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What to Look for When Choosing a VPN: Keep in Mind 7 Must-have Priorities

2 years ago

You’ve been thinking of using a VPN for some time now, but you’re still on the fence about which one you should go for. A good Virtual Private Network (VPN) not only provides an extra layer of privacy and security but also ensures a high-speed connection and access to any content around the world.

First of all, it is crucial to identify your needs: let’s figure out why you need a VPN

There are as many VPN providers as there are stars in the sky, but not all VPNs are credible. Some VPNs are better at some tasks than others, so it’s important to figure out what you’re primarily going to use them for.

If you stream or torrent a lot, fast speeds are a top priority. If privacy and security are your main concerns, choose a provider that offers an independently verified no-logs policy and a high level of encryption. For large households, a VPN with multiple device connections is ideal.

Are the free VPN services any good?

It costs a lot to provide the infrastructure to operate a VPN service, from the network pipes to the servers. That infrastructure has to be paid for somehow. If user fees do not pay for it, advertising, data gathering, or some nastier reasons are likely to be paid for.

Here's another reason not to use a free service, and this one is a lot scarier: Malware providers and criminal organizations have set up free VPN services that not only don't protect you but actively harvest personal data, and either use it or sell it to the highest bidder. Instead of being protected, you're being plundered. “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product” is a relevant axiom here.

Once you know what you will be using a VPN for, write down a list of the features that are important to you and those that you can do without. Using that, you will have a much easier time deciding what VPN to use.


1. Privacy and Logging

After all, one of the cornerstone characteristics of a VPN is a safe connection with minimal risk. Definitely be on the lookout for features that contribute towards your guaranteed security – no-logs and anonymity policies with protection mechanisms like IP hiding and kill switches go a long way in ensuring your trouble-free VPN experience.


2. Speed

How fast a VPN service is can make or break your experience. The first step is to ask yourself which speed metrics matter most. The three metrics of most concern are download and upload speeds and ping time. Once you identify your metric needs, look for a VPN service with the best numbers for the country to which you would like to connect. Different configurations for different purposes ensure that you always have versatile speed on your side, whether you’ll be using the VPN for streaming, peer-to-peer activities, or otherwise.


3. Accessibility

You often get a VPN with the intent of connecting to a particular location or country. Is there one or more you have in mind? If so, make sure the VPN provider supports them.

Also, take note of how many servers and IPs there are at the location. The more of both, the better. A geographically diverse service like SysVPN should have you covered no matter where you want to connect.


4. Reliable Protocols and Encryption

Another factor to consider in choosing a VPN is how strong the encryption is. A VPN protocol handles the encryption - meaning the security - of your internet connection. The stronger the protocol, the better it encrypts your connection, and the harder it is for hackers to break that encryption.

256-bit encryption is standard in the VPN industry, although some providers offer less-secure 128-bit encryption. The OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec protocols are the most popular and two of the best available. You should look for VPN providers that use these protocols or similar ones. Alternatively, there is the PPTP protocol, but it is very dated and offers the weakest encryption. A powerful protocol both protects your device and offers a high-speed connection.


5. Multiple Device Connections

The ability to have multiple simultaneous connections to your VPN means you don’t have to disconnect one device to make room for another. For example, PIA allows you to connect 10 devices simultaneously. This is helpful, especially if you have a large household or own multiple devices.


6. Ease of Use

Any VPN that requires you to become a tech expert is one that isn’t worth your time. You should be able to use a VPN with ease, even if you’re not tech-savvy.

When choosing the ideal service, don’t make compromises in user experience. Contrary to popular belief, even advanced technology like virtual private networks can be intuitive and hassle-free. If you can’t get what you want out of a VPN within a few minutes, don’t bother. There are way too many good products out there that will do that for you while delivering on every parameter.


7. Tech Support

The qualities of a VPN service don’t end with the opportunities it gives you – knowing that any questions you have will be answered is equally important, especially if you aren’t well-versed in this field. Helpful and readily-available customer service is hard to find, but you should look for it regardless. An exhaustive FAQ section and dedicated expert representatives are the telltale signs of a VPN provider that not only offers stellar products but values its customers as well.

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