Censorship, geoblocking and hackers: There are good reasons to stay anonymous online. That’s why VPNs are a hotly debated topic right now. The number of providers is large. But do they all deliver on their promises? I have tested and compared over 30 different VPNs. In this report, you will find out which services have become test winners and why you should take a closer look when choosing a provider.
Using a VPN can be useful in many ways. When playing, it mainly protects you from hackers and DDoS attacks. But you can also use it to avoid speed throttling from your ISP or use VPN to bypass geo-blocking. This way you can download games earlier or join a lobby from abroad when playing online games. In this article, you’ll find out what benefits a VPN brings to gaming and how to use it properly.
However, all of this requires a VPN provider that is also capable of protecting you. It is by no means all services. There are countless VPNs that threaten your security or just don’t deliver.
I am very interested in VPNs. That’s why I tested over 30 VPN providers and compared them in different categories.
From all these providers I then chose four test winners. To find out which VPN is the best, there are a few criteria it must meet. I researched all providers for the following aspects:
- functions and equipment
- privacy and security
- Ease of use and support
- Price-performance ratio
Thereby I found some big differences. There are providers like Hola VPN that are extremely security threatening by relying on P2P connections. This means that they do not provide their own servers, but rather redirect your internet traffic via another user’s IP address. Other VPN services such as Mullvad protect your privacy optimally and are also very secure, but do not particularly convince in other categories.
Many of the cheaper VPNs such as Tunnelbear or PureVPN have a great design but are technically of little use. Also, many of the VPNs I’ve tested are not suitable for streaming, despite this being one of the most common uses of a virtual private network.
In my testing, I came across four providers that perform well in all categories and are suitable for gaming as well as other purposes. But here too there are a few small differences.
This provider has convinced me in almost every respect. It starts with the server choice: ExpressVPN offers more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries. I also think it’s great that the service can be used on most platforms, from smartphones to gaming consoles.
Bypassing geoblocks works well with ExpressVPN. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Co can be cheated wonderfully, and changing lobby, for example at Warzone, is no problem with ExpressVPN.
VPN lets you pay anonymously and protects your privacy. User logs are not stored, as confirmed by external audits. The speed is also right. There is no throttling at the ISP and you don’t notice that there is a VPN connection in everyday life.
The only flaw: I found trackers on the website and in the apps. Otherwise, ExpressVPN has everything in terms of performance that a VPN service should have. From my point of view, there is currently no better provider on the market, although ExpressVPN is a bit more expensive than average in comparison.
If you are looking for the best price-performance ratio, NordVPN is the right choice. This provider uses the relatively new WireGuard protocol, which is much faster compared to the more popular OpenVPN. I also liked that NordVPN offers several extra features and is also suitable for streaming and gaming. The clients are safe, there are many supported platforms and the operator does not collect user data.
However, I don’t care too much about the design of the service. The server selection could also be a bit bigger and the connection to a remote server could be a bit more stable. I also found trackers here. Therefore only place 2 for NordVPN. All in all, the provider offers a compelling performance, especially when you compare it to the price.
CyberGhost primarily scores with its design. The interface is clear and can be operated intuitively very easily. There are plus points for the German support and the large selection of servers: around 7,000 in 91 countries. CyberGhost was also able to prove its strength when it came to streaming. The service easily bypassed the country blocks of Netflix, Amazon Video and a few more streaming providers. In addition, there is a relatively very low price if you subscribe to the service for a longer period of time.
CyberGhost was developed in Germany and is owned by the same company behind ExpressVPN. The applications are safe, but trackers can also be found here. In addition, CyberGhost collects quite a lot of data from its users.
ProtonVPN is the best service for those who value privacy and a higher level of anonymity online. This VPN also comes in a free version with 3 servers. Users are not limited in bandwidth, as is usually the case with other free providers. Based in Switzerland, ProtonVPN is subject to strict privacy laws.
However, the paid version is also more likely to be classified in the higher price segment. On the other hand, one could argue that the investment is worth it: hardly any other VPN offers such a high level of privacy protection as ProtonVPN. I haven’t noticed any trackers either in the app or on the website.
In terms of support, however, there is much to come. This is because ProtonVPN does not offer a live chat feature. I had to wait 8 hours for a reply. When streaming, the VPN was able to bypass the country blocking of most providers. Bypassing geoblocking is, however, only possible with the Plus tariff.
If you are looking for a VPN, you will be faced with a huge pool of VPN providers. Prices vary widely, as does the service. It’s hard to make a decision, especially since many services just don’t deliver what they promise.
A good VPN uses secure protocols, does not limit your speed, offers a wide range of VPN servers and functions, does not store customer data, is easy to use thanks to sophisticated clients and offers competent support for questions and problems.
ExpressVPN ticks all these boxes. With this provider, speed, price and server selection are right. This provider has also achieved the best results in bypassing geo-blocking. If you’re looking for the best value for your money, then NordVPN is the place to be. In my opinion, the best German VPN is CyberGhost, and if you want to protect your privacy optimally, ProtonVPN is the best choice. Of the 31 providers from my VPN test, these are the four clear test winners.