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Choosing a Right VPN Provider: How to Make Your First Choice the Right Choice

Choosing a Right VPN Provider
Written by Lisa Patrick

In this age of technology, many people have no choice when it comes to government passing legislation and sanctions restricting internet usage and internet traffic surveillance. What you do in the World Wide Web is being watched.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) was originally developed as a means for businesses worldwide to connect remotely and securely. Not long after that, hackers, oddly, began to use VPN to hack into private networks like government sites, to steal information. Then someone had the brilliant idea of offering VPN as a service to the private individual and the VPN business was born. There are hundreds of VPN service providers out there and choosing the right one take a little detective work. But first, you have to know what is Virtual Private Network.

Virtual Private Network, VPN for short, is a network of servers place throughout the world that encrypts your data and transfers it through a tunnel over the internet using an anonymous IP address, making your online identity and your data untraceable. Many countries have tried and are still trying to pass laws that collect and monitor internet traffic going in and out. VPN cloaks your activity. This all sounds splendid, but how do you choosing the right VPN provider and how safe is a free VPN service?

What to look for when choosing a right VPN provider

Choosing a VPN that fits you and your needs is a big decision. You can’t just Google “VPN Providers” and pick the first one on top. Well, you can, but it may not be the best choice. That site may have paid a king’s ransom just to be in the #1 spot. Here are a few tips to help you make that decision:

Where are they located?

Check the laws of the country where the servers are based. Know what, if any, retention and surveillance laws are imposed in that country.

Do they record traffic?

Look at their privacy policy. Read it carefully. Find out if they specifically say they do or don’t record and retain information about their account holders, and if they do what. If they retain detailed logs about their user’s information then, they are a ‘no-go’. If they do not specify this, send then an email and ask. If you get back no response within 24-48 hours, steer clear.

Do they have a “relocation” policy in place?

Retention and surveillance debates rage on throughout the worlds’ governments, and there may come a time when a country decides to change what is current. Ask the VPN provider if they have an escape clause or relocation clause where they are willing to relocate to another country if need be to stay in business and keep your information safe.

Cost

How much a VPN service charges depends largely on the size of the company. The more servers they have in more locations, the more money is takes for them to maintain those servers to provide you with top-notch service. Many VPN providers offer flat monthly fees, while others offer monthly fees and yearly packages. Some of the best providers offer both and will even throw in a free proxy server. Do your homework. Check them all out. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. You get what you pay for.

Speed

Lighting fast and secure connections don’t’ always go hand in hand. Look to see what type of connection the provider is using. Are they using dial-up, DSL, remote access or site-to-site connections? The type of connection also affects the speed of the VPN as well as how many users are logged into one server at any given time.

The location of the host server also determines the speed of the connections. The more hubs you have to connect through to get to that server, the slower the connection speed. Try to find VPN service in your country. Trying to connect from one country to another will significantly slow your speed.

Security

Finding a VPN provider that values your privacy is a task.  Many providers can and do log your traffic. Many of them say they only do this for customer service enhancement purposes. This can be problematic. Law enforcement agencies will have no problems seizing those logs if they feel the need.

Those logs retain your true IP address and the country of origin as well as your online activity. Be wary of any providers who retain traffic logs. Read their privacy policy. Look at their level of encryption. Look for VPN providers that offer complete anonymity.

In Summary

Take the time to research each VPN provider. Pick a few and do a comparison of each. Choosing a right VPN provider can be tedious, but the effort you put into the search will pay off in the end. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Happy hunting.

Featured Photo Copyright: Wikipedia

About the author

Lisa Patrick

Lisa Patrick is a freelance writer in the United States with a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Phoenix. Since 1984 she studied computers and computer technology. She has written for various companies for the better part of 20 years and enjoyed every word of it. She also enjoys reading and writing fiction and non-fiction, riding motorcycles, watching horror movies, making gemstone jewelry, singing, and dancing.

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