How to pick the right VPN Provider: Figuring out security, privacy and reputation of vendors that don’t collect information on you and sell it to marketers.
Did you know that when you use a VPN, all the traffic leaving your computer or phone is routed through their server.
Sure it’s encrypted, but the server has the keys to decrypt it. They need to have, or else they wouldn’t be able to reroute your traffic to US Netflix, or that crypto exchange that’s blocked in your country.
Furthermore, unless you are paying for a dedicated IP address, this server is shared with all the providers other users who’ve connected to it.
Not the story of ultimate internet security that the ads promised, is it? Knowing all this, how can you be sure your VPN provider is trustworthy? Let’s talk about it.
Reputation is Everything
The truth is that unless you are an IT professional with access to a company’s source code, you won’t know for sure whether or not the VPN you’re using is safe.
That’s why you need to pay for a reputable service. If you use a dodgy provider or a free VPN you’re rolling the dice with your internet security.
Running a VPN service is expensive. Keeping the lights on and the fans spinning, isn’t charity. There’s a saying that if you’re not paying for anything it’s because you’re the product, and that’s never been more true than with a free VPN.
VPN services, particularly browser plugins, collect information about what you do online and sell it to advertisers.
Others aren’t as malevolent or harmful, and they just provide a very slow service, on a crowded server. Pushing you to upgrade. Maybe promising to remove the ads that are affecting your productivity and interrupting your shows.
What Security Does A VPN Provide?
A virtual private network (VPN) protects your data in various was.
The first is that the VPN client, which is simply a program you download to your computer, gathers all of your traffic and encrypts it.
Most of the time, the communication leaving your computer is already encrypted by HTTPs, and it’s very difficult for someone to intercept if they are listening in on your public Wi-Fi network.
However, if you’re sending data on HTTP, that’s all clear text for anyone to read. A VPN prevents that.
Most people know that a VPN hides the sites you are visiting from you ISP, but this benefit is twofold, as a VPN will also hide your IP address from the site that you are visiting. The services and sites you access won’t know who you are.
This is incredibly useful if you want to access geo-blocked content. If you connect to a VPN server in the US, you will appear as though you are located in the US, and so you’ll be able to access content that is only available to users located in the US.
If your country has blocked a site, connecting to a VPN server in another country will let you bypass those restrictions.
Similarly, if your ISP has throttled your internet connection because they don’t like what you’re doing online (perhaps streaming video or downloading large files) using a VPN will help get around that.
The last way that a VPN protects your data is by ensuring that all of the traffic passing through the VPN server is encrypted. Whether or not that encryption is good enough largely depends on the reputation of the VPN provider.
No Logs Policies Are Important?
A no-logs policy means that the VPN service has agreed not to keep a record (history) of your online activities. Personal preferences, attitudes toward privacy, and what you do on the internet all have a role. If a VPN is hacked, all of your logs may be exposed, which defeats the purpose of using one in the first place.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Naturally, the golden rule for subscribing to a reputable VPN is to select the most popular and trusted providers. A reputable VPN provider makes money off of its reputation and user base, it has no incentive to sell your data to advertisers.
Larger firms have more IT resources on standby, resulting in longer service guarantees. The IP addresses are also not shared with as many people, lowering the risk that they will be recognized by a third-party service like Netflix and preventing you from accessing the content. You’re frequently the product when using free VPNs; the service isn’t great, and servers aren’t in the countries they’re supposed to be.