While testing these VPN services we looked at performance, reliability, usability, features, support, configuration, security/anonymity and price in order to find out what makes them different from the others. As the majority of our readers are from the USA, Germany, UK, France and Australia we performed the VPN tests by connecting to all of those countries.
- First a speed test was was performed by connecting to a VPN server in each of the countries listed above and then went to speedtest.net to determine the upload and download speed. We were testing from Denmark and had a 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload speed without any VPN connection, the download speed was given twice the weight in our analysis as generally people are downloading the majority of the time. We then went and streamed video from YouTube to gauge the performance. We penalized those VPN’s that did not have servers to connect to in those main countries listed above, we also penalized if there was excessive buffering or if the video would stop to buffer at any point after initially playing. In the performance we also took into account the VPN’s infrastructure like the number of servers, the number of different countries with VPN Servers, number of IP addresses.
- We then looked at the usability (including installation) of the VPN Software by physically going to the site, downloading the software and installing it. We then went and completed the configuration if needed so, then we used the VPN software in normal use. For the installation we took into account the time it took, how easy it was to locate the downloads on the website, the ease of installation, the amount of tech knowledge needed, and the amount of steps. For the usability we just judged it by the overall UI design, what features it offered, the feel of it, if it was easy to use, the responsiveness and how buggy the software was.
- For the security and anonymity we took into account the number of different security protocols available and also their policies on logging user data as this impacts anonymity. No VPN was tested if they did not offer OpenVPN protocol.
- We then judged their support by taking into account what types of support they offered eg. IM chat, what where there support hour. We then sent a support request via their email support to track the time it took to reply and if the reply solved the issue.
- All testing was carried out by the same member of staff to maximize the accuracy of comparison.
After the testing was completed the judgments were made and reviews created. Some outside help was used for the writing due to the tester being great at technology related things but not the best writer.