Before we explain how to choose a VPN, one thing has to be said.
Avoid free VPNs.
Privacy-respecting VPNs can provide their service because you pay them for it. Free VPNs are worse than your ISP when it comes to respecting your privacy, because you are directly the product, whereas an ISP is paid for by you.
If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product
Choosing the right VPN
First, we have to establish what purpose you want a VPN for.
Avoid geographical restrictions
You want to watch BBC online, possibly avoid creeps at cafés, but don’t really care about your VPN logging your traffic — just like your ISP does.
Therefore: You want a VPN with servers in countries like US, UK — basically where services like Netflix work. (Tip: Netflix is continually banning VPNs, so be sure to use one that isn’t blocked. You might want to look into this forum: https://www.reddit.com/r/NetflixViaVPN)
Have maximum privacy online
You really care about privacy, don’t want your traffic logged at all. You don’t want to be concerned about your online activities being linked to you.
Therefore: You want a VPN that’s not based in Five/Nine/Fourteen Eyes countries (Five Eyes — especially US and UK — are the worst, Nine Eyes are bad and Fourteen Eyes aren’t that bad). Possibly with a lot of servers, if that’s what you’re looking for. Also, it must not keep any sort of logs, should provide excellent traffic encryption and accept anonymous (or pseudonymous) payment methods — if that’s also something you’re looking for. The VPN provider should support OpenVPN (we’ll explain what that is later) and not require any personal information to register.
Now that we know what to look for, a question arises:
Is there a list of providers?
Yep. Here’s a very detailed comparison chart: https://thatoneprivacysite.net/vpn-comparison-chart/ (note: be sure to set the chart to view all entires, rather than the last 10, and use the filters on the bottom of the the chart — they might be hard to spot in some browsers) and here’s a good list of providers if you’re looking for high privacy: https://privacytools.io#vpn.