We know that you are overloaded with an endless number of choices when it comes to choosing the best VPN service provider for your security needs. Though cost is one major factor that everyone looks for in a VPN, there are also a few other significant determinants that make a service provider worthwhile in the VPN marketplace. If you are a security champion that is planning to invest smartly in a Virtual Private Network, you should take the following factors into account.
important-things-before-you-choose-vpn-provider

A combination of all the factors mentioned below can make a VPN provider exceptionally reliable.

1. Cost – Is buying a VPN worth your money?

As mentioned above, affordability is a significant factor that influences the purchase decision of most VPN users. ‘Free VPNs’ is the first thing that hits someone when talking about VPN service pricing plans. Why should you buy a VPN service when there is a free option? Let us take a deep dive into this to understand the difference between free and paid VPN services.

Remember that when a service comes free, you become the product! The only good thing about a free VPN service is that it is free. Otherwise, it is going to cost you a lot, such as compromising your anonymity, security, privacy and more.

Paid VPN services most likely come with accessibility to a broad array of servers, and they offer a dedicated server for you to connect. Additionally, your subscription fee fuels their business. Paid VPN providers do not care about the websites you visit, which means no data or activity logging.

Whereas, when it comes to free VPN services, they might log your internet activities and make money with your data. It is also an evident fact that professional and premium VPN services offer a higher level of security features when compared to free VPNs. You are thus open to choose a free VPN service if you are not worried about your privacy and security being compromised.

The contemporary digital era has a greater number of internet users who have realized the importance of having their own private space online. Hence, it is always wise to pay for a VPN service based on your privacy needs and appreciate what it offers.

2. Security Highlights – How does a VPN protect you?

Before signing up for a VPN service, check if it comes with comprehensive security features such as:
  • Robust protocols
  • High-grade encryption
  • Torrenting capabilities
  • DNS leak protection
  • Browser extension
  • IP leak protection
  • TOR compatibility
  • Port forwarding
  • Split tunneling
  • Firewall support
  • Script support
  • Proxy support
  • Kill switch
You can also look for certain unique and innovative features in your VPN provider that make it stand out in the crowded VPN market.

For instance, there is a VPN provider that offers an automatic WiFi security feature to users. This feature automatically protects you from third-party intrusions while you are connected to a public WiFi hotspot.

3. Privacy Policies – Does your VPN keep logs?

You use a VPN because you do not want anyone to keep track of the websites you visit, including your ISP. But what if your VPN provider keeps a log of all your activities? The purpose of using a VPN becomes absolutely futile. Hence, it is essential to read the privacy policies carefully and ensure that your VPN service provider keeps no log of your internet activity. Though there is no defined approach to verify if a VPN provider retains logs, there are a few things that you need to understand.

We can classify VPN activity logs into three major categories:

1. Connection logs – This log might refer to passive data, which contains details like IP address of the VPN server, timestamps, bandwidth volume, and more. The purpose of this log is that it promotes smooth maintenance and troubleshooting process for VPN providers. It does not pose any potential risk when it comes to privacy.

2. Browser logs – Also known as traffic logs, these track sensitive user information like browser history, downloads, and more. It is this sensitive data that invites the potential risk of a privacy breach along with it.

3. IP address logs – As the name implies, these logs track the IP address of users, thus nullifying the purpose of a VPN connection.

Other than the log types, you should also know where your VPN service is registered. In some countries (5/7/14 eyes, India, China, Russia, Iran, UAE, etc.) the VPN provider is required to store logs of your online activity.

To simplify your decision-making process, we have come with the following checklist for some of the popular VPN providers.

Sr. No VPN provider Connection logs Browser logs IP logs 5 eyes or 14 eyes-based country
1 NordVPN No No No Nil (Panama)
2 Ivacy VPN No No No Nil (Singapore)
3 Vypr VPN No No No Nil (Switzerland)
4 AceVPN No No No 5 eyes (USA)
5 IPVanish VPN No No No 5 eyes (USA)
6 ExpressVPN Yes

No No Nil (British Virgin Islands)
7 Hide.me VPN Yes No No Nil (Malaysia)
8 Safer VPN Yes No No 5 eyes (USA)
9 Windscribe VPN Yes No No 5 eyes (Canada)
10 KeepSolid VPN Yes No No 5 eyes (USA)

4. Server Locations and Speed

The VPN server is the one that encrypts your internet traffic, masks your IP address, spoofs your location, and bypasses internet censorship. It is always wise to go for a VPN provider that covers an extensive number of servers all over the globe.

With multiple server locations, VPN users have an option of switching between servers at the time of congestion or poor connectivity. It also helps users to access geographically restricted websites and streaming channels like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more.

Some VPN providers rent their servers from third parties, which can shift the credibility of their service. So, always ensure that your VPN providers own their servers, which prevents third parties from snooping through your data.

As most of you know, a VPN, by nature will slow your internet connection, especially when connected to remote servers. One smart way of choosing your VPN provider is to review if they have satisfactory levels of upload and download speeds, required for streaming, downloading, torrenting, and more.

5. Customer Support – Are they reliable and responsive?

You need to do a bit of research to understand if your VPN provider has an efficient customer support team. What could you expect from your VPN’s support staff?
  • They should be competent to assist you with your installation or troubleshooting needs.
  • They should pay attention to detail and come up with a resolution promptly.
  • They should be accessible anytime, either through live chats or emails.
Additionally, check if your VPN provider has knowledgebases like reference guides, forums or technical blogs on their website.

You can also understand the efficiency of a VPN’s customer support by reading our VPN provider reviews.

Did you find the right one?

Now the ball is in your court! Consider the essential factors listed above before deciding the ideal VPN provider of your choice. Furthermore, you can also check, if:
  1. Your provider accepts Bitcoin payments that facilitate anonymity.
  2. Your VPN is versatile when it comes to device and OS compatibility.
  3. It is seamless to install and user-friendly.
  4. It has a free-trial or moneyback option.
Enjoy your right to online privacy and anonymity.