5 Best VPNs for Privacy in 2022

Every website on the Internet uses trackers, and the same applies to different types of software, mobile apps, and more. For the most part, that kind of tracking is benign. However, malicious kinds of tracking target your sensitive information. That's exactly why you need the best VPN for privacy, ensuring there's a shield between you and the Internet.

You've probably seen by now that hundreds of VPNs exist. They all promise the same thing – to keep you safe and anonymous online. However, a truly capable VPN (one that doesn't allow your sensitive information to surface on the Web) is rare to find. That's why our team is here; to help you pinpoint the VPNs that are worth your money.

In preparation for this guide, we've tested 60+ VPN services, ensuring we find the best VPNs for privacy that come without any compromises. So, keep reading to learn more.

Why Do I Need a VPN for Privacy? 

You need a VPN for privacy to ensure that third parties on the Internet don't collect or log your personally identifiable data. 

These days, practically every type of software uses tracking-related features. We've seen that happen on social mediasmartphone appsthrough digital ads, and in many other ways. That means everywhere you go online, or whatever you do on the Internet, your personally identifiable information is logged somewhere. 

With that said, the role of VPNs is to negate that. They create a tunnel for your data, ensuring no one sees what happens in that tunnel. Therefore, websites won't be able to track you, and your data will never leave your device. However, to make that happen, your VPN must provide a leak-free environment capable of fighting against trackers.

We've made sure to provide plenty of tips on how to use a VPN to protect your privacy. So, read this article carefully, and you'll learn what to expect from VPNs realistically. 

Best VPN for Privacy

Finally, let's start discussing the options you have in front of you. After plenty of research, reviewing, and testing – we present the 5 best VPNs for privacy: 

  1. ExpressVPN – Best VPN Overall for Privacy
  2. NordVPN – Best for High-End Encryption
  3. Surfshark – Best for First-Time VPN Users
  4. Private Internet Access – Best for Experienced VPN Users
  5. ProtonVPN – Best for Ultra-Strict Privacy Policy

1. ExpressVPN – Best VPN Overall for Privacy

Editor's Pick
Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chromebook
Kindle
Nook
Chrome
Firefox
PlayStation
Apple TV
Xbox
Amazon Fire TV
Roku
Parallel Connections
Live Chat
VPN Protocols ULTRA-STRONG (OpenVPN, Lightway, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2).
Encryption ULTRA-STRONG (Up to AES-256).
Data Logging  NONE (doesn't log any of your data).
Security Audits YES (regular in-depth audits).

At the moment, ExpressVPN comes as the best option available. It's the best VPN for privacy because it has a long list of privacy-friendly features, a strict no-logs policy, and a string of independent audits that prove this VPN's claims. In other words, you can trust it – without ever second-guessing this VPN's policies and practices. 

To protect your privacy, ExpressVPN uses protocols such as OpenVPN, Lightway, L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2. All of them are highly secure and capable of making you invisible on the Web. Also, they're paired with AES-256, which is the level of encryption you need to achieve total privacy. 

As you can guess, ExpressVPN is a no-logs VPN. However, it offers more than just a user-friendly privacy policy. This VPN is backed by TrustedServer technology, which means it uses no hard drives in its data centers. Instead, its servers rely on RAM, which is one of the ways ExpressVPN avoids logging your data. On top of that, it has been audited by many reputable cyber-sec companies in the past.

Just recently, ExpressVPN also started offering advanced protection against trackers. For example, you can now use 'Threat Manager,' which targets apps and prevents them from sharing your activity with third-party companies. That's a whole new level of privacy protection, which is something that very few VPNs can match. 

We've barely scratched the surface here. So, if you want to know more, read our in-depth ExpressVPN review.

PROS

  • Trustworthy, reliable, and capable. 
  • Advanced privacy protection.
  • Sizeable selection of servers.
  • Great for practically any use.

CONS

  • Limited fine-tuning.

2. NordVPN – Best for High-End Encryption

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chromebook
Chrome
Firefox
PlayStation
Xbox
Amazon Fire TV
Nintendo Switch
All game consoles
Chromecast
Parallel Connections
Live Chat
VPN Protocols ULTRA-STRONG (OpenVPN, NordLynx, IKEv2).
Encryption ULTRA-STRONG (up to AES-256).
Data Logging  NONE (doesn't log any of your data).
Security Audits YES (regular in-depth audits).

NordVPN is a well-known and trustworthy name in the world of VPNs. If you want a solid VPN app that goes the extra mile to secure your Web connection, you'll want to pay attention to NordVPN. So, here's why this is one of the best VPNs for privacy.

This VPN is backed by a small group of highly secure protocols, such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, and NordLynx. Feel free to use any of those, but we especially recommend NordLynx, built upon the WireGuard protocol. That one makes NordVPN quite fast, even while using very remote servers. That's because WireGuard brings just the right balance between speed and security.

On top of that, NordVPN has a range of specialized VPN servers. Those are designed to handle your data in a particular way, depending on what you plan on doing online. You can use Tor servers to access the Tor network and obfuscated servers to break down your data into smaller packets. There are even double-VPN servers that chain two servers together.

As you can see, NordVPN's infrastructure is top-notch. However, so is its privacy policy. This VPN won't log any personally identifiable data. On top of that, numerous independent audits have proven that NordVPN stays faithful to its promises. Those audits have also shown that this VPN has an incredibly secure infrastructure that is fast to evolve. 

Take a deeper look at this capable VPN by reading our NordVPN review.

PROS

  • Modern-looking and simple UI. 
  • Advanced security protocols.
  • High-end encryption.
  • Specialized servers on offer.

CONS

  • Very fast, but not the fastest. 

3. Surfshark – Best for First-Time VPN Users

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chrome
Firefox
Apple TV
Amazon Fire TV
All game consoles
All smart TVs
Parallel Connections
Live Chat
VPN Protocols ULTRA-STRONG (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2).
Encryption ULTRA-STRONG (up to AES-256).
Data Logging  NONE (doesn't log any of your data).
Security Audits YES (regular in-depth audits).

Even though its list of features might sound generic, Surfshark is a unique VPN. It comes with a straightforward interface that won't confuse even complete beginners. However, behind that simple and optimized interface hides a whole slate of unique features.

In terms of its protocols, Surfshark lets you switch between OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2. It also brings AES-256 encryption, just like the rest of our recommended VPNs. On top of that, Surfshark brings highly optimized servers that provide very fast speeds. That means you can expect smooth performance and high-end privacy protection, no matter which protocol you pick.

It's interesting to note that Surfshark can handle your data a bit differently, unlike other VPNs. The VPN will route your traffic through multiple servers by using its 'Nexus' feature. In other words, your IP address will change every couple of minutes, making it very hard (if not impossible) for trackers to follow you on the Web. 

Of course, Surfshark is also a no-logs VPN service, featuring a very user-friendly privacy policy. To prove its claims, this VPN is audited every once in a while. Those audits are done by cyber-sec companies, providing in-depth insight into the numerous measures this VPN takes to safeguard its customers.

Learn what else you can expect by reading our Surfshark review.

PROS

  • Highly streamlined interface. 
  • Top-notch protocols and encryption.
  • Great for practically any use. 
  • Works "out of the box."

CONS

  • Can take a while to connect.

4. Private Internet Access – Best for Experienced VPN Users

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chrome
Firefox
Parallel Connections
Live Chat
VPN Protocols ULTRA-STRONG (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2).
Encryption ULTRA-STRONG (up to AES-256).
Data Logging  NONE (doesn't log any of your data).
Security Audits YES (regular in-depth audits).

Previously, we recommended a very simple VPN that works without fine-tuning. However, our list of the best VPNs for privacy wouldn't be complete without a more advanced option. That's why we would like to introduce you to Private Internet Access.

Private Internet Access covers the basics quite well. It features secure protocols and high-end encryption capable of creating leak-free VPN tunnels. On top of that, it has 35,000+ servers, which means its server network is the most extensive one currently available. Using those servers, you can obtain IPs from close to 80 countries, reaching any part of the Internet.

However, the true power of Private Internet Access is in its customization. You can fine-tune each of its protocols, set a custom level of encryption, choose the size of your data packets, use two kinds of kill switches, and even set up custom split tunneling. So, if you want a VPN that lets you tinker with even the smallest aspects of your VPN connection, PIA should be your pick. 

You should also know that PIA has proven in court that it logs no data. It was pressured by the FBI a few years ago to cooperate in a criminal investigation. However, PIA submitted documents to prove that no data ever reached its servers. Aside from that, PIA's apps are now open source, which is yet another proof that this VPN has nothing to hide.

This VPN sounds intriguing, right? If you agree, here's our Private Internet Access, where you can learn before subscribing. 

PROS

  • In-depth customization available.
  • Court-proven no-logs policy.
  • High-end security and privacy.
  • Works on practically any device.

CONS

  • Requires speed-related optimizations.
  • Not the best option for streaming.

5. ProtonVPN – Best for Ultra-Strict Privacy Policy

Servers
Countries
Apps
Windows
Android
Mac
iOS
Linux
Router
Chromebook
Parallel Connections
Live Chat
VPN Protocols ULTRA-STRONG (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2).
Encryption ULTRA-STRONG (up to AES-256).
Data Logging  NONE (doesn't log any of your data).
Security Audits YES (regular in-depth audits).

We'll end our list of the best VPNs for privacy with ProtonVPN. This isn't the "biggest" VPN out there, but it's among the most trustworthy. It's quite popular in the global community of VPN users who put privacy first, where ProtonVPN truly delivers.

As expected, this VPN comes with proven and time-tested VPN protocols. They're paired with the highest-strength encryption, backed by advanced technologies. For example, 'Forward Secrecy' is there to rotate encryption keys, ensuring your sessions can never be compromised. Also, full disk encryption ensures that even if a breach happens, malicious actors won't be able to extract any data.

If you want to take one step further, you can rely on ProtonVPN's 'Secure Core' servers. Those are located in hardened data centers in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden, defending you from network-based attacks. It's safe to say that your IP will remain hidden at all times, which means you'll have nothing to worry about regarding your privacy.

We'll also note that ProtonVPN features a no-logs privacy policy. This VPN has been tested and audited by independent cyber-sec companies in the past. To top it all off, ProtonVPN's apps are now open-source, indicating this VPN's overall transparency.

We're sure you'll need more information about this VPN before you subscribe. So, don't forget to read our ProtonVPN review.

PROS

  • High-end privacy protection.
  • No data logging whatsoever.
  • Simple-to-use interface. 
  • Special privacy-protecting features.

CONS

  • Limited server network.
  • Can be slow (unless optimized).

How to Choose the Best VPN for Privacy?

As said earlier, not every VPN service is the same. So, if you want the best VPN for privacy, you need to pay attention to the following:

  • Ensure No Data Logging Is Involved: Since we're talking about using a VPN to protect your privacy, it's imperative to check your chosen VPN's privacy policy. That's necessary even though we understand how tedious it can be to read legal documentation. So, make sure not to trust any marketing messages. Instead, you need to dive into legal documents, which every VPN is obliged to offer via its official website.
  • Review Available Protocols & Encryption: Throughout this guide, we've mentioned protocols such as OpenVPN and WireGuard. We recommend picking a VPN that features at least one of those protocols. And also, you'll want your VPN to use AES-256 encryption. That combination should be more than enough to protect your privacy, even if you store highly sensitive and confidential information on your device.
  • Check for Independent Cyber-Sec Audits: Reading legal documentation gives you an idea of what to expect from your chosen VPN. However, those legal terms can suddenly change based on specific circumstances. So, to be sure your data will never be logged, you need to check if your chosen VPN has been audited in the past. We'll note that all of the VPNs mentioned in this article come with solid and in-depth audits.
  • Ensure There's a Money-Back Policy: Before you fully commit to a VPN, you'll want to test it. In other words, you'll want to have some time to check various aspects of your chosen VPN and see how it works. That's where money-back policies come into play, making your investment risk-free. Our recommendations give you at least 30 days to change your mind. You'll get your money back without resorting to a complicated procedure.

Which VPN Protocol Is Best for Privacy? 

At the moment, OpenVPN is the best VPN protocol for privacy. It's open-source, time-tested, and often paired with high-end encryption (such as AES-256). 

If you want to stick to a single protocol without worrying about your privacy, OpenVPN should be your pick. However, today's VPNs often bring at least a couple of protocols, letting you fine-tune your VPN connection.

That's because every VPN protocol handles your data differently. Those that come with high-end encryption will typically lower your Web connection speed. Consequently, less secure (but still secure-enough) protocols can bring very fast speeds, as they lower their level of encryption.

To get a sense of what to expect from various protocols, you'll want to check the following table. We made sure to highlight all of the currently used protocols in the world of VPNs. 

VPN PROTOCOL PROS CONS
OpenVPN Open-source
Time-tested
Incredibly secure
Slow remote connections
WireGuard Open-source
Incredibly secure
Very fast
Relatively new
IKEv2/IPsec Relatively secure
Great for mobile devices
Very fast
Closed-source
L2TP/IPSec Relatively secure
Relatively fast
Potentially compromised
SoftEther Great for unblocking sites
Very fast
Difficult to configure
SSTP Incredibly fast Outdated
Potentially compromised
PPTP Incredibly fast Outdated
Easily hacked

We'll also note that some VPNs offer proprietary protocols developed in-house. For example, ExpressVPN offers Lightway, a much faster option than OpenVPN. Then, we have NordVPN, which brings its own version of WireGuard, called NordLynx.

If you wish to learn more, we have a handy guide that you'll want to check out. So, here's all you need to know about which VPN protocol you should use.  

Do VPNs Actually Protect Your Privacy? 

Yes, unlike other cyber-security tools, VPNs do protect your privacy. That's because they encrypt all your incoming and outgoing data.

Remember that becoming 100% anonymous on the Web isn't possible. The Internet is based on various types of data exchanges, from your device to various types of servers that host sites, repositories of files, and more. That means there will always be a trace of those connections.

However, your incoming and outgoing data is fully exposed without a VPN. In other words, your Internet provider sees everything you do online. In many counties, ISPs are forced to collect and keep that data for up to six months. And, of course, individual websites use trackers to log various kinds of metrics, helping them build a profile of your Web browsing habits.

Once you start using a VPN, your Internet provider won't see what you do online. That means your Web history is hiddenjust like your list of downloaded files. The same applies to third parties who won't get to see the contents of your VPN tunnel.

Of course, you still need to log into your account to use some digital services, which leaves a trace. For example, you need to log in to your Gmail account to access your inbox. So, Google will know when you access your account, but it won't know from where. 

Can I Use a Free VPN for Privacy? 

It's true that you can use some VPNs for free. However, we don't recommend using those if protecting your privacy is your primary concern.

The problem with free VPNs is that they come with various limitations. For the most part, they come with limited bandwidth that ranges from 500 MB/day to 10GB/month. The most restrictive free VPNs allow you only to do quick Web browsing sessions. 

Those that don't come with limited bandwidth come with limited speeds. You can forget about streaming or gaming, as those activities require relatively fast speeds. So, once again, you'll be limited to very quick browsing sessions only. 

Lastly, know that free VPNs don't come with the same level of privacy protection as their paid counterparts. We've seen that free VPNs can leak data, which has happened on many occasions in the past. Therefore, free VPNs are not safe to use

If you wish to pay as little as possible, know that you can find some amazing VPN deals. Use the provided link to get to our often-updated guide, letting you save up to 90% on subscriptions to reliable and trustworthy VPN services. 

FAQ

How Does a VPN Protect Privacy?

A VPN protects your privacy by encrypting your data and routing all your incoming and outgoing Web data through a secure (and leak-free) tunnel.

Unlike other cyber-security tools, VPNs scramble your data through a process called encryption. That means your Web connection's original metadata will be invisible to third parties. They won't see your location, your Web browsing history, or what you do on the Internet. 

Does a VPN Make You Untraceable?

Yes, a VPN does make you untraceable because it allows you to change your IP address to another one that points to a different location. 

Once you obtain a new IP address (done by connecting to a VPN server), the information your Web connection emits will correspond to the information sent by your chosen VPN server. That's how websites will think you're somewhere else, which helps you unblock previously blocked sites.

What Does a VPN Hide?

Among other things, a VPN hides your IP address, your location, what you do online, what you download, what kinds of videos you stream, and more. 

If you wish to learn more, we offer a dedicated guide. With that said, here's what exactly a VPN hides.

What’s the Best VPN for Privacy?

The best VPN for privacy is ExpressVPN, as it comes with a verified no-logs policy, ultra-strong protocols, and high-end encryption.

If you decide to use ExpressVPN, know that you'll make a massive step towards being anonymous on the Internet. In terms of trustworthy VPNs that deserve your money and bring a lot of value, ExpressVPN is simply unbeatable. 

What’s the Best Free VPN for Privacy?

The best free VPN for privacy would be ProtonVPN, which has unlimited bandwidth, very secure protocols, and doesn't skimp on encryption. 

However, just like other free-of-charge VPNs, ProtonVPN does have limitations. Using its free tier (ProtonVPN is a premium VPN), you'll get access to a handful of (usually overcrowded) servers. That means you can expect your speed to be pretty limited. 

That's it for our guide on the best VPNs for privacy. If you have any questions or doubts, share them via the comments section below. Thank you for reading!

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