VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Although you can find many definitions, I think the best is the following. It is how a secure encrypted connection is established between a device or a set of devices over a network. This aids privacy and, to some extent, online security. But that doesn’t mean you are entirely anonymous. There are things you should do to maximize your privacy level. Complete privacy over the Internet is likely impossible, but you can achieve a good level of it.
Although you can establish your own VPN if you have the necessary knowledge (companies and organizations usually have their own), the easiest way is to use a VPN service. But that comes at a cost for a paid service or limited functionality for the free ones. In this article, we will analyze what you should be aware of when you use a VPN service or if you need one.
Things you should know
- Although a level of security is achieved by using a VPN, its primary goal is privacy. So, it would be best if you didn’t consider a VPN as a security service but as an extra layer of protection that focuses on privacy.
- Many anti-malware suites include a VPN service.
- A decent VPN would protect you from doxxing or attacks. But if there is anything that would bypass them, most of them include an “off switch” or a “double layer.”
- It might be best to choose a paid subscription plan if you need a VPN service.
- Free VPNs are not always reliable, and not all are trustworthy. Some of them might be honeypots, selling your data to third-party proxies, injecting ads to make a profit, don’t offer any layer of protection, including malware or shady tactics, bad speeds, etc.
- Free VPNs usually offer crowded servers or sharing connections. This results in bad speeds or a bad user experience. Note that this can even be a paid VPN issue, although paid VPN services usually provide more servers and choices.
- Privacy doesn’t mean keeping your activity hidden only from your ISP. Some VPNs might sell your data to a third party. This is not privacy.
- Many VPNs might reveal your activity or ID if lawfully forced. So, you should check their privacy agreement. Some of them promise more than they offer.
- VPNs are exploitable and vulnerable, as well.
- When you run a VPN in your System, you run a third-party app with vulnerabilities, etc.
- VPNs are used to bypass geological districts and by people who might have restrictions in their country. Sometimes even for better prices of a service. Keep in mind that services, such as Netflix, etc, regularly prevent VPN connections. This is usually an issue with popular servers and complimentary services.
- You should choose your VPN service carefully if you download illegal content, torrents, etc. Many countries have strict rules for this kind of activity. Many VPNs won’t protect you or don’t provide, e.g., torrent support, etc.
- Hackers, scammers, etc., are among the users of VPN services.
- Don’t trust all free VPN servers that you might find online. Be cautious.
- Many VPN services share connections or rent servers because they own none. These VPNs are more prone to exploitations, bad speeds, etc., to cut costs.
- Many reviews are only paid reviews, or their testing methodology is inadequate.
- Browsers’ built-in VPNs or add-ons are running only on the browsers. They don’t offer general protection for your device. Many of them are too basic or below basic. Usually offer low speeds and are reported.
- Beware of proxies.
- Some dedicated VPN services provide anti-malware support.
- It would be best to run a VPN on a trusted, malware-free device.
- TOR is not a VPN service.
- Always do your research before buying a VPN service.
- Prefer services that offer “off switch,” “double layer,” DDOS protection, anti-malware services, identity anti-theft, and anti-leaking personal data techniques. As already stated, beware of the privacy and license agreement.
- Many services offer a free trial of their products and a money-back guarantee. This should be worth considering.
These are only some of the most worth-considering facts you should be aware of. Finding a VPN service that suits your needs might not be as easy as you thought. If you follow these guidelines, you will probably find the best offer that suits you. You can join our Forum, Discord Server or leave a comment if you need help choosing one. We would be happy to assist you. Stay safe, and stay in the know!