So, you’ve decided you should get a VPN service. Next step is to select the provider. But you can’t just stick to the first one you find if you want a reliable and suitable solution. It’s crucial to understand your needs and expectations before even starting looking for the VPN. To get this understanding, you should ask yourself a few questions that will help you realize what you need.
Do you need to protect the access to your home network only?
Then you need a VPN server that will run on the router or some other device (personal computer, for example. The best option, of course, is a VPN server running on the router. Some routers have a pre-installed VPN, so you don’t have to worry about setting up things. But if your device is not that upgraded, you can install and configure a VPN solution yourself. It is quite easy to execute. Also, every provider that offers protection on the router level will give you detailed instruction and guide you through the process if needed.
Do you use Wi-Fi networks in public places frequently?
Most Internet users don’t bother themselves with the data protection issues when using Wi-Fi in a cafe or an airport. But you will never know if you are safe. Hackers can get to user data through a router with an outdated firmware or a malicious code. So just surfing the Internet in your hotel room you are exposed to potential threats. Even the password doesn’t guarantee that the public network is secure.
For such situations, there is no need for some powerful VPN service that has a massive bandwidth. You only need to protect your casual actions like simple browsing or interacting with emails. So you will be fine with some basic VPN that you will use from time to time. There are plenty of free options, but you can also pick a paid one if you use public networks a lot.
Do you need to seem like you’re in another country?
If you need to shift your location to access certain websites or content that are not available in your region, you should look for a geo-shift feature choosing a VPN service. Check what countries does the provider have servers in, and if the software is compatible with the streaming services you use. Most VPNs won’t work with Netflix, for instance. It is true even for top providers, as, say, any PureVPN review will tell you this VPN service is not the best choice for Netflix fans. So take a careful look at these specific nuances when picking a provider. As if you need a VPN to watch your favorite show on Netflix and the VPN you have is not compatible with it, it will be pretty much useless.
Do you need to stay anonymous?
Maybe you want to keep your activities private. Or perhaps you want to get some free content using BitTorrent. For these needs, a simple basic VPN wouldn’t work. You need a provider that won’t log your activity and has a lot of customers. The larger its audience is, the more difficult it is to isolate one user from others.
Surely, changing your location with a VPN helps. It is not the perfect solution, but it works. Also, you should find out in which country the service is based. Most users are trying to avoid providers based in the US thinking that the government forces VPN services to log their clients’ activity and share it. But there is no such requirement.
Understanding your needs, you will know what kind of VPN you should pick. It is better to lay out a plan first, and only then search for a solution.