he reasons for investing in a VPN are wide ranging, from enabling you to access geo-restricted sites to avoiding censorship, especially when travelling. A good VPN will also ensure you and your data are protected when using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
If you’re completely new to the idea of VPNs and internet security, have a read through our introductory guide which will outline the basics of how a VPN works and the advantages of using one.
But how do you know which VPN is for you? Below, we show you the different aspects you should consider when buying a VPN and how to find the right one.
Figure out what you need a VPN for
As with any purchase, it’s useful to consider what you need a VPN for before you start looking at the options. For example, a family who wants a router-based VPN to cover the whole household will need a VPN that allows numerous devices to be protected simultaneously.
An individual looking to stream online movies needs high speeds, reliable connections, and unlimited bandwidth. Meanwhile, regular travellers who are largely reliant on public Wi-Fi networks need a VPN that offers excellent security and has servers situated all over the world.
Once you know what you will be using a VPN for, write down a list of the features that are important to you and those that you can forgo. After completing that process, you will have a much easier time deciding what VPN to use.
Look at each VPN’s qualities
If you want to watch content that is geographically blocked, a VPN that has a reputation to unlock content is a priority. For example, many VPNs have trouble bypassing Netflix’s VPN block, but NordVPN and ExpressVPN continuously succeed in negotiating those obstacles.
If you are a journalist, or someone else who values their privacy and anonymity, then a VPN that does not retain logs and has a secure encryption, like Trust.Zone, should be your priority. It’s also worth checking the security protocol and if the VPN includes a kill-switch feature.
Check which devices are compatible
Although most VPNs support the main platforms of Windows, Mac, Android, Linux and iOS, some VPNs are not available on all platforms. If you have a Windows computer but use an iPhone, then you want to ensure your VPN has a platform and app for both.
It’s also a good idea to see how many devices you can connect to at once. PrivateVPN offers up to six devices, while ExpressVPN only allows up to three at one time.
Find a VPN with a user-friendly interface
The set-up and user-interface on a lot of VPNs can be quite complex. So, if you’re not tech savvy and do not want to trouble yourself trying to configure a VPN, it’s important to find one that offers simple procedures and a user-friendly platform. PrivateVPN will even virtually set up their VPN for you, so you never have to lift a finger.
Ensure your important locations are covered
The countries and locations of a VPN’s servers can also influence your choice, especially if you live in a less populated or developed country, or are planning to travel or live there for some time. For example, China is renowned for its limited internet service and having a VPN that can effectively tackle their censorship and restrictions is essential if you are going to live or work there.
Decide what payment plan you prefer
Payment options can influence your final selection. Some VPNs offer completely anonymous systems, like BitCoin, while others allow you to buy giftcards to avoid using personal information.
Payment plans also differ according to VPNs, and they can range from monthly to yearly depending on your needs. While free VPNs are tempting, we do not recommend you use one. Even if you don’t pay for it with money, you will be paying for it another way, whether that’s with ads, unreliable protection, or bad quality streaming. If the price is an issue, consider using one that offers great discounts and coupons
Look for a VPN with reliable customer service
One of the most important factors of a VPN service is if the provider offers 24/7 customer service. VPNs change all the time, and it’s important you can easily contact someone who will help you with whatever snag you hit. We prefer VPNs who offer live-chat, because emails and tickets can take hours – if not days – to answer.
Make sure it includes a money-back guarantee
A money-back guarantee is a great way to ensure you don’t get stuck with a product you do not want. If you happen to choose a VPN but decide it is not the right one for you, getting out of your contract can be a big issue. Look for a VPN that promises your money back within a specific amount of time, so you are not obligated to stay with one until your contract is up.
Whatever you need a VPN for, don’t be fooled into believing that they all offer pretty much the same service. Figuring out what you need a VPN for and deciding what features are important to you will help you choose the best one.
If you don’t have time to search through the hundreds of available VPNs, our recommended VPNs are compatible with most devices, have servers in thousands of locations, offer great payment plans and customer service, and all include a money-back guarantee.