It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of picking a VPN service (Geoshifting? L2TP? Tor? SSL?) so we’ve created a handy cheatsheet to help you get a grasp of the bigger picture.
The table is fairly self-explanatory. On the left column, you can pick out a specific privacy or security goal, and on the right, there are corresponding features that you should look for in a VPN in order to meet that goal.
We’ve simplified the process somewhat, seeing as we already of have a curated list of recommended VPNs that pass most major privacy requirements. But this brief cheatsheet should help you narrow your focus and give you an idea of why some VPNs are safer or more effective than others.
How to Pick a VPN: A Cheatsheet
|What You Need||What You Should Look For|
|Privacy from your ISP.||Any reputable VPN will do; check out our recommended list.|
|Security when using public Wi-Fi networks.||Any reputable VPN will do; check out our recommended list.|
|VPN access in China, Turkey or other highly restrictive countries.||Look for “obfuscated” servers or a “StealthVPN” protocol.|
|Privacy from the NSA, GCHQ, or other government organizations.||Look for a VPN based outside of the 14 Eyes that offers Tor and/or multi-hop connection protocols.|
|Ability to watch Netflix/Hulu from abroad.||Few VPNs can do this reliably (NordVPN is the most consistent). Or try a VPN that offers static VPN IP addresses (like TorGuard)|
|Ability to access other geo-locked content.||Any reputable VPN will do; check out our recommended list. Be sure that the VPN has servers in the country or region you’re interested in.|
|Ability to disguise VPN traffic (e.g. for countries, hotels, schools, etc., that ban VPN usage)||Look for “obfuscated” servers or a “StealthVPN” protocol.|
|Ability to connect multiple devices at the same time.||Almost all VPNs offer at least 3 simultaneous connections. The best offer up to 6, or have no limits at all.|
|A high speed connection.||Expect to pay a small premium for speed. Visit our recommended list for details.|