8 Lesser Known VPN Options (Effective & Viable)


VPN

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The Premium VPN market is dominated by several really big hitters that you’ll likely have already heard of (NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark etc), with long standing, heavily promoted brands.

But the reality is that there are actually hundreds of individual VPN providers, all of which can do a perfectly decent job of providing you with a secure, encrypted VPN connection, often for a cheap price as well.

That’s what we’re going to give you in this guide – a selection some lesser known Premium VPN options you might not have heard of before, that are often competitively priced and can do exactly the same job as one of the top VPNs.

Let’s get started with some good alternative options!

Option #1 – AtlasVPN

This one had to come first because of the cheap price. AtlasVPN are a newer provider that you will see lightly promoted on some YouTube channels for example, but nowhere near as much as the big players.

Here are some great features of AtlasVPN:

  • Plans from $3.29/month for 12 months.
  • 3 year plans at $1.99/month for 36 months – also great value and close second to PrivateVPN for value.
  • 750+ Premium servers in 31 countries (see here for a full list)
  • Unlimited devices allowed (great bonus versus other options)
  • Also offer excellent unlimited free version, with servers in USA and Netherlands.
  • Streaming support for Netflix and other services
  • Specialized SafeSwap servers in a few countries, which continually rotate the user’s IP address for extra privacy (not available on macOS).
  • 24/7 support
  • 30 day money back offer.

AtlasVPN are a great alternative VPN option that hit so many of the points users are looking for – low price, unlimited devices, streaming access and a free version to try out.

It’s one of our favorite lesser known VPN picks for sure!

Click here to check current AltasVPN Premium plans

Option #2 – PrivadoVPN

PrivadoVPN are a newcomer to the VPN market, very little known, but offering an excellent VPN service that stands up pretty well based on my own testing.

Here are some features of PrivadoVPN:

  • Based in Switzerland with strong privacy laws and strict zero log policy.
  • Paid plans start at $5/month for a 12 month subscription.
  • Servers in 58 locations in 46 countries (full list here).
  • 10 connections allowed.
  • Offer an excellent free version, with 10 GB/month data and free servers in 8 countries.
  • Although not optimized for streaming, it actually delivered quite good results when tested in the UK.
  • 30 day money back guarantee.

See our full review of PrivadoVPN for more details. Bottom line – it’s a great option, but a bit pricey compared to some of the others.

Click here to get started with PrivadoVPN

Option #3 – PrivateVPN

Some readers might not say this is a lesser known VPN, but I’ve only heard about it recently after following the VPN space for several years.

PrivateVPN are Swedish based provider with a decent selection of server locations, and perhaps most attractively, fantastic value long term plans (perhaps the best on the market).

Here’s some features of PrivateVPN:

  • Based in Sweden with strong privacy and consumer protection laws.
  • 36 month plans currently at $1.61/month (effectively 12 months + 24 extra months free). The best long term value on the market.
  • 200 high speed servers in 63 countries
  • 7 day free trial offered if you email them – they send you a gift code to activate a test account.
  • 30 day money back guarantee.
  • No nonsense, user friendly interface.
  • Also despite the cheap price, has an excellent reputation for accessing streaming services.

PrivateVPN really are a great option, often less well known, for VPN users wanting to lock in a superb value long term VPN subscription, whilst also getting advanced features like streaming access and above average server selection.

Click here to check current pricing for PrivateVPN

Option #4 – TurboVPN

TurboVPN are another more obscure VPN service, based in Singapore, with a distinctive branding and interface.

Here are some features of TurboVPN:

  • Plans starts from $5/month for 12 months, $4/month for 24 months.
  • Massive server selection – 21,000+ high speed servers in 45 countries (see here for full list)
  • Also offer an excellent, unlimited free version with servers in USA, Germany, Singapore, India. Data use is unlimited, but speeds are restricted to 2 Mbps.
  • 5 simultaneous connections allowed.
  • 24/7 customer support.
  • 30 day money back guarantee.

Overall, TurboVPN are a perfectly fine VPN service, but they don’t stand out in any one category. Their pricing and server selection is mid-range, and there are honestly better value options. But their free version is an excellent bonus – it’s quite hard to get free VPN servers in Singapore and India.

Click here to check current TurboVPN plans and pricing. Flash deals and offers are very common in the VPN market, so you may find a better price than the one listed.

Option #5 – VyprVPN

This is another VPN provider that I actually tried and reviewed a few years ago thinking it was a big player, but in reality it’s only moderately well known in some circles – not really a major top level brand.

VyprVPN are a Swiss based VPN provider with a strong emphasis on user privacy and server speed. Having used their service extensively, I had no complaints, with a nice, clean, easy to use interface, fast reliable servers, and good customer support whenever I had a problem.

Here are some other features of VyprVPN:

  • Plans starts from $8/month for 12 months.
  • Based in Switzerland with strong privacy laws. Strict audited zero log policy.
  • Decent server selection, with 700+ servers in 70 locations and 64 countries (full list here).
  • Has good reputation for server speed.
  • 30 connections allowed per account.
  • Clean, easy to use customer interface.
  • Proprietary Chameleon protocol, designed to circumvent blocking from ISPs, countries and streaming services.
  • 24/7 support.
  • 30 day money back guarantee.

Overall, VyprVPN can be a good choice for more specialized users who need access to streaming services, or in countries with strong censorship, but they are a bit on the pricey side. But their strict, audited zero log policy is a bonus for privacy focused users.

Click here to check current plans and pricing for VyprVPN

Option #5 – CactusVPN

CactusVPN are a Moldova based, truly independent, grass-roots VPN provider that are lesser known, but have some good things going for them.

Here are some features of CactusVPN:

  • Fully independent company based in Moldova, with grassroots ownership. No corporate involvement.
  • Plans start from $4/month for 12 month plans
  • 2 year plans available from $2.77/month (good pro-rata value)
  • High speed servers in 22 countries.
  • Unlimited devices allowed on a subscription (a major benefit over other plans)
  • Unlocks some (but not all) streaming services in certain countries.
  • Zero logs policy, strengthened by the company’s strong independence.
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Support, but only via ticket (not live chat)

Overall, CactusVPN can be a great no nonsense VPN option on the low-mid price range for users who don’t need massive server selection and prefer to use a grassroots, independent company without any corporate involvement. They also unlock a fair amount of geo-restricted content. A perfectly viable option.

Click here to check current plans and pricing for CactusVPN

Option #6 – Le VPN

Le VPN are a French based provider offering great server choice and a similar feel to some of the bigger services like ExpressVPN, but are less well known in the English speaking world (they’re quite big in mainland Europe).

Here are the main features and benefits of Le VPN:

  • Plans start from $4.95/month for 12 months. 2 year deals better value pro-rata.
  • Strict no logs policy
  • Ultra high speed servers in 100+ countries (best option by far)
  • 7 different VPN protocols for maximum flexibility if one doesn’t work or is slow
  • Unblocks streaming services.
  • Allow 5 devices in use per account.
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Bitcoin accepted.
  • P2P supported.

Click here to get started with Le VPN

Le VPN are a professional looking VPN option, especially if you want servers in smaller countries not covered by other providers. Their plans are also decent value and not too pricey, and streaming support is good.

Option #7 – Ivacy VPN

Ivacy are another Singapore based VPN provider, with not much of a profile, but a very usable option.

  • Plans start from $4/month for 12 month plans. However, their 5 year plan is great value and only a bit more.
  • Multiple connection protocols offered for flexibility.
  • Strict no logs policy
  • Up to 10 devices allowed on an account
  • Supports access to streaming services.
  • Kill switch to stop all traffic if the VPN connection drops.
  • Split Tunneling feature to allow some traffic to be routed through the VPN, but other traffic to run through a normal non-VPN connection if desired.
  • Premium password manager bundled in with their 5 year plan.
  • Overall, an excellent option with a competitive price and some nice extra features, especially their fantastic value 5 year plan.
  • 30 day money back guarantee.
  • 24/7 support.

Click here to get started with Ivacy VPN

Option #8 – Tunnelbear

Tunnelbear are another one of those VPN companies that some readers may have heard of, but they’ve never quite broken through into the ranks of the major providers.

Here are some main features of Tunnelbear:

  • Based in Canada.
  • Plans start from $3.33/month for 12 months.
  • 5 simultaneous connections allowed per account.
  • No nonsense, easy to use interface.
  • High speed servers in 48 countries.
  • Offer free version with servers in all 48 countries, but only 500 MB of data each month.
  • Zero logs policy.
  • Published annual security audits – transparent policies.
  • Also allow customers to view and delete their own account data if they wish.

Tunnelbear are very cheaply priced, but otherwise don’t stand out a great deal in terms of other features. Their free version however is a excellent bonus, especially if you need a free VPN option for basic browsing just for a short time when going on holiday or other trips.

Click here to visit Tunnelbear’s site and check latest plans and pricing.

Bottom Line – Which One Should I Go For?

Which lesser known VPN option you go for can depend on exactly what you’re looking for, and what matters most to you. Here are bottom line recommendations broken down by criteria:

Cost – For shorter term (12 month plans), AtlasVPN has the best value ($3.29/month), plus a free unlimited version you can try out. For longer term plans, PrivateVPN‘s 3 year deal works out at $1.61/month – I don’t think you’ll find better pro-rata value on the VPN market, even though the initial outlay is a bit more.

Server Choice – All VPNs have servers in the obvious countries you’d expect (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Europe), but for overall server choice, including less obvious locations, Le VPN are the best option. The rest offer low to moderate server choice (35-50 countries).

StreamingPrivateVPN has a good reputation for allowing access to streaming sites. VyprVPN are also a good option here, with advanced obfuscation protocols to defeat blocking.

PrivacyPrivadoVPN and VyprVPN are Swiss based, with very strong privacy and data protection laws, and strict zero log policies. I’d go for one of these if privacy is your main concern, though all the options are good here.

DevicesAtlasVPN and CactusVPN offer use on unlimited devices per account, beating out the others, which offer 5 or 10 connections per account. VyprVPN offer 30 connections.

Want to Try A Free VPN FirstAtlasVPN and PrivadoVPN both offer free versions of their products you can test out, with zero upfront payment required. AtlasVPN’s free offering is unlimited, whereas PrivadoVPN offer 10 GB of free data per month. PrivateVPN also offer a 7 day free trial if you email their support.

Money Back Offer – They all offer 30 days money back if you don’t like it or it doesn’t work with streaming services, except for Tunnelbear, which doesn’t seem to promote this feature. Nothing much to pick between them here.

Bottom LinePrivateVPN are a good choice, because they offer the best of everything – decent server choice, great value plans and access to streaming services. AtlasVPN also provide good streaming access and cheap plans, unlimited connections, plus servers in the main countries you’d expect. I’d go for one of these two.

Advantages of Lesser Known VPNs

Here are some points that stand in favor of using a lesser known VPN service:

  • They’re often (but not always) cheaper than some of the bigger names
  • They’ll often many users with everything you need that a bigger/more expensive VPN could. You’re often not missing out on anything.
  • Some smaller brands have stronger independence than bigger brands, which can work in their favor regarding privacy and data collection and general integrity. Some people may be less confident of using VPNs from mega-companies, since there is a feeling they may not always be 100% pro-privacy regarding their users.
  • The smaller VPNs almost always have the same basics in place that the bigger VPNs do – 24/7 customer support, 30 day money back guarantee, zero logs etc.
  • Many of the smaller VPNs also offer free (sometimes even unlimited) versions of their services you can try out, versus the bigger players which often don’t have free versions (NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark etc – don’t offer free versions). AtlasVPN, TurboVPN and PrivadoVPN are 3 great examples of lesser known services that have free versions you can try out.

Disadvantages of Lesser Known VPNs

Here are some potential downsides to using smaller, lesser known VPNs:

  • The server choice is sometimes less comprehensive than some bigger VPNs (but not always though – sometimes smaller players offer at least comparable location choice to bigger VPNs for a similar or lower price).
  • Sometimes smaller VPNs may not work so effectively, or across the board, with streaming services. Again though, this is a double edged sword that can work both ways, since it’s sometimes the bigger VPNs that are more aggressively blocked because they’re better known, while the smaller VPNs can go undetected for longer by the streaming platforms. So again, this has to be judged on a case by case basis.
  • Sometimes smaller VPNs have less “add-ons” bundled into their services than the bigger players (eg. Ad blocking/protection, Anti-virus, etc).

Oliver

Online gamer and general home networking enthusiast. I like to create articles to help people solve common home networking problems.

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