You need to determine what things are important to when when looking for a VPN Service.
Features I wanted:
- reasonable P2P allowances
- support for pfSense
- speed, ideally 80-100% of my bandwidth capability
- streaming video, eg, Netflix or Amazon Video not blocked
I am less concerned about:
- company location, ie, if the company is US-based
- logs, since all services shy away from keeping logs
I imagined that I may use some online-service (eg, Netflix) which wouldn’t work correctly, so I also setup another wifi network which bypasses all VPN connections.
My Top Service
I like Mullvad a lot. The pricing is very simple at $5/mo and there isn’t any long-term commitment necessary to get that pricing (ie, no need to pay for a full-year up front). I switched to a different server and was getting consistent 100-110 Mb/s download.
Signing up is dead simple. And the installation on pfSense seemed to be one of the easiest as well.
Mullvad also has port-forwarding capabilities. Unfortunately it didn’t help with my Plex issues.
I used a friend’s PIA account for this. Initially the speeds were great at around 110-120 Mbps, but after a few days they would drop to 5 Mbps and never recover.
ExpressVPN was decent. Their server speeds were consistent but pretty slow. On average, I was getting only 1/2 of my regular bandwidth.
The look of the website is clean, but I found it difficult to find out how to actually install their desktop software.
Separate server choices for P2P. Crazy number of US servers ! (but I don’t know where they are)
Downloaded software directly from their website. After launch it notified me that there were updates ! (Hmm, that’s bad ! The download should have already been the latest version.)
NordVPN had relatively higher speeds – definitely over 70-80 Mbps. However, it was hard to consistently test with testmy.net.
Their pfsense configuration was much more complex, including special DNS configurations which no one else had. My browsers would hang while surfing, etc. I seemed to be because the DNS queries took awhile to work – for example, on the command line I would
ping a server. The first two responses would be
icmp errors, then the ping would go through and would resolve the IP address.
This was the first VPN service I tried, however at the time I didn’t yet have my pfSense router. The service seemed good, so I’d like to try it again.