A VPN can protect your data by making sure that your connections are secure and private. While the promises of military-grade security or complete invisibility may entice you, Consumer Reports Yael Grauer recommends looking for more concrete evidence that the service you are considering is legitimate.
Begin by checking compatibility. The service should be compatible with at a minimum the most popular operating systems such as Windows, macOS and Linux, Android, and iOS. You’ll want to know the number of devices supported by the service and how many connections it can support simultaneously. In the end, you’ll need to consider the number of servers available and their locations around the globe. This will help you choose one that is close to home or offers speedy speeds while traveling abroad.
Some services offer specialized features, like dedicated ‘Netflix servers’ which allow access to geo-restricted websites, as well as additional security features, like RAM-only servers that wipes data every time the service reboots as well as monitoring the dark web and security measures to protect against threats. Examine the ownership structure of the company and determine if it has been involved in privacy breaches or privacy scandals in the past.
The most reliable overall service we tried was NordVPN with its thousands of servers in 94 countries, AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption, an effective kill switch split tunneling, obfuscated and split tunneling servers. It’s also one of the few providers to publish its detailed no-logs policy and engages PricewaterhouseCoopers for annual audits. The prices aren’t cheap, however, you get a lot for your money. A generous long-term plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.