ExpressVPN

5 Best VPN Software – 2016 Update

VPNs have exploded in the past half-decade, spurred on by Snowden’s disclosures, hacking scandals, and the rapid expansion of technology into every facet of ‘civilized’ life. As with any marketplace, options abound (of course, that’s why you’re here), in methods of payment, special features, and, crucially, in VPN software quality. Many VPN companies have dedicated VPN apps, developed specifically to alleviate the often laborious technical preamble involved with setting up a VPN – to make the overall experience smoother and more efficient – the same core principle (VPN aside) that drives innovation.

Fair enough, but how do I differentiate between so many options? 

Well, like any question so broad, it depends on which service best meets the nexus of your needs, wants, and budget – sound familiar? Luckily, we’ve come up with a solid batch of 7 criteria to be mindful of when shopping for VPN software, according to our extensive experience: using, reviewing, and re-reviewing various services.

  1. Killswitch: auto-nixes all internet connectivity if your connection drops, preserving your IP address
  2. DNS Leak protection: ensures your IP address is always that of the VPN provider, not your ISP
  3. Port Forwarding: ability to connect through several ports, in case some are blocked, perhaps by a firewall.
  4. Server Statistics: Downtime, lag (latency), and speed statistics, in the client or on the provider’s website.
  5. Auto-Login/Auto Connect: can be done in concert with computer bootup or connecting to the web.
  6. Protocol Switching: the choice of switching between several encryption protocols to balance security versus performance, as necessary.
  7. Mobile Apps: Dedicated apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and sometimes Linux devices.

Now that we’ve gone through some material to make sure you’re properly informed let’s get down to our top 5 VPN software picks below.

Best VPN Software Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review9.6/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish Logo
Read Review9.6/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

NordVPN Logo
Read Review9.2/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

4

VPNArea Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

5

Buffered Logo
Read Review7/10
$8.25 / monthVisit Site
Editor's Choice Award

Winner

ExpressVPN

4.8/5

Best VPN Software

  • ProsPROS
  • Customer service
  • Servers in 78+ countries
  • P2P allowed
  • Slick clients for all platforms
  • ConsCONS
  • Connection logging
  • Login codes required for each device

ExpressVPN is routinely mentioned in the same positive breath as other VPN industry mainstays, and for good reason – the server coverage is among the most well-populated on the market and support is consistently rated well. Connection logging and priciness might well be drawbacks for some users, understandably so. Alternatively, there’s always the idea of value for money and getting a quality VPN, with classy features. In that case, ExpressVPN fits the bill.

Bespoke clients are available for all platforms, and generally intuitive enough to be accessible to all but those who lean towards the computer-illiterate end of the technology spectrum. What’s more, there’s a full, no questions asked 30-day money back trial in place, so there’s no need to commit unless you’re fully satisfied.

Try out ExpressVPN!

Visit ExpressVPN »

30-day money-back guarantee

2nd place

IPVanish

4.8/5

IPVanish

  • ProsPROS
  • Shared IPs
  • Excellent forum
  • Logless
  • Servers in 61 countries
  • Apps for all platforms
  • ConsCONS
  • US based
  • Ok support

IPVanish is an all-around solid choice for a VPN provider and has the software to match. Not only are the dedicated apps simple to use, they’re also functional. Not content to please the eyes, the team behind IPVanish spared no detail in designing an accessible VPN client with the majority of VPN users and their needs in mind. Shared IP addresses are a plus, as is the fact that you may pay with Bitcoin. Couple that privacy conscious duo together and (almost) full preserving your anonymity is quite plausible.

There’s more: servers in 61 plus countries, and little to no dropoff in our testing should leave you with performance to burn, speed-wise. With robust encryption and a reliable network, now might be the time to check out IPVanish’s 7-day trial offer.

Visit IPVanish »


3rd place

NordVPN

4.6/5

NordVPN

  • ProsPROS
  • No logs kept
  • Servers in 47 countries
  • P2P allowed
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • DNS leak protection
  • ConsCONS
  • Medium speeds

NordVPN has bespoke clients available for a wide range of devices and operating systems, including major players like Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS. The software on each is well-developed and as easy to use as choosing your desired server or country and clicking ‘connect’.

NordVPN’s major selling feature is its slew of security features, which can all be easily set up via their client software or dedicated Apps. Highlights include DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and the option to use Tor over VPN. Better yet, the provider automatically keeps no usage or connection logs, and protects its users’ Internet surfing with 256-bit AES encryption.

If it’s private and secure browsing you’re after, NordVPN won’t let you down. Give them a go by clicking on the button below!

Visit NordVPN »


4th place

VPNArea

4.4/5

VPNArea

  • ProsPROS
  • Logless
  • Up to 5 Simultaneous connections
  • Bitcoin accepted
  • ConsCONS
  • Still growing

VPN area has earned its stripes as an up-and-coming provider, just shy of a few years old with good reason. This logless company is based in Bulgaria, but claims to store all data on Swiss servers, which are subject to strong data protection, judicially-speaking, but concurrently subject to upcoming – in the next several months – austere surveillance laws.

Support response times and the quality of replies were both excellent, as is the VPN client (all platforms).The VPNArea client comes replete with the bells and whistles you’d expect – killswitch, port forwarding, and DNS leak protection – while adding a handy speed test feature baked into the client (though speedtesting is easily accomplished in your web browser using any number of sites, it’s still useful to eliminate potential user legwork. If the above factors aren’t enough, maybe a 7-day risk-free trial is worth a punt.

Visit VPNArea »


5th place

Buffered

3.5/5

Buffered

  • ProsPROS
  • No usage logs
  • Speedy
  • 3 Simultaneous Connections
  • P2P allowed
  • Risk-free trial
  • ConsCONS
  • Connection Logs
  • Price

Buffered aren’t the most economical option on this list, but well worth the value depending on your needs. No usage logs are kept, though. Unfortunately, some connection logs are. One the bright side, being based in Hungary leaves Buffered outside the expansive surveillance-sharing of many other European countries, so the minimal logging shouldn’t cause much worry.

What’s more Buffered’s bespoke apps for Windows, iOS, and Linux work like a charm, but that’s not all. The nifty ‘port discovery’ feature hunts for unblocked ports on foreign (to your device) secured networks, so you can skip peskily asking the hotel concierge for a password or buying a severely overpriced bottle of water in an airport terminal. While payment using cryptocurrency isn’t currently an option, Buffered’s 30-day money-back guarantee leaves you risk-free to give them a try.

Visit Buffered »


Considerations on VPN Software

The list above encompassed our top five picks for VPN providers with their own applications, though due to one factor or another (on a case by case basis), some excellent providers didn’t make this list outright. This section allows us to temper the limits of a five best list a tad with AirVPN.Founded and operated by a cadre of Italian hactivists, this particular provider is among the best when it comes to encryption and overall security. An easy to install or run on a basic level VPN client and a fairly advanced technical setup isn’t for the faint of tinkering. Having top-notch security over OpenVPN, quite possibly

An easy to install or run on a basic level VPN client – though fairly advanced technical setup to make full use of the customizations available isn’t for the faint of tinkering. On the flip-side, top-notch security over OpenVPN, quite possibly combining that encryption with Tor (while ideally paying through cryptocurrency), provides one of the top options for the users that are primarily concerned with security. However, the relatively high level of technical expertise required might position AirVPN as a tad too involved for novice VPN users, or those that aren’t as well versed in the general online security arena. On the other hand, when considering the myriad features above, and others in our review, AirVPN might just be the right software choice.

Conclusion

To be fair, dedicated VPN software isn’t strictly essential to your safety online (taking your usage of some form of VPN for granted), however, it makes your overall experience significantly smoother and likely more enjoyable. In that vein, it can be frustrating – if not outright disappointing – to see some providers not offering bespoke VPN clients. Or even offering them sans functionality, serving aesthestic purpose, but not much else. After all, these companies have programmers and coders of their own, so why not use them to improve the experience for your consumers, unless they don’t mean much more than a paycheck. Any VPN provider worth the name should be in the business of privacy and security first and foremost – though investing time and capital in the client-side of things is a lesson for providers that want their service to be as rounded as those above.

(An obvious caveat to this: nascent providers need time to iron out kinks in the service and develop a proper Windows, iOS, Linux, and so on – VPN client of their own.) Please feel free to let us know if we erred in this way or if anything in this guide was wrong in your experience, so we can amend the article accordingly. Take another look at our 5 Best VPN Software below, and good luck!

Best VPN Software Summary

Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information

Rank Company Score Price Link

1

ExpressVPN Logo
Read Review9.6/10
$8.32 / monthVisit Site

2

IPVanish Logo
Read Review9.6/10
$6.49 / monthVisit Site

3

NordVPN Logo
Read Review9.2/10
$5.75 / monthVisit Site

4

VPNArea Logo
Read Review8.8/10
$4.92 / monthVisit Site

5

Buffered Logo
Read Review7/10
$8.25 / monthVisit Site

Dimitri M Expat in Europe - pathos for good conversation and Italia's Grande Juventus.

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2 responses to “5 Best VPN Software – 2016 Update

    1. Hi Sam,

      I am not personally familiar with Astrill, but it received a good BestVPN review, and I especially hear good thinks about it being good for evading censorship in China.

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