Choosing the wrong VPN provider can be worse than having no protection at all. A bad provider can slow down your internet speed, reveal your personal data to others, or even allow security leaks, all while letting you think that you’re safe and protected. In order to separate the wheat from the chaff, we use our carefully constructed evaluation methodology, which ensures that we assess each service’s most important characteristics.
Here are the criteria we consider essential for every VPN service:
- Security and Privacy
VPN services exist primarily to protect security and privacy, so these are the first factors we evaluate when researching a review. Providers have different security protocols, and while some offer complete anonymity and privacy, others are just a step away from completely useless. We look for potential data leaks and for safeguards (like kill switch mechanisms) that can prevent them. Does the VPN store your browsing data? How secure is the provider’s storage? Is there a multifactor authentication option? These are just some of the elements we consider at this step.
- User Experience
Once we’re certain that the security aspect is satisfactory, we move onto assessing user experience. A good VPN should have a user-friendly interface that clearly displays all the information you need. The design should be pleasant but not overwhelming. How long does it take for the software to do its thing? Is it wasting your time? Are installation and use instructions clear and correct? Can you turn to customer support for help or will they leave you high and dry?
A high-quality VPN service shouldn’t drastically affect your internet connection. Any major change in the download or upload speed automatically lowers the overall grade of the provider. Our tests document ping time, data-transfer speed, lag, and problems like frame-freezing, program crashes, and so on. Our research verifies how many servers you have at your disposal and from how many countries. That’s important – a provider that offers thousands of servers from the country you’re in may not offer all the services you need.
- Services Supported
Many people deal with internet content restrictions due to locale. That’s a particular hassle for frequent travelers, who sometimes do without conveniences and vital services when they’re on the road. VPN services let you bypass these limitations and enjoy the internet to the fullest no matter where you are. This is essential for users who want to watch Netflix, browse through YouTube, or utilize p2p sharing services. In our reviews, we determine whether some of these services are restricted or not supported.
- Hardware Compatibility
Most people use at least two devices to access the web these days, so they need a VPN provider that supports multiple desktop and mobile devices. We test hardware compatibility on various devices to see if there are any problems. Can you use this service on your Android or Apple smartphone? Are there any limitations when it comes to desktop computers and laptops? Are there system requirements you should know about?
Price is a feature too. No one wants to pay more for shoddy service or features they’ll never use. Our tests reveal that expensive services aren’t necessarily better options. It’s all about finding the perfect balance between price and quality. We tell you directly how much lighter your wallet will be with each provider, what subscription plans are available, and what you get with each plan.
All of these elements are combined into one informative, authoritative, readable review that will help you make the right choice. That way you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into even before you make the purchase. With our help, you’ll be surfing the web like a pro without a worry in the world.