One of the questions we always get asked is, how do we compare one VPN service against the other fairly? The problem with measuring and testing VPN services is that a lot depends on the stability of our internet connection at that time as well as where we are testing it from. That’s why we make it a point to use a single internet access point, test all services on a single computer, one at a time, and use the same battery of tests for all services.
We start with a baseline test of our internet connection and note down its speed, latency etc. We then fire up the VPN service we are testing and connect to the nearest server. In our case, we’re testing VPNs from our office in Toronto, Canada. The nearest server is in Toronto; we’ll connect there and run a speed test 3 times and make a note of its average speed. What this tells us is exactly how much is the VPN throttling our internet speeds. All VPN services throttle internet speeds to some degree. However, the best ones have the least throttling making it possible to stream and browse the internet unhindered.
Once we’ve tested local servers, its time to test speeds across the border on US servers, European Servers, and Asian servers. Testing speed and latency across each gives us a pretty good measurement of the stability and average speed that the service offers.
Our team does not test every server. That’s an important point we need to make because it is near impossible to test hundreds of servers literally if not more. Granted that the speeds of some servers are going to be better than others, but we have no way of knowing that. So, the tests carried out at random.
We also test for IP leaks, DNS leaks, and torrenting speeds using a similar methodology but on the same internet connection. That’s why the margin for error during our testing is low to none at best. That said, your results may vary depending on a myriad of factors including your location and proximity from the server being tested. The nearer you are to the server the lower its latency will be because the packets have a shorter distance to transverse, which also results in better speeds.