How We Test VPNs

We get asked this a lot – how we test all the different VPN services. This page is about that, to reveal our process to our readers. So here’s how it goes…

1. We do our installs…

InstallationWe actually put an effort to buy the software and install it on our computers and other devices. We don’t settle for a free trial version (if it’s available) as it may lack features of the full package. Cause we want to know how the paid version works and whether it’s worth the money.

You can check some of our receipts below – for the VPNs we have actually bought. We don’t want to bug you with all receipts, just to give you an idea. Also, you can see our own screenshots on review pages for many VPN apps. They are there for a reason — so you know we’ve actually used those apps.

We think it is crucial to have the full package running on the updated computers and other devices (more on that in a second). And those full packages aren’t free — nevertheless, we see them as the cost of doing business. Otherwise, why in the world would you trust us. There are other sites covering VPNs out there and we’re certain not all of them have the latest versions running on their devices.

2. Desktop + mobile

PlatformsWe test both on desktop and mobile. For Windows apps, we use a 7th generation Core i5 machine and for Mac – we rely on a 2017 MacBook.

When it comes to mobile tests, iOS apps are tested with an iPhone X, and Android apps – with Samsung Galaxy S9.

Computers for testing
Our testing gear: Windows laptop and a Mac

That’s our current setup for testing all VPNs, cause we think it is important to provide each VPN with an equal opportunity to shine. Or to show us its flaws. To that end, we try to have as little as possible third-party software on our devices. That being said, all of them have default apps running — so that we still get results that matter to most users.

3. It’s all about location

LocationIt doesn’t mean much for a person living in the U.S. that some service works flawlessly from, say, Germany. Therefore, we take an extra step to test each VPN service from multiple locations. This provides us with a better idea of how the service works in real-life situations.

On the other hand, when we can’t travel to other countries, we use virtual machines to test out VPN’s speed and performance. This way we got to compare how multiple VPNs compare in different regions of the world without leaving our office. Cause sometimes we can’t visit all the places we would like to visit.

4. Research

ResearchRelated to the previous point, we also read VPN-related news from all around the globe as we know that people living in other parts of the world may experience a different level of service. We think it is important to get the other side of the story, as well. So if we read that someone’s struggling with an app, we try to replicate his/her problem and report about it.

In addition, we also want to know about potential breaches that may have happened in the past. Our own tests don’t tell us that some VPN was hacked a year before. So we try to keep our ears on the street to learn about any potentially disturbing news and report about it.

After all, you don’t want to grab some VPN only to find out it has been secretly collecting your personal information afterward. To prevent that, we scatter the Interwebs for any piece of information that could be relevant to our site visitors.

5. Review process

Review processWe analyze and test the following elements of every VPN service:

  • Servers & Locations – This could be crucial for the VPN performance with more servers typically delivering faster download and upload speeds.
  • Platforms – We look at individual apps for different apps and platforms.
  • SpeedHow a VPN works in real-life situations? Is it fast enough for daily use?
  • Security & Privacy – what kind of encryption a VPN uses? Does it support multiple protocols? Was it breached in the past? And so on.
  • Ease of Use – Does VPN provides a newbie-friendly friendly? Also, does it have advanced features? What about support – is it available 24/7?
  • Streaming & Torrenting – Can you use it to access popular services such as Netflix and Disney+? How does it work with BitTorrent?
  • Bypassing censorship – Does it work in China and other high-censorship countries?
  • Extras – Are there any extras included in the package that need to be mentioned?
  • Pricing – How much it costs to get that VPN? Also, does it provide a money-back guarantee?

In addition, in every one of our reviews you get to compare the current service with other VPNs, making it that much easier to select the right VPN for your unique needs.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our review process. Thanks. 😉