Our Story

It’s pretty simple — we started vpnMentor back in 2014 as a way to help people protect their online privacy.

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As governments and companies around the world increasingly track and limit our online movements, it’s a no-brainer why many people want to maintain ownership of their online presence.

We Are

A team of 230 cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors, all dedicated to helping you take back your online freedom.

Based In

Over 20 countries across the globe

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Our Mission

It’s important to us that we not only provide expert reviews, but ones that are very much based on an average user’s experience. We perform ongoing tests to ensure we’re providing the most detailed and up-to-date VPN reviews and guides — and translate them into 29 languages.

As part of our mission to promote internet freedom to people around the world, we’ve also created free tools to help verify your online security. Overall, we want to be your trusted source when it comes to finding the best VPNs, so you can browse the web protected, and on your own terms.

The Team

Kristina Perunicic
Kristina Perunicic

Managing Editor

Favorite VPN: CyberGhost VPN

Kate Richards
Kate Richards

Managing Editor

Favorite VPN: ExpressVPN

Kate Veale
Kate Veale

Senior Editor

Favorite VPN: VyprVPN

Anneke van Aswegen
Anneke van Aswegen

Senior Editor

Favorite VPN: ExpressVPN

Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru

Senior Editor

Favorite VPN: IPVanish VPN

Matthew Amos
Matthew Amos

Editor

Favorite VPN: ExpressVPN

Christine Johansen
Christine Johansen

Editor

Favorite VPN: ExpressVPN

Kristina Joshevska
Kristina Joshevska

Junior Editor

Favorite VPN: ExpressVPN

Ben Lawson
Ben Lawson

Junior Editor

Favorite VPN: CyberGhost VPN

Ren Sayer
Ren Sayer

Senior Writer

Favorite VPN: ExpressVPN

Kristel van Hoof
Kristel van Hoof

Senior Writer

Favorite VPN: TunnelBear VPN

Ernest Sheptalo
Ernest Sheptalo

Staff Writer

Favorite VPN: CyberGhost VPN

Our Values

Our Values

Everything we do at vpnMentor is centered around providing value through honesty, transparency, and dedication. The way we test and review our VPNs is no exception, as we base all of our findings on real testing. Our main goal is to write in a way that’s not only honest, but easy to understand and relate to.

We pay full price for all the VPNs we test and use them the same way any consumer would, so we can provide unbiased reviews that are true and accurate to a real user’s experience. Our readers always come first, so we want to provide you with information that is objective and independent. We don’t accept payments to write positive reviews, skew them with unfounded bias, or ignore obvious flaws.

We do make money through affiliate commissions to pay the bills. If you click a link and purchase a VPN through that link, we may receive a commission from the sale. However, this does not affect the way we review products — we recommend VPNs that we ourselves would (and do) use on a regular basis.

Ultimately, our top priority is to help you achieve the level of privacy, security, and freedom you want online.

Review Methodology

Review Methodology

Below are all the criteria we use to test, research, analyze, and track the performance of every VPN we review. As a leading authority on VPNs, we aim to build and maintain trust between consumers and the industry. Our expert team has published thousands of real user reviews that are backed by diligent testing and research.

308 VPNs Reviewed
17,314 Real User Reviews, Ratings, Comments

1. Privacy and Logging Policy

At the very least: The VPN shouldn’t collect any data that can be used to identify users.

At best: A strict-no logs policy that has been independently audited and verified.

Almost every VPN claims to provide a private service that protects your data, behavior, and online identity. But making these kinds of statements aren’t enough on their own, so our team always looks deeper. The first thing we do when assessing a VPN’s privacy claims is to examine the privacy policy carefully.

Every VPN will at least collect some form of user data, such as the total number of connection timestamps for 1 day and the amount of data transferred. This is acceptable and presents no threat to your privacy. But when it claims to collect things like your IP address and browsing history, that’s a genuine concern. If any VPN we review collects identifiable information (or has long, convoluted privacy policies that are difficult to understand and ambiguous), then we dock points.

We also consider the history and ownership of the VPN and its home base. If it has a past involving privacy scandals and controversy or a home base within the 14 Eyes Alliance, then we deduct points accordingly.

Lastly, a third-party audit is a huge plus-point because it confirms whether the VPN is a true no-logs VPN. A no-logs VPN is trustworthy because it doesn’t collect any logs or data on its users. Therefore, having a third party recognize and validate this will result in a more positive review of the VPN. Third parties will validate this by seeing if the VPN’s servers will record any data and whether third parties have been able to access data in the past.

2. Speeds

At the very least: The VPN should be able to stream HD content without any lag (it should provide speeds of at least 5 Mbps).

At best: A speed loss of no more than 10% on short distance servers and 40% on long distance servers.

Having fast speeds is crucial as it significantly impacts user experience. This is particularly true when you’re streaming videos, downloading, or playing games. The way we conduct speed tests is through manual speed testing.

Before connecting to a VPN, we record the speed of our non-VPN connection to use as a baseline. Then, we connect to the VPN and test many short and long-distance servers spread across the world. We also do tests at different times of the day. This level of variety and depth is the best way to gauge actual speed results.

The factors we consider when speed testing are download speeds, upload speeds, and ping. Download speeds are how fast it takes to receive data, which you do when streaming and downloading. Upload speeds are how fast it takes to send data, such as uploading videos or sending emails. Ping measures how responsive the connection is (latency), and shows how fast it takes for data to travel.

Once we’ve collected the results, we determine the percentage differences between the non-VPN speed and the speed of each location. Since VPN speeds can vary (depending on your location, time of day, bandwidth caps, etc.), this percentage allows you to get an idea of how the VPN could affect your baseline internet speed. It’s perfectly normal for a VPN to slow your speeds because of the extra encryption and longer distances, so the smaller the drop, the better.

A VPN should not produce a speed loss of more than 20% on short distance servers and 40% on long distance servers, which means it’ll be fast enough for lag-free HD streaming. A test within these ranges will result in a more positive rating.

3. Security Features

At the very least: Military-grade encryption, a kill switch, DNS/IP leak protection, and multiple security protocols.

At best: All of the above, plus split tunneling, obfuscation, and the ability to bypass firewalls consistently.

Keeping you safe on public WiFi networks and encrypting your data is one of the most essential functions of a VPN.

One of the first security features we assess is the encryption standards used. At a bare minimum, a VPN should use AES 128-bit encryption, but most of the ones we recommend use AES 256-bit, which is the strongest available. It’s used by leading security agencies to protect sensitive data and takes several lifetimes to crack, so you know it’s safe.

Then the next feature we look at is the security protocols offered. These protocols allow you to choose the way your connection is encrypted and determine the balance of speed and security of your connection. A VPN should offer OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), IKEv2, and WireGuard because they’re the safest and most secure choices.

Another important feature we test is DNS/IP leak protection, which ensures that your VPN won’t leak your DNS requests and actual IP address. We use an independent leak testing tool, like ipleak.net to verify the VPNs we test are truly secure and don’t leak our IP or DNS addresses. We will also test the VPN’s kill switch to see if it works by trying to load web pages while switching servers. If the web page doesn’t work, then you know the kill switch is doing its job. If a VPN has all of the features explained above, then we will rate it highly.

Other security features we consider are split tunneling and obfuscation. Obfuscation helps bypass firewalls and internet censorship. If we’re testing a VPN’s ability to bypass firewalls, we’ll go to a place that we know censors websites (usually a place with a public WiFi network, like a library) and try to access the censored sites using the VPN.

A VPN should not produce a speed loss of more than 20% on short distance servers and 40% on long distance servers, which means it’ll be fast enough for lag-free HD streaming. A test within these ranges will result in a more positive rating.

4. Streaming

At the very least: The VPN should be able to access US Netflix and stream in HD.

At best: It should unblock all of the most popular streaming sites without difficulty and stream in Ultra HD without lag.

A VPN’s ability to bypass geo-restrictions so you can access streaming sites is another important factor when we review VPNs. Not only do our writers test these VPNs and services themselves upon writing every review, but we have a team of dedicated testers that carry out tests twice a week across dozens of streaming services using dozens of VPNs. For example, we’ll try to access US Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max by connecting to several US servers and recording our results. In addition to different servers, we’ll test each protocol, too, since some work better than others at bypassing geoblocks.

In addition to Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max, we also frequently test Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ESPN+, ITV, Peacock, and more. We have subscriptions with all of these platforms so that we can test them frequently. Once we can access the platforms, we test the streaming quality the VPN allows. If we’re able to stream consistently in HD without any interruptions, then it improves the score.

5. Ease of Use

At the very least: The VPN should have a native app that’s easy to install and set up.

At best: The above, plus an intuitive interface that makes it easy to navigate.

Not many people enjoy using a poorly designed, clunky VPN app, so we test each one to see how user-friendly it is.

The first thing we test is how easy the VPN is to download and install. Ideally, the VPN has a native app for all the most popular operating systems and it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to install it and connect. We test this on all of the main operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. But we also test out what can sometimes be more complicated setups on home routers, Linux, streaming devices like Amazon FireStick and Roku, gaming consoles, and smart TVs. .

If we ever run into problems during installation while referring to a VPN’s online instructions, we use that as an opportunity to test out how accommodating the customer support team is and whether they have the know-how to solve technical issues. We install (or re-install) each VPN app we review with every new article we write, so we’re always on top of the latest software updates and any changes made to the setup process.

Most importantly, we consider compatibility and how each VPN performs depending on the operating system you use it on. Whatever OS/device a VPN is compatible with, we test it out! We carefully navigate the layout of each app and see how easy it is to find servers, connect to them, and adjust settings. There shouldn’t be any need for manual configuration, and changing settings or servers should take no more than a few clicks.

6. Customer Support

At the very least: The VPN should have a library of online resources and prompt email support.

At best: The above, plus 24/7 live chat with knowledgeable staff.

There will probably come a time when you’ll need help using your VPN, so support should be readily available and have the knowledge required about the product. Oftentimes, VPN support teams are just individuals reciting from a script (or bots). The best VPNs put you in touch with tech experts or sometimes even the actual developers of the product.

We start by testing the email/ticketing system of a VPN and how long they take to respond. If we get a reply within 24 hours, then we consider it to be satisfactory. Once we get a response, then we’ll see how well the question is answered and if the tone is friendly and informative. .

But the biggest points go to VPNs with a live chat feature, especially if it operates 24/7. We’ll usually test this by asking several questions and assessing the response times and the quality of responses.

Other factors we look out for include an FAQ page with detailed answers to common questions, tutorial videos, setup guides, and other online resources. The more comprehensive the resources the better, as it means we can troubleshoot independently and quickly without relying on customer support.

7. Torrenting

At the very least: Some servers support P2P traffic.

At best: Specialty P2P servers or torrent support across the entire network, plus fast speeds and extra features like port forwarding and split tunneling.

A number of factors come into play when testing a VPN’s torrenting abilities. Our minimum requirement is that a VPN has enabled P2P sharing on its servers, so you can torrent as much as you want for any length of time. When we download a torrent, we always pay attention to speeds and how long downloads take with the VPN connected compared to how long it takes without the VPN running. This is tested on both local and long-distance servers.

The other factors we examine are privacy and security features, as torrenting can potentially leave your identifiable information exposed. Examples include strong encryption, IP leak protection, and a kill switch. If a VPN has all of these aspects, then it scores very highly for torrenting. .

We also look at extra features that can boost torrenting performance, like port forwarding and split tunneling. The more extras a VPN offers that improve downloading torrents, the higher it will score as well.

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StreamVPN

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The Research Lab

The vpnMentor Research Lab works with data privacy agencies and computer emergency response teams (CERTs) to identify cyber threats and help protect businesses’ and organizations’ user data. We established our pro bono cybersecurity analysis team in 2019 with world-renowned analysts Noah Rotem and Ran Locar leading the charge. Since then, we’ve discovered and reported on serious security threats around the world. With this work, we’ve secured the data of over 100 million people already.

To find out more about the work our research lab does, please visit our press page.

The Research Lab

94+

Cybersecurity Reports Published

70+

Company Breaches Discovered

BILLIONS

of Leaks Found

Latest Reports