A comprehensive guide to choosing the right VPN server

Virtual Private Networks, or shortly VPNs, are crucial tools that users leverage to avoid online threats such as hackers, phishing, malware, spyware, and viruses. They are also essential when navigating websites like Netflix, YouTube, and Gmail in other countries. Online privacy is now more critical than ever since numerous technologies and apps emerged. Regardless of the advanced security technologies, cybercriminals will find a way to violate individuals’ and businesses’ privacy and get their hands on critical data if people don’t use the right tools.

So, taking online security seriously and relying on a VPN like the one provided by 2GO software is of the utmost importance. We know it could be intimidating to choose an optimal one since there are hundreds out there, and all promise just the same thing. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to picking a suitable VPN network.

person using black laptop computer

Assess your needs

The first and foremost step in choosing the best VPN is figuring out why you actually need one. While it’s as clear as day that you need a VPN for online security, there is more to take into account when picking one. For example, if your goal is to download torrents, you should look for a server that is as close to your current location as possible and supports Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing. A fast speed is also a top priority in this regard, as you want your downloads to take place in minutes, not years. On the other hand, if you’re going to use the VPN only for online security and privacy, feel free to opt for something that provides an independently no-logs policy and top-notch encryption. It would also be helpful if the VPN weren’t located in an FVEY (The Five Eyes Alliance)-member country for your own peace of mind.

Not all VPNs are the same, as some are better at certain tasks than others, so you should inform yourself a bit before making a decision.

Does the VPN have robust privacy features?

At the end of the day, your chosen VPN server should protect your surfing data and other critical details from malicious actors. This is the ultimate goal, so ensure your server provides strong security features and has a transparent privacy policy. You should also look for VPNs that have been configured for using secure and trusted protocols, such as L2TP, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec, and OpenVPN. Among the most significant features of an optimal server are:

  • Strict no-logs policy
  • An automatic Kill Switch
  • Privacy-friendly jurisdiction
  • AES 256-bit military-grade encryption

Kill Switch, for example, is an excellent feature, as it makes it possible for the system to permanently track the connection between your PC or other device used and the security server. It recognizes a problem and takes steps to solve it by disconnecting the Internet before the unexpected happens. You can also look for some extra features if you feel there is a need for more than those mentioned above. Some servers go the extra mile and amaze with additional protection features such as multi-hop and server obfuscation. The latter, for instance, hides that you’re using such a server and hence lets you successfully avoid government censorship

VPNs are a great shield against cyberattacks, but they might not be enough in case you need extra protection for corporate data to say so. Therefore, consider a security suite like Norton 360 that, apart from a free and unlimited VPN, also provides antivirus and cloud storage solutions.

What kind of encryption tech does it use?

No matter the type of content you want to block, a VPN will do it for you with the help of encryption technology. Due to encryption, your traffic would be rerouted to the destination server, and your Internet Protocol (IP) Address would be replaced. Thereby, your most sensitive data, as well as any communication between the device and VPN, will be protected from ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and any other tracking entity that might represent a danger. But remember, not all VPNs use advanced encryption technologies, so it’s advisable to look for those which do. Pick the company that provides AES-256-bit encryption, as this is the most secure tech of the sort currently. Military and government institutions, including NASA, use it in order to protect state secrets and classified data. It would take centuries to crack this encryption using brute force attack.

Look at the speed

Using a poor VPN server comes with the risk of being plagued by continuous slowdowns. That’s because your traffic will first travel through the security server to be encrypted, and only then you’ll be able to navigate the web. Thus, make speed a top priority when choosing your VPN so as not to be permanently exposed to lag. Some aspects to pay attention to in this sense include:

  • Results of speed tests. You’d be surprised by the number of VPNs that have undertaken speed tests and failed miserably. Of the tons of servers out there, only a few have managed to pass the tests. Our recommendation is to test your VPN yourself using specially designed speed test tools found online.
  • Special speed-boosting features. You shouldn’t settle for the bare minimum when it comes to speed, so be sure you pick a VPN that ideally provides an average speed of 250 Mbps on an Internet connection of 500 Mbps and raise the stake as the connection becomes stronger.
  • Fast VPN protocols

Other notable things to have in mind when choosing a VPN could be:

  • The number of platforms it can support
  • A free-trial or money back guarantee in case it fails to meet your expectations
  • How many locations and servers it uses
  • The reliability of the server
  • Routine server maintenance
  • User-friendliness
  • Responsive and knowledgeable customer support

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