Choosing a VPN: the questions you must ask

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Date: 28 January 2020

A manager conducts research into different VPN providers and notes down how they compare.

A VPN, or virtual private network, has become a vital tool for most businesses. It lets the user create a connection with another network on the internet that is secure. It is designed to thwart anyone who may be trying to spy on the online activity of a company or person.

Here, we inform and educate small business owners and managers on how to choose the best VPN provider.

Why would I need a VPN?

In addition to the anti-spying angle, a VPN can give users anonymity while they are online. Ideally, nobody else can get a user's location if their VPN is reliable.

It also allows customers to stream media sources like Netflix or other similar services.

The person or team selecting a VPN provider must do some planning ahead of time. They need to sit down and determine what they will be using it for the most. They can make a list that prioritizes the services the VPN will need to provide. Then they ought to make sure their prospective provider can handle these requirements.

Key features in a VPN service

There are plenty of firms out there offering VPN services. Yet it is critical to choose one that has the features your business needs. Available features can include:

  • the ability to block ads;
  • the ability to block websites of a malicious nature;
  • the ability to be used with an unlimited number of devices;
  • the ability to exclude particular apps or sites from connecting;
  • the ability to encrypt the user's personal data;
  • protocols that are secure.

Here are the other features you should be looking for before you commit.

VPN servers

An important characteristic of any VPN provider is for them to use VPN servers. If they do not, customers ought to steer clear of them. An outstanding provider will have at least several hundred servers throughout different countries. Their servers should all be P2P-friendly.

The ability to geo-shift

Why would somebody want this? Perhaps they want the appearance of being in another state or another country. It could be for business or personal reasons.

The only way this is possible is if that person's VPN has servers in those regions. This is another reason to get a provider that has at least hundreds, if not thousands, of servers all over the world. Those servers should be reliable, and not prone to technical difficulties.

Device compatibility

Compatibility with what? First and foremost, with the user's operating system. Does this VPN support Windows, or Mac, or Android, or whatever the user has? This is a critical consideration.

A user-friendly interface

To an experienced tech person, this point is a given. Yet it is amazing how many people get stuck with a VPN that is NOT user-friendly. How easy is it to set the VPN up? When there is a problem, how good is their customer support staff? The answer to each of these questions should play an important role in choosing a provider.

A free trial period

If a provider does not offer a free trial, that does not necessarily preclude them from your search. However, it is far better if the answer is "yes". How can a business owner know if they like a provider's service, unless they can try it out? What happens if this service is not a good fit for that business?

It is highly advisable to go with a provider that DOES offer a free, or at least discounted, trial period.

A "kill switch"

What happens when a client stops using an app or a website? Does this VPN have a method to cut off received signals from those sources? That is basically the job of a kill switch. If the prospective VPN does not have this, steer well clear!

High capacity

Can the VPN handle all of the various devices a business wants to hook up to it? Can it handle multiple devices at the same time? What kinds of apps and websites can it take on? Does the VPN tend to crash often, or is it reliable? These are more answers a customer must receive in order to make a decision.

Fair and transparent pricing

Business owners cannot overlook this part of a VPN search. How much does the service cost? What kind of features are included in the price? Are instalment payments available, or does the provider want all fees paid upfront? These questions have to be answered prior to signing up.

Secure casual browsing

Nowadays many users want to use a VPN for secure casual browsing. Privacy is of the utmost concern to most people today, as there is so much identity theft and misuse of the internet. If a user wants to just casually browse the internet, they need security measures too to prevent anyone gaining access to their location.

This is a critical characteristic of a great VPN; to allow someone to do this securely.

Your key to success

Once a client has all of the answers to his or her questions, they can find a VPN very successfully. It takes patience and a lot of perseverance - but the results are worth the effort.

Copyright 2020. Featured post made possible by Vanessa Seward, Surfshark

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