VPN Buying Guide– The growing need for VPN is because people are becoming more aware of data security and privacy mainly. The usage of internet in every field including e-commerce, education, medical, etc., results in the need for securing their transactions arise. Though we have a lot of VPN providers around the globe, features that each one of them offers are entirely different. It is only based on a customer’s need; one can decide which VPN would suit the person. We have simplified the entire process of how to choose among the different players in the market and are presented as a VPN buying guide.
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Factors to Consider before buying a VPN
Before we choose a VPN, we should first understand and ask ourselves that why do we need a VPN? Mostly, people need it for evading geo-restrictions, to enjoy BitTorrents, to support anonymity, etc. Though almost all VPNs provide such features, the level of priority they give to each feature makes them higher or lower on our preferred list of VPNs. We cannot only blame a VPN for not offering certain features. Instead, the same provider might excel in providing other features. So, the VPN which is of little use to one person might be of great use to other individuals. Therefore, before you look for a VPN just make a list of your preferred features.
Log Keeping Policy
When we choose an anonymous VPN, then it is better to go for the provider who keeps no records. Sometimes, VPN providers say they keep logs for a minimum period and that too to ensure the user’s safety. Record kept is accounted as kept irrespective of the number of days it is maintained on their servers. The greatest problem here is that these logs are maintained by third parties in most cases and hence the chances of our information getting leaked are high. Therefore, if anonymity is our primary concern, then VPNs with no logging policy are the right choices.
VPNs can either offer complete privacy to its users, or they might lack few features in offering such a plan. The privacy offered from the first step of registration till maintaining the account details is appreciated. Here is the list of privacy measures possible at each stage of the VPN usage.
- In the registration process, individual VPNs even accept dummy, disposable e-mails. So, with this information, a VPN provider cannot trace a user. It helps in assuring anonymity along with privacy because there is no enough information to log or store. So, the chances of getting it leaked are not at all possible.
- During the payment process, most of the VPNs support the anonymous payment methods such as Bitcoins etc. and they are helping the users to provide fewer details possible. Again with which we are secure as our information does not go to third parties or hackers.
- Even when we use the payment methods other than the anonymous ones, the VPN provider should at least trashes the billing details to ensure privacy.
As a general rule, the lesser the information it asks, the more the secure it is. Hence, this VPN buying guide recommends choosing the one that collects fewer details from us. Know detailed information in our comprehensive and ultimate privacy guide.
P2P Allowed or Not?
Certain persons opt for VPN for that faster download and upload with P2P Torrents. But few others do not require such facility, and they look for top-notch security and anonymity alone. The most important point we need to discuss here is the location of servers of a VPN. We might have chosen a VPN that is based on a country that allows P2P torrents and no data logs. But when we opt for a P2P service in a country where it is not permitted then our entire goal of getting a VPN is not achieved here. Therefore, look for a Torrent VPN that has servers in many locations or at least in the areas where we need the service. Also, in the case of such data retention or data blocking troubles, the VPN should be able to connect from a nearer country server.
VPNs with servers covering every nook and corner of the world are appreciable, but it is not required for most users. Few persons wish to unblock the geo-restricted websites (e.g., BBC iPlayer) from the U.K. and a few from other countries. If their requests are all about a single or specific countries, then it is better to go for a VPN that excel in services in those countries. If a person requires access to virtually all countries’ web pages, then getting a VPN with more server locations is an intelligent choice. Here is the list of general rules framed from the above discussion.
- Unblocking geo-restrictions of a country with a VPN requires a VPN server in that country.
- To get access to contents of so many countries, we can go for a VPN that has servers located in as many countries possible.
- VPNs that operate far away from our places mostly provide slower internet connections and therefore it is better to choose a VPN that is nearer to our country or inside the country.
Price is a major factor that aids in choosing a VPN, but at times, this is not a major issue as most VPNs provide service for less than $10 per month. People who look for features such as anonymity, privacy, and security all at one place would bother less about the price. Also, here is the additional information on money as a primary concern.
Look for VPN with free trials, if money matters to you. Once we are completely satisfied with the provider, then it is advisable to purchase it.
Certain VPNs offer us a money-back guarantee for a specified period, might be 3-days, 7-days, and 14-days. We should note that if we wish to claim our money or quit their VPN services, then we should raise a request to them within that specified time limit.
VPNs offer good discounts when subscribed for longer terms. But it better to check its performance before going for such subscriptions.
Convenience of Setup, Use & Support for your Device
Availability of the Client software:
When the VPN has its Client software, it’s much appreciable. Otherwise, we need to use the open source OpenVPN client that requires an extra effort for the configuration process.
Advanced setting options:
Certain VPN clients have so many added features that can be enabled in a single click. Some of them are Internet Kill Switch, Auto-reconnect, Server switch, Show server load, etc. These options are easy to use and offer excellent deployment facilities.
Setup guides and manuals:
Though most VPNs mention it supports all devices and platforms, we would not find enough instruction guides to carry out the installation process. Therefore, rely on a VPN that has good manuals for as many operating systems and as many devices possible.
This is the most expected support from a VPN provider as the responses are always quicker. Some VPNs have 24×7 support and others have defined time limits.
This is a more conventional method where the user has to raise a ticket for an issue and the VPN provider resolves them in the order in which it has originated.
Generally, the VPN providers display an e-mail address in their Contact us section. We can send your queries to the corresponding e-mail address, and they would send us a reply within a day or two days.
Telephone Support and Remote help:
There are VPN providers who assist their customers via phone and they can even take over the control of their VPN client installed on the client’s computer. The phone support is a kind of foreign assistance they offer and is helpful when there is a technical issue.
VPN Protocols & Encryption
The widely used VPN protocols are SSTP, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and OpenVPN. PPTP is outdated and cannot offer a reliable connection in the present scenario. When we consider the encryptions, the higher the encryption bits we use, the slower the connections would be. Therefore, it is enough we use a 128-bit encryption along with a 256-bit key for most of the purposes.
Secure Socket Tunnelling Protocol (SSTP):
For Windows users, SSTP would be an excellent choice, but others should choose another protocol such as the OpenVPN.
Layer-two Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP/IPSec):
It is the best suited for mobile devices as they can be easily implemented on a variety of such devices.
It is the most useful protocol for the desktop users than the other VPN protocols, and it offers faster connections.
The above factors would help you to get a good VPN based on your needs. A VPN buying guide cannot be complete if it does not provide reviews of top picked individual VPNs. We have already simplified the job and check our VPN reviews for a better idea. The list has been made after an exhaustive analysis, and they are presented in order of their enchanting features and services.