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How to choose a good VPN service provider

A VPN is an important service if you need to keep your anonymity as well as privacy while browsing the internet. However, you can easily find yourself in a crossroad, torn between various VPN service providers, not sure which one to choose. The first and most important step is to understand your needs and the specific requirements as to why you want to use a VPN service.

The service you ultimately choose should be able to offer you a strong set of features, a wide selection of servers and secure protocols to keep you protected. However, apart from these, there are still other aspects to consider before choosing a VPN service, and I will take you through them.

Company’s location servers

The location of a VPN service company is very important, as it helps you understand how the company manages the data that passes through its network. For example, companies based in the US are subject to various laws that concern the data they collect from their clients. This means that if a court order demands some particular information, they have no choice but to give it up. Another disadvantage for choosing these companies is that they are closely monitored by the NSA. Different countries have different rules regarding this issue, and it’s, therefore, crucial to examine the location of a company.

When considering the servers, you should do this in regards to the content you want to get. For example, if your main aim is to get information that is limited to US users, get a company that has servers there.

Logging

Logging is where a company keeps data of your internet usage, and this may greatly affect your privacy. If your main goal is to remain anonymous, get a network that keeps zero logs. This way, even if required by law to provide the data, they can’t provide what they don’t have.

Protocols

Protocols are what is used to enable data transfer as well as security.  Different protocols have different upsides as well as downsides. The most common protocol is SSL, but OpenVPN is viewed as the most secure. Look for a VPN that integrates a number of protocols, including OpenVPN, SSL, IPsec and PPTP.

Security

Though VPNs offer you security through anonymity, they don’t necessarily protect you from malware. Some VPNs offer you the complete package by including NAT firewalls as well as anti-malware scanners in their service. If worried about malware in the sites you visit, you should consider that.

You should also subject a VPN to security checks to see if there are any information leaks, as this can put you at risk.

Mobile apps

A good VPN service should be able to serve you whether you are on your computer or mobile phone. Before committing yourself, make sure that the company has a mobile phone application for your platform, whether iPhone or Android.

Value for money

Different companies offer different services for varied prices. Cheaper services often come with limited features and free ones can be a nightmare. Free VPN service are proven to be dangerous according to this recent study of Free VPN by Anonymster. In the long run, it’s better to pay some amount and get quality services and flexibility to access and enjoy any media you want, at high speeds. You may also consider discounts offered by the companies once in a while, especially if you subscribe for a long period of time.

Photograph by Unsplash

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