Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are becoming increasingly popular due to the many benefits that they provide. However choosing the right VPN service can be difficult and confusing - mostly because of the sheer number of options out there.
Suffice to say if you want to make it easier to choose the right VPN service, you need to know exactly how to go about it.
Focus on What You Need
The first thing that you should do is make sure you know exactly what a VPN can do and the different ways that it can be used. In that way you should be able to identify how you want to use it.
For example, you may need a VPN service in order to:
- Access location-specific or location restricted content such as online streaming platforms or some websites.
- Improve online security and privacy by encrypting data, masking your IP address, and helping you to surf the web more anonymously.
- Overcome online censorship present in certain countries or locations such as schools and bypass any filters that may be present.
Make no mistake there are other reasons why you may need a VPN service too - but the 3 listed above are the most common. After you identify what you need, it should be easy to shortlist potential VPN services based on that criterion.
Check the Number and Location of Servers
Most VPN services have multiple servers in different locations. It is important that you look carefully at both the number of VPN servers that are available, as well as the countries in which they are located.
Ideally, the VPN service that you choose should offer a wide range of servers to ensure access and stability. On top of that the location may affect the speed of the connection, as well as whether or not you're able to access location-specific or location-restricted content.
Find the Right Number of Concurrent Connections
One of the most common mistakes that beginners make when choosing a VPN service is assuming they only need one connection. That is very often not the case, and you should actually carefully consider how many devices you want to use the VPN service on.
For example, you may want to set up the VPN via your home router as well as several mobile devices. On top of that you may also want to set it up on the mobile devices that other family members use as well.
Once you estimate the number of devices, you should look at the packages that various VPN services offer to find one that is a good fit.
Learn More About VPN Protocols
Learning more about VPN protocols can be helpful if you want more control over the type of encryption and firewall that is used. However if you aren't too concerned or don't fully understand it, you can skip over it and opt for a service that automatically uses a protocol supported by your device.
Overcome Any Restrictions
Although VPN services are often used to overcome various restrictions, you should be aware that some VPNs are unable to evade online censorship.
However, few VPNs take no half measures when it comes to offering different security benefits including obfuscation that allow them to bypass numerous online limitations upfront.
Check How Easy to Setup It Is
The user-friendliness of VPN services can vary quite a bit. Some are extremely easy to use, and may even have a virtual setup that will automatically configure all the details on your behalf.
On the other hand many other services are not so user-friendly and the setup can be daunting for beginners. It may require that you change quite a few of the settings on your devices, and if you aren't familiar with them you could end up facing a lot of difficulty.
Before you choose a VPN you should look into the steps that are needed to set it up. If there is a free trial available you can take advantage of it to try setting it up.
Look Into the Logs
While VPN services can help to improve privacy, it does not mean that they don't keep any logs. Unfortunately it is difficult to determine whether or not a VPN service is actually logging browsing information and other data.
The best you can do is check where the service is incorporated, and whether or not there is a legal requirement for them to keep logs in that jurisdiction due to any disclosure laws. Aside from that however you'll simply have to take any claims at face value, and look into their reputation.
Find a Good Price
As you may have noticed, the cost of signing up for VPN services can vary quite a bit. Some may be as low as $1 to $3 a month, while others can be as high as $10 to $20.
At the end of the day the price is really the least important factor in your decision. Instead your focus should be on finding a VPN service that fits your needs and matches your criteria in the areas listed above.
The fact of the matter is that VPN services that are priced higher may offer better performance, more servers, and favorable locations - but there is no guarantee of that. It would be best to determine your budget, and consider all options that are within it.
Keep in mind that free VPN's often have many other caveats and restrictions attached, and may not be as private, secure, or fast as you hope.
Now that you know what you need to look at in VPN services to choose the right one - why not give it a try? Start by looking into some of the VPN services that are available, and analyze each one to figure out whether or not it fits your requirements.
Author Bio: Abdul Rehman is a simple Tech savvy bloke with a neck for writing. Monday to Friday, he enjoys delving down in to the inner workings of privacy and security of top-tier VPN providers. Nevertheless, on the weekend he is a bit modest and simply loves spending time with his dog.