My VPN Service Showdown

You need to determine what things are important to when when looking for a VPN Service.

Features I wanted:

  1. reasonable P2P allowances
  2. support for pfSense
  3. speed, ideally 80-100% of my bandwidth capability
  4. 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

Mullvad

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.

Tested Services

Private Internet Access

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

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.

NordVPN

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.

iVPN

(to try)

IPvanish

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.

Vypr

(to try)

References

  • https://thatoneprivacysite.net/simple-vpn-comparison-chart/
  • https://www.top10vpn.com/top10-lists/
  • http://www.top10bestvpn.com/
  • https://www.bestvpn.com/best-vpn-services/