All those hours you’ve spent searching for the perfect reaction GIF or drooling over recipes on YouTube seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things — but to Google, hackers, your internet service provider (ISP), and even certain government agencies, that browsing history is a valuable commodity.
And guess what? They’re probably tracking and logging every digital move you make. Like, right now. The best thing you can do to make sure your online activities are undetectable and untraceable is to invest in a VPN.
A VPN is a service that makes your web presence more difficult to track and trace, and if someone can’t track or trace your web presence, they can’t collect your personal data and do suspect things with it — like sell it to advertisers or use it to incriminate you in nefarious activities.
Best VPN deals this week
If you’ve ever looked into using a VPN before, you’ve probably noticed that some of them are free, while others require paid subscription plans. So why would anyone choose to pay for a VPN if free ones exist? It’s tempting to give free VPNs a shot, but if your budget allows it, you should always opt for a paid provider.
SEE ALSO: The best free VPNs (and paid alternatives)
A VPN keeps you anonymous online by masking your IP address and encrypting your traffic through its secure servers, and while it would be nice of providers to give away and maintain this technology for free, they have to make money somehow. So, if they’re not charging you a monthly or annual fee to use their service, they’re likely logging and selling your data in order to pay their bills. Some even have the audacity to seed their products with spyware. In the best-case scenario, that data will be used to generate eerily specific ads based on your browsing history. At worst, your privacy will be compromised.
On the plus side, we’ve found that many paid VPN providers are willing to offer their services for cheap so long as you commit to a long-term subscription. We have looked at everything on offer to line up a short selection of your best options, including popular providers like NordVPN and CyberGhost VPN.
These are the best and cheapest VPNs in 2020.
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
This up-and-comer outshines its more established (and expensive) peers in terms of both value and functionality.
BEST FOR NETFLIX
This widespread VPN offers dedicated streaming servers and friendly support resources that won’t intimidate VPN newbies.
One-year plan: £4.59/month
Two-year plan: £3.09/month
Three-year plan: £2.10/month
BEST FOR GEOGRAPHIC DIVERSITY
A basic but competent VPN with an impressive amount of servers in Africa — a rarity among its peers.
One-year plan: £2/month
BEST FOR TORRENTING
NordVPN is a P2P beast, but be sure to play with its security settings to keep things speedy.
One-year plan: £5.66/month
Two-year plan: £4.04/month
Three-year plan: £2.82/month
BEST FOR EXPERTS
Private Internet Access
Do as much (or as little) fiddling as you want with this highly flexible VPN.
One year: £4.72/month
BEST FOR APPS
This cheap provider is supported on basically every platform.