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How to Choose a VPN Provider?
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a way to secure your privacy, but selecting one is a trust exercise. You're giving third-party access to a lot of your internet data, so you want to make sure they'll keep it safe and not misuse it. It can be difficult to know which VPN providers are trustworthy if you're new to using one.
There are, fortunately, steps you can take to evaluate a VPN company before committing. Here's how to evaluate a VPN provider so you can decide whether or not they're worth your time and money.
Check the Provider's Logging Policy
The logging policy of a VPN provider is the single most important factor to consider when choosing one. This will tell you what data a VPN provider will store about your online activities, so make sure you check it to protect your privacy.
Only the most minimal information is collected by a reliable VPN provider, such as −
- The email address or username you used to create your account and log in.
- Payment details so that you can pay for the service. If you wish to be more anonymous, you can sometimes pay with Bitcoin.
- If your software crashes, you can get more diagnostic information (you can opt-out of sending this information for greater privacy).
If the supplier you're considering simply gathers this information, you're good to go. These VPNs are frequently marketed as "no-log" VPNs.
Check the Level of Encryption They Offer
Another element to consider while selecting a VPN is encryption strength. Stronger encryption is more difficult to crack and provides greater security. In the VPN market, 256-bit encryption is common, while some providers offer less secure 128-bit encryption.
The provider's website should mention what level of encryption they use in the "features" section.
Find Out How Many Servers Are Available
You want a VPN provider with a large number of servers to connect to for convenience. To find out how many are available, look for a section on the provider's website titled "Server List" or something similar. This should provide you with a comprehensive list of all available servers as well as their locations.
In general, more servers are preferable because they provide you with more possibilities for connecting to a fast and dependable server. In practice, however, the experience of a provider with 1,000 servers and one with 2,000 servers is nearly identical. Simply look for a supplier with at least 500 servers, which should be sufficient for the majority of users.
Know What Speeds You'll Get
Because of the additional encryption procedure that data travels through when using a VPN, your internet connection may be slowed slightly. You'll need a VPN with fast servers to avoid this slowness.
However, determining how fast a VPN will be might be difficult. Most providers boast fast speeds, but as a potential customer, it's difficult to verify this. You can read VPN reviews online, which usually include a speed test, but keep in mind that your experience will be unique. This is because both your location and the location of the server to which you are connecting determine your connection speed.
See What Optional Features Are Available
You can also browse a VPN provider's website to see what additional capabilities they provide before making a decision. The following are some useful optional features −
- A torrent-friendly VPN service provider.
- A kill switch for the internet.
- A VPN service that works in China (most VPNs don't).
- China (due to the country's VPN-blocking software).
- The ability to connect to a VPN using your router.
- A Netflix-compatible VPN provider.
A VPN Provider's Country of Origin
VPNs operated in any of the 14 Eyes member countries should be avoided at all costs. The United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Sweden are among these countries. Local security agencies in these nations may force a VPN provider to reveal its users' data.
Additionally, unless you're utilizing a no-log VPN service, avoid connecting to servers in any of these countries.
Supported VPN Protocols
VPN protocols that are available are also crucial. They're the foundational technology that determines how your data is sent to the VPN server. There are several primary VPN protocols to choose from, and they are not all made equal. Check if a VPN provider supports your preferred protocol.
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