Finally, the moment came and the decision was made to buy a VPN. There is still a choice of the right service provider and you will be able to take full advantage of all the capabilities of the encrypted tunnel that connects us to the network. You should think about what we will need mainly VPN and how much we will use it. Based on this, it will be easier for us to decide what kind of service is best for us. In this guide we will try to dispel all doubts about the choice of VPN.
If you are reading this article and you do not know what VPN is, then take a look at our guide, which is exactly what VPN is . Here we will try to explain what you should consider when looking for a VPN for your needs and help answer the question which VPN should you choose .
Basic VPN applications
VPN is a service that is used by both individuals and companies. Although the reasons why people choose to use these services on a daily basis are different, we can distinguish some basic uses.
Bypassing regional blocks
One of the common reasons why ordinary Kowalski chooses to purchase VPN is entertainment, namely bypassing regional blocks imposed by content providers. Regional blocks are restrictions that are intended to prevent access to specific content for users who are not currently resident in the country to which the current offer is targeted. Different content providers have different policies and licensing restrictions for specific countries. If you want to see free VOD while abroad, you will see a message saying that content is only available in your country. We will find similar situation when we want to get access from BBC your country , watch Netflix or Hulu.
VPN allows you to connect to the Internet through a server located in another country . This allows us to bypass geographical locks, because all services on the network will be identified as users connecting to the country where the VPN server we are currently using. Some content providers try to block VPN connections by banning the IP addresses of specific servers, so there is never a 100% guarantee that a service will work in a particular case. However, there are usually no problems, and VPNs successfully bypass all locks.
If we are looking for a VPN service to circumvent regional blocks, we should mainly pay attention to the speed of service (we want to see HD content and better) and the availability of servers in the country we want to unlock in VOD.
VPN is also a tool for circumventing and circumventing internet censorship . In countries such as China, Iran, Turkey and Russia, where websites are blocked , residents must use VPNs to view the network without interruption. Censorship can take many forms, and is not limited to countries where governments are struggling with freedom of speech. This may also be the case for small, local networks whose owners limit the resources that their users can use. This is often the case in work, at colleges, hotels, dormitories or in public WiFi provided by different parties.
In most cases, a simple VPN is enough to unlock sites and circumvent censorship, unless we deal with Chinese Internet censorship , which not all VPN providers handle.
Increased security when using the network
Another reason for using VPNs when using the Internet is security. Because a VPN connection is based on an encrypted tunnel , data that is transmitted over the network is protected against eavesdropping and third-party access. In plain >
If we often use public WiFi, such as at airports, cafes, hotels or universities, we should think about securing VPNs. Otherwise, someone may know our correspondence, intercept the transmitted data or network activity.
The security provided by the VPN also includes privacy protection. In the age of universal digitization, more and more aspects of our lives are transmitted to the web, so our privacy becomes a commodity . Daily internet connection through VPN can greatly help us in protecting it.
VPN helps protect your privacy in two ways. The encryption mentioned above prevents the viewing and eavesdropping of our network activity. Internet providers, cybercriminals or services will not be able to monitor and analyze what sites we browse, what we are interested in the web, what we like and create based on our profiles.
VPN also protects from "second party". Because we are using a proxy server, identifying us as IP addresses is protected. Instead, we use the IP address that belongs to the VPN server we are currently connected to. We can freely change the IP address to free or foreign , without revealing the true place where we are and our network provider.
Currently, with most geographic locations, most network services are able to accurately determine the city in which we are located, and sometimes even in which building with only our IP address. This information is stored in logs of servers and internet services and can be used against us at the least expected moment. Unflattering statement about politics, negative comment on the company, release of material that reveals unfavorable information to influential groups - if someone wants to run against us legal machine (or worse), using our IP address in server logs will be able to come to our identity.
VPN does not provide 100% anonymity, but it allows you to protect your network privacy and improve security when using it.
If we use VPN, but leave behind a lot of traces in the network (we use the same nickname, we reveal our real name, photos and many, many others), it will still be able to identify us.
When choosing a VPN whose primary purpose is to protect our privacy, we need to look for a service that does not keep logs of the activity of its users .
Since we are discussing different VPN implementations, we also need to mention how this service is used by companies. Most large corporations and corporations use VPNs to secure communications and document circulation within the company. By connecting to a corporate VPN, employees can work not only at the company's premises, but also at home, at the client, or on a delegation. They will have access to all the files, documents and programs they normally use in the office. Users will be able to use the available resources as if they were connected to a local corporate network.
Self-configuring a VPN or buying a ready-made service?
With VPN we can start using two ways:
- Customizing the service on your dedicated server or VPS
- Buy a commercial service from a VPN provider
Each of these solutions has its pros and cons and its followers. Much depends on our needs, IT skills (self-configuring requires some knowledge) and future VPN applications.
We can configure ourselves by creating our own private VPN server . Just have a dedicated server or VPS. Most configurations are based on the OpenVPN protocol, which is the most popular solution.
Pros of your own VPN server:
- Full control over server configuration and settings
- The assurance that no one will eavesdrop on our movement and activity
- Full bandwidth is only for us
Cons of VPN server:
- Our person will be associated with the server and his IP address - after all we have bought the service, it is registered for us (unless we can anonymously purchase the server)
- As long as we use the server, it will be easy to monitor our behavior by watching traffic from that server - VPN encrypts only traffic between us and the VPN server.
- We will not be able to use multiple IP addresses and servers deployed throughout the world
- We must have technical knowledge to run and operate the VPN
- We need to keep an eye out for updates and server security
Purchase VPN from the service provider
The second solution is to buy a ready-made, commercial service from a VPN provider. The undoubted advantages of such a solution are:
VPN purchases from the vendor:
- fast service launch
- You do not have to have technical knowledge and know the configuration of servers and VPNs
- A great selection of VPN protocols that we can use
- Availability of multiple servers and IP addresses located in different parts of the world
- The ability to choose a provider offering a service that meets specific requirements (eg P2P )
- We use the phenomenon of increasing anonymity by disappearing into the crowd of users (more people using it - it is harder to identify the behavior and profile of a particular person whose traffic is coming from the server)
Consumables from the vendor:
- We need to trust the VPN provider that we do not actually log traffic and our activity if we want to increase our privacy on the network
- It can happen that with high server loads we will experience a drop in speed
- Not every provider who offers their services as the best, actually offers them a decent level
Proven VPN services
Below you will find the recommended and recommended VPN services. They are quite universal suppliers who will meet the expectations and requirements of a large number of users
from $ 3.29 per month
- Servers in more than 55 other countries
- use on 6 devices at the same time
- total lack of logs
- 30 day money back guarantee
- VPN server in your country
from $ 8.33 a month
- Servers in more than 95 other countries
- use on 3 devices simultaneously
- very good speed
- 30 day money back guarantee
- VPN server in your country
from $ 3.33 per month
- Servers in more than 25 other countries
- use on 5 devices at the same time
- total lack of logs
- 7 day money back guarantee
- No VPN server in your country
You can also use our VPN search to find VPNs that meet specific requirements.
What VPN parameters should we pay attention to?
Commercial VPN services that we find on many vendors' sites are characterized by different parameters, and very often at a glance they are not very different from each other. When deciding to buy a service, we have to think about what we will use most of the VPN and what we expect from it.
When looking at the services offered on the VPN market, it is worth noting that there are some common parameters that will allow you to get an idea of what a particular service is capable of. These include:
- The physical location of the company's location under which the service provider operates
- number of servers
- The number of countries in which a given VPN has servers that can be used
- the number of devices you can use
- no logs
- availability of dedicated applications
- the so-called. killswitch is an emergency switch built into the application provided by the supplier
- additional possibilities
- possibility to make an anonymous purchase
- Payment methods available and money back guarantee
From the physical location of the business depends the right that the supplier is subject to. Bodies and services in some countries (such as the NSA in the USA) may request access to data or create a backdoor in the software that will track users and violate their privacy.
The number of servers directly translates into the number of IP addresses that we can use to connect to the Internet. Increasing number of servers also means lower load on individual machines with high activity of service users. The more the better.
Similarly, a number of countries are here. Here we must pay attention to whether the VPN we are interested in offers servers in a particular country of interest. If you want to use services that are primarily available in the US, look for a VPN that connects to US-based servers. If we want to use free blocked services abroad - we are looking for VPNs with servers in your country.
The number of devices tells us how many devices we can use at once. The bigger, the more we connect with the service - phone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer - think about how many times we want to secure the Internet connection.
No logs - that is, whether the provider stores some data about our VPN usage or not. Most providers do not collect data about the visited pages and activity of their users using the VPN. On other issues - the transfer used and the connection time is different - some collect data, some do not. If we care about maximum privacy, then we should look for a service that does not collect any logs. On this issue, we need to trust the supplier that he does not actually do so.
The availability of dedicated applications is nothing more than information on what systems and devices the vendor has prepared applications for. There are three ways to connect to a VPN: by the application provided by the service provider, configuring VPN settings on the operating system (for some protocols only), and installing an independent client application. The first option is most convenient, because it allows for quick and easy change of servers and has their current list. Other options will require manual addition of server addresses and corresponding certificates.
Killswitch in the application is a very useful feature - it blocks network connection or disables specified applications when it detects that connection to VPN has been interrupted.
Additional capabilities include everything that is provided by the service operator and goes beyond standard features such as SOCKS5 proxy, Double VPN and Smart DNS.
Let's take a look at the available payment methods offered by the supplier, in most cases the standard is a credit card or PayPal, but some also offer a number of other methods, including payment gateways that offer money transfer or Bitcoin . The latter is directly related to the possibility of anonymous purchase of the service , where by paying with Bitcoin and assuming the account by email only (and even this is unnecessary time) we will keep our data secret. Most providers also offer a money back guarantee - we have 7 days or more (best providers offer 30 days for service testing and a possible refund).
The last thing that is quite important for most users is the price . The scatter in her case can be very large. The most cost-effective option is to buy a subscription for a year or two, as annual savings can reach up to 70% .
A separate discussion requires VPN protocols, which we can find in the description of each service. Typically, vendors offer the choice of several protocols that can be combined. It depends on the degree of security (the encryption algorithm used) as it will provide us with the service. We have described them in detail in our comparison of VPN protocols . We will only present them briefly.
PPTP Simple, and thus the fastest VPN protocol. It is not safe and its use is discouraged . It was broken, it does not have strong encryption. We should use it only as a last resort.
L2TP / IPSec Secure, fast and easy to set up. It is based on the combination of two L2TP and IPSec protocols, each of which is responsible for another. There are some suspicions that the IPSec protocol responsible for security could have been compromised by the US agency NSA. It is widely available on most operating systems.
IKEv2 A protocol developed jointly by Microsoft and Cisco. Safe, fast and stable. Often found on many operating systems. Is based on the previous IPSec, which may involve breaking it by the NSA.
SSTP protocol supported and developed by Microsoft. It is safe and available in the Windows family from Windows Vista SP 1 without the need for additional software. Unfortunately it works mainly in Windows environment and does not have open source code.
OpenVPN Based on open source protocol solutions, which is considered to be very secure and one of the most commonly used solutions. You can say that it is a standard protocol that we find in virtually every major VPN provider. OpenVPN is also the best solution if you want to set up your own VPN server yourself. If we care about the greatest security, we should choose OpenVPN.
SoftEther A relatively new open-source protocol, considered by some to be better than OpenVPN. Still not popular and available only to some VPN service providers.
When choosing VPN, let's take a look at what we will be using most of it. There are several universal services on the market that will satisfy the expectations of a large number of users. However, taking a moment to thoroughly analyze the offerings of several vendors will allow us to choose a service that will be both cost effective and meet our needs and expectations with respect to VPN.