Equifax, Facebook, and Exactis are some of the large organizations to have had their databases hacked with user information being leaked to the world. Even stores, like UnderArmour, aren’t immune to hacking. No one is immune, and it is estimated that nearly everyone who uses the Internet is at risk of being hacked at some point. Naturally, the severity of the attack can’t be determined in advance. Sound scary? It is.
If you care about your privacy and you want to exclude the risk of hackers or agencies tracking you, a VPN is your best option. Sadly, your protection is only as good as the VPN you choose. With many selections in prices ranging from free to seemingly ridiculous for the average user, here are a few things to consider when choosing a reliable VPN provider to protect yourself.
1. Log Policies
VPNs offer different levels of privacy. Some providers may be required by law to keep logs and turn them over to law enforcement if the logs are requested. Some countries have different log requirements than others. There are other providers that will keep logs for a brief time, then erase them after some days or weeks. Still, other VPNs don’t keep any kind of logs, and those are the ones you should go for.
Before signing on with your VPN, make sure to look at their log policy. You may even want to contact the company to clarify before purchasing the product.
2. Encryption Levels
The entire concept of privacy is that it will protect your information by using a private, secure server. This server is reached by using security protocols, encrypting information so much that third parties can’t access it. A reliable VPN will provide a secure tunnel by offering several different data transfer protocols, such as OpenVPN and PPTP, which will assure compatibility with commonly used platforms.
3. Multiple Servers
When a VPN offers more servers, your browsing experience will be faster and more reliable. A good VPN choice will feature several servers in different locations. This allows the network to have extra servers to use if any are slowed by traffic or technical issues. Go for a VPN that offers multiple nodes for good Internet speed over a secured line in several locations.
4. Server Coverage
The coverage of the VPN is even more important than the number of servers. To be exact, the coverage means where those servers are located, how spread around the planet they are. Ideally, you want a VPN that has a good amount of servers in countries that are close to you. That way, the speed loss will be minimal. If you’d be connecting to servers that are located far away, there would be a considerate amount of speed loss in your connection. Always looks at the VPN’s website, they usually have a page where they list all their server locations.
The saying “you get what you pay for” applies in the VPN market as well. This doesn’t mean that fairly-priced VPNs are a bad choice, but you should try to avoid the free ones. You don’t necessarily need to mortgage the house to pay for a VPN, but completely free versions may not offer the protection you need. Consider that, without an influx of money, free versions cannot update their sites, hire good programmers, or even support their own product. Look for a VPN that has a money back guarantee policy. Try the software to see if you’re happy with the service. If you’re not, then just ask for your money back and try another software.
6. Customer Support Services
You may never need to call customer support, but if you do, you want to know that you can speak to someone that can address whatever issue you have. If you can’t contact someone immediately, make sure the customer service department will contact you within 24 hours. Anything less is not acceptable. A reliable VPN will offer trained personnel who will be happy to help you however they can.
A dependable customer service department is a clear indication of quality services, and that the provider values its customers.
A VPN can be your main tool to maintain your privacy. But it’s important to keep in mind that there are very important details to consider when choosing a VPN provider. Time has to be spent searching for a VPN that has all the conditions to hide you without compromising your anonymity or connection speed. If you take to many shortcuts and select a low-quality VPN, not only you are wasting your money, but you will also be taking the risk of being exposed.