Best VPN (virtual private network)
Last updated: October 12, 2021

Here's our favorite VPN: ProtonVPN.

Why: Switzerland-based ProtonVPN is made by the same team behind ProtonMail, one of our recommended email providers.

Business model: Monthly subscription fees. There is a free plan with slower speed and fewer features.

Note: There are many good VPNs available. Although we like ProtonVPN as a generally good option, we also recommend looking into other VPNs that may fit your needs better. Wikipedia offers comparisons of virtual private network services.

Update Oct 6, 2021: The NYT's Brian X. Chen writes that It’s Time to Stop Paying for a VPN, arguing that most people don’t need a VPN at all – but simply should keep their software updated, turn on two-factor authentication, and use a personal hotspot via their phone’s cell connection if necessary.

Other options

IVPN, a Gibraltar-based VPN that does not log any user activity.

Mullvad, a Sweden-based VPN with helpful info like this privacy guide.

Windscribe, a Canada-based VPN and ad blocker, which posts: “We strongly believe in people’s right to privacy, especially online, so our system is built from scratch, with that in mind. We do not store any permanent access logs or monitor what our users do.”

NordVPN, a Panama-based VPN that is now being advised by web security expert Troy Hunt.

TunnelBear, a Canada-based VPN that performs annual security audits.

More resources

How Private Is My VPN? (Alfred Ng in The Markup, Aug 12, 2021): “VPNs promise privacy, but The Markup found their apps and websites full of trackers.” IVPN, Mullvad, and Windscribe come out looking the best.

Don’t use ExpressVPN. In September 2021, legal filings revealed that ExpressVPN’s chief information officer worked for a United Arab Emirates spy unit which “involved hacking of Americans, activists, and heads of state,” reports Vice.

• See also Finding the right VPN isn’t so simple, by security expert David Strom (June 9, 2021).