2023 will be having alot of online activities, varying from local shops shifting into e-commerce, companies taking a work from home approach and most of us getting stucked at home looking to access contents like (Netflix, Showmax and other platforms).
Whoever you are, however, definately you have been affected by this pandemic and wherever you live, the fact is you are using the internet more often than ever, surfing the web pages all day.
Which pops out the issue of GEO-based restrictions and content blockades, This is where VPNs comes in to help you access your favorite content on your own terms.
But wait🤔, there are alot of VPN services on the market today, How do you choose the right one for you and your needs?
Don’t sweat it!.
We did reviews of most popular and useful solutions available in 2023 and everything will be uncovered here, also we will be making sure whatever we are sharing with you here is as accurate as possible.
This is what i will be covering:
- What Are VPNs?
- Why do you need a VPN?
- Quick breakdown of the main VPN feature
- How VPNs Protect your Privacy
- How do you Choose the Right VPN?
- Overview of the top 5 VPNs currently available on the market
- Comparison Charts and Ranking of the Top 5 VPNs solution
Ready? Let’s Dive in.
What Are VPNs?
Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a private network from a public internet connection, VPN’s provides you a different degrees of privacy, masking your IP address in the process.
This in turn protects your online activities from being tracked and enables you gain access to sites that would otherwise be blocked or censored.
VPN services encrypt and secure your connection so that you can enjoy a level of privacy superior to that of say, a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.
Here is a quick breakdown of the main VPN feature:
- Virtual – Provides internet-based unblocking and access enablement.
- Private – All your visits and online activity remain hidden and unlogged.
- Network – You use a network of servers located around the world.
Why do you need a VPN?
Every time you go online activities, be it surfing, buying something, or watching content on an unsecured Wi-Fi network, it exposes your browsing habits and activities.
Which means all your data could become vulnerable to malicious agents using the same network.
Apart from this, most people are likely located in a specific country where certain social media, search engine and content websites (Showmax, PrivacyHQ Netflix, think Hulu, Fox, Disney, ESPN) are totally blocked or censored.
But a VPN gives you a high level of encryption and anonymity to hide your online transaction details from unauthorized users and gives you access to all your favorite content and social media channels which you are itching to access.
How does a VPN work?
VPN services are usually provided by companies that offer a month-by-month or annual subscription.
Here’s a quick explanation of the process:
- You sign up online for a VPN service and choose the package you want. either monthly or annual memberships. Then you choose your desired server network which will determine your new IP address. For example, if you choose a US-based server, you’ll have a US IP address.
- Once your account is activated, the VPN should automatically turn on every time you go online or better still you decide when to turn it on.
- VPN is designed to hide your true IP address, lending you a temporary IP (from the server and IP pool you previously chose from). This in too help you remain your anonymity and get around geolocation blocks.
How VPNs Protect your Privacy
A VPN creates a connection between your local network and a server in another location. It masks your true location, making it seem as if you’re in the designated server’s location.
Besides allowing you to watch streaming content outside your geographic zone, VPNs protect your IP address and add an additional tier of privacy.
Here’s how it works:
- VPNs encrypt the data sent through a Wi-Fi network or ISP
- The encryption process scrambles your data making it unreadable for people without the decryption key
- A VPN provides an extra layer of security when you use a public Wi-Fi network.
Note: Even if you’re using a private Wi-Fi with a password, without a VPN, your IP is exposed.
But Without a VPN, your Internet service provider can access your browsing history. With a VPN, your search history is associated with the IP address the VPN allocated you. Therefore, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot access it.
The same thing happens with search engines, while they may track your activity, it will be tracked back to the VPN’s IP, not yours.
How do you Choose the Right VPN?
Well, There are bunch of popular VPN’s out there lately, But having so many options can be overwhemlming sometimes. Be it using it to protect sensitive data’s or to access contents and social networks.
Which brings the question, “How do you choose the right VPN for youself?”
Here are the main things you should consider when looking for the right VPN for you:
- Privacy – Be sure that your privacy is protected and they don’t track or log your online activities in any way, shape, or form, check for their past records of data breach or privacy compromise.
- Data limits – You don’t want to get a VPN and then get cut off in the middle of streaming your favorite show, The ideal situation would be to get unmetered bandwidth with no data limits, Never pick a VPN services that set data limits to their server usage.
- Server location – It is important you know where the company’s servers are located. Don’t choose a server in Asia if you want to appear as if you are accessing a webpage from France.
- Multiple device usage – VPN’s are not only for your computer or laptop, Users now have multiple devices, Smart Tv’s, 2-3 Smart Devices, so you don’t want to pick a VPN services that can’t allow you connect to 10 device or more.
- Pricing – Getting it “Free” might sound well and pleasing but think about it, will you setup a VPN company and give users access for “Free” without a way of getting something in return, money to sustain your servers and maintain your VPN company?.
So whenever you see a VPN server that claims to be free without you paying, run away from them.
Best 5 VPN Providers in 2023
Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to see what the best VPN solutions currently is available on the market and how they compare in terms of features, pricing, and pros and cons.
Hola VPN overall expert rating: 4.7*
Hola VPN Product Overview:
Hola has earned a 4.9-star rating in the Chrome Web Store and they have more than 200 million users, well, we can say they are the best VPN currently available on the market.
First, they are fast, has no hidden fees and is highly effective in terms of unblocking content.
This is a combination that is hard to find in one product. Moreover, it is really easy to use and install. They have a variety of plans for any budget starting at $2.99 a month.
What’s behind the low-cost?
HolaVPN has a community-powered VPN. That means all users contribute to the VPN traffic, but this is only for the Free Plan
Instead of routing the traffic through servers, HolaVPN routes the traffic through other peer nodes.
But the HolaVPN Premium and Ultra Plans uses servers, so i will advice you all go with Premium or Ultra Plan.
Hola VPN Key Features:
- Site unblocking- Merging peer-to-peer (P2P) technology with traditional VPN proxy structure to unblock sites. The P2P technology uses idle routing resources from users, without affecting the user’s browsing or experience. You can opt-out from sharing your resources with the premium plan.
- Data encryption – HolaVPN really hides your IP as well as offering a kill switch support system.
- Multiple device concurrent connections – You can connect more than 10 to 20 devices simultaneously.
- Multiplatform support – Available on all major browsers, smart TV, Android, and iOS
- Alternate GPS Location – You can change the location of your device ( including mobile) through its android app that extends your HolaVPN features.
- Ad remover – This chrome extension removes unwanted/malware ads for your HolaVPN.
(billed every 3 years)
|Usage||Unlimited time per day||Unlimited time per day||Unlimited time per day|
|Nr. of devices||Connects up to 10 devices at the same time||Connects up to 20 devices at the same time||Connects up to 10 devices at the same time|
|Video streaming||HD video streaming||HD video streaming||HD video streaming|
|Support||Email support||Email support||Email support|
|Security||Best-in-class security & encryption
|Advanced security and encryption
|Best-in-class security & encryption
|Servers||1,000+ fast servers||1,500+ fast servers||1,500+ fast servers|
The 3-year plan includes the biggest savings and is fully refundable for 30 days.
- Best Value for Money. HolaVPN has all the features you would expect in a VPN for a fraction of the cost, offers SOCKS5 Proxy in their Ultra Plan.
- Multi-device connection. You can connect with 10 or 20 devices at the same time!.
- No Log policy – Meaning they do not collect log or information routed through their network. Which makes it good for personal privacy and anonymity.
- Best in class security and encryption – This ensures added security by encoding the data and content you are accessing in a way that can only be read or seen by you.Hola is the best as it has a large number of servers worldwide, and offers military-grade encryption.
- Fast – You can access upto 500 smart servers worldwide.
- 24/7 personal support: Full time support is great, it is currently only available over email which to me is a disadvantage as I like talking to a customer representative.
- Smart DNS: This is only included in the Ultra plan.
HolaVPN is really fast, they offer high-quality streaming, and ultimate security at an affordable price. If these thing are important to you then HolaVPN is the right choice for you.
NordVPN overall expert rating: 4.4*
NordVPN Product Overview:
NordVPN focuses on a collection of security features and a large network of servers. It is relatively easy to use and fast streaming.
- Multi-device connection – Upto 6 devices
- Multiplatform support – Chrome, Firefox, Android, Windows, iOS, and Linux
- Fast servers – 5400 around the globe
- Unlimited bandwidth
|2-year plan||1-year plan||1-month plan|
- Easy to use
- Secure WireGuard Technology
- Only email support
While it is a good option, the price doesn’t justify the limited features and support.
Express VPN overall expert rating: 4.1*
Express VPN Product Overview:
Like IPVanish, ExpressVPN focuses on the security and privacy of the users. It also boasts a large fleet of servers worldwide. However, it is expensive. It also has a learning curve so it is not suitable for beginners.
- Multiple device connection
- Fast Servers in 94 countries
- Multi Platform support: Chrome, Firefox and Edge. Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, routers. It also supports game consoles and smart TVs.
- No-logs policy
- 24/7 customer support
Express VPN Pricing:
|6 months plan||1 month plan|
Express VPN Pros:
- Large fleet of servers
- Strong privacy
- Supports OpenVPN
Express VPN Cons:
- Difficult to use for beginners
While ExpressVPN is very popular, the learning curve makes it a fit for more experienced users. The price also doesn’t justify the extended capabilities.
For more detailed features, you can check this specific ExpressVPN review by Top50vpn.
Surfshark overall expert rating: 3.9*
Surfshark Product Overview
Surfshark’s offer focuses on an unlimited number of devices and a wide range of Netflix libraries to choose from.
- Multi-Device support
- Fast servers: 1,700+ in 63 countries
|6 months||1 month|
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Easy to use
- Highest price/month
- Could benefit from broader audits of the service.
Surfshark is a good option if you’re looking for unlimited device connection and you are willing to pay the high price.
Top 5 VPN Comparison Chart
|Nr. of devices||10||6||5||Unlimited|
|Video streaming||4K||Ultra HD||Full HD||HD|
|Support||24/7 Supports||Email/Live Chat||24/7 Live Chat||Ticket/Email/24/7 Support|
|Security||Advanced No-log policy, Kill switch||Strict No-log policy||Strict No-log policy, Kill switch||Strict No-log policy, Kill switch|
|Servers||192 Countries||59 Countries||94 Countries||63 Countries|
Picking the right VPN depends on what you will be using it for and how much you need it.
Also have this in mind, every VPN on this list has their strengths and weaknesses.
So carefully review the pros and cons of each and see what is most important to you, is it the price? number of devices? or level of security?
Once you have narrowed it down, always utilize the free trial period (if this option is available) to check or test if it really helps you overcome content blockades, privacy issues, and personal financial details.
I have personally tested all 4 VPNs listed in this review and decided to use Hola VPN when it comes to accessing censored sites or blocked sites.
It really did have the best value for money, excellent site unblocking capabilities and its concurrent connection capabilities really came in handy with all the devices that my family and I use.