A quick sneak & peek in our world
FindYourVPN aims to include transparent VPN testing combined with honest reviews about each product, thus providing you with all the information needed before you make your decision on whether you should use a certain VPN service or not.
Among the analyzed data you can find a little bit of background information for the companies that develop and support VPN services, feature comparison between the different editions of the same VPN product (if available), a price-to-feature ratio that’s meant to show you the balance between a product’s price and its premium features, several tests that will decide whether or not a product is safe and much more.
Each VPN will be tested on the same network and computer so that the results won’t be compromised by changing hardware on last moment’s notice. In case some of the gear used in the tests will be replaced, all the tests will be re-done and republished shortly after. This way we can assure you that the test results will be at the top of their accuracy point.
Do-It-Yourself testing encouraged
We don’t want you to take our word for it; instead, we encourage every one of you to test your VPN services with the tools we recommend and following the exact same steps (for the sake of accuracy), so that you convince yourselves about the efficiency of the VPN you chose. Our website will also include a feedback section on each product’s page so that you can share results and photos with other people who use the same product as you.
As stated in a previous article, nobody should jump head-first when deciding on which privacy protection tool they’ll use, since some of them provide infallible defense, while others just sell data back to third-parties, invading privacy and jeopardizing security at the same time. Therefore, a tiny bit of research before ultimately picking a VPN is always recommended.
However, instead of doing the research yourselves, you might as well rely on our services, since our policy guarantees that the content we provide you with will be 100% honest and not influenced by third-parties who want to boost their popularity or increase their sales through these reviews.
The gear we use
First of all, it is necessary to mention that throughout our whole testing process, any piece of hardware that we use will not be modified in any way, so that we won’t alter the accuracy of our test results.
The network and Internet connection that we use to connect to the VPN server we’re testing will also remain unmodified for the same reason. We understand that your results may vary since both your hardware and Internet connection might be different from ours, or from one user to another.
However, in terms of security, these results shouldn’t vary too much, since changing or upgrading components such as your network adapter or router usually leads to speed modifications and fewer security-related ones.
The hardware components we plan on using on each test are as follows:
- Toshiba Satellite c660-1c7:
Intel® Core™ i3-380M – 2.53 GHz
4GBs of RAM (extended from 2GBs)
Solid State Drive (SSD) Kingston SSDNow V300, 120GB, 2.5″, SATA III (upgraded from Hitachi 250GB 5400 RPM)
- TP-Link TL-WN722N N150 High Gain USB Wireless WiFi network Adapter (instead of the laptop’s embedded adapter)
- AC1750 TP-Link Archer C7 Wireless Router
We realize that the hardware we listed above isn’t exactly top-tier, but then again, not everybody has a “battle station” in their homes. Even more, numerous entry-level-laptop users rely on VPN services, and at least security-wise, our tests should cover just about everything, despite the average performance of our physical tools.
A little background research
Whenever deciding on picking a VPN from the market, you should know a little about the company that’s developing and supporting it. The information you should be interested in includes the company’s background, if it were ever at the center of a scandal regarding security or privacy, if it ever used to sell data to third-parties or if they’ve ever been the target of security breaches.
Although some of the things mentioned above doesn’t automatically make their product unreliable, it is important to understand what you’re dealing with and what you should expect from the creators of the service you’re using. Another important piece of data that can be useful to you is the reliability of their customer support section (if they have one).
This information fragment can come in really handy whenever you have an issue with their product and want them to do something about it, whether it’s a client-related issue, you’re having technical difficulties with your computer or simply lack the know-how in configuring the tool you just bought.
Reading the confidentiality policy of each company and product is another thing we dedicate ourselves to since it’s critical if your data is handled with care or just kept indefinitely and sold to the highest bidder.
It is worth noting that most companies keep logs about your activity whenever you’re connected to the VPN servers they provide, but some of them log little to no data, which should increase both your privacy and overall security.
Downloading and installing the VPN
After we’re done with scrolling through endless amounts of text content, we can finally download the VPN on our computer, install it and put it to good use. However, while we’re at it, we also analyze the product’s website (if it has one) and decide whether or not it’s intuitive enough, provides you with enough information and, most importantly, if the data they provide you with is 100% transparent.
A counter-example of the transparency situation would be boasting about the lack of ads in the application, only so you can discover that installing the app brings a swarm of malware on your computer as a welcome gift.
During the installation process, we try to observe how easy can the VPN client be installed on the target computer. Some VPNs come with intuitive wizards that guide you through the process step-by-step, making sure that deploying the tool doesn’t raise any issues, even with novices.
Others might require a little more know-how and overall experience with similar products in order to configure them as efficiently as possible, so that they could do their job as intended.
However, the installation process will be thoroughly analyzed and presented to you as a guide if necessary, so that you won’t break a sweat while installing the product on your computer.
Once the installation has been handled, another need arises: configuring the tool in order to cover your tracks wherever you go and prevent unwanted trackers from recording your online activities.
Similar to the above situation, some VPN clients require little to no configuration, as they automatically adjust the best settings for the given situation, but some users (we call them the tinkerer type), do not agree with this automated configuration process and want to get their hands dirty by manually tweaking the parameters as they see fit. We’ll do that for you, as well.
Post-setup VPN analysis
If everything goes smooth, we can go ahead and fire up the VPN client, connect to a server it provides us with and let the testing procedures begin. One of the first things we try to observe is how long it takes to the client to start on our computer (which, by default, is an average one). After this, we try to analyze the way it affects our PC’s performance (a quick glance in the Task Manager should suffice) and how fast it connects us to its servers.
Another feature that’s attractive, especially to seasoned users, is the number of servers the VPN client provides you with and also the variety of countries it covers. The geographical factor is of utmost importance since VPN clients are widely used to unlock region-locked contents such as social media websites or other services that might be restricted due to various regulations.
Before actually running any tests that might yield precise information, we also put the VPNs to something we call “stress-tests.” These operations involve running as many online operations as possible at the same time and seeing whether the server we’re currently connected to suffers from lag spikes, speed drops, and even interruptions.
These operations include browsing a simple webpage, accessing a video stream service such as Netflix, firing up an online game such as an intense traffic MMO, downloading a file by using a browser as well as uploading and downloading via torrent or P2P clients.
Performing these actions lets us decide how much stress can a VPN connection take before it collapses (if ever) and by running each of the operations mentioned above individually (not at the same time), we can also observe what that specific client is best for.
When we finish covering up all the bits of information described above (and some more that we didn’t mention, but you’ll be able to find in the review), we can move on to performing the tests that really matter and make some products stand out and others submerge.
Bringing the big guns out
As stated in the article available here, we take VPN testing protocols very seriously, since we want to provide you with 100% accurate results and we believe that tampering with the results of such an important matter would bring no benefits, not to you, not to us.
So we handpicked the most reliable tools we could find so that we can run several tests against any VPN service, regardless of its popularity, overall rating or other features that might deem it as being top-tier, safe, secure or of premium quality.
Among the tests we’ll perform, you can find ones that check for various leaks such as IP, DNS, WebRTC and browser leaks, but also speed tests that ultimately determine how great the service of your choice will do in several situations.
We explained in the previous article that leaks occur whenever the data that you should send exclusively to the VPN server you’re connected to become visible to your Internet Service Provider (or ISP).
Although some providers might have no evil intentions, there are enough of them that will gawk at your exposed data as a hungry lion at its prey and sell it to the highest bidder whenever they get the chance. In order to prevent that from happening, you might want to check if your connection is really secure.
We also conduct tests with multiple browsers, since some VPN services can work great with, say Chrome, for instance, and absolutely terrible with Firefox, or the other way around. So we have to make sure that whatever browser you’ll be using, the VPN client you chose will provide you with the same speed, data protection, and overall reliability.
Note that we only conduct tests on rather popular browsers such as Opera, Chrome, Firefox, Chromium and the such, since homebrew applications offer little to no stability and there’s no reason to conduct testing on unsigned software altogether.
Rating the product
Naturally, all this struggle would be in vain if we weren’t to award each and every single VPN client with a rating based on several criteria, ranging from ease-of-use, intuitiveness and feature quality to customer support quality and even price.
Yes, the price is of great importance since many users prefer turning to the VPN’s free edition, which often provides them with limited servers with limited slots, not so many countries to choose from, limited bandwidth or even occasional interruptions from the server.
We understand that giving a rating to each VPN product might seem a bit subjective, but we try balancing it by not only appreciating the criteria after our own standards but comparing them to other similar products that perform in better or worse ways.
This way, you can always know exactly where the product of your choice stands in our top and even choose an alternative that would benefit you more, regardless if it’s a cheaper, faster or more secure VPN you’re aiming to get.
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