VPN Buying Checklist: 9-Point Buying Guide

5 min

It’s clear why investing in a strong VPN is better than relying on a free alternative. If you have the resources to buy a VPN subscription, it’s a wiser option when it comes to safeguarding your privacy online than to install a free application. We discussed this a while ago where we gave seven reasons why you should subscribe to a paid VPN.

If you already have a tuxlerVPN subscription, you don’t have to worry about anything. Check out this overview of our premium offering and continue to enjoy its benefits. This buying guide is for anyone who’s convinced they need a premium VPN but unsure how to go about it.

To help you find the best VPN for your needs, we have created this 9-point VPN buying guide. You can judge your options against these factors and find out the ideal one that also fits your budget. Let’s get started.

How to Buy a VPN? – Detailed Buying Guide

There is a plethora of free and paid VPN applications in the market that you can choose from. At the time of writing in June 2023, there were over 300 total active VPN apps available to download online. This can make the prospect of buying a VPN overwhelming, even a bit intimidating. The paradoxical bane of over choice is as relevant in the VPN industry as it is in any other consumer-driven market.

We recommend first noting down your requirements before considering the options. We have a quick guide that’ll help you find out what VPN is ideal for you and what features you should look for. Understand what you’ll use the VPN for, check the most important features, and have a budget.

Once you’re clear on your requirements, use this 9-point checklist to narrow down your VPN choices.

  1. Are the servers spread out across countries?

A VPN with servers concentrated in specific regions is no good if you’re going to be using it to unblock websites. You’ll need as many servers across countries to have the best chance at tackling geofences, which are getting stronger than ever. 

Check the number of servers, locations, and countries. Usually, each should be higher than the next. For example, a VPN with 500 servers in 400 locations across 100 countries is good enough for most purposes.

  1. What’s the claim on speed?

VPNs do throttle your internet speed to an extent. If you have high-speed internet through an optical fiber network, chances are the throttling will be negligible. But if you are on a network that offers a modest speed, you’ll need to choose a VPN that promises low throttling.

Check the speed range that the VPN provider claims. If available, use the free trial to test the app out before committing. You can download the free tuxlerVPN app, test the speed in the farthest server from your location, and then decide if you want to upgrade to tuxlerVPN Premium.

In any case, you can still connect to nearby servers if all you’re looking for is to safeguard your privacy. 

  1. Does it support multiple devices and OSes?

A VPN app that can be installed across your devices is arguably the best. We recommend having VPN protection on all your devices that connect to the internet. This means your smartphones, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smart TVs, and even routers should have a VPN Installed. Free browser support – like the one offered by tuxlerVPN – is also recommended.

If a VPN offers an app for most of your devices, choose it over competitors. It may even be worth checking if you can use a single subscription across devices.

  1. Does it have the top 3 features you need?

You can’t have all the features you need in a VPN if you’re on a budget. And you should always be on a budget when it comes to subscriptions. When analyzing VPN apps, look if your choice has the three most important features. Things like kill switch, split tunneling, server randomizer, router integration, IP hopping, double VPN, and DNS leak protection are some commonly desired VPN features.

For this, you’ll need to have a fixed budget. Say, if your budget is $8 a month or $100 a year, look for VPN apps that fall around that figure. Annual plans are usually sold cheaper than monthly subscriptions.

  1. What’s the effective cost per year?

By effective cost, we mean everything you spend on a VPN app. Some providers that offer subscriptions require users to pay more if they need, for instance, additional features, more speed, or a dedicated IP address. If you’re such a user, add the extra payment to your calculation.

Monitor how much you’re spending on your VPN app regularly and check if it’s aligning with your budget. Of course, you can’t do this before buying it. Therefore, you should look for chargeable add-ons in your subscription and their cost to get an idea.

  1. Can you pay conveniently?

It’s frustrating to know that your choice of VPN does not accept Visa credit cards or does so only for a certain currency. The latter means an additional fee on foreign exchange, which you have to factor in when calculating your effective VPN price.

The best solution is to look if the provider accepts your preferred payment method. If it does not, it may even be worth dropping an email asking for an exception. Again, yearly subscriptions are better as monthly auto-payments will add to the trouble if the provider does not accept your preferred method.

Since you’ll have to renew your VPN subscription regularly, having the option to pay with your preferred payment method is critical. It’s also in the best interest of VPN providers to offer multiple options to customers.

  1. How good is the customer support?

The best VPN app is one that does not ever require you to look up its customer care. However, it definitely is a factor you should consider if you want to be a pragmatic VPN user. Since you’re paying for the software, you are entitled to a good service and that includes a smooth grievance redressal process. 

Before purchasing a VPN, try to interact with customer care. Look up the different ways (call, email, chat) through which you can contact a customer support agent. Then use your preferred method and talk to an agent about your purchase. If you’re satisfied with the overall process – including waiting time, if any – you can confirm that you’ve found a super VPN provider.

  1. What do the user reviews say?

It’s hard to find genuine software reviews online and it’s harder to rely on the few that you can find. Yet, buying something without reading others’ opinions on it first sounds like a grave mistake, especially with the bane of over choice. 

We recommend reading reviews published by independent publications such as CNET. Trustpilot reviews are also reliable to an extent as they have strong anti-gaming techniques which prevent fake reviews and system gaming.

Look for reviews that have two, three, or four out of five stars to get the real opinions. Users who rate 1 star or 5 stars are hard to believe as they are often carried away respectively by only the badness or the goodness in the app. 

  1. Is there a friend who’s used it?

If reviews don’t give you the full picture, look for word-of-mouth. Ask a friend or a colleague for recommendations and see if they have an opinion on your VPN choice. It’s easier to trust someone you know to make a final decision than rely on online opinions that may as well be rigged or sponsored. 

The order of this checklist is important as it’ll help you narrow down your choices systematically. If you’d started with five VPN options, by the end of the checklist, you’ll be at least down to three or two. But you can always mix things up based on what matters most.

Think none of your choices fit your needs? Try tuxlerVPN for free.

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