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Last updated: 10 April 2018

There are times you need to protect your online location and identity and secure your information. This is where a VPN (virtual private network) comes in. We test and review the most popular VPN services to help you find the best one for you. Our VPN buying guide will help you decide which features you need.

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Our expert testers give every VPN service a thorough workout to help find the products that:

  • have fastest download times
  • are easiest to set up
  • are easiest to use
  • have the best customer support.

Our interactive comparison tool helps you find out which VPNs offer disconnection protection, which failed our DNS leakage test and which offer a free trial. Our Recommended picks will help you quickly see which VPNs come out on top.

Warning on Android mobile VPN apps: Our VPN testing was done using Windows OS, but we have noted where that branded app is available for other platforms (Mac, Linux, iOS, Android). Please note, however, to take caution if using a VPN on Android. A 2017 report prepared by CSIRO’s digital research unit, Data61, with the University of New South Wales and the University of Berkeley, revealed security and privacy vulnerabilities in some Android apps.

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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Price paid in February 2018 in $AU for standard VPN plans. Yearly price is rounded to nearest dollar; converted from $USD to $AU where necessary; higher-priced plans may offer more options.

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Auto server selection

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Client software selects the best performance server automatically.

Auto run on Windows startup

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Whether the VPN starts up automatically when starting Windows OS.

Auto connect when app started

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Whether the VPN connects to a server automatically when the program is launched.

Auto reconnect

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Whether the program reconnects automatically in the event of interruption.

Test results

Overall score

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Overall score is made up of ease of use (60%), performance (30%) customer support (5%) and ease of service cancellation (5%).

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Performance score

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Performance score is calculated from the VPN speed discrepancy – the difference in download speed between using VPN compared to not using the VPN. Measurements are averaged from three runs across different days and times. The reference measurement (download time without VPN connection) is taken immediately before measurement with the VPN connected.

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Ease of use score

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Ease of use score comprises initial account set-up experience (20%), installation and set-up (20%), software functionality (20%), ease of switching servers (10%), and the clarity and intuitiveness of the user interface (30%).

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Ease of service cancellation score

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Included in this review

Members-only access
  • Recommended
  • Overall score
  • Performance score
  • Ease of use score
  • Ease of service cancellation score
  • Customer support score
  • Discrepancy in speed using VPN (as a percentage)
  • DNS leak test (Windows 10)
  • Default VPN protocol
  • DNS leak protection option
  • DNS leak protection default setting
  • Number of simultaneous connections supported (basic paid plan)
  • VPN data logging policy (claimed)
  • Personal details requested during signup
  • Encryption enabled by default
  • Default encryption type
  • Kill switch disconnection protection
  • Comments
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Availability
  • Price (annual plan)
  • Monthly price
  • Free trial or service available
  • Free trial or service limitations
  • Accepts PayPal
  • Unlimited data
  • Auto-renews subscription
  • Australian servers
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Auto reconnect
  • Auto run on Windows startup
  • Auto connect when app started
  • Stealth option in standard plan
  • Auto server selection
  • Stealth option in premium plan
  • Speed test to determine best server
  • Malware protection option
  • Website
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