The demand for VPN services has wildly increased with all the hype over internet privacy and the exponential growth of geo-restrictions, internet surveillance and “data retention” laws. Accordingly, a roaring sea of VPN services in the market today with so many options makes it very difficult for privacy-minded consumers to choose the best VPN service that comes with good options and won’t also hurt their wallets.
It’s extremely important to understand what exactly you need a VPN for, whether these requirements, include: business and financial transactions, travelling, school work, unblocking geo-restricted content, anonymity, online shopping, security over public networks or all of these reasons. Narrowing your needs is the first step towards successfully buying the best VPN service for you. However, there are several other important factors you must consider carefully before deciding to buy a VPN. In this article we will explain how you can easily spot the best VPN service provider for your needs.
How to Choose the Best VPN
Generally speaking, the best VPN service should be packed with a solid set of features, security protocols, money value, and so on. But what else should you look for when you’re shopping for a VPN service provider? Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you go for a VPN hunt.
1. Location and Servers
In order to choose the best VPN service for you, you should first find out where that company is located, how many servers they have and in which countries these servers are. In this way, you will understand how well that VPN provider manages their data traffic and if it suits your needs. For example, the larger the number of servers your VPN provider has, the faster your internet connection will be and the more options they offer. Moreover, if you’re looking for the best VPN service to unblock geo-restricted web content and blocked services in your country, with a vast global network of servers you can gain access to more blocked websites. For instance, if you want a VPN service to unblock websites in USA, such as: Netflix, Hulu or HBO Now, you should choose a VPN service that has US servers to unblock websites as such.
On the other hand, if you’re more interested in privacy and things such as: internet surveillance and government monitoring are some of your concerns, then it’s better to know where your VPN provider is incorporated. The reason is that VPN services are subjected to the laws of the countries they’re based in. For example, a VPN service based in the US is bound by USA privacy laws. In any way, we strongly recommend that you keep away from VPN services that are located in countries with mandatory data retention laws, such as: Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand.
More about data retention laws against VPNs, here.
2. Security Protocols
Another important factor you should bear in mind when purchasing the best VPN service for you are encryption protocols your VPN provider offers. This is hugely important especially with the global crack down on VPN services by governments. You should look for the best security and encryption protocols that will guarantee you protection online and ability to bypass any filtering system in any country, including DPI-operated filters like the Great Firewall of China, because an encryption protocol used by any VPN service is a measure of how well you will be secured over the internet. It’s no longer wise to choose VPNs offering plain and insecure protocols, like: PPTP and L2TP. PPTP (Point to Point Tunnelling Protocol) is known to be not only old, but very insecure and quite pointless in 2015 as it is compromised by the NSA.
In case you haven’t been following, a lot of governments, like: Australia, Canada, China, Iran and others have enhanced their filtering systems and started taking down VPN services. Filtering systems, such as: Data Packet Inspection (DPI) have the ability to detect a VPN service and block it. Therefore, you need to be using a VPN service that’s able to bypass the toughest filtering systems without being detected. We have found that the best encryption protocol in 2015 is OpenVPN.
OpenVPN operates by using open source technologies. “It has a lot of options for configuration and is quite secure. It’s biggest advantage is that any traffic coming through it should look identical to standard web traffic and be extremely difficult to block, even if someone is hunting for VPN traffic.” Furthermore, it can be tunnelled over other encryption protocols, like: SSL or SSH to provide maximum encryption and security online. Tunnelling OpenVPN over SSH or SSL can be frustrating as it require a long, complicated setup. However, the ONLY VPN services that allows OpenVPN over SSH tunnelling without root and in just one click is: WASEL Pro and iWASEL VPN. These two VPN services stand out by offering a variety of staggering and up-to-date features at cheap prices.
Another factor for privacy-minded consumers is logging policies. When choosing the best VPN service, it’s crucial to select a VPN that doesn’t keep traffic logs. Although the point of using a VPN is to be protected and secured on the internet as well as surfing the web in complete privacy, there are VPN providers like HideMyAss that keep logs of your online activity which will unquestionably compromise your online safety and makes you vulnerable to cyber threats and government surveillance. Accordingly, you must select a VPN service that is reliable and has a no logging policy.
Your best VPN service should be compatible with all operating systems and devices, including: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, PCs, Laptops, smartphones, iPads and tablets. This is largely because you shouldn’t be limited to using your VPN only on your PC for instance and be unable to use it when you’re travelling or using public networks outdoors, like Wifi hotspots. The whole idea of having a VPN is to be able to use it anywhere and at any time. Therefore, before choosing a VPN service, make sure it is compatible with your OS and hand devices.
Last but not least, you must remember that you aren’t getting this for free. The trick is to choose the best VPN that will provide you with great features at a reasonable price. There are hundreds of VPN services that come at a failry cheap price, but they fail at providing their users with necessary features, such as: privacy, anonymity and unrestricted access to content. On the opposite, there are high quality VPN service providers that come at an equally high price. However, if you search thoroughly and weigh the scales, you will eventually find VPN services that provide both top-notch services and value for money. Here are some VPN services that we have evaluated over the course of 3 months each and found them to be both affordable and provide excellent service.