How much thought do you give your VPN provider? If you’re like most people then not a lot.
With so many VPN providers out there it can be extremely confusing to choose. There are just so many of them!
In fact, I counted them. What I discovered is there are more than 200 individual VPN companies around the world and then I gave up counting. They are endless. From big VPN companies to small ones, to reputable ones to sketchy looking ones.
It’s an absolute minefield if you just want to protect your privacy or unblock a bit of TV like most of us.
It’s important to remember there is no “Best” VPN provider out there. There is however a selection of ‘Best VPN providers’ and what you should be aware of is what is “Best” for your needs.
So to help you find that VPN provider I’ve devised a serious of 5 questions you should be asking your VPN provider to ensure it’s going to give you the best service.
1) Do you log?
Probably the most important question from a privacy perspective is, Does your VPN provider log?
What this means is does your VPN provider retain data on your access. While it’s unlikely any paid-VPN service would log details of what you do when connected, it’s worth asking.
What you should be more concerned about is if they log any details of when you connected, how long you were connected, your home IP Address and what server you were connected to.
With this kind of information, your VPN service doesn’t even need to log your activity because anything you do can still be attributed to you.
For this reason VPN services such as HideMyAss are best avoided because they retain this information and for an incredibly long time. On the other hand, services such as ExpressVPN have one of the best logging policies which has been tested is probably the highest profile case, you can read about that here.
2) How many concurrent connections can I have?
VPN services these days all cost much the same. While they may differ a few dollars here and there they’ve essentially hit rock bottom and it’s unlikely we’ll see them get any cheaper.
Now that we know they’re at their very lowest price one area they differ is features. One important area is on how many devices you can have connected at the same time.
Although ExpressVPN is one of the best in terms of service they sadly have one of the smallest connection limits. While they do sell routers that allow you to connect an unlimited amount of devices if you use their standard service you can only connect 3 devices at the same time.
IPVanish on the other hand upped their limit to 10 devices. That means for the same price as most other providers you can use 10 devices with just one account. You’re basically getting better value for money from a provider that lets you connect more devices.
If you do happen to need even more devices connected to one account then I recommend getting the InvizBox 2 router which will let you connect an almost unlimited number.
3) What custom apps do you offer?
If you’re a tech wizard then you can probably set up a VPN connection manually. For the rest of us who want the hassle-free experience, we’ll be relying on apps provided by the VPN service themselves.
It’s important to ask your VPN provider what platforms and devices they support and what apps they offer.
VPN apps make connection simple and take away the complicated set-up. They allow you to connect within just a few clicks or taps and then forget about it.
Two providers that are priced similar are Ironsocket and ExpressVPN. Ironsocket only offers a Window app, if you want to use it on any other device then you’ll need to complete a slightly complicated manual set-up process.
ExpressVPN, on the other hand has apps for Windows, Mac OS, Android, Apple iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV & Firestick and even apps for certain models of routers.
4) Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
Like anything in the world, most VPN services promise the world but before you’ve made payment how do you actually know if their service is any good?
You can read VPN reviews like those found on this site and while we may have had a good or bad experience, your mileage may vary. There are a lot of factors that come into play when using a VPN, especially in the most critical area of speed. So what’s good for one, may not be good for another.
For this reason it’s important to ask your VPN provider if they offer a money-back guarantee. Some such as Overplay offer just a 5-day money back guarantee.
While others such as NordVPN offer a 30-day money back guarantee. For two services that cost basically the same, you can test NordVPN for 6 times as long as you can Overplay.
5) Do you work with the services I want to access?
Finally one of the most critical questions you should be asking your VPN provider is do they work with the services you want to access?
A VPN can be considered one of the “Best” for speed, for privacy provisions and for logging policies but if it doesn’t work with the services you want to access then is it really the best for you?
IPVanish as an example offer an all round good service but they don’t work with BBC iPlayer or Netflix.
On the other hand, ExpressVPN works with both BBC iPlayer and allow you to watch the US Netflix website.
If accessing blocked streaming services is one of your main purposes of using a VPN service then be sure to ask them or check if they work with the kinds of services you want to access.
5 Questions for VPN Services Conclusion
This guide is not an exhaustive list of questions but a helpful starting point. If you ask these 5 questions of your VPN provider then you’ve got a good basis for finding the “Best” VPN service for your needs.
There are plenty of other valid questions you’ll want to ask too. I’d love to hear what you think are important questions to ask of your VPN provider so why not let me know in the comments section below?