The virtual private network (VPN) is in a flurry, thanks in part to massive marketing budgets and influencer collaborations. It’s challenging to navigate through the burgeoning VPN market, and some of the claims made about its features and benefits may not be true. Consumer Reports’ online security expert Yael Grauer recommends looking for open-source software, reproducible builds and up-to-date support for industry standard protocols.

CyberGhost offers a compelling argument for its zero-logs policy, which assures you that it will not keep track of your online activities or IP address; the apps are compatible with all major operating systems, and include an encryption of 256 bits with a kill switch, leak protection and the ability to connect through an unspecified port. It also scored better than most VPNs in our internet speed test, but this could be due to traffic shaping by your ISP. It also has additional tools such as Threat Protection, Onion Over VPN and Double VPN.

Nord is another alternative that performed well in our tests. It also had a great performance in our geoblocking tests and streaming testing. Its apps are very powerful and easy to use. However, a user interface based on maps may be a bit cumbersome when used on smaller screens. It’s compatible with a range of routers and Kodi TV set-top boxes and is one of the largest geographical reach among our top picks. It’s also a good option for watching overseas Netflix and has dedicated ‘Windflix’ servers for this purpose. It recently added a new feature called Perfect Forward Secrecy, which safeguards your data with the use of a fresh key every time that makes it harder for hackers to crack past activities.

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