The VPN market is crowded with a large number of different VPN providers. Some of them you might never have heard of before, while others invest heavily in advertisement on social media, TV and other media. Not to forget that VPN providers are using attractive affiliate programs, to get bloggers and YouTuber’s to recommend their service instead of others.
Those affiliate programs have unfortunately destroyed the option for readers to find an trustworthy VPN review article on the internet. You can read more about it in my article: The trustworthy of VPN review sites and how affiliate programs affects their opinion
With this article I’m giving you my suggestion on how to select a VPN provider.
How to choose a VPN provider
Avoid to search for “VPN reviews” or “Best VPN” on a search engine (Google & co) or on Youtube, as this will mostly show you “reviews”, which are highly affected by affiliate programs offered by VPN providers.
Be careful when someone is writing about to avoid VPN providers from within the 5-9-14 eyes countries. This is just another misleading VPN argument. A VPN is not “better” or “more secure” because the provider has it’s location outside the 5-9-14 eyes countries. I would rather trust VPN providers from those countries, as they have, when inside the EU, to follow the GDPR and other privacy laws.
How many countries are you able to connect to with a certain VPN provider? Do you really need a VPN provider which has servers in 80+ countries? Which counties do you actually need to connect to? When using a VPN server in a certain country, then you have to trust the internet egress point in that country. A provider that only offers the possibility to connect to 5 or 15 different counties is maybe more than enough for you.
Some VPN providers offer a few days trial version, as for example F-Secure Freedome. After the installation of their software you can evaluate their product before buying it. Also the Swedish VPN provider Mullvad offers such an option.
If a VPN provider doesn’t support the possibility for an evaluation period, then you can still buy a one month subscription at the providers of your choice. Use this one month to test their service and to test their apps on your devices.
Compare them, if you have bought a subscription from more than one VPN provider. Check whether the services they promise are working for you and fulfil your needs. (Support for your devices, VPN servers in the countries you need, allowing to watch local internet TV while connected to a VPN server in your country etc..) Don’t forget to cancel your subscription before the end of the “test” month!
Don’t fall victim for “Special Offers” advertised as only available for a few hours, “buy now“, or get fooled into a two or even three years subscription, just because the costs per month are cheaper. Keep in mind that you anyway have to pay for the whole subscription period at once! Instead of paying 2,50 Euro monthly you will be charged with 90 Euro on your three years subscription purchase. And how can you be sure, that the VPN provider choosed, still fulfils your needs in two years from now on, or does still exists on the market by then? You can’t!
When you are finished with your evaluation, then you can start with buying a one year subscription from the VPN provider of your choice.
Finally, avoid free VPN’s. Free means often that the provider earns money on other products (your data?) .
And at last a question connected to this topic. Do you really need to buy a VPN service from an external VPN provider? Many home routers are nowadays offering a built in VPN server functionality, which you can use instead. Or you can setup a Raspberry PI in your home network and install PiVPN on it, to act as your own VPN server. This is maybe the solution which is most trustworthy, as you still will be connected to your own internet connection at home, while using a VPN when you are travelling.