VPNs are excellent tools to ensure anonymity while surfing the Internet and protecting your data. Given that there are countless options to choose from, it’s only natural that you’re confused about which VPN you should be subscribing to. What factors should you be paying attention to? Here’s something that should hopefully help you make the right decision.
What separates a good VPN from a mediocre one is the data transfer speed. There should ideally be no loss of speed when data is being transmitted between the host and the client-server. Always look out for services that offer multiple stable options, thus ensuring that you face no difficulties while streaming content or attending an online work meeting. The general rule of thumb is that the greater the number of servers, the more stable the network is.
This is probably the most important factor on this list. Cybersecurity continues to be the biggest determinant in a user’s choice of VPN. A large number of services that claim to be free actually make ends meet by selling your precious data to the highest bidder. So, do your research about the various measures taken up by the respective VPN service provider to prevent any data breach. Think of advanced Multi-Layer Ransomware Protection or blocking brute force attacks.
3) Ease of Use and Functionality
A VPN might ensure lightning-fast speeds and protect you from the most lethal of cyberattacks, but all of this means nothing if the platform isn’t easy to use for an average consumer. Imagine wasting precious time trying to search for a feature that seems to be hidden in some corner of the platform. You can always sign up for the trial version of a VPN to be completely sure that the platform works for you. Some VPN services are also starting to offer a 30-day money-back guarantee trial, in case you aren’t happy with their services.
This factor also extends to the versatility of the VPN service you’re using. Make sure that the service is compatible across all operating systems like Windows, iOS, and Android. When choosing a plan, ensure that it covers all your devices like your laptop, desktop computer, and smartphone. You’ll otherwise end up paying separately for each one of your devices.
4) Static IP
While the name sounds complicated, it simply refers to having a dedicated IP address of your own. Not everyone might need this feature, but it can make it easier to work on private networks or other remote access programs. If your cybersecurity software gives you a shared static IP address, you’ll be compelled to use the same server every time you log in. On the other hand, a unique static IP ensures that the specific server you connect to will not be shared with other users.
5) Tech support
This particular aspect is often neglected by customers, but it just might be one of the more important factors to consider while choosing a VPN for yourself. You need to have the confidence that all your queries will be looked into and be answered in a manner that is easy for you to comprehend. This becomes all the more important if you’re new to the tech world and looking to start your journey into safe browsing with virtual private networks.
Look out for a FAQ section and examine how many of the complaints the service has received have been successfully resolved and if the general public seems to be happy with the solutions offered. Reviews are another great way to assess the effectiveness of a VPN service. But, do keep in mind that not all of them might be genuine. It might be a smart idea, to begin with, the negative reviews to identify key concerns instead of the overwhelmingly positive ones.
6) VPN provider’s home country
Most VPN companies adhere to a strict set of rules and guidelines set by their home county. These laws can sometimes be counter-intuitive to the purpose of a VPN by requiring them to store data and submit them to authorities for closer scrutiny. So, you’ll ideally want your VPN service provider to be based in a country that doesn’t belong to the list of Five Eyes countries.
The idea of paying for a VPN service might seem unwise given that there are a number of free VPNs, but it actually does make perfect sense in the long run. Premium VPNs offer a ton of features that free ones don’t and make it a priority to protect you against a potential breach. Choosing a free VPN means that you’re putting yourself at risk and there’s no way to tell what happens to your invaluable data. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll need to shell out a large amount of money for a decent VPN. You can find affordable ones with a little bit of research.
In summary, a great VPN service is characterized by:
- A large selection of IP address locations spread across the globe
- Fast speeds ensuring a hassle-free experience
- Virtually impregnable encryption
- Reliable and trustworthy customer support
- Affordable prices