When it comes to VPNs, we don’t blame you if you’re overwhelmed by choice. What was once a niche industry is now a booming market. With so many options available, how can you be sure you’ve picked the best one?
Due diligence is key. All VPNs worth their salt have certain features you shouldn’t — and can’t afford to — go without. To save you time, we’ve narrowed down the most important aspects of a VPN, so you can make an informed decision when you’re ready to invest in one.
Choosing a VPN doesn’t have to be tough – CyberGhost includes everything you could possibly need! We’re proud to offer powerful security, unbeatable privacy, lightning-fast speeds, and expert access, all packaged in an easy-to-use app.
What to Look For in a VPN
It might seem like if you’ve used one VPN, you’ve used them all, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even though all VPNs have a common premise, the difference between a good VPN and an inferior one is quality. Pay attention to the following, and you’ll be able to scout out the roses from the thorns with ease.
1. Stringent Security
Regardless of what you use one for, VPNs are designed to protect your data. The most important aspect you want to consider is security. An unsecure VPN is simply inadequate, and using one could put your data at even more risk than not using one at all.
The best way to gauge security is to look at VPN encryption, or in layman’s terms, how your data is protected when you connect to a VPN. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the most secure algorithm we have available to us. 128-bit AES is fast and efficient, while 256-bit AES encryption — the industry and military standard — is ultra resistant to brute force attacks.
2. A Watertight No Logs Policy
Security and privacy go hand in hand, but it’s not to say a secure VPN will protect your privacy by default. Before you settle, look for a No Logs Policy. Without one, your VPN provider could monitor, record, share or even sell your data and activity, which is unacceptable.
Keep in mind, VPN providers have to store minimal and necessary information — for example, your email address, or billing information — in order to deliver their service, but this should never breach your privacy. Be sure to read the fine print. Dodgy VPN providers might claim to be no logs, but use service loopholes to spy on you.
Trustworthy VPN providers will release Transparency Reports. They’re an excellent way to verify how well a VPN’s no logs policy is implemented. Make sure they’re independently audited — the call won’t mean much if it’s coming from inside the house!
CyberGhost VPN is based in privacy-friendly Romania, where data logging isn’t mandatory. We’re not obligated to monitor or store your data, and no one, not even authorities, can order us to. Your secrets are safe with us.
3. Quality Servers and Ample Server Locations
The higher the server count, the faster the VPN, right? Not quite. It doesn’t matter if a VPN has a billion servers in its fleet if the servers are slow, unstable, and unsafe. Quality trumps quantity in this regard. A fair bit of research might be required to judge a VPN’s servers, but don’t worry, we have a guide to VPN server quality to get you started.
Server location is also more important than fleet size, because the more server locations a VPN has, the more countries you can connect to, and the more IP addresses you can hide behind. This matters when you need to connect to a particular country, for example if you need to access your banking services while abroad, or if you want to virtually place yourself closer to online game servers.
CyberGhost VPN was the first provider to offer streaming, gaming, and torrenting-optimized servers. We’ve got servers in over 100 countries for you to choose from, so you’ll always have the best speeds and easy access to the sites you need.
4. Industry-Leading Protocols
VPN protocols determine how your data moves between your device and the VPN server. Good protocols will establish a secure, encrypted and stable connection, so it’s crucial your provider doesn’t skimp here. Different VPNs will use different protocols, and different protocols will fulfill different needs. Here’s the rundown, so you have an idea of what to look for.
|WireGuard||Considered by many to be the best of the best, Wireguard is known for its excellent encryption, speeds and stability. It’s best used for data-heavy tasks, like streaming, online gaming or large downloads. Keep in mind WireGuard is relatively new and may have a few creases you’ll have to iron out.|
|IPsec/IKEv2||A great middle ground between speed and security, IPsec/IKEv2 is a reliable protocol, and seamlessly covers all bases. On the downside, configuration is somewhat complex, it’s not compatible with all devices, and it might struggle against your firewall.|
|OpenVPN||One of the most popular protocols, OpenVPN is fantastic for security — it uses 256-bit AES encryption. It can easily bypass firewalls, and is a multi-device protocol. It’s immensely stable, but it’s not as fast as WireGuard or IPsec/IKEv2. Configuration isn’t simple, and you’ll likely have to install third-party software to use it.|
|SSTP||Developed by Microsoft, SSTP is a stable protocol, but its security has come under fire and most VPN providers avoid it. It’s never been independently reviewed, and some suspect it collects data rather than protecting it. It’s intended for Windows, but runs on a variety of devices and operating systems.|
|PPTP||The original VPN protocol, PPTP is fast and uses little resources, but it doesn’t meet the standard in security because it uses outdated, easily cracked, encryption ciphers. It’s better to avoid this one.|
|L2TP/IPsec||Unlike the others we’ve mentioned, L2TP/IPsec is purely a tunnel, and doesn’t offer native security features. It uses third-party software to encrypt and protect your connection, which could be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. It’s not very fast and doesn’t fare well against firewalls, but it’s versatile and compatible with most devices and operating systems.|
Not sure which protocol is best for you? Download CyberGhost VPN and you won’t even have to worry about it. Choose WireGuard, IKEv2, or OpenVPN, or customize your protocol set up as and when you see fit. You can also leave the heavy lifting to us and let CyberGhost VPN automatically select the best protocol for your connection.
5. Reliable Connection Speeds
All VPNs, even the fastest ones in the industry, will take a moment or two to reroute and encrypt your traffic. Good VPNs will run so quickly and so smoothly, you won’t notice the delay. The best way to determine how fast your VPN will run is to look at its protocols and investigate its servers.
VPNs can’t give you faster internet than your ISP, but in a few cases, they can improve your connection. A VPN could get you around ISP throttling, and could reduce latency and lag while you stream, game or use VoIP services.
This only applies if your VPN provider doesn’t cap your connection to them, or limit the speeds you can access depending on your tier or subscription. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that with CyberGhost VPN – when you sign up, you get unlimited bandwidth on all plans.
Our 10-Gbps servers are designed with speed in mind, and remove overcrowding from the equation. Connect to CyberGhost VPN in the blink of an eye, stream in UHD, and play games without lag.
6. Multiple Device Compatibility and Connections
Not all VPNs have mobile apps, and some only work on select devices or operating systems. Different VPNs also have differing device connections, and might not suit your needs. You’ll have to decide for yourself how many connections make sense for you, and what you need a VPN for.
Businesses, for example, won’t find much value in VPNs with connection limits. On the other end of the scale, someone who lives alone and only has to cover their PC and mobile doesn’t need a million simultaneous connections.
With CyberGhost VPN, you can connect up to 7 devices simultaneously with one account. CyberGhost VPN is compatible with most major devices and operating systems including desktop, mobile, Smart TVs, and gaming consoles. You can also set us up on your router to cover all your devices at once, with no limit to how many you can connect.
7. Ease of Use
When VPNs were originally created, they were intended for large corporations. This meant they were quite complex and unintuitive, and one had to learn how to use and implement them. When the general public realized a need for them too, and they became commercially available, part of the appeal was how simple they were.
You shouldn’t have to learn a new programming language just to protect your data. Commercial VPNs should be straightforward enough for tech unsavvy people to use them without hassle.
The best VPNs will make set up easy with built-in wizards, and will have default or automatic configuration if you’re not the sort to want to do it yourself, or are unsure of how to. It should also have optimization if you are tech savvy and know what configuration you’re looking for.
8. Customer Support
Even though your VPN should be as easy as possible to use, a VPN with no way to get in touch with support should raise red flags. If you’re looking for more information about a VPN, have questions about the service, or need help with set up or troubleshooting, nothing beats talking to a real, live human being.
Customer support could be anything — from email support to a live chat — as long as it’s active, and easily accessible. CyberGhost VPN has 24/7 Customer Support, so you never have to wait to reach out to us.
9. Extra Security Features (and Add-Ons)
More features doesn’t mean the VPN is superior to others, but let’s face it, it doesn’t hurt. Depending on what the bells and whistles are, they could even increase the VPN’s value for money. Here’s a taste of what you’ll get out of CyberGhost VPN, beyond the basics.
- A Kill Switch. A Kill Switch cuts your internet if your VPN connection ever drops. This is to ensure your identity, location, or connection won’t be exposed.
- DNS leak protection. Sometimes you’ll be connected to your VPN, but other factors will override it. When this happens, your traffic won’t be routed to VPN servers and your data and activity will be exposed. CyberGhost VPN tests for DNS leaks and stops them in their tracks.
- CyberGhost VPN for Chrome. If you can’t download or install CyberGhost VPN to your device, but you still want to protect your browsing, you can get our Chrome VPN for free. Keep in mind, it will only protect your browser activity — not your device or other apps.
- Split tunneling. This lets you connect to CyberGhost VPN for certain tasks, while allowing other activity to disregard your VPN. It’s handy for multitasking while you’re at work!
- Your very own dedicated IP. If you want a steady IP address to hide behind — or if you want to be the only one using it — you can choose to include a dedicated IP when you sign up.
- Wi-Fi protection. CyberGhost VPN will notify you of untrusted networks, and you can set it to automatically protect you when you connect to Wi-Fi.
10. A Good Reputation
One of the best ways to make a sound VPN decision is to see what others have to say. We all have to start somewhere, so it’s not to imply new VPNs can’t be good — rather, consumer opinions and ratings can be a free and effective way to gauge a product or service’s quality.
Looking into the VPN’s history and track record is also a good idea. You’ll be able to see if it’s had data breaches, lawsuits, or other suspicious secrets.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Settle for Free VPNs
Free VPNs are tempting, but they’re not a wise idea because they don’t have the servers, speeds, security, or stability of premium VPNs. Free VPNs also have to get funding from somewhere, so might sell your data to third parties or advertisers — which puts you at risk, and defeats the purpose of using a VPN.
You won’t get the same use out of a free VPN either. Some might cap your VPN connection, and most won’t have as many server locations for you to choose from. It’s unlikely you’ll get nifty extras — like split tunneling, or a kill switch — or customer support.
Premium VPNs are always the better choice. They’re more reliable, can prove they’re trustworthy, and offer you a variety of complementary security features. Before you settle for a free VPN, ask yourself: is it worth it?
The Best VPNs Are All-Rounders
Perhaps the most important factor in choosing a VPN is determining what you’ll use it for, so you can be certain it will work for you.
Why pay for a VPN that does one thing well, when you could download CyberGhost VPN and have it all? We cover all bases, from uncrackable encryption to dedicated servers for all your digital needs. Try us out risk free with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Most commercial VPNs require little setup, and will guide you through the whole process with handy set up wizards — all you have to do is download and install the software or app. That said, it depends on the VPN. In some cases, configuration might require some input on your part, for example, when setting a VPN up on your router, or if you’re installing a VPN on Linux devices.
Contact CyberGhost VPN’s 24/7 customer support if you have any questions, or need help with setup and configuration.
VPNs are security tools. They hide and encrypt your online traffic, preventing data leaks and cyber attacks. Even so, there are many use cases, including connecting to services like your bank account or local stores while you travel, getting around censorship or website blocks, reducing buffering while you stream, or downloading privately.
If your VPN uses industry standard protocols and encryption, has fast servers in many different countries, and operates under— and upholds — a strict no logs policy, it’s likely a good VPN. You should still do your research to see what customers think, and to make sure it doesn’t have a dodgy history.
Make sure the VPN you choose is independently audited, and has transparency reports you can match its word against. Keep in mind, free VPNs come with risks, so if you’re using one, you should reconsider.