Read full review
Read full review
Read full review
Read full review
Read full review
Read full review
Best VPN Service Providers for 2018
- Secure connection when surfing the internet
- Access restricted or blocked websites and apps
- Fast speeds perfect for streaming services
- Secure & private web browsing
What is a VPN?
A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is a service that uses tunneling to ensure that you have a secure connection when surfing the internet. In a nutshell, a VPN service provides protection and security. These functionalities are realized through various mechanisms such as encryption and other features put in place by the VPN service.
By providing security, a VPN ensures that you don’t become a victim of internet vulnerabilities. To an extent, a VPN’s security gives rise to privacy protection. This ensures your information and data is safe from prying eyes.
Security and privacy are primary purposes of a VPN. To achieve these core functionalities, a VPN encrypts your internet traffic, both incoming and outgoing via a tunnel. The encrypted traffic passes through a specified server – provided by the VPN provider – which connects your device to the outside world (the internet). To trulyknow how a VPN works, below are some factors and entities to look at;
- Encryption– encryption is one of the importantfactors and component that a VPN uses to ensure security. Encryption is the use of algorithms that convert your VPN traffic to unreadable data. Encryption can be likenedto a lock and a key. The stronger the encryption, the more secure a VPN is.
- Protocols– protocols are standards that determine and govern how communication is doneona network/channel. In a VPN, they also establish how fast and secure the communication channel will be. Different VPN providers offer different protocols depending on the intended functionality. These protocols can be changedmanually.
- Logging policies and jurisdiction– these are entities that broadly affect the VPN service provider and the user. They also determine the security and privacy of your data while using a VPN service.
Logging policies state what type of data a VPN provider collects. Some data can implicate a VPN user hence violate their privacy.Jurisdiction concerns the data retention laws that are putin place in the state/country where a VPN service is located.
How do I connect to a VPN?
Virtual Private Networks help you regain access to a freeinternet and digital privacy when you are online. Nowadays, many people have shifted to commercial or standalone VPNs as they are easy to setup and configure. They even provide added functionalities such as gaining access to censored content, streaming services not available in ones’ geographical location and even torrenting anonymously. Besides the functionalities, some of the standalone VPNs are worth your money and offer more security.
Getting the VPN
Connecting to a VPN is a simple procedure, butfirst,you must have all the requirements. Most commercial VPN providers require you to create an account first and then pay for the services except for free VPNs. After your account is setup, the next step is to download a suitable client/app for your computing device. You will then need to install the client/app and then launch it.
Connecting to a VPN
After launching the app here’s what you are required to do:
- Enter your account details (username and Password) if the client/app asks for it. Most VPNs especially paid ones won’t do anything until you enter your account details.
- The next screen that appears will probably have a quick connect button, a list of VPN servers or a menu button for configurations.
- All you have to do now to be connected is tap the quick connect button or check for other suitable servers.
The above is all you need when connecting to a commercial VPN.
What are the benefits of using a VPN?
Virtual Private Networks or VPNs have gained popularity in the recent years due to a number ofbenefits they provide. The main benefitsinclude;
- Security– VPNs use secure tunnels which are encryptedwith military-gradeencryption such as the AES with 256-bit keys. They also use protocols which enhance security, reliability, and Your internet traffic is channeled through the secure tunnels hence its safe from prying eyes.
- Privacy– By keeping your traffic safe from prying eyes, a VPN helps you achieve some digital privacy. Besides encryption, VPNs mask your IP address and replace it with theirs. Hence anybody tracking you will end up at the VPN server.
- Access to global content – Some global content is not accessible in some countries due to geo-restrictions. By using a new IP address from the VPN, you can gain access to globaland censored content without a fuss.
- Torrent Anonymously – P2P services contain a lot of content which is sharedfor free. However, this content may be copyrightedwhich may lead to court penalties and fines. VPNs offer anonymous P2P servers to help you get the content easily.
- Streaming– Besides gaining access to restricted global content, VPNs are also used to access Streaming services such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu and so on. Some VPNs offerhigh-speedservers that ensure you gain access to the streaming services without buffering.
Apart from the above benefits, a VPN can also help you access discounts such as on Flight tickets when booking from a different place.
Who needs a VPN and why?
Regarding the current state of the internet, a VPN is a necessity that anyone who accesses the internet should have. Here is why:
- Security and Privacy
When surfing the internet, you might be under constant surveillance by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), government agencies and even cybercriminals. Surveillance violates your privacy while cybercriminals may violate the integrity of your data and make you vulnerable to internet attacks.
Through security and privacy, a VPN can provide an acceptable level of anonymity. When you are anonymous, you don’t have to worry about being tracked or monitored.
- Access to content
Apart from security, another accrued function you get when using a VPN is gaining access to restricted online content. By using geo-restrictions, content providers may not deliver specificcontent to users of certaincountries.
A VPN service is all about security and protection of your other entities such as privacy. Other accrued functionalities also ensure that; your online freedom is intact, you are not vulnerable to cyber threats, and you also gain access to global content.
Free vs Paid VPN
Nothing sounds great as free! Free gas, free food, free delivery services, all those free stuff are good and enticing. But it’s a different case in the IT world, especially when it matters regarding the internet and cyber security. VPNs are no exceptions as they are drivers and sometimes handlers of your security and privacy. VPN providers offer VPN services in two bundles, premium or free and it’s literally you get what you pay for. The dilemma sets in when you have to choose between a free and paid VPN service. Below are cons and pros of both.
Depending on what you do on the internet while using a VPN, the connection speed of a VPN matters a lot. Free VPNs usually offer a bandwidth cap and have limited servers. This means that everyone using that VPN might be connected to the same server hence causing congestion and server overload. This leads to poor VPN speeds. Paid VPNs usually have a lot of servers to choose from and also offer unlimited bandwidth. This is why premium VPNs have blazing high speeds.
Security and protocols
These are the essential building blocks of a VPN: they ensure security and how securely communication is done. Usually, free VPNs use the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) which offers speed but doesn’t care about strong encryptions. With this foundation, anyone can violate your security and privacy with free VPNs. Paid VPNs offer a ton of protocols with military grade encryption to ensure your security and privacy is intact. Some of the protocols include; OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and others.
Besides security, logging policies decide whether your privacy will be intact or not. Almost all Free VPN services state clearly that they track, monitor and record your activities when using their VPNs. This information might be sold to third parties, cyber criminals can tap into it, and it can be used to implicate you in a court of law. On the other hand, Paid VPNs have a strict no logging policy. This means they know nothing about you, nothing on what you do with their VPN service, and definitely they don’t keep any information about you. With paid VPNs, you rest assured your privacy is intact.
Quality of service (QoS)
This is where the phrase “what you pay for is what you get” matters a lot. In general, free VPN services offer poor services with the exception of a few as compared to reputable paid VPNs. Besides security and privacy, QoS in VPNs can be determined in terms of customer support, number of servers and bandwidth and availability. In these aspects, paid VPNs have higher ratings and also positive reviews. However, the same can’t be said for free VPNs as they have lower ratings.
This is the best aspect of free VPNs as you don’t have to pay anything. But in the long run, you might find is not worth it. This is because almost all free VPNs have ads, data mining capabilities and also lack some features which are reserved for premium users.
With all the above, now you know what VPN service is best for you.