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Best VPN 2020: Top 9 options for privacy, speed and Disney Plus

We've tested the key paid for VPNs on the market, rating them for speed, security and privacy, price, ability to access streaming services, and performance.

Looking to access Netflix US or simply want more privacy with your web browsing? Then you should be interested in our Best VPN list. 

We’ve rigorously tested all these VPNs and are committed to updating this list regularly, including both free and paid-for options. But if money is particularly tight, you can see a more comprehensive list of free VPNs in our Best Free VPNs list. These will usually cap data and endpoints, but are still all perfectly usable.

And if you’re not clued up on VPNs and don’t know what to look for, read the following to check the difference between a free and paid for VPN. Otherwise, keep scrolling down to find the best VPN for you.

We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.

Today's VPN Deals

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN gives you unrestricted access to Netflix, HBO and iPlayer. Get 49% off on their one year subscription and receive a further three months completely free.

NordVPN

Save 70% off your total bill with the NordVPN 3-year subscription. You'll have one payment of £96.74 over the 3 year period making it just £2.68 per month.

Private Internet Access

Equipped with a VPN kill switch and IPv6 leak protection are two of many reasons PIA is rated as our top VPN for security. Get yourself a year subscription and save yourself a sweet 67%.

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Our recommended best VPNs

  • Best overall VPN: ExpressVPN 
  • Best for privacy: Private Internet Access
  • Best for features (with caveats): Nord VPN 
  • Best free VPN: Windscribe
  • Best for VPN newcomers: BullGuard
  • Best for pricing: ProtonVPN
  • Best short-term value: Webroot WiFi Security
  • Best for international coverage: HideMyAss! 
  • Another great free VPN: Tunnelbear

Scroll down for our complete roundup of the Best VPNs and links to our full reviews.

ExpressVPN

1. ExpressVPN

Proven privacy credentials, excellent speeds, and international streaming service access

Pros:

  • Good transfer speeds
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Clear no-logging policy, demonstrated in court and by audit
  • Excellent video streaming performance

Cons:

  • Expensive

ExpressVPN is the all-round best VPN you can buy, offering superb security, speedy transfer speeds and international access to all your favourite services including BBC iPlayer, Netflix, All 4 and Disney Plus.

The no-logging policy is perhaps the best feature, and has been tested by a court of law and an independent audit. On both occasions no logs were found on the systems, giving you peace of mind that your search history remains safe.

The biggest issue with ExpressVPN is the price, costing £9.81 per month, £45.40 per six months and £75.69 per year. That’s actually the cheapest it’s been for a while thanks to the pound’s surge, but is still one of the more expensive options on this list. But if you want the best VPN possible, this is our top pick.

Private Internet Access desktop client

2. Private Internet Access (PIA)

Best VPN for security – excellent features and server choice

Pros:

  • Quick European transfer speeds
  • Wide range of privacy and security features
  • Clear no-logging policy, demonstrated in court
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Detected by most streaming services

Private Internet Access (PIA) is our top recommended VPN for the security conscious who aren’t fussed about video streaming. With a no-logging policy, which has been demonstrated in court, and an abundance of security features, you can have peace of mind in terms of your privacy.

It offers rapid transfer speeds too, at least for Europe – its US connection speeds aren’t quite as impressive. And with affordable subscriptions – £7.54 per month, £27.23 every six months or £30.25 per year – Private Internet Access truly is one of the best value VPNs for security.

You’re best looking elsewhere for streaming video though, as it often fails to access geo-locked services such as BBC iPlayer and All 4.

Nord VPN

3. NordVPN

The best performing VPN is let down by transparency concerns

Pros:

  • Large number of servers
  • Wide range of privacy and security features
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Clear, audited no-logging policy
  • Provides international access to Netflix, All 4 and iPlayer

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Late disclosure of 2018 server breach

NordVPN used to be our overall favourite VPN, which should come as no surprise considering it offers the fastest HTTP transfer speeds in our tests and bypasses all the geo-location blockades to access the likes of Netflix US, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, All 4 and Shudder without a hitch.

However, the recent security breach has seriously dented its credentials for transparency, as NordVPN failed to disclose the details to the public in a timely fashion. To be fair, NordVPN has made great strides forward since that scandal by introducing a bug bounty programme and committing to better communication practices, but it’s still worth bearing in mind.

If you are happy to forgive its missteps with the data breach, you’re getting decent value here, costing £64.58 per year which undercuts ExpressVPN.

A screengrab of the Windscribe desktop client running on Windows 10.

4. Windscribe

The best free VPN – with an excellent paid-for option too

Pros:

  • Generous free tier
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Extremely good value
  • Streams Netflix and iPlayer

Cons:

  • Rival services are faster

Windscribe is best known for its free-tier VPN subscription – and for good reason. Without paying a dime, you get 10GB downloads per month and access to 11 countries. It’s really handy for accessing Disney Plus, as you can deactivate Windscribe as soon as you load the homepage and continue to stream without using up data.

Pay for the very reasonable £6.82 monthly or £37.11 per year subscription though, and you’ll unlock download restrictions and gain access to 50 countries. It’s one of the very best value VPNs we’ve tested.

Windscribe isn’t perfect though, showing slower data transfer speeds than some of the major VPN alternatives. But if you’re happy to sacrifice a little bit of speed to keep expenditure down to a minimum, we strongly recommend plumping for this VPN.

BullGuard VPN desktop client

5. BullGuard

Simplified alternative to NordVPN, but with less features

Pros:

  • Fast download
  • Streams US Netflix

Cons:

  • Limited device support
  • Limited endpoint locations

The Bullguard VPN is actually based on NordVPN’s network, and so offers a lot of the same, including super-fast data transfers and the audited guarantee that it doesn’t log any of your information. Even better, it has a simplified interface which may be less daunting for VPN newbies.

So what’s the catch? Bullguard VPN is limited to 16 endpoints and lacks a lot of the extra features you get with NordVPN such as the best-in-class browser proxy plugin. There’s also only clients available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, restricting device support.

And since it uses the same network as NordVPN, questions regarding the whole data breach scandal have unsurprisingly been directed at BullGuard too, despite the service insisting its VPN infrastructure is seperate. If none of that is an issue, then BullGuard is a sound option for the less technically minded users who don’t want all the overwhelming bloat.

Proton VPN desktop client

6. ProtonVPN

Best free VPN with unlimited usage

Pros:

  • Unlimited bandwidth free tier
  • Quick European transfer speeds
  • Can stream US Netflix and iPlayer

Cons:

  • Very slow US transfer speeds
  • May be subject to Swiss data collection orders

The best thing about ProtonVPN is that its free tier puts no restrictions on usage – you can download as much as you want without paying anything. Instead, ProtonVPN’s free tier limits you to three endpoint servers: the US, Netherlands and Japan. This means you can access US Netflix from the UK for example, but won’t be able to access iPlayer when abroad.

Pay £3.79 per month (or £36.35 per year) for the entry-level plan and you’ll expand your access to 44 countries. And then there are the Plus and Tier subscription tiers, which expand the simultaneous connections limit. Having multiple tiers offers great flexibility, so you can make sure you’re getting excellent value.

There are some major hang ups with ProtonVPN though, particularly the sluggish data transfer speeds for the US. And since ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, you have to be mindful the service could be subject to Swiss data collection orders.

Still, this is one of the greatest free VPN options available thanks to unlimited data transfers, especially if you’re content with just the US, Netherlands and Japan as your endpoints.

7. Webroot WiFi Security

Low first year fees combined with a kill switch add up to an attractive offer

Pros:

  • Inexpensive first-year subscription
  • Good speed test performance
  • Excellent streaming performance

Cons:

  • Becomes the most expensive after the first year

The Webroot WiFi Security VPN’s greatest pulling factor is its inexpensive subscription – at least in the first year. It costs £30.28 in the first year (for support up to three devices), but balloons up to a £45.43 annual fee after the initial 12 months. For this reason, you’re best only using Webroot WiFi Security as a short-term option.

Webroot WiFi Security is generally a good VPN though, with decent security features and the capability to bypass geo-location checks for the likes of Netflix, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer and All 4. Webroot also claims it does not collect users’ browsing activity, downloaded data (or shared or viewed data), or DNS queries, making it a good option for those craving privacy.

But while Webroot WiFi Security is improving its streaming performance and high transfer speeds, we can’t help but think Private Internet Access is a cheaper and faster alternative. Webroot is at least a good option for video streaming on the cheap – albeit just for the first 12 months. 

Screenshot of HideMyAss running on Windows 10.

8. HideMyAss! (HMA)

Unbeatable for server and endpoint choices

Pros:

  • More endpoint countries than any rival
  • Streams Netflix US and BBC iPlayer

Cons:

  • Keeps logs
  • Expensive

The defining feature of HideMyAss! Is the massive number of endpoints it offers, covering 190 countries and territories in total. This proves handy if you want to use a server in a specific country not normally covered by VPNs.

Such reach comes with many disadvantages though. Firstly, HideMyAss! Will log your IP address, as well as connection times and bandwidth usage. It’s completely upfront about this, so you can’t criticise its transparency, but may prove a dealbreaker for the privacy conscious. It’s not the most ideal option for media streaming, with the likes of All 4 capable of detecting VPN usage, but still works fine with the likes of Netflix US, Disney Plus and BBC iPlayer.

The biggest blow for HideMyAss! is its price. Costing £59.88 per year despite its limitations seems very excessive. With this in mind, HideMyAss! Is only really worth coughing up the cash for if you want to access a country not normally covered by competing VPNs.

TunnelBear

9. TunnelBear

Free and easy-to-use VPN with a no-logging policy

Pros:

  • Free version available
  • Clear no-logging policy
  • Wide range of privacy and security features

Cons:

  • Poor streaming performance
  • No torrenting

Tunnelbear used to be one of the best free VPNs available, but now its 500GB-per-month data cap seems very stingy compared to Windscribe’s monthly free 10GB offering.

You can pay £8.10 per month (or £48.52) for unlimited data, but with unremarkable US transfer speeds, poor video streaming performance, restrictions on torrenting and lack of unique features to set it apart from the competition, it’s difficult to recommend Tunnelbear ahead of any of the VPNs higher up in this list.

That said, since it’s independently audited for security and boasts a no-logging policy, this is still a worthwhile option for those who care about privacy.

How we test each VPN

While it’s not possible to carry out conclusive performance testing on VPN services due to the wide range of factors that can affect the speeds users see, we carry out speed tests to get a general feel for how each service performs. We test all services using their clients’ default settings.

We run tests from a London-based connection that typically sees speeds of around 10MB/s (80Mbps). We test multiple endpoints from each provider in three locations: the UK, the Netherlands and the U.S.

Our tables show the best results we are able to obtain by carrying out large file downloads via both FTP and through a web browser using HTTP. However, it’s important to note that these figures are a snapshot of performance at a single point in time, rather than being fully representative.

While UK and Dutch endpoints typically have only a moderate impact on speed with most providers, connection speeds to the US are usually a bit slower, averaging around 6MB/s (48Mbit/s). A handful of services with highly optimised network actually improve on our VPN-free reference speeds.

We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.

Today's VPN Deals

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN gives you unrestricted access to Netflix, HBO and iPlayer. Get 49% off on their one year subscription and receive a further three months completely free.

NordVPN

Save 70% off your total bill with the NordVPN 3-year subscription. You'll have one payment of £96.74 over the 3 year period making it just £2.68 per month.

Private Internet Access

Equipped with a VPN kill switch and IPv6 leak protection are two of many reasons PIA is rated as our top VPN for security. Get yourself a year subscription and save yourself a sweet 67%.

Powered by Trusted Reviews

Related: Best antivirus 2020

We also test whether we’re able to view region-locked streaming video content from five key providers. In this round of tests, we looked at the Netflix, Crunchyroll and Shudder in the US, and All 4 and BBC iPlayer in the UK. Although Shudder and Crunchyroll only do minimal region checking based on IP addresses, Netflix, iPlayer and especially All 4 work hard to identify and block IP addresses associated with VPN endpoints, so what works one month may not the next.

Following a change to EU law that requires streaming media services to make European users’ home content available to them when they travel anywhere else in the EU, it is no longer possible to access other European Netflix services, so we have ceased testing European Netflix support.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think – email the Editor

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