Due to the fact that the internet has invaded our privacy in ways that we could not have imagined unless our name was George Orwell, there has been a massive increase in the number of VPN providers during the last decade or so. As such, we now have many different companies to choose from all of which try to differentiate themselves from the pack through one method or the other.
Choosing a weapon can be quite tough, even for those who are experienced in Cybersecurity. As such, we will take you through 5 different things that you need to watch out for when choosing a new VPN provider for yourself.
The Network (Speed, Server Locations)
If you pick a VPN with great security which cannot even allow you to stream Youtube properly, what’s the point? It is important to select a VPN that not only has good speed on their end so that you can use services such as Netflix, but also a large network of servers to make sure that you can find a server near you (servers near you are the most stable).
ExpressVPN is perhaps the fastest VPN out there and has thousands of servers spread about in over a hundred different countries. ExpressVPN will probably be the best option for you once you consider all the things that we mention. You can take a look at this ExpressVPN review to find out more about the product and whether or not it is for you.
Next, we move on to security. Many VPNs make a false claim that they are able to adequately protect you, but they lack the necessary features to do so. For example, the two most common ways through which VPNs may reveal your identity are through faulty kill switches and IP/DNS leaks.
When selecting a VPN, it is important to make sure that the service has some necessary features that work properly. Remember that features advertised on a VPN’s website may not be fully functional. For this reason, it is best to take a look at some of the reviews of the VPN to better gauge whether or not it will be able to protect you.
We have compiled a short list of some security features that you need to look for when you choose a VPN:
- Encryption (AES-256)
- Kill Switch
- IP/DNS Leak protection
- Split-Tunneling (not necessary, but can be useful for some users)
- Different Protocols (Different protocols are used for different purposes)
- Shared IPs
No Logs Policy
Pretty much every single VPN in the world claims that they have a really good no-logs policy, meaning that they do not store any customer data including their browsing history on their servers. However, remember that there is a decent chance of your data being logged anyway.
A primary reason for using a VPN is to be able to access services not available in your area such as the BBC iPlayer. Not all VPNs can do this effectively since services that use geo-lock also try to block VPNs. It is important to make sure that your VPN will be able to access all the websites that you visit (you might also want to check if it can torrent effectively).
The best way to do this is to go through the reviews. Pretty much every single reputable VPN review website always performs a thorough test of Netflix whenever they review a VPN, and you can use this information to make your decision.
Lastly, it is very important to find out where the company behind your VPN is located. The sad fact is that countries which make up a massively large percentage of the total internet traffic also have some of the most dangerous laws when it comes to privacy.
One list you can take a look is the 5/9/14-eyes by Cybersecurity experts VPNpro. These 14 countries have an agreement to work together and share their surveillance data with one another.
Although many VPNs residing in these countries are still able to function properly and provide you good security, a good rule of thumb is to only go for a VPN if it is based in a country that is not a part of the aforementioned group. Although your VPN could still be compelled by the government to hand over your information, following this and the previous four points will make sure that there is no way your security and privacy is compromised in any way.