When you’re using a public Wi-Fi network at a café, airport, or other locations, you may notice occasional issues with your data being tracked and recorded. Even when you use a private network at home, there are still plenty of ways that your data can be intercepted. One way around this issue is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service, which can encrypt your traffic and hides your IP address, thus ensuring that your personal information remains private and that your online activity cannot be tracked or recorded.
Although there are numerous VPN services to choose from, not every one will suit your needs. To ensure that you make the right decision, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most important things to keep in mind when selecting a VPN service. These tips will help you determine to which type of VPN service suit you best and which features matter most to you. Keep reading for more information on each subject.
Features That You Should Avoid
Certain features within a VPN service can be handy, but you should keep in mind that they come with a price. One of the biggest questions to ask yourself is, “Do I need all of these features?” If you think that you might need additional security features, such as a kill switch, geo-blocking, or a dynamic VPN server, then you should proceed with caution. If, however, you are looking for a simple solution that is free, then all of these extra features might just be a waste of time.
For example, suppose that you’re searching for a VPN service to secure your personal Wi-Fi network at home. You’ll most likely fall into one of these two camps:
- A first-time user seeking a simple solution
- An experienced user wanting additional security features
If you’re in the first group, you may want to forgo some features in order to obtain a simple connection. For instance, if you’re looking for a VPN provider that is both free and easy to use, you might want to choose one that has a limited feature set. This way, you’ll minimize your chances of running into issues while using the service. You may also want to choose a VPN service that uses secure protocols, such as OpenVPN or IPsec. Finally, it’s a good idea to research the company that you’re considering using before making a decision. Doing business with a vetted company means that you can feel confident that you’re dealing with an honest broker.
On the other hand, if you’re in the second group, you may want to forgo some of the simplicity that a limited feature set provides in order to obtain a solution with additional security features. This is why experienced users of VPN services typically rely on combinations of authentication methods, such as a password plus a security code sent to your phone. These types of credentials ensure that the person you’re connecting with is in fact who they claim to be.
For example, if you’re a parent seeking a way to monitor your children’s internet activity, you may want to consider a VPN service that has features that allow you to block certain sites or limit the amount of data that your children can view. Or, if you’re an employee seeking a way to securely access a corporate network from outside the building, you may want to consider a VPN service that offers advanced two-factor authentication measures. When your employer offers two-factor authentication, it means that you have to provide a code as well as a password in order to access the data that you need. This makes it much harder for potential hackers to steal your information.
Consider Varying Your Credentials
If you’re going to be using the same username and password for all of the sites that you connect to via VPN, you’re going to run the risk of being intercepted by a determined hacker. In most cases, hackers will use brute force methods in order to try and guess your credentials. This is why it’s a good idea to vary your passwords and usernames whenever you can. By doing this, you’re increasing the complexity of the login process for the bad guys, thus making it harder for them to get in. If a hacker manages to get past the login screen, they’re faced with several layers of security, which makes it much more difficult for them to get access to your personal information. Varying your passwords is also a good idea for those who use the same ones across multiple platforms.
Use A VPN Service That Is U.S. Patented
One of the biggest roadblocks to privacy when using public Wi-Fi is the fear of cyber-criminals and hackers. If you live in America, you may want to avoid using a VPN service that is not U.S. patented. You’re more likely to encounter issues if the company that you’re dealing with is not willing to fully engage with the U.S. patent system, which ensures that their service is not subject to illegal copying and that they cannot be shut down by Big Tech. To ensure that you obtain a satisfactory service, it’s a good idea to research the technology that their system is built upon before making a decision. If you can’t find the answer to this question from their website, then it’s a good idea to contact their customer support team via live chat or by phone. In most cases, the customer support rep will be able to answer all of your questions and address any concerns that you might have about using their service. If they can’t, then it’s time to find another VPN service that fully meets your needs.
Find Out What Type Of Data They Keep
Even when you’re using a VPN service, there are still several ways that your data can be accessed by third parties. If you use Chrome, then you might be familiar with the fact that the browser keeps a record of your browsing history, which can be accessed and viewed by the manufacturer of the web browser. Similarly, if you’re using Firefox, then they can log your browsing history as well. For those seeking a simple solution, it may not be a bad idea to select a VPN service that does not store any personal information about you. If you’re using a free service, then you may want to look for one that has no data retention policies, meaning that they destroy whatever data they have after a set period of time. When selecting a VPN service for personal use, it’s important to think about what type of data they keep and for how long they keep it. It’s also a good idea to research the policies and security procedures that their team uses whenever they access, edit, or delete user data. If you can’t find the answer to these questions from their website, then it’s a good idea to contact their customer support department via email or live chat. In most cases, these departments can provide the proper documentation detailing their privacy policies and procedures.
Use A VPN Service That Has A Large Network
If you’re seeking a fast and easy way to secure your online presence, then you might want to consider a VPN service that has a large network. In most cases, this will ensure that you’re able to connect to a server that is close to you. The faster your connection speed, the better, as this will minimize the ping time, which in turn will increase the security of your Wi-Fi network. If you’re using a VPN service that has a large network, then it’s important to remember that not all of the servers will be created equal. Some of the servers may be down, causing you to experience slow speeds or even timeouts while connecting. To ensure that you’re able to obtain a satisfactory experience while using their service, it’s vital that you contact their customer support team as soon as possible via live chat or by phone. In most cases, their team will be able to provide you with the proper documentation detailing the speed of their servers and their uptime records. If they can’t, then it’s time to find another VPN service that can provide you with satisfactory performance.
Use A VPN Service That Offers Multiple Platforms
If you’re seeking a way to secure your personal data while using public Wi-Fi, then you might want to consider a VPN service that offers a mobile application for both Android and iOS. This will make it much easier for you to access your account wherever you are, as long as you have an internet connection. In addition to this, you’ll be able to use a VPN service with multiple platforms, such as Windows, Mac, and Linux, which is something that not all VPN services offer. If you’re tech-savvy and uses multiple platforms and devices for personal tasks, then it’s a good idea to select a service that has a mobile application for all of them.