So you’ve finally made up your mind that you need a good Virtual Private Network (VPN) but aren’t so sure what exactly what features to look for in the good VPN service that will perfectly fit your needs.
Well, if you’ve been wondering what makes up a good VPN service, then you need to stop wondering right now, because in this post, I’m going to unveil to you the most important things to consider when choosing a virtual private network (VPN).
But before we start, exactly what will you be using the VPN for?
VPN happens to be one of those few important things we all need in our home, depending on what you need one for. However, virtual private networks are today used not just for connecting to your work network from home; it also helps to protecting you from anyone snooping on you whether at the office, home, or the coffee shop.
However, if what you want is to be able to connect to your office or home, then you may not necessarily need a VPN service provider after all. You can simply buy a router that includes a VPN option, or just use macOS Server to create your own VPN service at home.
Some users would like to be able to avoid censorship or monitoring imposed by companies or governments – some may want to restrain ISPs from selling their personal internet traffic data – while some others may wish for the ability to share files anonymously. In a nutshell, if you are the more privacy or security conscious person, then you may consider getting a full-blownO VPN service provider.
What Kind Of Access Does The VPN Service Offer?
Some virtual private network service providers allow only a single point of access to their service, while others allow for up to five or more simultaneous connections. You have to determine what best suits your needs. For example, I’m currently using a VPN service provider that lets me connect my phone, laptop, and home router at the same time.
Apart from connectivity, you’ll also need to consider if you want a service that offers a large number of exit nodes. In case you don’t know what exit nodes mean, it’s simply a server sitting somewhere in the world where you’ll be connecting securely to. The moment you’re connected you’ll essentially appear to be using a computer from that particular server’s IP address no matter what part of the world it’s located.
For example, you might be in London but then, you’re connected to your VPN provider’s Buenos Aires server and will virtually appear to be using the internet from Buenos Aires. Do you get the point?
Some VPN providers have only a few exit nodes while others have many. The exit nodes location will equally help you to know if it will provide you with the access you need to geo-blocked internet services.
Should You Get A Free Or Premium VPN Service?
As with anything in life, you’ll always get what you pay for. There are lots of free VPN services out there but if you are really interested in protecting yourself, then you’d likely want to avoid free options. Apple, for instance, charges premium prices for their hardware.
That way, you are the customer. Remember there’s nothing like free lunch, even in free town. Those so-called free services tend to use your personal data as remuneration. If you want to keep your information secured and private, then this isn’t the best way to go. As for premium services, the prices can differ as well as the service level they provide.
Are Speed And Bandwidth Important?
If you need security but at the same time, want to ensure the fastest available bandwidth, you’ll have to go for a provider whose exit node’s geophysical location is close to your own geophysical location. The further the server is from your current position globally, the more slow down and latency you’ll experience while connected to the VPN.
This is concerned with the total number of computers your data will need to connect through (number of hops) to get your preferred exit node.
Depending on what ISPs bandwidth that you have bought, you may or may not max out your own bandwidth depending on the capabilities of the VPN providers.
Does The VPN Service Throttle Or Block Certain Internet Services?
You may require a VPN service that lets external users to connect to your computer via a calendar service. Or you may want to ensure that access to VoIP is not slowed down instead of another service of your choice by the VPN provider. Go specifically for providers that do not block or throttle any service at all.
What Kind Of Encryption Is Offered By The VPN Service?
There are different types of VPN encryption protocols available on the internet, and they are not all created equal. The idea is that if the VPN provider only offers PPTP, then you have to avoid it. For many years now, PPTP has been compromised and is no longer considered secure. You want to stick to providers that use IPSec, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP or even OpenSSH.
That’s all. I believe by now, you should be able to make a smart decision while purchasing a VPN. Pay attention to all the points mentioned here as they’ll directly or indirectly affect you later.
Theodore Nwangene is a tech and gadget lover who blogs on tech and gadget related topics. You can check out his blog here.