Would you be cool if someone leaked your entire Google history to the government? How about if your internet provider made it so that one episode of The Bake Off took an hour to load?
If you’ve had a crisis about anything related to the above, you’ve probably given some thought to getting a VPN.
We know you’ve seen loads of VPN reviews from experts across the board, including from our tech team at Mashable. But if you wanted a raw opinion — or thousands of them — from people with absolutely no filter, there’s only one place to go: Reddit.
Because who better to ask about the best private networks than the people who experiment with them all day, every day?
Slowly but surely, people are becoming more obsessed with online privacy (or lack thereof). Your internet provider can choose to slow down your internet if they want to, and they could also go after sites like Netflix and demand money for offering high viewing speeds. And keeping your illegal stream or questionable search history private? Forget about it.
The easy solution is to get a VPN (virtual private network), an internet security subscription that can change your geolocation, take you off the company-owned server, and basically allow you to make up your own internet rules.
VPNs provide a way for people to get around internet roadblocks and censors, stream or download without worry, protect themselves from hackers, and keep their internet usage mostly private from third parties. They’ll especially come in handy if providers do decide to stop playing nice with Netflix, or if you’re in a country where American Netflix is blocked.
VPNranks.com has a ranking of the VPN services that Reddit users have voted to be the best — or so it says. Here’s what we found when we actually dug through Reddit threads of users discussing their experiences with five of the top VPNs out there right now:
Great for Netflix • Easy interface • Mega security
Security features can lower speed
If you’re all about security, NordVPN is probably the pick for you
1. Nord VPNNordVPN gets high ratings for security features, its easy interface, and ease of Netflix streaming.
I haven’t had any issues with nordvpn (windows 10), mostly use it for netflix and torrenting, like how easy the UI is. I did not try PIA but I can say for sure that at least nord works with netflix and has a live chat.
Another appealing factor is its smooth, well-designed user interface and super easy setup across all devices: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and more. Reddit users put emphasis on how strong the Windows application is compared to competitors like PrivateInternetAccess. Mashable’s Ray Wong writes:
Connecting to Nord’s various servers is easy — just click on the country you want to connect with on the map. We also like that NordVPN comes with a built-in ad blocker called “CyberSec.” In addition to blocking ads, the company says CyberSec will shield your device from malware and phishing.
Reddit users give Nord praise because it actually seems trustworthy, especially compared to other VPNs that may hand over information to the wrong people. Nord is also equipped with the ability to connect to a Double VPN, which encrypts your traffic twice for double the protection. One NordVPN fan on Reddit, Sacredkeep, even mentioned that NordVPN solved the problems that PureVPN and PIA gave them. Plus if you have any issues, Nord offers a 24/7 live chat. If you want a no frills, no worries situation, NordVPN is the simple, smooth operator that has your back.
Speedy • Compatible with loads of devices
Some Reddit users find it shady • No Netflix
If you’re looking for speed and use on multiple devices, it might be worth it to try PureVPN for a month to see if the Reddit haters are wrong
2. PureVPNPureVPN gets high marks for speed and versatility, but some Reddit users think something shady is going on.
“Yeah, I have lifetime subscription to PureVPN and it sucks. Does not hide my DNS despite me checking the box that says DNS leak. They spoof their servers as well. I connected to China servers (don’t ask me why) and my IP was in Brazil. Used for like 4 months and now I am using another VPN.”
Or, stated bluntly by Reddit user U/Siaisthefuture:
“Don’t fucking use Purevpn! I’m getting fucking targeted adds based on what I’m searching fuck pure vpn private my ass.”
As for the price, you can one month for £8.33, one year for £4.12/month, or two years for £2.50/month — so if you want to try it for a month to see if they’ve been trolling Reddit or not, it won’t cost you too much.
Unlimited bandwidth • Can unblock geo-locked channels • Speedy • Works with Netflix
Pricier than other options
If you’re a regular torrenter who loves entertainment and needs great security, unlimited bandwidth and fast speeds, this could be your pick
3. ExpressVPNOffers fast download speeds, great security, has great global reach, and is easy to use for beginners.
The client is uniform across every device I have used (Windows, Android, and Amazon FireOS). I would like to say I was quite happy that ExpressVPN is one of the few VPNs (that seem trustworthy) that actually had a client in the Amazon App Store for the Fire tablets. No more need for sideloading, manual updates, or sketchy OpenVPN clone clients. At first the speeds weren’t the greatest on the “Smart Location” server (New York). These speeds capped at about 12Mbps down and 10Mbps up. I have 150Mbps/15Mbps service. After hunting for other servers I found a few that provide roughly 60Mbps/15Mbps service throughout the US and Canada. DNS Leak tests were successful in that I am not leaking.
As of now, I am very happy with the service. I would still love to see them up the speed of their connections.
Another user, icurate, joins the thread:
I am about to renew after my first year with them and have had zero issues. Speed is consistent and when I switch to a different continent there is minimal lag. I do leak tests sporadically and have not found one. They aren’t the cheapest, but in my book they are among the best.
It’s also notable that ExpressVPN is able to gain access to Netflix, which some (like PureVPN) are not able to do. Like PureVPN, ExpressVPN is one of the best for getting around roadblocks in China (though there are only servers in 94 countries), and has up to 256 bit encryption. Get one month for £9.86, six months for £7.60/month, or a one-year subscription for £6.33/month. You would probably be paying more per month compared to any other VPN, but the quality is definitely there — and if you’re really not happy, you can get your money back within the first 30 days.
Ranks in the top 3 on Reddit • 30-day money back guarantee • Works with Netflix
Some users say it’s slow
Because of its high ranking but reported issues, this might be a good one to try with that 30-day money back guarantee
4. CyberGhostCyberGhost ranks in the top 3 on Reddit, but some users report issues. We recommend trying it out with its 30-day guarantee.
I was trying to torrent a UFC event that I happened to miss recently, 500+ seeders and 200+ leechers for a 720p recording. Not the best ratio, but certainly doable considering. The download wouldn’t even start. CyberGhost does have an option for torrenting servers specifically, but they’re always “busy” and they use the term “too popular” as if that’s some sort of excuse. I’ve used the program for a few days and I’m going to get a refund as soon as humanly possible.
Complete joke and a complete waste if you were looking to torrent using this specific VPN.
However, if you want to just surf the good ole’ web, it works well enough. But if you need something to torrent with, this program is not for you.
Another user, privacycaringweirdo, had a similar experience:
I supported them on their starts but it was a mistake, they are running vpn traffic through your computer, even if you have premium this is what they does. I always got slow speed, they always had [REDACTED] support making excuses worst service ever, not speaking of leaking your dns, crashdowns without any warnings so your entire traffic is unprotected. complete bs service
Wow, “complete BS service” is pretty harsh. We did see some positive comments from users mentioning that they didn’t have these problems. Others also mentioned that it’s a good idea to test out every VPN service with a money-back guarantee just to see how they work, because why not? Unless you’re in China — CyberGhost servers are apparently not the greatest there. Get one month for £11.43, six months for £7.03/month, or one year for £4.62/month (there is a free version, but Reddit users warn to not even think about it).
Ranked high for features, reliability, and speed • Very affordable
The user interface is not great
If you’re looking for speed and reliability and don’t mind a crappy user interface, this could be your pick
5. Private Internet Access VPNIf a good-looking user interface means nothing to you, but you want speed and reliability, PIA is a great choice.
I’ve had PIA for over 2 years now. Speeds have been amazing, only 2 or 3 times have I had to drop and switch to a different server when speeds were acting up on one of them. I’ve been able to access pretty much every site I need, only one I found to be wonky while on VPN is the bank of america site. Other than that it really is worth the money.
Reddit user cspjohn writes:
I have been using PIA for two years now. Actually, I was really sceptic when I first went to the website. It had a stock photo of a family, shady “we are the best” text all around. But hey, I subscribed to give it a try. And it worked wonderful. PIA has been an incredibly solid, fast and reliable VPN provider for me through 2 years.
Mashable’s Ray Wong (who chose PIA as number one for staying anonymous online) writes:
You get your standard secure VPN account, encrypted Wi-Fi, P2P, IPv6 leak protection, a VPN kill switch, and a whole lot more. Private Internet Access VPN sure as hell isn’t a sexy app you want to open all the time (so just set it to automatically open when you log in), but what it lacks in aesthetics it makes up for with a long list of features. It also has a solid backbone, claiming over 3,100 servers in 28 countries worldwide.
For all of the good reviews it gets, it’s surprising that subscriptions are so affordable (but we’re not complaining). Get it monthly for £5.29/month, yearly for £2.53/month, and two years for £2.21/month.