We take things seriously, unlike many other VPN review pages.
When we review the VPN service, we actually open our wallets and become a paid customers. We never invite free accounts. This is what we do:
- Buy the VPN subscription of each VPN service.
- Install the VPN application on our laptop (Windows 10 or Mac OS 10.13+).
- Use speedtest.net to run multiple speed tests from various locations.
- Check for DNS, IP, and WebRTC leaks from applications and browser extensions.
- Test the ease of use and ease of use of the VPN app.
- Check your registration policy and jurisdiction.
- Check if they unblock/work with Netflix.
- Check to see if torrenting and peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading are permitted.
- Try our customer service.
- List your main security and privacy features.
- Check compatibility (TOR, game consoles, routers, etc.).
- Compare the value with the value.
- Please rate them accordingly on our home page.
Here’s how we evaluate and test each element of a VPN service:
Our Best 13-Steps Review Process:
1. Same computer & network for each VPN
What is inside the box?
Meet the Lenovo IdeaPad 120S-141AP, also known as “Lenny” for short.
To keep the technology consistent, we test every VPN on Lenny. We bought Lenny specifically for that reason!
It would make no sense to check these VPNs on multiple networks, so we use a wired connection on an equivalent network at our headquarters in Estonia. We test our network speed multiple times over several weeks to meet our average: 98 Mbps upload, 53 Mbps download:
2. Bought and installed 78 VPN apps (ongoing…)
Here’s a look at Lenny’s desk a couple of weeks ago for perspective:
This is the part where we pause and use bold to make sure this is often unmissable:
We do not accept money, bribes, favors, donations in kind, exotic pets, cryptocurrencies, home-cooked meals, or ANY compensation in exchange for writing or editing a review. EVER.
In fact, we bought all the VPN services we tested out of our own pocket to allow for complete honesty as a real consumer.
All of our data is collected first-hand – unlike other reviewers, we did not mislead other site numbers or simply make them up. (Which, sadly, is too common.)
3. Read through their logging policy
Have you ever read detailed privacy or registration policy? we have. More than 40 times. Until our eyes were watering and our heads ached.
This is the least fun part of our reviews, but the most important: shady companies use misleading language to disguise the very fact that they are tracking and sharing your activity.
We read the fine print to make sure you are not being taken advantage of.
4. Check their jurisdiction and history
Background and company name: Who runs the company? Where they are? Do they need a history of user privacy violations or leaks? We collect as much information as possible and pass it on to you.
Jurisdiction: The jurisdiction in which a VPN is based can play an important role in whether or not a VPN might be compelled to hand over your data to authorities if pushed. More about it here.
5. Run multiple speed tests
It doesn’t matter how stable your VPN is if downloading an episode of “Stranger Things” takes three hours. To account for changes in commission, we use speedtest.net to review upload and download speeds multiple times.
We also review these speed tests about once a year to determine if anything has changed.
Unfortunately, some VPNs were VERY slow …
6. Tested Netflix streaming across 3 to 6 servers
Netflix n ‘chill? As long as it works. That’s why we don’t do a one-time test – we find out which servers (if any) actually work with Netflix and let you know, saving you time and headaches.
7. Read through their torrenting/P2P policy
Some VPNs crackdown on P2P and torrenting. Some defend it outright. Others are crafty about it. We get to the reality of interest and confirm that you will do what you want with the VPN you select.
8. Test for DNS, IPv4, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks
TL; DR: IP leaks happen when your VPN doesn’t cover your real IP while browsing. For example: if you visited uploading a geo-restricted show to Netflix and therefore the content was still blocked, your real IP could have been leaked.
We strategically test common points of failure to determine how the VPN works.
9. Graded their usability and user-friendliness
The world’s most stable VPN won’t help much if it needs a degree in computer science to use properly. To get a sense of how open the VPN would be to the average user, we look at things like setup time, user-friendly interfaces, and ease of configuration.
10. Evaluate each VPN security and privacy features
Different VPN services are more ideal for various use cases (eg business or personal), while some “premium” features really should be standard on every VPN. We evaluate…
- Available security protocols
- Encryption type
- Kill-switch (instant disconnection if security is lost) of maximum connections (how many devices at the same time)
- Browser extensions
- Number and location of servers
And any unique features that the VPN Service brings to the table, highlighting the good, the bad, and therefore the ugly.
11. Give their customer support a (real!) test run
NEVER trust a corporation that promises best-in-class customer service. We submit support tickets, make phone calls, chat, and more to check the speed of response and thus the competence of the support team at the opposite end when handling common VPN issues.
12. Test compatibility with routers, TVs, TOR, and consoles
If your VPN service isn’t compatible with your devices, what’s the point? We tested several different compatibility settings to help you avoid buying an answer that won’t work on your devices.
We also test whether TORs are often used in conjunction with the VPN Service for another layer of security, important to many power users and people in conflictive environments/locations.
13. Compare the cost vs value
Yes, the price is vital. So why evaluate it last? Because it makes no sense during a free product that compromises your privacy, or a luxury product that offers nothing superior to a less expensive one.
The whole method, right?
Between Reviewing our 13-Step For VPN over 70 VPN providers and revisiting previous reviews to keep them up to date, it’s easy to determine why we took a tap to post new reviews.
We hope you appreciate the depth and transparency that goes into the work we do here, the knowledge of which will be helpful to your decision.
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