How to choose a VPN service provider?

VPN service providers have become quite popular nowadays, especially in the United States, as Donald Trump has recently signed a bill that gives Internet Service Providers (ISPs) the power to sell user data to third parties and advertisers. Most Internet users have been using VPN services for quite some time already, but lately many of them have turned to VPN providers when concern for safety and censorship has grown. It can be said that many Internet users are focused on streaming and have been streaming American Netflix, BBC iPlayer or unblocking geographically-restricted and inaccessible content while the other part has started using VPN for safety, security and keeping personal information private. 

It is not easy to choose a good VPN service


What is a VPN?

VPN services offer a variety of different features and there are many ways that a VPN can be used for. A VPN can help you hide your original IP address - your location can be virtually changed by connecting to another server that is located on the other side of the world and in another country altogether. A VPN service provider lets you easily switch between multiple locations and access all kinds of geographically locked and restricted content. Moreover, if you’re using a VPN, your Internet traffic and any kind of activity is encrypted. Encryption helps to hide and secure you, so that even your Internet Service Provider cannot track you and know what kind of websites you’re browsing or what material you’re sharing/downloading online. When using a VPN service provider, you can surf the web safely and without fear that you are being tracked. 


Why use a VPN?

As we’ve mentioned before, a VPN can help you access geographically locked websites as well as streaming services that are unavailable in your country - Hulu, HBO, BBC and other. Moreover, you can upload and download files in privacy, use Torrenting clients and not be afraid that you’ll get a notice from your Internet Service Provider about illegal activities. But in general, VPN services are mostly used for better privacy and making sure that your data is not being tracked by third-parties or ISPs. For example, using public Wi-Fi might not seem like much, but your data, logins and other credentials are left exposed and can easily be accessed if you’re not careful. Not to mention that malware, viruses and hackers might crack your personal information and use it for malicious purposes. Thankfully, with the help of a VPN service, you can be sure that your data will stay safe and secure. 


Why is it better not to use a free VPN?

Free VPNs are usually limited in many ways: either data, speed, server connections, country locations or more. Of course, there are some very good free VPNs and if you’re a basic user who does not need to use a VPN heavily, then a free product might be good enough for you, as some of them do offer good security and features. However, those who need a VPN for serious privacy reasons or want to stay fully anonymous on the Internet, should definitely consider that a free service will never offer exceptional privacy and security. Not to mention, some free VPNs do not support streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, so if you want a VPN strictly for watching geographically locked content - it’s better to buy a fully featured VPN. Torrenting and P2P file-sharing might be tricky as well, because a lot depends on a VPN’s privacy policy, base location and other criteria, as some VPNs do not allow such activity for legal reasons. 


Criteria to consider when choosing a VPN service provider

There are numerous features to consider when choosing a good VPN service provider. We’ll break down the most important criteria and what to pay attention to when choosing the best VPN service for you. Of course, it all depends on what you will be using the VPN for, but the main points are these:

  • Price. It’s important to compare the prices between different pricing plans as well as different VPN service providers. Moreover, be sure to check what kind of features are included in each subscription package and if the cost is adequate to what the VPN provider offers. Money-back guarantees, different payment method availability are essential factors as well. It is also a big advantage if a VPN service has a free trial, so you can try it out before making a financial commitment.
  • Features. Simultaneous connections, various country locations, a wide list of server locations available and advanced features (adblocker, anti-malware, a killswitch) - all are important for a VPN provider. The more countries and server locations the better, as you will be able to connect to more servers in different countries and access more various blocked content. Also, more servers mean less load and faster speed when surfing and streaming.
  • Multi-device support. Simultaneous connections and various platform, as well as operating system support, is important if you have a handful of devices and want to use a VPN on more than one of them - laptop, phone, tablet or desktop computer or other. Also, one-click installation is a way to go, because no one wants to manually configure something they might not understand. Users like it when the installation process takes a few clicks and that’s it.
  • Privacy and security. Encryption protocols and types, their strength and a VPN’s privacy policy are one of the key factors of a VPN. A variety of encryption protocols is a good feature, though the most secure of them all is OpenVPN, so be sure to check if a VPN service provider you’re researching supports this one. Moreover, pay attention to what kind of encryption type is used for each protocol: AES, Blowfish or other. A VPN service provider’s location is important as well. Some countries have intelligence agencies that can gather your data no matter what (Fourteen Eyes group, NSA, CIA, and others) and it is better to avoid such countries.
  • Speed. VPNs always experience speed loss due to long distances and other processing activity, so you need to check if a VPN offers high-speed servers. It is a known fact that the speed drops, but if the server speed is high, the drop is insignificant and won’t be noticed or felt. However, some VPNs can be very slow and you’ll be left frustrated when your Torrent download speed drops or when Netflix starts buffering uncontrollably. 

There are other criteria as well, but as we’ve mentioned before, it all depends on what you will be using the VPN service for. If you’ll want to access restricted content, you need a VPN with a wide server coverage and if you’ll want to keep your personal information safe, it is better to pay attention to a VPN’s privacy and security settings. Of course, try and take into consideration the general package and features: pricing, speed, features as well as device support and other criteria as well. 

Want to know which VPN service providers are considered to be the best? Be sure to check out our list of the top-rated VPN services right here

An exclusive list of our top-rated VPN service providers

Editor's choice

Fast server speeds, no-logs policy, strong encryption and great customer support make NordVPN an excellent choice for streaming and browsing.

Over 2500 people have chosen NordVPN today!


Surfshark is one of the smoothest VPNs around. Its perfectly intuitive design hides advanced security solutions and some of the most premium features in the industry.


ProtonVPN is designed with security as the main focus, offering great network defence and very strong encryption for secure connection and streaming.


Ultra strong security combined with zero-logs policy as well as P2P support makes PrivateVPN one of the best providers considering price/quality ratio.


A wide server coverage and fast speed will help to access all of the streaming websites and browse the web safely.


Fastest VPN service provider that offers unlimited speed, bandwidth and server switches as well as 30-days money back guarantee.


Fast server and connection speed, good encryption and over 30 country locations make ZenMate a great VPN service provider.


Servers in more than 140 countries and unlimited data make PureVPN a great choice for streaming and surfing the web securely.


Good encryption and fast servers are excellent for streaming and browsing the web with SaferVPN.


Unrestricted speeds on streaming websites and 24/7 customer support make this VPN a perfect choice.