31 days money back

de / en

To the provider

Shellfire VPN

€ 10.95

79.95

Germany

yes * / 14 days money back

de

To the provider

StrongVPN

$ 10.00

$ 69.99

United States

30 days money back

en

To the provider

Surfshark

€ 9.89

€ 59.88

British Virgin Islands

yes * / 30 days money back

en

To the provider

Tunnel bear

$ 9.99

$ 59.88

Canada

Yes*

en

To the provider

VyprVPN

€ 12.95

€ 45.00

Switzerland

3 days

de

To the provider

Windscribe

$ 9.00

$ 49.00

Canada

yes * / 3 days money back

en

To the provider

ZenMate

€ 10.99

€ 39.96

Germany

7 days trial / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

ZoogVPN

€ 7.99

€ 29.99

Greece

yes * / 7 days money back

en

To the provider

providers

Price / month

Annual subscription

Head office

Free version / test

manual

Website

Astrill VPN

$ 15.00

$ 120.00

Seychelles

yes * / 7 days

de / en

To the provider

Avast SecureLine VPN

€ 79.99

Czech Republic

7 days trial / 30 days money back

de

To the provider

AVG Secure VPN

€ 79.99

Czech Republic

yes * / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

Avira Phantom VPN Pro

€ 7.95

€ 59.95

Germany

yes * / 30 days money back

de

To the provider

Buffered / Encrypt.me

$ 9.99

$ 99.00

Gibraltar / USA

14 days trial / 30 days money back

en

To the provider

BullGuard

€ 73.49

Great Britain

30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

CyberghostVPN

€ 12.99

€ 71.88

Romania

1 day * / 45 days money back

de

To the provider

ExpressVPN

$ 12.95

$ 99.95

British Virgin Islands

30 days money back

The End

To the provider

F-Secure Freedome VPN

€ 29.90

Finland

5 days / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

Goose VPN

€ 12.99

€ 59.88

Netherlands

30 days money back

de

To the provider

hide.me VPN

€ 12.99

€ 99.99

Malaysia

yes * / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

HideMyAss

€ 10.99

€ 71.88

Czech Republic

7 days trial / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

Hotspot Shield

€ 12.99

€ 95.88

United States

Yes * / 45 days money back

en

To the provider

IPVanish

$ 5.00

$ 39.00

United States

7 days money back

en

To the provider

Ivacy VPN

$ 9.95

$ 42.00

Singapore

1 day / 30 days money back

en

To the provider

Kaspersky Secure Connection

€ 4.95

€ 29.95

Russia

Yes*

de

To the provider

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited

$ 9.99

$ 59.99

USA + Ukraine

7 days money back

en

To the provider

mySteganos Online Shield VPN

€ 7.95

€ 49.95

Germany

yes * / 30 days money back

de

To the provider

NordVPN

€ 10.63

€ 74.65

Panama

7 days / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

Norton Secure VPN

€ 69.99

United States

60 days money back

de / en

To the provider

oVPN

€ 11.00

€ 39.95

Sweden

10 days money back

en

To the provider

Panda Dome VPN

€ 10.99

€ 61.74

Spain

Yes*

en

To the provider

Private internet access

$ 9.95

$ 119.40

United States

30 days money back

en

To the provider

Private tunnel / OpenVPN

$ 6.00

$ 36.00

United States

7 days

en

To the provider

Pure VPN

€ 9.60

€ 61.92

Hong Kong

7 days trial / 31 days money back

de / en

To the provider

Shellfire VPN

€ 10.95

79.95

Germany

yes * / 14 days money back

de

To the provider

StrongVPN

$ 10.00

$ 69.99

United States

30 days money back

en

To the provider

Surfshark

€ 9.89

€ 59.88

British Virgin Islands

yes * / 30 days money back

en

To the provider

Tunnel bear

$ 9.99

$ 59.88

Canada

Yes*

en

To the provider

VyprVPN

€ 12.95

€ 45.00

Switzerland

3 days

de

To the provider

Windscribe

$ 9.00

$ 49.00

Canada

yes * / 3 days money back

en

To the provider

ZenMate

€ 10.99

€ 39.96

Germany

7 days trial / 30 days money back

de / en

To the provider

ZoogVPN

€ 7.99

€ 29.99

Greece

yes * / 7 days money back

en

To the provider

->

* limited access

Overview of VPN services – Part 2: Technical information

Provider (link to website)

data volume

Bandwidth limit

Server / countries

Logging

Operating systems

Number of devices **

Astrill VPN

N / A

No

N / A / 62

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

unlimited

Avast SecureLine VPN

N / A

No

55/34

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

1/5

AVG Secure VPN

N / A

N / A

N / A

N / A

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

Avira Phantom VPN Pro

N / A

No

46/34

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

unlimited

Buffered / Encrypt.me

unlimited

No

N / A / 70

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS,

unlimited

BullGuard

unlimited

No

N / A / 16

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

6

CyberghostVPN

unlimited

No

> 5900/89

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

7

ExpressVPN

N / A

No

> 3000/94

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

5

F-Secure Freedome VPN

unlimited

No

29/23

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

3/7

Goose VPN

unlimited

No

N / A / 25

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

unlimited

hide.me VPN

unlimited

No

> 1560/38

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

10th

HideMyAss

unlimited

No

> 1000/190

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

5

Hotspot Shield

unlimited

No

3200/80

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

N / A

IPVanish

unlimited

No

> 1300 /> 75

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

10th

Ivacy VPN

unlimited

No

> 1000 /> 100

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

Kaspersky Secure Connection

unlimited

No

N / A

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited

unlimited

No

> 400 /> 80

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

5

mySteganos Online Shield VPN

N / A

No

N / A

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

NordVPN

N / A

No

> 5900/59

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

6

Norton Secure VPN

N / A

N / A

N / A / 29

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

oVPN

unlimited

No

89/15

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

4th

Panda Dome VPN

unlimited

N / A

> 1000 / n.a.

N / A

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

Private internet access

N / A

No

> 3300/31

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

10th

Private tunnel / OpenVPN

unlimited

No

50/12

N / A

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

3rd

PureVPN

unlimited

No

> 2000 /> 140

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

10th

Shellfire VPN

unlimited

No

N / A / 37

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

1

StrongVPN

N / A

No

> 950 /> 50

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

12th

Surfshark

unlimited

No

> 1000 /> 60

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

unlimited

Tunnel bear

unlimited

No

N / A / 23

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

VyprVPN

unlimited

No

700 /> 70

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

3/5

Windscribe

unlimited

No

N / A / 63

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

unlimited

ZenMate

N / A

No

> 2000/74

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

ZoogVPN

unlimited

No

> 50/27

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

5

Provider (link to website)

data volume

Bandwidth limit

Server / countries

Logging

Operating systems

Number of devices **

Astrill VPN

N / A

No

N / A / 62

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

unlimited

Avast SecureLine VPN

N / A

No

55/34

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

1/5

AVG Secure VPN

N / A

N / A

N / A

N / A

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

Avira Phantom VPN Pro

N / A

No

46/34

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

unlimited

Buffered / Encrypt.me

unlimited

No

N / A / 70

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS,

unlimited

BullGuard

unlimited

No

N / A / 16

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

6

CyberghostVPN

unlimited

No

> 5900/89

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

7

ExpressVPN

N / A

No

> 3000/94

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

5

F-Secure Freedome VPN

unlimited

No

29/23

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

3/7

Goose VPN

unlimited

No

N / A / 25

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

unlimited

hide.me VPN

unlimited

No

> 1560/38

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

10th

HideMyAss

unlimited

No

> 1000/190

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

5

Hotspot Shield

unlimited

No

3200/80

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

N / A

IPVanish

unlimited

No

> 1300 /> 75

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

10th

Ivacy VPN

unlimited

No

> 1000 /> 100

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

Kaspersky Secure Connection

unlimited

No

N / A

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited

unlimited

No

> 400 /> 80

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

5

mySteganos Online Shield VPN

N / A

No

N / A

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

NordVPN

N / A

No

> 5900/59

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

6

Norton Secure VPN

N / A

N / A

N / A / 29

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

oVPN

unlimited

No

89/15

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

4th

Panda Dome VPN

unlimited

N / A

> 1000 / n.a.

N / A

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

Private internet access

N / A

No

> 3300/31

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

10th

Private tunnel / OpenVPN

unlimited

No

50/12

N / A

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

3rd

PureVPN

unlimited

No

> 2000 /> 140

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

10th

Shellfire VPN

unlimited

No

N / A / 37

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

1

StrongVPN

N / A

No

> 950 /> 50

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

12th

Surfshark

unlimited

No

> 1000 /> 60

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

unlimited

Tunnel bear

unlimited

No

N / A / 23

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

VyprVPN

unlimited

No

700 /> 70

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

3/5

Windscribe

unlimited

No

N / A / 63

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

unlimited

ZenMate

N / A

No

> 2000/74

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS

5

ZoogVPN

unlimited

No

> 50/27

No

Win, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux

5

->

N / A = no information | ** usable at the same time

All information according to the provider (as of early April 2020)

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