ExpressVPN provides customers with high-speed, secure internet connections while maintaining privacy. The installation process is fast and straightforward after sign up. Instant VPN protection is available in one click after log in, but the server location list is easy to find if you want to change your location.
Settings are under a hidden menu, but the access button is clearly visible. Inside settings, menus to for manual configuration (if you want to change your protocol) are accessible and even explained. One minor let down is that instead of a feature labeled “kill switch” (to shut down programs if your server drops), ExpressVPN requires users to manually configure the ability in settings. Other features include: Automatic Smart DNS (though specific IPs can also be configured with it on the website) and 24/7, fast-response customer support. The interface is almost identical across all clients (important) and the software had no speed problems.
NordVPN boasts not only some of the strictest privacy standards for users, but some of the most comprehensive VPN software. You are prompted through a standard sign-up and installation process. Once signed in, you can connect through a connection wizard (helpful for beginners), a list which launches the best connections first, or choose a location from a map. There is a wide variety of securely encrypted connections to choose from.
One unique feature is a per-app kill switch across platforms, as well as a “Smart DNS” feature which requires no further configuration. That feature can be temperamental. The software interface looks the same and functions at similar speeds across clients.
After sign-up and installation, a setup wizard launches so you can choose if IPVanish connects when your computer boots up, among other settings. The main interface is a list of all servers to connect to. You can also see reported server speeds, a unique feature. Setting up your own connection settings is quite easy too, as the protocol options are at the bottom of the main screen, but the software also includes an option to automatically connect to the best available server.
IPVanish has dedicated clients for all platforms, so the interface looks the same and speed and software performance is standard across devices. The service has an IP-cycle feature which automatically changes your IP address every 45 minutes. Another unique feature is ad block software.
The signup and installation process with VPNArea is standard. The interface is one of the cleanest of any VPN software. A left-side menu clearly labels features like the “Kill Switch” and “Anti-DNS Leak.” The software looks and functions the same across platforms. Apple iOS software has an extra “OpenVPN Connect” app.
Installation and setup of Buffered is standard. Like all of the services mentioned thus far, this VPN software displays a menu with servers and locations on the main menu interface, so you can easily choose a connection, or use the auto-connect feature. Buffered has a unique port discovery feature that auto-searches for ports to run OpenVPN over. This is good for travelers. The software maintains its modern look and functionality across all clients.
Installation and setup of BohlehVPN is standard. The main connection menu is immediately obvious on sign-in. There are two dropdown menus from which you choose server location and can set the protocol. Statistics like ‘data used’ and ‘current session details’ are displayed at the bottom of the screen. Other features are available in a menu at the top of the screen.
Mobile users have access through outside apps. iOS access can be found through OpenVPN Connect. It does require you to download and transfer configuration files. Android access through a custom version of VPN for Android.
Tunnelbear is known for its straightforward and user-friendly VPN software, which includes an inviting interface. Sign up and installation is standard. Menus are clearly labeled and easily accessible. The service is pretty basic, great for beginners. There are not too many advanced features, but it provides some of the most strong, secure encryption available. Desktop clients on Mac OS X, Android, and Windows include a feature called Ghostbear, which scrambles VPN signals, making them harder to detect. Beside the absence of Gohostbear on mobile, the software looks the same and functions at the same speeds across all clients.