If you want to experience improved privacy and security on the Internet, using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a great idea.
Unfortunately, finding the right VPN service for your needs in a crowded marketplace is no easy endeavor, especially for first-time users.
Sure, there’s a wealth of tips and advice online. But it can be tricky figuring out where to start and what to pay attention to during your hunt for a VPN provider.
However, fret not as we got your back! In this guide, you’ll find all the details you need to choose the best possible VPN for you.
We’ve compiled expert opinions about what makes a VPN great and data on important factors to consider during the selection process from over 200 top websites and blogs on
Without further ado, let’s dive in:
What Makes a VPN the Best, According to Experts?
We reached out to the experts to find out their top recommendations for selecting a VPN service, and here’s what they had to say:
Will Ellis – IT Security Consultant & Founder of Privacy Australia
“There are a few aspects to look out for which would fit a VPN into this category. The top 3, in my opinion, are as follows:
1) Security: Although it should go without saying that a VPN should have good security measures in place, it is still important to keep an eye on what these are and which ones are the best for you. What are the policies in place relating to anonymity, and what protection methods are there? Also look at the encryption methods used and pretty much everything else related to security and privacy.
2) Speed and Versatility: When it comes to the speed of a good VPN, you should not only look at stable and fast access overall but also for versatility in terms of different uses. If it is only good for streaming purposes and not for other tasks, will it work for you?
3) Reach: Depending on how you will be using your VPN, reach can be a very important aspect. In most cases, you don’t want to be limited in what you can and can’t access. So, the VPN which you use should be able to work in many countries (especially if you travel while you work).
Chris Parker – Founder of WhatIsMyIPAddress.com & Host for the Easy Prey Podcast
“The keys to choosing the best VPN are making sure that it:
- Meets your specific use cases (for example, can you access streaming services or use P2P networks?)
- Has clear logging and privacy policies
- Is an established VPN service and not some fly-by-night free VPN service that monetizes its users.”
Raffi Jamgotchian – CTO of Triada Networks
“To fulfill the promise of as much anonymity as possible, a great VPN should have:
- A geo-diverse set of servers
- The potential of island hopping (comes with decreased performance) as an option. The ability to go in one node and out another like Tor
- The ability to use your own VPN software such as OpenVPN or Wireguard
- The ability to connect directly from a router (using a site to site VPN) to protect all devices in a home network for example
- No logging off traffic, IPs or connections for longer than necessary it at all.
- Canary wording in privacy notice to tip off if there have been national security requests.”
Dave Hatter – Cybersecurity & IT Consultant
“One must consider the following key factors when picking a VPN service:
- Strong encryption
- No logging
- Many VPN servers
- High speeds and no throttling
- Clients that work on multiple devices.”
Gabe Turner – Director of Content at Security.org
“There are many things to look for in a VPN, like having a strict logging policy, a kill switch, as well as making sure the company is based in a country that’s a non-member to the international surveillance alliances Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes.
The VPN shouldn’t slow down your computer too much when used in speed tests, plus, it shouldn’t reveal your real IP address, instead replacing it with a fake one. The VPN should also have highly-rated apps on iOS and Android, depending on your mobile device.”
Mark Soto – Owner of Cybericus, a Cybersecurity Company
“One of the most important features for a VPN to have is a kill switch. It essentially kills the internet connection when your VPN stops working which prevents any data not protected by the VPN (like your IP address) from being sent out.
In terms of cost efficiency, the VPN should be cross-platform and work on your computer, mobile phone, and smart TV. You would want one that works on different operating systems, like Windows, Linux, and MAC.
Having a global network of servers should also be taken into account. It can open up an entire avenue of information that otherwise wouldn’t be available to you depending on where you are located in the world.”
Stacy Clements – Retired Air Force Cyber Operations Officer
“Of course, best depends on your particular needs and what you feel is important; for example, some people really want to avoid VPNs based in certain countries due to law enforcement rules in those countries, and are willing to make tradeoffs in speed or flexibility.
I primarily work with small businesses and individuals who just need to protect themselves from cyber criminals. For my purposes, the best VPNs are those with good connection speed as well as servers in multiple countries (to facilitate checking sites from different locations).
I also look for DNS leak protection, which helps keep data safe even when using public Wi-Fi where the connection may drop unexpectedly, and the ability to set up the VPN on a wireless router so it can be used at home or in a small office.”
Key Factors that Make the Best VPN, As Per Top Websites & Blogs
According to our research of more than 200+ VPN related blogs and websites, the following factors matter the most when deciding on a provider:
So, why are these factors so important? Let us explain.
When it comes to VPN servers, the greater the number, the better it is. Having access to an extensive global network will allow you to find a server that works right for you, and you’ll also be able to avoid the crowded ones.
Money Back Guarantee
Let’s face it, you wouldn’t want to get stuck with a service that doesn’t live up to your expectations. The best VPNs will offer a money-back guarantee ranging anywhere between 15 to 45 days so that your purchase is protected.
Some VPN protocols are better for security, while others are better for speed. Therefore, you should opt for a VPN provider with a wide selection of protocols, such as PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, and OpenVPN (TCP & UDP).
No Log Policy
A VPN that keeps logs of its users activities defeats the purpose of using one at all. You’d be letting your provider spy on you, after all! Not only this, they can also share your information with law enforcement agencies upon request.
What good is a VPN service if it doesn’t come equipped with must-have features, including an internet kill switch, split tunneling, and unlimited bandwidth? These and other features take your online experience to a whole new level.
With a dedicated IP address, you can securely access corporate networks remotely, make online payments conveniently, and more. Therefore, it’s worth checking if a VPN provides dedicated IPs from various countries worldwide.
Encryption is the most effective way to keep your personal data protected from interested third-parties like hackers. A good VPN will secure your online activities using the highest encryption level available such as AES 256-bit.
VPNs improve your online anonymity by replacing your true IP address. The VPN-provided IP address is shared among multiple users, so anything you do can’t be traced back to you. That’s why you shouldn’t settle for anything less than a huge pool of IPs.
Once activated, a VPN creates a safe connection over the public internet to keep your information out of the reach of outsiders. The best ones will be able to provide top-notch security on any Wi-Fi network, be it private or public.
You’ve secured your laptop with a VPN, and that’s great. But what if you need to use one on your mobile phone, smart TV, or gaming console? Your provider should have easy-to-use apps for all devices and even support those without built-in VPN capabilities.
Whether you’re a pro or novice VPN user, there will be times when you hit a snag. This is where customer support comes into play. Most great VPNs offer 24/7/365 assistance through mediums like live chat or email.
The design and user interface of your VPN’s apps or clients is important as well. The overall experience should be as intuitive and smooth as possible, or else you’re going to find it confusing to use certain features and settings.
A VPN is commonly used for streaming or downloading unavailable content, so you wouldn’t want sluggish speeds to ruin your sessions. Make sure the VPN service has dedicated servers so you can enjoy these activities at high-speeds.
Do you have to get the most expensive VPN to enjoy a premium online experience? Not really. In fact, you’ll find quite a few reasonable priced services on the market that don’t skimp on security, speed, and other essentials.
Access to Unavailable Services
Many users rely on VPNs to access the full content library of streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime. Before signing up for a provider, you need to ensure it’s capable of providing unrestricted access to these popular services.
IP Leak Protection
Your real IP address and identity can be exposed despite using a VPN, courtesy of WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks. The best VPNs offer features like WebRTC leak protection, IPv6 leak protection, and DNS leak protection to counter this.
This functionality allows you to use one account on different devices at the same time, which is extremely important if you have multiple devices that require VPN protection. Ideally, you should settle for no less than 5-10 multi-logins.
And that’s about it. We hope this article will make your decision-making process easier when you’re in the market scouting for a VPN service. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.