How to Know If You Can Trust Your VPNLast Updated by Benjamin Walsh on April 18, 2019
There are many VPNs on the market, and if you’re new to the technology, it can be overwhelming. Some are good, some are bad, some you can trust, and some you can’t, but it’s not easy to determine which providers offer the best service.
A good VPN provider will encrypt and secure your device, maintain online privacy, and allow you to bypass geo-restrictions wherever you are. Unfortunately, many make this promise, but not all deliver.
Why Do You Need a VPN?
When you’re shopping for a new laptop or car, you probably won’t buy the first one you see, and the same logic applies when choosing a VPN service.
If you want a VPN for bypassing geo-restrictions and streaming content from all around the world, then a provider with a focus on speed and performance over other aspects will be your best option. A fast and reliable VPN will allow you to stream content seamlessly.
Before you can find the most trustworthy VPNs, it is fundamental to know what you want from the VPN first.
Critic and User Reviews
Without trying the VPN out yourself, critic and user reviews will give you the best insight into the service. It is important to understand that critic reviews are typically more technical, pointing out the smallest details, whereas user reviews are opinions of usability. Sites like Quora and Reddit are a good source of honest, no-nonsense information.
The downside to reviews is there may be bias towards some VPN providers. This bias can come from brand loyalty, lack of knowledge, dishonesty, or the website or individual having a partnership with a particular VPN. When looking at reviews, be careful what you read and where it is coming from and refer to multiple sources.
When you’ve narrowed down your VPN options, it is worth taking a look at individual privacy policies to see how seriously they take their users’ privacy. A policy is a legal document which discloses the ways a customer’s data is gathered, used, and managed.
For example, NordVPN places emphasis on their no-logs policy:
In 2017, Turkish police seized an ExpressVPN server in pursuit of an assassin. However, the police found there was no information on the server, proving ExpressVPN is honest and don’t store any activity logs or personal information.
Here is a great example of an untrustworthy VPN:
Hola gained a large user base, however, in 2015, researchers discovered the service allowed user activity to be tracked by third-parties as well as remotely run apps installed onto devices.
Moreover, Hola was using the bandwidth of customers as a proxy for paying Luminati customers, meaning your IP address could be used in any way and you would be held responsible.
The 5 Eyes
If you’re serious about your online privacy, it is best to choose a VPN service located outside of the 5 Eyes. The UK and USA were the first to agree to share signals intelligence, later joined by Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. If your data isn’t encrypted in these countries, the government can track your activity and monitor your data.
Choosing a VPN service based outside of these countries can help maintain your privacy and is likely to be more trusted than those located inside. For example, NordVPN is an excellent premium VPN service based in Panama.
- AES 256-bit encryption
- 2,000+ servers in 148 locations spanning 94 countries
- No log policy
- A strong connection and fast speeds
- Based in the British Virgin Islands
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Double encryption feature
- 5,000+ servers in 62 countries
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Based in Panama
- Secure 256-bit encryption
- No logs and no throttling
- Easy to use interface
- Based in Romania