With the increasing need to protect your online privacy, VPN or a Virtual Private Network has become more of a necessity rather than a luxury. A VPN changes your virtual location and also adds a layer of security to your data packets. This saves you from the peeping eyes of advertisers, cyber fraudsters and others, apart from allowing you to access blocked or restricted sites, getting around government-imposed censors and downloading from torrent sites.
However, there are lots of VPN providers in the market and not all of them are as secure and anonymous as you may expect them to be. This makes it real hard to find the right VPN service to fit your needs and pocket. So, what criteria should you use or what all factors should you consider while choosing a good VPN provider? Here are some simple tips to keep in mind.
This is the very first thing you need from a VPN; complete anonymity. A VPN vendor that cares for your privacy should offer shared IPs and should not keep your activity logs. Great if they also offer anonymous payment, maybe through bitcoins or some other way. Keeping logs is risky, especially if they manage to make their way to hackers or are handed over to government authorities under legal obligation.
Different encryption programs offer different levels of security; some are great, some are ‘just ok’ kind. Find out what type of encryption your VPN provider uses. Other security measures include firewalls, dedicated server, PCI compliance, securing VPN nodes, security audit, etc. Also see whether they charge extra for any of the security features they offer.
File Sharing and Torrent Downloading
This is not something everybody requires but if you are looking for VPN for downloading torrents, then make sure your provider allows this. You may need this for sharing reports, files, audios, videos, etc. Since P2P file sharing is often used to share copyrighted stuff, many VPNs prohibit its usage.
A VPN provider usually offers servers (or IPs) from a wide range of countries. If you need an IP from a particular country, check out whether the VPN provider has a server in that country and also make sure you will get access to that server (IP). For example, if you need to access a site restricted only to US users, you will need to have a US IP. If you need IPs from several countries, then also see to it that your VPN plan allows for switching IPs from different countries.
Never take pricing for granted; there can be a wide variation between different providers. Though cheapest may not always be the one you would like to go with, affordability and value for money definitely do matter. As with most other things, you usually get what you pay for but you can definitely save few bucks by avoiding those highly priced plans whose features are of no use to you. And when you check pricing, also check out whether the mode of payment offered is convenient for you. Trial period or money back guarantee would be a great relief while trying out a new provider.
Speed, connectivity, ease of use, number of connectable devices, customer support, etc. are some other considerations while buying a VPN service. Take your time, go through reviews and put in some efforts to study the various plans offered. After all, it’s you who knows what you want!