So today we are changing it up a bit and doing something a little bit different. I got an email from a subscriber named Max, asking me if I would consider making a VPN comparison video. So thank you Max for this suggestion, and that’s what we’re gonna cover today. Hey, just a quick note before we start the comparison, I’m going to assume that you already know what a VPN is, what it does, and why you want one.
There’s debates on whether you need a VPN or not, and if you don’t understand what a VPN is, I’ll have a couple links to videos below that will explain that to you. But for the sake of keeping this video short and not making it an hour long, I’m just sticking to the comparison today, I’m not going to explain any more. So without further ado, let’s get right into it. Alright, let’s start off with NordVPN. They’re one of the most popular VPN services out there right now, and chances are you’ve probably heard of them a few times through sponsor spots at the end of other YouTube videos. Now here are the main technical details for NordVPN, so feel free to pause the video and read if you want to know the small details. So my experience with NordVPN was alright. It’s a pretty great value at $125 for a three year subscription, and I had no problems using NordVPN to watch Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV+. Speed-wise, this VPN was pretty middle of the road.
It wasn’t lightning fast, but it wasn’t slow either. It gets the job done, works reliably, and I was generally happy with my experience with NordVPN. Now one thing I need to bring up is the recent controversy NordVPN faced due to a poorly disclosed security breach. NordVPN was breached in March 2019. Something happened at a third party data center NordVPN uses, and someone essentially left a security hole in one of the servers. A hacker leveraged this hole to get data from NordVPN users, and while the issue is now fixed, NordVPN waited until October 2019 to notify people of the breach. Now look, breaches happen, and no one, not even VPN providers are exempt from getting hacked. I’m personally not too bothered that NordVPN was breached.
It sucks, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s going to happen. However, I do have less respect for NordVPN due to the amount of time they took to disclose the breach, but I also understand that they had to secure the rest of their servers. I see both sides of the story, and I believe in second chances, so I personally think it’s fine to give NordVPN a try if their features and pricing align with your needs, but with that being said, I completely understand if you don’t want to use NordVPN because of this, so keep watching to hear about some other options. Next, let’s take a look at the best budget option I’ve tried. If you’re looking for the cheapest VPN possible, that will still get the job done, and provide a decent experience, Private Internet Access is for you.
For seven dollars a month, or $40 per year, you’ll be able to connect up to five devices and enjoy a quality and reliable VPN. Private Internet Access is what I personally used before doing this comparison video, and I’ve always been pretty happy with it. My two biggest problems with Private Internet Access is that streaming Netflix and Hulu doesn’t always work, and the speed are mediocre at best. PIA doesn’t advertise streaming as a feature of their VPN, so I’m not upset that I can’t stream video, but that’s going to be a huge letdown for a lot of people. If you travel internationally a lot, but you want to be able to watch Netflix on the go, having a VPN that supports streaming is a must to make sure you’re able to watch your shows.
This is because the US Netflix catalog can’t be accessed from anywhere but the US, so having a VPN service and connecting to a US VPN server while you’re outside of the US will spoof Netflix into thinking you’re located in the US at the time of streaming. Unfortunately, PIA isn’t going to be a good option for you if this is important. As I also mentioned earlier, Private Internet Access is definitely mediocre speed-wise. If your internet connection is 100 megabits per second download speed or slower, I think PIA is going to be fine for you, but if you have a 300 megabit per second download speed like I do, or even faster, you’ll definitely notice slower speeds when you’re connected to PIA. It’s not a huge deal, I still had speeds of around 80 to 120 megabits per second, but you definitely get what you pay for. Next, let’s take a look at the best overall VPN I tested. ExpressVPN has the tagline of, “The VPN that just works.” on their website, and I think this summarizes ExpressVPN perfectly. It’s a fast VPN that works reliably for streaming, or whatever you could throw at it. ExpressVPN supports every device you can think of, including Linux and internet routers.
Now ExpressVPN is not cheap, coming in at a whopping $99.95 per year. That makes ExpressVPN the most expensive option on this list, but I can honestly say that it’s the best VPN in my testing. I saw average speeds between 150 and 180 megabits per second down on my internet connection, and this is almost as fast as what I typically see without using a VPN on my network. Honestly, there’s not much more to say about ExpressVPN. My experience was smooth, and everything worked reliably. Perhaps my biggest gripe is the price, $100 per year is a hard price to swallow for a VPN when there are tons of cheaper options that are almost as good. But that’s the key, almost as good. If you’re looking for a VPN that makes no compromises, it’s fast, it’s private, it’s secure, it works with streaming, and you can use it on all devices, including Linux, I think you’re really going to enjoy ExpressVPN. Alright, so I’ve taken a look at the best budget option, the best overall option, but what about a VPN with some added value to shake things up a bit? Well, if you’re looking for a VPN with some added value, take a look at Hotspot Shield.
To be honest, Hotspot Shield really shocked me. I’ve used them in the past, and I wasn’t that impressed. But I included them in this comparison due to their popularity, and I’m glad I revisited Hotspot Shield, because a lot has changed. For starters, they now bundle their VPN with some other valuable services. When you subscribe to Hotspot Shield, you get access to 1Password, Robo Shield, and Identity Guard. Now 1Password is the password manager I personally use, and it costs $35.88 per year on it’s own. So when you factor this into the $95.88 yearly cost of Hotspot Shield, you begin to see how great of a value this VPN truly is. Now Hotspot Shield is fast, really fast. I regularly saw speeds of 150 megabits per second down, and one time I got 287 megabits per second down in a speed test. The VPN is also optimized for streaming, allowing you to watch Netflix and Hulu with ease. Now on paper, this seems like a dream VPN. It’s just as fast as ExpressVPN or faster, and it comes with 1Password and other included apps for a fairly reasonable price. A couple bucks cheaper per year than ExpressVPN. But for some reason, something just felt off about Hotspot Shield. My first turn off came when I checked out their support page.
If all you care about is a blazing fast VPN, and you like the bundle with 1Password, then go for it, but I feel much more comfortable using any of the other VPNs on this list, as they all include way more clear and direct logging policies on their websites. Alright, we’re nearing the end of this list, and I wanna talk about the VPN that is a happy medium between Private Internet Access and ExpressVPN. It balances price, and speed, and all the features you may want, and I think that it’s gonna be a great option for a lot of people.
And that’s TunnelBear. It’s very affordable, at $60 per year, and while it’s not the cheapest option on this list, it’s a nice VPN with killer support and fast speeds. I typically saw speeds in the range of 120 to 150 megabits per second down, and I got 200 megabits per second down in one speed test. TunnelBear is a refreshingly simple VPN.
Their bear branding is a lot of fun, and the app is just dead simple to use. Flip the switch to connect, flip it again to disconnect, and that’s basically it. TunnelBear has a clear no logging policy on their website, and they don’t collect your IP address, DNS queries, or websites you visit. When I first started testing TunnelBear, I had an issue where my iPhone kept disconnecting. I reached out to TunnelBear support, and they replied quickly, saying this was a widespread issue they were working on fixing, and they would let me know when it was fixed. The TunnelBear team followed up shortly after to let me know the issue was fixed, and they were prompt and professional with their customer service. I didn’t have any further issues, and I really liked how quickly TunnelBear handled my inquiry. Now the one huge drawback to TunnelBear is the same drawback to Private Internet Access.
They don’t support streaming. I was not able to stream Netflix or Hulu, and I know this is going to be a huge turn off for some users. In addition, there was a controversy with TunnelBear not too long ago, where they got acquired by McAfee. Many people, including myself, have a strong dislike for McAfee’s security products. They’re known for being very pushy, expensive, and just not helpful. So naturally, when McAfee acquired TunnelBear, the general consensus was that TunnelBear was going go downhill fast. Linus Tech Tips ended their sponsorship contract with TunnelBear, and cut ties just because of this news, and many users threw in the towel and decided to switch to a different VPN company. And I’ll admit, while I’m not a fan of McAfee at all, I’m happy to admit that they haven’t messed with TunnelBear at all. It’s been well over a year since the acquisition took place, and TunnelBear is still functioning as a 100% independent company. I don’t know if this is going to change in the future, but so long as their operating as an independent company, I have to say that I was very pleased with TunnelBear. It’s a little bit faster than Private Internet Access in my testing, and I think it’s a great happy medium between PIA and ExpressVPN. TunnelBear offers a free account that gives you 500 megabytes of data per month, so you can get a feel for the service before signing up. Okay, so the final option on this list is Namecheap. Now if this is the first time watching my channel, you’re probably wondering why the heck I included Namecheap on this list. They aren’t known for their VPN service, and they’re probably the least popular VPN on the planet at this point. And that’s because Namecheap is a domain registrar and web host, but if you watch my other videos, you’ll know that I’m kind of obsessed with Namecheap. And since I’m such a big fan of their services, I just had to give their VPN a try. On the surface, the Namecheap VPN looks great. It’s only $34.56 per year, making it cheaper than Private Internet Access, and the Namecheap VPN is scary fast. I average speeds in the 200 megabit per second down range, and I saw multiple instances of getting 330 megabits per second down in speed tests. That is literally the speed I get when I’m connected to my router via ethernet with no VPN. I was like, shocked. So I really wanted to love the Namecheap VPN, but the benefits stopped there. I noticed that my phone just wouldn’t stay connected to the VPN. This is the same issue I was experiencing with TunnelBear at first, so I decided to reach out to Namecheap support. (laughs) Well, good luck figuring out how to do that. Namecheap has absolutely no support option in their VPN app, and it’s totally unclear how you get in touch with them. Because I use Namecheap for my domains and email hosting, I knew that you can go initiate a live chat at the bottom of Namecheap.com, but if I weren’t a regular Namecheap customer, how would I figure out how to contact Namecheap if I needed help? So once I contacted Namecheap support, I was told that Namecheap does not currently support autoconnect on the VPN! What? Seriously, that’s unacceptable.
That’s absolutely unacceptable. Autoconnect is a standard feature on all VPNs, and no one is going to remember to connect to the VPN each time they switch networks or go between wifi and cellular. Because of this, I would not recommend the Namecheap VPN to anybody, and I would be sure to stay away from it, just period. Please, don’t use the Namecheap VPN, that’s ridiculous. Whew, okay, so we’ve made it through the list of VPNs. In summary, if you’re looking for the best overall option, and money is no object, I would highly recommend ExpressVPN.
Now if streaming is important to you, but you want a cheaper, more value option, NordVPN might be for you. You can use promo code Christian to get a special deal at NordVPN.com, and I’ll also have a link in the description below for all the VPNs. If you simply want the cheapest VPN that’s still reliable, look no further than Private Internet Access. And finally, if you’re looking for a great value VPN that is reasonably fast, and you don’t need to do streaming, give TunnelBear a try. As for me, I am personally going to be using ExpressVPN, I think that it’s worth it to be able to do streaming on it, and I’m all for just buying the best VPN that’s going to give you everything you need and be the most flexible. Well anyway guys, thank you so much for watching, that’s gonna do it for this video, so which VPN service did you pick? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments down below, and if you like this video, do be sure to hit that subscribe button and click the bell so you don’t miss when I release new videos. With that said, I will catch you guys next time.