VPN Comparison: Best Value on the Market (2020)
This post offers a VPN comparison of the best providers on the market.
Imagine that you’re at a cafe. Your name is called to pick up your latte. The counter is at the opposite end from where you’re sitting, so you make a beeline for it, all the while glancing back at your laptop to make sure that no one takes it.
However, while you’re busy worrying about someone snatching your laptop, the person a few seats over is virtually hacking into it.
What’s more, if the cafe has an open WiFi network without a password, anyone, from anywhere in the world, could also be hacking into your laptop.
The Importance of a VPN
VPNs protect you from being hacked when you’re connected to a public WiFi network.
People who travel are particularly vulnerable to VPN hacks; airports, hotels, parks, and restaurants all operate their WiFi on public networks.
If you feel that your computer is safe by connecting to a public WiFi network that requires a password, you’re wrong, but not alone.
There are people who prey on the false safety net of password-protected WiFi networks.
That cafe that you went to? You may have used a password to log into the WiFi…but so did the person hacking you. In exchange for buying a coffee, the hacker has access to your email, bank account, and other personal data.
Other benefits of VPNs
People use VPNs for reasons other than to avoid being hacked. The biggest secondary use is to be able to access websites that are restricted in their countries, as well as to hide their location.
If you’re dying to know if a VPN will grant you access to Netflix shows that are normally restricted in your country, the answer is yes.
In a world where almost everything we do is tracked, there are many people who feel peace of mind knowing that having a VPN allows their searches to be off the grid.
Of course, there are people who abuse the anonymity that accompanies VPNs. A Piece of Travel does not support the use of VPNs for illegal activities.
Do I need a VPN?
Nearly everyone should have a VPN. The exception to this is if you only ever connect to WiFi from your home’s private network or the private network of friends/family whom you trust.
VPN Comparison: The Best Value VPNs on the Market
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This post has been a damper, but the tone changes now. I’m here to share two good pieces of news with you:
- There are a lot of VPN options on the market.
- Most VPNs are inexpensive, costing around a cup of coffee- or less- per month.
I know that it can feel overwhelming when researching VPN options. While it’s true that there are plenty of VPN companies out there, the reality is that only a handful of them offer quality service and good value.
It could take you days to sift through all the VPN options. So, instead of overwhelming you with VPN companies, let’s focus on my top four picks: NordVPN, ExpressVPN, IPVanish, and Tunnelbear.
To start, I’ve put together a VPN comparison chart.
VPN Comparison Chart
|Number of devices||6||10||5||5|
|Supported software||Android, Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows||Android, Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Linux, macOS, Opera, Windows||Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows||Android, Chrome, iOS, macOS, Opera, Windows
|Number of servers||5,685||1,300+||160||Not disclosed|
|Number of countries||60 countries||75 countries||94 countries||22 countries|
|Money back guarantee||30 Day||7 Day||30 Day||None|
|Recommended for||Average user||Families & people with lots of devices||Those wanting an IP address in less common countries||Light users
If you’re new to VPN lingo, the chart above surely has unfamiliar words. I’ve put together a list to help you understand some of the less obvious ones.
|Blocked Ads||"Yes" indicates that the VPN will block ads when you surf the web.
|Number of countries||The number of different countries you can connect to with your VPN provider.
|Number of devices||This is the amount of different devices that you can use your VPN plan with at the same time.
|Number of servers||The amount of networks across all countries that the VPN provider works in. The higher the number of servers, the better.
|Supported Software||Make sure to choose a VPN that is compatible with all the devices you'll be using.
NordVPN is hands down the best value VPN on the market. For starters, it has an unbeatable price. You’ll likely pay more for a cup of coffee than what you’ll pay for NordVPN.
To be fair, the least expensive plan with NordVPN requires signing up for a three-year plan, paid upfront. However, this sales tactic is used almost across the board with VPN providers. Besides, you’re always going to need a VPN, unless your lifestyle takes a drastic turn and you only ever connect to private WiFi networks that you trust.
If you’re unsure about how you’ll like NordVPN, give their one month plan a try. It’ll set you back less than 50 cents a day.
Why I use NordVPN
While it’s true that NordVPN is the least expensive on the list, with the exception of TunnelBear which offers a free VPN version, the low cost isn’t why I use NordVPN.
It’s because that low cost offers an incredible amount of servers that you can connect to. The more servers, the faster the speed.
Low cost + fast speed = NordVPN being the best value on the market for the average user.
What constitutes an “average” user?
Those who surf the web, use a computer for work, content creators, bloggers, etc.
Runner up: IPVanish
IPVanish is an excellent option if you have a family or a small business that you want to protect with a VPN.
It offers a whopping ten devices that can be connected to IPVanish…and that’s just at the same time. That means that you can have any number of devices that will all be protected, as long as only ten devices are connected to the VPN at once.
Third Place: ExpressVPN
Do you want your IP address to show that it’s in a specific, lesser-known country?
If so, ExpressVPN will give you the highest chance of encountering that country, as they offer the option for you to choose the location of your VPN across 94 countries.
Are you wondering why you would want to choose a specific country for your IP address to show up in? If so, skip over this option because given the price, the two options already discussed are better worth your time.
People seek to hide the country they’re in for a variety of reasons, including their personal safety, if they work remotely and don’t want their boss to know what country they’re in, etc.
Long story short, if you’re in the market for a VPN to hide the country you’re in, you’ll already have known that before reading this post.
Fourth Place: TunnelBear
I went back and forth about whether or not to include TunnelBear as part of this VPN comparison post.
I won’t beat around the bush- TunnelBear is not the fastest VPN out there nor does it offer the best service.
However, since this post is about comparing VPN value, for its category, TunnelBear is a solid value.
What category does TunnelBear fall in? The free version category. For all the paid VPN providers out there, there are also a lot of free versions, usually with the option to upgrade to a paid plan.
I recommend using the free version of TunnelBear if you almost always use a private, trusted WiFi network and only occasionally connect to public networks.
When you do connect to public networks with the free version of TunnelBear, I wouldn’t go logging into your bank account to pay off your mortgage. Just saying.
Congratulations- you’ve made a huge step by choosing to research VPNs. I hope this VPN comparison post helped to give you a better idea of which VPN could be a good fit for you. Regardless of which VPN you end up going with, any option is better than being without one.
Laura’s love for traveling started with a trip to Jamaica. Since then, she’s spent over five years living in Latin America and four years wandering the globe. She’s an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she’s befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister. You can learn about their accessibility endeavors here.