With all of the scare stories about accounts being hacked, personal details being used or stolen and digital terrorism on the increase doing the rounds, you’ve come to the conclusion that you should be using a Virtual Private Network to help protect you when you’re online.
But you don’t really know where to start … there’s plenty of services out there, all offering one thing or another, some free, some contracted, some being pay-as-you-use … we understand that finding the right VPN provider is a potential minefield – but here’s what you should consider before signing up for any service.
Identify Your Need
Having a VPN is the same as any other service – you need to understand why you need it and what your requirements are – just buying (or even using a free one) for the sake of it is pointless.
This is key to successfully using a Virtual Private Network – what might work for connecting to a secure work server may not be the best choice if you want to stream media for example. Will you need unlimited data transfer? Or uncapped speed? Or just great security – all of these factors will make a difference to your choice.
The same as identification, you need to research what providers offer – not all Virtual Private Network providers are the same. Yes, there are free ones, which can be OK, but even paying for a service isn’t that expensive.
If you aren’t sure what providers offer, just contact them – many providers will give you free, unbiased advice, although some of course may try and sell you a service. That’s fine, providing you already know what you’re looking for – don’t be rushed into buying anything.
Many VPN’s are easy to set-up – quite often it’s as easy as connecting to a new network or simply logging-in to a site. There are more complicated systems (if you wanted to configure a router for example), but on the whole, most people can manage it without any specialist knowledge.
Don’t fall into the trap that a free VPN service will be all it’s meant to be. Yes, many companies offer a free service, and for basics, they should be ok, but research shows that many of the free providers aren’t secure, will cap your transfer and don’t protect you – we aren’t saying that you have to have a paid service, but just be aware that a free one has limitations.