There are many reasons why utilizing a VPN service is beneficial. It offers privacy, anonymity and a way to bypass censorship or shift your location. If you are considering using a VPN service, there are a few key factors that are important to consider so that you can get the best service possible.
How A VPN Works
If you need to access sensitive data on the internet, you definitely don’t want to log into free Wi-Fi at a coffee shop and start your work. This type of access is insecure and leaves your data vulnerable.
When you connect your smartphone, tablet or computer to a VPN, your device acts like it is on a local network where your VPN server is located. If you are using a laptop in Detroit and you access a VPN that’s located in London, all of your data will look like it is coming from a computer that’s also located in London.
Since your computer behaves like it’s on the local network in a remote location, you have the ability to securely access any resources that are allowed through that network.
1. Keeping Your Data Secure
One of the key aspects of a great VPN service is the ability to provide you with top-notch data security. You definitely don’t want your data to be picked up by unscrupulous individuals.
There are various encryption protocols available for a VPN company to use. Chances are, you are probably unfamiliar with this type of technical jargon. In short, if you see that a VPN provider is offering PPTP, it is best to stay away. This type of encryption protocol is less secure than OpenVPN, IKEv2, IPSec or L2TP and has been known to have been compromised in many cases.
OpenSSH is more secure than PPTP, but if you really want to make sure that your data is safe, choose a provider that has AES 256-bit network traffic encryption and a more secure protocol such as OpenVPN or IKEv2.
2. Public Wi-Fi And Preventing Connection Exposure
Having a secure connection over public Wi-Fi is also a key benefit of using a VPN service. This allows you to conduct your work and know that your link to the internet is safe.
Another aspect to watch for is IPv6 leak protection. This protocol was created to make sure that the world doesn’t run out of IP addresses. However, while that problem is now resolved, your information may be vulnerable.
Let’s say you have an ISP and network configurations that support IPv6. If you use a VPN provider that only handles IPv4 requests your data could be breached. To be safe, make sure that you choose a service that is upgraded to handle IPv6.
Using a service that offers a kill switch feature should also be a priority. If your network connection ever drops, a kill switch will make sure that your connection isn’t exposed. Without this feature, your computer may default back to a public IP address that can be easily tracked.
A kill switch can be very beneficial if you are on your computer for a long period of time. If you are downloading a torrent that takes hours to finish, you may not be in front of your computer when a connection failure occurs.
3. A Quick Connection
If you’re browsing at home without a VPN, you probably have a fast connection. When you use a VPN, it’s important that you don’t lose that speed. No one likes a slow connection when they are trying to get things done.
You should look for a VPN service that has hundreds of servers and operates in multiple countries. A great VPN provider will optimize their connection for streaming and allow you to quickly conduct peer-to-peer activities.
It is important to note that your connection speed will depend on the distance your computer is from the server — the shorter the distance, the better the speed.
4. Is It Easy To Use?
Using a VPN should not be complicated. You don’t have to be a technical expert to use this type of service. You should be able to find what you are looking for in the service within just a few minutes.
If it’s too complicated, you don’t want to waste your time as there are great VPN providers like Surfshark that make it easy to use.
Another important factor to consider is the versatility of your provider. If you are going to be using multiple devices with different operating systems and platforms, it’s imperative that you look for a service that can handle your smartphone, PC or laptop.
If you’re like most individuals, you never know when you’re going to need access to the internet. You don’t want to limit yourself with one operating system or platform that doesn’t have a secure connection when you need it most.
6. Knowledgeable Technical Support
Knowing that your support questions will be answered as fast as possible is an important aspect to consider. If you get stuck and need assistance, you want to know that there is a knowledgeable support tech available.
Does the service provide live support chat? Do they have an FAQ page, setup guides or tutorials that you can access for help? These are all important tools that will ensure that your VPN browsing experience will be a success.
7. Availability Of Mobile Apps
If you decide to utilize a VPN service, you’ll want to find one that provides a consistent experience no matter which device you are using. The best providers will offer mobile apps as well as a desktop solution to ensure that you are covered.
You may want to check to see if you’d be required to use a couple of VPNs to secure all of the devices that you may have. That could get quite expensive if you have to pay for secure access for each individual device.
8. Privacy And Logging
Are you comfortable having your provider track your browsing experience? If you use a service that keeps logs of sites that you visit on the Internet, that’s what you are going to get. By using a VPN service that doesn’t keep logs of your activities while browsing the web, your privacy will be kept intact.
If you think about it, using a service that keeps logs of your activity kind of defeats the purpose of utilizing a VPN. What are they going to do with that data and is it placed in safe storage? These are extremely important factors to consider when your privacy is at risk.
9. Multiple Server Locations
A service that is serious about offering quality will have multiple locations in different locations around the world. This aspect of a VPN service is crucial for you if you need to use an IP address that is specific to an individual country.
For example, if you need to access content that is only available to a particular country, you will be required to use an IP address that originates from that location. This gives you the ability to look like your connection is coming from that local network and provides you with the axis that you desire.
10. Concurrent Connections
Another factor that you must consider is if concurrent connections are allowed. This can come in handy if you want to set up more than one device so that it has VPN access.
You may have one or more family members that connect to the internet in your home. If you are cautious about your connections, you may want to use different VPN servers on each device so that it doesn’t bundle all of your data together.
11. P2P Usability
You may be interested in accessing a site that offers P2P functionality. Unfortunately, some VPN and ISP providers frown on this type of website. In many cases, using these type of sites to share information is extremely efficient.
When you look for a top-notch VPN service, you want to make sure that it does not stop you from using torrent sites or other types of P2P platforms. A worthwhile service will not limit your requirements in this department and will ensure that you have success when you are trying to access sites that have file sharing capabilities.
12. Free Services
When it comes to VPN service, you really do get what you pay for. While there are many free options available on the web, it really isn’t beneficial to choose a service that’s free.
If it’s important for you to make sure that your data is safe, you’ll want to go with a paid service that takes private browsing seriously. It takes a valuable infrastructure to ensure that your data is sufficiently encrypted. Do you think that a free service will go the extra mile to ensure that your browsing sessions are totally private? The answer is probably no.
In fact, a free service may add malware or adware to your computer.
Of course, the price that you pay for this type of service is also an important decision that you will have to make, especially if you are thinking about just using a free VPN service.
If you are contemplating the use of a free VPN, it does have one advantage — the price. However, that’s it. Unfortunately, when you save in one way, you pay in another. This is especially true when it comes to using a VPN. Choosing a service that’s free isn’t a great trade-off if you value your privacy, performance, and security.
If you don’t mind having your data at risk, going with a free service is an option, but the quality is never guaranteed when you choose this route.
You’ll find that a solid VPN provider will allow you to choose from a number of different plans so that you can fit this into your budget. If you can, it’s usually advisable to choose their most popular plan. Typically, this will save you the most money as the price usually discounted by a considerable amount.
14. Making The Right Choice
Making your final decision on which provider is best is easier when you look at all of the aspects that are involved with providing a great service. If you are offered reliability, high performance, privacy, security and zero bandwidth restrictions, you will have a much more successful browsing experience when you use a VPN service that provides all of these key factors.