Thinking Of Buying A VPN? Here Are 3 Things You Need To Know
In a nutshell:
1. Logging: Zero logs are best to protect your privacy
2. Security Protocols: Multiple security protocols keep you secure
3. Servers: A high number of server locations make for optimal speed
Everything you do online today needs to be protected. Whether you are streaming or just shopping, buying a VPN should be at the top of your to-do list. But choosing the right one is easier said than done. While there are many recommended VPN providers, VPNs are a dime a dozen; and all of them claim they’re the best in the biz.
So how do you go about separating what matters from meaningless marketing buzzwords? More to the point, what are the most important factors you need to consider before you decide on a VPN?
If you’re struggling with the answer to these questions, you’re in luck.
Here are three crucial things you need to know if you’re thinking of buying a VPN or changing providers. Read on to learn more our check out our expert reviews if you are ready to get access.
1.What Is The VPN’s Logging Policy?
Protecting your online privacy is one of the main reasons to use a VPN. With this in mind, the provider’s logging policy should be at the top of your list of priorities when choosing a VPN. If you are unsure what a logging policy is, let’s back up a little bit.
In the simplest of terms, logs are usage data files; and they come in two main types - connection logs and usage logs. Connection logs are a basic record of your connection to the VPN server. They usually include your IP address, the IP address assigned to you by the VPN, the duration of the session, and the amount of data transferred during the session.
Connection logs contain no sensitive data. VPNs that log this information keep it for a limited time - purely so they can troubleshoot technical issues (should the need arise).
The second type of logs - called usage logs - are much more comprehensive. They can contain a very broad range of information on your internet usage, including which websites you’ve visited, a list of files you’ve downloaded and even which software you’ve used. You should steer clear of VPNs with usage logging policies, as these services put your sensitive data - including passwords and financial information - at risk. Free VPN services in particular are infamous for keeping usage logs.
For businesses, running a VPN is costly; and some free VPN services have been known to offset this cost by selling private user information to third parties, some of which may have less than good intentions. The best VPNs - PureVPN, for instance - do not log any usage data at all.
And if your VPN provider doesn’t log information about your usage, it simply isn’t possible for that data to fall in the wrong hands. Right?
But logs aren’t the only issue that determines your online security and privacy.
2. Which Security Protocols Does The VPN Support?
VPNs keep you safe online by moving your data away from unsafe public servers and using a secure private server instead. They do this via a security protocol, which encrypts your information and makes it inaccessible to third parties.
But there’s a snag.
Not all security protocols are created equal. In fact, some protocols - PPTP (Point To Point Tunneling Protocol), for instance - are known to have serious security flaws.
If you’re serious about your security (which you are, since you’re thinking of buying a VPN, right?) the security protocols a VPN supports should be crucial to your decision. OpenVPN is the industry standard; and the best VPNs on the market all use it by default.
With that being said, it’s best to go for a service that supports more than one security protocol, since older devices may not be fully compatible with OpenVPN. ExpressVPN, for instance, supports multiple security protocols. This ensures it works smoothly on a wide range of different devices, both old and new.
3. How many servers does the VPN have?
Finally, the more servers a VPN has, the faster and more reliable your connection will be.
Servers are like online highways. If there are too many people on one server, your data will take longer to transfer, which slows down your internet speed. What’s more, the further away a server is from your physical location, the longer it will take for your data to reach it. This slows your connection down even further, making for a choppy and frustrating online experience.
For these reasons, you should choose a VPN with a large number of servers in as many locations as possible. That way, you can always switch to another server close by should your connection slow down.
As a bonus, the more server locations are available, the easier it is to surf the web smoothly, even when you’re far away from home.
Now that you know some important things to look out for, let’s help you choose a great VPN. Click here for our expert reviews of the best VPN providers on the market today.