Online security is a real issue nowadays, and when you have people like Mark Zuckerberg covering up their laptop’s front-facing cameras, you know that this is far beyond a mere conspiracy theory. Privacy is a fundamental right, and unless you take the proper steps to protect it, your data and information remain open to intruders.

One of the best ways to do this is using a VPN to protect your privacy online (virtual private network). VPNs are exactly what they sound like: a way to navigate from a completely different connection, using encryption to hide your original location. However, not all VPNs are created the same, and some are little more than scams. So, making sure that you pick the right VPN is important, not only if you want your data to be protected, but not actually make it even more vulnerable. Here are some of the things you should consider when picking a VPN.

What do You Need the VPN for Exactly?

The VPN you pick has to fit your needs. For instance, if you want a VPN for the whole house, then you need a router-based one or one that allows for more than one connection. If your main goal is to stream content online, then speed will be a priority. You should also look for things like unlimited bandwidth and reliable connections. If you’re a traveler, on the other hand, and expect to use a lot of public networks, then you have to pick one with a lot of servers around the globe and great security.

Once you’ve found out what the actual use will be, you can then write those features down, and the ones you can do without. This will make your search much easier.

Look at the Specific Qualities of Each VPN

All VPNs has their strengths, weaknesses, and priorities. Some are big on encryption, others focus on speed, while others guarantee anonymity. So, you have to make sure that their priorities and yours match.

Some VPNs might have more difficulty than others accessing content that is limited to certain geographical locations. Some VPNs do a better job of bypassing Netflix’s VPN limitations, for instance. If you’re a journalist working in an area where freedom of the press is suppressed, then you have to make sure that the VPN you choose doesn’t retain logs and has solid encryption. You should also check if any service you choose as a kill switch feature and look at their security protocol as well.

Check Compatible Devices

Even the best VPN will be useless if you can’t use it on your device of choice. While most VPNs on the market will work with the main platforms like iOS, Linux, Mac, Android, and Windows, this is not always the case. So, if you have an iPhone and a Windows PC, you have to make sure that your VPN has an app and platform that supports both.

Conclusion

Choosing the right VPN could make a whole world of difference in whether your data is actually protected or not. So, make sure that you take the time to do your homework, and look at as many options as you can before you choose one.

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