VPNs have become quite popular especially due to the increase in surveillance, data breaches, geo-restrictions, censorships, etc. Having a good VPN can, therefore, go a long way in keeping your online activities private and secure, as well as enhancing your daily life by offering you internet freedom.
However, there are hundreds of products in the market that you can choose from. This makes it hard to decide the right product for you, but there are some basic features everyone should look for.
Unfortunately, most of these features are only found in premium VPNs. And although there are some great and truly free VPN providers, most of them are still out there to make money and may not provide you with the best experience.
VPNs usually have an effect on your speeds due to the encryption involved and the increased distance that your data needs to travel. However, different VPNs result in different speed cuts, depending on various factors such as the quality of the servers, the number of users per server, the technology used, etc.
If you want to use your VPN with data-intensive tasks such as streaming, go for a VPN that offers superb speeds.
Privacy is one of the biggest reasons for using a VPN. If you are a privacy enthusiast, then you need to go for a VPN located outside the 14 eyes region, and that does not keep any connection or usage logs. You need to be careful here as some ‘No Log’ VPNs keep connection logs. These can be used to trace back to you easily.
Security is a key functionality of all VPNs as it ensures data in transit safe. It is therefore important to ensure the VPN you choose uses the standard AES 256-bit encryption. AES 128-bit encryption is however not bad for regular uses.
Apart from encryption, the biggest issue here is the security features that a VPN offers. The recommended features include:
Kill Switch – disables your internet when you accidentally lose your connection (important for tasks such as torrenting)
IPV6 & DNS Leak Protection – This one lies more in the privacy section, but it ensures that your connection details are not leaking accidentally.
4. Simple & Easy to Use Apps
The client apps provide the interface for setting up everything, and most VPNs try to keep them as simple as possible. Unless you are an advanced user, its recommend to ensure that the VPN you choose has client apps with a simple design, preferably one you can connect with just a single button. The apps also need to be updated regularly.
5. Extra Features
Different users have different needs, and so it’s essential to look for the specific features that you want in a VPN. For example, does it have servers near you? Does it work with Netflix? Does it have Smart DNS for streaming? Adblocker?
Different VPNs offer different functionalities, and so you need to know what you want as well as compare different products. Once you consider all these, you will be set on choosing the best VPN for your needs.