The internet can be a dark place. Its dangers lie in those who lurk behind screens around the world. There are malicious hackers, who spread viruses for no reason but that they can.
There are anarchists trying to bring down “the system”. And then there are those who have a much more productive goal: steal your information or identity for financial benefit.
And, since the vast majority of internet users do not know better, cybersecurity can be laughable, to say the least. Phishing scams work all too easily. Locations can be tracked by any hacker worth their salt.
>See also: VPN and maintaining corporate privacy
Which is why VPN services are booming. VPNs hide your location and encrypt your data, so that no one can identify where you are or what you’re doing. They’re all but vital in today’s world, but how do you go about choosing the right one? You can click through to an ExpressVPN review, but it’s worthwhile to know exactly what you should be looking for.
1. What do you need it for?
Your first priority should be online security, but let’s face it. VPNs serve another very particular role. They help people access content that is either region specific or blocked in their country. If you’re outside the US or UK, you have far fewer options available to you for video streaming. Netflix’s catalogue is woefully lacking in some places.
However, streaming services have started blocking VPNs. For those who streaming content is a priority, a VPN’s success at beating these blocks is imperative. Furthermore, this could decide for you whether you choose a monthly or yearly subscription package, as what works for streaming today may not work tomorrow.
2. How much does it cost?
Note that the question is how much it costs, and not whether it’s free. Yes, there are free VPNs out there, but they are not enough for those serious about web security.
You need your VPN to be active at all times, but free VPNs have bandwidth caps. They may also be more vulnerable to breaches, and forget about customer service. Web security is a huge priority. Chances are, you can afford to spend $10 a month.
3. Does it connect to multiple devices?
Web security is crucial both on your computer and smart devices. Unfortunately, some VPN providers don’t seem to recognise you might want to use both at the same time.
>See also: Best VPN services for UK customers
This is especially important if you have a family or live with others. Make sure what you’re paying for will serve all those in your home. Because it’s not uncommon to have the whole household online on their phones while watching Netflix.
And yes, in an ideal world we’ll all focus on one thing and not split our focus and lower our attention spans. But sometimes, you need to do some online banking you did not have time for earlier, despite some riveting action currently on your screen.
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