Buying a VPN seems easy on the face of it. Do a Google search for ‘the best VPN service’ and choose a VPN which is recommended by one of the tech sites like PC World or Tech Radar. However its not as simple as that.
In this guide, we will detail the difficulties customers are facing when comparing VPNs, how to get round them and ultimately how to buy a VPN.
Things to consider when buying a VPN
Firstly, lets take a look at some of things you should consider when choosing a VPN.
1. What do you need the VPN for
This is the first question you must answer as depending on what you are using the VPN for will determine what features you need from your VPN. For example, if you are using the VPN to unblock Netflix then you will need a VPN that has a large number of servers, especially the country whose Netflix you want to access as well as servers that can get around the Netflix proxy block. A high-speed connection is always advantageous as you will be streaming video content.
If you will be torrenting with your VPN, then you will need a VPN that is BitTorrent-friendly, a kill-switch and has a strict no-logs policy.
2. How experienced are you with VPNs
If you are new to the world of VPNs then you will need a VPN that has a user-friendly interface. This simply means you can navigate the online platform easily enough and connect to a VPN with the least amount of difficulty as possible. You will also need a VPN provider that has a history of excellent customer service. Our VPN reviews detail both of these for the top VPN providers.
If you are far more advanced with VPNs and technology in general, then you may want to look for a VPN provider that has all the added extras you desire, even if that does compromise on some of the other factors such as customer service and price.
3. How much do you want to pay for a VPN?
Everyone has a budget and making sure you stick within this is important. The majority of VPNs give huge discounts for signing up to their service for multiple years however this means you have to pay for the entire contract in full. Pay-monthly options are also available however these are usually much more expensive but do give you that added flexibility.
The top VPN providers usually offer a minimum 30-day back money guarantee where if you’re not happy with your purchase they will refund you the full amount, no questions asked. This is perfect for those that want to try before they fully commit to a two or three-year contract. Another option is to try a free VPN. Now we don’t usually recommend free VPNs as a rule, however, they are useful for those new to VPNs who just want to try before they buy. Because they are free, they will usually come with limitations such as slower speeds, capped bandwidth usage and in some cases come full of adverts.
The problem with shopping for a VPN
In the current market there is a huge issue with different technology review sites recommending different VPNs as “the best VPN”. For example, at the time of writing Tech Radar recommends Express VPN with Nord VPN coming in a close second. Great! But then, Wired recommend Nord VPN with Express coming second. Then to make matters worse, VPN Mentor recommend Express VPN but Nord VPN are no where in sight!
Below we compare there VPN review sites best 5 recommended VPNs.
A list of Wired’s Best VPNs can be found here. As you can see with their listing they also recommend Mullvad which is not listed in either of the other round-up articles.
So a customer new to the world of VPNs could be forgiven for being a bit confused as to which VPN is best for them. A new way to compare VPNs is needed.
How to choose a VPN that suits YOU
Below is a list of the ten things you should take into account when choosing a VPN, taken from our comparison tables:
1. Price – Depending on your budget, you should choose a VPN that is within your means. Choose a VPN that offers discounts depending on the length of the contract.
2. Customer Service – At some point down the road it is likely you will run into some sort of issue with your VPN. It is as this point that great customer service is needed.
3. Number of Servers – Having a large selection of servers across the world is advantageous in that you can move your IP to anywhere in the world and access content at a local level.
4. Multiple Connections – If you want to protect the privacy of all of your family, then you want to be able to allow them to connect to the VPN at the same time.
5. Speed – When it comes to speed, it is ultimately determined by the speed of your broadband connection. However, different VPNs affect that speed in different ways. Our comparison tables give you a percentage of how much of your own broadband speed you will retain.
6. Logging – A VPN’s original purpose was always to protect the privacy of its user. It is for this reason that you don’t want a VPN provider to keep access logs of how you use the internet, otherwise what is the point.
7. Killswitch – A kill switch disconnects you from the internet if for any reason your VPN stops working. This means there is no chance that your IP address and other sensitive information could be exposed.
8. Moneyback Guarantee – A moneyback guarantee is your safety net if the first 30-days (sometimes longer) doesn’t work out for you for whatever reason. Most of the top VPNs will refund your money, no questions asked if you are not truly happy with your purchase.
9. Devices – If you buy a VPN, then you will want to use it on every device in your household. So making sure your new VPN can work on you laptop, mobile phone and even gaming consoles is a must.
10. Unblocking Content – Finally, if you have purchased a VPN because you want to access geo-restricted content, then you need to make sure it actually allows you to access the platform you desire. We list all the services a VPN unblocks, such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.
How to compare VPNs at The VPN Shop
Our unique comparison tables always start by listing the VPNs that we think are the best on the market. This is dictated by our strict review process which you can learn more about here. What make us unique is that you can then use the search box at the top right to add in another VPN you wish to compare. Have a go below:
As you can see, you can now compare each of the most important factors when choosing a VPN, price, speed, number of servers and devices, side-by-side which helps to allow you to decide which is the best VPN for you.