We have researched and tested the claims of how secure the top VPN brands are.
There are many VPN providers out there, all claiming to be the best and most secure – We’ve put them to the test and found 5 VPNs that you can trust with your privacy.
Here is a quick overview of the results. You can read more about the research below.
Below you can learn how to spot a secure VPN on your own. VPN services are often reviewed on a great number of factors – our focus is the security the VPN brings the user. We will go through
- Important features of a secure VPN service
- VPN performance
- What to look out for
Knowing a VPN is secure and efficient is not enough for many people. Most of us want the best VPN with the least investment and authenticity before buying. Fortunately, there are some VPN services that provide a free trial.
Let’s find out the details.
How You Can Spot a Secure VPN
Starting with a less technical part. Looking to the details of a VPN service you can easily find out about the features they are providing. However, the legitimacy of that information and efficiency could only be verified once you use the VPN.
But, the first step is to know, what features make a VPN secure.
Basic Security Features
Encryption is the base of VPN technology. Through encryption, the data and traffic of a user are made unidentifiable for everyone. The user traffic underwent a VPN encryption tunnel where it is encrypted at one end and decrypted at the other end. Therefore, the data remain protected from snooping eyes.
Encryption is always a part of a VPN, but the thing to look is, the level of encryption a VPN service is providing.
Curious to know best encryption level?
The minimum option to go for is, 128-bit AES which is unbreakable but if you are getting military-grade encryption of AES 256-bit, then it is the best protection for you.
There are many protocols offered by a VPN service. But here we are talking about the most secure VPN so we will look for the most secure protocol and that protocol should be a part of a VPN.
The common protocols are PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2/IPsec and SSTP. Some VPNs offer all of these protocols whereas others have any less to offer.
- PPTP provides the lowest security as it is designed to keep fast speed. To attain that speed the encryption level is kept low.
- SSTP has high encryption as well as an adequate speed. It is considered better than L2TP and PPTP in terms of security.
- L2TP has high security, but there are concerns that this protocol might get weakened by the NSA. It is not very stable but has support for multiple devices and platforms.
- IKEv2 is secure and fast too, but it has limited support for platforms. However, it is efficient for mobile users.
- OpenVPN has the highest security and is fast too. If we talk about the stability, OpenVPN is also the best in this area and has strong support for desktop. The only limitation with this VPN protocol is the average mobile support and the need for third-party software for this purpose.
What’s more secure?
If you are connecting VPN on your desktop, then OpenVPN is the best option for security. It also works efficiently for other tasks, keeping you secure at every moment.
However, if you are using a VPN while browsing the internet on your mobile device, then you can go for IKEv2.
Jurisdiction means the country where a VPN service has its headquarters. You might be thinking of the reason why you should keep this thing at priority when searching for the most secure VPN.
Here is why.
- A VPN has to follow the laws of a country where it is based. Therefore, if a country has laws such as data retention, it could impact VPN privacy.
- If a country is a member of an alliance such as five eyes, nine eyes, and fourteen eyes, then there is a probability that the data retained by VPN would be shared by other member states.
But, there are certain common things through which you can judge how a VPN would treat your personal data.
For instance, a VPN saying that they have a zero-logging policy is not enough. Most of the VPNs go against their own claim if you go through further content. Such VPNs have a long list for the user’s personal data – such as IP address, browsing the history, etc. – which is kept by the VPN.
Many people don’t take it seriously. But, if your data is still present somewhere then how it is safe? And what is the use of having a VPN?
Therefore, you shouldn’t go for any such VPN in any case. You should look for a VPN which keep the least amount of personal data for really important use. Even you can find some VPNs which just take your email address for the registration process and nothing else.
Advanced Secure VPN Features
Advanced VPN features are not necessarily found in every VPN. There are only a few VPN providers which added these features recently so that they could make their efficiency better.
Keeping the advanced features in mind will help you in selecting the most secure VPN for yourself.
Split tunneling is the feature for enhancing speed along with keeping the sensitive data secure. As implied by the name, through split tunneling you can select the few apps which will go through the VPN encrypted tunnel. People use this feature when they have certain apps with sensitive data while others retain normal data.
Kill switch is the feature specially designed to prevent identity exposure at the time of VPN connection drops. Due to reasons such as unstable VPN protocol, network congestion, firewall/router settings, etc. – it is common to face connection issues while using a VPN.
Kill switch automatically disconnects the internet, promptly after a VPN connection drops. Therefore, it is made sure that no data or traffic pass unencrypted to the internet.
DNS Leak Protection
As implied by the name, the DNS leak protection feature is introduced to prevent data loss at the time of DNS leak.
DNS leak is the issue which happens at the backend, and the user is unaware about it. Therefore, this feature, double checks that the DNS query is going towards the VPN DNS only. With this feature, it is ensured that the native platform does not resolve DNS requests.
IP Leak Protection
IP leak protection had been developed due to the issue of IPv6 leak. To understand this better you can read the IPv6 and IPv4 differences in detail, here.
In short, due to lack of support for IPv6 protocol in many VPNs, the IP leak happens. When a website – using IPv6 protocol – is sent, the ISP DNS reloves it instead of the VPN DNS, and your real IP gets exposed.
Therefore, to avoid IP leak, IPv6 leak protection feature blocks IPv6 traffic when a VPN is connected.
How To Test The VPN Service?
It is an important yet crucial part of the quest for the most secure VPN. When you select a particular VPN, you need to carry out these vital VPN performance tests.
Tests such as DNS leak test, IP leak test, Torrent IP test, WebRTC leak test, and encryption tests provide you the deep analysis and stats of your VPN’s performance which otherwise remain hidden from the users, and their data remain exposed even with VPN.
Here’s what you will find in each test.
- An unbiased (non-affiliated) tool to carry out all the tests.
- Testing method
- Result analysis
DNS Leak Test
For the DNS leak test, I am selecting the VPNInsights tool. (You can select any other. But make sure it is non-affiliated or do not have their own VPN)
To start the testing;
- Connect your VPN.
- Open the DNS leak tool page.
- Click the “Execute Test” button and wait for the results.
If the results contain the information corresponding to the connected VPN server, then there is no DNS leak.
However, if any information shows your real ISP hostname, real IP address or location, then your DNS is leaking.
IP Leak Test and WebRTC leak Test
VPNInsights IP tool simultaneously checks the WebRTC leak too. Therefore, I am discussing both the tests.
To check the IP leak and WebRTC leak;
- Go to the IP leak tool page.
- As soon as you land the page, at the right side, your real IP address will be displayed.
- Now connect your VPN and Click the “Run” button at the center.
- In the center section, your VPN IP will be displayed.
- Now, click the “IP leak test” button at the right section. Here the displayed result shows the IP address your browser is getting.
For the IP leak:
Compare the results of step 2 and step 4. If both the sections have the same IP address, i.e., your real IP, then your VPN is leaking IP address.
For WebRTC Leak:
If the IP displayed at the right side is similar to your real IP address (IP displayed at the left side), then WebRTC is leaking your IP through your browser.
Torrent IP Test
I am using the VPNInsights Torrent IP tool for this test too.
Steps to conduct the Torrent IP test;
- Connect your VPN and go to the torrent test page.
- At the left side, your VPN IP will be displayed.
- Click “Load Torrent File” which will start the file processing, and your file will be ready in few seconds.
- Now click the “Magnet Link” button. The file will automatically open in your system’s torrent client. (if you don’t have any torrent client then download one, before this test).
- When the downloading process starts, come back to the torrent test page and check the IP, displayed on the right side.
If both the IPs – on the left side and right side – are same then your VPN is not leaking IP through a torrent client.
If the left side IP is VPN’s IP but on the right side your real IP is displayed then your IP is leaking while torrenting.
Encryption test is a bit lengthy process, but you can perform this test in just a few minutes. To get a detailed and simple process, you can visit this page.
Benefits of a secure VPN
Hide your IP address and disappear online
By connecting to a VPN server, it disguises your location with the fake one so that you can surf anonymously. It prevents ad-agencies from tracking you, and foil companies from charging different prices.
Browse with Privacy
Anonymous VPN never logs your internet traffic. Therefore, ISPs, government agencies, and third-parties can not keep your track records and timestamps, so that you can surf the internet privately and without worry.
When you pay via BitPay or Bitcoin, you will only have to provide your email address, so that you can stay completely anonymous. It is the best method if you are concerned about your online privacy and credit card information
Anonymous VPN does not keep logs or share it with agencies like the NSA, there’s no possibility of personal information leak or breaching on your encrypted connection.