In a day and age when everyone is trying to steal your personal data, a VPN can protect you from this by making your connections secure and secure. While the promises of military-grade security or total invisibility might be tempting, Consumer Reports Yael Grauer suggests that you look for more concrete evidence that a service you are looking at is legitimate.

An excellent first step is compatibility – look for the service to support at a minimum, the most popular operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. You’ll need to be aware of the number of devices supported by the service and how many connections it will allow simultaneously. Also, take a consider the number of available servers and their locations around the world. This can help you pick one close to your home or one that provides speedy speeds when you travel across the globe.

Some services offer special features, like dedicated servers called ‘Netflix’ that unblock geo-restricted sites, or additional security features, like RAM-only servers that wipes data every time the service reboots and monitors the dark web, and threat protection. Find out the ownership structure of the business and if it has had any data breaches or privacy issues in the past.

The most reliable overall service we tried was NordVPN which boasts thousands of servers in 94 countries AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption, a reliable kill switch, split tunneling and obfuscated servers. It’s also one of the few providers to publish its detailed no-logs policy and engages PricewaterhouseCoopers for annual audits. The costs aren’t cheap, but you get a lot for your money. A long-term plan that is generous includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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