4 Questions to Ask When Selecting a VPN

Nowadays, an increasingly large proportion of our daily activities take place online. From social media and email to e-commerce and online banking, so many aspects of our lives depend upon us being connected to the digital world.

In many ways, this is a good thing. Communication has never been simpler and being constantly connected means that we can do almost any task with the touch of a button. At the same time, it exposes us to risks. In an increasingly-data driven society, our privacy and cybersecurity are under threat from all sides. As such, protecting oneself online has become a major concern for internet users worldwide.

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As a result of this attitude shift, the VPN market has grown rapidly. More and more VPN options are popping up each year, each with its own features and selling points, and this can make the selection process a time-consuming one.

With so many VPNs to choose from, there is a lot to think about, but by prioritizing the following criteria, you can expedite the process and find the right VPN for you.

What kind of protection am I getting?

Odds are, if you’re in the market for a virtual private network, then cybersecurity and privacy are at the top of your list of priorities. Naturally, you want to be sure that you remain protected online at all times so that your data cannot be accessed by cybercriminals.

So, when considering a specific VPN solution, you should take the time to look into the encryption protocols it uses. While there are many different VPNs out there, not all of them are equally secure, and a surprising contingent of VPN users feel that their chosen service leaves something to be desired from a security perspective.

Typically, the best way to go is to select a VPN that uses military-grade encryption, such as AES (Advanced Encryption System).

What kind of server options are on offer?

Once you’ve narrowed down your VPN options and created a shortlist based on encryption, you can begin to compare server options. Since the function of a VPN is to redirect internet traffic via remote servers, the specific server options on offer are of considerable importance.

Having servers close to your physical locations is always convenient as it helps to limit latency, but you depending on your specific needs, you may also want servers in other locations as well. If you work while travelling, for instance, you may need to be able to access certain sites from a range of different locations. Millions of users worldwide have encountered geo-blocking in recent years, but in many cases a premium or free VPN unblocked these sites, allowing them to continue their activities unhindered.

The right VPN solution can do the same for you. By choosing a VPN with a good range of server locations will, you can avoid frustrating encounters with geo-restrictions.

What kind of speeds can I expect?

Similarly, you should carefully consider connection speeds when choosing your VPN, as averages can vary substantially from one solution to the next.

Server location plays an important role here too, as speeds will naturally be lower when connecting to a server in a faraway location. However, there are other aspects to consider, such as server bandwidth and the VPN protocol in use.

Although all VPNs will reduce your internet speed to some extent, a good VPN option will provide you with a significant amount of bandwidth so this slowdown is essentially imperceptible. Different VPNs also use different protocols for encryption, and this can affect connection speeds.

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) are the most commonly used VPN protocols, with UDP generally providing higher speeds.

Am I getting maximal value?

As with any other product, you are going to want to get the maximum value from your VPN. Fortunately, thanks to the boom in the market, there is now a multitude of VPN solutions available with subscription options at various price points. This means that you can easily find a VPN that fits both your browsing needs and your budget.

If, for instance, you wish to use a VPN for work or to bolster the online security of your business, then a premium paid subscription may be the best option. If, on the other hand, you simply want a VPN to facilitate your personal browsing, then a lower-tier option or a free VPN service may actually be the right choice for you.

The wrap-up

The VPN market has soared to new heights in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. With data privacy and cybersecurity at the front of everyone’s mind, the need for VPNs is as great as it has ever been. With such a wealth of VPNs on offer, selecting the right solution can be tough a decision, but by prioritizing thoughtfully and narrowing down your options, you can find a VPN solution that meets your individual needs.

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