Best VPN - 2020 Roundup Review

Marc DahanBest VPN - 2020 Roundup Review

Commercial Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are more popular than ever. And the reasons people use them are more varied than ever before, from blocking ads to securing public WiFi. While this is a good thing, it does make assessing VPN service providers a bit more difficult. 

There’s never been so much VPN marketing. And it all seems to tick the same boxes.

Having reviewed a lot of commercial VPN services, we thought it would be helpful to post a VPN roundup review, to see which VPN provider is most suited for different online activities. And, ultimately, which VPN service provider we consider the overall best.

Let’s get started.

Best Overall VPN

When we reviewed Windscribe VPN, we gave them a 9/10. That’s the highest score we’ve ever given a VPN provider

So it would make sense for them to be on top here as well.

Best Overall


Windscribe VPN Logo

Our score: 


Windscribe is a relatively new player in the commercial VPN space. But in that short time, they’ve managed to gain a very positive reputation for themselves. And it’s not surprising: they tick almost all of the privacy boxes as well as the convenience boxes.

Another thing that makes Windscribe stand out is their free option. Windscribe provides a free plan, that has a bandwidth cap, and which is limited to 10 servers.

But it's not throttled, so you get your full speed. And it includes all of the security and privacy benefits of the paid plans. 

They also support torrenting. They unblock Netflix. And their privacy policy is transparent, is based on common sense, and is easy to understand.

Windscribe is our top pick. But that’s not to say there aren’t any excellent competitors out there. And we’ll look at a few.

Visit Windscribe VPN

Fastest VPN


Windscribe VPN Logo

Our score: 


Windscribe is also our top pick for speed for speed.

When performing our speed tests, we found that for both upload and download speeds, Windscribe's speed hit on our connection was negligeable. 

And we were getting these speeds consistently.

Really good stuff from Windscribe on speed.

Visit Windscribe VPN

The Best VPNs at a Glance

  1. Windscribe’s speed performance was so good that they take it on speed.
  2. Surfshark’s thoughtful approach to torrenting gives them the top spot in this category.
  3. NordVPN’s guarantee they can unblock Netflix makes them our top choice for streaming.
  4. Private Internet Access has proven their no-logging claims in a real-world scenario - they get the top spot for privacy.
  5. ExpressVPN runs their entire infrastructure from diskless servers. That makes them the winner for security.

Things to Look Out For

There are, of course, different things to look out for, depending on the reasons why you want to use a VPN. However, one thing that should always be very high on your list has to be the logging policy of the VPN provider.

A VPN, at its core, is meant for privacy. And a VPN provider that logs your traffic isn’t respecting your privacy and doesn’t deserve your trust.

Even if all you want to do is bypass geo-restrictions on streaming services, you should still choose a VPN that doesn’t log. And there are plenty of high-quality VPN providers that do just that while still respecting your privacy.

All of the VPN providers in this post are recommended, not just because they perform well in the category they won. But also because they are all trustworthy VPN providers.

A Detailed List of the Best VPNs For...

1. Windscribe - Fastest VPN

Windscribe also tops the pack for speed.

This is not to say that the other VPN providers in this post are slow, or if not slow, they couldn’t be considered “fast”. No. It simply means that in our tests, Windscribe outperformed the competition (sometimes very slightly…).

Our speed test results are pictured above.

We performed our Windscribe speed tests using a 100Mbps download and a 30Mbps upload connection. In testing my ISP connection, I could confirm that I was getting all of the expected bandwidth my subscription plan should provide.

The test was run over a New York server, which is close to my actual physical location.

The speed tests were run three times, to make them as accurate as possible (within the limited scope of such tests). And the final value is taken from the average of the three tests.

Tested on a 100Mbps (Download) and 30Mbps (Upload) network

Server: U.S.A., New York

Average Download Speed: 95.36Mbps

Average Upload Speed: 26.54Mbps

Are you impressed? I was. On both download and upload, the speed performance is excellent. Both metrics are extremely close to what is provided by my ISP. In a real-world scenario, I don’t think anyone would “feel” the overhead. It would be completely seamless.

Windscribe is our pick for best VPN for speed.

For more information on Windscribe VPN, have a look at our Windscribe review.


  • Multiple Server Hops
  • Strict No-Logging Policy
  • Ads & Tracker Blocker (R.O.B.E.R.T.)
  • Over 400 servers in over 63 countries


  • No Dedicated Tor Over VPN Servers

2. Surfshark - Best VPN for Torrenting

Surfshark is our top pick for torrenting. But why? Don’t all of the VPN providers on this list support torrenting as well? Yes, they do.

But Surfshark didn’t win simply because they support P2P. They won because of their original and thoughtful approach to torrenting.

At face value, it would appear that all of Surfshark’s servers are P2P-friendly. But this is not the case. Surfshark provides dedicated P2P servers on their network, which has over 1700 servers, in 63 countries . But they don’t provide a list of dedicated P2P servers.

So what gives?

The routing to the dedicated P2P servers happens in the background.

This means that all you need to do is connect to the VPN server of your choice. From there, launch your favorite torrent client and Surfshark's easy-to-use app will automatically route your traffic through a dedicated P2P server, without any intervention on your part.

I think this is one the best way to secure P2P traffic over a commercial VPN that I’ve seen.

Surfshark also provides a support document on their website explaining how this works.

So when torrenting over Surfshark, you don’t need to think about anything. You can just go about your business and simply download whatever you need to download.

Surfshark has your back and automatically routes your traffic through a dedicated P2P server.

Easy. Effective. Good stuff.


  • Native Applications
  • Strict No-Logging Policy
  • Ads & Tracker Blocker
  • Over 1700 servers in 63 countries


  • Not a lot of information available about the company
  • Certain elements of their privacy policy could be clarified

For more information on Surfshark, have a look at our Surfshark review.

3. NordVPN - Best VPN for Streaming


Our score: 8.5 

Visit NordVPN

Streaming has become a big one for VPN providers. And not only because streaming services are quickly overtaking cable boxes as the main way people consume video content. But also because of the Netflix VPN ban.

You probably already know that since January 2018, Netflix has been actively blocking VPNs from accessing its service.

And since then, many VPN providers claim to be able to bypass the block. And some actually do, while others do not.

NordVPN makes a strong claim that they do. It’s in their marketing materials and in their support documents as well.

And they even provide fallback solutions, in case the primary method fails. Take a look here.

I also tested Netflix access while on NordVPN’s network. And in my tests, NordVPN’s primary method worked perfectly. And I was up and streaming in no time. And I had no lagging or buffering issues. Just smooth streaming.

It’s also reassuring having a provider state so clearly that they support the feature. If your primary reason for using a VPN is streaming, you can’t really go wrong with NordVPN.

On top of that, NordVPN is very affordable and has top-notch privacy and security practices.

NordVPN is one of our highest-rated VPN providers. A great choice for streaming and more.


  • Strict No-Logging Policy
  • Ads & Tracker Blocker
  • Unblocks Netflix easily
  • 5467 servers in 59 countries


  • Don’t own their entire infrastructure
  • NordVPN was hacked in 2018

For more information on NordVPN, have a look at our NordVPN review.

4. Private Internet Access - Best VPN for Privacy

PIA logo

Our score: 8.5 

Visit PIA

This category has a bit of irony to it. I mean, shouldn’t all VPNs be good for privacy? They should indeed. But not all of them are.

And some, like Private Internet Access, go above and beyond what is generally the norm.

So why would PIA be considered the best VPN for privacy? Because they’ve proved it.

But before I explain that, let’s first take a look at other elements in their service offering that bolster that claim.

When asked by TorrentFreak, if they log user traffic, Private Internet Access had this to say:

"We do not store any logs relating to traffic, session, DNS or metadata. There are no logs for any person or entity to match an IP address and a timestamp to a current or former user of our service. In summary, we do not log, period. Privacy is our policy.”

So how did PIA prove its commitment to no-logging?

In 2016, Private Internet Access was approached by the FBI, who was investigating an individual for harassment. 

PIA was approached because, through the course of their investigation, the FBI ended up with a few IP addresses associated with their suspect. One of those IP addresses was tied to PIA’s VPN network.

 What happened? Let’s let PIA speak to that point. From the Torrentfreak article:

"Our company was subpoenaed by the FBI for user activity logs relating to this matter. After scrutinizing the validity of the subpoena and confirming it, we restated as we always do the content of our privacy policy and then we notified the agent that we do not log any user activity. The agent confirmed his understanding of our company’s policy and position and then pursued alternative leads. This report makes it clear that PIA does not log user activity and we continue to stand by our commitment to our users.”

And that’s why PIA wins the Privacy category. A great VPN to use on public WiFi, for example.


  • Strict No-Logging Policy
  • Ads & Tracker Blocker
  • VPN Kill Switch
  • Over 12358 servers in 74 countries


  • No Dedicated Tor Servers
  • Does Not Unblock Netflix

For more information on Private Internet Access, have a look at our Private Internet Access review.

5. ExpressVPN - Best VPN for Security

Our top choice for security is ExpressVPN. As above, it is a bit ironic to have this category, as one could reasonably expect all VPN providers to be secure. But this is, of course, not the case.

So what makes ExpressVPN so special in regards to security?

A few things, actually:

For starters, they’ve never been hacked. Some of their (excellent) competitors have been hacked. But not ExpressVPN.

So just the fact that they’ve managed to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals is already a good thing. But the past isn’t a guarantee for the future, so we’ll see… But so far, so good.

They also commit to a strong no-logging policy and provide a very good privacy policy.

I know that privacy and security are two distinct things. But this still demonstrates how serious they are about protecting their users.

ExpressVPN run all of their infrastructure from volatile memory (RAM), which is booted from read-only disks. This is a huge security benefit.

This hardened configuration can simply be rebooted if a vulnerability is ever discovered. Once the server is rebooted, it’s back to factory spec, and the vulnerability that was there is gone.

Very impressive from a security standpoint.


  • Strict No-Logging Policy
  • VPN Kill Switch
  • Diskless Servers
  • Over 3000 servers in 160 countries


  • Not much information available about the company
  • No Ads & Tracker Blocker

For more information on ExpressVPN, have a look at our ExpressVPN review.

VPN Shopping Tips

Here are some general tips that might be useful to you if you’re shopping for a commercial VPN service.

Check the Logging Policy

This one is obvious and I mentioned it earlier. So I won’t dwell on this point here. But regardless of why you’re shopping for a VPN, make sure you choose a VPN provider that doesn’t log. 

The no-logging policy is what makes all of the privacy benefits of a VPN possible.

And no matter what your reason for wanting to use a VPN is, you’ll be able to find one that supports the features you want and doesn’t log.

Be Weary of Over the Top Claims

If the marketing material of a VPN provider promises 100% security, absolute anonymity, and encryption from outer space, you may want to look elsewhere.

VPNs do enhance your privacy, but nothing is ever 100% and a VPN alone will never make you absolutely anonymous.

A VPN provider making these types of claims clearly doesn’t understand what they’re talking about. And they don’t deserve your trust.

Look at Their Payment Methods

The supported payment methods don’t typically get a lot of attention. But they should. 

Your payment trail can decrease your security and your privacy, so it’s important for a VPN provider to support anonymous payment methods, such as cash or cryptocurrency.

A VPN provider that only accepts credit cards and PayPal for example probably isn’t overly concerned with user privacy. I would look elsewhere. 

And it’s not very difficult to find a high-quality, trustworthy VPN provider that supports cash or cryptocurrency. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding them.

VPN - Frequently Asked Questions

Can VPN use be detected?

Yes, VPNs can be detected. That’s how Netflix manages to block them.

There are quite a few ways to detect VPNs. But the main way is likely by blacklisting VPN server IP addresses.

When you connect to a VPN server, your IP address is changed to the IP of the server you connected to. But the IP addresses of VPN servers are public and get complied into lists, such as this one.

So just your IP address can enable your VPN use to be detected.

There are also other means to detect VPNs, like deep packet inspection and other traffic analysis methods. But the most common way (and the easiest way) to achieve this is through IP address correlation. 

Should I pay for a VPN?

Absolutely, you should. Stay far, far away from free VPNs (except for Windscribe’s free option- which is the exception, as there are no ads, they don't track you & you get full speeds over 10 different servers).

Another good reason to pay for a VPN is customer support. While everyone prefers never having to contact any company's customer support, it's good to know that it's available if needed.

A lot of paid VPNs also offer live chat, these days. Live chat can be a very quick way of resolving glitches.

Paid VPNs will also give you the ability to make simultaneous connections. With some such as Windscribe allowing for unlimited simultaneous connections.

Free VPNs, on the other hand, are a huge paradox: they take a product that’s designed for privacy and violate your privacy with it. Neat, huh?

Seriously though, that pretty much what they do. Free VPNs tend to be ad-supported, which is antithetical to privacy (online ads aren’t passive, they collect information about you and your devices).

Not only that, most of them actually log your activities and sell behavioral profiles of you to the highest bidder (just like those ads that they tend to inject into your traffic).

Free VPNs are like free “anythings”: usually low-quality products with an agenda hidden behind the “free” price tag.

Stay away.

Should I use a VPN all the time?

You can. And it’s good practice, as far as I’m concerned. But you don’t have to.

People use VPNs for many different reasons today. It isn’t just privacy advocates anymore.

If you’re only using a VPN to stream Netflix libraries from different countries, then maybe setting up an always-on VPN isn’t for you. But it’s certainly not bad practice.

I use a VPN all the time. It enhances my privacy and provides more security online, through encryption. So I see it as very beneficial, but not everyone does.

I believe that the always-on approach only really works when you install the VPN on your router.

That way, you don’t need to fiddle around with apps and turn them on and off all the time. All you need to do is simply connect to your router as usual and you’re on VPN.

It’s really a personal choice. And in a world where marketers and governments are becoming more and more invasive, I think it’s a sensible choice.

It’s the choice I made.


So there you have it. That’s our roundup review.

And I want to point out that all of the VPN providers in this article are excellent. All of them. They wouldn’t be included here if they weren’t.

So, yes, Windscribe is the highest-rated VPN provider on our site. But it doesn’t mean that it blew the others out of the water. In many cases, it only slightly outperformed its competitors. And its competitors are still excellent.

So I hope this post will help you with your research.

If you are someone who’s looking for a VPN provider for a specific reason, have a look at the categories of this post.

And if one of them corresponds to what you’re looking from a VPN, take a look at the listed provider, there’s a good chance your search might end there.

Thanks for reading!


Best VPN - 2020 Roundup Review

By Marc Dahan

Last updated: September 18, 2020

Further Reading

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram