What makes a good VPN provider? In the wake of recent news of at least one free VPN provider selling its users' bandwidth, we've compiled a list of things to consider when selecting a VPN provider to make sure you're keeping yourself safe online.
- Where is the company and its servers located?
- What encryption protocols do they use for your data?
- Do they use shared or dynamic IPs?
- What devices and operating systems do they support?
- Do they accept Bitcoin?
- What's the fee?
1. Where is the company and its servers located?
If one of your goals with a VPN is to access geo-restricted content (think Netflix/Hulu outside of the US), you'll want to be sure that the company has servers in the country that these services are accessed in. If you're a P2P downloader, make sure the company has servers in a country that's P2P-friendly (Switzerland, Spain, The Netherlands and Hong Kong are a few).
2. What encryption protocols do they use for your data?
The encryption protocol used by a VPN is, in short, a measure of the level of security for your online activities. The two best options for VPN security today are OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec (the latter being a little less secure). In general, experts agree that PPTP is pretty insecure.
3. Do they use shared or dynamic IPs?
Like we mentioned above, if privacy is the most important reason for using VPN technology, you'll want to look for a VPN provider that uses shared IPs. With a shared IP address, it's nearly impossible to determine which user on an IP address is responsible for what action.
4. What devices and operating systems do they support?
You'll likely want multiple connections across multiple devices. These days, most of us access the internet from computers, laptops, phones and tablets. If this is important to you, make sure your VPN provider allows for multiple connections across several devices. Or, better yet, purchase a Sabai Technology VPN router, which will allow you to connect as many devices to your network as you’d like.
5. Do they accept Bitcoin?
This may not be important to everyone, but if ultimate privacy is a concern to you, try to find a VPN Provider who will accept Bitcoin. With a few considerations, you can use Bitcoin to pay for your service anonymously. A VPN provider who allows for this is likely a VPN provider who takes security very seriously. BestVPN has a great guide to using Bitcoin anonymously here.
6. What's the fee?
Most VPN providers charge a monthly fee anywhere from $5 to $15. While there are some free options, as is often the case, free doesn't always mean it's the best choice. In fact, you have to consider how the company is making its money if it isn't from you. While price should be a consideration, we recommend finding a VPN provider that meets the criteria most important to you before considering price.
To make things even easier for our customers, we're in the process of putting together a list of our preferred VPN providers. Stay tuned! If you'd like to be notified when this goes live, feel free to subscribe to our email list here.