A couple of years ago, nobody knew what a VPN was. Now, there are many providers, and competition is fierce. There are many factors you can consider. The first one is a free or a paid option. Then, it goes into specifics like the number of servers, added features, and logging policies. All these factors play into your user experience and the overall satisfaction level.
Here are features that will correctly depict the quality of a VPN:
Table of Contents
Privacy and Security
Security is the number one reason why VPNs were invented in the first place. They ensure your IP address is hidden and no data leaks appear when the connection drops.
That’s why a kill switch should be an essential component of your VPN provider. That way, the instant the server connection drops, you get disconnected from your Wi-Fi. There shouldn’t be any tolerance for sensitive data leaks.
Free VPNs compromise security to make money. Because they offer a zero-dollar service, they either leak your data to third parties or advertisers or limit your bandwidth.
Ensure you pick a company audited by independent firms to be certain of their privacy and security claims.
You wouldn’t use a VPN if it took five minutes to load a simple website. And you definitely wouldn’t use it if you’re a gamer and experience lag.
By definition, a virtual private network will slow down your connection a little. In some cases, it’s more noticeable than in others. That’s because data needs to travel through multiple servers physically.
If you’re a gamer, use a VPN trial to test out a few competitors and see who’s the fastest. As a bonus, you’ll bypass bandwidth throttling if you use too much data.
Hackers can eavesdrop on your communication if you connect to a public Wi-Fi. Every message you send will go through them first and then to the person you want to send it to.
The method they use is a man-in-the-middle attack. VPNs hide the information hackers are looking for and go an extra step by encrypting it.
Encryption methods differ, but the standard is AES 256-bit.
Here’s where the math gets fun. If a hacker wants to crack a 256-bit message, they would have to guess 2^256 numbers. That’s more than the number of atoms in the universe. And all the computers in the world couldn’t do it in a thousand years. It should be that safe.
We all use multiple devices in our daily lives. And every connected device is a cybersecurity risk. Make sure you get a plan that supports multiple devices. That’s a great deal for families or even a few friends chipping in for a subscription.
Number Of Servers
More servers = faster connections + speed.
You can notice the quality of a VPN service just by looking at the number of servers. The more servers they have, the more IP spoofs you can make and be invisible to your internet service provider.
Providers can store and collect your activity while browsing. The policy they have towards logs is important. For example, a no-logs policy means they don’t have any records on what you browse. That way, even the VPN company doesn’t know what sites you visit.
There have been specific cases where, under the government’s request, VPN firms relayed logs of their users. Even though the users whose data was logged were criminals, that means every other user’s log was kept.
That’s one of the reasons why you should stay away from free services. Just because a company claims a no-logs policy doesn’t mean you have total privacy.
VPNs don’t stop at hiding your IP and encrypting your data. They go a step further to offer a
comprehensive security package. The kill switch mentioned before is a great example. Every company has its bundle, and you should research what features make a difference in your browsing.