If you’re reading this post, chances are that you have already made your decision to invest in a VPN but are trying to sift through the myriad of options that exist in the market. While the sheer amount of competition means you will find some pretty amazing deals, it can also make it difficult to find one that fits your requirements exactly. Luckily for you, this post is here to soothe your decision woes and hopefully help you end up with a VPN perfect for your needs.

Understand Your Specific VPN Needs

With the ever-growing number of VPN providers on the market, understanding what you want to get from these tools should really be your first move. It appears evident at first glance, e.g., you want to encrypt your data or unblock certain geographic restrictions, but there is far more to it than these things. First, consider how and where you’ll use your VPN. Will it be for personal use on a laptop and smartphone? For accessing work remotely? Think about factors like simultaneous connections, available devices, and locations of servers. Interestingly, Philip DeFranco’s trusted VPN provider (NordVPN) has many of the features that one might like to see on a VPN platform, including a large number of servers located around the world, but more on that point later. With a little homework on your specific needs, finding one that meets your requirements becomes much less stressful since you can more easily cut through the tsunami of existing offers that aren’t right for you.

Read User Reviews And Ratings

When it comes to purchasing anything these days, buying without first checking verified reviews is akin to shopping blind. Only through the reviews of others can you hope to make an informed choice. Authentic user reviews provide valuable first-hand perspectives on factors like speed, reliability, customer service, and whether a VPN actually delivers on its privacy promises. Dozens or hundreds of reviews give a much clearer picture than a provider’s own website, which may be prone to hyperbole and twisting the truth slightly. 

Check For Server Locations And Speed

Now we’re getting really into the nitty gritty of what really matters. Evaluating server speeds and locations should be near the top of your checklist during your search. These factors are vital for ensuring fast speeds that match your internet connection and whether or not the VPN can do what you need it to do. Ideally, a VPN provider has server options covering major regions where users may travel or live. Global server presence ensures fast connections from anywhere. Those with only a few country selections may force slowdowns. Checking their server map also lets users garage options for bypassing geographic restrictions, which is typically what most people will use this tool for. It’s also wise to check compatible protocols, as newer, encrypted options like WireGuard may provide a noticeable boost. But supported protocols must balance privacy with speed for one’s needs.

Check What Features They Include

While you might think that all VPNs share similar attributes, you will be surprised at how varied the offerings can be, and beyond the basic functionality, additional tools can make sure services stand out. First and foremost, ensure the VPN you choose is compatible with your operating system. While most modern VPN providers consider all options, it’s still worthwhile double-checking. It’s also worth exploring features like kill switches that block internet access if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly. These features can prevent data leaks when a connection drops for whatever reason. 

Look For Strong Encryption Protocols

Top protocols to look for include OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec, which are widely supported across devices and reputed to be highly secure. Both offer automatic key rotation and strong encryption ciphers of AES-256. Newer, more optimized options like WireGuard are also gaining favor, providing fast connection speeds while maintaining privacy. It encrypts traffic and authenticates devices with cutting-edge cryptography. Lesser encryption methods, such as PPTP or L2TP/IPSec, are best avoided due to known vulnerabilities, and you should steer clear of any protocols that have been cracked or weakened over time. A VPN’s encryption is only as strong as its weakest link, so ensure all available protocols receive ongoing security updates and prioritize providers with a proven commitment to protecting users with current best practices.

Opt For Those That Have A No-Log Policy

Some VPNs still keep usage logs of connections, bandwidth, connection times, and IP addresses. This poses serious risks, as the provider or third parties could potentially access sensitive details about browsing history and internet habits. In contrast, a service with a verified no-logging policy has no records to hand over, protecting anonymity. Look for providers like those audited by independent firms to prove they do not store user activity or metadata logs. While marketing claims must be substantiated, selecting a provider transparent about its no-logging verification process and privacy priorities helps maximize security and anonymity. This allows enjoying online freedom without third-party oversight of one’s internet footprint.

Choosing a VPN may initially appear complicated, but if you take into account the considerations outlined in this article, you should ultimately find one that satisfies your needs. If in doubt, always opt for one that includes a no-log policy and uses the most secure encryption protocols. 

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Last Update: February 26, 2024