It seems impossible to survive in the digital age of today without the internet. However, using the internet is not quite safe especially when there are so many hackers and spies online eyeing on just one mistake of their victim. In such circumstances, online security doesn’t stay optional but becomes the mandatory step to ensure while using the internet. As we talk of online security, a VPN is that state-of-the-art shield that protects our data and everything that passes over the Internet through servers. Therefore, while you’re going about communicating, browsing, e.shopping or streaming online, your VPN will keep you safe and offer perks at the same time. Let’s learn how a VPN just does that.
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What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a software that adds a layer of security to your internet connection protecting your device from intruders and those who seek to track you without your knowledge. In addition, VPN unblocks websites and applications that have geographical restrictions placed on them by governments or the owners themselves. This often occurs in the case of streaming websites like Netflix and those owned by news agencies.
How Does a VPN Protect You Online?
Well, there are two main components of a VPN: protocol and server. The security aspect is based on strong protocols like OpenVPN (TCP, UDP), L2TP-IPsec, SSTP and PPTP that establish encryption. This means that your incoming and outgoing data is encrypted so no other user is able to use it.
Moreover, you pay your internet service provider (ISP) to grant you access to the internet via server. A VPN provider owns VPN servers in various countries. Therefore, when you choose a VPN server, your IP address is changed to the server owned by the VPN provider. As a result, websites and applications are unable to pinpoint your true location. This allows you to unblock websites and applications with geo-restrictions.
Why do I need a VPN?
You might think that you are not in danger of being hacked because you have your own Wi-Fi and stay away from public networks or free Wi-Fi zones. Your personal internet connection has a password but that could actually be decrypted by a skilled hacker if they really want to use your Wi-Fi. It’s not just about using your Wi-Fi for free though. As a matter of fact, anyone who is using the same internet connection as you can easily access all the data going in and out of your system.
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All your online accounts including those of online banking, social media, streaming websites, online libraries, etc. are vulnerable. Cybercriminals often frame innocent users by using their accounts for criminal activities. You could face serious legal charges if that’s the case. Law enforcement agencies create profiles of users based on their preferences gathered by online tracking. The websites and applications you visit and the frequency is noted as well. In addition, businesses collect data about your preferences to post relevant ads too.
If you’re still wondering, “Why do I need a VPN?” the answer is that a reliable VPN can prevent such tracking and secure your system against hackers in a foolproof way.
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Just believing that a VPN is your true savior from online surveillance, cyber threatening or cyber attacks is not enough, learning about how to wisely choose a VPN is the vital latter step you should not avoid, especially if you’re a new VPN user. Following are the areas you should look into while selecting a VPN that best suits your needs.
Checking out the countries where they operate is the first step of how to pick a VPN service. If they don’t offer services in your country, they won’t have any servers in your region. Browse VPN providers by countries or go through the list of countries present on the website of the VPN service you have got your eyes on.
Number of servers
Any basic guide on how to pick a VPN service will explain why the number of servers is important. There may be hundreds of VPN users using the same server as you at a given time. The more servers there are, the greater your choice is and the less the load. Therefore, your internet speed will not be seriously affected by turning on your VPN.
User log policy
There are laws in place that regulate the activity of internet users in every country. Many law enforcement agencies interfere with user privacy in the name of national security. As a consequence, these agencies demand keeping user logs and VPN providers do just that. They sometimes sell this data for neuromarketing purposes too. However, that’s usually the case with smaller VPNs. Therefore, select one that doesn’t keep any user logs when considering how to choose a VPN.
Several VPN providers optimize their software so that it operates equally well across various operating systems like Windows, iOS, Android, etc. and multiple devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. VPN companies with dedicated applications for different OS are superior. Search for what is the best VPN app before making a final decision.
There may be issues while running your VPN, therefore, companies that offer 24/7 live chat and have a knack for solving problems quickly are preferred. The treatment of customers speaks volumes about the reliability of a VPN provider. This is especially important when you need to ask a representative for servers that allow you to unblock certain streaming websites.
Free VPN trial
Luckily, many quality VPN providers offer free trials to new users for a couple of days. Once you experience it yourself, you can determine whether you want to commit to that VPN service. There is usually a money-back guarantee offered until a limited number of days which just shows you how confident a VPN provider is in their services.
The price range varies greatly among VPN providers, however, the cheap ones are not always bad and the expensive ones are not always the most suitable ones. Flexible payment methods and a good choice of subscription packages help decide how to pick a VPN service. Better value is usually offered in long term subscriptions like 1-Year, 2-Year, or even 3-year plans.
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You may use a single VPN account simultaneously across different devices with varying OS. There are VPN providers that increase the number of devices you can connect to at the same time for slightly more expensive subscription plans. You may connect 3 to 6 devices simultaneously among the reliable VPNs but it depends solely on the company’s policy.
All is revealed by user reviews from the speed of the internet connection to customer care. Although we have placed it at the end, it is the most effective way as you learn through others’ experiences. This is a smart way to gauge the appeal of any VPN service. You can compare and check ratings of each VPN provider on your shortlist through user reviews.
Check Out Our Top 3 VPNs
If you’ve already started your search for the best VPN that suits your needs and is also acclaimed in the market, we have curated our top 3 VPNs while highlighting their features separately. Remember, you can make a better choice by looking through the features and we have discussed just how above. Here are our recommended VPN providers:
- 5000+ servers in 60 countries
- 2048 bit encryption
- Multi Login for 6 devices
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
- Netflix support with SmartPlay Feature on Apps
- 75% Discount on a 3-Year Plan
- 30-day Money-back Guarantee
- Military Grade Encryption
- Easy-to-Use App/Software
- 24/7 Live Support
- 160 locations in 94 countries
- 49% Discount on a 15-Month Plan
- Superb App Features
- Speed and Reliability Good
- 40,000+ Anonymous IPs
- 1300+ servers in over 75+ locations
- 7-Day Money Back Guarantee
- 46% Discount on Yearly Plan
Now you know how to pick a VPN service and the top VPN providers of 2019. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries regarding how to choose a VPN service or comment below if you have better ways to do so.