How to Choose a Good VPN for Online Privacy
Last Updated: February 3, 2021
Your online privacy is a direct measure of how anonymous you are while you surf the internet. It is very important to stay private online for various reasons. These days, hackers are all over the internet looking to prey. Without a secure and private connection, it is quite inevitable that you fall victim. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) sometimes use your data to profit themselves. It is really easy for them to do that because they have a record of all that you do online. Also, you get bugged with ads, trackers and malware because these cyber crooks can see you. With a secure connection, you’ll have an online experience free of all those issues.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to the rescue! A VPN makes your IP address secure and absolutely private. Different VPN services offer various forms of encryption and privacy features that provide an ultimate and lasting solution to your privacy issues. This review was made to have your back in choosing a good VPN for online privacy.
Privacy Features to Look Out for in a VPN
There are over hundreds of VPNs on the market now. Selecting one that stands out amongst all these can be very tasking. The list below highlights the most important features to look for in a VPN to have a private, secure, and stress-free cyber experience.
- Encryption — More than any other thing, the kind of encryption a VPN uses determines how secure the VPN is. The best encryption to look out for is the military-grade AES-256 encryption. It is the most secure out there and a good number of these VPNs use it.
- Logging policy — A VPN that keeps log of your data is a NO-NO. You definitely want to be using a VPN that keeps zero-logs. This way, the VPN service doesn’t have any data that can be used to identify you, so no other party can access your data.
- Kill switch — This feature automatically cuts off your internet connection if by any means the VPN connection drops to prevent any lapse. Hence, you should not choose a VPN that doesn’t have a kill switch feature.
- Special security feature — Some VPNs come with special features that offer an improved security and privacy status. Examples of special features a VPN could offer are the DoubleVPN and CleanWeb features. In their own ways, these features play a significant role in protecting your privacy.
- Server speed — As much as we are looking for the best privacy VPNs, speed is also very important. Slow connections and buffering are frustrating. There’s no use having the most secure VPN when the server speed is poor. Good speed complements privacy and security features.
- Device compatibility — Even though most VPNs support all main operating systems, there are some that support only a selected few. So if you have a Windows PC, an Android phone and a router, you want to pick a VPN that supports all 3. This ensures that you have an all-round protection on all your devices. It’s also important to get a VPN that supports multiple connections at the same time and is easy to use.
- Guarantee policy — It’s smart to opt for VPNs with a money-back guarantee. That secures your money in case you don’t eventually fancy their service.
Why Do Some VPNs Offer Subpar Services?
Premium VPNs can be trusted with all certainty to deliver the most secure and anonymous web experience. You pay for quality. “Completely-free” VPNs are the ones that come with a catch. They offer slow speed, weak encryption, limited bandwidth and some of them even keep your data logs.
Some VPN brands don’t have the adequate financial capacity to upgrade their services at the moment. But more often than not, they’re playing on your intelligence. Those inferior services offered by the free VPNs as their way of making you pay. The “free” tag is just used to entice you and if it works, you’ll pay in kind. For instance, a VPN that keeps logs can trade your data to hackers or even the government — compromising your safety and putting you in trouble. When they offer these subpar services, they offer you less, compromise your privacy and still make money off it.
Red Flags to Avoid When Choosing a VPN
There are a couple of things that should put you off a VPN service when you review it. These red flags are the direct opposite of what a good VPN represents (as discussed earlier in this article). A few of the red flags are highlighted as follows:
- Weak encryption
- Silence on no-logs policy
- Absence of kill switch
- Absence IP and DNS leak protection
- Completely-free VPN
- Slow server speed
- Server connection dropping constantly
The pro side of these features have been reviewed earlier in this article. When the most important privacy features are missing from a VPN service, it’s really not a good VPN to consider, talk more, use.
Are VPNs Legal?
There’s no absolute answer to that question because the answer is always relative to the country you’re in. For the most part, VPNs are legal. In certain countries like China, Russia, Iran, Iraq and UAE, the services of Virtual Private Networks have been banned. The government justifies the restriction on VPN as a measure to curb criminal and terrorist activities.
Also, in countries where VPNs are legalized, using a VPN for criminal reasons has no justification. But in these countries — US, Germany, Netherlands amongst many others, you’re allowed to use a VPN for privacy and security reasons. Just do your thing, use a good VPN to protect yourself from cyber crooks in a country where it’s allowed and you’ll have no troubles.
In the end, it’s your privacy that matters. A good VPN delivers that. It defeats the main purpose if a VPN can’t give you a private cyber experience. Keep it in mind that nothing good comes completely free; you should pay for the quality services you get. You’ll now have no problem choosing from the best; as this piece has made choosing a good VPN a piece of cake.