A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a network that extends over many public networks connecting users “virtually” to a single network. This is done by utilizing a VPN client on the user’s machine and VPN server(s). This simple application helps a user in many different ways: bypassing access restrictions, protecting sensitive data from eavesdropping and maintaining anonymity. The market for VPN services is increasing with the increase in awareness of data privacy.
Choosing a VPN requires proper analysis of your own requirement and the VPN’s capability to offer it in a cost-efficient manner. You may like to skip the research and randomly choose any one of the large set of VPNs in the market, but the chances are very high that at a later point you will come to know that option Y was better while you choose option X.
There are around 800 VPNs in the market and new ones are coming frequently. All of these differ by each other in terms of pricing and specialty. Below are some tips for choosing a VPN:
- Decide Why you Need a VPN: What is the reason behind you thinking of using a VPN in the first place? Is it because you are concerned about your privacy on a public WiFi you have to use often or you want to access a website that is blocked in your country. For each of these needs, there is a VPN that can be most suitable as each VPN has its own primary use case. Some VPN services can be equally good at solving all the problems. You can find details on what a VPN service aims primarily in its description on its website.
- Supported Devices: This should be checked before buying the VPN. The VPN should be supported by all types of devices you plan to use it on. For example, if you are planning to use a VPN on your Windows PC and your iPhone then you should look for a service that is supported on both Windows and iOS. Although a significant number of VPN service are supported on almost all the platform you still need to make sure specifically for the service you select that it supports the platform you are planning to use in on.
- Ease of Setup and Use: The VPN should consume a little time for getting ready to use each time. It should also not contain a lot of mess, a simple interface that sets up everything with just a click/tap is something you should be looking for. In case you are okay with the sophistication and want better control of the service you may like to opt for services that target tech-savvy users.
- After Sale Support: The customer service provided by the VPN should be good enough to solve problems in the least time possible. This will save you from a lot of frustration in case any problem happens(version incompatibility, performance bugs, and crashes, etc.).
- Money Back Guarantee: Despite all your research and the provider’s claims, the VPN might not turn out to be useful for you after purchase, so it is very helpful if the organization offers either money back guarantee on purchase or a trial period prior to purchase.
- Ratings: The ratings provided by previous and current customers should be used to predict whether the service provider is good enough or not. All the parameters listed above can be tested by going through the reviews and the trouble of using a worthless von service and then switching to a new one is saved. Ratings will also help in determining whether the service is equally good on all the platforms or not.
Recommended Paid VPNs:
- Express VPN has a money-back guarantee and plans are available on monthly, half-yearly and yearly basis. It has good review base on all the major tech related sites(CNET, Techradar, etc). It is an “all-in-one” service, good on every parameter. But it has a downside of supporting only 3 simultaneous connections.
- Nord VPN is also a paid service with a strong review base. Its plans are cheaper than ExpressVPN. It mainly focuses on data security.
- IPVanish is suggested for people who are heavy users of the torrent. Its plans are more balanced in comparison to other VPNs. It offers 10 simultaneous connections, 7-day money back guarantee with a great 24×7 customer support facility.
- PureVPN is also a good choice with a decent number of servers and 30 days money back guarantee.
Recommended Free VPNs:
- Psiphon is a great VPN service that is free to use. The free version has a speed cap of 2Mbps but its still sufficient for daily tasks.
- Windscribe is a free VPN with a data cap of 10 GB per month. It focuses mainly on user privacy and does its job well.
- Hotspot Shield VPN client has a cap of 500 MB on its free version.
All of the free VPNs have premium subscription options that remove the caps and cost similar to other VPNs.