How To Choose the Best VPN. VPNs are virtual private networks that encrypt your data and mask your online activity from snooping third parties. When you do things, such as check your email, chat with colleagues and browse websites, a VPN can help keep you anonymous.
What Does a VPN Do?
When you do just about anything online, your computer connects to the server that hosts whatever website or service you’re using. The website can typically see certain data about you and your device, which isn’t ideal if you don’t like your activity being monitored. A VPN service connects you to a remote server before connecting you to your favorite sites, so that when a website checks for your user information, it only “sees” the VPN and does not trace it back to you.
How VPNs Protect Your Privacy & How They Don’t
You can safely use a VPN on your personal and business devices, and it’s a great way to keep your personal data and browsing habits private. The scrambled data is nearly impossible to decipher, so it’s useless to hackers and sites that want to track that data.
However, VPNs can’t protect against everything you do on your computer, laptop or mobile phone.
A VPN can protect:
- Your identity online
- Data you send and receive online
What a VPN doesn’t protect you from:
- Phishing scams
- Data on your devices
A VPN protects active transmissions of data online, so it cannot do much for the data that lives on your phone or computer. For physical data protection, you would need antivirus and anti-malware software. It’s also important to be careful which links you click in email and online. Phishing attacks can be cleverly disguised as emails from someone you know.
When it comes to choosing the best VPN, there are a few key factors to consider. Customers should look for an ideal balance of affordability, helpful privacy features, server locations and an intuitive user experience. Taking these features into account can help you find a VPN that offers the protection and privacy you need.
Here are some details to watch out for:
Essential VPN Features
- Security and encryption: A VPN should offer robust security measures, such as AES-256 encryption, to protect your online data and activity from hackers and other malicious actors.
- Network of server locations: A VPN should offer a wide network of server locations, allowing you to choose the server that best meets your needs in terms of location and performance.
- Compatibility: Your VPN should be compatible with all your devices and operating systems, such as Mac, iOS, Windows, Android and Linux.
- Performance and reliability: Your VPN should have fast and reliable connections with minimal lag or downtime.
- Killswitch: A killswitch is a feature that terminates your internet connection automatically if the VPN connection drops. This helps to protect your online data and activity from being exposed in the event of a disconnection.