Using a VPN is a great way to keep your data secure.
Using a VPN is a great way to keep your data secure.
PHOTO: iStock
(CNN) —  

We’ve looked at a handful of virtual private networks here at Underscored, notably NordVPN and CyberGhost VPN. And whenever we dig around for a new VPN to try out, we come across names we hadn’t previously encountered. One such name is Encrypt.me, a small service that concentrates on simplicity. You can get a three-year subscription here for $99.99 — about $2.78 per month.

A VPN service can be used for all sorts of purposes, but its primary use is keeping your data secure. Encrypt.me is a streamlined VPN that can be installed on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows and FireOS. And unlike any other VPN we’ve tried out, this one can be installed on an unlimited number of devices under your account.

What is a VPN?

For a more in-depth answer, take a look at our guide here. But basically, a VPN protects your data by creating a secure connection between your computer and a remote server. It’s best used on public networks where you cannot be sure who is tuning into the information that comes and goes from connected devices. When you use the internet on a VPN, your data and activity is routed through a server via an encrypted tunnel. When something is encrypted, that means your data is scrambled and basically unreadable by anyone who might intercept it. A VPN will also hide your IP address, which can be used to identify your network. These measures are ultimately taken to keep your personal information out of the hands of malicious third parties.

VPNs can provide more than just security, though. For example, there may be a movie or website you want to check out, but cannot due to your country’s internet restrictions. A VPN can be used to circumvent this problem by connecting to a server located in a country where these aren’t blocked.

Encrypt.me

Encrypt.me comes in a somewhat different package from what we’re used to. Unlike, for example, NordVPN, which presents a fleshed-out user interface in a window, Encrypt.me uses a minimal interface that runs in the background most of the time. The mobile app is similarly minimal, though all formats share the popular quick connect functionality. Right off the bat, you can simply flip a switch and this VPN will automatically connect you to the server with the least latency — that is, the server that’ll provide the best connection.

Among VPNs we’ve tested, Encrypt.me is quite small. The service hosts about 114 servers (at the time of writing) in over 40 countries around the world. NordVPN, on the other hand, currently hosts 5,161 servers in 59 countries. Encrypt.me’s small server count was initially concerning, as it might not be able to support a large user base. But we tried watching some 4K videos on and off the VPN and didn’t notice any difference in buffering. We also played Planetside 2, which features huge battles that sometimes involve hundreds of online players, and there weren’t any connection issues to speak of.

An important part of any VPN is a good privacy policy. Since your data is traveling through one of its servers, a VPN service has access to it. Fortunately, Encrypt.me states in its policy that it does not sell your data. It does collect information such as the IP address you’re connected from and the amount of info you send and receive in bytes. We reached out to Encrypt.me for a little bit more information about its policies regarding this and other data, and got this answer: “We keep this information for at most sixteen (16) days, after which we permanently delete it.” It’s reassuring to see that Encrypt.me is transparent regarding this data collection, and that it deletes logged information soon after it’s collected.

Features and settings

In this brief guide, we
In this brief guide, we'll go into detail about how a VPN works as well as how it keeps your information private.
PHOTO: iStock

Encrypt.me is lacking many of the additional services we’ve seen in other VPNs. For example, it does not host servers with extra layers of protection, the way NordVPN does with Double VPN. And unlike many big VPNs, Encrypt.me does not host servers specifically designed for circumventing region-locked media. Encrypt.me states that, while its service can be used for that purpose, it did not design it to do so.

Unfortunately, we also missed some popular settings that are typically available on VPNs. One such feature is a kill switch, which, when enabled, prevents your device from connecting to the internet while the VPN is off. However, a useful option we did find was one that allows you to select trusted networks that may bypass the VPN.

Bottom line

A VPN is a virtual private network.
A VPN is a virtual private network.
PHOTO: iStock

Encrypt.me is a simple VPN, there’s no getting around that. It has a handful of servers compared with bigger names out there, and far fewer extra features than we are used to. However, we were impressed with the server speeds as well as the transparency of Encrypt.me’s data policies. And it’s one of the few VPNs we’ve come across that can be used on an unlimited number of devices.

If you’re looking for a straightforward, trustworthy VPN without any bells and whistles, Encrypt.me is a fine choice. Plus, at $99.99 for three years, it’s a pretty serious bargain.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.