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What Is a Double VPN & What Are the Best Multi-Hop VPN Services in 2022?

One layer of encryption will do for everyday internet use, but some VPNs let you use double encryption for extra anonymity online. If you’re a journalist, politician or someone visiting a country with heavy internet censorship, a double VPN will help you cover your tracks.

Max Pitchkites
By Max Pitchkites (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2022-05-24T13:10:52+00:00 Facts checked by Elisabeth Ivey

Using a double VPN is a powerful solution for bypassing online censorship and fortifying your privacy online. When a single layer of encryption isn’t enough to hide your identity, consider using multiple VPN connections at once.

Key Takeaways:

  • A double VPN connection will increase your privacy and security at the cost of speed.
  • The first server will know your location and IP address but not your destination, and the second server will know your destination but not your true location.
  • Using a double VPN isn’t good for everyday internet browsing due to the increased latency, but comes in handy when you need to be extra careful online.
  • Double VPN is a feature that not many providers support; NordVPN is the best VPN with the double VPN feature.

A single VPN connection will usually provide enough security for general internet usage, but some people work in dangerous professions that require greater anonymity online. These include journalists, politicians, activists and anyone who travels to countries with strict internet censorship, like China and Russia.

Not all VPNs provide this feature, and not all double VPNs are the same. We’ll take you through a selection of what we think are the best double VPN providers out there.

  • No, VPNs are not intended to be used with other VPNs at the same time, and may result in errors. Double VPN connections involve using a single VPN service that is designed to route your internet traffic through two or more servers.

  • Some VPNs come with double VPN functionality built into their clients, like NordVPN and Surfshark. Others, such as Windscribe, require combining the desktop and browser versions of the same VPN to double-encrypt your traffic. Configuration will vary from provider to provider.

Top Double Hop VPNs

  1. 1
    • : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
    • : 6
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  2. 2
    • : PayPal, Credit card
    • : Unlimited
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    • :
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    $4.08 / month (save 55%) (All Plans)3-day money-back guarantee
  3. 3
    • : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay
    • : Unlimited
    • :
    • :
    • :
    • :
  4. 4
    • : PayPal, Credit card
    • : 10
    • :
    • :
    • :
    • :

What Is a Double VPN?

A double VPN or multi-hop VPN is a configuration that encrypts your internet traffic twice, as it passes through two VPN servers before it reaches its destination.

Double VPN connections disguise both your actual location and IP address as well as the location and IP of the first VPN server. The first VPN server will know your IP but not your destination, while the second VPN server will know your destination but not your IP.

The 4 Best Multi-Hop VPN Services

Most VPN providers don’t include double VPN options because of its limited use. Its biggest drawback is its increased latency: Your internet connection decreases in speed for every VPN server it goes through, which means connecting to multiple servers will drag your speed down as your data travels around the world and back.

Furthermore, your server selection is greatly reduced. Not all servers and countries of a given VPN service support double VPN functionality, so you will have to make the most of whatever your provider has available.

If you really need that extra security, there are a few VPN providers that go the extra mile to include this specialty feature. We’ll discuss each of those VPNs and everything they’re capable of below.

  1. NordVPN — This VPN includes six types of servers on its network, including its double VPN servers. Your outgoing traffic is protected with double encryption before it reaches the internet.
  2. Windscribe — Our favorite free VPN also includes double VPN functionality. With this VPN, you have the option of multi-hopping to any server on its network.
  3. Surfshark — Surfshark has quickly developed a full-featured VPN service since its launch in 2018. This VPN includes a dedicated selection of server pairs for double VPN use.
  4. Private Internet Access — PIA may not have double VPN functionality per se, but it does include a Shadowsocks or SOCKS5 protocol proxy that achieves the same result.

1. NordVPN

nordvpn cta
NordVPN has been a leading VPN provider since 2012.

More details about NordVPN:

  • Pricing: $3.67 per month for the two-year plan
  • Website: nordvpn.com

Pros:

  • Specialty servers, including double VPN servers
  • High security & privacy standards
  • Fast speeds
  • Over 5,000 servers in 60 countries
  • Affordable long-term subscription

Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds between server locations

NordVPN is one of our top VPNs for having it all — a wide server selection, fast speeds and loads of features, including double VPN servers. NordVPN offers a lot of variety in its server selection, not only in terms of geography, but also in server type.

The majority of NordVPN’s network consists of its standard servers scattered across the world, but subscribers also get access to five other types of specialty servers: dedicated IP address servers, P2P, obfuscated servers, Onion over VPN and double VPN servers.

NordVPN’s Double VPN Servers

When you connect to two VPN servers, your internet traffic gets encrypted twice before it reaches your destination on the internet. Read our how to use NordVPN guide to learn how to connect to double VPN servers.

The first VPN server only knows your IP but not your destination, whereas it’s the opposite with the second VPN server and the website. Even a single layer of encryption is enough to deter attacks, so two will throw all but the most determined hackers off the trail.

NordVPN is an affordable double VPN provider considering the number of features that come with it. It doesn’t have the cheapest price tag on the market, but NordVPN is so full of extra features that the price isn’t unusually high, considering the value you get.

nordvpn double vpn
NordVPN is one of the handful of VPNs that offers double VPN functionality.

NordVPN has three pricing plans: the one-month plan, the one-year plan and the two-year plan. The monthly plan is one of the more expensive we’ve seen, priced at $11.95 per month — beat only by ExpressVPN.

The one-year plan costs $4.92 per month or $59 annually, discounted from the original $143.30 by 58%. The two-year plan is priced at $3.29 monthly or $79 every two years, which is a 72% discount on the usual $286.80 plan. 

Keep in mind that the discounts only apply until your renewal is due. After that, you will have to pay full price. However, you can also test it out with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Windscribe

windscribe home page
Windscribe is our most highly recommended free VPN.

More details about Windscribe:

  • Pricing: Free, $4.08 per month for the one-year Pro plan
  • Website: windscribe.com

Pros:

  • Double VPN capability
  • Great free plan
  • Unique build-a-plan option
  • Browser extension
  • Split tunneling

Cons:

  • Inconsistent speeds
  • Three-day money back guarantee

Windscribe is a noteworthy free VPN that’s made a name for itself because of its impressive free plan and customizable payment options. Windscribe outperforms just about every other free VPN in speed and features as if it were a full-priced service. Among its many useful features is its double-hop capability — a rare feature for VPNs in general, but especially for free ones.

Windscribe’s Desktop-Browser Combo

Configuring two VPN connections with Windscribe involves connecting to one server through the desktop client and reaching the second VPN server through the browser extension. Each website you access will see the IP address of the server accessed through the browser extension while the IP of the first VPN server will be hidden.

windscribe double hop
Select your two favorite servers with the “build-a-plan” option and link them together for a double VPN setup.

If you want to upgrade from Windscribe’s already robust free plan, you have the option of monthly and annual plans, in addition to its unique “build-a-plan” option.

A one-month subscription to Windscribe costs $9 and an annual plan costs $4.08 per month, billed at $49 each year. The free version comes with a monthly allotment of 10GB of data and the paid plans come with unlimited data.

Windscribe also gives you the option to personalize your payment plan by purchasing individual server locations and blocks of data. You don’t have to make the leap from the free version to a monthly or annual plan if you just want to purchase a few individual server locations for $1 each. Each location comes with 10GB of data in addition to the free 10GB that resets each month.

3. Surfshark

surfshark double hop
Surfshark is an affordable VPN provider offering 14 double VPN connections.

More details about Surfshark:

  • Pricing: $2.21 per month for the two-year plan, plus three months free
  • Website: surfshark.com

Pros:

  • Supports double VPN connections
  • Affordable two-year subscription
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Over 3,000 servers in 65 countries

Cons:

  • No dedicated IP addresses
  • Can’t select individual servers

The relatively new VPN provider Surfshark has made some major waves since its launch in 2018 and has already become one of the more popular VPNs on the market.

In a short period of time, Surfshark has amassed a sizable server network. It also includes a wide range of features in its easy-to-use service and is one of the best VPNs for beginners. Many VPNs have few features, but Surfshark is unique in that it bundles a wide selection of them into a single package that’s accessible for VPN beginners.

Surfshark’s Multi-Hop

Surfshark’s multi-hop feature is a noteworthy example in the double VPN category. The Surfshark client includes a multi-hop tab with a selection of two VPN servers that have been joined together to create a double VPN connection.

Some servers are relatively close to one another (e.g. Canada and the U.S.), while other pairs send the connection a longer distance (e.g. Germany to Singapore).

At the moment, Surfshark offers 14 server pairs. We hope to see an expansion of the multi-hop pairs in the future, and given Surfshark’s rapid development over just three years, we may see some new multi-hop servers later on.

surfshark multihop cta
Keep your connection doubly protected with Surfshark without spending a fortune.

Surfshark is known for being one of the more affordable VPNs on the market. Although the big VPN brands like ExpressVPN and NordVPN defeat Surfshark on most features, Surfshark nonetheless reaches a high standard of quality without charging as much as its more experienced competitors.

The two-year plan is Surfshark’s most affordable plan, with an introductory price of $2.21 per month or $59.76 for two years, plus three months free. That sum becomes the annual price after the first 27 months have elapsed. 

Surfshark also offers a six-month plan at $6.49 per month or $38.94 every six months, and a $12.95 monthly plan. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee you can use to try the VPN.

4. Private Internet Access

pia website
PIA’s Shadowsocks compatibility lets you create a double connection by using a proxy.

More details about Private Internet Access:

Pros:

  • Supports Shadowsocks for double VPN use
  • Affordable price
  • Fast & stable connection speeds

Cons:

  • Not the best upload speeds
  • Doesn’t unblock BBC iPlayer or Hulu

If you’re looking for a fast and affordable VPN, Private Internet Access (PIA) is a solid choice. While it isn’t at the top of our favorite VPNs, it’s still a reliable and full-featured service that won’t break the bank.

PIA’s Shadowsocks

PIA utilizes another variant on double VPN configuration by using Shadowsocks and SOCKS5. With PIA, you can open the “connection preferences” tab and easily create a proxy connection with Shadowsocks, which would otherwise be a difficult and time-consuming task without PIA’s streamlined interface.

The main difference between this proxy-VPN combo and a double VPN is the lack of double encryption. Unless you’re doing something extremely sensitive, one layer of encryption should be enough security for your outgoing traffic. If that still isn’t enough, we have one more provider to share on this list.

pia pricing table
PIA is a great budget option that doesn’t sacrifice quality.

PIA is one of the cheaper VPNs we’ve encountered. The best deal with PIA is its two-year plan at $2.19 per month, or $79 every two years. PIA’s other plans include a $9.95 monthly plan and a $39.95 annual plan, which works out to $3.33 per month. PIA now offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, and the mobile app has a seven-day free trial.

Final Thoughts: Double VPN Feature

A double VPN connection is a resource-hungry feature that only the most privacy-focused users will need, but it will make your location virtually undetectable. As you can see, there isn’t just one way to double up your VPN’s connection to the internet, and there are different situations that call for different configurations.

Whether you need a feature built into your client that will double-encrypt your data or a simple proxy connection, there are multiple options for keeping online activities hidden when you can’t risk having your privacy breached.

What do you use a double VPN for? Do you think it’s necessary to keep your online activities private? And are there any good double VPN providers we failed to mention? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading.