The Art of Picking a Good VPN Provider
When it comes to VPN providers, there are many out there pick from. That is both good and bad. It’s good since as a consumer, you have a choice. It’s bad because out of all those providers, you somehow have to settle on one. And if you don’t know what you’re looking for exactly, your head can start to spin very quickly.
There are checkboxes every decent VPN provider should hit. Among others, they should have a good selection of protocols, a whole lot of servers to choose from, the right security and privacy features, and offer good bang for the buck. We will talk in greater detail about these important aspects below, and we will help you make the right choice.
A VPN protocol is a bit like a language that your computer uses to talk to a VPN server. Some of the more common options include OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, and IPSec. The primary purpose of these protocols is to provide you with a secure and encrypted connection.
Each protocol has its advantages and disadvantages. These include issues like security, speed, and easy of use. Most VPN providers will provide you with several choices.
We recommend using OpenVPN whenever possible. It is by far the most secure protocol of the bunch and will keep your data safe in situations where other protocols may not. While not native to most operating systems, OpenVPN is widely supported and easy to use.
VPN providers maintain servers in many parts of the world. Some may offer servers in 3 or 4 countries, while for others, that number can be 60.
Before you pick a provider, you should know which countries you would like to connect to. For example, if you’re keen on watching the BBC’s streaming service, then servers in the UK are a must.
The other aspect to consider is server speed. No matter what purpose you’re getting a VPN for, fast performance is a must. As part of your selection process, take a look at several high speed VPN tests to make sure you don’t end up with a service that’s frustratingly slow to use.
Your primary reason for using a VPN service could be privacy. If that is the case, the first thing you should check with each provider is their logging policy.
Using a VPN will hide your online activities from outside onlookers. However, the VPN vendor can always know what you’re up to. They can easily figure out when you connect to which site and what resources you access.
If the VPN service keeps logs, then there exists a history of your activities that can be turned over to third parties. On the other hand, if there are no logs then even if the provider were required by law to turn over your data, there would be nothing for them to give.
Because a VPN uses encryption, it protects your data transmission from eavesdroppers. However, this will not protect you from things like malware.
If you’re confident in your abilities to navigate the web without getting into virus trouble, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you’re even a little unsure, opt for a VPN provider that includes anti-malware scanners and NAT firewalls as part of their service. These features will keep you safe.
There are several free VPN providers, but we recommend you stay away from them. Their features will never be as complete as the pay services, and free providers cannot be trusted to keep your data private.
The good news is that there are pay vendors for any budget. Typically, the more you pay, the better the service will be. But even the cheapest of the bunch will still be a much better choice than a free VPN.
If you find a VPN provider you’re happy with, remember that most offer significant discounts if you commit for a longer period. The price may sometimes drop as much as 50% when you compare paying month to month with prepaying for an entire year.
These tips should make your VPN selection process a little easier. Just remember that if you end up with a provider you are not happy with, you can always cancel and go with someone else. Don’t worry too much about making the absolute perfect selection the first time you try.