Only VPNs that have these features will be worth your time.

cnet apps today, online services

Getty Images

We’ve covered the red flags you should watch out for when you’re shopping for a new virtual private network service to protect your privacy as you browse online, but what about the green flags? These are the features that send a clear signal to customers: “Hey, this is worth checking out.”

With an abundance of hard-to-verify claims covering the splash pages of nearly every VPN service on the market, it can be maddening to cut through the clutter. To keep you sane and save a bit of time, we’ve highlighted a few key factors to watch out for that, in our experience, are indicative of a good VPN.

30-day money back guarantee

For the majority of consumers, the 30-day money-back guarantee might be the most important signifier of a quality VPN. Why? Every VPN on the market is clamoring for attention with claims that are often difficult or even impossible to verify. So until you test drive the VPN across several different kinds of connections, you really don’t know if it will perform well, or if you’re buying a lemon. 

Looking for Black Friday deals?

Don’t miss a minute of the action with our live coverage of Black Friday 2021 deals.

Especially for services that amount to hundreds of dollars a year, an easy refund policy with prompt turnaround is a great sign: It’s the least a company can do in good faith to show confidence in its product. 

It can be easy to get fooled here: Some VPNs offer refund policies upfront, only to offer limited or no customer service support when you try to get your money back. We recommend checking for 24/7 chat support and sending a couple of test emails. We’ve taken customer service and responsiveness into consideration for all of our VPN recommendations. 

Server count

The rule of thumb is the greater the number of servers a VPN offers, the faster speeds you’re likely to achieve while using it. And while a VPN’s speed doesn’t depend solely on having a high server count, we’ve yet to see competitive speeds out of a VPN that didn’t have a high server count.

When we reviewed ExpressVPN, with its impressive fleet of 3,000-plus servers globally, the company’s most attractive quality was its speed. The use of any VPN can typically cut your internet speed by half or more, but ExpressVPN reduced our overall internet speeds by less than 2% during testing. 

One potential catch to watch out for, however, is any VPN service that limits the number of times you can switch between servers. Being able to quickly and easily switch your connection to a different server is important for both your privacy and finding a faster route for traffic. What’s the point of offering a massive network of servers around the world if you can only try a handful of them?

Jurisdiction

There are dozens of factors to consider when evaluating a VPN’s level of likely security. Has the company been caught keeping or sharing user activity logs? Has it undergone — and published the results of — an independent third-party audit of its operations? Does it uphold minimum encryption standards, and offer a kill switch? All of them are important, and the wrong answer to any can be a deal-breaker. 

But one factor often precedes positive answers for all of the above questions: the VPN’s jurisdiction, or the country where it’s headquartered. Jurisdiction often acts as a sort of shorthand for the privacy-minded, communicating real consideration for those looking to extricate themselves from passive participation in multinational intelligence-sharing agreements. 

A VPN that is based in a jurisdiction squarely outside of those countries which participate in programs like Five Eyes, Nine Eyes or 14 Eyes (including the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada), with an ownership structure visible for public verification, is more likely to catch our eye. It should catch yours too. 

TECH NEWS RELATED

This is how government is planning to take Aadhaar global

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is looking to collaborate with foreign countries and international organisations to build digital identity systems across the world, a top official said on Friday. UIDAI CEO Saurabh Garg during a panel discussion with Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma at the Infinity Forum said ...

View more: This is how government is planning to take Aadhaar global

These are apps that iPhone and iPad users spent most on in 2021

Apple has released its list of most popular games and apps on the App Store in 2021. Here we bring you a list of popular paid apps on iPhone and iPad that were most used by Apple users. 118 DSLR Camera DSLR Camera is a photo and video app that ...

View more: These are apps that iPhone and iPad users spent most on in 2021

Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12X and Xiaomi 12 Pro tipped to launch on this date

Xiaomi was rumoured to launch its upcoming smartphone Xiaomi 12 later this month. A previous report by Gizmochine revealed that the company is planning to launch the device on December 28. The publication revealed the details based on a screenshot of an internal document of Xiaomi China on Weibo. Now, ...

View more: Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12X and Xiaomi 12 Pro tipped to launch on this date

International Day of Persons with Disabilities - how the tech sector can do a better job of recruiting disabled

After exploring the difficulties that people with disabilities face in finding employment in the first of our two-part series, the focus shifts to what employers can do to better recruit and retain them.

View more: International Day of Persons with Disabilities - how the tech sector can do a better job of recruiting disabled

Xiaomi 11T Pro Spotted on Bluetooth SIG Certification Site, Tipped to Launch in India Soon

Xiaomi 11T Pro debuted in Europe in September Xiaomi 11T Pro has been spotted on Bluetooth SIG certification site. The phone has been tipped to launch in India soon. It was unveiled in Europe a few months ago alongside the Xiaomi 11T. The Pro model has now been spotted ...

View more: Xiaomi 11T Pro Spotted on Bluetooth SIG Certification Site, Tipped to Launch in India Soon

Microsoft Edge Starts Discouraging Users From Downloading Chrome With Prompts

Photo Credit: Microsoft Microsoft apparently wants to convince its users to stick to Edge and not download Chrome Microsoft has taken an aggressive new approach to discourage users from downloading Google’s Chrome Web browser. The Redmond-based company has started showing prompts when users try to download Chrome using Microsoft ...

View more: Microsoft Edge Starts Discouraging Users From Downloading Chrome With Prompts

Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR Smartwatch Review: Perfect blend of classic timepiece and fitness tracker

In the past couple of years, the popularity of smartwatches has soared to new heights. In 2019, a report cited that Apple Watch sales had surpassed that of the entire Swiss watch industry. The growth of the smartwatch industry has prompted several luxury brands to hop on the smartwatch ...

View more: Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR Smartwatch Review: Perfect blend of classic timepiece and fitness tracker

International Day of Persons with Disabilities - why the tech sector has a lot of work to do to level up

In the first of this two-part series of features to mark the United Nation’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3 December), we explore what the employment situation is like for disabled people in the tech sector.

View more: International Day of Persons with Disabilities - why the tech sector has a lot of work to do to level up

Oppo Pad Tipped to Launch in India Next Year, May Come With Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC

Vivaldi 5.0 for Android Introduces Two Rows of Tabs in a First for a Mobile Browser

Toyota Corolla Cross muscles up! New GR Sport variant looks like a baby LandCruiser 300 Series - if you squint...

YouTube Music Gains New 'Recently Played' Widget Featuring Quick Shortcuts, Material You Design

Low-code tools give Autodesk sales and service staff a business advantage

Why the right product positioning is critical to successful marketing programs

-DBS CEO says hard for digital banks to gain market share in Singapore

Google Pixel Watch to Rival Apple Watch, Launching in 2022: Report

Does Playing Violent Video Games Impact Behaviour? Here's What the Latest Study Has to Say

French concern about Chinese Alibaba cloud for Paris 2024

UN launches 'bodyright' symbol against online violence

Western Canada sees record-high winter temperature

OTHER TECH NEWS

;