The world is shrinking into a global village, and the current estimated global cybercrime costs are estimated to reach a USD 600 billion a year. People assume that they have nothing to lose or hide on the Internet but eventually end up losing their most important thing – their identity.
Here’s a fact, your privacy is just a step away from being hacked. No matter what antivirus you use, it cannot provide you 100% protection from cybersecurity attacks. Only a well-encrypted security tool is your savior like a VPN.
In this guide, we will provide you details on how to buy a VPN. But first let’s list down expert recommended VPN providers.
List of Best VPNs to buy in 2019
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What You Need to Look in a Best VPN Provider?
A Virtual Private Network is known for many things and privacy is one of them! But you need to understand and look into all the vital details to separate a faulty VPN from a secure VPN service.
We will highlight the most important factors that will influence your decision to buy a VPN. Acknowledge that the list may further be categorized and there are multiple other layers to peel off before you actually know the capabilities of the VPN provider.
Let’s begin to unravel the must-have factors to buy VPN.
Pricing – Multiple Payment Options Are Necessary
Pricing has always been a critical aspect because no matter how good the product or service is, if it’s not in the budget then no one will purchase it. Secondly, better quality always asks for more money but not every expensive VPN is the best option.
A good VPN should have all the features inclusive of a fair price. You need to understand what it is offering and make a decision if it is worth the money. Most VPN providers provide 3 basic pricing plans that include:
- 2-3 Years
Understand that every monthly plan is not cost effective. It is the most expensive plan being charged around $8-15. But we recommend opting for the year or two-year plan as the monthly cost reduces to a minimum of $3 if distributed among the 12-months.
Multiple Number of Servers Should Be Provided
The number of servers provided by the security tool tells a lot about the company as the more VPN servers the company has, the stronger support it will be able to give. The benchmark, in this case, is having 500+ VPN servers. A VPN tool having less than the number is not an ideal choice.
Then again what about the new entrants in the security industry? A new VPN company will not have multiple VPN providers which is why you can bet on it except for providing an excellent service. However, some new entrants prove to be worthwhile as their servers support Netflix as well.
Jurisdiction of the VPN Should be Outside 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes
Just as the number of servers tells you about the VPN, the location of the VPNs (base of operations) speaks a lot about its security and privacy policies. Having a VPN with servers equally spread across the globe is a must, but the location of its headquarters is critical.
There is an international surveillance alliance called:
- 5 Eyes
- 9 Eyes
- 14 Eyes
These alliances allow the countries to carry out mass surveillance by the federal government agencies to monitor and spy on their citizens. These countries are then bound to share citizen surveillance data with the countries involved in the alliance.
5 Eyes Countries:
United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand
9 Eyes Countries
All countries included in 5 eyes, France, Netherlands, Norway and Denmark
14 Eyes Countries
Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, and Italy
Make sure that the VPN is based outside these countries and in any case, if the provider is located in these regions then carefully go through the logging policy. A VPN that’s based in the US is of no use because the laws require the company to keep user data for some time.
The companies are required to share the user information upon request. So as a potential VPN buyer, you must know the country of operation of your VPN provider, and it shouldn’t have any data retention policies.
Having a Solid Protocol and Encryption
Every VPN provider should have all the important protocols to encrypt the server properly. Before you pick the VPN, look up for PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec protocols available in the VPN provider.
Also, AES 256-bit encryption is a must where VPN providers have already optimized settings for all devices. Every operating system and the device has a unique protocol allotted which gives the best security and encryption.
Refund Policy Without Bandwidth Limits
Most VPN providers offer refund policies. The best ones let you use their service for free with few limitations on the usage.
Even the most outdated and old VPN companies offer at least seven days of money back guarantee. However, if a VPN offers no refund policy then it is not worth your time or money.
A Transparent Log Policy
The purpose of a VPN is to achieve anonymity; any VPN that maintains any sort of logs that can help in identifying you is putting you in danger. Some VPNs like to keep your email addresses and payment information while others keep connection logs as well as activity logs. You have to find a VPN that offers a comprehensive no logs policy.
A VPN should not keep any sort of information about you in any case. You can find VPNs that let you pay anonymously and sign up via a disposable email address. The purpose of the VPN will be flawed if it retains activity logs.
VPN Should be Compatible With Multiple Platforms and Devices
Reliable VPNs that offer useful features and security are not limited to a few devices but are highly compatible. They will work smoothly on a Smart TV, smartwatch, smartphone, router or any tablet and even Kodi devices.
The key is to have a VPN with maximum compatibility because sooner or later you will buy a device that will need a VPN. The information about VPN compatibility with different devices and OS is mentioned on their website.
In case, you have an old device and want to know if the VPN is compatible with it or not, you can directly send them a query and confirm. You can either avail the live chat if it’s provided or email ticketing system.
Additional Security Features Included
There are some basic features that every VPN has to provide. However, with time, VPNs are bringing new additions to their services in order to attract customers and delight them with more secure services. Some of these advanced features are just a gambit with no real value.
However, others are of extreme importance and genuinely increase your online security and protection. We will mention our top picks of advanced features here;
Split tunneling lets you divide the VPN supply into the number of activities. For instance, if your only purpose of VPN is to watch Netflix US then you can set the traffic flow of the VPN for this purpose only while the rest of your online activity will continue without a VPN. This helps in dedicating the VPN for most crucial tasks at hand without distraction from any other source.
VPN basically hides your presence by replacing your IP address with a fake one. Now, most VPNs do that with shared IPs and there is nothing wrong in that. It’s just that we are looking for options for dedicated IPs. Certain tasks require you to have a separate dedicated IP so your VPN should be able to provide that in the hour of need.
Of course, you want to use the VPN on different devices. An internet user has access to two or three devices every day. A VPN must be able to protect all of them simultaneously. So a VPN service provider with a maximum number of multi logins is highly appreciated.
A kill switch helps to kill the internet connection as soon as something happens to a VPN connection. A kill switch is a secure option that protects your traffic even when your internet is not working.
A Solid Approachable 24/7 Customer Support Available
Customer support can never be ignored because if you are in any trouble or have any issue, customer support is the first place to seek help. The first thing to note about customer support is that they should be using various mediums like phone, email, live chat, etc.
This ensures the users that they are serious about providing help and immediate rescue. Two factors define the quality of customer support:
- They should give prompt replies
- They should be informative, selective and provide problem-solving solutions.
Of course, you cannot know all the information just from the website. However, you can test them by sending a random query and see how well they respond.
Streaming P2P Servers and Unblocking Geo-restricted Websites
A good VPN should support P2P file sharing. At the same time, the VPN should unblock famous streaming websites as well. Many users buy VPNs just to access Netflix and Hulu from anywhere. However, streaming giants Netflix and Hulu are actively involved in blocking VPN users.
A Handful of VPNs work with Hulu and Netflix. You can easily find out about the VPNs that can dodge Netflix and Hulu anywhere by connecting to different servers.
A VPN without fast speeds is an absurd scenario where your browser tab would be buffering until your device’s battery runs out. No one enjoys slow speeds but what makes a reasonable speed? There are various variables that affect a stable, fast connection.
Before you connect to the VPN, make sure your Internet Service Provider is not throttling your speed, and your connection is fast. However, after your connection with the VPN is established, make sure the VPN speed does not worsen. If it does, then the VPN is not worth it.
What to Look for to Buy VPN – Final Words
Multiple VPNs are a hoax or faulty which claim to be logless, but they are NOT! That is the reason buying a VPN is a crucial factor as an unreliable VPN can sell important data of users to third parties or law enforcement agencies. Which is why follow every protocol that we have mentioned and cross check it with the VPN you are about to buy.