In the first part of this 3-part series, we introduced VPNs and discussed how their use has become more commonplace, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced most traditional office-based employees to work from home, leaving both the employee and their company in danger of online scammers.
So, now that you know what a VPN does and why you need one, let’s discuss what to look for when selecting a VPN.
Stay Away From Free VPNs
A trustworthy VPN requires servers, bandwidth, human resources, and energy to maintain — offering it for free will require some other sort of monetization model. A free VPN service usually sustains its cost of operating by selling your data to a third-party. If you are not paying for it, you are just as vulnerable as not using an VPN altogether. McHelper strongly recommends avoiding all free VPNs. That said, not every paid VPNs is trustworthy, which brings us to our second tip.
Avoid Privacy Logs
The primary reason for using a VPN is privacy, therefore the first thing to look into when selecting a VPN provider is whether the service keeps logs. There are many different degrees of logging. Even a provider who calls themselves “Logless” may still log anonymous data like connection times or IP addresses you visited. While that is not enough information to uniquely identify anyone, but coupled with your internet provider’s log of your online activity that information can be powerful to someone who knows how to use it. Also pay close attention to the personal information the VPN provider stores. The less they know, the better protected you are.
If you are loyal to a specific device or operating system, make sure to find out if the features you care most about are available on the VPN. Not all VPN services are available on every device or operating system. You may receive a stripped down variation of a Windows client VPN for your Android which will be missing critical features you may be expecting.
We have test driven countless VPNs here in the McHelper lab so you don’t have to. Our top recommendation is F-Secure. F-Secure provides complete online privacy. No one will be able to track you or see what you are doing – not even your Internet service provider. In addition, because F-Secure allows you to change your virtual origin location, you can access blocked content. This lets you get around a wide range of censorship so you can experience the web as it is meant to be. Most importantly, F-Secure blocks cookie trackers, so advertisers won’t track and follow you with ads. For these reasons, F-Secure is the only VPN McHelper sells.
Though we at McHelper prefer F-Secure for its speed and ironclad encryption, each VPN has its own unique benefits. And whichever you choose, a VPN is a vital internet security tool that you can use at home and on the go. Stay tuned for the final part of our VPN series, where we show you how to install and use your new VPN, and troubleshoot issues that commonly arise.