In our previous article, we have discussed the basics of VPN, and why is it necessary for every internet user out there. Today, we will talk about what types of VPNs there are, what to look for when choosing one and ultimately, how to choose the best VPN for you.
There are so many VPNs out there today, that you might feel overwhelmed with the choices. Most VPN service providers are quite helpful in responding to your inquiries and will offer as much support as they can.
If you’re new to the VPN world, do your research and learn the pros and cons of the most popular services. It will also help to learn the terminologies and popular features most providers offer.
General VPN protocols
There are four main protocols used to ensure users’ privacy. Let’s go over them one by one.
PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)
Great speed and low overhead, along with significant device support. The downsides are that it employs a lower encryption rate and has been known for dropped connections. The encryption, however, can be beneficial when using public wi-fi that is restrictive yet unsecured. It also utilizes a Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) tunnel and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).
SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol)
Highly secured and built with SSLv3 (Secure Sockets Layer v3) technology. Users can bypass secured firewalls through this because it has the ability to connect to TCP port 443. However, the downsides to this are that it is not available on Apple. It is also completely possible that the manufacturer has built the protocol with “back doors” that leaves users vulnerable.
L2TP/IPSec (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)
L2TP is used in combination with IPSec in most cases because it actually doesn’t provide significant security on its own. The combination usually creates a strong 256-bit encryption. This is the most secure protocol VPN providers can use, and is very easy to set up on any device. Still, you should keep in mind that recent news indicates that L2TP/IPSec connections might have been compromised or weakened by the government’s data collection/snooping attempts.
OpenVPN (SSLv3/TLSv1 protocols)
VPN providers utilize OpenVPN protocols for site-to-site or point-to-point connections. OpenSSL can also bypass a high-security firewall. Other advantages include quick connection speeds, hardware acceleration, stability, and device versatility. The protocol itself is highly adjustable, and can be configured to customized encryptions if the default 128-bit Blowfish is not enough. The setup is a bit trickier than the previously mentioned protocols, but service providers like PureVPN create their own custom software so that users won’t find it difficult at all. OpenVPN is possibly the fastest and the most secure protocol available.
It’s your responsibility to take action in the fight to preserve your online privacy, as there are many who would try and take advantage of the vast online world. The first thing you should do when choosing a VPN, however, is making sure its security credentials are up to par. You must understand exactly what you need in terms of your daily online activities and choose a VPN service that utilizes the best protocol for you. So, keep track of your web activities and usage details. Where do you access the internet? What do you access it for? How secure or fast do you need your connections to be? These are just some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself.
Does your VPN practice data logging?
You might be shocked to find out that the VPN you subscribed to in attempts to avoid data storage actually logs all your data for certain time periods. This might sound odd, but some VPNs do practice data logging for all their users. While you might not be concerned about it now, you may find yourself in some trouble if the government ever issues a warrant for these records.
There are plenty of VPN services that do not log data. Do the research and find one that will offer complete anonymity. Remember, choosing the best VPN for you may take time but it will pay off eventually when you obtain your peace of mind and privacy.
Free vs. premium
You can definitely find free VPNs online that will provide a quick fix for your security needs whenever you need. However, it’s not advisable for you to utilize these types of services on a regular basis. Most free VPNs remain that way through data logging for marketing reasons. If you constantly use free VPNs, you might find yourself being bombarded with targeted advertisements in the future.
VPN shopping list
When choosing the best VPN, you should keep the following in mind:
- Authenticity: you should be able to access your VPN account from any supported device.
- Bandwidth: unlimited bandwidth is preferred.
- Communication: read the VPN’s policies and ask any questions you need to before you make any payments.
- Confidentiality: check that it utilizes a good encryption such as 128-bit AES or 256-bit Blowfish.
- Continuity: make sure the VPN connects to a number of servers and IP Addresses throughout the world.
- Integrity: a good VPN can detect any surveillance or hacking attempts. It should also keep all your personal data and messages completely private.
- Routing: you should be able to choose the server/country you wish to connect to.
- Scalability: the VPN should offer cross-device support for easier access.
Establishing a VPN connection through your router
Some users install their VPNs right into their internet routers using open-source software. This would allow the user to connect every single device on the network to the secured VPN, including ones that aren’t able to connect to a VPN on their own. This includes Apple TV, Smart TVs, Gaming consoles, etc.
Keep in mind that your router will need to support DD-WRT firmware for the connection to work. Your VPN provider can offer great support and installation instructions for this, as well as offer some new router suggestions that are perfectly suited for the VPN.
If you have a large network at home, it might be wise to install the VPN directly into the router. This way, you don’t have to install the VPN several times on several different devices and you’ll be able to secure certain ones that wouldn’t be able to access VPN connections otherwise.
These days, you probably use your smartphone as much as you do your computer, maybe even more. Therefore, your best VPN should have a mobile application available that you can access for perfect scalability. Most of us access sensitive information through our smartphones, such as banking applications and e-mails, so it’s imperative that we have the right protection.
Get a VPN now
VPN providers will ensure that you achieve complete anonymity and security. As our society utilizes the internet more and more, higher security and privacy is necessary. Data can be easily compromised if accessed by the wrong people, and we understand that. VPN services aim to hide its users from prying eyes and ensure that their connections are routed through encrypted servers to do so. Choose the best VPN for your internet activities and you’re safe and private, right?
Unfortunately, it’s simply not enough to have a strong virus protection software installed on your computer anymore. With our broad range of electronic devices, it’s very easy for people with malicious intentions to access our information if the proper measures aren’t taken.
Using a VPN is the best way to ensure your online privacy. However, before you choose the one to subscribe to, make sure you do your research. Read up on the specifications, reviews, prices, features, etc. to obtain the one that fits your needs the best.
Do you already have a VPN to recommend? Post your suggestions in the comments section below! And for more information on internet privacy, check out our articles on how to protect yourself from identity theft and stop sites from tracking you. Stay safe!