Have you ever thought that every time you get online, someone may be invading your privacy? There are so many network snoopers that thrive using your personal data and learning your online behavior that you should consider choosing a VPN provider even before deciding on your ISP.
VPNInsights intention is not to scare you into choosing a VPN service. We just want to help you understand the risks you are exposed to every time you go online unprotected. People tend to forget that even Google, one of the online giants of our times, is constantly supervising us.This company makes a huge part of its profit from online ads. So, they need to learn online users’ behavior in order to display ads that are relevant to the user and may end up with a transaction. While the purpose is somehow honorable, the process is not and if you think about it, it’s downright creepy.
Now, another player that likes to keep social networks and online behavior under constant supervision is the government. Again, while the purpose is honorable (catching bad guys), the process is called invasion of privacy and should not be tolerated.
A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network, is a service designed to protect you, the online user from the prying eyes of advertisers and governmental institutions. Even better, you are also protected against hackers and other bad actors of the World Wide Web. VPN services provide a secure channel between your computer and the server you want to connect to, encrypting any transaction and hiding your activity from the ISP and others.
Other reasons for users to consider a VPN service are online censorship, privacy and protection while using public networks, and last but not least banned content based on geographic location. Regardless of the fact that you are an individual or a company, a VPN service will definitely be of service whenever you go online.
If you decided that your privacy matters and you want to select a VPN service, we put together a top 10 of features you should consider. Make sure your VPN service provider respects all these points and you will definitely enjoy an amazing solution!
5 BEST VPNS FOR 2016:
1 – Downloading Speed
Speed, especially now, is extremely important when you’re online. The download speed is important because it influences how fast your pages load, how fast the streaming will go, and so on. Almost everything a user does online is limited by the download speed. If you want to see a movie, or if you want to read a book or browse a site you are downloading information. So, if the VPN service is slow, your online activity will also be slow.
This can be extremely frustrating in a world where everything goes by with the speed of light. So, if you don’t want to wait an hour or two to stream a movie, make sure your VPN service uses at least speeds over 20 Mb/s.
The speed can be tested before your submit for a subscription by checking their server page. Most VPN services allow you to test the speed for each server so you can see for yourself. Make sure to take into consideration crowded periods like holidays when everyone is going to be online.
2 – Uploading Speed
The speed you have on upload is important as well. For example, if you want to send an email with a large attachment or you simply want to share a file in Google Drive with one of your colleagues, you will need a good upload speed for things to go smoothly.
If you’re a regular user and you don’t upload files that much, a regular upload speed of 15 Mb/s should be enough for your needs. Otherwise, you should consider VPN services that offer better upload speeds. A company for example, might need to think this through.
3 – Ping Time
If you’re not a technical person or a hardcore gamer then it’s very possible you don’t know what ping time is. This value represents the responsiveness of your connection. For example, when you introduce an address into your browser, how much it takes for the browser to start loading. It’s all about response time if you will.
Ping time is extremely important for activities that have to happen in real time like online gaming, for example. The lower the value of the ping time, the smoother the action is going to be and you will be able to enjoy a great experience. Otherwise, you will experience blockages and pretty long lag time.
4 – Encryption Protocols
To make sure your connection is secure VPN services use an encrypted tunnel when you establish a connection between your computer and the VPN server. To make this encryption powerful enough to withstand attacks and infiltrations, a VPN service will use several encryption protocols (also called security protocols).
The most reliable protocols used by most VPN services today are:
- L2TP/IPSec (Layer Two Tunneling Protocol) – keep in mind that L2TP by its own won’t do the job. This is why VPN services use it with IPSec, to make the encryption both strong and easy to implement. L2TP/IPSec is already installed in most modern OS and in all devices that are capable of supporting a VPN service. Still, keep in mind that it can struggle with restrictive firewalls.
- PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) – is extremely easy to implement and it is a VPN protocol only. It uses 128-bit encryption keys and relies on a series of authentication methods to provide security and protection. On the cons side, this protocol can be compromised easily by governmental agencies such as the NSA.
- OpenVPN – even though the technology is quite new, this protocol is very popular among VPN providers. The OpenVPN is seen as the most reliable protocol as it uses OpenSSL library, which supports a series of cryptographic algorithms like AES, Blowfish, or CAST-128. The protocol can be easily configured and offers a large series of options, which makes it one of the most secure protocols to use.
So, if you’re looking for an extra-secure connection, OpenVPN should be the protocol for you. Otherwise, the L2TP/IPSec and the PPTP should be enough.
5 – Servers Locations
It’s important to select a VPN service provider with a wide range of locations on their list. For example, if you want to access blocked content from USA and UK, you will need your provider to support both these locations.
Also, it’s important to be more than one server in the same location so you can avoid bottlenecks during crowded periods.
6 – Payment methods
Most VPN services support the classic payment methods: credit card or PayPal, but these are easy to trace and you lose the privacy you were hoping to get. If you want to be completely anonymous, you should consider a VPN provider that supports BitCoin payments. This is the only way you can remain anonymous and have the privacy you want.
7 – Customer Support
This aspect is just as important as the ones we discussed up until now. A VPN service that doesn’t offer customer support or doesn’t invest in professionals who know how to speak with a client should immediately be removed from the list.
Make sure to check the customer support team thoroughly, before submitting for a long period of time. Test their responsiveness, professionalism and manners to make sure you will receive the service you are paying for.
8 – Devices Compatibility
A reliable VPN service should offer clients/apps for both desktop and mobile devices. Even though if right now you don’t own a tablet or a TV Box, there’s a chance you will in the future, and you must be able to connect securely using all your devices.
9 – OS Compatibility
Most VPN services are compatible with the popular OS on the market for both desktop and mobile. Check the list of operating systems that are supported by your VPN service and make sure the solution can be easily implemented in any of them.
The most popular OS supported right now are: Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, Android, and iOS.
10 – Speed Test
As we already mentioned, speed is important and you shouldn’t start a relation with a VPN provider without running a speed test. Many VPN services can be tested first, using a trial period. This is the perfect time to run a real speed test and see if the provider is reliable and trustworthy.
After you run a VPN service through all these 10 steps, you will definitely know if the solution is a good fit for your needs. You should also consider the price, but only after you’ve tested the service and concluded it can help you and your privacy needs.
Anyways, the best way to select the right VPN service is to know your needs. If you’re more interested in streaming blocked online content, then speed is going to be of extreme importance for you. But, if you need the service to improve your privacy and make sure no one is spying on you, then you must first consider the security protocol.