Best VPN 2019: 15 of the best for privacy and Netflix

We've tested all the key paid for VPNs on the market, rating them for speed, features and price. Here, we round up and rank the best VPNs from our reviews.

Updated: we’ve just re-tested our VPN recommendations below to check for speed and access, so all the data is new.

Below, we’ve rounded up the best VPNs for people looking for something more long-term, for personal or business use.

If money is tight, you’re between paychecks, or you’re thinking of switching provider but don’t want to part with any cash, then you’re in luck – we’ve rounded up the Best Free VPNs here, too. These are typically ‘reduced feature’ or ‘time limited’ versions of the main ones.

Read the following to check the difference between a free and paid for VPN

Our recommended best VPNs

  • Thanks to the large number of endpoints and the ability to provide international access to popular services, we recommend NordVPN as the best choice for streaming.
  • Our best overall recommendation goes to Private Internet Access (PIA), which boasts a well-established privacy record, a large number of servers and fast speeds.
  • HideMyAss! (HMA) gets our recommendation for best VPN for international coverage, thanks to its unbeatable number of servers and endpoints.
  • Kaspersky Secure Connection once again scored highly in our speed tests, and this time around, proved to be the best VPN overall for speed.
  • Also worth consideration is Windscribe. For your money you’ll get fast speeds, streamlined access to popular streaming services via dedicated endpoints, an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, and the ability to share your encrypted connection (if your wireless router supports this).
  • BullGuardVPN is another VPN worthy of your attention. It uses the same infrastructure as NordVPN, and our most recent tests proved that it’s actually faster than NordVPN – but it’s also more expensive.

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

NordVPN desktop client

1. NordVPN

Best VPN for streaming – huge number of servers and endpoints

Pros:

  • Wide range of privacy and security features
  • Over 5000 servers worldwide
  • Large number of endpoint countries
  • Clear, audited no-logging policy
  • Provides international access to Netflix, All 4 and iPlayer

Cons:

  • Logs some session information

NordVPN was one of two virtual private networks in our latest roundup to grant international access to every streaming service tested. The other was BullGuard VPN – which, as it happens, uses the same infrastructure as NordVPN.

Of the two, NordVPN was actually a little slower in HTTP and FTP speed tests. We recorded HTTP and FTP speeds of 8.26MB/sec (66.08Mbps) and FTP at 9.37MB/sec (74.96Mbps) via UK endpoints with NordVPN, and 7.96MB/sec (63.68Mbps) over HTTP and 8.67MB/sec (69.36Mbps) via FTP in the Netherlands. US speeds measured a slower, but still serviceable 6.2MB/sec (49.6Mbps) over HTTP and 5.47MB/sec (43.76Mbps) over FTP. BullGuard was faster in every test, albeit sometimes only by a small margin.

So the reason for NordVPN getting the top recommendation for streaming over BullGuard, where greater bandwidth is arguably more important? Well, it mainly comes down to price and the wider range of endpoints. Not only is NordVPN cheaper, but its greater number of endpoints means you’re likely to have more luck when trying to access certain services.

We should note that as NordVPN has no dedicated streaming servers, not all of the UK endpoints supported iPlayer, so you might have difficulty catching up with EastEnders whilst on holiday.

Also, while BullGuard uses the same infrastructure, its no-logging policy hasn’t been verified by an external party, whereas an audit by PriceWaterhouseCoopers determined that NordVPN’s has. For the benefit of extra security, on top of price and geographical flexibility, we’re recommending NordVPN as the best VPN choice for streaming.

Private Internet Access desktop client

2. Private Internet Access (PIA)

Best VPN for security – excellent features, server choice and prices

Pros:

  • Wide range of privacy and security features
  • Clear no-logging policy, demonstrated in court

Cons:

  • Detected by BBC iPlayer

Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the easier VPNs to use. There are clients for Windows, macOS and Linux, iOS, and Android, plus instructions for setting up connections on other operating systems and devices. A complete list of the 3000 endpoints in 33 countries is displayed with a simple click, and features such as the VPN kill switch, which protects your data by killing your internet connection if the VPN stops working, are easy to set up.

It’s also possible to initiate IPv6 leak protection, which temporarily disables IPv6 to prevent unwanted identifying data from being transmitted and DNS leak protection, routing all DNS requests through a non-logging DNS service.

What’s more, PIA has a clear no-logging policy, which has been proven to be reliable. When served with an FBI warrant to hand over VPN logs, PIA didn’t have anything to show, making it one of the few VPN providers whose no-logging claim is known to have been tested.

Speed-wise, we racked up HTTP and FTP download speeds of 8.81MB/sec (70.48Mbps) and 9.84MB/sec (78.72Mbps) via endpoints in the UK, and 7.7MB/sec (61.6Mbps) and 7.82 MB/sec (62.56Mbps) on our HTTP and FTP tests via Netherlands endpoints. Via US endpoints, speeds were a lot faster than what we’ve previously seen at 6.92MB/sec (55.36Mbps) over HTTP and 10.17MB/sec (81.36Mbps) over FTP.

Prices are also pretty low. Expect to pay £7.53 per month on a rolling basis, £54.21 for a year (equivalent to £4.51 a month), or £63.25 for a two-year subscription (equivalent to £2.63 a month). If you want to save cash then the two-year option is clearly your best bet. Alternatively, you can pay using bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Zcash or gift cards.

Screenshot of HideMyAss running on Windows 10.

3. HideMyAss! (HMA)

Best VPN for international coverage – excellent features, server choice and prices

Pros:

  • Decent speeds
  • Large number of servers
  • 190 endpoint countries – more than any rival

Cons:

  • Logs some session information

HideMyAss! (also known as HMA) proudly boasts that it runs over 900 servers in more than 190 countries and territories. This means that, if you need to virtually “be” in a specific location to access a given service, or ensure that your own web services are accessible in certain parts of the world, this is probably going to be your VPN of choice.

We had a better success rate with video streaming than  in our last round of tests, too. Netflix, Shudder and Crunchyroll were all accessible from US endpoints, and this time around we were able to access BBC iPlayer in the UK without a hitch; All 4 continued to elude.

Other features include an automatic connection to the VPN as soon as Windows launches, SOCKS5 proxying and a Secure IP Bind feature, which lets you block applications on your computer from connecting to the internet until an encrypted VPN connection is established.

HideMyAss! is, in fact, a little faster than in our last set of tests, delivering 7.52MB/sec (60.16Mbps) and 8.68MB/sec (69.44Mbps) in our HTTP and FTP tests via HMA’s UK endpoints, HTTP and FTP speeds of 7.84MB/sec (62.72Mbps) and 8.67MB/s (69.36Mbps) via Netherlands endpoints, and speeds of 5.3MB/sec (42.4Mbps) and 4.2MB/sec (33.6Mbps) via HTTP and FTP in the US. HTTP speeds are generally a little slower than other VPNs tested here, but FTP speeds are above average.

Price changes mean that HMA’s rates are closer to what’s considered average: it isn’t the cheapest offering going. On a rolling monthly basis you’ll be paying £7.99, while a £59.88 annual subscription is equivalent to paying £4.99 a month. A £71.76 two-year subscription works out to £2.99 per month.

Screenshot of Kaspersky Secure Connection running on Windows 10.

4. Kaspersky Secure Connection

Best VPN for speed – performed best overall in HTTP and FTP tests

Pros:

  • Blisteringly fast performance in transfer speed tests
  • Generous free tier
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • No kill switch
  • Privacy groups have disputed no-logging policy
  • Limited device support, configuration and privacy options
  • Failed to stream US Netflix or BBC iPlayer

Kaspersky Secure Connection is one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested to date. Although in our most recent round of testing it was pipped in key areas by rivals (BullGuard VPN was slightly faster in UK HTTP and FTP tests, ExpressVPN beat it in Netherlands and US HTTP tests), Kaspersky performed best on average, and the results we saw were more consistent.

We recorded UK HTTP and FTP speeds of .32MB/sec (74.56Mbps) and 9.77MB/sec (78.16Mbps). In the Netherlands, we saw speeds of 9.5MB/sec (76Mbps) and 9.37MB/sec (74.96Mbps) for HTTP and FTP. In the US, we saw 9.8MB/sec (78.4Mbps) downloads over HTTP and 9.57MB/sec (76.56Mbps) over FTP.

With endpoints in 18 countries, Kaspersky Secure Connection can be set up so that it connects automatically, connects to an endpoint in a certain country by default, or seeks to establish a connection whenever you connect to an insecure Wi-Fi hotspot.

There’s no automatic kill switch, though, so if your VPN connection fails then you won’t be automatically disconnected – and, therefore, you won’t be automatically protected. If privacy is the main reason you’re seeking a VPN then our advise is that you look elsewhere.

In the latest round of testing, both Netflix and BBC iPlayer spotted that we were connecting via US and UK endpoints. Prices also lean towards the higher end of the spectrum. The standard monthly rate is £9.99, which doesn’t compare well with the rolling monthly rates of NordVPN (£8.96), HMA (£7.99), or KeepSolid VPN Unlimited (£7.73) – which offer similar speeds and more features for less money.

Proton VPN desktop client

5. ProtonVPN

Best VPN for price – free tier features unlimited usage

Pros:

  • Unlimited bandwidth free tier
  • Inexpensive paid options
  • Clear no-logging policy
  • Fast transfer speeds

Cons:

  • Unable to stream BBC iPlayer

Whatever you’re in the VPN market for, ProtonVPN would be worth checking out regardless. This isn’t just because the free option offers unlimited usage (in terms of how much bandwidth you can burn through every month), but because it boasts a no-logging policy and fast FTP speeds as well.

There are some limitations with the free option, though: namely, endpoints. You can only pick from three by default (the Netherlands, Japan, and the US), with more becoming available if you shell out for the paid option.

The good news is that we recorded little to no difference between the free and paid options in terms of performance with European endpoints, but the paid US service was much faster.

To give you an idea of how we got on, using UK endpoints with the paid version, we recorded UK download speeds of 9.33MB/sec (74.64Mbps) over HTTP and 9.84MB/sec (78.72Mbps) via FTP.

In the Netherlands, we saw 9.97MB/sec (79.76Mbps) and 9.73MB/sec(77.84Mbps) in our FTTP and FTP tests. US HTTP speeds were slower at 6.92MB/sec (55.36Mbps),but FTP speeds were a staggering 10.17MB/sec (81.36Mbps) – the fastest in this group test.

For comparison’s sake, the free endpoint in the Netherlands is just as quick as its paid-for counterpart, at 9.9MB/sec (79.2Mbps) over HTTP and 10.15MB/sec (81.2Mbps) via FTP. The US was a little slower at 5.44MB/sec (43.52Mbps) over HTTP and 4.68MB/sec (37.44Mbps) via FTP – which is very good for a free service.

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited running on Windows 10.

6. KeepSolid VPN Unlimited

A very fast VPN that’s good for streaming

Pros:

  • Wide range of supported devices
  • Endpoints in 54 countries
  • Fast performance

Cons:

  • Keeps logs

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited offers decent speeds, a good range of endpoints, a VPN kill switch – and, for those who can or want to pay for a long-term contract, very generous rates.

In our most recent tests, UK endpoints racked up 9.52MB/sec (76.16Mbps) and 9.23MB/sec (73.84Mbps) in our HTTP and FTP tests. In the Netherlands, the KeepSolid servers achieved 9.5MB/sec (76Mbps) via HTTP and 9.73MB/sec (77.84Mbps) via FTP. In the US, we recorded a respectable 8.33MB/sec (66.64Mbps) via HTTP and 5.97MB/sec (47.76Mbps) via FTP.

Although not the absolute best we recorded this time around – Kaspersky Secure Connection and BullGuard VPN were faster – these remain impressive results, still above the group average.

KeepSolid boasts of having endpoints in 54 countries and specialised servers designed to allow you access most geo-locked streaming services undetected. While this enabled easy access to American Netflix, and BBC iPlayer from US and UK endpoints respectively, we were unable to access All 4.

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is also great value for money, if you’re prepared to stump up in advance. Paying £46.45 for a year is equivalent to paying £3.87 a month, while the £77.42 three-year option is even better value, equivalent to £2.15 a month. If you’re really made of money then £154.84 will net you a lifetime subscription. The standard monthly price of £7.73 doesn’t compare as well to these rates, but is still a little under other VPN providers’ per-month rates.

The only negative is that KeepSolid VPN Unlimited collects some personal information, such as IP addresses, network names, time-zone information, and data on the device(s) you’re using. KeepSolid says it doesn’t store absolutely everything it collects, but adds that: “We retain personal data necessary for compliance with our legal obligations and contractual performance for the longer of: (i) the required time period under applicable law; (ii) or seven years.”

BullGuard VPN desktop client

7. BullGuard VPN

A faster alternative to NordVPN, good for streaming

Pros:

  • Rebranded version of NordVPN
  • Fast performance in transfer speed tests
  • Outstanding streaming media handling

Cons:

  • Limited device support
  • More expensive than many rivals

BullGuard VPN is a new virtual private network service from the antivirus company of the same name. Despite the name, it actually uses NordVPN infrastructure to encrypt your traffic, meaning you benefit from many of the same features you’d have access to with a NordVPN subscription.

In fact, in our recent round of testing BullGuard VPN proved itself to actually be faster than NordVPN. So, if you’re after something that’s ideally suited to accessing streaming services whilst you’re away from home, and want the fastest possible browsing and downloading speeds, then BullGuard VPN is the obvious private network of choice.

BullGuard VPN is more expensive than NordVPN, however, so budget-conscious buyers may be better looking elsewhere. Additionally, while BullGuard claims that it doesn’t keep any logs for its VPN service, this claim has yet to be verified by a court order or an independent audit. While we’d take BullGuard at their word, those who place a premium on privacy may wish to wait to see if this no logging claim stands up to the ultimate test.

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

8. Windscribe

An excellent value for money and privacy-conscious VPN

Pros:

  • Generous free tier
  • Clear data security policy
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Provides international access to Netflix and iPlayer
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Poor US connection speeds

Windscribe VPN is very easy to use, and arms a number of robust security features including a VPN kill switch, integrated firewall  The Windows version even lets you easily share an encrypted connection as a secure wireless hotspot with a wireless adapter, should you need to use that. As well as clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, there’s also a Linux client, as well as Chrome, Firefox and Opera extensions.

Windscribe’s 10GB free tier isn’t quite as generous as that of ProtonVPN, and such a data cap means you won’t be able to get much streaming done on the cheap. However, for general browsing and work purposes it’s more than enough. You get more breathing room here than you would with the 200MB and 500MB caps of Kaspersky and TunnelBear anyway.

In our most recent set of tests, Windscribe gave us slower speeds than what we’ve seen in the past – but, generally, whether you’re after a VPN for general privacy, streaming or both, our experience suggests it’s fast enough. We were also able to connect to Netflix, Shudder, and Crunchyroll via US endpoints and BBC iPlayer via UK endpoints in our most recent test, but not All 4.

Windscribe’s privacy and logging policy clearly states that it only logs the total amount of bandwidth consumed and the time your account used in the long term. The service supports anonymous payment via bitcoin and gift vouchers, and you don’t have to provide an email address in order to sign up.

TunnelBear

9. TunnelBear

An 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:

  • Can’t stream Netflix or iPlayer

TunnelBear’s user interface is bright, colourful and very easy to use; plus, it has a clear no-logging policy. While its no-logging claims haven’t been put to the test in the courts, TunnelBear is independently audited for security.

As well as offering clients for the main operating systems, Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, TunnelBear offers browser plugins for Opera and Chrome, as well as instructions for setting up an OpenVPN client for Linux.

There’s also a kill switch, a feature that will see TunnelBear activate automatically the moment you’re connected to any Wi-Fi networks that aren’t on a pre-approved list, and an experimental feature designed to obscure the fact that you’re using a VPN at all.

That said, standard BitTorrent ports are blocked following complaints from copyright holders. Recent tests saw us unable to access BBC iPlayer or Netflix from UK and US endpoints, so for content consumption, TunnelBear might not be the VPN you’re looking for.

You can sign up for free, and have 500MB worth of traffic encrypted every month – you can get an additional 1GB per month if you tweet about TunnelBear as well. If you need unlimited usage, TunnelBear costs £7.55 per month or £45.26 per year, which is equivalent to paying £3.82 a month. The company also accepts payment in bitcoin, if you want to sign up without leaving a paper trail.

ExpressVPN

10. ExpressVPN

A solid VPN with proven privacy credentials

Pros:

  • Good transfer speeds
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Clear no-logging policy, demonstrated in court

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Detected by Netflix US and BBC iPlayer

ExpressVPN is another VPN provider whose dedication to upholding privacy has been put to the test – when Turkish authorities seized servers in December 2017, no logs were found on the system.

It’s also easy to use and configure. You get to choose whether ExpressVPN starts and connects on Windows startup, or have the kill switch turned on by default. Should you want to, you can have ExpressVPN choose protocols automatically, or choose from OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, or PPTP.

In the latest round of tests, ExpressVPN recorded slower than usual HTTP and FTP speeds – having tested ExpressVPN in the past, we can safely say that this is atypical. For streaming purposes, torrenting, and browsing, ExpressVPN normally provides the bandwidth you need. However, when we tried to access Netflix and BBC iPlayer from US and UK endpoints in our latest group test, we were shown the door.

A downside to ExpressVPN is that it’s relatively expensive – its standard monthly rate of £9.79 per month is high, and the long-term rates also don’t compare that well with the competition. ExpressVPN charges £45.31 for six months or £75.54 for a year, which is equivalent to paying £7.51 per month or £6.29 per month.

CyberGhost desktop client

11. CyberGhost

Excellent and easy-to-use security features

Pros:

  • Large number of servers
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • Clear no-logging policy
  • Provides international access to Netflix and iPlayer

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Detected by Netflix US and BBC iPlayer

CyberGhost boasts a number of features that make it worthy of your attention if you’re looking for a VPN primarily for security and privacy reasons.

First of all, CyberGhost’s VPN kill switch is set up to work by default – and it’s permanently enabled. Protection against DNS leaks is also enabled by default. Digging deeper, you can specify the connection protocol its OpenVPN driver uses and disable incompatible IPv6 connections. CyberGhost also claims not to log or store your IP address, although its no-logging claims have yet to be proven by an independent audit, or a court order.

In our latest group test, we were able to enjoy good HTTP and FTP speeds via CyberGhost’s endpoints, with the exception of US points, which wouldn’t let us maintain a stable FTP connection. We were able to easily access Netflix, Crunchyroll and Shudder from US endpoints, and BBC iPlayer from a UK endpoint – although All 4 refused to play nicely.

CyberGhost isn’t the cheapest VPN offering around, with the regular monthly rate costing £10.29, which makes it the second most expensive service after Perfect Privacy’s standard price offering (which converts to £11.23 per month at the time of writing).

However, the annual rates offer much better value for money. Paying £55.08 a year is the equivalent to £4.59 a month, and the two-year option of £74.10 works out at £3.08 a month. However, if you’re going to dig deep and pay that kind of money up-front, you’re far better off forking out an extra £1.50 – £75.60 gets you three years of CyberGhost cover, which is equivalent to paying £2.10 a month.

If you need of an extra layer of anonymity, you can choose pay for your CyberGhost subscription in bitcoin, or search for a boxed edition.

Perfect Privacy desktop client

12. Perfect Privacy

Proven privacy credentials and cover for unlimited devices

Pros:

  • No-logging policy, proven by server seizure
  • Unlimited devices
  • Extensive security features

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Very slow US endpoints

Perfect Privacy can confidently claim that its no-logging claim is robust – no customer logs were found when Dutch police accessed its servers in 2016.

It also has a flexible VPN kill switch feature, which is enabled by default. In addition, the desktop client presents plenty of information about server load and latency, so you can get some idea of the level of performance before you pick an endpoint. As with TunnelBear, Perfect Privacy comes with a setting that lets you try to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN at all, if accessing services that attempt to block VPN use.

That said, Perfect Privacy didn’t let play well with BBC iPlayer or All 4 from any UK endpoint, and nor did Netflix work via any US endpoints; Crunchyroll and Shudder worked fine. We also recorded slow speeds with Perfect Privacy in this round of testing-

It’s also the most expensive VPN offering we’ve tested, with the basic monthly fee setting you back £11.15 per month. As usual, it makes sense to pay up front, if you can – annual subscriptions cost £102.99 a year (equivalent to £8.58 a month), while paying £184.51 for two years is equivalent to £7.68 a month.

Note that Switzerland-based Perfect Privacy prices its services in Euros, and the above prices are based on current exchange rates, correct at the time of writing.

The VyprVPN client for Windows 10, sitting on the desktop.

13. VyprVPN

High privacy, low-cost VPN for users with a small number of devices

Pros:

  • Plenty of privacy and security features
  • Wide range of endpoint countries
  • No-logging policy is independently audited
  • Provides international access to Netflix

Cons:

  • Below average transfer speeds
  • Failed to stream iPlayer

VyprVPN has recently adopted a no-logging policy, commissioning Leviathan Security to carry out an independent audit. This found that no personally identifiable information was logged by VyprVPN.

The VyprVPN service is available in two flavours: standard VyprVPN lets you encrypt traffic on up to three devices; VyprVPN Premium allows you to cover five. VyprVPN Premium also includes the Chameleon setting, an obfuscation mode that attempts to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN.

Aside from that, in terms of speed and performance, the two subscriptions are the same. VyprVPN provides dedicated apps for a wide range of platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Linux, and VyprVPN can also be configured to work with routers and NAS devices.

While VpyrVPN is generally fast (very fast), this time around, we recorded speeds that weren’t as good as those seen previously. Things weren’t so bad that general web use and streaming was impeded. In fact, VyprVPN even let us access All 4 from UK endpoints – not something any VPN can do. We were also able to easily access Netflix, Crunchyroll and Shudder from US endpoints, but BBC iPlayer stopped us from visiting every time we tried to load it from a UK endpoint.

The standard monthly price for VyprVPN is cheap at £6.30 per month, or £43.50 a year (equivalent to £3.60 a month). For the fully fledged VyprVPN Premium, you can pay either £9.25 per month or £57.50 for the year, equivalent to £4.79 a month.

While these prices are reasonable, a downside is that you can’t currently get unlimited device coverage with VyprVPN. For people with more modest needs, however, that might not be an issue.

Norton Secure VPN desktop client

14. Norton Secure VPN

Cheap prices for the first year

Pros:

  • Clear no-logging policy
  • Typically fast performance in transfer speed tests
  • Provides international access to Netflix US

Cons:

  • No kill switch
  • Lack of advanced features and broad device support
  • Becomes more expensive after first year

Norton Secure VPN is a simple and easy-to-use VPN that’s super-cheap – for the first year, anyway.

It’s also fairly simplistic, and while it’s fine if you’re after a way to access Netflix whilst abroad, you’re limited in terms of customisation.

Norton Secure VPN uses the OpenVPN protocol for its connections, and there are clients available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. There’s no information available for setting Norton Secure VPN up on Linux PCs, NAS drives or routers, however.

Likewise, while you get a built-in ad blocker, there’s no VPN kill switch, which would automatically halt internet traffic if the VPN is disconnected. That’s a big minus for anyone looking to a VPN for privacy reasons.

In addition to annual rates of £19.99, £29.99, £69.99, high renewal fees of £39.99, £59.99 and £79.99 respectively see long-term running costs of Norton Secure VPN climb steeply.

Screenshot of Avast SecureLine running on Windows 10.

15. Avast SecureLine

A basic, no-frills VPN

Pros:

  • Simple client
  • Good European connection speeds

Cons:

  • Limited device support and security features
  • Keeps connection logs
  • No kill switch

Avast SecureLine is a reliable if basic VPN from the famous anti-malware company Avast, and can be bought alongside Avast Antivirus.

Clients are available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, but you’re not given much help with setting this up for other devices or operating systems.

While Avast SecureLine VPN is simple enough to use, it’s lacking in features such as a kill switch, which means that in the event the VPN fails, your traffic won’t be encrypted. Its logging policy makes it clear that while user activity isn’t collected, connection logs are – so if privacy is a priority then this probably isn’t the VPN for you.

Furthermore, it isn’t the cheapest VPN out there – price options are limited to an annual subscription, which costs either £49.99 (cover for up to one Windows or macOS device) or £64.99 (cover for up to five devices).

That said, Avast SecureLine performed well in our speed tests, and allowed for international access to all streaming services, with the exception of All 4.

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 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