Once a tool reserved for only the most cyber-savvy technology nerds, virtual private networks (VPNs) have become a necessity for anyone traversing the internet.
Personal privacy and data security should be at the forefront of your concerns while browsing the web. If you find yourself connected to unsecured, public Wi-Fi at the local coffee shop or airport frequently, it is even more imperative to protect yourself with a VPN.
A virtual private network offers several beneficial attributes that are useful to everyone connecting a device to networks.
VPNs provide data security by encrypting data sent from your device to the VPN server. This is important when considering that hackers could potentially steal information like passwords and account numbers as you connect in public places.
A VPN can also allow you to view content that is restricted or unavailable in your area. This could be useful if a new game comes out earlier in another country or if your favorite show is only available in the UK.
Choosing the right VPN has become more challenging as the options have multiplied significantly. Here, we will examine the five facets to consider when choosing the best VPN for Windows 10.
Consider your online habits first
The first step toward making sure you get the proper Windows 10 VPN is to consider what you will be using it for. As mentioned earlier, so many different virtual private network providers have popped up that narrowing them down can be quite tricky.
If you can get your personal needs and expectations written out somewhere, it may make the process far less overwhelming. Once you have a better understanding of what you use the internet for and how frequently you do those things, you can spot the best VPN quickly.
There are five primary areas to evaluate that may help you decide on what VPN suits you best. We will discuss each of them in detail, but here is the list:
- Logging policies
- Registration location
- Overall speed
- Server locations
- Data restrictions
As we work through the five most important areas to consider when choosing a VPN for Windows 10, keep your online habits in mind. Each person browsing the internet is unique, and there are many different things we use the internet for.
Answer these questions before starting the decision-making process:
- Are you a PC gamer?
- Do you stream a lot of media?
- Are you a frequent traveler?
- Do you rarely use the computer?
- Do you value privacy or performance more?
Knowing the answers will lead you to place more weight on some of the five areas below while devaluing others. For instance, gamers might worry about overall speed while travelers might focus on server locations.
Areas to evaluate when choosing a VPN for Windows 10
Five primary areas are important considerations before making a final choice on the best VPN. Keep the questions listed earlier in mind as we go through the list.
If you ask ten VPN shoppers why they are seeking to install a VPN, most will say for the sake of privacy. Ironically, privacy is not always the foremost concern of those providing these private networks.
Many VPNs log the traffic that comes and goes from their servers, often including the IP address that it originates from. Yes, the very thing you were hoping to protect yourself from could be caused by the service you pay to keep your information private.
Not all logging practices are nefarious. Some countries insist that any VPN based in their territories keep logs for legal purposes. Others log data in the event someone commits a crime while connected.
Unfortunately, there are instances where VPN providers may not have the best intentions. Most often this happens with free VPN services, as they sell user data (like what types of websites are visited most often) to marketing companies to make a profit.
The logging policies should be posted by the VPN provider, and if they are not readily forthcoming with the information, you might consider another option.
As touched on in the prior section, it is important to know where the VPN houses its headquarters. The location is vital because the laws of the land will rule when it comes to privacy. Governments that are less concerned about personal data protections could easily demand a VPN provide logs and other data.
Research countries that take consumer rights seriously. Many VPN providers inhabit these nations, and it is beneficial to choose one that does.
The very structure of a VPN connection can inhibit speed. The data must travel to a VPN server and then on to the destination from there. Typically, data goes to and from the end-point directly.
While these slowdowns do not impact the most general web browsing, those that stream media or play games online may experience issues. Finding a VPN that focuses on enhancing connection speed would be important if you are into those types of activities.
This is separate from the registration location because VPNs often have servers located around the globe – not just where they are headquartered. There are multiple reasons to find out where the servers are located.
First, if you intend to use your VPN to unblock geo-restrictions, it is essential that it has a server in the region that will allow this. If you want to watch your favorite show from the UK, a server located in the UK would be required if the content is restricted.
Secondly, if you travel often, think about where you frequently visit. A VPN with servers near those places could be more useful than those in areas you never go to.
It is also beneficial to locate servers close by if connectivity speed is an issue. Some serious gamers even go so far as to investigate if there is a VPN server located near the server housing the game site.
VPN data restrictions are like ISP throttling. This frustrating practice begins to slow connectivity by throttling them back after a certain amount of data is transmitted. This often occurs with free or inexpensive VPN services that want to give their paid customers the best experience.
If you intend to use VPN while gaming or streaming videos, you will need to avoid a VPN with data restrictions. These activities quickly burn through data and could leave you very frustrated.
Avoid using free VPN services
We certainly cannot tell you what to do, but most experts would advise you to avoid anything described as a “free VPN for Windows 10.” Nothing comes free, and there will always be some price to pay for using one of these free options.
Free VPN providers are still in the business of making a profit. Often, they are operated by paid subscription services that offer a free VPN client to draw people in.
One way to offer a free service, as we touched on earlier, is to sell consumer data to marketing companies. While this information may not lead directly back to you, it is concerning that your web traffic is being logged for such purposes.
Another way is to have to deal with ad-based products. These advertisements “pay the bills” for the VPN provider but can lead to a less than ideal experience.
Lastly, free services often face substandard performance as the fee-paying users get the best connections. If you have decided that a VPN is right for you, investing in a subscription is worth the cost.
Five VPNs That May Benefit You
There is no one-size-fits-all option for VPNs, as everyone has different requirements. Here are five to consider after evaluating your personal needs.
- Express VPN – a 30-day money-back guarantee. P2P/Torrenting capable. Known for its good streaming speeds.
- CyberGhost – a 45-day money-back guarantee. P2P/Torrenting capable. Servers in more than 60 countries available.
- NordVPN – a 30-day money-back guarantee. P2P/Torrenting capable. Works well with Netflix. Servers in more than 60 countries available.
- IPVanish – a 7-day money-back guarantee. Works well with Netflix. Servers in more than 60 countries available.
- Private VPN – a 30-day money-back guarantee. Servers in more than 55 countries available.
Protect yourself with a VPN for Windows 10
The digital climate demands you to give thought to your online privacy and security. A VPN can provide many benefits, including protecting you from data theft.
As you search for your ideal VPN, focus on the five most important areas listed above. This will ensure that you get the best VPN for Windows 10.