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The most secure VPN services in 2023

Casual browsing, online shopping, bypassing geo-restricted content, or torrenting – each online action is naked in front of your ISP or bad actors if you’re not connected to a secure VPN.

But the VPN market is wide, and it might be challenging to pick one. To make sure you prevent any cyber threats like malware, DDoS attacks, and spoofing, you need to choose a secure VPN provider that ensures strong encryption, no-logs policy, a kill switch, and other superior security features.

With that in mind, we tested and selected the most secure VPN services in 2023. Among the top contenders are such names as NordVPN and other best VPNs on the market. Continue reading and choose the safest VPN provider.

Top 6 best most secure VPNs: shortlist

How do you know if a VPN is safe or not?

To learn whether the selected provider offers the most secure VPN service, it should prove its value with a strong security features suite. If one of the features below is missing from the providers' offering, then the protection layer gets thinner equally. Here are the key aspects helping you to find out if the provider is safe:

AES-256, ChaCha20
Security features:Kill switch, obfuscation, malware and threat protection
Privacy:No-logs policy, RAM-only servers, privacy-friendly jurisdiction
Tunneling protocols:WireGuard, NordLynx, or equivalent
  1. No-logs policy. To have a VPN that will not know anything about your online activities, you should check whether the provider follows an independently audited no-logs policy. This means the VPN won’t have anything to share with governmental institutions as well as other third parties.
  2. Strong encryption. Robust encryption is necessary for any VPN in order to make your data unreadable and impossible to intercept. Today, the strongest encryption ciphers are considered AES-256, ChaCha20, and quantum-resistant encryption. Consequently, these are the ones you should look for.
  3. DNS leak protection. In case a VPN leaks your DNS, your ISP and snoopers will be able to log your activity even if you’re connected to a VPN. That’s why it’s crucial for a VPN provider to implement additional measures for DNS leak protection.
  4. Kill switch feature. A kill switch is a feature that cuts off your device’s access to the internet in case a secure VPN connection is lost. Having this feature helps ensure that your IP address and other information don’t get exposed to your ISP, malicious actors, or websites you visit.
  5. Open-source VPN protocols. These protocols, such as WireGuard and OpenVPN, are constantly being reviewed and maintained by worldwide communities, which means that any security slip-ups get quickly patched up. We suggest you prioritize the WireGuard tunnel and improved versions of it.
  6. RAM-only servers. On such servers, data gets wiped with each server reboot, meaning that if a VPN provider were asked to present info about their users, they wouldn’t have anything to show. Take a look at NordVPN and Surfshark, which are widely known for maintaining these servers fully functional.
  7. Obfuscation. Some websites and governments apply powerful anti-VPN technologies such as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). Obfuscation modes and servers help VPNs bypass these blocks and hide the fact of VPN usage overall. If you’re living in a highly-censored region, obfuscation is a must for you to have in a VPN suite.
Top pick for the safest VPN

NordVPN is the safest VPN today. It's continuously improving its security suite, already covering all the essential criteria we have listed to be the most secure VPN on the market.

Get NordVPN, now at 68% OFF!

The most secure VPNs in 2023 - our detailed list

Here, you’ll find detailed information about what each VPN provider from our list offers in terms of security and privacy. We looked at encryption, logging policies, leak protection capabilities, and the selection of security features.

1. NordVPN – the safest VPN in 2023 overall

NordVPN banner
Based in:Panama
Logging:No-logs policy
Kill switch:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get NordVPN with 68% OFF + 3 months FREE!🔥

NordVPN is the most secure VPN on the market because of the most robust encryption technology, high-level security measures, and privacy-friendly jurisdiction in Panama. Additionally, it provides an excellent service for safe browsing, streaming, entertainment, and more.

Security: NordVPN is the most trustworthy VPN you can get, thanks to its unbreakable AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption ciphers. This provider also includes a functional kill switch which prevents data leaks in case your VPN connection drops. Hence, such a security bundle ensures utmost security at all times.

Privacy: this VPN runs on RAM-only servers, resulting in your data getting cleared with every reboot. NordVPN also follows a several times independently-audited no-logs policy, ensuring that none of your activities are tracked and logged.

Features: By opting for NordVPN, you access Threat Protection which blocks malware and ads. Additionally, obfuscated servers conceal the fact you’re using a VPN, so you easily enter sites or continue using the service in countries that block VPNs. Finally, a dark web monitor warns about personal data leaks, and it also provides a security layer for dark web surfing with the Tor over VPN feature.

Performance: While NordVPN is the best VPN for security, it’s also lightning fast. Thanks to the NordLynx tunneling protocol, you can retain excellent speeds and surf securely without buffering, lagging, and latency issues.

Although pricier than CyberGhost or Atlas VPN, NordVPN delivers an all-in-one security solution combined with reliable performance. Costing from $3.19/month, the provider maintains gapless online protection. Most importantly, you can take it for a spin risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

To learn more, check out our NordVPN review.

2. Surfshark – affordable and extremely secure VPN

Surfshark banner
Based in:The Netherlands
Logging:No-logs policy
Kill switch:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get 82% OFF Surfshark + 2 months FREE 🔥

Surfshark is a secure but also affordable VPN and it is also great at ensuring your privacy. From a strict privacy policy to advanced security features, Surfshark really might have all that you need to be safe online.

Security: Opting for a Surfshark subscription means securing your online activities and identity with impenetrable AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption. You can also make use of a kill switch which protects your IP address from getting leaked if a VPN connection drops.

Privacy: Surfshark has implemented reliable privacy measures. Its independently audited no-logs policy ensures that none of your activities are logged or shared with third parties. And it runs on RAM-only servers too. So you can be sure that your data is deleted with every reboot.

Features: To conceal the fact you’re using a VPN and get around VPN blocks, you can use the Camouflage (obfuscation) feature. Additionally, CleanWeb blocks ads and trackers, so you can browse safely and anonymously. The IP rotator gives you a different IP every other minute. And unlike other VPNs on the list, Surfshark offers the opportunity to use its antivirus. Although for an additional charge, the antivirus scans and deletes malware along with helping you stay aware with real-time alerts.

Performance: Best part about Surfshark is that you don’t need to compromise speeds for security. It’s a fast VPN solution thanks to the WireGuard tunneling protocol that ensures the best experience online without buffering and lag.

Surfshark costs only $2.30/month, proving that the VPN outrivals competitors regarding price-to-quality value. You can also try it for 30 days because of its month-long money-back guarantee.

For more information, take a look at our Surfshark review.

3. Norton Secure VPN – affordable and reliable VPN for online protection

norton vpn banner
Based in:United States
Logging:No-logs policy
Kill switch:Yes
Current deal:🔥Get up to 56% OFF Norton VPN!🔥

Norton is a well-known and reliable cybersecurity company famous for its antivirus software. However, the Norton Secure VPN service is just as trustworthy and essential for well-rounded online protection.

Security. The VPN masks your online activities with top-of-the-line AES-256 encryption to ensure peak confidentiality. Customers also gain an effective kill switch for preventing IP leaks. Another worthwhile benefit is the Ad Tracker Blocking feature, which, as the name suggests, blocks online advertisements and trackers.

Privacy. Norton Secure VPN has room for improvement in the privacy department. For starters, the service operates from the United States, a founding member of the 5-Eyes alliance. Thankfully, the VPN adheres to a no-logs policy, although it hasn’t been audited by third parties.

Features. The VPN includes split tunneling if you’d like to select which particular apps need to pass through the VPN tunnel. Moreover, you’ll be able to torrent securely using the VPN’s P2P-optimized servers.

Performance. Norton VPN is not the fastest option available because it lacks the modern WireGuard tunneling protocol. Instead, it uses the reliable OpenVPN protocol. Besides that, the server network includes 1,000+ servers across 29+ countries.

Norton VPN is one of the most budget-friendly secure VPNs with its $1.67/month starting price. Best of all, it includes a 30-day money-back guarantee and 7-day free trial if you’d like to take it for a spin first.

See what else is included by reading our complete Norton Secure VPN review.

4. IPVanish – technically secure VPN for unlimited devices

IPVanish banner
Based in:United States
Logging:No-logs policy
Kill switch:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get 75% OFF IPVanish!🔥

IPVanish is one of the top VPNs for security with all the technical side sorted out. It includes a top-tier encryption and sophisticated security features, making it one of the most advanced VPNs for security.

Security: IPVanish subscriptions include robust AES-256 encryption (and ChaCha20 with WireGuard), so no one can break the cipher to read your data and online activities. Additionally, you get a reliable kill switch feature, which shuts down the Internet connection when you lose access to a VPN. This way, you won’t connect to an unsecured connection.

Privacy: This provider has a strict, independently audited no-logs policy. Therefore, IPVanish won’t collect any of your data or activity logs that has been transmitted through a secure VPN tunnel.

Features: In IPVanish’s set of features, you can find the Scramble traffic obfuscation feature to mask the fact you’re using a VPN. In addition, the VPN offers On Demand, so you will never forget to connect to a VPN and access an unsecured Internet connection.

Performance: Opting for IPVanish is excellent for those who are also looking for speed and security in a VPN. This provider includes one of the best WireGuard protocols in the offering, ensuring fast speeds in all situations online.

Overall, IPVanish is one of the safest VPNs, and the price starts at $2.99/month. Try it out with a 30-day money-back guarantee, no strings attached.

Get to know more from the IPVanish review.

5. ExpressVPN – very secure VPN with intuitive apps

ExpressVPN banner
Based in:
British Virgin Islands
No-logs policy
Kill switch:
🔥 Get ExpressVPN, now 49% OFF the 1-year plan! 🔥

ExpressVPN is one of the safest VPN providers because of its highest-standard encryption, malware protection, and robust tunneling protocols, so you’ll be 100% protected by opting for a subscription.

Security: This VPN employs AES-256 encryption – one of the best ciphers currently available. Therefore, it’s impossible to track down any kind of your personal information or data. In addition to that, the provider includes a solid Network Lock (kill switch), with it, you can be protected even in situations when a VPN connection drops.

Privacy: ExpressVPN is based on a strict independently audited no-logs policy. On top of that, the provider runs on RAM-only servers. Hence, all of your information will be wiped out every time a server restarts.

Features: ExpressVPN easily blocks malware and bypasses trackers monitoring your data with Threat Manager. Additionally, the Shortcuts feature allows an easy connection to your essential apps, helping you launch the most used sites after connecting to a VPN. Whereas Stealth, also known as obfuscated servers, help you stay secure in places with VPN blocks as the feature hides VPN usage.

Performance: ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol performs at excellent speeds. It doesn’t have any noticeable interruptions or latencies, so with ExpressVPN, you can browse speedily and securely at all times.

Unlike NordVPN or Surfshark, ExpressVPN is a pricier provider, starting at $6.67/month. However, you can test whether it’s a secure VPN pick for you with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Check our ExpressVPN review to learn more.

6. CyberGhost – a secure solution that doesn't log your private data

CyberGhost VPN banner
Based in:
No-logs policy
Kill switch:
🔥 Get CyberGhost VPN, now 83% OFF + 2 months FREE 🔥

CyberGhost VPN is one of the best and private VPNs on the market. It’s a sweet pick for security seekers as it includes strong encryption and strict policies against security exploitation.

Security: It’s among the top VPN players as CyberGhost shields your data and online activities with the AES-256 cipher. Meanwhile, WireGuard connections are secured with ChaCha20 encryption. Additionally, if you experience connection interruptions, the kill switch feature cuts off the internet connection to protect your personal information from vulnerabilities.

Privacy: CyberGhost doesn’t retain any of your traffic data or connection logs because of its independently-audited no-logs policy. This VPN also runs on RAM-only servers. Therefore, if someone wants to access your personal data, it’d be impossible because it’s cleared out with every reboot.

Features: Apart from essential security details, CyberGhost adds an ad blocker to help you avoid annoying and malicious ads. Meanwhile, the NoSpy servers are owned by the provider itself, meaning there won’t be any third-party interference with your online security and privacy.

Performance: This VPN includes the market-standard WireGuard tunneling protocol to ensure reliable connection speeds. Hence, you’ll browse securely and without irritating latencies.

Are you interested in high-level security and low prices? Then CyberGhost is your best VPN pick for security, starting at $2.19/month. More so, you can try it with a 45-day money-back guarantee.

Find out more about the features in our CyberGhost VPN review.

7. PureVPN – always-on audit VPN

purevpn banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Logging:No-logs policy
Kill switch:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get PureVPN, now 83% OFF + 3 months FREE!🔥

PureVPN is among the top VPNs for security due to its always on-audit policy, privacy-friendly jurisdiction in the British Virgin Islands, and functional security features.

Security: Like NordVPN, PureVPN encrypts your traffic with an industry-standard AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption. Next to this unbreakable shield, you also get a kill switch. It disables your Internet if you lose connection to the VPN; therefore, your data won’t be prone to vulnerabilities in the moment of disconnection.

Privacy: It’s a “No-Log Certified” provider. In other words, PureVPN runs on an independently audited no-logs policy, so it doesn’t log any of your data or activities online. But that’s not it, as its always-on audit approach allows the audit companies to examine the VPN without prior notice.

Features: PureVPN offers a security customization option with its split tunneling feature. This way, you can pick apps and sites that you’d like to route through a secure tunnel. You will also find the obfuscation feature, which is enabled by default with the OpenVPN protocol. Plus, for an extra dollar a month, you can get the PureKeep password manager to store and manage your logins securely.

Performance: This provider has implemented WireGuard to enhance its speeds and performance. Therefore, you’ll have a fast and pleasant browsing experience online by choosing PureVPN as your security provider.

While it’s a more modest solution than other top 3 VPNs, it offers an excellent price of $2.08/month for those looking for a secure but also cheap VPN. Additionally, you can try it with a 31-day money-back guarantee.

Learn more about the features in our PureVPN review.

8. Atlas VPN – trustworthy and user-friendly VPN

Atlas VPN banner
Based in:United States
Logging:No-logs policy
Kill switch:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get Atlas VPN, now 85% OFF + 3 months FREE!🔥

Atlas VPN is an all-in-one secure VPN for those who look to have a privacy-oriented and easy-to-use VPN application. And it won’t break the bank.

Security: Atlas VPN’s security bundle ensures top-notch protection from cyber threats. Robust AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption shields your data from cyber threats. In addition, a reliable kill switch protects your data from leaking if your VPN connection suddenly drops.

Privacy: It’s an excellent VPN for security and privacy due to its strict no-logs policy, meaning that the VPN doesn’t keep logs about you or your online activities. Although it doesn’t run on RAM-only servers, a strict no-logs policy ensures that your data is inaccessible to anyone but you.

Features: Atlas VPN’s SafeBrowse function blocks ads and malicious websites, so you’re secure from malware as well as other cyber threats. Meanwhile, the SafeSwap IP rotator ensures you are untraceable by rotating your IP every other minute. Plus, a data breach monitor checks and alerts if your credentials have been leaked online.

Performance: Atlas VPN provides you with solid performance. The WireGuard tunneling protocol won’t cause latency issues, annoying lagging, or buffering while surfing online.

Compared to ExpressVPN, Atlas VPN is nearly as good at securing you online but does that for a lower price, starting from only $1.82/month. You can also test the service using a free but limited version or a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Find out more about this provider in our Atlas VPN review.

9. Proton VPN – secure beginner-friendly VPN

ProtonVPN banner
Based in:Switzerland
No-logs policy
Kill switch:
Current deal:🔥 Get up to 50% OFF Proton VPN! 🔥

Proton VPN focuses on reliability and ensuring a top-notch protection. Next to its versatile feature suite, you can even take its well-equipped free version for a spin.

Security: As other first-class VPNs, Proton VPN uses unbreakable AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption. And in case your VPN connection drops, Proton VPN offers a kill switch that keeps your data safe when such accidents happen.

Privacy: It’s a safety and privacy-oriented VPN. The company has been independently audited, therefore, it proves that Proton VPN doesn’t keep any of your privacy logs. Hence, that’s a secure and private VPN. What’s more the VPN is fully open-sourced, meaning you can visit their GitHub and view the company’s documentation.

Features: Proton VPN provides extra security with Tor over VPN and alternate routing that helps browsing in heavily-restricted countries. In addition, the NetShield feature keeps track and blocks malicious websites, and domains that are blacklisted. In the meantime, Secure core servers work as a double VPN and allow you to connect through two VPN servers simultaneously. But keep in mind that although you get an extra security layer, the speed might get worse.

Performance: Although sometimes Proton VPN’s speed can be inconsistent, it’s one of the fastest VPNs on the market. It’s a fast provider thanks to a WireGuard tunneling protocol and a VPN accelerator that ensures buffer and lag-free surf.

Proton VPN is a trustworthy VPN with a list of advanced security features. However, it still has performance gaps to fill in, so costing $4.99/month may need your consideration first. But you can use the free version or a month-long money-back guarantee to try out the service first.

Get to know the service better in our Proton VPN review.

10. VyprVPN – secure user-friendly VPN

Based in:Switzerland
Logging:No-logs policy
Kill switch:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get VyprVPN, now 50% OFF the 1-year plan!🔥

VyprVPN is a secure VPN that is also user-friendly. It includes all the most necessary security features, easy-to-easy interface, and strict privacy measures.

Security: VyprVPN uses AES-256 encryption by default, although WireGuard connections are enhanced with ChaCha20. This VPN also secures your IP address and other information with a kill switch, in case your VPN connection drops. Therefore, it’s a great pick for security seekers in a VPN. Moreso, with this VPN, each time you connect to a server, your traffic is routed through a VyprDNS instead of third-party DNS servers.

Privacy: It’s a zero-log VPN service. To support this claim, VyprVPN’s no-logs policy has been independently audited. Therefore, you get a full-scale privacy-oriented VPN that do not keep any activity logs.

Features: VyprVPN ensures you get the best value for money with its extensive features. For example, a Malicious Site Block feature blocks all domains that appear on malware blocklist. This provider also includes Chameleon feature, which is essentially an obfuscation mode, so you can hide the fact of VPN usage for more security online. And the public Wi-Fi protection automatically enables the VPN connection each time you’re using a public hotspot.

Performance: Our testings have shown that WireGuard is the most reliable tunneling protocol that VyprVPN offers. Thus, with this VPN you won’t need to give up security to surf at fast speeds.

This great security and privacy-oriented VPN is a great pick for beginning VPN users. It includes nearly everything you might need from a VPN. The pricing starts from $5.00/month. If you want to ensure it’s the right fit, you can test it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Learn even more from the VyprVPN review.

Other secure VPNs we tested

While we provided a list with 9 secure and private VPNs, there are more providers that offer a top-notch security and privacy.

For example, PrivateVPN is among secure VPNs with high-level encryption, fast OpenVPN tunneling protocol, security features, and a solid no-logs policy. For example, it includes a kill switch, so you can surf securely without fearing of your personal information becoming accessible to pesky third parties.

Another VPN we tested is Ivacy VPN – a security-focused provider with an easy-to-use interface, unbreakable security measures, and the swift WireGuard protocol. Also, it offers extensive security features, such as a password manager.

How we tested these secure VPNs

When selecting the safest VPNs on the market, we thoroughly tested them, following the criteria provided below to ensure the VPN doesn’t miss on offering all security essentialities.

  • Security. The first detail our eyes navigate to is the encryption cipher applied for the online traffic – we ensure the provider uses AES-256 or another top-notch encryption. The implementation of a kill switch is just as important, thus, we tested each VPN’s kill switch’s functionality to make sure it doesn’t leak your IP when the VPN connection drops.
  • Privacy. To root out questionable VPNs, we carefully read each provider’s privacy policy and ensured they don't store excess data or share anything with third parties. Bonus points if they conducted independent audits of their no-logs policies, too. A respectful addition we looked for is RAM-only servers that ensure your data gets removed from the system with each reboot.
  • Extra features. The more features the VPN has the better protection you get. That’s why we looked for additional security features in each tested VPN app. For instance, specialty servers like obfuscated ones, an ad blocker, and data breach monitoring tool, among others.
  • Performance. An unstable connection with a noticeable impact on speed decreases the possibility of a user wanting to use a VPN. Therefore, we tested each VPN’s download and upload speeds connecting to three different server locations and looked for only stable as well as speedy connections.

How does a VPN help you stay secure

A VPN helps you stay secure online by creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server, making your online inquiries anonymous. With a robust VPN, your online activity becomes impossible to track for the ISP, governmental institutions, advertisers, and other third parties.

VPNs for traveling are also what make your online experience protected at all times. When using a VPN and connecting to public Wi-Fi, you’re protected from numerous threats. Including, data collection and angling hackers that may use these open hotspots for easy targets. And you can even remain secure and private in highly-censored locations, as there are obfuscated servers, or the obfuscation feature, that mask your VPN connection. This way, you bypass VPN blocks while continue having other VPN benefits.

Speaking of threat actors, some safest VPNs, like NordVPN, include extra security features to block pop-ups, banners, and other types of malicious ads as well as online trackers. There may also be safe search engines to protect you from infected websites. Meanwhile, Surfshark even has an antivirus suite to help you avoid malware.

Nevertheless, note that only the safest VPN can offer you unbreakable protection. If a VPN service is selected irresponsibly, you may end up leaking your data and getting infected with malware.

Worst VPNs that you should avoid

Just like there are VPNs that deserve the security award of the year, there also are VPNs that you should think twice before using to secure your online presence.

For example, Hola VPN is known to have used their user’s PCs as exit nodes so that other users could route their traffic through those devices. It also openly logs user data such as IP addresses, names, email addresses, payment and billing information, etc.

If you’re looking for a security-focused provider, HotSpot Shield shouldn’t be on your list. It’s known for retaining user data if law requires. You may also avoid Hidemyass for handing over personal user information to the FBI.

Are free VPNs safe to use?

No, free VPNs are usually not safe. If you’re looking for security and privacy, some free VPNs can do more harm than good. Therefore, you shouldn’t consider completely free VPNs as your security providers, and here’s why:

  • Free VPNs can include outdated encryption and tunneling protocols. Consequently, their security features might not be as high-level as paid providers’, or simply non-existent.
  • Completely free VPNs might be owned by shady companies. Therefore, they may collect and sell user data to make revenue from excessive ads.
  • They also tend to let third parties interact with your traffic. This can lead to malware installation, unwanted ads, tracking, and even hijacked browsers.

However, if you are on a tight budget and the idea of a secure but free VPN is appealing, you can always look into some reputable freemium VPNs, such as Atlas VPN. They use the latest encryption technologies and protocols, plus the free tiers include the key security features, such as a kill switch.

And finally, some of the most secure paid VPNs also have free trials and 30-day money-back guarantees

To learn more, check out our detailed guide about paid vs free VPNs.

Read about what makes up a VPN price

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4.9 /5

What is the most secure VPN protocol?

We all want our packages to be sent in the most efficient way possible. The same applies to our online requests. Thus, we must use the best VPN protocol possible. The most frequent debate is that of WireGuard vs. OpenVPN, but there are also other protocols to consider.

Here’s how different tunneling protocols compare to each other in terms of security:

VPN protocolSecurity
WireGuardVery high
OpenVPNLow to high (configurable)
PPTPVery low


The WireGuard protocol is currently regarded as the most secure VPN protocol. This is mostly due to it being relatively new, open-source, and with very few vulnerabilities discovered. It also has a relatively low number of lines of code, which makes the auditing process much easier and more straightforward.

Moreover, there are already arranged implementations for a ”post-quantum era,” which means that the current encryption cipher can be fairly easily changed to encryption that would hold up against quantum computers.

That being said, the security of a VPN protocol, including WireGuard, still mostly comes down to how well it’s been implemented.


Despite being around for a much longer time, OpenVPN is still regarded as one of the safest VPN protocols. Truth be told, OpenVPN is often considered to be more secure than the WireGuard protocol. Because of the long time that it has been around, all its issues have already been solved and documented.

OpenVPN is also very popular, highly customizable, and has two modes that can be used in a variety of different cases – UDP and TCP.

The UDP mode makes OpenVPN fast but a little less secure because of additional data verification elimination. On the other hand, the TCP mode makes the protocol slower, but more stable and secure.

Tips to secure your VPN connection

Your online security isn’t completely dependent on your chosen VPN provider. In fact, there are quite a few ways to additionally protect your VPN connection. Here’s how:

1. Sign up for a VPN using anonymous methods

Purchase a VPN using anonymous methods – use a burner email to sign up, and pay with cryptocurrency or throwaway virtual debit cards. This will ensure that none of the user’s credentials and your traffic are traced back and tied to your person, making you completely anonymous.

Sign up for a VPN using anonymous methods

2. Enable the most secure tunneling protocol

Make sure that the VPN provider is using the most secure tunneling protocol. Most VPNs default to automatically selecting a protocol, which may not always be the most secure one. Besides, there are still providers that use outdated protocols. Be sure to double-check and manually select OpenVPN or WireGuard, as these are the most secure VPN protocols to date.

NordVPN tunneling protocols selection

3. Use your provider's DNS servers

Make sure you are always using your VPN provider’s DNS along with their servers. This will ensure that none of your online requests go through the servers of third parties that might want to track what URLs you visit.

NordVPN custom DNS settings

4. Enable the kill switch

If your VPN connection gets interrupted or is simply cut off for whatever reason, a kill switch will cut off your device’s access to the internet. That way, your traffic won’t go unencrypted. In fact, it won’t go anywhere until the VPN connection is restored, and all of your data will stay secure.

NordVPN kill switch feature settings

5. Enable auto-connect and auto-start features

By allowing your VPN client to launch during every device start-up and automatically connect once it detects an internet connection, you won’t have to worry about going unencrypted anymore. This will save you time and clicks, as you won’t have to make any additional steps of manually connecting to a VPN server every time.

NordVPN auto connection settings

6. Use double VPN servers

Using double VPN servers ensures that even if the first VPN server somehow gets compromised, all of your traffic stays encrypted. If your VPN doesn’t have a dedicated feature, you can set up a double connection manually, but that might be a bit tricky. As two VPN apps can not function at the same time on one device, your best bet is to set up a VPN connection on your router, use a virtual machine, or use a proxy server or a VPN browser extension. However, note that routing your connection through multiple VPN servers can drastically reduce your connection speeds.

NordVPN double VPN connection

7. Check for DNS and IPv6 leaks

Checking for leaks every time you connect to a VPN server should become a routine. You never know when your provider is undergoing maintenance, servers are experiencing downtime, or anything else is happening that could unexpectedly compromise your security.

IP leak test SERP

How do I check if my VPN is leaking?

When you are connected to a VPN, all your queries go through an encrypted tunnel and get inspected on a VPN server. But sometimes, DNS leaks happen, which means that your data is no longer encrypted and any third parties can see and track your online activities.

Thus, from time to time, it is important to check if your VPN is leaking. Here’s how to do that in a few simple steps:

  1. Figure out what is your real IP address. Go to https://nordvpn.com/what-is-my-ip/, but don’t forget to disconnect from your VPN first
  2. Reconnect to a VPN server. Then, check the IP address and name of your VPN server
  3. Open your browser and head to the DNS leak test website
  4. See if the displayed IP address and location match your real IP address and location. If that’s the case, your VPN is not working
  5. In order to check your full DNS status, choose Extended Test
  6. Check whether the servers displayed are that of your VPN provider or your ISP. If it’s your ISP or any other server you don’t recognize, your VPN is leaking
  7. If your VPN is leaking, contact your provider’s support and explain the issue

Are VPNs safe?

It can be difficult to determine how secure is a VPN but there are certain things you can check yourself. The technology’s reliability strongly depends on the company that runs it. For a VPN to be safe, it’s crucial that the provider implements top-notch security features, including AES or equivalent encryption, and a functional kill switch.

VPN security highly depends on the overall set of features too. If you get only a couple of features that are rather crucial for the VPN to function, then you equally receive only the basic protection level. Whereas several additional security features build a robust security layer for your online identity.

Not less important is the company’s approach to user privacy. If you find the VPN saying that it follows a no-logs policy which has also been independently audited, then the provider already shows signs of reliability.

Additionally, it’s never going to be safe enough if all of the servers that the VPN has are controlled by a third-party company and not the VPN provider itself. For instance, NordVPN manages all the company’s servers by itself, ensuring no outside organization has access to your online information.

To learn more, check out our detailed guide about what makes VPN safe: Are VPNs safe?

Final thoughts

To conclude, it’s evident that the most secure VPNs have numerous features dedicated to security and privacy alike. They include, first and foremost, top-tier encryption, a kill switch, preventative measures against leaks, and features for safe browsing.

Other requirements for a truly secure VPN are an independently audited no-logs policy and RAM-only servers to further ensure that the VPN doesn’t keep any of its users’ info.

Based on our extensive research and testing, NordVPN is 100% secure and safe VPN. It offers numerous features centered around utmost data security and user privacy, have affordable pricing plans, and is generally regarded as the best VPN.

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