I’ve been visiting a great deal of VPN services recently, which was quite an interesting journey. The journey goes from the US-based company with the ultra fashionable website claiming they’re the worldwide best, to the guys in Eastern Europe with a not-so-up-to-date website informing you that, well, it already works pretty well, but, hey, they’re still working on making it better so don’t complain. I love witnessing these various approaches to business and customer transparency, and I can almost hear the accent of the guy in charge of marketing while reading the website. That’s when someone is in charge of marketing.
To narrow down the vast choice of VPN providers, I applied the criteria listed in this previous blog post. To summarise: to support a life without borders, a VPN service should cover the world, that’s pretty clear, as well as work on all devices, be easy to use, tunnel all your trafic and not just a few streaming services, be fast enough to not drive you crazy, be reasonably priced and, to a certain extent, be popular.
After ruling out the $100 per year services, the streaming-only VPNs, the browser plugins, the DIY manual configuration products, the ones with US-only servers, I ended up with 7 services. Not that the others are bad, mind you. Some are great for people with high privacy concerns, others are good for British expats missing their BBC iPlayer. However here are the 7 services I ended up with:
- TunnelBear, the neat looking product I introduced in this post, meets the criteria.
- Hotspot Shield, an interesting option on the cheap side, with however only a handfull of countries to connect from.
- CyberGhost, a pricier option with a good worldwide coverage and well-designed product to use.
- GoTrusted, another contender with good coverage, expensive however as you only have a per-month tarif.
- Cloudnymous, definitely an interesting concept with a per-server / pay-as-you-go pricing and a cloud-based scalable infrastructure.
- PureVPN, with a very large country coverage and the most evolved website I came accross.
- SecurityKISS, an interesting and scalable offering starting at a very low price with a respectable number of countries covered.
And here’s what each of these offer:
|Service||Free version||Paid version||Free locations||Locations||Devices|
|TunnelBear||Up to 1,5MB per month. AU not included.||$5 per month (Giant) or $50 per year (Grizzly)||US, UK, CA, DE, JP, FR, NL, IT||US, UK, CA, DE, JP, FR, NL, IT, AU.||All devices except Linux|
|Hotspot Shield||Ad-supported and intrusive. Virtual location in the US only.||Elite: $30 per year to remove adds on 5 devices, or $5 per month from certain countries. More virtual locations.||US||AU, JP, UK, US||All devices except Linux|
|CyberGhost||Ad-supported. Waiting time to be connected. No torrents. Not all countries included.||Premium: $40 per year or $7 per month. Faster and more virtual locations.
Premium Plus for 5 devices: $70 per year or $11 per month.
|15 countries including US and UK.||23 countries including US, UK and CH.||All devices|
|GoTrusted||None||$6 per month, so $72 per year.||N/A||US, CA, FR, IE, UK, DE, SG, KR, JP, HK.||All devices, except maybe Linux.|
|Cloudnymous||Free (crouded) servers in RU and DE.||Per server and per day or per month. Average $4,5 per month per server.||RU, DE||US, CA, UK, FR, NL, DE, SE, RU, SG, JP.||Installer for Windows, manual setup for others.|
|PureVPN||3-day trial for $2.50||$7 per month or $50 per year.||N/A||44 countries||All devices, with manual setup for Linux.|
|SecurityKISS||Limited countries, 300MB/day, limited speed and no streaming.||$3 to $10 per month $24 to $90 per year. The basic plans can be enough.||US, UK, FR, DE||10 to 16 countries, including US and UK.||All devices, with manual setup for iOS, Android and Linux.|
So which one would I go with? Speed is important to decide, so I’ll be comparing speed, price and coverage in the soon-to-come guide on country unblocking. If you’re using any one of these, or if I missed a major player meeting the criteria I listed, let me know!