When choosing where to buy a VPN on the face on things (especially for first time users) it may be straight forward as your aims are simply to buy a VPN to unblock Netflix or offer further security with encryption with this being your main concerns.
However any VPN provider you choose to go with will always have a varying amount of features behind the scenes which you may not be initially aware of, so it’s important to do a background check on any VPN service you are potentially going to sign up to.
Below we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 features you are going to want to look for when buying a VPN. You can also check out our latest VPN Reviews.
Price ( How much is it? )
Probably one of the most important factors for most of you when buying a VPN is how much the service is actually going to cost you in the long run. It’s important to know firstly what the budget you have to play with is before diving in and signing up with any provider. Then you want to balance this against your actual needs and expectations are from any VPN provider in terms of the kinds of things you will be using this for.
The cost of buying a VPN will greatly depend on how you use it. Nearly every VPN provider out there offers tailored packages at varying prices allowing you to pick the best monthly or yearly package that suits your needs. Most packages we’ve come across on average range from $5 to $20 per month with the more advance VPN’s you can buy that offer further security coming in at a higher price overall.
Many VPN providers offer deals or coupons monthly allowing you to buy a VPN service more cheaply and get a yearly access at a much lower rate than some of their existing users. So it’s always worth keeping an eye out for the latest deals, coupons and drops in price on the providers websites.
VPN Protocols Available ( Do they support OpenVPN? )
A key area when you choose a VPN to buy is to ensure they support certain connection protocols to ensure you are protected correctly. If you are simply using the VPN unblock streaming services like Hulu, Netflix or BBC Iplayer then ‘PPTP’ should be fine offering lower level security with the benefit being higher connection speeds and less buffering of the service.
Protocols such as ‘PPTP’ & ‘L2TP’ should be considered insecure to an extent and any data crossing over using these methods should be considered as plain text offering a base level of security which is enough to allow access to unblocked sites or services.
However for activities like data transfer or P2P files sharing you will want to ensure you have a higher level or security over the connection to encrypt any transfers. Nearly all providers should offer ‘OpenVPN’ which is considered one of the more secure protocols to transfer data across to ensure it stays away from prying eyes.
Privacy & Logging ( Is the VPN No-Logging? )
This area is considered by the majority as the most important factor when picking a VPN to buy. Knowing exactly what a VPN service is logging such as your browsing activities actually says a lot about the service.
Surely you want a No-logging service as a service that logs is defeating the purpose of buying a VPN so doing some digging to check they are not required by law or as part of the service terms to keep logs of your activity can be a deciding factor. Especially if using the VPN for sensitive data transfers or to remain 100% anonymous.
VPN Servers ( How many Servers do they Have? )
The amount of server locations a VPN provider currently has is a good indication of how established they are across the world allowing you to access servers in multiple countries across the world to unblock and access content.
VPN providers such as PureVPN have servers in over 140+ countries worldwide which gives you plenty of options when creating a new connection or aiming to connect to a location closest to you for the highest speeds.
It’s important to note that when buying a VPN if the provider doesn’t have many locations this may not always be a bad sign and could mean they offer a more reliable connection and service to their users in the long run.
Supported Devices ( Do they offer Mobile Apps? )
For most people looking for a VPN provider an important feature will be the ability to access and connect to the service using their mobile phone or other devices on the go.
Nearly all top providers offer at least a basic mobile application allowing you to install this on your device and configure your connection to the server of your choosing.
This is recommended for anyone looking to use while travelling as it will give you access to a VPN server at the click of a button.
BitTorrent ( Is it Supported? )
When using your VPN you may want to engage in P2P (Peer-to-Peer) file transfers of small or large files, however some VPN provider have come to not look to fondly on these options due to the increasing amount of illegal content being downloading using their services and pressure being placed upon them as a result by Law Enforcement.
While BitTorrent or P2P is in no way illegal, it’s always recommended to do your research and find a provider that offers no restrictions to this service or P2P file transfers using their servers.
Compatibility ( What Devices or OS are Compatible? )
You may be looking to install or use your VPN provider on a certain Operating system such as Linux or Mac as well as Windows so it’s important to check what they currently support before you commit to buying the VPN service.
Other devices such as Routers or video streaming extensions to your TV such as Roku may also be supported so it’s always worth checking these features are available so that you can free configure these devices to connect through your VPN and allow you to Unblock content or Encrypt any sensitive data being transferred across the internet.
Payment Methods ( How can you Pay? )
The ability to pay how you want when you a buy a VPN service can also be crucial as some payment methods are not as privacy concerned as others revealing your personal information upon the point of payment.
Payment options like Bitcoin are always a good indication when going to pay for the service as this method offers a high level of anonymity meaning none of your personal information is shared to the provider allowing you complete privacy. VPN providers that offer this method are normally more privacy focused than others that don’t so it’s a good area of note when choosing the VPN provider to go with.
Most VPN providers such as HideMyAss VPN offer an extensive number of payment options allowing you to configure your subscription using any of these as the payment source. In some cases you may also be able to get the VPN for cheaper depending on where the currency for payment you have chosen is coming from.
Provider History ( Do they hold a good Reputation? )
A further area of note when choosing who to go with is the VPN provider’s reputation among the community. It’s always worth doing a quick Google search and looking for any serious issues that have arisen with a provider such as ‘Privacy Concerns’ or ‘Poor Connection’ to ensure they are offering a good service to existing customers and you don’t get burnt by going with a VPN service that is unreliable.
Customer Support ( Are they Helpful and Quick to Respond? )
While in the begging you may not need to contact a certain VPN provider’s customer support, down the line you may find yourself either with an issue or a query regarding payment or changing of your details.
It’s always worth looking to see if they have 24/7 live chat or offer a quick form of contact such as phone or others to allow you to get a quick answer to your queries. Along with this you will want to see what kind of presence they have on sites like Twitter and if they can respond to your over social media.
If the VPN provider offers features on the website like a forum this is always a good sign as it shows they are trying to be transparent with the customers of the service allowing anyone to bring up a query or even ask for new features to be implemented.
What to do next?
Once you have built up a good picture of the kinds of features to look for when you buy a VPN, it then becomes easy to spot the services that do not meet your requirements on security or reliability.
Knowing which features are unique to a particular VPN provider can also be the sure sign they are the right fit for your needs not only on price but when using for the tasks you have in mind for the service.