Editor’s note: March 2023
2023 is the year of GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) judging by the amount of email we have received since the beginning of the year. Like any game-changing tool, this one can be used for good or for evil and already and we’ve already seen that hackers are using ChatGPT to write malware.
I foresee a deluge of cleverly written phishing or BEC (Business Email Compromise) emails landing in your inbox later this year as GPT-3 supercharges scammers and spammers and tests Google’s and Microsoft’s antispam filters to breaking point.
And with GPT-4 just round the corner, enterprise security – and business VPNs are a cornerstone of that ecosystem – is more critical than ever.
The best business VPN services make it simple and easy for remote workers to connect safely and securely to a business IT network. A VPN (opens in new tab) does this by maintaining a secure internet connection between employees and their employer, which protects both business data as well as privacy.
A VPN can be used on a desktop or mobile device, and with the correct login details can be used to access office networks, cloud services and other essential resources.
Fortunately, there are business VPNs out there which are a breeze to set up and manage, plus they can be scaled to fit the organization’s needs as it grows, which can be essential to small businesses which otherwise have limited resources to dedicate to managing security.
We’ve compared a wide range of business VPN services across numerous aspects, from their security levels and speeds to their interface and ease of setup. We considered the number of devices they support, their pricing plans, and overall performance, among other things.
Here then follows our list of which we think are the best business VPN services currently available.
This is how we test VPNs
The top business VPNs of 2023
The best business VPN of 2023 in full:
Perimeter 81 is a top-notch business VPN for demanding users with complex network needs. It offers huge configurability and a raft of valuable tools and features for a very fair price.
Easy-to-use apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS minimize training requirements and ensure your employees can protect all their devices. And a network of 40+ data centers spread across 35 countries means there’s always a server nearby, maximizing performance.
You could use Perimeter 81 to connect to a single server at your company HQ. But you could also set it up as a full-strength Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP), protecting access to gateways and networks across all your offices, networks and cloud resources. There’s something here for every level of business.
Multiple layers of protection work to shield your data from attackers. Perimeter 81’s apps can automatically connect when your employees access public Wi-Fi, for instance. Multi-factor authentication via SMS and Google Authenticator ensure only authorized users can access your networks, and strong AES-256 encryption and leading-edge WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols keep their activities private.
Best of all, Perimeter 81 gives you total control over how the service works. You get to create and manage user accounts from a central dashboard. You’re able to organize them into groups – Sales, Accounts, Engineering, whatever – that define which network resources they can access, and which they can’t. Web and DNS filtering keep your users away from malicious websites, and you can even lock insecure devices out of your systems (anything without a working antivirus, say.)
Pricing looks good, with the Essentials plan starting at only $8 / £8 /AUD$12 per user billed annually (minimum 10 users, plus $40 / £35 / AUD$60 per month per gateway.) That doesn’t include access to the public network (the 40+ VPN locations), and support is restricted to office hours. But you can have both the full VPN and prioritized support for $12 / £11 / AUD$18 a month, and Enterprise users (anyone with 50 users or more) get phone support, too.
Read our full Perimeter 81 review.
Formerly known as NordVPN Teams, NordLayer is the consumer VPN’s solution for businesses and corporate users. Although it can’t match Perimeter 81 for configurability and user control, the VPN is better in almost every area, and there’s more than enough business functionality for many users.
Single-Sign-On support for Google, Azure AD and Okta allows employees to sign on with their existing business credentials, for instance, and two-factor authentication ensures only legitimate users can access their accounts.
Companies can get dedicated IP addresses which only they will ever use. Set up your work systems to allow only connections from those IPs and you’ll lock attackers out.
The feature-packed VPN offers a speedy network, powerful mobile and desktop apps, strong AES-256 encryption, a rock-solid kill switch, ad and tracker blocking, and automatic connection to make sure you’re always protected.
NordLayer’s central dashboard allows you to create accounts, assign and remove licenses, enforce policies such as two-factor authentication, and browse detailed reports highlighting which users and devices and highlighting particular networks and resources. There’s 24/7 live support to help you out, too, something you won’t see with most of the competition.
Value is impressive, with prices starting at just $7 / £7 / AUD$11 per user on the annual Basic plan, and no minimum user requirement: you can start with just one. The Advanced plan adds support for dedicated IPs from $9 / £9 / AUD$15 a month (plus $40 / £40 / AUD$60 a month per dedicated server), and an Enterprise plan lifts speeds from 1 to 10Gbps.
Read our full NordLayer review.
Although not technically a VPN, the zero trust network service Twingate does something very similar, allowing employees to remotely access office networks, cloud services and other resources from mobile or desktop devices.
Setup isn’t exactly difficult, but it requires more knowledge and expertise than a regular VPN. Getting started isn’t just about running a simple Windows installer, for instance: you must deploy Twingate on a local Linux server, Docker container, AWS, Google Cloud Platform or Azure.
Once you’re up and running, configuration is relatively straightforward. You’ll specify the business network or resource you’re trying to protect; the users who can access that network; then ask those users to install the apps that will get them connected.
The real-world experience of using Twingate is far simpler than a VPN. Single-Sign-On allows employees to log in using existing credentials from the likes of Google, Azure AD or Okta. You can enforce multi-factor authentication and other requirements as necessary. After that, the app allows them to access business resources as required, no need to choose a location or tweak settings, while split tunneling means they can use public internet resources as before.
If you’re looking for a traditional VPN, and maybe thinking ‘but no, I really need to connect to New York later’, then Twingate probably isn’t for you. But the service could work for larger businesses with complex networks who need a simple but configurable way to control network access.
No need to take our word for it, though: you can use Twingate’s Starter plan to protect up to five users and two remote networks for free. If you’re happy, the Teams and Business plans add more features and resources from $5 / £5 / AUD$8 a month, and there’s a custom ‘unlimited everything’ plan available if you need it.
Read our full Twingate review.
TorGuard is an expert-level VPN with hugely powerful apps and some very advanced features. You can save and restore your DNS state, run custom scripts before or after connecting, configure the kill switch down to adapter level, and more.
This is great news for demanding users, as they’re able to do things that just aren’t possible with most VPNs. But if your employees aren’t so technical, they could be intimidated by the complex interface, and require more training and support over time.
Fortunately, there are a lot of compensations that everyone will appreciate. The support for using up to eight devices simultaneously, for example. The stealth options that get you connected while traveling, even in countries which block VPNs. And the amazing performance: we’ve clocked TorGuard at 950Mbps and more, making it one of the fastest VPNs around.
The service scores for value, too, with prices starting at $22 / £20 / AUD$33 a month on the annual plan to cover five users (that’s for everyone, not per user), with one dedicated IP and a secure email each thrown in. Looks like a good deal to us.
Read our full TorGuard VPN review.
Proton VPN is best known as a great consumer VPN, and it’s easy to see why. It’s fast, with servers in 60+ countries, loads of features, and powerful open-source mobile and desktop apps.
But the company also has a Proton for Business plan, which combines the VPN with a bunch of other essential privacy and security services.
Proton Drive gives you 500GB of secure online storage, for example. Proton Mail is an end-to-end encrypted email service which supports up to 15 email addresses per user, and Proton Calendar supports 20 calendars per user, each shareable by link.
Simple team management tools allow you to add or remove users, enforce two-factor authentication, and support centralized billing.
Prices can be as low as $9.99 / £9.99 / AUD$14.99 per month per user on the two-year plan, and unusually, there’s no ‘minimum user’ figure. Support is limited to European business hours, with teams of 1-5 users only promised an email reply within 24 hours. Signing up six or more users gets you phone support, though, which is still only for European business hours, but good value overall.
Read our full Proton VPN review (opens in new tab).
While ExpressVPN doesn’t have a dedicated business plan, it’s the best consumer VPN out there, which makes it a perfect choice for remote workers and single business users. Performance is good, and with servers in 94 locations, there should be no problem finding one close to you.
ExpressVPN runs just about anywhere, from all the usual suspects (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS), to Linux, Kindle Fire, Chromebook, Nook, and more. There are browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome, and smart interface design ensures even a VPN novice will figure out the operating basics right away.
With ExpressVPN you also get top-grade security and encryption from the company’s WireGuard-inspired Lightway protocol. An ultra-reliable kill switch and ExpressVPN’s secure DNS servers protect your internet traffic at all times, and multiple independent security audits have verified app quality and the company’s no-logging credentials.
One small complaint would be the pricing as it is a bit more expensive than some of its competitors, but that’s not unreasonable considering what you get.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
Got lots of hardware to protect? Unlike most of the competition, Windscribe doesn’t have any annoying connection limits, allowing you to install and use it on as many devices as you like.
There’s a lot to like about this service. The apps are open source, packed with powerful features, but generally easy to use. Strong encryption and a reliable kill switch keep your data safe; effective filtering systems protect users from phishing and malicious sites, and comprehensive browser extensions control cookies, block ads and do plenty more to keep your privacy.
Although it can’t begin to match the user management abilities of Perimeter 81, Windscribe does allow you to create and configure your own teams from a central dashboard, and support for centralized billing keeps life simple.
The real surprise here is the price, at only $3 / £3 / AUD$5 per user per month, with a minimum of five users. And that’s not if you sign up for 10 years: it’s for monthly billing. If you’re looking for a simple VPN covering the business basics then Windscribe makes a great value choice.
Read our full Windscribe review (opens in new tab).
Make your home workers secure and productive with a remote access VPN.
Business VPN vs Consumer VPN: the main differences
While business VPNs perform a similar function to ‘consumer VPNs’, there are some key differences. For starters, consumer VPNs are mostly about concealing the IP address of an individual user, perhaps allowing them to unblock various websites or services, while business VPNs aim to create a secure route which protects access to your company networks and systems.
Another important factor is that a business VPN is designed to support multiple users. The account manager creates individual accounts for each user, may be able to control what they do (can connect to this, but not to that), see when they last logged in, close the account if they leave, and more.
A good business VPN provides many extra features to protect your accounts. Multi-factor authentication requires users to verify their identity via SMS or an authenticator app, for instance. Single sign-on support, a welcome plus, allows users to log in using identity providers such as Google or Microsoft AD, with all their own identity management tools.
In addition, consumer VPNs typically provide an IP address shared by many other users, which means it’s not a useful indicator of identity. By contrast, business VPNs often give you a dedicated server with a dedicated IP address, only ever used by your employees. Set up your internal networks to allow access for that IP only, and you’ve got a valuable extra layer of protection.
How to choose the best VPN for you?
Obviously, protecting sensitive business data is the main priority here, so you need a VPN with the beefiest levels of security. Since you’ll be handling multiple accounts at once, for multiple staff members, quality management software or a dedicated account manager are important considerations.
Having access to plenty of server locations is always a good thing, particularly when it comes to a mobile workforce, and nippy performance is handy for transferring large files or perhaps partaking of HD videoconferencing. Another important factor is the number of connections available and supported devices, which must suit the size of your firm and the hardware your employees use.