15 most secure VPNs compared · Jan 2017

Many VPNs can offer excellent security but not all of them do. I've set high standards in my rankings of secure VPNs here and it's almost impossible to get 100%. Even results in the 65% range can be considered secure for most purposes.

What makes a VPN secure? The protocols (languages) and handshakes (authentication) play a large role in this, as do cryptographic key sizes (password length). These three security factors prevent other players on the Internet from decrypting and intercepting, manipulating or blocking your traffic. To score highly in these tests a VPN must be running strong cryptography and protocols with no known serious vulnerabilities. The services may also support insecure protocols so it's up to you to configure the client securely.

#1 ExpressVPN

Transport

v1.2
TLS/SSL

Handshake

4096
bit RSA key

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN TCP/UDP

HMAC

HMAC

Security

83%
security rating

High speed, ultra secure, and easy to use - ExpressVPN describes itself as the fastest VPN on Earth. Watch video from anywhere, unblock websites and regain your online privacy. Setup is easy, whether …

Things we like...
  • Zero log policy
  • 87 countries to choose from
  • Includes private DNS servers
Look out for...
  • Operated from USA (5 eyes)
  • May not allow P2P file sharing
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#2 LiquidVPN

Transport

v1.2
TLS/SSL

Handshake

4096
bit RSA key

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN TCP/UDP

HMAC

HMAC

Security

78%
security rating

This is the Road Warrior plan. LiquidVPN focus on speed, primarily. They claim to provide 'insanely fast' servers for quick downloads, torrents and streaming video without buffering. I like the ability to choose between shared IP a…

Things we like...
  • Zero log policy
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Strong encryption
Look out for...
  • Operated from USA (5 eyes)
  • Only 9 countries to choose from
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#3 Private Internet Access

Transport

v1.2
TLS/SSL

Handshake

4096
bit RSA key

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN

HMAC

HMAC

Security

78%
security rating

I first joined PIA back in 2012 and was a long-standing customer for many years. The service is simple, straightforward and reliable. The VPN client has come on great and minor bugs were smoothed out …

Things we like...
  • Zero log policy
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Strong encryption
Look out for...
  • Operated from USA (5 eyes)
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#4 LiquidVPN

Transport

v1.2
TLS/SSL

Handshake

4096
bit RSA key

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN TCP/UDP

HMAC

HMAC

Security

78%
security rating

This is the Sidekick plan. LiquidVPN focus on speed, primarily. They claim to provide 'insanely fast' servers for quick downloads, torrents and streaming video without buffering. I like the ability to choose between shared IP a…

Things we like...
  • Zero log policy
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Strong encryption
Look out for...
  • Operated from USA (5 eyes)
  • Only 9 countries to choose from
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#5 LiquidVPN

Transport

v1.2
TLS/SSL

Handshake

4096
bit RSA key

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN TCP/UDP

HMAC

HMAC

Security

78%
security rating

This is the Ultimate plan. LiquidVPN focus on speed, primarily. They claim to provide 'insanely fast' servers for quick downloads, torrents and streaming video without buffering. I like the ability to choose between shared IP a…

Things we like...
  • Zero log policy
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Strong encryption
Look out for...
  • Operated from USA (5 eyes)
  • Only 9 countries to choose from
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#6 VPN.ac

Transport

?
TLS/SSL

Handshake

4096
bit RSA key

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN TCP/UDP

HMAC

HMAC

Security

78%
security rating

VPN.ac focusses on security, speed and reliability developed by a team of security professionals, and skilled support staff with fast replies. Servers are pen-tested and audited for security. Each pla…

Things we like...
  • Zero log policy
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Strong encryption
Look out for...
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#7 AceVPN

Transport

?
TLS/SSL

Handshake

4096
bit RSA key

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN TCP/UDP

HMAC

HMAC

Security

75%
security rating

This is the Ultimate plan. With a focus on unblocking video streaming and TV channel websites, as well as general private web browsing, AceVPN offers fast gigabit servers and intelligent routing for geo-unblocking without slowi…

Things we like...
  • Zero log policy
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Strong encryption
Look out for...
  • Operated from USA (5 eyes)
  • May not allow P2P file sharing
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#8 FrootVPN

Transport

v1.2
TLS/SSL

Handshake

?
not stated

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN TCP/UDP

HMAC

HMAC

Security

65%
security rating

A friendly group from Sweden, FrootVPN aims to be a low-cost VPN provider with good features. They boast over 300,000 users of the service. I liked the Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) support using a Di…

Things we like...
  • Zero log policy
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Supports video stream unblocking
Look out for...
  • No native IPv6 support
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#9 IPVanish

Transport

?
TLS/SSL

Handshake

?
not stated

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN TCP/UDP

HMAC

HMAC

Security

65%
security rating

IPVanish is designed to be 'the world's fastest VPN', as well as circumventing censorship filters (by employers, universities or governments) and boasts an impressive number of servers and shared IP a…

Things we like...
  • Zero log policy
  • 60 countries to choose from
  • Includes private DNS servers
Look out for...
  • Operated from USA (5 eyes)
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#10 StrongVPN

Transport

v1.2
TLS/SSL

Handshake

?
not stated

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN

HMAC

HMAC

Security

59%
security rating

StrongVPN, despite the name, is a 'jack of all trades' VPN which promotes security, privacy, speed and ease of use. They have thousands of customer testimonials, even from China, which is promising. …

Things we like...
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Has own VPN client software
  • VPN settings can trade security for speed
Look out for...
  • Operated from USA (5 eyes)
  • May not allow P2P file sharing
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#11 UPPERSAFE

Transport

v1.2
TLS/SSL

Handshake

?
not stated

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN

HMAC

HMAC

Security

54%
security rating

This is the Low speed - 1Mbps plan. Recently rebranded from NolimitVPN, UPPERSAFE provides VPN accounts and hardware VPN routers for home and business. I like the VPN's built-in firewall for security, but I suspect they keep activity lo…

Things we like...
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Supports video stream unblocking
  • VPN settings can trade security for speed
Look out for...
  • No moneyback guarantee
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#12 UPPERSAFE

Transport

v1.2
TLS/SSL

Handshake

?
not stated

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN

HMAC

HMAC

Security

54%
security rating

This is the High Speed - 10 Mbps plan. Recently rebranded from NolimitVPN, UPPERSAFE provides VPN accounts and hardware VPN routers for home and business. I like the VPN's built-in firewall for security, but I suspect they keep activity lo…

Things we like...
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Supports video stream unblocking
  • VPN settings can trade security for speed
Look out for...
  • No moneyback guarantee
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#13 NordVPN

Transport

v1.2
TLS/SSL

Handshake

?
not stated

Encryption

?
not stated

Protocol

OpenVPN TCP/UDP

HMAC

HMAC

Security

54%
security rating

NordVPN is one of the few 'advanced' VPNs which can back up their claims by using exclusive double data encryption. The DoubleVPN encryption system uses a two-node server link with dual 256-bit AES CB…

Things we like...
  • Zero log policy
  • 57 countries to choose from
  • Includes private DNS servers
Look out for...
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#14 UPPERSAFE

Transport

v1.2
TLS/SSL

Handshake

?
not stated

Encryption

256
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN

HMAC

HMAC

Security

54%
security rating

This is the Ultra High Speed - 100Mbps plan. Recently rebranded from NolimitVPN, UPPERSAFE provides VPN accounts and hardware VPN routers for home and business. I like the VPN's built-in firewall for security, but I suspect they keep activity lo…

Things we like...
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Supports video stream unblocking
  • VPN settings can trade security for speed
Look out for...
  • No moneyback guarantee
  • Payments don't auto-renew

#15 Hide My Ass!

Transport

?
TLS/SSL

Handshake

?
not stated

Encryption

128
bit AES

Protocol

OpenVPN TCP/UDP

HMAC

HMAC

Security

54%
security rating

HMA is one of the most popular VPN brands out there, but I can't see what all the excitement is about. Yes it is easy to use and provides good support for mobile devices, but I wasn't impressed with t…

Things we like...
  • 190 countries to choose from
  • Includes private DNS servers
  • Has own VPN client software
Look out for...
  • Operated from UK (5 eyes)
  • Payments don't auto-renew

Still deciding?

We also compare best, anonymous, private and easiest VPNs or jump back to the homepage to compare all VPNs.