Best VPN service 2023: from NordVPN to Surfshark, and everything in between | Stuff (2023)

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The cream of the Virtual Private Network crop - what's the best VPN service for you?

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(Video) NordVPN vs ExpressVPN vs Surfshark 🧨 | ULTIMATE Best VPN 2023 Comparison

Best VPN service 2023: from NordVPN to Surfshark, and everything in between | Stuff (2)

Looking for the very best VPN service to use? You’re in the right place. Whether you’re looking for complete online anonymity, or want to unlock region-restricted content on video streaming services (not that we condone that, mind), there’s no shortage of premium, quality VPN services on offer.

Trouble is, there are almost too many options out there, and sifting through them all to choose the one that’s best for you can be a bit of a slog. Fear not though, for we’ve done all the sleuthing for you. So sit back, relax, and cast your eyes over our round-up of the best VPN services for 2023. Happy (anonymous) surfing.

What is a VPN?

If you already know the answer, then feel free to keep scrolling. But if you’d like a recap, no problem. In short, a VPN is a service that lets you fake your location online, by redirecting your internet connection via the VPN service’s servers around the world.

One example would be using a VPN to make it look like you’re in the USA, so that you can watch Netflix content that’s unavailable in the UK. Again, we’re not officially condoning this practice, but it’s just one example of a common use case.

If you’re travelling abroad to certain countries like China — where some apps and sites like Facebook, Instagram and Google are blocked — VPNs can also act as useful tools for unlocking these restricted services so that you can continue using your favourite apps, while also keeping in touch with people back home.

(Video) NordVPN vs Surfshark VPN 💥 Which Offers Better Value in 2023?

What’s the best VPN?

Most VPNs have their various pros and cons (ranging from price and ease-of-use to security options and other features), but for most people, the ones that strike the best balance and are beginner friendly include the likes of NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark. Without further delay, here’s our list of the best VPN services. All prices and information are correct at the time of writing and will be updated regularly.


Best VPN service 2023: from NordVPN to Surfshark, and everything in between | Stuff (3)

Number of servers: 5500+ | Server locations: 80+ | Maximum devices supported: 6

Pros: Great security features | Fast speeds
Cons: Some UI issues

One of the most recognizable VPNs in the game (thanks largely in part to relentless YouTube ad campaigns over the years), NordVPN has won users over with its formidable security options, including a feature which passes your data through two separate VPN servers for a double dose of security.

If that wasn’t enough, you also have the option to route traffic over the Tor network, in addition to KEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocols, along with a kill switch. Nord’s service is fast and solid too, with a 30-day money back guarantee and 24/7 support if required.

As with almost all of the best VPN service options, the multi-year plan offers the best value for money, assuming you want to continue using its services after the initial 30 days and don’t mind parting with a larger up-front fee.


Best VPN service 2023: from NordVPN to Surfshark, and everything in between | Stuff (4)

Number of servers: 3000+ | Server locations: 160 | Maximum devices supported: 5 | Rolling monthly price: £11

Pros: Useful Windows-specific features | Very fast speeds
Cons: More expensive than most

Express VPN is one of the best overall VPN services, and with good reason. For starters, it has 160 VPN locations spread across 96 different countries, with superb server performance across the board, even in far away locations.

The Windows app itself is nicely polished and rammed with useful features such as server recommendations, different protocols, and kill switch options. Another win, is the ability to control things directly from browser extensions, which further streamlines the experience.

(Video) Surfshark Review 2023 - Explore The Capabilities of Surfshark

If the server automatically changes, which can often be the case when using a VPN, you’ll be none the wiser, as the connection itself won’t drop. Throw in strong encryption, security protocols and no logging of data, connection IPs and online activities, and you’ve got one of the best options around, complete with 24/7 live customer support.


Best VPN service 2023: from NordVPN to Surfshark, and everything in between | Stuff (5)

Number of servers: 1700+ | Server locations: 100+ | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Rolling monthly price: £10.67

Pros: Great bang for buck | Unlimited devices
Cons: May be a little basic for experienced users

Surfshark provides excellent value for money, especially if you commit to more than one year of service, which, as you’d expect, drives the overall cost down significantly. Not only that, but you can use as many gadgets on its service as your hands can handle, thanks to its generous unlimited device policy. Not bad at all.

Easy to set up, you’ll be browsing the web anonymously in no time, with decent speeds and plenty of security options for peace of mind, including a choice of OpenVPN, IKEv2 and Shadowsocks security protocols, private DNS, AES-256 encryption, and a kill switch for those moments when your connection many drop.

It might lack the more complex settings that power users may be after, so if you’re an experienced tinkerer that likes diving into settings and tweaking options, you may want to look elsewhere. For most people though, this is an ideal starting service, especially when you take its 30-day money-back guarantee into consideration.

Hotspot Shield

Best VPN service 2023: from NordVPN to Surfshark, and everything in between | Stuff (6)

Number of servers: 3200+ | Server locations: 130+ | Maximum devices supported: 5 | Rolling monthly price: £10.99

Pros: Fast steaming access | Plenty of locations | Superb performance
Cons: Maximum number of supported devices may be too low for some

If speed is your priority, look no further than Hotspot Shield. Winner of the world’s fastest VPN, it’s been verified to offer blazing-fast speeds, making it an ideal choice for power users, gamers, and binge-watchers alike.

Unlimited HD and data streaming means you won’t have to pace your activities either, while built-in encryption, malware, phishing and identity theft protection, are extra features that sweeten the deal.

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While it only supports up to five devices per subscription, there is 24/7 live chat support on offer — though if you plan to use a whole bunch of devices on a single subscription, you might want to look elsewhere.


Best VPN service 2023: from NordVPN to Surfshark, and everything in between | Stuff (7)

Number of servers: 8900+ | Server locations: 110+ | Maximum devices supported: 7 | Rolling monthly price: £10.89

Pros: Large server count | Lots of tweak options available
Cons: Support could be better | UK Disney+ and Netflix unavailable

CyberGhost, like ExpressVPN, is able to quickly and easily connect to different servers, with numerous security protocols on offer alongside 256-AES encryption, a kill switch, an ad-blocker and a beefy privacy policy.

The service offered is speedy, thanks to a decent amount of servers around the world, although certain features like the ad blocker can occasionally slow things down a little. The app itself is rammed with features, allowing more comfortable users to tinker away to their hearts’ content, although VPN greenhorns should still feel comfortable too.

CyberGhost also provides a fairly generous 45-day money-back guarantee for subscription plans for six months or greater, while the one-month rolling plan still offers a reasonable 14-day money-back guarantee.


Best VPN service 2023: from NordVPN to Surfshark, and everything in between | Stuff (8)

Number of servers: 2000+ | Server locations: 75+ | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited | Rolling monthly price: £9.99

Pros: Great app | Lots of features
Cons: May have a learning curve for some

The aptly-named IPVanish certainly fulfils the brief of boing one of the best VPN service options around. It has an excellent, polished Windows app that’s rammed with settings and features specifically designed for PC users, with basic and advanced settings available for all levels of users. It’s an ideal choice for P2P traffic use cases, which includes torrenting and file-sharing services.

From download speed graphs to a Quick Connect menu, a whole host of features are available in an easy-to-use manner, combined with strong speeds and solid security, including a kill switch, 256-bit encryption, a no-log policy, as well as a host of other security protocols.

(Video) NordVPN vs IPVanish Review 2023 | Which VPN is a Better Choice For YOU?

Some of the features may not be on by default which means you may have to dig around and find your feet, but with a little time, power users will soon find their feet and feel right at home – especially if you take into account the extra languages on offer.

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Is NordVPN better than Surfshark? ›

So, in terms of download speeds, both providers are almost identical. However, NordVPN is a bit more efficient with upload speeds. Overall, NordVPN is a faster VPN than Surfshark as its NordLynx performance is better regarding both download and upload speeds.

Which VPN is the strongest? ›

Forbes Advisor Best VPNs of 2023
  • NordVPN: Best VPN Add-Ons.
  • IPVanish: Most Intuitive VPN.
  • VPN Unlimited (aka KeepSolid): Best Multi-Device User Experience.
  • ExpressVPN: Smoothest App Interface.
  • Surfshark: Best for Unlimited Connections.
  • Windscribe: Best Fully-Free VPN.
  • Hotspot Shield: Best for Streaming.
Jan 10, 2023

Which is better Surfshark WireGuard or NordLynx? ›

Which is faster – Surfshark or NordVPN? NordVPN is faster than Surfshark. While both have the next-gen WireGuard tunneling protocol, NordVPN's implementation of it, NordLynx, is more secure and much faster due to the double NAT system.

What VPN is better than Nord? ›

ExpressVPN is more expensive, but it also offers more server locations. NordVPN is more affordable and comes with the option for a dedicated IP at an additional cost, while ExpressVPN does not. Both companies offer 24/7 customer service and the ability to sign up for a monthly plan or annual plan.

Can police track Surfshark VPN? ›

Let's discuss it. Police can't track live, encrypted VPN traffic, but if they have a court order, they can go to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and request connection or usage logs. Since your ISP knows you're using a VPN, they can direct the police to them.

What is the best country to use on Surfshark? ›

Switzerland – the best privacy-focused VPN country

NordVPN and Surfshark are the two best VPNs with servers in Switzerland.

What is the No 1 VPN in the world? ›

This list represents our VPN picks for the end of 2022. Currently, ExpressVPN is our Editors' Choice for best overall VPN. Most recently, ExpressVPN passed its latest set of third-party audits, contributing to a growing record of industry-leading transparency efforts.

What is the number 1 VPN? ›

  • Best VPN Service of 2023 (tie) – ExpressVPN.
  • Best VPN Service of 2023 (tie) – NordVPN.
  • Best VPN With Unlimited Connections – Surfshark.
  • Best Low-Cost Annual VPN Plan – Private Internet Access.
  • Least Expensive Monthly Plan – IPVanish.
  • Best free VPN (tie) – Windscribe.

Should I use WireGuard with Surfshark? ›

Try out Wireguard at your own speed

Overall, WireGuard is great – it's fast, lightweight, secure, and easy to scale. And it only gets better as a VPN protocol. If you want to experience it in action – try Surfshark. Our service runs amazing with WireGuard!

Does Surfshark prevent hackers? ›

Yes! Surfshark VPN encrypts your data, making it impossible for hackers to access your browsing information. It is still best to avoid fake WAPs in the first place, though.

Why is WireGuard so good? ›

WireGuard offers a more reliable connection for mobile users than OpenVPN because it handles network changes better. OpenVPN adds a data overhead of up to 20%, whereas WireGuard uses just 4% more data (compared with not using a VPN). VPN services need to include mitigations to ensure user privacy when using WireGuard.

Is NordVPN still the best? ›

Panama-based NordVPN ties for No. 1 on our list of Best VPN Services of 2023. Starting with its strict no-logging policy and exclusion from the Five Eyes alliance, NordVPN has an advantage when it comes to the security of your data.

What are the cons of NordVPN? ›

VPN pros and cons
Secures your dataSlows down your internet speed
Protects your online privacyCheap or free VPNs are slow, insecure and may collect your data
Masks your IP addressPremium VPNs cost money
4 more rows
Jan 5, 2023

What is the Top 5 Best VPN? ›

The Best VPN Services for 2023
  • IPVanish - Best Customer Support.
  • Ivacy - Most Affordable.
  • Atlas VPN - Best Data Breach Monitoring.
  • ExpressVPN - Best Encryption.
  • PureVPN - Best Server Base.
  • CyberGhost - Best VPN for Mac.
  • ProtonVPN - Best VPN for Zoom.
  • Norton Secure VPN - Best VPN With Dynamic IP Addresses.
Jan 4, 2023

What does a VPN not hide? ›

What doesn't a VPN hide? A VPN doesn't hide your activity from online registered accounts. Anyone can still see your social media shares, posts, and pictures. A VPN is also different from antivirus software; while it boosts your online security, it doesn't protect you from cyberattacks.

What VPN do criminals use? ›

Europol said multiple investigations uncovered criminals using the service to facilitate illicit activities such as malware distribution. Other cases showed the service's use in the setting up of infrastructure and communications behind ransomware campaigns, as well as the actual deployment of ransomware.

Can hackers see you on VPN? ›

Can someone track you through a VPN? It depends on your VPN. Reliable VPN services prevent tracking altogether, even in those countries where ISPs are legally obligated to keep online activity logs. That said, sketchy and free VPN services will make it easier for you to get hacked.

Is Surfshark owned by China? ›

Surfshark is a VPN service company located in the Netherlands. In 2021 Surfshark merged with Nord Security.

Should I leave Surfshark on all the time? ›

Yes, you should always use a VPN. Here are 7 reasons why. A VPN encrypts your traffic and makes you safe online. Keeping it on means you and your information will be protected from data breaches & leaks, annoying ads, and prying eyes.

What happened to Surfshark? ›

Surfshark is shutting down its servers in the country, becoming the second major virtual private network (VPN) provider to exit India.

What is the fastest and most secure VPN? ›

NordVPN: the most secure VPN on the market with impenetrable encryption. Surfshark: top VPN with strong security features and unlimited simultaneous connections. IPVanish: excellent VPN that uses advanced security technology. ExpressVPN: safe, private, and user-friendly VPN with multiple security-ensuring.

What is the fastest VPN server in the world? ›

These are the fastest VPNs based on our speed tests:
  • CyberGhost: The fastest VPN we've tested. ...
  • IPVanish: High speeds on a Tier-1 network. ...
  • ExpressVPN: A new proprietary protocol called Lightway vastly improves bandwidth. ...
  • NordVPN: Huge speed improvements thanks to a new protocol dubbed NordLynx.
Aug 24, 2022

Which is better NordVPN or ExpressVPN? ›

Based on our latest speed test results, both NordVPN and ExpressVPN are among the top ten fastest providers. ExpressVPN's Lightway protocol gave it an average download speed of 475 Mbps. NordVPN was a little slower, but still fast at 369 Mbps thanks to its speedy new NordLynx protocol.

Which VPN has all 50 states? ›

The best part, PIA now offers users across the US the same level of convenience and access by providing IP addresses from all 50 states.

Which VPN has all USA states? ›

Top 5 best VPNs for the USA
  • NordVPN – best VPN for the USA overall.
  • Surfshark – inexpensive VPN to use for multiple users.
  • IPVanish – feature-loaded VPN for USA.
  • ExpressVPN – premium USA VPN with top features.
  • CyberGhost VPN – reliable all-around USA VPN.
Jan 10, 2023

Can government track us if we use VPN? ›

The police can find out your actual IP address if they want to or if they ask the VPN company to give it to them. However, they won't know who's been using the device. There have been a few cases where in the case of national security, VPN companies provided the police with logs of suspected child predators.

What is better than a VPN? ›

Two of the most common choices are software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). SD-WAN is designed to be a more efficient alternative to the VPN. Instead of implementing point-to-point connectivity, SD-WAN provides optimal routing of encrypted traffic between a network of SD-WAN appliances.

Does Netflix ban VPN users? ›

Why is Netflix blocking VPN services? Netflix blocks VPNs because they allow viewers to bypass geo-blocks. And these geographical restrictions are put in place because the platform needs to adhere to strict licensing agreements. The deals in question limit which countries get which shows and movies.

Do I really need a VPN at home? ›

Using a VPN at home is preferable, advised even, but it isn't always essential. The main reason it may not be necessary, is that your internet activity should already be shielded by your password-protected Wi-Fi network. The other concern is connecting to a remote server can slow your connection speed.

Is Surfshark owned by Nord? ›

In early February 2022, Nord Security and Surfshark announced they were merging, making Nord Security the owner of both companies. According to SurfShark's merger blog post, the companies say they will continue to operate as separate companies, with separate VPN infrastructures.

Why NordVPN is the best? ›

NordVPN is a good VPN. Its headquarters is in Panama, which isn't part of any international surveillance alliances. It won't track anything about the user's web activity or IP addresses, encrypting both with AES-256. NordVPN allows for Netflix and torrenting use, and it has fast speeds on our Mac computer.

Which country owns Surfshark? ›

Surfshark is based in the Netherlands.

What country owns NordVPN? ›

We are based and operate under the jurisdiction of Panama.

Can Surfshark be trusted? ›

Surfshark is a very good VPN and is among one of the best VPN services, with AES-256 bit encryption, a kill switch, split tunneling, Netflix, and torrenting access, plus a headquarters outside of the Five Eyes alliance.

Can NordVPN be hacked? ›

While premium VPNs offer a high level of encryption, a VPN app can be hacked, just like any other. For example, if you use a very weak password, suffer a spyware attack, or keep your information somewhere unsecure, a hacker could still access your VPN application.

Is ExpressVPN better than NordVPN? ›

Aside from that, NordVPN has more servers than ExpressVPN, but the latter does offer more server locations. Lastly, both VPNs are great for streaming and provide you with 24/7 customer support options – but NordVPN ensures a better overall value. Get NordVPN, now 63% OFF!

Does NordVPN encrypt all traffic? ›

Once the device is authenticated, NordVPN creates an encrypted tunnel. Any data sent over the internet needs to be split into packets. So your private data is split, encapsulated and passed through the encrypted VPN tunnel.


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