Choosing a VPN provider involves a lot of things that need to be considered.
Firstly, what is a VPN? A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, such as the Internet, by encrypting your data to remote secure servers. The VPN’s provider enables anyone to use the public Internet through a secure private network.
Businesses use VPNs to connect remote data centers. Individuals can use VPNs to get access to network resources when they’re not physically on the same LAN (local area network) or as a method for securing and encrypting their communications when they’re using an untrusted public network.
Privatoria has prepared a guide covering how to choose a VPN provider.
1. How many servers do they have and what countries do they cover?
We are sure you will agree with us that this factor is one of the main points. The number of countries means the VPN can give you more options and opportunities. For example, unblocking sites which are not available in your region, changing your IP address in one click and surfing from any country which is provided by that VPN service.
If accessing Geo-restricted content is important to you (e.g. watching Netflix from outside the US), then it is vital that the provider has servers in the country that the services are restricted to. Similarly, P2P downloaders should chose a country that is P2P friendly (Hong Kong, Panama, Sweden, Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland are all good choices).
2. Is filesharing / P2P / BitTorrent allowed?
Not all are, so if that’s what you want a VPN for, you’d better make sure the VPN in that country allows it. There are services which prohibit p2p traffic. For example, Privatoria allows p2p traffic based on your account limits. It doesn’t matter how you use it.
3. Number of simultaneous connections
In a world where we increasingly access the internet from our laptop, phone and tablet, not to mention wanting our family members to access the internet with the protection afforded by our VPN connection, it is becoming more and more important that there is more than one device that can be connected at once. So it’s important to know if you are able to connect your phone, tablet and PC at the same time.
4. Where are the VPN provider based?
Following Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, the issue of whether the United States is a good place for a VPN provider to be based in is a matter of heated debates. The UK, with it’s GHCQ spying organization, is as bad as the USA. You should look for countries which do not have mandatory data retention laws like Asian, African or East/Central-European countries.
For most internet users, it is very important that their web-browsing experience does not suffer. The path that data has to travel is often quite longer with a VPN, as opposed to a regular internet connection, due to the complex nature of such a secure approach. That’s when the connection speed becomes really important.
First off, do not pay more for huge bandwidths like 30 Mbps if you do not know for sure that your ISP can offer such speed for your regular Internet connection. It is also very important to know whether the VPN provider limits bandwidth for certain activities. For example, P2P file-sharing.
6. Data Encryption
This one is rather technical but very important. As of 2015, L2TP/Ipsec is considered an optimal encryption algorithm+data transfer protocol.
It can be easily configured on most platforms without additional software. Most providers use this method. Additionally, you will also be safe with:
Stay away form PPTP as it’s very insecure and compromised by the NSA.
7. Logs Policy
It’s no surprise that the Internet is full of tracking services. Any major IT company keeps some kind of their clients’ private data stored. The data can include browsing history, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc. Some VPN providers do logging; meaning they can keep your chat & browsing history, files that you upload to a cloud, etc.
Different companies have their own policies:
· Keep logs
· Don’t keep logs
· Keep logs temporarily
· Do not log at all
If you cannot find this info on the provider’s website, we strongly recommend that you consult their support before paying any subscription fees.
8. Installation process
This one may not be such a problem for everyone but is still worth considering. Software support / compatibility could be a problem for those running alternative OS’s like MacOS, Linux or BSD-based.
Therefore, make sure your provider does not require mandatory installation of third-party software, only MS-Windows-compatible software and that you can simply input gateways, IP’s and other stuff manually into your OS network settings (this is also true for mobile platforms). If you do not want to get your hands dirty, it might be a good idea to view their software’s interface and see if it’s compatible with your OS.
People who not only want to stay private on the web but also be private when paying for web-access may find this tip interesting. Primarily pay attention to the information that a VPN provider requires to register.
Using your e-mail, for example, already deteriorates your privacy as the provider knows your info and may give it away if they’re subjected to some data retention law. Also we do not recommend giving any other info away like your name, social security number or credit card number.
10. Payment Options
‘But how do I make my payment without giving them last 4 digits of my card?’ you may ask. Well, that’s also part of security. We recommend looking for a service which supports secure payment options like Bitcoin, Google Wallet, etc. which do not give your credit card info to payment recipients. That way your VPN provider does not know who’s paying for the service. Add no-email registration to this and what you get is a perfectly secure approach to buying things on-line which might as well be compared to paying in cash, while wearing a disguise.
It is definitely not that easy to choose a VPN provider with so many points to consider. However, it could get a lot easier if you judge for your specific use-case. For example, if you just want Netflix to work, you do not need fancy encryption algorithms or Bitcoin payments while torrent users or entrepreneurs who want to prevent secret data leaks might want to keep things a little more private and share less info.
Privatoria cares about users’ privacy and browsing experience.
· Connection encrypted with secure protocols at high speeds
· Pay for the service anonymously with Bitcoin without recurring payments
· New users can enjoy a free 24 hour trial period
We hope this article was helpful to you. Please share your thoughts in the comment section.
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