How we test and rate VPN providers
When choosing the right VPN for your needs, everyone has different show stoppers. Whether its log files, not existing anonymous payment methods or a high price.
Choosing the best VPN provider for you is not a question that can be answered in a minute. Depending on what you want to do with the VPN, there are very specific aspects to consider. That’s why we explain on this page how we rate the VPN services we list – and how you can choose the best VPN provider for you.
Sometimes, Companies behind VPN-Services change and with them the once established philosophy. Sometimes, providers fail to keep their promises. We notice that, and we will highlight that for you and adjust our rating anytime. This happened a few times to once well known VPN services. Usually we bash them, make well placed notice in red letters and accuse them. If it’s too critical, we even delete the provider from our list completely.
To help you find the provider that helps you the most, we have created a rating system based on Pro & Contra accompanied by detailed description of the features offered.
Our key rating indicators are
- Logging policies – traffic logs, provider logs or zero knowledge, no log files. If there are log files kept by the provider, chances are good that you are not anonymous at all. There are providers that keep only connection logs for a small amount of time to make sure visitors are not exceeding traffic, this is often a feature found in free or trial accounts and should not be present with premium VPN services.
- Jurisdiction – Where is the company located, are there any data retention laws?
- Anonymous Payment Methods – Does the provider accept Cryptocurrencies to pay the bills? This is also crucial for real anonymity. If there are not Crypto Coins involved, they are not caring of your privacy at all. If you want to buy Cryptocurrencies, use a reputable exchange like kraken.com.
- Speed – When connecting to a VPN, you are giving away bandwidth and it should be worth it. Also, the cut of bandwidth should be very low. Top notch providers usually provide very fast servers in your region or countries near you. When you choose the fastest server, you shouldn’t see a huge drop in down- and upstream speeds.
- Ping times – for games, voice over IP and all real-time applications.
- Simultaneous Connections – You are using more than one device that’s connected to the internet. Almost everybody does. Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet, Wearables – Any device that is connected to your WiFi or via mobile internet may be connected through a VPN tunnel to ensure you are not leaking anything. And you may also share your account with your loved ones living in the same household.
- Traffic limits – Important for video streaming and file sharing
- P2P/File Sharing friendly – If you are planning to do peer to peer file sharing or direct downloads, you have to make sure the VPN provider is allowing that before signing up. Many do, but not all of them.
- Money-Back-Guarantee or Free Trials – You are not totally certain if you would like the reviewed provider? That’s a good point, and you have the right to give it a try without risking money. Almost every provider has a Money-Back-Guarantee, some offer Free Trials, most of the time you won’t get both. And the latter is usually just a slimmed down version of the premium account.
- Price – How much will you pay for the service and is it worth it? We are listing the prices for monthly subscriptions aswell as longer term contracts. If you are signing up for the first time, maybe the monthly description is worth a try. Make sure to set a reminder after 3 months or so, to decide again if you want to keep the provider for a longer time and make huge savings (up to 70% for 2 or 3 years in advance compared to the 1-month-subscription).
- Number of server locations worldwide – which service / website do you want to use?
- Number of IP addresses – in countries where you want to access content.
- VPN Client Application – Usability and features of the VPN client software. Is it easy to use for you?
As you can see, choosing the right VPN provider is not a question that can be answered in moment. We encourage you to review your favorites in detail. If you want to use your devices and keep your privacy at a high level, you’ll need to spend at least 15 minutes gathering all the information you need to make a good decision.