VPN has been used a lot in the past, mostly in keeping your privacy while surfing online. It is a service that you subscribe on a monthly basis, and it helps you stay anonymous and access censored sites without a problem. It works on a principle that you get a new IP address, which is called temporary IP address, so your real IP address is hidden. It is Virtual because you will have a private connection to any site. It is Private because all website visits are strictly between you and the site itself. It is a Network because you are using a special network of VPN servers that are now covering the entire globe.
Your IP address is your identity online, and if you do not want to take care of it, you immediately do not care about your privacy nor yourself online. Sometimes hackers can break into networks using your IP address because they can find your real address and it is possible to take over the device of the designated IP address. As much as IT experts try to make the internet a safe place of fun and knowledge for all of us, it is not always possible.
Do not get tricked by some VPN services/hosts, because all the flashy and pleasant on the eye looking interfaces are just something to cover up bad performance or specification of certain VPN server. We might help you in making the final decision.
1. Number of Servers
You should bear in mind that all the VPN server job is done by actually creating a data tunnel between the user and the provider’s server. You may think that VPN is a single server, but the providers must maintain a lot of VPN servers in order to keep their functionality, speed and the ratio of what you get against what you lose.
You can sometimes tell the company’s seriousness by just simply examining their website and reading about everything that they stated as important on their site. For example, NordVPN states that they have over 1000 servers up for use. That large number of servers means that you can get more bandwidth, less latency and just overall faster surfing speeds.
When talking about servers, you should also think about the IP address locations you might get. With fastest Virtual Private Networks, you might be an American citizen that surfs the web over the French IP in hopes of searching new information about something in Asia.
You might even want to get some games/movies first, as the release date is different for many of those. For instance, if you are a gamer, you should think about the location of your VPN because of the lag, latency, etc. It needs to be closer to your actual location to get the maximum experience. Virtual Private Network can remove the geographical limitations on your internet browsing session (for example Netflix restrictions), so you can get a full grasp of experience in surfing the web.
2. Number of Connected Devices
When an average user realizes all the positive sides of using a VPN, the natural thing that comes to his/her mind is the idea of connecting multiple devices to the VPN simultaneously. Unfortunately, all the Virtual Private Network providers have some kind of limitation on the number of devices which manifests itself differently, regarding your VPN provider choice.
Sometimes the limitations just go to your subscription plan, as some VPN providers might limit your number of devices per a VPN because they think that with how much you pay that is how much you get, and that idea is simply working here – if you want more devices and if you need more devices, you will need to pay more in order to use that VPN without any problems.
Today, there are many Virtual Private Network providers that offer unlimited data, but the limits go up to three simultaneously connected devices.
Of course, you can get in the range of more expensive VPNs and get more devices (up to five simultaneously). Also, there are VPN services that offer an unlimited number of devices – like Windscribe’s paid plan. But this is just one exception, and you might lose in some other assets while gaining more device usage – in the end, it is all about finding the right balance.
3. Support for Additional Devices
The Windows operating system might be a type of system that is most widespread today, but that does not mean there are other operating systems for your computer. You should know, almost every Virtual Private Network provider will give you the support for your Windows PC with native software, but that does not mean there are developers or designers using Mac OSX, Linux, Android, iOS, etc.
When buying your VPN, you should think about this. Put everything to paper, see your needs, what systems will be using your VPN and take that into consideration. That might be one of the key factors you decide on one VPN against the other.
Also, most Virtual Private Network providers offer support centers and archives of forums that are a source for all your how-tos and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). But being realistic, offering support is not just that. It means that you can be able to talk to the employees of the company one to one at any given time with any possible problem you could get with your VPN because after all, it is good if it works the way it should.
4. Privacy and Encryption Solutions
Despite all the promises of keeping you anonymous and safe on the internet, all the VPN services must keep track and log of your user data for a certain period of time. You should not use the internet in any way that will break the law, and that is something that VPN companies are driven by. They just will not let anybody use their services to do some bad things on the internet, not even to mention they will not cooperate with somebody in intentions of breaking the law.
Different Virtual Private Networks have different policies regarding your privacy, and you should read them all thoroughly as this is one of the aspects that may decide on which VPN you choose. You should check what kinds of logs are made because some VPN services track a lot of data, some actually do track a minimum which is reflected in your user info, email address and similar data, while some exceptions do not track any data in this way. An example is ExpressVPN, which claims explicitly that they do not track any of the user data because one of the VPN assets is privacy. It really is worth taking your time reading through the policies of certain providers, because sometimes for the smaller price you might get something that fulfills all your privacy needs, that you did not even know you needed before.
Also, when the logs are tracked, people say that VPN is good as much as it encryption is. A person that is somewhat familiar with the idea of encryption and decryption knows that this is one difficult topic to discuss and talk about. If you want to decide how secure one VPN connection is, you might get very confused, but knowing this is a big plus.
You should look for providers that state publicly what kind of encryption they use. If it is not stated, you will never know what kind of encryption it is used, and that is where the unknown part steps in – it might be something really simple anybody with a little knowledge can crack, and it might be something really good that it becomes a reason they do not want to state it publicly.
Let us introduce some encryption types to you. The most popular one is the Open VPN Cipher: AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit keys, also known as AES-256. It is used widely by many institutions, even the US Government and a lot of security experts worldwide use it to protect some highly classified data.
A bit weaker than this one, but still very effective is AES-128, which is used by My IP.io. It is very hard to crack, and in the average case, it might take billions and, billions of years to crack it because of all the possible combinations of bits which are almost endless. This kind of encryption is far from perfect, but as the math says, average case is more than enough for most VPN providers. And what else could you ask for if you are just an average web user?
5. Business Plans
Most of the today’s communication is done via the internet, and that is something that most of the business companies today use. However, if there are some secret information or secret data they do not want to be tracked and traced, not to say being changed in the process of transferring data online, companies opt to use VPN platforms to enhance their communication.
What they get with VPN, besides earlier mentioned encryption is that they can get some computer that is even outside the country or continent to act as one that is located in the company building. It allows a secure flow of information, and that is something that may be really important in the communication of this age.
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular business-related Virtual Private Network services, which guarantees trust, security and constant flow of information. It supports all the security protocols such as IPSec, L2TP, SSTP, PPTP, and OpenVPN. It benefits from using multiple accounts, having control of all of them, managing all the payments, dedicated support, controlling everything from one master account. You will also have a password manager to keep track of all your needed VPN server accounts, track all logged people and adjust this virtual network to all your desired preferences.
6. Data Caps
One thing that you would not want from your VPN provider is that it blocks when it needs to be up and running, not to mention crashes and sudden disconnections from the native server. The constant flow of data is something that every VPN server should have as one of the assets, and this is the thing you should normally want from your provider.
Many ISPs offer unlimited data plans, but getting that from your VPN is not something that is particularly simple because the servers are limited to some level, so you really need to find out what is the best Virtual Private Network for you and how to utilize it to maximum to fulfill all your desires and needs. Some VPN plans offer a free and a paid tier.
One of the main differences is that a free tier has its limitations on data flow in the month. You can find VPNs that offer generously 10 GB of data every month, such as Windscribe, while a lot of other providers offer just 1 GB or sometimes even less. Take that into consideration because proper use of data is very important to you.
Calculate what are your needs, what do you need your VPN for, and economically, you might go and get a cheaper option if it gets you all the things you need, in opposite of another one which is maybe more expensive, but it does contain some assets you do not really need in your arsenal.
Normally, you do not want to pay for things that you do not really need, free vs. paid is a simple debate – if you can get what you want for free, why would you pay for it? But sometimes using a free VPN service can really damage you, because it may lose its own purpose.
The idea is that if you do not pay for something as much as you would really need, one that is the problem in that relationship is probably you. You will be the one fixing all the issues and dealing with unnecessary problems that you could easily surpass if you paid some money for your VPN service. You might get into slower computer and connectivity issues, security risks, data leaks, and ads.
However, that does not mean get your list of VPN services and get yourself the most expensive one, because you might get all you need for less money if you just do your research correctly. Consider all the monthly plans, long-term subscriptions and check what do you really need from your Virtual Private Network provider.
Longer term commitment might be cheaper but opt for that if you are sure that you will need it for longer periods of time.
In hopes of finding the perfect balance between what you get and how much do you pay for it – get more from the internet. The internet is your friend these days if used wisely, and there are many sites now that provide VPN services. You can search the internet for forums, user reviews and frequent problems amongst some of the VPN providers so you can choose the best option for you easily, without later thinking about making a mistake for choosing a certain VPN provider. Choose wisely and good luck choosing your perfect solution.