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Our best advice for navigating the world of VPNs

A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. VPNs are used for an array of activities. These include: surpassing bandwidth throttling, saving money when shopping online, surfing the web privately/encrypting information, and bypassing Internet restrictions. VPNs may include a number of security measures, such as split tunneling. However, this is not guaranteed. This article will provide advice for navigating the world of VPNs, which is an ever growing market. To commence, we will provide some elements to consider before you use or buy a VPN.

10 elements to consider before using a VPN

  1. VPNs are commonly adopted with the thought of privacy in mind. To ensure that privacy is what you will genuinely be receiving, it is recommended that you check the privacy policy of your chosen vendor. Many VPN providers will state that they do not log the activity of their clientele. However, the majority of VPN providers make at least a connection log to provide their services. Some VPNs may also log other details and monitor your browsing history. If this is a point of worry for you, then it can be avoided by selecting a provider who does not do this.
  2. Linked to the above, the privacy policy of a VPN provider may be impacted by the laws of the country they operate from. This can mean that they may be required to store certain pieces of information, and potentially give them to local authorities. If no laws are imposed upon limiting what data may be shared or collected, you may want to select a different service provider to ensure your safety.
  3. Free VPN services need to find a means of generating revenue. This can occur through applying limitations on data usage unless you upgrade your package to a fee paying service. Free VPNs may also have other limitations. Additionally, they may use full screen advertisements or frequent adverts in order to make a profit.
  4. The more server options available, the less secure the VPN is. This is because VPN’s rent servers from across the globe. This in turn diminishes the control they can exert over the servers, meaning their connections are less secure.
  5. Not every VPN review is trustworthy. Some companies may pay for certain reviews, meaning that the review at hand is not independent. It is advised to do thorough research before selecting a VPN and to choose well known companies.
  6. Lastly, a common tip is to select a vendor with experience in cyber security. If the background of your provider does not indicate experience in the field of privacy, then you may want to rethink your options.

VPN limitations

  1. Some countries have rendered the use of a VPN illegal. These include: Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Iraq. Other countries restrict the use of VPNs, such as: China, the UAE, India, and Russia. This means that if you are caught using a VPN in certain parts of the world there will be consequences. For example, those using a VPN without Governmental approval in China will receive a fine of fifteen thousand Yuan.
  2. VPNs cannot 100% guarantee the bypassing of restrictions. For example, some users report the inability to unblock streaming sites such as Netflix.
  3. Linked to the above point is the fact that some websites ban VPN users. These sites may suspend or delete accounts of users who are caught to be using VPNs to access their services.
  4. VPNs can sometimes decrease the speed of your internet connection. This contradicts the ability of a VPN to increase internet speeds by surpassing bandwidth throttling.
  5. VPNs cannot guarantee full anonymity. This is due to tools adopted by websites called browser fingerprinting and web trackers/cookies. If you were to use a VPN on a website like Facebook, it would still be able to track your activity.
  6. The majority of renowned VPN services cost a fee. This is to avoid advertisements, limited data usage, and guaranteed security.
  7. The use of a VPN will increase your consumption of data. This is because VPNs increase your bandwidth usage. Ultimately, this can increase the cost of your bills especially if you are using a VPN abroad through data roaming.
  8. The VPN itself cannot ensure privacy. This is provided by your chosen vendor, hence the importance of doing significant research beforehand. VPNs which lack a “no logs” claim/policy are likely to infringe upon your privacy.
  9. A VPN is unable to protect you from a phishing attack or malware. However, this statement depends on the service you are receiving. Many fee paying VPNs incorporate additional security measures into their services, including anti-malware software.
  10. The act of using a VPN can be very dangerous. By adopting the software, you are offering up information about your IP address and your online activity/tendencies. This is why it is important to only select trustworthy vendors who will ignore such personal data.

What are the best VPN services for 2022?

The most widely recognised and recommended VPN services this year are as follows:

  • Surfshark VPN
  • NordVPN
  • Express VPN
  • Cyber Ghost VPN
  • Urban VPN
  • Proton VPN
  • Mozilla VPN
  • IVPN

Conclusion

To conclude, navigating VPNs can be a daunting task. Elements to consider before you buy one are: privacy policies, the data laws of the country they operate from, the number of server options and how this impacts security, and the provider’s background of cyber security.

VPNs, although useful, are accompanied with a number of limitations. These are: their legality, problems with bypassing restrictions, the possibility of being banned from websites, their impact on your Internet connection, the inability to guarantee full anonymity, and the inability to protect you from phishing and malware attacks without the incorporation of additional software.

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