Inside TheOnlineSafety Review Process: How We Assess Privacy Apps

At, we strive to provide our readers with accurate and comprehensive reviews of various privacy apps, such as VPNs, password managers, and identity protection services. Our goal is to help you make informed decisions when choosing the right privacy tools for your needs. In this article, we’ll take you behind the scenes to share our review process and the criteria we consider when evaluating privacy apps.

Research and Preparation

Before diving into a review, we first conduct thorough research on the privacy app in question. We gather information on the app’s background, its features, security measures, pricing, and more. This research helps us gain an in-depth understanding of the app and allows us to provide accurate and relevant insights in our reviews.

Hands-on Testing

Once we’ve gathered enough information, we proceed with hands-on testing of the app. Hands-on testing is a critical component of the review process, as it allows the reviewer to experience and assess the VPN’s performance, features, and overall user experience in real-world scenarios. In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the hands-on testing process, explaining its various aspects and how they contribute to a comprehensive and insightful review.

  1. Installation and setup

The first step in hands-on testing is to install and set up the VPN on various devices and platforms. This helps evaluate the ease of installation and the availability of user-friendly setup guides or tutorials. It also allows the reviewer to gauge whether the VPN supports different operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, and is compatible with routers and other devices.

  1. User interface and customization

Once the VPN is installed, the reviewer assesses the user interface, determining whether it’s intuitive, visually appealing, and easy to navigate. They also explore the customization options available, such as changing the protocol, enabling features like kill switch or split tunneling, and adjusting connection settings. A good user interface should cater to both novice and advanced users, offering a balance between simplicity and flexibility.

  1. Server selection and connection

The reviewer then tests the VPN’s server selection process, considering the number of available servers, their global distribution, and the presence of specialized servers for streaming, P2P, or obfuscation. They also analyze the ease of connecting to a server, the time it takes to establish a connection, and the VPN’s ability to automatically select the best server based on the user’s requirements and location.

  1. Speed and performance

Speed is a crucial factor in hands-on testing, as it directly impacts the user experience. The reviewer conducts speed tests on various servers and locations to measure download and upload speeds, as well as latency. They may use speed test tools like Ookla’s Speedtest or to obtain accurate results. These tests help identify any inconsistencies in speed and performance across different servers, as well as the VPN’s overall impact on the user’s internet connection.

  1. Security and privacy features

During hands-on testing, the reviewer thoroughly examines the VPN’s security and privacy features, such as encryption strength, available protocols, kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and perfect forward secrecy. They may also test the VPN’s ability to bypass censorship and geo-restrictions, as well as its adherence to a no-logs policy and the jurisdiction it operates from.

  1. Real-world use cases

To fully understand the VPN’s capabilities, the reviewer puts it through various real-world use cases, such as streaming content on popular platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, torrenting files, and browsing the web securely on public Wi-Fi networks. This helps determine the VPN’s effectiveness in unblocking geo-restricted content, its support for P2P file sharing, and its ability to maintain privacy and security in different scenarios.

  1. Customer support

Lastly, the reviewer tests the VPN’s customer support by reaching out to their team through different channels, such as live chat, email, or social media. This helps assess the quality of their assistance, response time, and overall customer support experience. Additionally, the reviewer explores the availability of self-help resources on the VPN’s website, such as FAQs, knowledge base articles, and video tutorials.

By conducting thorough hands-on testing, a reviewer can provide readers with a comprehensive and accurate assessment of the VPN service, helping them make an informed decision based on real-world experiences and insights.

Evaluation Criteria

During our hands-on testing, we assess the privacy app based on several criteria which are considered during purchase and may vary depending on the type of app being reviewed. For VPNs, for example, our evaluation criteria include:

  • Security and encryption
  • Privacy policy and jurisdiction
  • Server network
  • Connection speed
  • Ease of use and compatibility
  • Streaming capabilities
  • P2P support
  • Customer support
  • Pricing and plans
  • Free trials and money-back guarantees

For password managers and identity protection services, our evaluation criteria may differ, focusing on factors like password strength, autofill capabilities, identity monitoring, and recovery options.

Comparison with Competitors

To provide a balanced perspective, we also compare the privacy app with its competitors, highlighting any advantages or disadvantages that set it apart from other options available in the market. This comparison allows our readers to understand how the app stacks up against its competition, making it easier to choose the best privacy tool for their needs.

Pros and Cons

After thoroughly evaluating the app based on our criteria and comparison with competitors, we list the pros and cons of the app. This section provides our readers with a quick and easy-to-understand summary of the app’s strengths and weaknesses, helping them make a well-informed decision.

Recommendations and Alternatives

Finally, we provide our recommendations on whether the app is worth considering, along with suggested alternatives for readers who may have different needs or preferences. We aim to offer a variety of options to cater to the diverse requirements of our audience.

At, our commitment is to provide accurate, comprehensive, and unbiased reviews of privacy apps. Our detailed review process, combining research, hands-on testing, and evaluation based on key criteria, ensures that our readers receive the information they need to make informed decisions when choosing privacy tools. So, set sail with confidence, knowing that is here to guide you through the treacherous waters of the digital world.