So you’ve heard all the hype about VPNs and finally decided to try one out. Maybe you just take any measure you can to be secure and heard that a VPN is a no-brainer in the security department. Either way, you now have a new problem: Finding the right VPN service.

Before we start off on how to evaluate a VPN service, it should be said that there is no “best” when it comes to a VPN service. All legitimate VPN services have their pros and cons assigned to them, so there is no “wrong” choice.

But with there being dozens of VPN services, it’s important to make your choice a good one. Fortunately, there are indicators that separate a good VPN service from a mediocre one, which is what we’ll be discussing.

You Get What You Pay For

Nothing good in life comes free. While this may sound pretty depressing, it’s true in the realm of VPNs. While VPNs would be free in an optimal world, we don’t live in one. Extra security on your network is a privilege that must be paid for, and VPNs are no exception, even though many promises that.

Many free VPNs have popped up over the years, hoping to catch the wave of popularity that VPN services are going through.  While some of these are just harmless programs that just don’t do an adequate job of protecting you, many have more sinister motives.

For example, let’s take a look at Facebook’s old VPN service, Onavo. Facebook released this free VPN service for its users and promised a free upgrade in security. With Facebook though, it’s never that simple.

Onavo was found to be logging user’s data during use, even though the whole point of a VPN is to make your data, I don’t know…invisible?

Many more of these free VPN services do just the same or worse, going as far as to installing malware on devices it’s used on. So, if you see a free VPN service, don’t just trust the reviews. It’s not always good.

Your Needs

Various VPNs offer various features. Some VPNs will have servers located in different countries around the world, so make sure the country you need to connect to is supported by the VPN.

Some VPNs will also allow only a certain amount of connections on a network.  This is fine if you’re only using your laptop or desktop, but you may want to be careful about your choice if you need to connect your whole house to the VPN.

At the end of the day, all that matters is what you need from the service. You can pick a great VPN service but be disappointed because it doesn’t support a connection to Australia and vice versa.

Do They Care About Privacy?

Many VPNs promise a private connection, but that doesn’t count what they do with your connection. While most big-time VPNs are big on privacy, some may opt to commit additional actions, such as logging a user’s data, which can end up violating user privacy.

Legally, if a VPN company must log user data, they have to tell you upfront. Sure, some may hide it (again, Onavo), but most legitimate services will tell the user.

If you care about your data disappearing into thin air once sent, then keep a lookout for what the service will be logging or if they store certain bits of information.

At the end of the day, finding a good VPN service isn’t hard if you do research, but finding one that caters to your needs may be a bit more difficult. On the bright side, most reputable VPNs offer trials for their VPN. Some even go as far as to offer a money-back guarantee if you end up unsatisfied.  

As long as you stick to reputable brands, you can’t possibly do any wrongs!