Given the nature of the societies we live in, a VPN becomes an essential tool for the individual who wants to stay anonymous on the internet. Whether you want to surpass the bans issued by an oppressive regime or simply to watch Netflix, a VPN is the right service for you.
However, getting the first free VPN on Google Play is a bad idea. Here’s what you have to take into account when you’re choosing one.
First off, you need to weight the price-to-quality ratio and decide what’s your budget. Whether you’ll accept a certain price depends largely on why are you looking for a VPN. If you need a VPN as a part of your business — getting another trial version of a tool, or viewing your website from different parts of the world, — you may need the best product out there, no matter what the price is.
If you’re looking for something more casual, like improving safety when using public Wi-Fi networks, you may want a VPN that lends itself to the price-sensitive audience.
If what you’re looking for in a VPN is complete anonymity, you may want to avoid the products that accept only credit card or PayPal payments. Go for the ones that take payments in Bitcoin instead.
Speed is a crucial factor when it comes to choosing a VPN. Get a VPN that is slow, and you won’t enjoy watching movies with it or even browsing.
The best way to prove how fast a VPN is would be getting a free trial and running a speed test. However, that’s not always possible. If you can’t run a speed test, here’s the list of indicators that would suggest the VPN will perform at its best:
- The servers are located close to you
- The servers have decent hardware
- The server has a decent bandwidth
- The VPN runs on PPTP or OpenVPN protocol
If the VPN in question meets all of these requirements, you can be pretty sure it’s going to be fast. Note that PPTP is not the best protocol security-wise, even though it’s very fast.
Regaining control over your privacy on the web is the primary reason most people use VPNs in the first place. You’d be surprised, but not all VPN providers stand up to the challenge.
For starters, many VPNs are profiting off selling user information. Think about it, marketers will pay a fortune to know how do their audiences act online. A VPN provider has all that information organized and ready to sell.
That’s the antithesis to the very idea of having a secure network connection, but this is how many free VPN providers monetize their apps. If you’re paying for your VPN, you’re already safe.
To make sure the VPN you’re paying for is reliable, test whether it’s showing your IP address. Check your IP address at a website like What Is My IP Address or simply search “IP address” on Google.
Now, do it with the trial version of the VPN on. If it’s changed, the VPN you’re using should be a good choice
No, this isn’t about deforestation. Your VPN provider’s logging practices can make or break your anonymity on the web. The thing is, every action you make while using a VPN is stored in a log. If that log is destroyed, you’re safe. If it’s not, you might as well not be using a VPN at all.
For maximum security, you’re looking for a company that doesn’t keep logs at all. If the company states it deletes the logs after a day or a week, it’s an acceptable compromise. The companies that state they’re keeping only the data the law requires them to are not the most reliable ones.
On top of that, if the VPN is based in one of the 14 eyes countries, it’s better to avoid it. This group of countries that have an agreement to share intelligence includes the US, the UK, and major European countries except for Switzerland.
This is something many people miss, but it can prove crucial for you once you start using the service. If you know you’ll be using VPN a lot from your smartphone, look for the one that has an app or specifically states it works best on mobile.
This point is a no-brainer as well. Not all VPN providers cover all the countries in the world. If the website you’re trying to access needs you to connect from a specific country, check whether the VPN you’re buying has that country on the list.
Looking at the technical characteristics a VPN provider claims can only give you a general idea about how fast or how safe the service really is. Apart from getting a trial, your go-to method of assessing actual performance is looking at expert reviews.
The other point about reviews is that you may not want to delve deeper into every VPN’s details and tech. Sometimes, you spend too much time looking through the provider’s website trying to find the information you’re looking for.
If you read, for instance,this IPVanish review, you’ll find all that information in one place. You can even find a better VPN on the platform if you browse with your preferred criteria in mind.
Spending just a couple of minutes looking at key performance indicators of VPN providers ensures that you can buy a VPN that suits your needs. Do that once, and you’ll enjoy safe browsing forever.