We’re sure that many of you are interested in knowing how we test and review VPNs. After all, you shouldn’t trust everything that you read online, as we’re sure you already know. So, what makes TechNadu special? Why should you trust us? What’re our criteria? Well, we’re going to answer those and many other questions, so keep on reading.
TechNadu’s Essential Policy – Being Fully Transparent!
First of all, you should know about the way we cover the basics. In order words, we’d first like to cover the most important information that you need to keep in mind when reading our reviews. We’re going to tell about our relationships with VPN providers and our readers.
Our Relationship With VPN Providers & Business Partners
If you take a close look at our Affiliate Disclosure, you will see that TechNadu has a business relationship with a number of VPN providers (affiliate partnerships). However, this absolutely doesn’t mean that we recommend VPNs that don’t deserve your total trust.
You should know that VPN providers don’t have any influence on our reviews. With this said, we don’t accept any form of compensation for positive coverage. Conclusion found in our reviews are made only after spending plenty of time reviewing VPNs.
Our entire reviewing process is centered around individual users and their right to online privacy. We fully understand that you need a VPN to ensure your total online anonymity, and we respect that. That’s why you can be 100% sure that our reviews are impartial. Just like with did in the past, we plan on staying honest and open in the future as well.
Our Relationship With TechNadu Visitors & Readers
As noted earlier, you can be sure that our reviews are impartial. And as you can see from the screenshots posted across numerous VPN reviews, we’ve installed and used those VPNs for an extended period of time. Our editorial team has nothing to hide, and we’re highly dedicated to answering our readers’ queries and comments.
You should also note that the world VPNs is a fast-evolving one. You can be sure that the information found in our VPN reviews is true and 100% correct, based on the date of the publication. However, we strongly recommend you to test-drive a VPN before fully committing and seeing how well it performs based on your geographical location.
TechNadu’s 13-Step Process of Reviewing VPNs
Finally, let’s take a look at our full process of testing and reviewing VPNs. We’ll be guiding you one step at a time, and you’ll see that everything said here is reflected across all our VPN reviews.
1. Buying Our Own VPN Subscription
To be able to remain impartial, we always pay for the VPN subscription. This allows us to be objective and behave just like a regular customer. In other words, we experience the VPN just like you would.
Next, you need to know that we have an active subscription for every VPN present on the website. From time to time, we update our reviews since VPNs tend to add new services, new features, and they can enhance their security-protecting tools. In addition, this allows us to keep track of VPNs in the long-term and see which ones provide good value for their price.
2. Checking Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation
The first segment in TechNadu’s VPN reviews is dedicated to checking the background, jurisdiction, and reputation of each VPN. We dive deep and research about where the VPN is located, what kinds of data privacy laws it needs to respect, and if its home country is known for being a member of the 14 Eyes Alliance.
Of course, we also do a background check. It’s important to see if a VPN has had any data leak in past, or if some vulnerabilities have led to problematic consequences. In the best-case scenario, you want to use a VPN with no problems in its past and with a strong reputation of not collecting your personal data.
3. Testing VPNs on Various Platforms
Today’s VPN providers tend to bring native apps for various platforms. This can include Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android – which is considered to be the basic offering. Then, VPNs can also support routers, Amazon media streamers, Android TV, and even certain smart TV models.
To ensure that we know what we talk about, we install each VPN on a number of devices. Our primary device is a Windows 10 PC. We use one device to test every VPN so that we can easily compare their performance. In our office, other popular platforms are also present. We have a MacBook, iPhone XS, and Samsung Galaxy S8 – all of which are used on occasion to run VPNs.
4. Installation Procedure Breakdown
Next, we continue by installing the VPN on our computer. This is where we rate VPNs based on how easy and fast it is to get started. Ideally, you want quick access to native applications, which can be usually found when you log in to your account on the VPN’s website. We also check if VPNs set up everything they need before they launch and if you can dive into using them without having to go through manual configuration.
Our rating for this segment is based on the ease of installation. VPNs that require you to jump through hoops and that come with bundled software are the least desirable ones, and we give them a lower score.
5. Highlighting Prominent Features & Standouts
There are two types of VPNs out there. First, we have those oriented towards security. These VPNs bring the standard set of features which includes strong encryption, various VPN protocols, and they do their best to prevent data leaks (including DNS and IPv6 leaks). Then, we have VPNs that go beyond that by bringing ad-blockers, specialized servers for media streaming and torrenting, and more.
We give the highest rating to those VPN services that offer a complete package. In other words, the highest-rated VPNs on our website bring a strong set of standard features. However. they also bring a number of unique or highly advanced features like split-tunneling and malware protection, which gives them more value for their price.
6. Examining VPN Server Network Sizes
In this segment, we rate VPNs based on the number of servers they bring. By taking a look at our reviews, you can see that VPNs with 1,000 to 3,000 servers receive scores between 6 and 8. That’s because some VPNs, like NordVPN for example, bring more than 5,000 servers. In other words, we simply compare VPNs based on how large their server network is, at the moment.
The number of servers doesn’t necessarily translate to more capable performance. However, VPNs with high server counts can host more users without any congestion, which is an important prerequisite for providing stable performance.
7. Checking VPNs for Their Ease of Use
Since VPNs bring native applications for different platforms, you need to check how easy they are to use. After all, you don’t want a highly complex UI unless you’re a power user looking for numerous options to tweak.
In the last couple of years, VPNs have come a long way in terms of their UI design. Many of those resemble mobile apps that are more than easy to use. In many cases, it takes two or three clicks to select a server and connect to it. If a VPN brings simple enough interface that can be used even by complete beginners, we give it the highest score. The deeper you have to dig to find certain options, the lower the score.
8. Testing VPNs for Media Streaming Capabilities
The best VPNs out there can keep you 100% protected online. However, they don’t make any compromises, and they can also unblock media streaming websites. To make sure we know what we’re talking about, we have subscriptions to four major streaming services, and we test each VPN to see is it can unblock all four.
In our reviews, you can see how successfully VPNs can unblock Netflix US, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video. In addition, we check if VPNs support downloading torrent files. This is done by checking for P2P rules on official websites and then trying to download P2P files on our own.
9. Inspecting Privacy Policies & Security Measures
Without any doubt, the most crucial aspect of testing VPNs is checking their security-related features. In one of the earlier segments, we told you that we check for prominent features. This includes taking a close look and listing the most important security features of each VPN. However, this segment is all about testing those features. With this said, we focus on three aspects.
- Supported Encryption Protocols: You want to know what kinds of VPN protocols you can use. The most capable VPNs brings every currently popular protocol including OpenVPN, PPTP, SSTP, IKEv2, IPSec, and more. Additionally, you need to pick a VPN that brings 256-bit encryption.
- DNS Leak Test: Finally, a DNS leak test is mandatory to check for any troubling leaks. These tests detect DNS servers that track our true location. In case they only see what the VPN shows them, it means that you’re fully protected.
10. Presenting our Speed Test Results
To investigate what kind of performance you can expect from VPNs, we put every VPN through a series of speed tests (Speedtest by Ookla). The goal here is to investigate in what measure does each VPN throttle your Web connection. These tests include three steps:
- First, we get our baseline stats. This means that we run a speed test of our ‘naked’ Web connection, without the VPN running.
- Then we check the performance of a nearby server. Most often, we allow the VPN to find the best server based on our geographical location, which in turn should provide optimal performance.
- Finally, we connect to a remote server. Since we’re based in Europe, we connect to a server located in the USA. In general, USA-based servers are hugely popular since they’re used to unblock websites. And in turn, these servers usually throttle the speed of your Web connection in a more noticeable manner.
Finally, we compare the results and come up with a percentage that shows how much does the VPN throttle your Web connection, on average. The final score is given based on how well the VPN performs in comparison to other VPNs.
11. Navigating VPNs’ Customer Support Channels
VPN applications are technically complex solutions, which means that something can go wrong from time to time. When that happens, you’ll be happy to have reliable and responsive customer support. As a side note, you can also check our VPN troubleshooting guide.
The best VPNs provide around-the-clock live chat. You visit the official website, and you can talk to a real person about the problem you’re experiencing. However, other types of support are equally important. For example, you’ll want to have in-depth installation guides, as well as sections related to frequently asked questions and troubleshooting. Finally, almost every VPN offers a support ticket option, allowing to send an inquiry in an official manner.
The best-rated VPNs on our website provide everything explained in the previous paragraph. And more importantly, they provide help in a convenient way. Lastly, these VPNs reply to emails within 24 hours.
12. Making Sense of VPNs’ Pricing Plans
The next segment in our reviews is about different pricing plans. We highlight the most important information regarding the VPN’s pricing structure. This means that this segment contains a table explaining the prices of different plans, how much you need to pay in total, how much per month, and if there are any savings.
We rate VPNs based on the value they bring. By knowing their features, privacy policies, performance, ability to unblock websites, and more, we give our final recommendation on whether buying a certain VPN is a good idea. And if it is, we tend to recommend the plan that gets you the biggest savings.
13. Drawing Our Final Rating & Conclusions
Lastly, we draw a conclusion based on everything said in our reviews. The final rating is based on the scores of individual aspects, and it serves as an indicator of what you can expect. Generally speaking, VPNs that come with ratings between 8.0 and 10.0 (like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and IPVanish, for example) should on the top of your list. These are hugely capable VPN providers that can cater to needs of the most demanding users. Ratings below 8.0 typically point to certain flaws that make the VPN unusable for certain uses.
Finally, we’d like to note that we strive to be completely transparent in our reviews. Once again, we’d like to highlight the fact that our reviews are 100% impartial and free from any outside influence. And that’s precisely what sets TechNadu’s VPN review apart from anything else you’ll find on the Web.