A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a piece of software that protects your online privacy by rerouting your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel on the internet. VPNs have increased in popularity over the years as several individuals and businesses are looking for ways to secure their data.
VPNs also provide protection on public networks, change online addresses, and unlock geo-restricted content. For avid gamers, VPNs can help bypass bandwidth throttling by ISPs and reduce lag and ping times. People looking to save money can use VPNs to book cheap flights or buy products and services for cheaper. This is possible as some businesses tend to offer different prices for different locations.
The versatility of VPNs is one of the main reasons behind their popularity. There is VPN for PC, phones, and tablets. So, regardless of the device you are using to surf the web, you can always enjoy the protection of a VPN.
Not all VPNs are made equal. Some VPNs are better than others and if you want to get the best out of VPNs, you should go for a great one. This article focuses on what distinguishes a great VPN from just a good one. Here we go.
Features of a Great VPN
1. Public Audits
A VPN will hide your internet traffic from your ISP, the government, cybercriminals, and any other parties interested in tracking you or collecting your data. However, the VPN provider has access to your online activity since you are rerouting your online traffic through their servers. So, by using a VPN, you are trusting the VPN provider to do right by your online activity and not log or sell it.
The average user has no way of knowing how the VPN company handles their data. They just have to take the word of the VPN company for it. However, some VPNs like SurfShark put themselves through audits where security experts analyze their apps and report their findings.
VPN providers that avail themselves to audits are highly rated and recommended by security experts. While only the VPN company knows how they handle user data, public audits provide valuable insights for the users. So, VPNs that have public audits are more trusted than those that don’t have them.
2. VPN Power Across Several Platforms
Another quality of a great VPN is availability across several platforms. The top VPN providers have software for Windows, iOS, Android, MacOs, and Linux. It’s not enough for a VPN to have software for different platforms. The service across all platforms must be powerful.
It’s not uncommon to see some VPN providers focusing on only desktop apps. This means most of their features won’t be available for mobile users. While each platform presents different challenges for VPN providers, the best VPN services strive to provide advanced features across all platforms.
3. Features for Everybody
The early VPNs were developed for techies who loved technical features that allowed them to choose their connection ports, type of algorithm, and so on. However, VPNs have become so popular and many of the users aren’t too techies or care about the advanced technical features.
As a result, the best VPNs must have features that the average user can use. For example, VPNs now have features that automatically turn on the app when the user connects with an unknown or untrusted network. There is also split tunneling where the traffic of some apps can be routed through your regular internet connection.
Interestingly, not all VPNs make features that anybody can use. The best VPNs, however, cater to both the average and the techies.
4. Superb Customer Support
Just like with any other product, VPN users will need help from time to time. As a result, it’s important that VPN providers have good customer support. Live chat with an agent is one of the ways for users to get help for technical problems. But VPN providers shouldn’t just stop at providing support. They should also provide informational and how-to articles that can help users learn about the features of the software at their own pace.
Sometimes, a simple FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) can enlighten you on some of the features of the VPN. Providing good informational articles requires an investment of resources by the company and those that provide it can be seen as prioritizing their customers.
5. Fast and Frequent Fixes
The best VPN services aren’t just those that provide excellent services but those that are constantly improving their services. Servers downtown, bugs in an update, and other issues may be encountered by users. But the best VPN services will deal with these problems as quickly as possible.
You can check out how much a VPN provider cares about improving by checking the frequency of their updates. Regular updates mean the providers aren’t resting on their oars and are striving to improve user experience. Some VPNs also listen to customer complaints and implement solutions in the next updates.
Free VPNs are Neither Good nor Great
Yes, you read that right. Free VPNs aren’t good or great. They may log your data and sell it to third parties which is the opposite of what you want to achieve with a VPN. Annoying ads, bandwidth limit, slow internet speed, weak encryption , limited number of servers, and lack of customer support are things you can expect from a free VPN service.
As a result, free VPNs are not good or great. Within monthly prices of VPNs ranging between $3 to $10 depending on the plan you go for, there are paid VPN services that will fall within your budget. Some even allow month-to-month contracts to ensure their services are more affordable.
From all we discussed in this article, you can see that great VPNs go out of their way to ensure their users get what they deserve – the best service. So, when you want to subscribe to a VPN, don’t go for a good one. Go for a great one because you deserve the very best.