VPN is required to protect your privacy, jump firewalls and for an overall safer browsing experience. Choosing the right VPN will depend on a lot of factors like the country you reside in, the operating system you use, VPN legality in your country, type of VPN server you want to connect to and more. Read this article to know answers to all of your questions here.
What is VPN?
A Virtual Private Network or VPN is an encrypted private connection (or network) carried over a public network. It enables users to share confidential or sensitive data over the public network without the risk of it being accessed by intruder systems. VPN was created for use in corporate organizations so that remotely placed employees or branch officers could access the official applications and local area network. For instance, Android users that work remotely tend to use mobile-optimized virtual private network.
How does VPN work?
A corporate network extends itself to remote employees through securely encrypted point to point connections called tunnels. These connections are established over the public internet but are totally safe and secure as it uses VPN technology to authenticate devices or users. Devices like smartphones and tablets can also connect to the primary network through VPN tunnels.
User authentication is done with passwords, cryptography, 2-factor authentication or biometrics.
Types of VPN?
VPN networks fall into two categories:
Remote access: Allows a user (device) to connect to the primary network.
Site-to-Site: Enables a branch or smaller remotely located office to connect to the primary network. So, unlike a remote access connection, it's a network to a network connection.
VPN allows employees who have travelling jobs like sales, marketing, and support executives to connect to official applications to carry on their daily work-related responsibilities. Using VPN provides adequate security to maintain privacy.
The connection performance is dependent on the factors that at times are outside the control of the user or the organization like the speed of the internet and the protocols that the internet service provider is using.
How to Choose the right VPN service?
There are many VPN service providers in the market. Choosing the service provider that's best for you depends on many factors:
Your specific need: What purpose would the VPN serve for you? Are you travelling and going to connect to the internet? do you want a connection for the whole family or for live streaming of videos? Once you have your need figured out it helps you find the right link with the appropriate level of security, speed, reliability, and bandwidth. You also need to know the credentials and reputation of the service provider. VPN should not be recording any logs of the sites visited or any history thereof. The service providers based out of countries, where strict adherence to the law is expected, are a better choice.
What features the service provider offers: Different service providers have different protocols for providing varying levels of security, anonymity, encryption, and speed. Some service providers can manoeuvre their way through geographically set up firewalls or VPN blocks. Checking the details of which security protocol, the vendor is providing will help you see if their offering and priority matches your need. Also, it is essential to know if there is any maximum limit on the bandwidth you need, the service provider you choose should be able to provide the desired bandwidth. Sometimes Fake service providers may offer you VPN services and steal your data, search through the reviews of the service provider before you decide on one. But remember google rankings alone cannot help you in determining about the right ones since it is possible to buy the rankings.
Device Compatibility: While most VPN services are compatible with a majority of operating systems like Windows, Android, Mac, iOS and Linux, it's still better to explicitly check this aspect. Some VPNs do not support all platforms, and you would not like to end up in a situation where one of your devices is supported while the other is not. Also, it will be good to check how many simultaneous devices it allows connecting from.
Use Interface: Generally, the user interface for setting up and configuring the VPN is complex. If you are not a very computer savvy person, you may want to pick a service that comes with an easy to use interface.
Check for usage in your work location: If you need to travel and work in places that have restrictions, you may first want to check whether the service you are opting for works where you intend it to. An example of this is China from where access to applications like YouTube, Facebook or Google is blocked. If you are travelling to a place from where you wish to access applications hosted in a specific country, then choose a service provider that has servers in that country. As an example, if you are going to live in Russian for a while, you should use a VPN, here's a list to help you choose trusted VPN providers https://vpnalert.com/best-virtual-private-network/location/russia/
Preferred payment plan: While there are many free VPN services available out there, these are generally not recommended because of weak and unreliable security and lousy quality. Such services usually generate revenue through ads and might even install malware on your system. Such free VPNs may just protect your browser while the entire internet connection may remain vulnerable. Within the paid service providers, you have different plans depending on the subscription period and features provided. To maintain the absolute anonymity of users, some service providers accept payments in cryptocurrencies and gift cards.
Customer Service: If you use the service 24x7, you may need help any time you hit a technical snag. It is desirable to go with a service provider that provides 24x7 customer support and especially one that offers live chat service. Only email support may not be adequate. Raising tickets and waiting for these to be resolved also wastes a lot of time.
Money-back guarantee: Good service providers generally offer a free trial period, or money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied. These guarantees come with a specific time during which you need to get back to the company with your claim.
Choosing the right VPN for your specific personal need can be a challenging and confusing task especially if you don't understand the technicalities of the service. People looking for VPN options should keep the above points in mind and then pick the right service provider. A good service provider should provide the basic requirements of trust, reliability, security, and anonymity.