The internet has become a part of our daily lives. So much so that we’re mostly online all day, even if we’re not actively browsing the internet or using social medial. In the process of becoming closer together as a civilisation, it became apparent that privacy is slowly but surely becoming a commodity.
One way to retain some privacy online is to use a VPN service. Here are 6 things you need to know about VPNs before you get one.
Is It Really Private?
The whole idea behind VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, is to provide the user with privacy online. However, not all VPNs actually offer this critical service. Most free VPNs track your data in one way or another. The whole ‘if a service is free, you’re the product’ adage applies to free VPNs more than we’d like to admit.
That being said, there are paid VPN services that won’t fully protect your data. Some VPN providers will track your activities and keep logs of what you’ve visited and how often. Before you select a VPN, make sure that your provider of choice is actually giving you anonymity online.
Levels of Protection
The way VPNs work is by encrypting your communication using various protocols. Different protocols offer different levels of protection. For example, PPTP, or Point-to-Point Tunneling protocol used to be incredibly popular back in the day. It’s one of the oldest protocols in use. However, it’s also the least secure protocol you can get.
Many cybersecurity experts note that using PPTP offers little to no protection against state actors. There have been instances of three-letter agencies decrypting PPTP data packets with relative ease.
So, what protocol should you be using? OpenVPN comes to mind. You can learn more about the basics of VPNs by visiting this site to learn more. There is some complexity to this subject, but understanding how VPN protection works will be the difference between privacy and no privacy online.
Browsing the internet through a VPN means that your traffic isn’t direct. In other words, your packets of data aren’t going straight from your computer, to the destination computer. Instead, they are being routed through all kinds of nodes that are a part of the virtual private network you’re using.
As it turns out, not all VPNs are the same in terms of how fast your packets of data travel through their network. There are VPN services that will bog down your ability to browse the internet, stream media or play games. For some, this is perfectly acceptable, but power users will definitely feel the drop in speed.
If you’re into competitive multiplayer games, running a VPN can increase your ping quite substantially. In fact, trying to play a competitive multiplayer game through some VPNs is straight torture. Make sure to find a VPN that offers decent speeds.
Check for Device Compatibility
Even though compatibility issues shouldn’t exist in this day and age, there are VPN services that won’t be compatible with certain operating systems, platforms, and devices. In most cases, compatibility issues arise when you try to find a VPN for your mobile devices. Some services that offer desktop support may not offer mobile support.
Because of that, you must find a VPN service that will work properly on all of your platforms.
User Friendly or Advanced Interface
VPNs also cater to different types of users. If you’re just a regular person who understands the basics of modern operating systems well enough to use different devices, you’ll probably appreciate a more user-friendly VPN interface.
However, if you’re a system admin with good knowledge of networks, your user needs will most likely require more than just simple commands. Find a VPN that matches your user needs.
Find the Right Payment Plan
Most VPNs are available through payment plans. You’ll find all kinds of subscription options, features, and tools being offered by different providers. The idea is to find a plan that meets your needs and is matching your budget. There’s no need to overpay for advanced features if you only plan on using the basic VPN functions.
Fortunately, most VPN services offer an extensive list of plans, so your chances of finding something that works for you are fairly high.
When you become a VPN user, you’re entrusting that service provider with protecting your privacy. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to find a secure provider, doesn’t track your activities, and offers the kind of privacy protection you require. Do your homework before you choose a provider.