We test every aspect of a VPN when we write a review for it. What you need from a VPN may differ from someone else’s. We weigh our VPN reviews based on what we believe is most important. And also what users want from a VPN.
Privacy and Security
Privacy is a key part of a VPN. A VPN must protect your online privacy, otherwise it’s not doing its job properly.
A VPN must: not collect any personal web logs; not leak your real IP or DNS address; employ VPN protocols with the strongest encryption.
A slow VPN is no good to anyone. Massive speed loss can be disastrous if you’re on a slower internet connection. We regularly test VPN speeds and update speed results.
Streaming & Torrenting
A popular reason for using VPNs is to unblock streaming content abroad. Not every VPN is capable of unblocking major streaming services, though.
We run frequent VPN tests on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+.
Torrenting with a VPN is also very popular. You’ll need a VPN that allows P2P traffic, has no data usage limits, doesn’t store user logs, and is based in a safe jurisdiction.
Every VPN company should have 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week live chat support. And the very best services do.
We also value online help guides, tutorials, and detailed FAQs. Some VPNs even have forums where users can help each other.
Ease of Use
Many consumer VPNs look and work in similar ways. However, little details can make a big difference.
We download and test every VPN we review. We test them on Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS and Fire OS devices. We also run them on Linux, Apple TV, PlayStation, Xbox, and routers. Only that way can we judge a VPN service’s ease of use.
We also consider extra features like a kill switch, an ad-blocker, and split tunneling. These additional tools can add real value to a VPN.
A VPN is an essential to beat internet censorship in certain countries.
Beating web blocks in China, the UAE or Turkey is very hard to do for most VPN services. Very few can do it, and even fewer can do it consistently.
We have specific testing procedures to determine which VPNs work in high-censorship nations. For China, we have a dedicated Shanghai server, which we use weekly to test VPN access.
For more details, read our guide on how we test and review VPNs.