In a time when it seems everyone is trying to steal your personal information, a VPN can aid you in avoiding that by making your connections secure and secure. But while sweeping claims of military-grade encryption and total digital obscurity could be tempting, Consumer Reports’ Yael Grauer advises you to look for more concrete evidence that a service is genuine before committing.
Begin by checking compatibility. The service should be compatible with at least the most popular operating systems, such as Windows, macOS and Linux, Android, and iOS. Then, you need to determine the number of devices it supports, and the number of simultaneous connections it can provide. Also, take a look at the number of servers available and their locations around the world. This will help you choose a server that’s close to your home or offers fast speeds when traveling abroad.
Some services offer specialized features, such as dedicated ‘Netflix servers that can unblock geo-restricted platforms, or extra security measures, like RAM-only servers (which wipe data each when the service is rebooted), dark web monitoring and threat protection. Examine the ownership structure of the company and determine if it has had data breaches or privacy scandals in the past.
The most reliable overall service we tried was NordVPN with its thousands of servers across 94 countries, AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption, an effective kill switch as well as split tunneling and obfuscated servers. It’s also one of the few providers to publish its detailed no-logs policy and engages PricewaterhouseCoopers for annual audits. It’s not cheap, however, you get a lot for your money. A long-term plan that is generous includes a 30 day money-back guarantee.