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Choose a VPN. What to look for when choosing a VPN service

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When choosing the right VPN provider, the most important thing is to make sure it fits your needs. It makes no sense to invest in a service that sells its users’ data or has too slow speed.

We all use VPNs for different purposes. What is important to you may be less important to someone else. That’s why you can’t call a certain provider the best of the best – they are all good in a certain way. Of course, only a few of them are really worth considering, as they can provide you with the basic function of a VPN – online privacy.

Things to Consider When Choosing a VPN Provider

So how do you choose a VPN provider that can fully meet your needs? The first step is to actually understand what features you need. There are nine things to look out for when looking for the right VPN service. Take a few minutes to learn more about them. They will help you understand what is important for you in a VPN. As a result, you will be able to choose a provider in which you will not be disappointed over time.

1 Location

Let’s start with the simplest. People usually use a VPN to give a fake location (to gain access to a certain resource, for example). Make sure that your ISP can provide you with this option, and that its “net masks" belong to the countries you need.

Also, note how many servers and IPs are available for that location. The more there are, the better.

2 speed

What will be the speed of the Internet if I use a VPN? This question is asked by many users who wish to remain private online. If the Internet connection becomes slow, a person will lose any desire to use a VPN (even if he paid a rather large amount of money for it). The first thing to do is to understand which metrics matter most to maintain optimal internet speed. This is the speed of downloading and uploading files, as well as ping.

A ping is the time it takes for one unit of data (called a packet) sent from your computer through a VPN server to reach its final destination. And after that – you will receive a response about the successful execution of the request. The ping itself is measured in milliseconds. The shorter this time, the better. A small ping is critical for real-time applications such as Skype and various online games.

Which metrics matter to you depends on your needs when using a VPN. Once you fully understand them, you can choose the VPN service with the highest download or file upload speeds. Please note that if a VPN provider has incredibly fast servers in the US, this does not guarantee that the same will be true in other countries.

3 Privacy and logging

For many users, a high level of online privacy is the main reason for using a VPN. If this is important to you, the first thing to find out about the future provider is whether it keeps logs.

There are various log entries. Some providers claim that they do not store any information about you, but the log may show metrics such as connection time, bandwidth usage, or IP addresses visited by a person. Of course, by itself, this information is not enough to uniquely identify the user’s identity. However, if you add entries in the activity log of your Internet provider here, then this becomes quite possible.

Another thing to pay attention to is the type of personal information the service provider holds about you. Does he need your email address or real phone number? All of this matters.

The country to which the VPN company is assigned also plays an important role. Its laws can affect both the data retention policy and what the service provider can tell the government about you. If possible, choose a country where privacy is highly valued (such as Panama or Romania).

Where can I find information about the privacy policy of a particular VPN provider? Visit the page with the terms of service on the official website of the service. It usually contains full information about what data the provider collects about you, and with whom he can share it.

4 Technical parameters

Many people don’t even think about it. However, some users have a preferred VPN protocol that they want to use (OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP ).

If you don’t care, we recommend that you take a look at OpenVPN. It is considered the most secure VPN protocol in the world. Using this protocol, you do not have to constantly worry about your privacy on the network.

The same goes for encryption. If you understand that you need special encryption such as AES-256 or SHA-512 hash authentication, look for an appropriate VPN provider that can provide this for you.

Aside from protocols and encryption, there are a few other things to think about when choosing a VPN. If privacy is very important to you, then the dual functionality of a VPN will definitely come in handy.

Virtual private networks cannot always guarantee the reliability and stability of their work. If something happens that could reveal your identity, make sure that the provider gives you the opportunity to use the emergency disconnection of the Internet connection.

5 Client Features

Not all VPN services are suitable for every device or operating system. There are some that offer dissimilar features for different devices. The Android version of the VPN software may be a stripped-down version of the Windows client.

Consider which platforms you plan to use the VPN on and check for the features you need in those versions of the client.

6 Restrictions

Some VPN providers impose restrictions on the services they provide. For example, enter the maximum number of simultaneous connections to the network. Think about how many devices will be using the VPN at the same time. Some services allow you to connect up to 5 devices.

If you are going to use file hosting or BitTorrent services, choose a VPN that is suitable for this purpose. Even though BitTorrent is quite a popular torrent client, some VPN providers prohibit its use completely. They do this to prevent criminals who torrent their malware from harming other users.

There are few other restrictions associated with using a VPN these days. However, it is better to double-check the terms of service of a particular provider in order to avoid disappointment in the future. Additional restrictions may include slowing down the network speed at certain times of the day or setting maximum internet traffic usage.

7 DNS Leaks

Most users do not pay attention to this indicator, but it can be quite important.

A DNS leak occurs when DNS queries are sent around an encrypted VPN tunnel. When this happens, your Internet traffic becomes available for monitoring, as the ISP can view your DNS requests. And this means that he will be able to find out what sites you browse and what web applications you use.

In addition, a DNS leak can reveal your real location, as well as track down your real IP address in the long run.

DNS leaks occur due to incorrect VPN settings on the device or OS. Therefore, it is always better to choose a VPN service that offers cross-platform applications for at least the most popular devices and operating systems.

You can check your VPN for DNS leak using this service https://dnsleaktest.com/

8 Price

The cost of VPN services can vary significantly. It is worth immediately determining the amount that you are willing to spend on your privacy.

Purchasing an annual or semi-annual subscription (instead of purchasing a license every month) will result in significant cost savings and savings of up to 70%. If you’re sure the provider is right for you, a long-term plan can save you a huge amount of money.

If you’re still unsure about the quality of a particular VPN provider, consider signing up for a month-only subscription and review our cancellation policy for refunds. Often you will need from 7 to 30 days to fully return the money spent. Many VPN providers also offer to try the free version of their client for 7 days.

9 Payment methods

Perhaps you prefer a specific payment method. If privacy is an integral part of your life, you can pay with Bitcoin. Many users simply feel uncomfortable giving another company their credit card number. Instead, it makes more sense to use PayPal.

Regardless of how you want to pay for VPN services, it’s worth checking to see if your chosen provider has the option.

10 Support

Customer support is a very important point when choosing a good VPN provider. Even if you are tech-savvy and may not need advice at all, you may run into a billing problem.

It is worth paying attention to services with round-the -clock customer support. In this case, you can solve the problem in a matter of minutes.

Cover image: Jon Moore via Unsplash

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