There are many perplexing options available whether you’re seeking for the best VPN for torrenting, privacy, evading censorship, maintaining your anonymity online, getting around geographical limits, or simply changing your location. Continue reading as we assist you in selecting the ideal VPN.
Virtual private networks, or VPNs, offer a quick and simple way to have your computer appear to be coming from another place. They achieve this by setting up a virtual network that sends all the network traffic from your PC or smartphone through an encrypted tunnel and out the other side, giving the impression to everyone else that you are actually in the place where the VPN server is situated. This can assist you in getting around geographical limitations, avoiding censorship, or maintaining (relative) online anonymity.
Why Do People Use Virtual Private Networking? What Is It
A VPN creates a virtualized network between two physically distinct networks using software (and occasionally, at the business and governmental level, hardware).
For instance, a VPN connection enables an IBM employee to access the business intranet from his house in a Chicago suburb as if he were physically present on the network of the New York office. Using the same technology, consumers can securely access files from their home PCs while on the go by bridging their phones and laptops to their home network.
However, VPNs have further applications. Users of VPNs can keep others from seeing the data they’re exchanging because they encrypt your connection. This protects data and makes sure that no one can eavesdrop on your traffic and steal your passwords or credit card numbers, especially while using public Wi-Fi networks in locations like coffee shops and airports.
You can also make it appear as though the traffic is coming from a different location by using VPNs, which route your traffic through another network. That implies you may make your traffic look to be coming from New York City even if you’re in Sydney, Australia. This is beneficial for websites that restrict material based on where you are (like Netflix). Additionally, it permits some people—we’re looking at you, Australians—to pay absurdly high import tariffs on software, forcing them to pay twice as much (or more) than US consumers do for the same goods.
One of the best ways to avoid censorship and monitoring is to use a secure tunnel to pretend that you’re from somewhere else entirely. On a more serious note, an unfortunate large number of people live in nations with high levels of overt censorship and monitoring (like China) and nations with more covert monitoring (like the US).
It is helpful for hiding your activities from a prying Internet Service Provider in addition to hiding it from a nosy government (ISP). All of your traffic is routed to a single point through the encrypted tunnel, so your ISP is completely unaware of the type of traffic it is, which completely solves the issue if your ISP likes to throttle your connection based on content (tanking your file download and/or streaming video speeds in the process).
In summary, a VPN is helpful whenever you want to conceal your traffic from users on a local network (such as the free Wi-Fi at coffee shops), your ISP, or the authorities. It’s also tremendously helpful to deceive services into believing you are nearby when you are actually thousands of miles away.
Evaluation of Your VPN Needs
Every user has slightly different VPN demands, thus the best approach to choose the best VPN service is to carefully assess your requirements before you start looking. You might even discover that the homemade or router-based solutions you currently own work just fine, and you don’t need to go shopping. Let’s go over some questions you should be asking yourself, and then show how various VPN features address the needs raised by those queries.
Does Your Home Network Need Secure Access
You do not need to spend money on a VPN service provider if the sole use case you are concerned with is safely accessing your home network. This is not simply a matter of the instrument being too sophisticated for the task; rather, the technology is inappropriate for the task. Instead of giving you access to your own network, a remote VPN service provider grants you safe access to a remote network (such as an exit node in Amsterdam).
The router can be using faulty and out-of-date firmware. In reality, the router might be malicious and actively sniff packets and log your info. Other users on the network may be sniffing your data or probing your laptop or mobile device, and the router may be incorrectly set. You can never be sure that your data won’t be exposed by an unidentified Wi-Fi hotspot due to negligence or malicious intent. (A password does not guarantee that a network is secure; even if you are required to input one, you could still experience any of these issues.).
In such cases, securing your Facebook, email, and online surfing activities doesn’t require a powerful VPN provider with a ton of bandwidth. In actuality, a free alternative will work just as well for you as the home VPN server model we outlined in the previous section. Only if your home connection is incapable of meeting your demands for high bandwidth should you think about paying for a solution (like watching large volumes of streaming video through your VPN connection).
Should You Geo-Shift Where You Are
You’ll need a VPN service with servers in the country or region you want to leave the virtualized network in if your goal is to appear to be in another country, so you can access content that is only available there (for example, BBC Olympic coverage when you’re not in the U.K.).
Do You Need Plausible Deniability and Anonymity
A VPN might not be for you if your needs go beyond watching Netflix or preventing some war kid at the coffee shop from spying on your social media activities. Although many VPNs make this claim, only a select few can genuinely deliver it. In addition, you still have to give the VPN provider access to your traffic, which isn’t ideal. For that, you probably want something more like Tor, which, despite its flaws, provides a better level of anonymity than VPNs.
However, many users rely on VPNs to provide some level of plausible deniability when engaging in activities like BitTorrent file sharing. They can add another layer to the wall, disguising them from the rest of the swarm by making their traffic appear to be originating from a different IP address. Even though it isn’t perfect, it is still useful.
If that describes you, you should look for a VPN company with a sizable user base and no log policy. It is more challenging to separate a single user from the crowd the larger the service, as more eyes are peering through every exit node.
Many individuals refrain from utilizing US-based VPN services under the assumption that US law would oblige those providers to log all VPN activities. Contrary to popular belief, US-based VPN companies are exempt from such data logging regulations. If they have any data to pass over, they may be required to do so under another set of regulations, but there is no requirement that they store the data in the first place.
The sort of VPN protocol and encryption they employ are much more of a worry than the amount of logging they do (as it is much more likely that a malicious third party will try to intercept your traffic and analyse it afterwards rather than reverse-engineer it in an effort to identify you). As we go from questions centred on our needs to questions centred on the capabilities of the VPN providers in the following portion of our guide, taking into consideration logging, protocol, and encryption standards is a wonderful place to start.