As expected, 2019 again brought its fair share of privacy scares, exciting online services (made unavailable due to geo-blocking or censorship), and many other reasons to get a VPN. And so the industry continues to grow both in size and quality, with top service providers demonstrating remarkable innovation.
Yet not all is as rosy as consumers and experts would like and there are still plenty of bad apples. Overwhelming growth means we must all navigate the turbulent waters of incompetence and even malevolence. Thus we bring you our 2019 VPNpro Awards, where we offer our favorite VPNs across a variety of categories. Hopefully, they will help our readers steer clear of bad experiences with this essential digital tool.
Best VPN Overall
The be-all and end-all award – these are VPNs that are as good for security as they are entertainment. They are rich in features, compatible across a wide spectrum of device types, and offer top-notch performance anywhere in the world. Over the past year, the favorites haven’t changed much, and it’s still essentially a two VPN race.
Last year’s winner is still as good as ever – it’s secure, reliable, and offers some awesome features. However, the difference between #1 and #2 was minimal to begin with, and NordVPN’s connection speed improvements, new features, and successful expansion into other cybersecurity areas in 2019 take the prize for the Panamanian service.
Best Value For Money
Although our top overall services offer good prices for what you get, many will favor the bang-for-buck of our Best Value For Money VPN choices. These tools are a solid pick for almost anyone – and they’re quite a bit cheaper.
Runner-up: Ivacy VPN
Ivacy has an awesome set of features whether you want to take back your privacy or simply unblock Netflix in your country. Despite all this, you can get this VPN for $0.99/month with the 5-year plan and enjoy a free password manager to boot.
Best Family VPN
If you have a big family that could benefit from a VPN, you’ll want to maximize what you get with one subscription. Moreover, you’ll want a tool that’s as easy to use for your young ones as it is for you. Here are the Best Family VPN choices of 2019.
Unlimited connections per account and a great set of features make Surfshark a great choice for your whole family. At $1.99/month (2-year plan), this is also a VPN you won’t have to break the bank getting. Whatever your family’s needs may be, Surfshark has you all covered.
Best VPN Customer Service
As the primary point of contact between the user and the VPN service provider, customer service is extremely important. We have certainly had our fair share of run-ins with VPN support over 2019. Here’s who we think had the best VPN customer service.
This little Swedish VPN service has been getting a lot of things right, including customer support. PrivateVPN’s agents are quick to respond and more than capable of dealing with even the more complicated issues.
Best VPN For Privacy
A VPN provider’s privacy practices are difficult to gauge, yet extremely important. After all, many people get a VPN specifically to take their privacy back! Thankfully, some VPNs go all out to ensure you can’t be compromised. Here are our picks for 2019.
Best Free VPN
The temptation to get one of the many free VPNs out there can be overwhelming. However, you should beware – using free VPNs can be a sure way to get your data siphoned away into the hands of governments and corporations. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way: here are the Best Free VPNs of 2019.
Runner-up: Hotspot Shield
The free version of Hotspot Shield has a couple of benefits over the opposition: very good connection speeds and a relatively-generous data limit (500 MB/day). The downside is that Hotspot Shield Free is ad-funded, making it a bit less appealing – especially to those who need full privacy.
Best VPN For Business
Just recently, the business world was sorely lacking a “plug-and-play” type of VPN service that doesn’t require companies to own lots of expensive infrastructure. 2019 has seen big VPN service providers step into the B2B market – here are the best ones.
Runner-up: VyprVPN for Business
VyprVPN is a trustworthy VPN service with a great B2B offering complete with its own account management software and benefitting from VyprVPN’s solid server list. Both NordVPN Teams and VyprVPN for Business comes with a dedicated account manager.
Best VPN For Smart Devices
The number of “Smart” and internet-ready devices is constantly on the rise and VPN providers can no longer ignore them. Custom-made apps for smart devices, router support, and Smart DNS capabilities are what we’re looking for in the Best VPN For Smart Devices.
NordVPN supports a wide variety of devices, router brands, and has its own Smart DNS feature in SmartPlay. This is an overall great choice to use with Smart devices, but it does come with just one caveat: you may have to follow some manual setup instructions.
Best VPN For Beginners
There are thousands of free VPN services but few are worth your time. VPNs are far from the tech-savvy tools they once were – this is great because newbies also need privacy. Luckily, most of the truly popular VPNs are easy to use, and a couple do it better than anyone. Here are the best VPNs for beginners.
VyprVPN has one of the most efficient apps on the VPN market – it’s intuitive, uncluttered, and full of helpful tips for new VPN users. Golden Frog’s product also doesn’t expose anyone to risky settings and has great customer support if needed.