Choosing a VPN is not a decision to be taken lightly. And with so many options to choose from, it can be an overwhelming decision. People’s knowledge and technical capabilities vary greatly, so the best VPN is different for every person.
Before you choose a VPN ask yourself these questions!
What Will You Use a VPN For?
This is probably the most important question to answer when selecting a VPN provider.
- Accessing Your Company’s Intranet: If you are working remotely or are traveling, but still need to access your company’s server, a VPN can help you do that. A VPN allows a company to limit access to their servers, while still allowing remote access.
- Accessing Location Specific (Or Location Restricted) Content: Some streaming websites, like Netflix and Hulu, restrict access to streaming content to certain geographic locations.
- Bypassing Internet Censorship: VPN use is quite common in countries with widespread censorship. Even though in many of these countries VPN use is illegal, use of VPNs is still common. A less serious, but still handy use of VPNs is to bypass school or work content filters. For example, if your school has blocked Facebook or YouTube, a VPN can get you around the content blocking.
- Additional Privacy Protection: VPNs work by redirecting your internet connection through different networks in different locations. It’s this feature that makes VPNs especially useful for using the internet anonymously (or at least more anonymously).
- VPN Use For Torrenting: Another fairly common use of VPNs is for keeping yourself anonymous when downloading torrents and other P2P files. Because downloading copyrighted files for free is illegal in many countries, people use VPNs to eliminate some risk of them being tracked.
Does The VPN Fit Your Needs?
Once you’ve determined what you’re using the VPN for, make sure the one you choose offers the functionality you need.
If you plan to use a VPN to access streaming content, you should verify that the particular VPN has servers in the country you need.
If you are using a VPN for extra privacy while torrenting, you should make sure that the VPN you choose doesn’t keep store or log your network activity.
Which VPNs are Compatible With Your Device?
Most VPNs support Windows and Mac computers. But if you also want to use a VPN on your mobile device, it’s a good idea to check that the provider of your choice offers support for iOS and Android devices. Most popular VPNs, support both desktop and mobile usage.
NordVPN ($3.99/month) is available on macOS, iOS, Windows and Android operating systems.
What Level of Privacy Do You Need?
Choose a VPN That Doesn’t Store Traffic Logs
A VPN that stores information about its users eliminates much of the core purpose of a VPN. By logging information like your IP address and the websites you visit, a VPN could actually open you up to more issues than it protects you from.
How Much Should You Pay for A VPN?
VPNs range in price from about $1 per month up to $15 per month. The price depends on many factors. If you pay for a full year up front, rather than month-to-month, you will get a better deal. There are many reliable and secure VPNs available for less than $5 per month.
Does The VPN Offer Flexible Payment Options?
If you are trying out a VPN for the first time, they usually have offers for one free month and often have sales going on. If you don’t want to commit to a full year, you should just try the VPN for a month and see how it works for you.
Avoid Free VPNs If Possible
Free VPNs work like Facebook. The reason it’s free is because you basically pay with your personal information and use data. Generally paid VPN services are more reliable and trusted than free ones.
Read More: Free vs. Paid VPN
Choose a User-Friendly VPN
VPNs shouldn’t require complicated setup processes. If you aren’t especially technical there are still plenty of choices that make the setup process very easy.
Most VPN installations are as simple as installing a program on your computer. However, if you need a VPN for a more specific use, it may require extra steps.
Recommended VPN Services
Disclosure: Some of the links included are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.