Using a virtual private network (VPN) these days is a no-brainer. It is the only way to secure yourself from identity theft online. Without one, you may as well be handing out your information to the first person in line. You can lose thousands of dollars, along with your very reputation.
But using any VPN is not necessarily going to keep you safe. Some VPNs don’t work, or might be selling your data. Not long ago, a review conducted on Android VPN apps found that most of them don’t work.
You can’t hope to choose the right VPN if you don’t know where to look or without running a DNS leak test. Here are 3 steps to get you started.
- Read Independent Reviews
Sometimes, it is best to go with the underdog. A company that has been around for a year might well provide a better service than one that’s been around for decades. In some cases, this is even likely. However, when it comes to using a VPN, don’t go for one that has not yet garnered many reviews. Your safety is at stake, after all.
There are some excellent websites which review VPNs. VPNBase, in particular, keeps its focus on comparing the best VPNs out there.
It is important to go with a VPN that already has garnered some online credit. Check if others have used it and what they’re saying. And make sure that some of those sources have been able to do extensive testing of the underlying mechanisms.
- Start a Free Trial
Most of the best VPNs offer the option of starting with a free trial. You can use the VPN for a month or two, either at no cost, or with a money-back guarantee. You should take this option. This way you can get a sense of how well the VPN works. Does it crash? Is the customer service good? Does it work with Netflix and Amazon?
Also get an idea of how many of the external servers will actually be useful to you. It’s all good and well to have servers all over the world, but when most of them are in countries you’ve never even heard of, they might not be the most beneficial.
Use the opportunity to see how fast it works, as well. VPNs inevitably slow you down somewhat, but with the best ones, it will be negligible.
- Do a DNS Leak Test
A DNS leak test shows you if your VPN is actually hiding your DNS, which could give away your location and other details. A DNS leak test takes a few seconds, and will give you immediate results. It will tell you if it can detect that you’re in a different location from your external server.
Just make sure to turn on your VPN before doing the DNS leak test. I turned mine on when I was already on the website, and my actual location had already been detected.
A VPN is only worth its salt if it actually protects you. Do your due diligence, and find out before committing money to it.