8 Things To Look for When Choosing a VPN

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a type of software that establishes a secure and encrypted connection between your device and your internet. By utilizing a VPN, your internet traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel to a VPN server, which may exist in any part of the globe. This will make it very challenging for any online trespasser, hacker, or data harvester to access your personal information and use them for their own purposes.

The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Right VPN

Determine Your VPN Needs

Before selecting a VPN, determine the primary use you’ll have for it. If you’re new to VPNs, it’s important to understand what a VPN does. Fast speeds are crucial for streaming and torrenting, while privacy and security are priorities for some users. For households, VPNs with multiple device connections are ideal. Make a list of the features that are important to you and those that you can do without to help you choose the right VPN.

Ensure Strong Security and Privacy Features

VPNs should offer strong security and privacy features. Features such as AES 256-bit encryption, leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy are essential. A privacy-friendly jurisdiction and extra security and privacy features like server obfuscation and multi-hop are additional features that some VPNs offer. Choose a VPN protocol that offers the right balance of speed, reliability, and security.

  • The encryption used by banks and the military to keep sensitive information confidential is AES 256-bit military-grade encryption, which is considered the strongest out there.
  • Leak protection and an automatic kill switch are features that prevent your real IP and browsing data from being exposed, even if your VPN disconnects for any reason.
  • A good selection of security protocols is essential in a VPN to support the most secure and fastest protocols available, such as OpenVPN, WireGuard, and ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway, and allow for customization based on personal preferences.
  • To ensure privacy, a VPN should have a strict no-logs policy that is independently verified by a third-party audit and regularly wipes its servers clean of all data.
  • VPNs based in countries within the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliances, a joint-government surveillance network, may have a higher risk of being compelled to hand over customer data. However, as long as the VPN has a verified no-logs policy, this isn’t an issue.
  • Extra security and privacy features offered by some VPNs include server obfuscation to bypass government censorship and multi-hop, which encrypts traffic twice for an additional layer of security.

Look for a VPN with Fast Speeds

Fast speeds are important for VPNs, so choose a VPN with fast protocols like Lightway and WireGuard. Look for additional speed-boosting features such as optimized servers for gaming or torrenting, or the ability to customize the level of encryption. Use online speed test tools to compare VPN speeds with your regular internet speeds.

  • VPN protocols with fast performance: There are several VPN protocols available, but some are faster than others. For example, WireGuard and Lightway offer good performance while still maintaining security.
  • Features that enhance speed: To further enhance speed, VPN providers may offer optimized servers for gaming or torrenting, the ability to customize encryption levels, or split tunneling. Split tunneling allows you to select which apps’ traffic should go through the VPN server, which can help speed up other non-VPN traffic.
  • Results of speed tests: To accurately measure a VPN’s speed, you should use online speed test tools while connected to the VPN. You can compare these results to your regular internet speed test results. Luckily, most VPNs offer a money-back guarantee, so you can test their speeds without risk.

Choose a VPN with a Reliable Server Network

Make sure to select a VPN that has a wide server network to avoid overcrowded servers, slow speeds, and instability. A VPN with servers in various locations all over the world is also important for streaming geo-restricted content and secure gaming and torrenting.

  • Server availability and overcrowding: A VPN with only a few working servers will cause overcrowding, leading to slow speeds and instability for users.
  • Streaming geo-restricted content: To access content restricted to a specific region, the VPN must have a server in that region. Some VPNs have streaming-optimized servers, and ExpressVPN has 3,000 servers in 94 countries that can unblock many regional libraries while maintaining high speeds.
  • Gaming: For secure and lag-free gaming, a VPN must have reliable servers located close to the user’s location. Some VPNs offer servers optimized for gaming.

Check for Compatibility and Ease of Use

Before subscribing to any VPN service, it is essential to ensure its compatibility with your desired devices such as Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux, and is easy to use. VPNs with user-friendly interfaces and clear instructions will save your time and effort and make an instant connection. If you plan to use the VPN on multiple devices, look for providers that support multiple devices and allow multiple simultaneous connections.

Consider the VPN’s Reputation and Customer Support

Choose a VPN with a good reputation and reliable customer support. Check user reviews and ratings to get a sense of the VPN’s reliability and overall satisfaction. In case you run into any issues or have questions, it’s important to have access to good customer support. Look for VPN providers that offer 24/7 customer support, and multiple ways to get in touch such as live chat, email, or phone.

Evaluate Pricing and Payment Options

Consider and evaluate pricing and payment options when selecting a VPN provider. There are VPN providers that offer free trials or money-back guarantees. It’s also important to understand how payment will be processed, whether through a third-party payment processor or directly from the VPN. On the order page of any VPN provider, you will be able to see several payment options and you can go for your preferred one.

You will find different plans at different prices, so it is recommended to you consider your budget and what features you need to subscribe for a VPN plan. Look for providers that offer flexible payment options such as monthly or yearly subscriptions, and accept a variety of payment methods.

Choose a VPN with Flexible Terms

Choose a VPN provider that offers flexible terms, such as a monthly subscription instead of a long-term contract. This way, it could be easy for you to cancel the service if it doesn’t meet your expectations without losing a large sum of money. Evaluate the user experience of a VPN application and determine if it is user-friendly and straightforward or overly complex.

Benefits Of Using A VPN

In today’s technologically advanced environment, where cyber threats and data breaches are increasing, using a VPN can help protect your data and internet traffic. Without a VPN, your internet data can be exposed to fraudsters, hackers, and data harvesters.

There are multiple benefits of using a VPN that can facilitate your everyday life:

  • More Enhanced Security:
    A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, making it difficult for hackers, ISPs, and government surveillance to intercept and read your data. This can help prevent theft or unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • It Makes Browsing Secure:
    With a VPN your true IP and physical location are masked and your online activities are secured and protected. This is making it difficult for any third parties, such as data harvesters and advertisers, to track your internet usage. This can prevent targeted advertising and enhance your online privacy.
  • Bypass Internet Censorship and Geo-restrictions:
    A VPN can assist you to access websites and content that may not be available in your area and are geo-restricted such as social media sites, streaming services, and news sites.
  • Safe and Secure Remote Working:
    A VPN can help protect your sensitive information while working remotely from home or while traveling by allowing you to securely access your company’s network or remote server from anywhere in the world.
  • Saving Money:
    Using a VPN can be useful for services like hotel reservations, airline tickets, and online shopping, which often have pricing that differs based on location.

Some common VPN providers

There are numerous VPN service providers all over the world with each other specialties and capabilities. There are paid and free VPN service providers. Some of the major VPN service providers are listed below and you can choose anyone that suits your needs:

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the major VPN service providers in the VPN industry and is recommended the most. ExpressVPN is a bit more expensive than the other VPN provider but it possesses certain features and connection quality that is unmatchable.

Features

  • It contains more than 3000+ servers in 94 countries.
  • High-Speed Lightway Protocol- an expression customized protocol
  • Proves to be the one providing fast speed while streaming.
  • Privacy with AES256  Encryption
  • 30 days Money back guarantee
  • P2P and Split Tunneling Feature
  • 5 simultaneous connections at a time
  • Kill Switch
  • MediaStreamer – a streaming-specific feature for non-vpn supported devices.
  • 24/ Support

Plans

  • 1 Month Plan: $10.95
  • 6 Months Plan: $59.95
  • 12 Months Plan: $99.95

NordVPN

NordVPN is also considered one of the most popular VPN providers in the VPN industry. It’s a bit cheaper than ExpressVPN and provides good quality of connection and speed. Some of the features of NordVPN are mentioned below:

Features

  • It contains more than 5300+ servers in 60 countries.
  • High-Speed NordLynx Protocol- a Nordvpn customized WireGuard protocol- proves to be the one providing fast speed while streaming.
  • Privacy with AES256  Encryption
  • Automatic Kill Switch, P2P sharing, dedicated IP, and DNS leak protection
  • 6 simultaneous connections at a time
  • Zero log policy
  • 30 days Money back guarantee
  • 24/7 Support
  • Built-in Malware blocker
  • Privacy with AES256  Encryption

Plans

  • 1 Month Plan: $11.99
  • 12 Months Plan: $4.99 per month
  • 24 Months Plan: $3.99 per month

SurfShark

Surfshark is also counted as one of the best VPN service providers. The key main features of Surf Shark include

Features

  • It contains more than 3200+ servers in 99+ countries.
  • Supports protocols like WireGuard, and OpenVPN.
  • Internet Kill Switch and DNS leak protection
  • Diskless (RAM-based) servers & Double VPN
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Zero log policy
  • Privacy with AES256  Encryption
  • 24/7 Support

Plans

  • 1 Month Plan: $12.95
  • 12 Months Plan: $3.99 per month
  • 24 Months Plan: $2.30 per month

Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing the right VPN provider can be a daunting task, but by considering these key factors, you can ensure that you select a VPN that provides the security, privacy, and features you need.

FAQs

1. Is it better to use free VPN services?

There are plenty of free VPN service providers but these free VPN providers do not keep you secure and private. These free VPNs do not provide advanced feature sets to enhance the security and privacy of your sensitive data. On the contrary, paid VPN providers are designed to keep the privacy and security of your sensitive data. It also possesses a good set of advanced features to enhance your security and privacy.

2.  What to avoid looking for in a VPN provider?

When looking for a VPN provider, there are certain things you should avoid, including:
Free VPN services: These are often unreliable and may not provide adequate security and privacy.
VPN providers with a history of logging user data: Look for providers with a strict no-logging policy to ensure your data is not being recorded.
Providers located in countries with strict data retention laws: These countries may require VPN providers to store user data, which can compromise your privacy.
Providers with limited server options: Having a limited number of servers can result in slower connection speeds and difficulty accessing certain geo-restricted content.
Providers with poor customer support: If you encounter technical issues or need assistance, it’s important to have access to reliable customer support.

3.  What are VPN servers?

VPN servers are remote servers that are set up specifically to handle VPN connections. They act as a middleman between the user and the internet, encrypting and decrypting data to protect privacy and security.

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shahek raza
shahek raza
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