There are many different VPNs (virtual private networks) available and, contrary to popular belief, not all of them are created equal. The truth is that some VPNs are far more secure and private than others, and you should always pick a VPN that you feel comfortable with — otherwise, you’re putting your personal privacy at risk. In this article, we will discuss the various factors that you need to be aware of before you make a purchase decision.
When shopping for a VPN, you’ll want to look for a VPN that offers a variety of features. Some of the more popular ones include:
- IP (Internet protocol) leak protection
- Logging policy
- Kill switch
- Anti-malware protection
- DNS leak protection
- HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) leak protection
- Unlimited bandwidth
- P2P (peer-to-peer) supported
- Kill switch
- Strong encryption
- Support for various platforms (iOS, Android, PC)
- Easy to use
As you’d expect from a VPN that costs a few hundred dollars each month, a premium VPN offers all of these incredible features. Of course, you might choose a less expensive VPN if you’re not planning on using some of the more advanced features (and, for the record, most of the premium VPNs do offer quite a few basic features). Regardless, it’s always a good idea to read the reviews on the various VPNs that you’re considering purchasing before making a decision.
Bandwidth is extremely important to consider when choosing a VPN. Essentially, bandwidth means how fast your Internet connection can transfer data (in other words, how fast you can download a movie or play a game). So, the more bandwidth that your VPN can offer, the better. Unfortunately, most VPNs offer only limited bandwidth, and those that do offer a lot of bandwidth usually cost a lot of money. If you’re looking for a really fast VPN, be prepared to pay for the privilege.
Also important to consider when choosing a VPN is the level of encryption that it uses. A lot of people don’t realize this, but all Internet traffic, including email, websites, and any other kind of data is encrypted when it travels over a public network (like the Internet). So, without encryption, all of your personal information—including banking information and credit card numbers — is at risk of being intercepted by malicious parties.
The good news is that most, if not all, VPNs offer very strong encryption, so you can rest assured that your personal data is safe while you’re connected to their network. Unfortunately, strong encryption always comes with a price. To ensure that your data is secure, your VPN connection will have to decrypt all of the data that it sends and receives. This process is called “tunneling.” As you’d expect, this also has a price: typically, a very high premium is charged for services that use strong encryption.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind when choosing a VPN is how much information the company is willing to log about your activity. In general, the more logs that a VPN keeps, the more suspicious people will perceive them to be. Keep in mind that many companies, especially those that offer premium services, maintain extensive logs about their users’ activity. So, if you’re looking for a truly private connection, you might want to consider a VPN that is a complete log-less solution. Of course, this will also mean that you won’t be able to use some of the more advanced features, such as P2P and IP leak protection.
Another thing that you need to be aware of when choosing a VPN is how many ports it uses to connect to the Internet. Most VPNs use a combination of TCP (transmission control protocol) and UDP (user data protocol) ports to connect to the Internet, and these ports are usually restricted to certain devices and operating systems. So, if you’re using a PC, you might want to consider a VPN that is compatible with Windows XP or later. Of course, if you’re using a Mac, you might want to consider a VPN that is compatible with Mac OS X or later.
The bottom line is this: if you’re buying a VPN to secure and protect your personal information, be sure to purchase from a company that you feel confident will not abuse the privilege. Otherwise, you’re simply asking for trouble.
Last but not least, we have customer support. Here’s where you’re going to get your money’s worth. If you’re buying a VPN for the first and only purpose of using it for secure online access, then you can probably get away with a quick email response or call from a live person. However, if you’re planning on using the service for something more than just basic Internet access, you might want to consider purchasing a VPN that offers fast and friendly customer support. Also, remember that some companies offer “premium” services that include things like priority customer support and extra features. So, if you’re looking for those kinds of perks, be sure to purchase a VPN that offers them.
The Bottom Line
In the end, it all comes down to this: if you’re looking for a safe and secure way to access the Internet, then you need to be sure that you’re purchasing a reputable company. Remember: not all VPNs are created equal, and not all companies that produce VPNs are good companies. So, do your research and make sure that you’re buying a company that you can trust. Otherwise, you’re putting yourself at risk and allowing others to view your personal information. So, above all else, make sure that you’re buying a VPN from a company whose track record you can trust.