Many people don’t attempt to protect themselves from hackers until it’s too late. If you don’t have sufficient online security, you’re at risk of having your money or even your identity stolen. However, you don’t have to become a victim. In fact, you can protect yourself from hackers (and enjoy multiple other benefits) by using a VPN.
You may be wondering how a Virtual Private Network (VPN) protects you from threats including DDoS and Man-in-the-middle attacks. It does this by routing your internet traffic through a secure, encrypted tunnel. This shields data (such as your IP address) from hackers, making you a much more difficult target. VPNs provide multiple further advantages such as allowing you to access geo-blocked websites and services or even enjoying faster speeds if you’re suffering from bandwidth throttling at work or school.
In this post, we provide reviews of each of the best VPNs to protect yourself from hackers. First, here’s a short summary of each in case you’re in a hurry to secure your browsing experience:
- NordVPN: The best VPN for protecting yourself from hackers. Encryption, MultiHop servers, and a no-logs policy. Fast with strong unblocking and 24/7 support. Also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best value VPN. Servers in 95 countries. MultiHop servers for extra security against hackers. Secure all of your devices at once.
- ExpressVPN: Servers in 94 countries worldwide. Uses the highest level of encryption. Doesn’t keep identifying logs and is fast with unlimited bandwidth.
- CyberGhost: Vast server network (8,000+ servers). Fast with plenty of security features such as a Windows antivirus, perfect for avoiding hacking attempts.
- IPVanish: Some of the fastest speeds tested. Protects you from hackers with encryption and a kill switch. Also has a zero-logs policy and offers 24/7 support.
- PrivateVPN: Strong privacy protection thanks to a strict no-logs policy. Hides your IP address from hackers through encryption.
- Atlas VPN: Growing server network. High-speed connections. Lots of security features such as MultiHop servers and an ad blocker.
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Unfortunately, not every VPN is able to protect you from hackers. This is not the only consideration either. Below, we outline what we looked for in each of the best VPNs for protecting yourself from hackers:
- Military-grade encryption to protect your data
- Further security features such as a kill switch
- Privacy protection through a strict no-logs policy
- Fast server speeds combined with unlimited bandwidth
- 24-hour customer support via live chat and email
- Option to connect at least five devices simultaneously
Best VPNs to protect yourself from hackers
Here’s our list of the best VPNs to protect yourself from hackers:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is the best VPN to protect yourself from hackers. For starters, it routes your internet traffic through a 256-bit AES encrypted tunnel, securing it from cybercriminals. There’s also a kill switch as well as protection from both DNS and IPv6 leaks. If that’s not enough, Double VPN and Onion Over VPN offer the option to receive multiple layers of encryption for even greater protection. Privacy-wise, NordVPN has a strict no-logs policy.
When it comes to servers, NordVPN has more than 5,000 in all. You can find these in some 60 countries around the world. You’ll therefore be able to access a wide range of geo-restricted content while a fast server is always close to your physical location. Speeds are more than fast enough for any online activity, be it streaming or gaming. Speaking of streaming, NordVPN works well with popular platforms including Netflix and Prime Video.
You can secure yourself from hackers and snoopers alike through NordVPN’s apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. Browser extensions can be downloaded for Chrome and Firefox although manual setup is required for routers.
- Specialty Double VPN and Onion Over VPN servers
- Protects privacy with its strict no-logs policy
- More than 5,000 servers across 60 countries
- Very fast server speeds for streaming and online gaming
- Works with popular streaming services including Netflix
- Live chat and email support available 24 hours a day
- One of the more expensive monthly plans
BEST VPN TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM HACKERS:NordVPN is our top pick. It provides extra security with Double VPN and Onion Over VPN. Strict no-logs policy. Very fast, over 5,000 servers, and quality customer support around the clock. With its 30-day money-back guarantee, you can even try it risk-free.
Read our full NordVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is another great option for staying safe online thanks to its wide range of essential security features. These include 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and DNS and IPv6 leak protection. It also operates a strict no-logs policy. With Surfshark’s MultiHop servers, you can connect via two VPN servers for an additional layer of security. This VPN recently introduced Surfshark One, an optional add-on with antivirus for Windows, Mac, and Android.
What’s particularly impressive about Surfshark is that it now has servers in 95 countries — more than any other VPN on this list. This lets you access more websites and services than ever as well as find a fast server close to your current location. You can also expect high-speed connections and unlimited bandwidth. Surfshark works with more than 30 Netflix libraries in total. Any streaming you do should be free from lag and buffering.
Connect all of your devices at once via SurfShark apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV. If you prefer, you can use a Chrome or Firefox browser extension. When it comes to wifi routers, you’ll need to set up the connection manually.
- MultiHop servers provide an extra layer of encryption
- Surfshark One (optional add-on) includes an antivirus
- Keep all of your devices secure at the same time
- Connect to servers in as many as 95 countries globally
- Works with over 30 Netflix libraries
- Sometimes slow connecting to servers
BEST VALUE VPN:Surfshark keeps you safe thanks to encryption and even the option of double encryption through MultiHop servers. Strict no-logs policy included. Very fast and works with 30+ Netflix libraries. Unlimited devices. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN launched back in 2009 and has remained one of the top VPN providers on the market ever since. Much of this is down to its comprehensive security offering. This starts with 256-bit AES encryption and is further reinforced through DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak protection. In the off-chance that your VPN connection drops, ExpressVPN’s kill switch cuts internet traffic and prevents any data from being exposed to hackers.
ExpressVPN doesn’t keep any logs by which you can be identified. Further, you can pay for this service anonymously in Bitcoin. There’s an impressive number of servers, too, with more than 3,000 in 94 countries including the US, Canada, UK, and Australia. Speeds are more than fast enough for any bandwidth-intensive activity and this is helped by the fact that ExpressVPN doesn’t throttle your bandwidth.
Secure five devices at once and access ExpressVPN’s 24-hour support with its Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV apps. Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browser extensions can also be downloaded. Routers can be configured manually.
- High level of security thanks to its use of military-grade encryption
- Doesn’t keep any identifying logs of its users
- Option of paying anonymously in Bitcoin
- Impressive network of 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
- Quality customer support around the clock
- Slightly more expensive than most
- Streaming servers are not labeled
ESTABLISHED CHOICE:ExpressVPN is a reliable service with fast, unthrottled connections and a high level of security with encryption. Excellent apps and high-quality support. Over 3,000 servers across 94 countries. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost is one of the most secure VPNs you can use to protect yourself from hackers or snoopers. Like any quality VPN, it uses 256-bit AES encryption and has DNS and IPv6 leak protection and automatic kill switch. What’s particularly impressive is that it continues to add to its security offering. More recently, it has introduced its own password manager as well as a security suite for Windows (this includes an antivirus). Of course, there’s also a strict no-logs policy.
CyberGhost has one of the largest server networks of any VPN. At time of writing, it stands at well over 8,000 servers in 90+ countries. Needless to say, there’s no shortage of options and the fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth make CyberGhost an excellent choice for streaming. With this VPN, you can connect up to seven devices at the same time. You’ll also benefit from its live chat and email support (available 24 hours a day).
A CyberGhost subscription means you can access desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and mobile (Android and iOS) apps. Amazon Fire TV and Android TV apps are also offered, as are Chrome and Firefox browser extensions. Wireless routers can be set up manually.
- Security features including encryption and kill switch
- Even offers extras such as a password manager
- Huge server network (nearly 9,000 in 90+ countries)
- Can be used on as many as seven devices at the same time
- Live chat and email support 24 hours a day
- Unable to bypass censorship restrictions in China
- Fewer advanced features for power users
FASTEST VPN:CyberGhost remains the fastest VPN in our tests and has more than 8,000 servers globally. Secure up to seven of your devices at once. Protection includes high-end encryption and a strict no-logs policy. 24/7 support. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish ensures your data cannot be accessed by hackers through 256-bit AES encryption. There are no lapses in protection either thanks to its kill switch feature. Furthermore, DNS leak protection is enabled by default. This VPN has a zero-logs policy which means that information such as your IP address and browsing history can’t be seen by anyone but you. Better still, IPVanish allows unlimited simultaneous connections so you can secure all of your devices.
If you’re looking for speed as well as security, know that IPVanish has become one of the fastest VPNs on the market. It averaged 488 Mbps in our most recent tests which means that HD and even 4K streaming are well within its means. There’s no shortage of servers with over 2,000 in all, covering dozens of countries globally. IPVanish is very quick and easy to use but live chat and email support is available around the clock should you need help.
IPVanish has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire TV. It also provides manual setup instructions for if you want to use it with Linux or your wireless router.
- Hides your IP address to shield you from DDoS attacks
- Zero-logs policy means personal data stays private
- Secure all of your devices at the same time
- One of the fastest VPNs tested — great for streaming
- Headquartered in the US which is a Five Eyes member
- No anonymous payment options such as Bitcoin
IMPROVED SPEEDS:IPVanish is faster than ever, making it ideal for streaming, torrenting, and online gaming. Stay safe from hackers thanks to encryption and its kill switch feature. No limit to the number of devices you can secure. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN doesn’t compromise when it comes to security. Hackers won’t be able to access your data because all internet traffic is routed through a 256-bit AES encrypted tunnel. Aside from DNS leak protection and a kill switch, PrivateVPN has great privacy protection with its strict no-logs policy. You can even sign up anonymously (just use a burner email account and pay in Bitcoin). With PrivateVPN, up to six devices can be secured at the same time.
While PrivateVPN has a smaller server network, this is spread across dozens of countries. Furthermore, it’s well known for offering excellent speed so you can stream content lag and buffer-free (even in 4K resolution). We’ve found that it works well with many popular streaming services be it Netflix or Disney+. The apps are particularly easy to use for beginners and, aside from live chat support, there’s free remote help and installation.
PrivateVPN provides apps for the following: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. To use it with a compatible router, you’ll need to follow the manual setup instructions provided by PrivateVPN.
- Strict no-logs policy (no logging of data such as your IP address)
- Minimal data required for signup and option to pay in Bitcoin
- Strong unblocking ability — works with many streaming platforms
- Easy-to-use apps for desktop and mobile platforms
- Small network of just over 200 servers
- Live chat isn’t available 24 hours a day
STREAMING-FRIENDLY:PrivateVPN stands out for its fast speeds and strong unblocking ability. This is a highly secure service with military-grade encryption and a true no-logs policy. Offers the option to pay anonymously in Bitcoin. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full PrivateVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Atlas VPN is a relative newcomer, having launched in early 2020. Despite this, it has quickly established itself as one of the more secure VPNs to use to protect yourself from hackers. You’ll find security features including 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. This no-logs service even has MultiHop servers for extra protection and an ad, tracker, and malware blocker. You can use Atlas VPN to secure all of your devices at once.
You can find Atlas VPN servers in dozens of countries including the US and Canada. This is one of our top VPNs for speed (it averaged 247 Mbps) so you’re highly unlikely to encounter performance issues when using it. It also worked with most streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max. With your subscription, you’ll have access to live chat and email support 24 hours a day.
Atlas VPN has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. However, this provider states that it doesn’t offer support for Linux or routers as yet.
- Whole host of security features including MultiHop servers
- Keep all of your devices secure at once via a single account
- Very good server speeds so you can stream lag-free
- Successfully unblocks Amazon Prime Video
- Relatively small network of just over 200 servers
- No browser extensions available
DOUBLE ENCRYPTION:Atlas VPN offers MutiHop servers for two layers of encryption. There’s even an ad blocker. High-speed service with reliable unblocking and servers available worldwide. Unlimited devices per account. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Atlas VPN review.
How to protect yourself from hackers with a VPN
Not sure where to start? If you’re new to using a VPN, it may be a little daunting at first. However, the good news is that the best VPNs are very easy to use.
Here’s how you can protect yourself from hackers using a VPN:
- First, you’ll need to sign up with an appropriate VPN service. We particularly recommend NordVPN.
- The next step is to download and install the VPN app that’s compatible with your device. The VPNs listed above have apps for a wide range of operating systems.
- Log in to the VPN app so you can then connect to a VPN server. The closer the server to your physical location, the faster the connection should be.
- Now that you’re connected, your data is encrypted and secured from hackers. You’ll also benefit from DNS leak protection as well as a kill switch feature.
- If you are having any troubles using the VPN, try clearing your cookies.
Finding the best VPNs to protect yourself from hackers: our methodology
Many VPNs claim to keep you safe from hackers although this isn’t always the case. We found out the truth for ourselves by testing the security of a variety of VPNs. Below, you can learn a little more about our methodology for finding the best VPNs:
- Security: First and foremost, we inspect the security features provided by each VPN. This must include 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. We also test each VPN for leaks. In some cases, the VPNs we recommend include extra security in the form of Double VPN servers (these provide two layers of encryption).
- Servers worldwide: Another advantage of using a VPN is that you can access websites and services from other countries, even if they’re geo-blocked. This is particularly handy if you regularly travel abroad. Most of the VPNs covered provide thousands of servers across dozens of countries to make this even easier.
- Speed: It’s little good if a VPN offers strong security but speeds that are too slow for everyday browsing. Indeed, you’ll likely need a connection that’s fast enough for streaming too. Our speed tests identify the fastest VPNs so that you can browse securely while not having to worry about those annoying performance issues.
- Unblocking: The content on many websites and services is subject to geographic restrictions (or even censorship). This means you may not be able to access it while traveling abroad. By connecting to a VPN server in another country, you can change your IP address and access the likes of Netflix and Twitter as normal.
- Privacy: Privacy goes very much hand-in-hand with security and we look for each VPN to have a strict no-logs policy. This means that there should be no identifying logs kept, preventing such information from falling into the wrong hands (such as those of hackers!). Indeed, we’ve studied more than 140 VPN logging policies in all.
- Ease of use: A VPN should make it easy to connect to a server and protect yourself from hackers. From signup to setup, the process should only take a minute or two. We’ve included VPNs that provide beginner-friendly apps (we’ve tested them out for ourselves) as well as live chat and email support should you have any issues.
- Value for money: You’ll find free VPNs as well as very expensive subscription services. In fact, some of the VPNs you encounter may cost more than those we’ve listed even though they lack much of the above features. In this post, you can find discount coupons to save even more on the price of a subscription.
VPNs to protect yourself from hackers: FAQs
Can I use a free VPN to protect myself from hackers?
Can I use a free VPN to protect myself from hackers?
Free VPNs may be tempting but they’re unlikely to provide sufficient protection from hackers. Some will fail to properly encrypt your data and may be susceptible to leaks. They generally offer very few security features with many lacking a kill switch, for example. You also won’t have the additional options that the best VPNs provide such as Double VPN servers, an ad and malware blocker, or antivirus.
The poor performance of free VPNs should not go unnoticed either. Some make browsing something of a challenge while streaming and torrenting is usually out of the question. One of the main reasons for this is that the average free VPN service has only a handful of servers which are shared by far too many users. The VPN throttles user bandwidth in order to manage this, resulting in issues such as lag and buffering during streaming.
Is it legal to use a VPN?
Don’t worry, it’s legal to use a VPN in almost every country in the world. Just be sure you’re not using one to do anything illegal (such as torrenting copyrighted material). There are a number of very legitimate reasons to use a VPN and protecting yourself from hackers is just one of them. You can take a look at our list of where VPNs are legal and where they’re banned to find out more.
Do I need a VPN if I already have an antivirus?
You should still use a VPN even if you have an antivirus. That’s because VPNs and antiviruses each have unique pros and cons. While an antivirus excels at detecting and removing malware, a VPN encrypts your internet traffic and allows you to hide your IP address. This means you can browse privately and even bypass censorship restrictions. As such, combining an antivirus with a VPN is a way to get more comprehensive protection. Note that some VPNs including Surfshark and Cyberghost even offer their own antivirus.