You could say that VPNs are the modern times’ equivalent of a medieval hooded cloak – both of them are tools that people would use to assure their anonymity, and therefore their safety, when they are out networking. The difference is, when you are thinking about what to look for in a VPN, you slam right into the wall of a different kind of “networking”.
You would still be reaching out to people, yeah, but not by sneaking through unlit back alleys nor skulking around in a shady bar. And, the people who would want to peek under your “cloak” may as well be miles upon miles away. So how do you keep safe and private? We put together a little list of some of the essential factors to consider.
Give your protocols and your encryption some serious thought
VPNs are meant for a particular kind of use, after all – people are turning to them more and more in an effort to protect their privacy in the online world, and to make absolutely certain that the connection which they are using is secure, safe from hackers and any other similar virtual vermin.
Obviously, the way you need to go about this is to take some time and make sure that you will be afforded proper encryption. So, draw up a list of a few different providers that you would consider for your new connection and see what options they offer for encrypting your data. To learn about how encryption works and how it is applied to online and connection systems, check out this informative website.
Double-check and triple-check their policy on logging user data
As we have already mentioned above, using a VPN connection is a way to protect and secure your privacy, safety, and anonymity on the internet. However, you must always keep in mind that you are, in fact, “outsourcing your safety”, that is, you are entrusting a third party (which is your VPN provider) with your privacy and the tools to maintain it.
Therefore, as sad as it may seem, you have to keep four pairs of eyes open even in this kind of situation and trust only your own better judgment. You see, there are a fair few service providers out there which collect and store the usage and traffic data of their individual clients.
These pieces of information include, but are not limited to, the timestamp of your connection, the addresses of the websites you visit, your IP address and geolocational information, and your payment information in those situations when you make some kind of transaction online.
Also, make sure to know the number of connections that you would be allowed to have
This is right in line with what we already mentioned about the specific quality of a given VPN service. We mentioned that the service price is significantly influenced by the number of connections it allows, but what does that actually mean?
Well, to put it in a really simple way, it dictates the number of individual devices, or the number of different kinds of devices, that you can hook onto a single network under just one obligation of payment. Makes sense, right?
Can you even imagine having to pay a separate fee for your desktop PC, for your laptop, your tablet, your mobile phone, and anything from the “smart house” repertoire that you may have hooked up? your expenses would instantly skyrocket!
Nowadays though, thankfully, most sensible providers allow their users to have multiple connections under the same monthly or yearly subscription fee. So, figure out how many hookups you will need and start your budget planning from there. Take a look at this link to learn more about how free trials work.
Never, ever, fall into the trap of choosing a free service
A free VPN is not a safe VPN, no matter what their advertisement slogans tell you. The reason is a fairly straightforward piece of logic: the VPN server is basically another wall for your device to tunnel through before it can connect to the internet. Doing that costs money, so if someone is offering to do it for free, you have to wonder what exactly you will be paying instead of money in this story.
Moreover, these “free services” tend to be as slow as drunken snails and exceedingly unreliable. Again, this happens because it costs money to maintain a service like that, so people will be looking to cut their costs by cutting down on quality. To counter that, click here to learn how to boost your online anonymity.
Instead, learn how to estimate balanced prices according to your own personal VPN needs. The price of this kind of service is determined based on the number of connections it will afford you and the features that it will bring into the deal.
Generally speaking, yearly plans are more affordable and more sustainable in the long run than monthly subscriptions, and many services also provide an economical “free testing” period in the form of a free trial over a pre-set span of time.
Do a revision of all your platforms and check for compatibility
Finally, you want to make sure that there will be no hiccups between your different operating systems. Ideally, you would have one single provider for all of the “four giants”: Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS. Of course, if you only operate on one or two OS’s, this will not pose a real problem, but you may end up needing two providers to make sure all your devices are properly set up.