Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide a range of interesting benefits, such as protecting privacy, accessing restricted content, and streaming services like US Netflix or BBC iPlayer from abroad. However, choosing the right VPN can be a daunting prospect for beginners. There’s lots of technical jargon to sift through, and hundreds of providers are competing for your attention at any given time. But don’t worry, we’re here to simplify the process for you and make it easy to choose the correct VPN for your needs.
We’ve made a list of VPNs that provide an easy-to-use service with excellent customer support as well as offering such necessities as strong privacy levels and streaming abilities. We’ve tested over 300 providers to bring you this list of the best VPNs for new users, and we’ll go into more detail about the ones we recommend later on in the article, as well as explain how to use them. But in case you’re short on time, here’s a quick rundown.
The best VPNs for beginners:
- NordVPN: Our top VPN pick for beginners. Trustworthy provider that comes with fast speeds, great customer support, intuitive apps, and thousands of servers worldwide. Includes a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Our top budget VPN for beginners. Allows unlimited simultaneous device connections, works with multiple Netflix libraries, solid speeds, and easy to use.
- ExpressVPN: Reliable provider with strong privacy features and exceptional speeds. Excels at avoiding detection. Knowledgeable support available 24/7.
- CyberGhost: Excellent choice for beginners. Simple to use, intuitive apps and servers labeled for specific uses. Vast server network. 24/7 live chat.
- IPVanish: No device limits. Comes with a true zero-logs policy, live chat support, and lots of features. Popular with torrenters and Kodi users.
- PrivateVPN: Capable zero-logs VPN, comprehensive support system, ideal for new users, fast speeds. Allows up to 10 simultaneous connections.
- Atlas VPN: Fledgling service with fast, reliable servers and unlimited device connections. Offers 24/7 live chat for customer support.
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Best beginner VPNs: at a glance
We’ve compared the most important features of the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for beginners.
|Website||NordVPN.com||Surfshark.com||ExpressVPN.com||Cyberghost.com||IPVanish.com||PrivateVPN.com||Ranking for beginners||1||2||3||4||5||6||Streaming Services||Netflix|
|Avg Speed (Mbps)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||39 Mbps||Popular Sites Unblocked||95%||88%||86%||85%||70%||85%||Total number of servers||5,700+||3,200||Undisclosed||7000+||2,200+||200+||Simultaneous Connections||6||Unlimited||5||7||Unlimited||10|
|Best deal (per month)||$2.99|
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SAVE: 49% + 3 months free
SAVE 84% on the 2 year plan + 4 months free
SAVE 74% on the 2 yr plan
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
The best VPNs for beginners
Given the amount of confusing technical jargon surrounding VPNs, some providers are better than others for new users. We’ve picked out the best VPNs for beginners according to the following criteria:
- Must have simple apps, even if it has advanced features
- Provides high speeds and reliable connections
- Has apps for all major platforms, including Android and iOS
- Offers free customer support over live chat, forums, and other methods
- Secures your web traffic and keeps no logs of user data
These are just a few of the features we look for, but you can read more about what we look for in the VPNs we recommend in our methodology section below. For now, let’s take a closer look at the ones that made the cut.
Here’s our list of the best VPNs for beginners:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our number-one choice VPN for beginners. It’s a name you can trust, and it only takes a few clicks to connect to a server once you’ve logged in. You’ll also be able to select a recommended location (via the Quick Connect button), making it exceptionally easy to get started. It’s a performant VPN, with exceptional connection speeds and servers in over 5,500 locations across 60 countries.
In terms of customer support, NordVPN offers both round-the-clock live chat and a ticket submission system. This is complemented by searchable help and tutorial articles found within the support section of its website.
NordVPN comes with a no-logs policy and has been independently audited by PwC Switzerland. More advanced features include Double VPN servers for an extra layer of encryption. Apps are available for MacOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android. If you’d prefer, you’ll be able to use a more lightweight Chrome or Firefox browser extension.
- Easy to use
- Multiple high-speed servers worldwide
- Offers 24/7 live chat and email support
- Strict no-logs policy that has been audited
- Unblocks multiple streaming platforms
- Has a 30-day money-back guarantee
- Can take a bit of time to switch servers
BEST VPN SERVICE FOR BEGINNERS:NordVPN ticks every box and then some, pairing great performance with a service that is easy to use. Unblocks multiple streaming platforms, and comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of NordVPN here.
Surfshark is a budget VPN that won’t let you down. There’s plenty of support for beginners. You’ll be able to find lots of information via the Help section on Surfshark’s website, including various setup guides, manual connection guides, router tutorials, and extension and app guides. This includes an FAQ section. There’s also live chat available around the clock.
There are no limits to the number of devices you can connect to Surfshark, making it ideal for sharing with family. It comes with an ad-blocker, malware scanner, and split tunneling functionality. It has 3200+ servers in 100 countries, including high-speed options that can access services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max.
Security comes in the form of industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption, and apps come with a kill switch as standard. It’s a no-logs service, and offers antivirus as an optional add-on.
- Unlimited device connections
- 24-hour support via live chat and email
- Privacy-conscious VPN
- Fast, reliable servers in 100+ countries
- User-friendly apps
- Occasional slow server
BEST BUDGET VPN FOR BEGINNERS:Surfshark is a great VPN for new users, thanks to a mix of fast speeds, strong security, and access to streaming platforms. Offers 24-hour support via live chat and email, plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Surfshark here.
ExpressVPN is a provider that many beginners flock to, especially as it’s one of the more recognizable services on the market. With a strong reputation built up over a decade, it’s designed with new users in mind, despite offering various advanced features. You’re unlikely to run into any issues, but ExpressVPN does have customer support staff who are available around the clock via live chat, just in case.
The service has over 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries, and it offers apps for MacOS, iOS, Windows, Android, and Linux. It also supports Amazon Fire TV and Android TV, and has Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browser extensions. There are cheaper options on the list, but ExpressVPN is undeniably great for beginners.
It doesn’t log any data that could be used to identify you, and it uses 256-bit AES encryption to maintain your online security. ExpressVPN is also great at unblocking sites and services, with some of the fastest speeds we’ve tested.
- Capable beginner-friendly VPN
- Has 24/7 live chat
- Over 3,000 servers in 94 countries
- No logs, solid encryption, and a kill switch
- Fast speeds for streaming
- More expensive than other options on this list
- Streaming servers are not labeled
INCREDIBLE SPEEDS:ExpressVPN is another great choice for new users. Support staff are available around the clock, and it comes with a collection of intuitive apps. It’s great for streaming, online privacy, or anything in between. The VPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review here.
CyberGhost scores highly with beginners thanks to simple Linux, MacOS, Windows, Android, and iOS apps. You’ll be able to download a Chrome or Firefox browser extension. CyberGhost comes with a wide selection of 9,000+ servers spread across 91 countries, and it lets you know which is best for tasks like P2P filesharing and streaming. This eliminates much of the guesswork, making it easier for new users.
Customer support is available in English, French, and German. Live chat is available via the CyberGhost website 24 hours a day. (However, German and French support is only available from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Romanian time.) You’ll also be able to use the app’s built-in support ticket system or check through FAQs and blog posts via the website.
Security features like 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks are enabled automatically, and it doesn’t keep any logs. This provider also offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee so you can be sure you’re happy before you commit longterm.
- Massive server network encompassing 91 countries
- Great speeds, clearly labeled servers
- Can be used with up to seven devices at once
- Multiple customer service options
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Can’t bypass restrictions in China
- Lack of advanced configurations for power users
SIMPLE APPS:CyberGhost has great speeds and a massive network, making it especially easy to use. Security features are enabled by default, and it offers 24/7 support. If in doubt, there’s a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full user review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is a no-logs provider that has expanded its customer service options to include live chat support in seven languages alongside its traditional email support. It only took us a few minutes to get a response via live chat, which is a great result. There are also multiple setup guides, and FAQs found on IPVanish’s website.
A no-logs VPN, IPVanish owns its network of 2000+ servers rather than renting them from a third party. This is a major bonus in terms of security and connection speeds. Further security measures include a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and the use of 256-bit AES encryption to keep your data safe and secure.
One account can be used with unlimited simultaneous devices, and IPVanish has native apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. (Linux users have the option of setup via manual configuration, but that’s not ideal for new users.)
- 2,000+ speedy self-owned servers
- Responsive customer support in several languages
- Keeps no logs
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- No Linux app – offers setup via manual configuration
- Lacks anonymous payment options
SOLID BEGINNER VPN:IPVanish protects all of your devices simultaneously, with a self-owned network that is easy for beginners to get used to. It offers 24/7 assistance, and yearly deals come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish to find out more.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN is a great service for beginners. Upon signing in, you’ll be able to connect to a server instantly. It offers comprehensive web tutorials, a live chat service, and email support. If you’re struggling to get started for any reason, the VPN also offers remote control support for help with setup and basic troubleshooting. (This is only available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.)
The network is smaller than some of the others on this list, but it’s a competitive VPN that offers strong privacy, along with the ability to access multiple streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer. Essential security features include 256-bit encryption, a customizable kill switch, and leak protection.
You’ll be able to connect with up to 10 devices simultaneously, and PrivateVPN keeps no logs. PrivateVPN has apps for Android, iOS, MacOS, and Windows. Linux requires manual setup, but it can be done remotely by getting in contact with the provider via live chat.
- Capable support features
- Ideal for torrenting and streaming
- Strong privacy and security
- No native app for Linux
- Smaller network of 200+ servers
HELPFUL CUSTOMER SUPPORT:PrivateVPN. The clue is in the name, as it offers decent speeds and strong security. It’s great for beginners and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of PrivateVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Atlas VPN has a capable network of 1000+ servers, including options that are optimized for streaming. It’s compatible with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and many more region-locked services. Another solid pick in terms of security, it uses 256-bit encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch to keep you safe. It can be used with an unlimited number of devices simultaneously, and it comes with a strict no-logs policy.
You’ll be able to get in contact with Atlas VPN thanks to 24/7 live chat, which is available for customers with a premium plan. However, support could still use a bit of improvement, which is one of the reasons why the VPN doesn’t place higher on this list. Atlas VPN also has email support if you’d prefer.
- 24/7 live chat
- Great speeds, and streaming-optimized servers
- No logs
- No support for Linux or routers
- Smaller network with roughly 1000 servers
STREAMING AND SECURITY:Atlas VPN is great for unblocking region-locked services, and even works in China. 24/7 live chat customer service available. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Find out more in our AtlasVPN review.
How to set up a VPN for beginners
Despite the numerous technical terms and endless jargon, it’s easier to start using a VPN than you might have expected. Just follow the simple steps below and you’ll be protected online in minutes.
Here’s how to set up a VPN for beginners:
- Sign up with a VPN service, and make a note of your login details. (NordVPN is perfect for beginners.)
- Next, download the relevant VPN app for the device you’re going to use it on. (For example, iOS, Android, macOS, Windows.)
- Install the app, and log in when prompted.
- You’ll now be free to select a server. You can try choosing a server by location or intended use or opt for the recommended server.
- Ensure that the kill switch is turned on in case the connection cuts out unexpectedly.
- You should now be protected by the VPN and have a new IP address that matches the server location you’ve selected.
- If you can’t access a specific website, clear your browser history and try again, or contact your VPN’s customer support team for more help.
Methodology: How we found the best VPNs for beginners
Every VPN is different, and while this means that there’s a service for every situation, it also makes it tricky for newcomers to decide which one to use. That’s where we come in: We’ve carefully considered the most important things a VPN should offer for novice users and looked for these features in the VPNs we recommend. Below are some of the criteria we looked for to pick the best VPNs for beginners:
- Ease of use: Arguably the most important aspect for beginner users, we judged the providers on how easy they are to get to grips with. It can be overwhelming for beginners, so which services handle this smoothly? This includes customer support options, such as live chat. You should be able to connect to a server within a few clicks, while signup to set up should only take a minute or two.
- Servers worldwide: We looked at the number of servers the VPN has worldwide, as well as looking at coverage in key regions such as the US and the UK. The providers listed above have global server networks, so there should always be a local option to suit you.
- Unblocking: How adept is the VPN at unblocking sites and services worldwide? We looked at everything from accessing streaming services to restricted countries like China. This includes gaming and accessing content when you’re abroad.
- Privacy: How does the provider perform in terms of privacy, and can it be trusted with your personal data? Ideally, it should come with a no-logs policy and anonymous payment methods. We’ve studied more than 140 VPN logging policies altogether nd only recommend those that prioritize you’re privacy.
- Speeds: We conducted a range of speed tests to find out which VPN is the fastest overall. Improved speeds will ensure no lag or buffering while you’re connected to the VPN servers. The provider also needs to offer unlimited bandwidth.
- Security: How does the VPN perform in terms of encryption and security? You’ll want to avoid services that make things difficult to understand for new users. Your traffic will be secured from hackers and snoopers. Needs to offer 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch.
- Value for money: Does the VPN offer good value for money? The providers listed above all come in at a fair price, and many come with a significant discount for longer subscriptions, a free trial, and a risk-free money-back guarantee.
Best VPNs for beginners: FAQs
Can I use a free VPN instead?
It’s tempting to look for a free VPN, but using an unpaid service is often a rookie mistake. Free providers tend to cap speeds or limit the amount of data you’ll be able to use. The servers used by free VPNs also tend to be blocked by streaming sites. They tend to be substandard when it comes to security, with many lacking basic security features.
Other free providers have been found to store users’ data to sell to thrid parties. Or as was the case with UFO VPN in 2020. It was found to be keeping detailed logs in plain text and without password protection.
What should I look for in a VPN for beginners?
We’ve listed the key criteria above, but it also depends on what you plan to use a VPN for. Would you be more interested in privacy, streaming access, or a mix of both? Do you need to connect to a specific country? Are you attempting to unblock a site or service with the provider?
For example, if you’d like to access your US Netflix library from abroad, we’d recommend NordVPN and one of their US servers.
Will websites ban me for using a VPN?
A VPN can easily bypass many online restrictions, so it’s great for accessing streaming sites and other restricted content. VPNs are legal in the majority of countries worldwide, including the US and the UK.
It’s unlikely that most services will ban you if they detect VPN usage. Instead, services and sites are more likely to ban the IP address used by the VPN server, and you’ll just see an error message and be unable to connect to the service until you switch to another server. It’s not unheard of to see accounts suspended or terminated, but it is rare.
Will a VPN slow down my internet speed?
Yes, VPNs run your internet traffic through encrypted tunnels, causing it to travel further. This inevitably slows down your speeds a little. However, the best providers ensure that the difference in speeds is negligible. Some VPNs are faster than others, and it’ll also depend on additional factors such as your CPU speed, distance to the VPN server, and congestion on the network.
Are VPNs difficult to use?
VPNs used to be more difficult to use, but that’s all changed since the industry hit the mainstream. The majority are now designed with everyday users in mind rather than tech wizards, even if they do offer various extras for advanced users. Most VPNs make it as simple a possible to click and connect with all the security features in place by default.