As you probably know, when you use a Virtual Private Network, you are connected to the Internet through a VPN server. That’s why a server is one of the most important things in a VPN. It has an impact on your connection speed, visible country and even your new IP address.
Let’s have a look at some important things about VPN servers. You can use this knowledge to have a better understanding of how to select servers.
Is a VPN Good Because it has Many Servers?
No. Having a lot of servers doesn’t mean that a VPN is good. You should always prioritize quality over quantity. Many VPNs advertise themselves with the fact that they have many of them, thousands. That’s not necessarily a good thing. What matters is how fast and secure those servers are. Ideally, a VPN should have quantity and quality. It’s a bit of a rare thing, but there are a few of them out there.
Testing Servers of a VPN
The first thing to mention here is that each server is different. Make sure you test a considerate amount, to be more sure about the VPN’s speed. Don’t test a couple of servers and then decide that you have a slow VPN. You don’t have to test all of them, but keep in mind that servers vary a lot, and you can find all kinds of them, even in the same location. Once you find a good one, make sure you save it in your favorites, in order to establish a fast connection next time. Most VPN software allows you to do that.
How to Test Servers Before Getting the VPN?
The best way of checking the quality of the servers is by testing them. And if you are searching for a VPN, the only way to know is by getting it and testing the servers yourself. A free trial is not very common, but most VPNs have a money back guarantee policy. That’s a good way of trying and testing the software and the servers. If you are not satisfied, ask for your money back.
There are a few very important details about the location where the servers are based. The country you select can influence your speed and security.
Experienced VPN users, and even some providers, advise that you connect to a server located close to you, but in a different country. It’s quite simple, the proximity means that you won’t lose a lot of speed due to the distance. And the different country is because if an entity tries to track your activity, it would have to go through the jurisdiction of two countries. If you add the VPN encryption to that formula, it would make it a very difficult thing to do. It’s basically an extra layer of protection.
Number of Servers per Location
Even though this is not the most important thing, a VPN should have a good amount of servers per country. When many users connect to the same one, it becomes crowded and slow. That way, several servers in the same country is definitely an advantage. You will always have an alternative in case the one you are connected is too crowded.
Nowadays, most VPN software lets you know how busy each server is. They usually call it “server load” and they show you that with a percentage. And the lower that percentage is, the fewer users it has at that particular moment.
Another thing to have in mind is the coverage. In a perfect world, a VPN provider has servers spread all around the world. This is related to the proximity question that we mentioned before. If they are present in countries all over the world, then every user will find a server nearby, which allows a fast connection.
Some providers have many servers, but they not spread around the globe, being only based in one or two continents. That means that such VPNs are not great for every user. Only for the ones close to those same regions of the planet. That’s why you should always check out the server locations of a VPN provider before buying their software. Make sure you have quite some options in countries that are close to you, and not only in a different continent. Providers have this kind of information on their official websites.
Protocols per Server
Usually, a VPN has the option to change the protocol. And each server supports all the protocols available. But there are some VPN providers that do not allow that. Those have a system where one server supports one protocol only. In that case, you have to find a server that corresponds to the protocol you want to use. Fortunately, that does not happen with most VPN softwares.
New Tools Make it Easier
In the last couple of years, some VPNs added a new tool that makes it much easier to select a good server. Some call it “smart location”, or “automatic connection”. It’s a simple way to connect, especially for the ones who don’t want to do it manually. With this tool, you just select the country and the VPN software will choose the best server in that location at that time. It takes into consideration factors such as user load and download speed, and it connects you to the best one available.
One of the main uses of a Virtual Private Network is to download torrent files. Choosing a server for torrenting can make all the difference. That’s why many VPN providers optimize some of their servers for this kind of downloads. They were developed to have greater download speeds than regular servers. There are actually some VPNs that only allow BitTorrent traffic in some of their servers. Others do not allow it at all. If torrenting is what you want, you should pay attention and see what is your provider’s policy about this subject.
As you can see, there’s a lot to be said about VPN servers. The right choice can make a huge difference in your connection. With the tips we mentioned, you have the necessary information to make a good choice and have a fast and secure connection.