Remember that time when you go to a restaurant and keep the waiter waiting from taking your order because you can’t decide whether to order a steak or a burger.
Same is the case with VPN services. You’re spoilt for choice!
With hundreds of options available in the market, it is difficult to choose a VPN. Many VPN services try to sell you guaranteed anonymity while other boasts about their prices and performance.
But which VPN should you select?
To help you out, I have listed some factors you should consider while evaluating each VPN Service and then make a final purchase decision.
1. Servers Locations
For me, number of server locations are very important because if I am not able to connect to a region of my choice, then what good is that VPN.
Most VPNs today cover all major regions such as the US, UK, Australia, various countries from Europe and Asia.
However, if you are traveling to China, then do a thorough research. China is known for its ruthless internet censorship and blocking several VPN services.
If you weren’t sure whether the VPN service offers the location you are looking for, then I would recommend consulting their customer support. It never hurts to ask!
2. Trustpilot Reviews
Trustpilot is a Danish website that offers user reviews for various online businesses. Why should you go through Trustpilot reviews before selecting a VPN?
This is because the website offers real life experiences of users who have actually used or tested the service. I personally recommend the website to most of my family members and friends who want to know about a service before using it.
Hence, Trustpilot is a great place to shortlist a VPN service.
PureVPN Tops the VPN Category on Trustpilot
If you look at some of the reviews on the website for different VPN services, PureVPN tops the list. It has over 6,500 reviews and has an excellent overall rating.
Many users praise PureVPN for being affordable and providing quick customer support. They found the user interface interactive and the apps to work smoothly on different operating systems.
On a side note, some users face difficulty with connections, as one user pointed out a SSL error. Other reviewers experienced a reduction in speeds. Overall, the VPN has the most positive reviews than any other VPN on Trustpilot (9.5 out of 10 TrustScore).
ExpressVPN makes it to the Second Spot
Followed by PureVPN is ExpressVPN on Trustpilot. It has a TrustScore of 9.5 out of 10, with total reviews of 1,005.
Many users commend its incredible performance and praise how it works well in regions like China. Likewise, some users mention its fast speeds and impeccable connectivity with different servers.
There are not many negative reviews about the provider, but one user found its Android application problematic. That said, ExpressVPN is one of the leading providers and its reviews on Trustpilot show its popularity.
CyberGhost VPN Comes in Third Place
The next VPN to follow PureVPN on Trustpilot is CyberGhost VPN. It has 2,506 reviews and a TrustScore of 9.4 out of 10.
Users are really happy with its software, overall performance, and ease of use. Although the service amassed a huge fan following through its free service, it’s great to see positive reviews of the premium version as well.
3. Protocols & Encryption
One of the many qualities of a VPN is to safeguard your personal data from anonymous hackers and other malicious goons present on the internet.
It achieves this level of security through secure protocols and encryption of data. When it comes to choosing a VPN, look for the type of protocols offered by the VPN along with encryption levels.
After testing over 100 VPN services, I would suggest selecting a VPN that offers OpenVPN protocol and AES 256-bit encryption level.
For anyone who values security of their data, OpenVPN protocol is the strong protocol out there and since it is open source, it negates any chances of governmental agencies creating a backdoor.
Likewise, AES 256-bit encryption is deployed by the military to secure their communications; therefore, it is the highest level of encryption available to date.
Renowned VPN services like ExpressVPN, PureVPN, and NordVPN offer OpenVPN protocol in all their apps and software and give you the option to enable AES 256 bit encryption.
4. Compatibility and Ease-of-use
When it comes to selecting the right VPN, the availability of apps and software play an important role. Almost every VPN now offers dedicate apps for different operating systems, be it Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
However, offering apps and having high compatibility is only one side of the coin. How easy these apps and software are to use is another.
Whenever I review any VPN, their user interface and ease-of-use is a critical factor in their overall rating. If the apps are designed poorly and uses a lot resources, then it will hinder your experience while making your device sluggish.
Therefore, VPN apps need to be clean and have all the options visibly present. It should also be lightweight and easy to use.
Performance of a VPN encompasses its overall speed, customer support, and functionality of its features. When you are choosing a VPN, do go through different performance benchmarks set by websites for the VPN provider.
For instance, if you are looking for a VPN for streaming, then choose a VPN that does not slow down your network speeds. NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs I have tested and one that is excellent for unblocking and streaming.
Similarly, if you are looking for a VPN for torrenting, make sure the VPN doesn’t leak your IP address.
In the VPN industry, you will find many VPN services within the $3.00 to $5.00 per month price range for a yearly package plan. However, there are some on the far end of the spectrum, which charges more than $8.00 per month, like ExpressVPN.
The final choice depends on you, as how much are you willing to spend on the features offered. For me, a VPN should not be too heavy on the wallet and provide sufficient benefit to make its high price worthwhile.
Likewise, look for trial versions and money back period to test the service. This will allow you to check if the VPN is right for you.
There are various other factors that you can consider while choosing a VPN. For me, the above six pointers are enough to judge if the VPN is right for you.
Trustpilot is a great place to start your research. User reviews on the website provide real-time feedback with great insights. Similarly, making use of the money back period and trial period is another way of evaluating a VPN and testing its features.
Do you think the above list was helpful? Do you use other parameters to choose a VPN? Let us know in the comments below.