How many of you have ever heard of a VPN, short for Virtual Private Network? Well, if you are here, reading this guide, chances are, you know a little about them. This guide will show you the quickest way around choosing the best and safest VPN for online protection. I will also highlight an easy way to show you how to use one! But first, let’s get down to the basics.
What is a VPN?
A VPN, short for Virtual Private Network can be called a security software that protects both device and data. When you connect to a VPN server, all your web traffic passes through an encrypted tunnel, securing your data, keeping your physical IP address anonymous. Some of the best VPN services are strong enough to let you browse the internet undetected. You will even be able to remain anonymous from your internet service provider.
Even though a VPN can help protect you online or offers the best features to maintain online security, not every VPN provider makes a reliable choice.
For instance, you might have noticed a couple of VPNs on the Google or Play Stores, and might have even noticed how every provider boasts the best speeds, security, or easy app installation procedures. You should know that even though these claims seem genuine, they’re not. There are only a couple of top VPN providers in the industry and among them even fewer work best for online protection.
If you need a little guidance on how to choose them, take a look at the guide below.
How to choose a VPN for online security
There are a few tips below that you’d find helpful, teaching you the easiest way to choose the best VPN with the most reliable performance. Here’s how:
Understanding your requirements
Firstly, you need to understand what and why you need a VPN. There are many perks that come with a VPN. It’s great for streaming, torrenting, protecting your devices, and allowing you to remain anonymous online.
Once you establish what you need the VPN for, it’ll be easier to choose the best one, or better yet, a safe one. You might also need a VPN for your entire family, or maybe for the small business, you run. Even when you’re traveling and want to keep track of all your TV shows or movies on Netflix, you’re going to need to choose the right VPN.
What device do you need it for?
Do you watch your movies on your laptop or your smartphone? Do you need a VPN to protect you from DDoS attacks on your PS4 while gaming? The best VPN can help protect multiple devices in one go, with one subscription. There are even some top providers like Surfshark or IPVanish that allow unlimited device connections. So, what device do you need your VPN for? Choose one that offers apps for the popular devices operating systems, or that also multi-device connections.
Good network coverage
VPN servers are an important factor to look into. This is especially important for people living in countries that impose harsh restrictions or control how the public uses the internet. There are even circumstances where countries monitor all user activities or prohibit them from accessing foreign content, regardless of you living there or are just visiting.
A VPN that offers an ample network of international servers is great! Choose one that either offers a large coverage or that offers servers that are located closest to you.
Encryption and advanced features
To amp-up online security, you will need to choose a VPN that offers heavy security features. Make sure that the provider you settle for offers military-grade AES encryption, and other advanced features like a Kill Switch, Split-Tunneling, DNS leak protection, and much more.
As mentioned above, there are many VPNs in the industry, and most of them claim to offer the best features, but you will never be sure if you don’t test the VPN. Speaking of, take a look at the next tip below.
Free trial and refund period
The only way you’re going to know what a VPN is like or how it performs, other than other user reviews, is by testing the VPN on your own. Choose a VPN that offers a free trial, even if it is for a limited time. It will give you a better idea of how the app performs in the long run and what the VPN is best for.
A VPN free trial usually lasts for 3-15 days. However, if you require a longer testing period, make sure the VPN you go with offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can use that to hack a free trial and test the VPN for longer. All you need to do is contact the support team and cancel your subscription or account before the trial period runs out.
Some VPN users or potential buyers are beginners, and for that, the VPN app you choose needs to be user-friendly, and easy to navigate through or install. There are many VPNs that come with a rather complex interface; making it tough for first-time VPN users to utilize. Look up other user reviews to get an idea of which provider is user-friendly.
There’s no rule that says a VPN is only good if it’s expensive. The price of a VPN always varies from provider to provider, but each has to be analyzed according to its overall performance. For instance, there are budgeted VPNs like Surfshark, NordVPN, or FastestVPN that offer the best security features, and expensive providers like ExpressVPN that offer the best speeds and security.
These providers are among some of the best at the moment, which is why they’re most sought after. However, always go through multiple options, and scan through the various discounts that each provider offers, versus what features they offer.
How to use a VPN
It is pretty easy to use a VPN and here is how you can get started:
- Subscribe to the best VPN service by choosing the most affordable package.
- Download and install the VPN app on your device.
- Launch the VPN and sign in to your account.
- Connect to the best server. For instance, if you live in China and want access to US Netflix, connect to a US server.
- That’s all!
If you’d like to check whether the VPN is working, take note of the virtual IP you’re connected to and go to ipleak.org on your browser. Check to see whether the IP on the page matches the one on your VPN. If it’s the same, then that means your VPN is working, and if not, the VPN is leaking your data.
Online security is necessary, especially with the increase in cybercrimes today. A VPN is one way to help increase your online protection by pairing it with your device security. Follow this guide and understand each point to help you choose the best provider. Either way, you will be testing the VPN before making any hasty investments.