A VPN can protect your data by ensuring that your connections are secure and private. But while claims of military-grade encryption and total digital obscurity could be tempting, Consumer Reports’ Yael Grauer suggests that you search for more concrete evidence that a service is authentic before you sign up.
It is a good idea to start with compatibility – search for a service that supports at a minimum, the most popular operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. It is important to be aware of the number of devices supported by the service and the number of connections it will allow simultaneously. It is also important to know the number of servers available and their locations around world. This can help you pick one close to your home or one that offers fast speeds when you’re across the globe.
Some services offer specialized features, like dedicated ‘Netflix servers that can unblock geo-restricted websites, or additional security measures like RAM-only servers (which erase data every time the service reboots) Dark web monitoring and threat protection. It is also important to verify the company’s ownership structure and whether it has previous data breaches or privacy scandals.
NordVPN was the most reliable overall service that we test. It offers thousands of servers spread across 94 countries. It also offers AES-256 encryption, ChaCha20, a reliable Kill Switch split tunneling system, as well as an obfuscated server. It’s also one of the few providers to publish its detailed no-logs policy and engages PricewaterhouseCoopers for annual audits. The prices aren’t cheap, however you receive a variety of features and a long-term plan that includes a full 30 days money back guarantee.
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