VPNs are quite handy if you’re seeking to hide your location or encrypt your data online. They keep you safe, offer you an unrestricted browsing experience, and deliver a variety of IP addresses to choose from. However, that is only true if you find the right one. There being so many products in the market, the search for a secure, reliable, and fast VPN can be a long and strenuous one. But we’re here to take the weight off your shoulder with tips on how to choose the best VPN.
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What Do You Want the VPN to Do for You?
Are you a light browser just looking to protect your social media pages or local Wi-Fi? Or are you a web-savvy browser looking for a tool for serious torrenting? These questions will help you determine the speed, strength, bandwidth, and nature of the VPN to purchase. Review sites like VPNGeeks.com can help you narrow down your search.
If you need one for your entire family, a VPN that supports simultaneous connections is your best bet. High speed and lots of bandwidth are the qualities to look for if you want to watch movies online. For total anonymity and the necessary robustness for navigating the dangerous waters of the deep web, a potent VPN with multiple servers and a 256-bit AES encryption would be most appropriate.
So before you begin shopping for providers, brainstorm what you want to do with the VPN and list them down. This will help you narrow down to just a few reliable providers that meet your needs.
If you are just cutting your teeth into safe anonymous browsing, you might wonder how to gauge the safety of a VPN. One of the surest ways to do this is to check the VPN’s protocols. You will come across protocols such as PPTP, L2TP, IPsec, IKEv2, OpenVPN and SSL. Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with their cryptic names. You will be safer with the ones mentioned above. Although if you’ll be doing some heavy browsing or handling very sensitive information online it is safe to dig a little deeper into how each of them works. For technological experts, a VPN provider who allows users to select a protocol based on their needs is recommended.
Free VPN and Data Logging
The market is crawling with free and freemium VPNs for different applications. However, our advice is to shy away from these as much as possible. Ever wondered how they get the money to maintain their servers. Through data logging, most of the free VPNs store your personal data or traffic logs and may sell them to third parties. This is as good as having no VPN because your private information still gets leaked either way.
However, that is not to say that you can’t get good free VPNs. They are available but come with several limitations. Some will restrict you to just a few MBs of bandwidth per month. Others will restrict multiple device usage while others offer very few servers. To find the one that provides a reasonable balance regarding bandwidth, the number of devices, and server availability. Otherwise, switch to premium VPN providers for seamless, hassle-free connections.
Take advantage of Free Trials
A number of VPN providers offer a free trial of their products. Use customer reviews to shortlist a few products worth checking out. Sign up for the free trial and check if it meets your needs. If a particular one does, feel free to sign a long-term contract. Other providers offer special packages such as a 1- to 4-week vacation subscription. These provide you with an opportunity to test the product first hand without any long-term commitment. In case you are not satisfied, you only have to put with it a few days before your contract ends.
When purchasing VPNs, you might be tricked into getting a year-long subscription at a steep discount. This only risks lots of your money on products that may not be worth their salt. Remember to also make use of the money-back guarantee if you’re getting a raw deal on a particular product.
Number of Servers
This is one of the metrics used to determine a VPN’s performance. More servers means more options for connections around the globe. They allow you to navigate around geo-blockers from any part of the world. Also, more servers raise your chances of finding a local option. However, with the sprawl of VPNs in the market, providers have tried to beat the competition by inflating the number of their servers to attract clients. Some also rent servers from third-party hosts, an aspect that raises some serious security issues. Make sure to verify the VPN’s actual servers before purchase.
Ease of Use
VPNs use very complex technologies to get the job done. However, common users might not be interested in how they work or how to configure them. Alternately, savvy users might want a full GUI for managing all their connections and settings. If you know little about VPN configuration, go for those with simple interfaces. Some may offer a virtual set up to make the configuration as easy as possible for first-time users. A product that supports users of all levels of expertise is also a good option.
Other issues to consider if you are still in the dark include the price, support for mobile connections, and server location of the VPN in question. You might also consider popular brands that have been tried and tested.