Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of VPNs. These popular security tools protect your identity and data, bypass online restrictions to access content, and more. If this is all very new to you, you probably have a lot of questions. Don’t worry, because we can help you.
We’ve done all the hard work for you and researched these services to provide you with the information that matters. We are nice like that. Here’s everything you need to know about VPNs.
What is a VPN?
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide important protection for your data and identity when you’re online. They provide this online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network that hides your real IP address. This means that all your activities are untraceable and secure.
Basically, you can think of VPNs as encrypted tunnels through which all your online traffic passes. No one can see into the tunnel and everything in it is protected against online threats such as viruses, hackers and malware.
What does a VPN actually do?
Any type of activity on an unsecured Wi-Fi network leaves your private information and browsing habits exposed to the world, unless you use a VPN. There’s no need to panic, because whether you’re sending important emails, shopping online, or paying essential bills, VPNs ensure that everything stays private and anonymous.
First and foremost, VPNs are designed for online security, but there’s another reason why millions of people use these services: to stream more content from around the world. By hiding your real IP address and connecting to a server in another location, you can trick your favorite streaming services into thinking you’re based in another country. That means you can watch all shows and movies from global libraries, like all the extra content on American Netflix. It’s the fastest and easiest way to increase your content options, without having to rely on a dodgy feed.
What should you consider before subscribing to a VPN?
There are a lot of things you should consider when it comes to VPNs, but we don’t have all day. Instead of listing all the features offered by the best VPNs, we’ve highlighted a selection of the most important things to think about.
Before making any decision, you should research the connection speed, server network, number of connections and the most important features:
Connection speed: Using a VPN will produce a drop in your connection speed, but you shouldn’t accept a significant drop that will cause buffering. Make sure you select a VPN that doesn’t negatively affect your connection speed so much that you can’t watch a movie or download a file without frustration.
Number of connections: Some VPNs allow you to connect an unlimited number of devices with the same account. Others limit you to one device. You should look for a service that offers multiple simultaneous connections, so you can stay protected on all your devices at the same time.
Server network: The best VPNs provide access to thousands of geographically diverse servers. This is useful if a VPN has lots of servers in key locations, as you should still be able to find a stable, fast connection for streaming, shopping, or anonymous browsing. It’s not a simple case of more is better, but it’s always good to have options.
Encryption: There are different levels of encryption, and while it’s important to take note of the level provided by your VPN, the best options will all provide powerful protection for your data. You’ll likely come across terms like “military grade” and “enterprise grade,” which just means you can count on it to do its job.
Bandwidth : Some VPNs impose monthly caps on network bandwidth, which means you can only download a certain amount of data. You should avoid these services unless you have a free trial. If you pay for a VPN, you should be able to upload and download as much as you want.
There are other things to consider, like price and subscription plans, but these features are a good place to start.
Do you need to pay for the best VPNs?
The good news is that there are plenty of free versions of popular VPNs, as well as free VPN trials with full access to everything you get with a premium plan. Alternatively, you can pay for a VPN. So which option is best for you and your lifestyle?
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for with VPNs. There’s always a catch with the free versions, and that’s normally in the form of limited data usage. If you’re just a casual user, these plans will work fine. But if you are going to stream or download it will not work. Free trials are a bit different: they come with everything you get in a paid plan, but obviously they don’t last very long. Trials are great for testing out a service before committing, but it’s not a long-term solution.
What we are saying is that the best option to stream safely and access the online world without restrictions is with a paid VPN subscription. To access advanced security features without usage limitations, you must pay. The best VPNs are usually the most expensive, but there are plenty of cheap plans out there, especially if you’re willing to commit to a long contract.
What is the best VPN?
There are many VPN providers out there, all of which offer different feature sets, with different pricing structures. We recommend that you take the time to carefully access your options and decide what you really need from a VPN. Once you’ve established your priorities, you can check out this definitive list of the best VPNs this month.
We’ve researched everything on offer and lined up a selection of the best VPNs for streaming, shopping, and everything in between. We’ve tried to find something for everyone and every budget, and you can find popular services like ExpressVPN(opens in a new tab)NordVPN(opens in a new tab)and CyberGhost VPN(opens in a new tab) in this list. All you have to do is weigh these options against your own set of priorities, then pick a favorite from the bunch.
These are the best VPNs in 2022.