How I Pick and Put Scores on VPNs
Before I write a detailed testing report or review for VPN services, I run them through my 28 inspect elements checklist.
Once I calculated and gathered the points, I then proceed to give the VPN a final total score of 100.
The score is based on the inspect parameters that I’ve set and segregated the data into an easy-breezy review.
It was then ranked accordingly.
With the combination of the test reports and my personal reviews, it gives you the advantage to decide the right VPN of your choice hopefully.
Decoding most trusted VPN services with scores and tests.
Still, while this is entirely transparent and true, I would still advise that you take this with a pinch of salt as it cannot represent the total accuracy of some of the tests.
All opinions expressed and testing being run are solely my own.
Here’s to my detailed review process:
1. I subscribe to the VPN service
I install the VPN service on multiple devices to test it out. From there, I review the VPN service based on the 28 inspect elements that I’ve created.
This allows me to experience how the VPN works and record down every crook and cranny of the features in proper documentation.
2. Perform Speed Test
Now, nobody wants a fluctuated or slow speed from a VPN service.
Sacrificing the speed for the sake of privacy and protection? It’s not going to work for me.
With that being said, I run a speed test to determine the upload and download speed using FAST.com, which gives me an overall performance and impression.
Why FAST and not other speed testing tools?
It’s fair to say that I need a reliable third-party speed test tool that is not biased to any ISP.
FAST is owned by Netflix and its business is strict to the streaming content. Here’s why I think they would be a fair speed tool compared to others.
And further on, Netflix is not so friendly about VPN. So, if their speed tool says you are good to go. It does mean a lot.
3. Security tests – DNS, IPV6, and WebRTC leaks
VPNs are meant to protect and secure our browsing activities. Naturally, you want an excellent VPN service.
That’s why we give a great deal of attention to knowing which ones are safe and being aware of the risky ones.
When it comes to DNS, IPV6, and WebRTC, I use a couple of test tools to try to pick up my real location or IP.
This is a very important check to see if a VPN is leaking any of the information that can be traced back. After all, there’s no point in using one if it’s leaking your location.
That’s why I strategically test these features to ensure that it’s safe to use.
You can have a look at the testing results of each and every VPN that’s being reviewed or tested.
4. VPN’s data encryption features
Encryption and security is significant aspect of a VPN service. That’s what builds a VPN.
Hence, I always look into features such as AES-256, Kill Switch, Open VPN protocol, Ddos protection, and Obfuscation/Camouflage Mode.
All of these features establish a secure and encrypted connection in your device.
They play a big role in determining the overall security experience.
5. Outside of the “14 Eyes”
The term “14 Eyes” signifies the various countries around the world that work together to collect, monitor, and share majority surveillance data with each other.
If the VPN Company does not locate in those countries and thus does not fall into their legislation, therefore they cannot force the VPN provider to hand over your information to the government.
Here are the countries that are part of the alliance:
- US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Holland, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, and Spain
In short, this alliance might pose a risk to privacy.
6. VPN connection traits
Invisible connection traits in a VPN are crucial if you want to engage in hide-and-seek mode while browsing the Internet.
Traits such as Double VPN Servers Routing or some calls them Multi-Hop, Private DNS, P2P Function, Public Wi-Fi Protection, and “Owning Their Server Farm” keep your data away from the potentially prying eyes.
In most cases, VPN providers do not own or possess their server, most or partially are being rented.
My test report will give out this little information with verification from providers themselves.
7. Review VPN policy
I spend time reading and analyzing their privacy and logging policy as well as their terms of service.
Some VPN services can be sneaky, so I always read them thoroughly. Better safe than sorry as they said.
I always look into: where are they from? How does their VPN service work? Is there a bad history of breaches? What’s their jurisdiction, such as are they compelled to share your personal data with the government or law enforcement?
I also pay attention to logging policies.
Some VPN services claimed to be “no-logs”, but there are only very few VPNs that are verified as “no-log” services or are actually being audited for.
8. Play Store & App Store reviews
One or a few might be telling lies but what if a group of people is saying the same thing.
That is why I put out the highest point weight on the community reviews for those who actually downloaded and uses the VPN.
Experience and feedback from other users are invaluable that can generally reflect the VPN provider’s qualities.
But is it true that the better the ratings correlate to higher the chances of their service quality in general?
As 10 people give a 5 stars rating does not mean it is better than 50 reviewers that gave out 4.5 stars rating for a particular VPN service.
In fact, it is the opposite based on my Beta distribution calculation which I am using in the testing report.
In short, the Beta distribution here represents probabilities of 1.
The closer calculation is to 1, the greater the possibilities of the provider having excellent service.
These ratings and reviews also give us a better insight into every aspect that we can analyze on a larger scale from the community.
A good advertisement is a series of tracking and analyzing your activities or behavior online.
That is why some ads are so profound to you.
Adblocker software removes advertisements from websites.
With a built-in ad blocker in a VPN, it prevents ads from following you online and keeps your browsing activity secured at the same time.
It’s an excellent bonus feature.
VPN provides security and privacy on everything you do on the Internet.
Your browsing activities are encrypted, which means that unwanted intruders do not read or steal your data.
Combining an ad blocker with a VPN, it’s a win-win situation to battle those annoying ad pop-ups.
10. VPN reliability
Besides being a secured VPN service, it should also be reliable. After all, what’s the point of subscribing to a VPN, when it’s not going to be reliable at all?
By means of being reliable, I am talking about VPNs’ infrastructure, such as auto-connect, GPS Spoofing, secure hotspot, and auto cookies deletion.
A VPN must allow you to connect to wireless networks and secure hotspots with no effort.
From my observation, most if not all VPN don’t have an auto-delete cookies system. You have to delete them manually.
Only CyberGhost makes it easier with their ‘Cookie Cleaner add-on’.
The full inspect sheet that I followed
|No.||Inspect Elements||Points Weight|
|2||Outside of the 14 Eyes||4|
|3||No logs policy||4|
|5||AES 256-bit Encryption||4|
|6||Double VPN Servers||4|
|8||No Bandwidth Limit||3|
|10||Public WiFi Protection||4|
|11||Own Server Farm||4|
|14||Download Speed Reduction||4|
|15||Upload Speed Reduction||4|
|16||Latency / Ping||4|
|19||Obfuscation / Camouflage Mode||3|
|20||DNS Leak Test||4|
|22||IPV6 Leak Test||4|
|26||Auto Cookies Deletion||2|
|28||Scan downloaded files||2|