If you’re ready to get back your privacy, you need the right tools to do it. A VPN, or virtual private network, is a great place to start. A VPN encrypts your data and hides your IP address, giving you an extra layer of protection from snoops, advertisers and Big Tech companies looking to profit off you. Like so many things in life, you get what you pay for. Some VPNs will slow down your connection or, much worse, track your internet activity and compromise your security. If you’re shopping around, here’s what to look for.

1. A company that truly has your protection in mind.

We’ve said it before: When something is free, there’s a good chance you’re the product. With something as important as your online privacy, don’t skimp. We recommend our sponsor, ExpressVPN, in large part for this reason. ExpressVPN is a leader in the VPN world, putting your protection first without slowing you down. Here are a few ways it stands out from the rest:

ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology ensures none of your data is ever saved to its hard drive. ExpressVPN’s servers run on RAM, or volatile memory, that is cleared each time the server is reset.TrustedServer also maintains the security of ExpressVPN’s entire network of servers. If a patch or piece needs to be updated or deleted, an entire block is replaced rather than just the one outdated piece. That means every server run by ExpressVPN is running at the exact same speed. With every operating stack uniform across all servers, risks and vulnerabilities are minimized.Then there’s Lightway, ExpressVPN’s custom VPN protocol. This innovative technology allows you to connect to the VPN at rapid speed. Once connected, your internet experience is blazing fast, taking the frustration out of slow-loading VPN connections.

2. Outstanding customer service. If something goes wrong, you want to be able to get help.

Sometimes things go wrong. We’ve all been there. Look for a company that’s there for you when you need a helping hand. The last thing you want is a company you can never get ahold of. With ExpressVPN you get:

24/7 live chat: You will always have help troubleshooting with live chat, available 24/7 online.Easy-to-use apps: ExpressVPN is truly easy to install and use. You can connect in just one click and add the app to different devices without signing in every time.More server locations in more countries: ExpressVPN offers over 3,000 servers in 94 countries across the globe. That means you can use ExpressVPN in any location and that your connection remains quick and secure.

3. Protection for all your devices, including your router.

You can connect to ExpressVPN in just one click from a Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, iPad, computer running Linux or most major browsers via a handy browser extension. Beyond that, ExpressVPN is the only VPN service to offer an app for routers, so every connected device in your home network is protected. This allows you to get the benefits of a VPN on any connected device — even ones that can’t normally run VPN software. That includes certain smart TVs and streaming devices, gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation, and even IoT devices like smart speakers, security cameras and lightbulbs. If it has Wi-Fi, it’s protected. This is a super handy way to keep all your gadgets protected. You have two options here: You can purchase a router with ExpressVPN pre-installed (see a list here) or add it to your existing router. With a dedicated VPN router, you will not have to install an app on each device you are using — they will all be connected under the ExpressVPN router.

The bottom line

Whichever VPN you decide to try, make sure you do your research. Ensure you’re getting the service you expect, and if you’re not, speak up! Nothing is more valuable than your privacy and protection. If you want to give ExpressVPN a shot, you’re in luck. You can get an extra three months free using Kim’s link just for listeners and readers. Go to ExpressVPN.com/Kim to try it out.