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What to look for when buying
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You take your Internet privacy seriously and are looking for a VPN. The problem is there are so many available. With big names and free VPNs vying for your attention, it can sometimes feel overwhelming browsing Google for answers. How do you know you're actually safe when buying a VPN?

Here are a few pointers you need to ask yourself before purchasing one.

Free VPN or paid?

While a free VPN sounds great, there's always a catch. Most free VPNs only provide essential services, so you have to upgrade to a paid version to get comprehensive protection.

Sometimes a VPN is only free because it collects your information and sells it to third-parties. Getting a free service is attractive, but when it comes to online security, it's rarely worth the risk.

Money-back guarantee

Always look for a VPN that offers a money-back guarantee. Then you can take the VPN for a test drive and see if it meets your requirements. Companies who provide this type of warranty will make it easy to get your money back, so you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

No logs

If you don't have a VPN, then your web browsing habits are monitored by an Internet service provider (ISP). It tracks and stores everything you do online, and sometimes they sell your data to advertisers, governments, or third-party actors.

A VPN stops that from happening, but unless it explicitly states "no logs" they will track your online activity instead. With a no-logs guarantee, your VPN won't follow, collect, or monitor your web browsing history. If web privacy is important to you, then you'll need a VPN that respects your right to be anonymous.

Strong encryption protocols

A secure VPN will keep your browsing habits private and protect you on public Wi-Fi. With Internet hackers on the rise, having a VPN is essential to stop criminals from accessing your sensitive information.

Cybercrime spares no one, so having a robust VPN protocol is one way to safely secure your Internet traffic. OpenVPN has received near-universal approval from VPN providers because of its flexibility and security features. Since the protocol is open-source, OpenVPN is maintained and updated in real-time by a dedicated web community.

When Internet traffic passes through an OpenVPN connection, it's difficult to discern between an HTTPS over an SSL connection. Its ability to hide your data makes it more robust against hackers and difficult for servers to block.

If you want a reliable VPN connection, especially while switching Wi-Fi networks, then IKEv2 is also helpful. Its main strength is catering for mobile and Windows users looking for a secure and private connection. IKEv2 will keep your VPN connection secure, even if your Wi-Fi signal cuts out.

So make sure to look for an OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocol to ensure your VPN data is secure.

Bandwidth and performance speed

A VPN's primary concern is your online privacy and security, but no one wants to compromise on speed. Fast streaming is a priority for people looking for a new VPN, and many free versions cap your Internet usage, slowing down your performance. If having fast Internet is important to you, then unlimited bandwidth should be a priority as it will free you of ISP speed limits.

No one wants to watch a movie with buffering, so performance speed is a high-quality watermark for a VPN.

Kill Switch capability

A Kill Switch will help you maintain your online privacy at all times - even when your Wi-Fi cuts out and reconnects you again. Having one is like a security button. It will automatically turn your Internet off if your VPN is not working. So, if you're searching for a VPN, and you care about the continuity of service, then a Kill Switch is a desirable feature.

Available on multiple devices

If you're looking for a VPN to protect your laptop, tablet, and phone, then you'll need a paid service that provides coverage to multiple devices. Many people buy their laptops and phones at different times or upgrade once their contract expires, so it makes sense to have a VPN that protects up-to-five devices.

Customer service guarantee

A VPN provider that offers 24/7 customer service is a serious outfit. For peace of mind, it's reassuring to know you can ask someone online whenever you have a question.

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