At Privacy Canada, we’re well known for the quality of our reviews and how we test various privacy tools and anonymity providers for the Internet. But many people have asked us exactly how we test the products or companies we bring under our microscopes. If you want to know exactly how we test all of our picks, read on!
Three Main Factors
Because many of the VPN and hosting services we test need to be experienced in person before we can give a valid opinion, we prioritize three main factors that we can draft into our research. This also allows us to adequately test various web services and monitor their performance for some of our testing pages. In the end, our mission is to be as objective as possible.
Pricing and Features
The first major metric we pay attention to is pricing and features. This is relevant for both VPN services and web hosting providers, although web hosting providers usually include more features because of the nature of their product.
We consider both of these factors together because the number and quality of features often affect what we think a reasonable asking price is for a product. A rather bare-bones hosting service won’t be worth a very high asking price the same way a cheap VPN will make us raise our eyebrows in terms of their security quality.
We obviously look at the security features for web hosting services and for VPN providers. As people coming to Privacy Canada are presumably focused on retaining their anonymity on the web, making sure the products we test are actually secure and aren’t liable to be hacked too easily is important. We do this by checking out various security features and looking at the performance of a VPN.
Don’t discount the customer service quality of a VPN or web hosting provider! Customer service is often critical if you want to have a good experience with a product or company. Bad customer service means you’ll have difficulty resolving technical troubles for figuring out solutions to your customization efforts.
Storage, Bandwidth, and More
We also consider the various storage or bandwidth numbers of hosting providers, along with other numerical aspects of VPN services. Storage and bandwidth allow you to run higher traffic and higher content websites with hosting providers, so we often look for hosting services that are built for specific types of users.
For instance, we’ll look for a hosting provider that offers lots of bandwidth and storage if we want to find a hosting service for online business owners. But we won’t take marks off of a hosting service review if they’re designed for one website bloggers who don’t need lots of storage.
We also pay attention to how easy it is to use a VPN or web hosting service. If a product is the best on the market, it’s not worth much to people if they can’t easily use it or understand its interface. This means we’ll pay attention to the control panel of hosting services and make sure that any VPN we recommend is fairly simple to understand and intuitive to learn. The biggest roadblock to more anonymity on the Internet is the perceived complexity of VPN tools and similar services. We aim to dispel those issues with our detailed look into how each product we test works.
Speed and/or Load Times
Naturally, the speed and loading times offered by web hosting services or VPN providers are important, though speed is really only shared between both. For instance, we’ll check out how fast hosting providers can bring people to your website and how fast they can allow your content to load. Meanwhile, we’ll check the speed that a VPN provides your Internet; many people aren’t willing to suffer through excruciatingly long load times just for some anonymity.
Load times for hosting providers are also important. We try to find hosting services that load below 2000 ms or so, as this is less than two seconds of load time per page. These days, people are liable to click away from a page if it takes more than three seconds to load!
We also track uptime for hosting providers; this discusses how reliable a hosting provider is with their servers. More reliable hosts will keep your website online and operational (and collecting traffic from Google) more often than unreliable hosts. The vast majority of hosting providers advertise 99% uptime, but some are even more consistent.
Of course, we also check out whether each service, VPN or web hosting, shares your information with others and what their security situation looks like. We don’t just mean security features. We also look at where the hosting servers are located and what the actual server security is about. This is especially important for those looking for an excellent VPN service. VPN providers aren’t worth anything if their servers are easily hackable or if they share your information with the government.
Many hosting providers do share your data with third-party companies or with local governments. So we try to dive deep and see what’s what with these elements. This allows you to choose the hosting provider or VPN service that works best for your needs and security desires.
There’s a ton of factors and features to consider when reviewing a VPN, with some being more important than others. That’s why reaching a verdict about a VPN can prove to be a hassle. And it’s about much more than just measuring connection speeds.
The best thing we can do is take many different aspects of the service into account and assess them thoroughly. They might not all be of great importance to you, but they will certainly give you a chance to form a solid grasp of any VPN service.
One of the first things we check is VPN protocols. Whether the protocol is up to date, or it’s an outdated one will significantly influence your security and vulnerability.
Another part of our process is testing for various leaks, like IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. These are essential because they tell us whether a VPN service is leaking your personal and browser info, IP address, or DNS requests.
Logging policies also play a big role in testing and examining a VPN service. Seeing that VPN is an instrument for improving your privacy and anonymity, it’s safe to say that companies that offer no logging will have the upper hand. Now, it’s hard to find a company that records no logs at all, but there are some that keep this at a reasonable level.
Last but not least is the issue of jurisdiction since your ability to use VPN will be established by the government and its laws. Therefore, knowing where your VPN servers are located can allow you to bypass any restrictions and jurisdictional issues in the future by selecting a server that’s based in another country.
Make a Final Opinion
At the end of the day, we’ll bring all the factors together and come up with a final opinion. We aren’t in the business of creating reviews that just collect the facts and present them to you when you could just go to the website product page and read the information for yourself. Instead, we want to create a fully formed opinion and explain our reasoning in the hope that you see things our way. Either way, this testing process means that each of our opinions is well worth the time it takes to read through.
This Is The Way We Test Every Service on Privacy Canada
However, if you want even more details about our testing processes, don’t hesitate to contact us.