David Balaban is a computer security researcher with over 15 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. He has published his articles on such online media as Hackernoon, Tripwire, Infosecinstitute, and Cybrary.
- Best VPNs Canada
Best VPNs Canada
A huge number of both businesses and private Internet users in Canada are turning to VPN services, often with the aim of protecting their privacy. But choosing the best VPN for Canada can be challenging, as there are numerous providers offering services.
So in order to make selecting the best Canada VPN easier for you, we've examined all of the top providers in the industry, in order to deliver a definitive verdict on the best VPN services available.
Selecting our top picks wasn't easy, but we looked at a variety critical issues, such as how fast VPNs are able to stream and torrent, the level of compatibility and quality of iPhone and Android applications, how capably the systems protect users in terms of privacy and security, and how well the VPNs are able to lift geo-restrictions linked to popular sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and whether they rank alongside the best VPNs for YouTube.
What VPNs to use in Canada?
This approach covers every base regarding why Internet users would sign up for a VPN in the first place, and means that whether you require a VPN for torrents, accessing blocked content, or retaining your privacy that our selections will deliver everything you need.
Although competition was stiff across the VPN sector, after extensive testing we found five services that have a clear edge over their competitors. So let's determine what the best Canada VPN providers are.
Has established itself as one of the major VPN providers in North America, and is certainly regarded as one of the best Canada VPN services. And we found its performance to be all-round superb.
This VPN service supports 5130+ servers dispersed around 60 different nations, meaning that coverage is among the best in the market.
One area where NordVPN does score well greatly is the number of simultaneous devices that it supports, with the six on offer being double that of ExpressVPN. This means that this provider will appeal to large families in particular, or any user looking to utilize multiple devices simultaneously.
There were some minor issues, though. Some of the options that we wished to locate weren’t as readily available or logically placed as we would have liked, which definitely makes the service a little less intuitive than would be ideal.
Encryption and security are very strong with NordVPN, and this is one area in which we can definitely recommend this provider.
With powerful DNS leak protection, proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers, kill switches, and 2048-bit encryption included, you can be confident that your browsing is completely private when using this top VPN service.
Nonetheless, some reports of strange app traffic associated with NordVPN, as reported by The Register, must be considered worrying.
Geo-blocking is also dealt with neatly. The SmartPlay feature included with this provider is able to lift pretty much all geo-restrictions, and we found this to be highly reliable during our testing of the package.
One slight concern, though, was that some servers appeared to be down at certain times, which didn’t really impact on our operation, but could be an issue for VPN users in other locations.
More positive is the strict no logs policy operated by NordVPN, which ensures that your anonymity is guaranteed at all times. The company has passed a third-party audit of its logging procedures in November, 2018, which was carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers and AG. This gives that extra little bit of reassurance that you’re dealing with a reputable company.
We found that streaming content with NordVPN was very good. High definition video does load successfully, and can be streamed comfortably.
Netflix works particularly well with NordVPN, making this an ideal Netflix VPN for Canada service, but other similar services also work to an acceptable standard, meaning that this is one of the best VPNs for Netflix.
Having tested the geo-unlocking capabilities of NordVPN extensively, we also encountered the occasional issue with NordVPN failing to gain access to certain services when using particular servers, which would obviously be irritating for some users. It is also disappointing that NordVPN has recently removed its ad-blocker.
However, NordVPN offers a secure system, and we were happy to note that no privacy or leak issues have been associated with the service. Pricing is also extremely reasonable, and this is one area where NordVPN scores over many other good VPNs and may merit consideration for some users on a budget.
If you’re willing to sign up for three years, you can gain access to the very decent service offered by NordVPN for just $3.49 per month, almost putting the service in the ballpark of free Canada VPN services. And all subscription plans come complete with a full 30-day money back guarantee.
Overall, NordVPN offers an excellent VPN service, and will do everything that users will reasonably require. This provider will also certainly appeal to VPN users on a budget.
It was the best in terms of security, hands down. Its speed and geo-unlocking were also excellent, though we did find the user interface to be unnecessarily confusing. These aren’t any black marks against NordVPN, so we can safely recommend this service to any Canadian netizen worrying about their online security.
+ Good value for money
+ Decent selection of servers
+ 30-day money back guarantee
+ Good geo-unblocking
+ Strong streaming service
+ Commitment to security and privacy
- Poor user interface
- Some server issues
- No ad-blocker
This service emerged in the VPN market quite recently in what was a complete head start. Based in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark is another great option for Canadian users.
The first thing that people usually notice when looking at this provider is its low prices. They are so low, in fact, that they seem almost suspicious. Is that some marketing trick?
But no, Surfshark really does cost very little, the lowest price being 2.59 Canadian dollars per month. However, to get this service for such a low amount of money, one needs to buy a 2-year subscription.
Surfshark can be paid for by pretty much any means you may want: your credit card, PayPal, or even cryptocurrencies for added pseudonymity. It’s very convenient!
Though it may seem as if this provider focuses exclusively on the financial side of the matter, this could not be farther from the truth. Surfshark also performs very decently in all other areas of VPN technology.
It provides its users with more than 1040 servers that are situated in more than 61 countries. While, of course, NordVPN and ExpressVPN have more than that, it is still a rather large number. As with most VPNs, Europe is the best-covered continent but it doesn’t mean that others are lacking either: there are plenty of servers in North America (including three Canadian locations), quite a few in Australia, South America, and Asia, and even some in the Middle East and Africa.
It should be noted that many VPN providers make use of virtual servers for locations where setting up a real one would be problematic for either technical or political reasons. A virtual server, though physically located in a different country, still makes the IP addresses of the users who connect to it appear as if they were in the advertised state, granting them access to restricted content from that country.
While it is quite convenient, some users feel that it raises security concerns such as the differences between the alleged and the real jurisdiction of a server being drastic to the point of the virtual server becoming unsuitable to use.
Luckily, Surfshark circumvents this problem. Its virtual servers are marked as such in its application, making them easy to avoid if someone does not trust them.
Both virtual and real locations of Surfshark proved to be stable during our tests. Regardless of whether we were connecting to a server right next to our physical location or to one half a world away from it, the connection speed was fast and never took more than a few seconds.
Speaking of speeds, they are another strong suit of Surfshark. Our tests showed them to be consistently good even on intercontinental connections. The speeds we observed were enough for streaming video content and torrenting.
But does Surfshark allow these activities? The good news is it does. This service has no problem unblocking geo-restricted content on services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others. The stability of server connections that we have already mentioned makes sure that one can safely get access to such content with Surfshark.
As for torrents, Surfshark certainly doesn’t dance around the matter. On the contrary, it has a page on its official website that describes its use for P2P and confirms that this provider supports the use of that protocol.
What is also great about this VPN is the number of devices one can use with it simultaneously. This number fluctuates somewhere in the range between 5 and 10 for most VPN services but not for Surfshark. Surfshark doesn’t limit it at all, meaning that the whole family can protect their Internet activities with just one subscription.
It goes without saying that Surfshark has a kill switch because any VPN worth its money should. Potential buyers should be warned, though, that it is turned off by default so it’s necessary to keep in mind to enable it as soon as you launch the app.
The biggest issue we have found with Surfshark is its free trial. It can only be started in a mobile app for Android or iPhone, even though after one creates an account, it can be used to try the service out for free on other devices as well.
Though this is inconvenient, even more so is the fact that you have to input your credit card information to get access to the free trial. While you can cancel it any time during the 7-day period or get your money back within 30 days after that, it’s not as good as simply trying it with no strings attached would have been.
A good all-around service, Surfshark can be recommended to those who do not need anything too fancy but want to protect their privacy and get access to blocked content without paying too much. Fast, reliable, but with a somewhat smallish server park, this VPN does what it has to.
+ Good speeds
+ 30-day refund guarantee
+ Allows streaming and torrenting
- Unnecessarily complicated free trial
- Server network isn’t that big
ExpressVPN is renowned for having a particularly impressive network, and we found that this reputation is absolutely deserved. This is achieved by the widespread server network that the developer has put in place, which is based on over 3,000 servers being placed in 160 locations, across 94 countries worldwide.
You probably won't find a more extensive network of servers anywhere else in the VPN field, and this enables ExpressVPN to deliver a level of performance that is rarely touched by other providers.
We were really impressed with the performance of ExpressVPN, which barely had any impact on our Internet connection.
We had absolutely no problems in accessing Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other streaming services from any location, meaning that ExpressVPN is a great system for overcoming geo-restrictions and location blocking.
While torrenting is certainly a less commonly conducted activity than streaming, it is still a central issue for VPN services, and so there is a lot of interest in the best VPNs for torrenting.
ExpressVPN allows P2P on every single one of its servers; unusual in the VPN industry. Some VPN providers, such as ZenMate, do not allow this whatsoever, while even some of the better-known names in the industry limit this to a certain proportion of their servers. So this quality instantly marks ExpressVPN out as the outstanding provider in the niche.
And ExpressVPN also does an excellent job of protecting your privacy, by ensuring that none of your information is locked at any time. The service also does an excellent job of protecting users from DNS and IP leaks, and stands outside of the rather invasive 14-Eyes legislation.
Security is, of course, also extremely important with any VPN for Canada provider, and it is therefore pleasing to note that ExpressVPN really delivers in this department as well as it provides such valuable features as DNS leak protection, IPv6 leak protection, and split tunneling.
Furthermore, the provider has also included a kill switch in the VPN software, which is referred to by ExpressVPN as a Network Lock.
The Network Lock works really well, although it is not yet available with all systems, being compatible only with Windows, MacOS, Linux, and routers. But ExpressVPN definitely ranks among the best VPNs for Windows.
However, all that security is basically useless if the job of encryption isn't carried out to a high level. So it was a highly reassuring that ExpressVPN protects your Internet connection with AES 256-bit military-grade encryption, also used by many government agencies.
This level of encryption is almost impossible for even supercomputers to crack, meaning that you can utilize the ExpressVPN service with total confidence.
ExpressVPN also makes a variety of protocols available. While OpenVPN will suit most Internet users, ExpressVPN also supports L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP. If this is a little confusing for you at first, it should also be emphasized that the ExpressVPN application will automatically detect and select the best protocol for your particular usage. This makes it a highly user-friendly system, and one that anyone can boot up and get going with almost immediately.
Another major issue with VPNs is the keeping of logs, which can be an issue with some of the less salubrious VPN providers. However, we were pleased to note that ExpressVPN operates a strict no logging policy.
While other VPN users have slipped up here and been caught distributing user data to external sources, ExpressVPN has excelled in this department. When ExpressVPN was subjected to a criminal investigation from the Turkish authorities in 2016, it was impossible to locate any emanating information on the individual involved - who was simply suspected of using ExpressVPN services - effectively proving that expresses VPN does not keep any form of logging data.
All in all, ExpressVPN offers excellent value for money, being offered at $6.67 per month for a 15-month subscription in the United States.
There are cheaper solutions available, and even free VPN for Canada services on offer, but sometimes you have to pay a little more to get something of true quality, and that definitely applies here.
And with the money-back guarantee offered by ExpressVPN, there is effectively a 30-day free trial on offer.
Compatibility is also strong, with dedicated apps made available for the following platforms:
- Kindle Fire
ExpressVPN is a decent VPN service, and receives our recommendation. We only found some minor niggles with this VPN, namely that no ad-blocker is included as standard, and also that there are a relatively small number of simultaneous connections supported. This latter issue could pose problems for large families intending to use ExpressVPN.
+ Outstanding server provision
+ Unrivalled selection of locations
+ Superb streaming
+ Excellent geo-unlocking
+ Stringent security
+ No logs policy
- No ad-blocker
- Few simultaneous connections allowed
Another well-known name in the VPN field is the now Israeli-owned CyberGhost, and this service that has already attracted 10 million users was another VPN service that performed creditably during testing.
First and foremost, the developers of CyberGhost have established a pretty extensive network of servers, with over 3,700 available worldwide, spread across 60 countries.
Again, this doesn’t quite match up to the particularly high standard set by ExpressVPN, but it did mean that speed of connection was more than acceptable whenever we used CyberGhost. Overall, it performed at a similar level to NordVPN, with Internet connections speeds impacted by around 12-15%.
Windows, Mac, iOS and Android are all supported, while CyberGhost also allows torrenting. While there are many Windows users out there, we would nonetheless rate CyberGhost among the best VPNs for Mac platforms.
We also found the CyberGhost user interface to be quite pleasing, with its approach based on a task-based set-up. The system will automatically connect to the best server for such geo-blocked services as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and many more, but also provides full control and customization over this process.
Speaking of geo-blocking, CyberGhost does a pretty nifty job of ensuring that you can gain access to premium content from all over the world. We didn’t encounter any major problems with accessing anything while using CyberGhost, despite accessing multiple servers during our stringent testing procedure.
However, it should also be said in mitigation that we found the CyberGhost service to be significantly slower than ExpressVPN, and more prone to lagging, freezing, and other disruptions of service.
Another major problem was that the speed of the service really grinds to a halt when operating over long distances, making CyberGhost virtually unusable as a streaming service when dealing with clients on the other side of the world.
This was a bit of a disappointment, as this is obviously a fundamental part of any VPN provider, and other aspects of the CyberGhost service are so promising.
Nonetheless, it should also be emphasized that speeds for Europe and North America were highly competitive, and CyberGhost should still be considered one of the best Canada VPN services.
Despite this niggle, there is plenty more on offer from CyberGhost to compensate. CyberGhost is another service that includes an ad-blocker as standard, which is definitely something that ExpressVPN should learn from. The ad-blocking service from CyberGhost even eliminates trackers and ensures that you never connect to malicious websites, which provides a welcome additional layer of security to your system. We also liked the fact that you can pay for CyberGhost with Bitcoin.
We should also commend the pricing of CyberGhost, with the 36-month plan on offer here even cheaper than NordVPN, at just $2.75 per month. Again, this puts CyberGhost into the realm of VPN for Canada free services.
However, while many of the nuts and bolts are in place with CyberGhost, and we were impressed with much of what is on offer, we do have some definite concerns about this provider as well.
Customer support was rather lacking, while you can only test out the CyberGhost system for a 24 hours before you’re required to pay. Pretty poor considering some of the other offers out there.
But a bigger concern with CyberGhost could be the security of this VPN provider. While we didn’t encounter any specific problems while using the service, there have been severe red flags issued elsewhere, including by the highly regarded and authoritative Symantec.
CyberGhost’s owners, Crossrider, have been criticized by Symantec for “collecting information about the user, such as IP address, operating system, and Web browser information.”
It is alleged that this was the source of motivation for the Crossrider to change its name to Kape in 2018.
Regardless of this, it’s clearly worrying for the level of security and privacy offered by CyberGhost that its developer has effectively been accused of creating a mild form of malware.
This means that despite other excellent aspects of this provider, and the particularly affordable price structure on offer, that we would recommend treading carefully with CyberGhost before committing to it.
+ Very fair pricing
+ Decent server selection
+ Ad-blocking available
+ Plenty of platforms supported
+ Geo-unblocking works well
- Only 24-hour trial available
- Customer support was poor
- Question marks over privacy
Read the full CyberGhost review.
The first thing that struck us with IPVanish is that this is an excellent service for those seeking multiple device support, with the developer allowing ten devices to be used simultaneously.
Again, this is an area where our top provider should take note, as ExpressVPN only offers three devices to be used at one time.
IPVanish owns and manages its own server network, which is pretty extensive for what can be considered a less established VPN provider.
The company boasts 1,200 VPN servers located in over 60 countries, which providers pretty good coverage on the whole.
However, it should also be stated that this is nowhere near the level offered by ExpressVPN, and it is only realistic to expect the quality of connection and service to reflect this.
Speaking of which, our experience with IPVanish was pretty positive. We were particularly pleased with the stability of servers, which were always available during our testing of the site. Connection time was negligible, while we also found download speeds to be above average.
Having tested the IPVanish servers across multiple locations, and with a lot of content, we found that performance was more than acceptable, and certainly Canadian users should be able to use this service with confidence.
Of course, it was also somewhat slower than ExpressVPN, which has many more servers, which are more liberally dispersed.
Geo-unblocking also went well with IPVanish, with the service enabling us to access a wide variety of premium content from all over the world.
The likes of BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video all unlocked without issues, while we were also pleased to note that torrenting is supported with every server. IPVanish also provides unlimited P2P traffic.
Another standout feature of the IPVanish package is the apps included with the service. Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, even Fire TV apps are on offer, and there is a wide variety of features tacked on to these as well.
We were particularly impressed with the level of customization on offer from IPVanish, and this helps make the whole service feel more personalized.
There are also no issues with security and privacy here. AES 256-bit encryption is used, and IPVanish also makes its no logs policy absolutely clear.
Everything came up clean in our investigation of the reputation of this company, and we have no hesitation in recommending IPVanish in this regard.
However, a few problems dragged the performance of this service below the level that it should have achieved. Firstly, although we enjoyed the apps bundled with IPVanish, they can be a little tricky to use.
Sometimes there are connection problems with servers, and it is worrying that there are no kill switches included with the mobile applications.
Above all else, we honestly think that there is better value for money on offer elsewhere than is offered by IPVanish.
The best price available with this service is $4.87 per month, yet we found that connection speed and stability was a little better with both NordVPN and CyberGhost, both of which are significantly more affordable. And although IPVanish is cheaper than ExpressVPN, there is a reason for this...it’s nowhere near as good!
You can try IPVanish for seven days and make up your own mind, and if you do need to use lots of simultaneous devices available then it may appeal to you. But we consider the package on offer from IPVanish to fall somewhat short of best-in-class performance. You can see more of our view of this VPN in our extensive IPVanish review.
+ Good multiple device support
+ Unlimited P2P traffic
+ Server network is decent
+ Encryption is top notch
- Connection speed doesn't compare to other providers
- Pricing isn't impressive
- Apps can be tricky to use
- Slightly slow performance
Read the full IPVanish review.
So that’s our lowdown of the best Canada VPN providers. We found the services you just read about to be the best on offer by some distance. All of the services on the list have something unique to offer to users. It’s good to remember that there’s hardly such a thing as the perfect VPN for everybody so we have to try different services out.