Over the years, we’ve defined the optimum process and format to create our VPN service reviews. First, it makes it easier for us to write new reviews and update existing reviews regularly. Second, it allows readers to skim through all reviews easily. Here’s our secret methodology:
We Use the Same Testing Devices
First of all, we need several testing devices on which to run the VPNs. Because most providers offer native apps on all popular platforms. And we have to try them all to give you full, detailed advice. Therefore, we’ve purchased devices for testing purposes: Computers (Windows, macOS, Linux), smartphones and tablets (Android, iOS), routers (DD-WRT, OpenWRT, Tomato), etc. While the PC clients are usually alike, it happens that mobile apps offer fewer features.
We try all the VPNs on the same devices to maintain consistency throughout our reviews. And this allows us to present you with trustworthy and fresh VPN reviews, including our results and screenshots.
We Install and Use the VPN Clients and Apps
Next, for a VPN review, we need a VPN to review. And we can’t use a free trial version. Because it usually comes with limitations (server, bandwidth, etc.). And these limitations would not reflect the real quality of the service. Therefore, we need to purchase a plan, like any other user, to get the full package. While we can accept a free testing account, we do not sell reviews. And we don’t accept any compensation in exchange of a review. Not ever.
Our VPN ratings are impartial: They come from the results of our tests and our experience. Nothing else.
We Evaluate the User-Friendliness of the Software
This is a factor that can be subjective to the reviewers. But you can really relate to the experience or other users anyway. When you need to compare VPN services, it makes sense to spend some time on the setup and the interface.
Because we install and use all the VPNs we review, we can give you our informed opinion. Is it easy to set up? The interface: Is it user-friendly? Is it accessible to casual users? We answer these questions in all the VPN reviews.
We Study Privacy and Logging Policies
When we compare VPN services, it’s not only about hardware and software. And we have to allocate some time to read their logging policies too. Because some VPN providers claim to implement a zero log policy on their homepage. And it’s not quite what they mention in their fine prints…
It’s your privacy that’s at stake here. So we’ll let you know exactly what is logged or not. Maybe finding a complete VPN no logs is impossible – these companies need a minimum of data to run their services. But in our VPN service reviews, you can expect to find out which providers don’t store any data that could be used to identify you.
We Investigate VPN Companies
Now that’s a tough row to hoe! Because privacy is second nature to these companies. And they often implement what they preach: Keeping their sensitive data for themselves. Our job here is to identify the companies behind the services. And to check whether they’ve leaked or compromised users’ data in the past.
Also, locating their headquarters is an important task, to know whether they’re based in one of the infamous five eyes countries. Depending on their jurisdiction, companies may have to comply with the authorities. And to hand your browsing data over, when compelled to…
We Run Speed Tests
What can you expect from each provider when streaming videos or downloading torrents? Will your stream lag, buffer or load constantly? Are the download speeds so slow that it will take hours or days to download an episode of your favorite series? Our VPN reviews wouldn’t be complete without a paragraph dedicated to speed. But don’t expect to get the same results: There are too many factors to take into consideration.
However, it’s still a good signal to help you make up your mind before purchasing a VPN. If the VPN speed is great during our test, it should also be great when you use it. And the same is true the other way around.
We Put Servers to the Test with Major Streaming Services
Speed is great. But we need to know a little bit more to compare VPN services, especially when it comes to streaming. We need to check if they can unblock Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. And that’s a recurring and never-ending job. Because streaming platforms always implement new geo-restrictions and bans on IP addresses.
In each of our VPN reviews, you’ll get an up-to-date status for Netflix. And if a VPN provider doesn’t focus on bypassing these restrictions, you’ll know it. So you can find the perfect VPN for your favorite activity.
We Find out If Torrenting and P2P Are Allowed
In addition to their logging policy, we need to check if VPN companies are torrent-friendly or not. Because they all have their own stance on this topic. While some providers openly promote this activity, others restrict it to selected servers, or simply block it.
And you can’t go against their policy. Visiting torrent sites without a torrent VPN would be counterproductive, or even dangerous. So, we state clearly in our VPN service reviews if you can use the services to download torrents.
We Test for the Most Common Leaks
Using a VPN is the best way to protect your privacy. But an infallible software doesn’t exist. And your IP address could leak, when the VPN connection drops, or even when connected to a VPN server. Most leaks originate from your Operating System (OS) that takes over the VPN to connect to the Internet.
But providers are well aware of this risk. And most of them implement features like DNS leak protection to prevent them. During our VPN service reviews, we test for DNS leaks, IPv4 and IPv6 leaks and WebRTC leaks.
We List the Privacy and Security Features
Have you ever heard of the Internet kill switch feature? Do you know the different VPN protocols? While you don’t need to know them all, you should look for premium features when you compare VPN services. The more simultaneous connections, the better. And the more server locations, the more content you can access. Also, OpenVPN should be your chosen protocol.
In our VPN reviews, we’ll tell you all about the features we recommend to increase your security and protect your online privacy.
We Contact Customer Support
Why is customer service important for our VPN reviews? Because chances are you’ll need support one day or another. It can be about a payment with your credit card. Or when you need to know what server is working with Netflix USA.
And getting a reply within minutes influence our VPN ratings. Maybe using an FAQ or a forum is enough for your needs. Or you may prefer support by email, telephone, or live chat. Just read our VPN service reviews to see!
We Compare the Value for Money
While pricing is an essential part of our VPN reviews, it comes last among our criteria. Because when you’re checking VPN ratings on our website, you’re looking for a good service before anything else. A service that will allow you to browse the Web anonymously, stream videos, download torrents or anything else that you need.
And then you can check whether or not you’re ready to pay the price tag.
There’s no point in comparing the price of services that would not match your needs. But when you have several providers with similar features and VPN ratings, it makes sense to study their price.