Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have become popular tools in recent years. Netizens from across the world use them to gain from an array of benefits: avoiding censorships, circumventing geo-restrictions, streaming & torrenting, and of course, for the privacy, security, and anonymity that they provide.
However, VPNs are not made equal, and so choosing one of them requires careful analysis – there are over 300 VPNs out there! And although most of this year’s top 10 VPN providers tend to offer an all-round service, the same can’t be said about most VPNs. This guide will show you what to consider to choose a good VPN service that fits your needs.
How to choose the Best VPN Provider
Consider Your Needs
VPNs have different capabilities, and so you need to ensure that the one you choose meets your specific needs and requirements. For example, there are VPNs that you can’t use for torrenting since their networks do not allow such traffic. This means that you have to tick a VPN against your most regular uses.
If you want a VPN for streaming, ensure it’s fast enough and not blocked by streaming services like Netflix. If you want to beat censorship, ensure that the VPN has obfuscation capabilities to evade VPN censorship. For the entire household, you need a VPN that permits multiple simultaneous connections.
Check their Location & Logging Policy
Due to the increased ISP and government monitoring, privacy is one of the most popular reasons for using a VPN. Through the encryption provided, you can hide your activities from snooping eyes. However, a few VPNs still compromise privacy by keeping some connection and usage logs. This is especially true for VPNs registered in the US, the UK, and various other fourteen eyes countries.
Ensure your Important Locations are covered
If you live in, are traveling to, or you want to connect to a less populated/ developed country, you need to confirm that the VPN has servers near you. This will ensure that you can get a stable and fast connection.
Reliable Customer Service
Having 24/7 customer support is important as you can easily hit a snag while using a VPN. The top VPN providers offer various forms of support: live chat, email, and ticket system. Live chat support is the most preferred as emails and tickets can take hours – or even days – to answer.
Most VPNs support all major devices, but it’s not wise to assume. Check the apps offered by the VPN to ensure that you can use it on all your devices. The main platforms are Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.
Compare with others
After coming up with a shortlist of VPNs, it’s important to compare them with each other in terms of features and functionalities. This will let you know which one suits you the best. For example, two VPNs may be able to unblock Netflix. However, one may offer only Netflix US, while the other one offers several Netflix libraries.
Check for a Free Trial / Money-back Guarantee
After considering all the above, it’s also important to play safe as you don’t want to get stuck with a product you don’t like. Most VPNs offer a money-back guarantee period, which can range from 7 days to 45 days. Others also offer a free trial to let you test out the service risk-free.
Choosing the right VPN is an important step towards privacy or achieving the online freedom that you desire. However, remember that the best VPN depends on what you want to carry out. The guide above should help you select a good VPN provider.