How we choose
VPN providers want to claim that they don’t keep any logs, which means they know nothing about what you do with their services. There are various reasons to be skeptical about this claim, such as having a user ID associated with a payment method, which means your credit card number (and thus your identity) may be linked to your browsing activity.
For that reason, I have basically limited my testing to providers who have been subpoenaed for user data in the US or Europe and have failed to create logs or have had third party security audits performed. While these criteria do not guarantee that providers are not storing log data, this method of selection provides a starting point for us to filter through hundreds of VPN providers.
Using these criteria, I narrowed the field down to the most popular, reputable VPN providers and began testing them on various networks (4G, cable, FiOS, and lots of painful slow coffee shop networks) over the past nine months. I checked the network speed and ease of use (how you connect), and I considered the available payment methods, how often the connections dropped, and what slows I experienced.
What happened to ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN, previously one of our best picks, was bought by Cape Technologies earlier this year. Selling any VPN service is a cause for some concern, but in this case it is more worrying than usual. Cape Technologies, once known as Crossreader, has been accused of distributing malware and fraud. This is a one-time reliable personal Internet access (better known as PIA), which we do not recommend, and owns a number of VPN review sites.
Given the background of Kape and its board, which has ties to both British and Israeli government agencies, we no longer recommend using ExpressVPN or PIA. If you want to know more details about the background of the company, check out this article Restore privacy.
Why you may not need a VPN
It is important to understand what VPN can do, not what it can do. As mentioned above, VPNs act as a protective tunnel. A VPN protects you from people trying to snoop on your traffic during transit between your computer and the website you’re browsing or the service you’re using.
Public networks that anyone can join – even if they have to use a password to connect – are easy prey for attackers who want to see your network data. If your data is sent without encryption — for example, if the website you are connecting to does not use the secure HTTPS method পরিমাণ the amount of information that an attacker may collect from you may be disruptive. Web browsers can easily tell when your connection is secure. Just look for a green lock icon at the top of your screen next to the web address Nowadays, most websites connect using HTTPS, so you’re probably better off. But if you don’t have that green lock icon, as it sometimes does not have in schools, libraries and small business websites, anyone can see the data you send. Unless you’re using a VPN, which hides all your activity, even on encrypted websites.