This is the second part of a two-part series where we guide you on how you can know for sure that your VPN service is a trustworthy VPN service.
If you didn’t read the first part then you can do that right now by clicking here.
We’ll pick up where we left off in the first part of this post.
Mainly that how can you be one hundred percent sure that your VPN service provider isn’t a fraud.
Perhaps, the word fraud isn’t the right one in this context.
Because, even if a VPN service isn’t a fraud service on its own, it could still not give you the protection it advertises by a number of means.
Most of those means include,
- Selling your data to third-party buyers
- Showing your their own advertisements
- Restricting your internet access
- Spying on you for their own products
To battle all these obstacles we came up with a list of things to do every time you are looking for a new VPN service provider.
Let’s begin with the obvious question to ask your new VPN service provider first.
Ask Questions. Any Questions To Your New/Potential VPN Service Provider
What are you afraid of anyway?
The worst case scenario is that, they might think you have some hidden motives and block you from accessing their website or service ever again.
But whose loss is that?
Or the company’s?
We’d like to think, the company’s.
You can always find another VPN service.
They however, won’t be able to find new customers if they keep on disrespecting those who ask questions about their service no matter how harsh they sound at first.
So first of all, you should never shy away from asking questions.
But why would you want to ask questions in the first place if everything you need to know is there on the official website of the VPN company?
The answer is simple.
Everything that a potential user could want to know isn’t THERE on the official website.
Sometimes, even Google can’t help.
For those cases, you have to go to the VPN service provider and ask them questions directly.
That is the only way to ensure that you get what you pay for in the real sense.
Ok. But How Do I Ask Questions That the VPN Service Provider Is Likely To Answer?
Of course, the VPN service provider isn’t going to just provide you with a list of all its employees or bank accounts.
You need to ask legitimate questions that will help you make the right decision about whether you should sign up with this particular VPN service provider or not.
As we have mentioned before, you should always search Google before moving on to this step.
If you don’t get your answer from simple Google searches, then you can move forward and contact the VPN service provider on your own.
Ask them about their logging policies.
And don’t forget to ask the VPN service provider about their data retention policies, because they are important.
With that said, we have to say that this isn’t something you must do every time you look for a VPN service provider or even for all VPN service providers.
This is something that you should do when you decide to use paid VPN service providers more than you would with free VPN service providers.
It’s obvious, isn’t it?
For free VPN service providers, you don’t pay anything.
So even if you get bad service or user experience, you can just stop using their VPN service.
But with a paid VPN service, you can’t do that.
The money you spend on using a paid VPN service is gone for good.
So before spending that money, it always makes sense that you should check out some important information about the paid VPN service provider before you sign up.
Forget About Geography. That is, In Most Cases, Just A Trap.
Some people just lust after VPN service providers that aren’t located in their own country.
They will even swear that using a VPN service provider that isn’t located in your local country is far better than the one that is located inside your local country if you care about privacy.
Of course, that isn’t always true.
We don’t even know if that is generally the case or not.
But these types of people don’t need any more convincing.
They think that your country’s local laws are always completely against privacy.
Moreover, some tend to think that local VPN service providers are susceptible to manipulation by local companies that aren’t in the VPN industry.
Again, of course, that may or may not be true.
BUt it isn’t something that can be generalized with the push of a button, or a keystroke.
Don’t fall for arguments like local VPN service providers get wrangled, legally speaking, far more easier than foreign ones.
Or that they can succumb to law enforcement pressure more quickly than the foreign VPN service providers.
That is just not true.
Local VPN service providers won’t just roll over and give up your private information (if they have any) to law enforcement agencies.
Giving up private data on users isn’t something that can be correlated to geographic location.
You need to trust us on this one.
Geographical location will never come to your rescue.
It can also do from little to nothing to protect your privacy or anonymity.
It’s as simple as that.
Making Assumptions Is Bad In The VPN Industry
The VPN industry is not regulated.
So you should take nothing for granted.
Don’t live under the assumption that simply because a VPN service provider isn’t located in your local country, it is absolutely immune to the laws of your country.
Forget about foreign VPN service providers defending your data more than necessary when law enforcement agencies come calling.
If VPN service providers are pressured, they usually give up user information (if they have any) to them.
Having a false sense of security in the case of foreign VPN service providers is not only naive but it is also dangerous.
Private industry groups are big players.
So are law enforcement agencies when it comes to the VPN industry.
In other words, they can exert their authority and pressure organizations regardless of where they are located in the world.
Most of the times, law enforcement agencies get what they want, anywhere and anytime they want.
Of course, we’re assuming that law enforcement agencies will use the necessary force to come after someone they think might be a security risk.
What If Law Enforcement Agencies Can’t Force A Local or Foreign VPN Service Provider? And What IF They Can’t Force Other Companies?
If law enforcement agencies and other companies can’t get what they want from your VPN service provider then they will simply request the government that has jurisdiction in that area to act on their behalf.
Makes sense right?
Because your privacy and anonymity are at stake.
In other words, just because you live in the US, and cleverly sign up for a VPN service that is based in Netherlands, doesn’t grant you protection against the law.
Moreover, don’t have the other bias either.
Don’t think that just because a VPN service provider is a local one, it won’t fight as hard as the foreign one for your privacy and anonymity if it can.
Of course, there are cases where overseas VPN service providers have performed better than the local VPN service providers in this aspect.
But as mentioned before, there aren’t nearly enough cases on either side to give out a general statement.
If you want to read up some more on the topic then you go to this Wilder Security forum for more information.
Always be Well Informed About The Technology That A VPN Service Provider Is Using.
Back in the year 2008, which feels like a century ago, CNET asked the president of WiTopia, Bill Bullock, about the privacy stance and technology of WiTopia.
Bill said something that we should all keep in mind when researching potential VPN service providers.
He said that because of the increase in the market, many VPN services had popped up that were just single-server, fly-by-night VPN service providers.
These VPN service providers made big anonymity, privacy and security promises which they couldn’t back up because they did not have the required technology.
And since the year 2008, the number of such VPN service providers have only grown.
What we mean to say is that now anyone can set up a VPN concentrator without spending a fortune.
Well, basically all you need is friends.
Friends who are living in different cities and, more preferably, in different countries and are willing to help you out in running their own servers in order to build a small network of their own.
There is your modern VPN.
However, this isn’t a VPN service provider that will protect your privacy and guard your data.
If there is no technology at the back-end of stuff then the VPN service provider cannot protect your security.
In fact, it might even put your privacy and security at risk.
You might even become a victim of data theft for all we know.
Some of these sketchy VPN service providers could indeed be hackers or just people who want to spy on people and then collect their data in order to sell it.
Whenever you are researching a VPN service provider, make sure that they come clean about the level of encryption they offer to their users.
You Should Also Make Sure What Kind Of Security Features A VPN Service Provider is Offering
One other technique that we have found quite useful is the number of reviews.
Check if the VPN service provider doesn’t hide its reviews.
If they can’t market their “reviews’, then they should at least be able to have an open and honest discussion about their reviews.
Research where they have been reviewed and who has reviewed them.
The press coverage of any VPN service provider can give you insights on how good or legit a given VPN service truly is.
After you have done all that, you need to double check the fact that those reviews are real and legit.
Here, you should try to go for reviews that are written by independent writers.
The VPN Service Business Is Thriving.
Because, subscribers pay money.
More new subscriptions mean more money for the VPN service provider.
And because of this phenomena, greed has set in.
In other words, some VPN service providers have started to play dirty tricks on their users.
Why dirty tricks?
Well, some VPN service providers try to whitewash their important issues.
More like, these VPN service providers try to put on makeup to lure in new customers.
Our best VPN service providers guide was extremely helpful in opening our eyes to the ugly side of the VPN business.
And that’s why we do our own independent reviews and don’t rely on reviews that you might have read someplace else on the internet.
That is the only way to clear the air and move forward with our own tested-and-reviewed VPN recommendations.
Hence, to not get scammed, the best thing a user can do is to not take anything at face value.
Everything that a VPN service provider says about itself and its service doesn’t have to be true.
Users must take everything about everything with a grain of salt when it comes to the VPN industry.
Most legit VPN service providers back up their “official” claims with proofs.
And they don’t get annoyed when you do your own research about them as much as you want to or like.
There are a lot of guides on the internet of how to choose a VPN service but the one we like the most is this TorrentFreak VPN guide which is updated regularly.
Check it out here if you want to.
We’ll talk just a bit more about how you can make sure that the VPN service you sign up for is trustworthy in the final part of this series of posts next time so stay tuned.
As mentioned before, our recommendation of a great VPN service is IPVanish. You can read more about IPVanish in our IPVanish review here.