TechRepublic’s Approach to Reviewing VPNs

TechRepublic strives to provide readers with fair and honest evaluations of virtual private networks (VPNs) they may invest in. To achieve this, we utilize a comprehensive algorithm that considers five main categories: pricing, core VPN features, ease of use, customer support, and expert analysis. Each category is weighted based on its importance to our audience of technology buyers, resulting in a final star rating.

Our algorithm is subject to change, but the aforementioned categories serve as the foundation for our VPN assessments. We encourage individuals with differing opinions on our criteria to utilize our methodology and reviews as a guide for their own evaluation of a specific VPN.

Here is a breakdown of the categories we use to review VPNs:

Pricing (20%): Considers multiple subscription options, accessible free trials, the availability of a free version, pricing relative to competitors, and overall value for money.

Core VPN features (30%): Includes sub-criteria such as security reputation, encryption and VPN protocols, no-logs policy and independent audits, server network quality, VPN speed and performance, ability to unblock geo-restricted content, server switching ease, split tunneling capabilities, protection against DNS leaks, built-in kill switch, and ad, tracker, and malware blocking.

Ease of use (15%): Assesses the intuitiveness of the user interface, in-app design, installation and setup difficulty, and ability to establish connections.

Customer support (30%): Evaluates support options for customers (email, live chat, phone), response time to customer inquiries, and availability of help resources such as guides, forums, and tutorials.

Expert analysis (5%): Considers personal experience with the product, inclusion of unique features that distinguish the VPN from competitors, and availability of research materials like demos and product documentation.

Our VPN evaluation process involves a holistic approach that incorporates in-house and hands-on user testing, supplemented by product demos, documentation, and verified customer feedback from sources like Gartner Peer Insights and community forums.

When selecting the best VPN for your organization, it is essential to consider your specific circumstances and needs. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are steps you can take to maximize the benefits of a VPN subscription. These include exploring free trials and free plans, understanding how your business plans to use the VPN, researching the VPN provider’s server fleet, considering cost and device compatibility, and prioritizing security features such as no-logs policies and independent audits. It is also important to stay informed about any news or history of security breaches associated with a particular VPN.

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