VPN or Virtual Private Networks sometimes get a bad name from people because they feel it is a way to avoid the law. I actually have used a VPN service for many years now. I am an American and have been living abroad for the past 5 plus years now. At first I asked myself, “Why do I need a VPN?” that was then followed by, “What is the best VPN Service?” Keep reading and I will happily walk you through the steps.
I know this is a little different from my normal type of post, about building an online business. I just felt it was important to touch on something that has been an integral part of my life for so many years.
Why do I need a VPN?
There are many reasons to utilize a VPN. Different parts of the world access the internet differently. Not everything you are used to getting in your home country is available in other countries. Here is a great example. If you travel to Europe and you watch NetFlix or Hulu, you will not be able to access your account. If you are able to access your NetFlix account then the available shows will be different. Hulu on the other hand is only available in the US. To most people this would not make a difference, but if you travel for business it can be a very useful tool.
Another reason you might want a VPN is to help secure data. A VPN is like a giant pipe that nothing can penetrate. It connects the input (your computer) directly to an output (what you are looking at). Many VPN services also utilize special encryption to help secure data. This encryption is vital to keeping your information private.
Many companies use VPN services to log into their computers for their employees. This helps prevent sensitive information from leaking out to the competition. Keeping data safe is a must in today’s corporate world. This is especially true when its employees travel in other countries.
Then of course there is the “Big China” issue. As I stated earlier I am an American but have lived abroad for over 5 years now. I have been in China for over 2 years. For those of you that don’t know, you cannot access Google, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter and more from China. This alone brought me to search for the best VPN in China. Just imagine a world without those sites available to you. It would be fine if I had never used them, but I had and I am connected to my friends. I really didn’t want to lose that connection.
Okay, I know many of you reading this might think that you don’t need a VPN service because you don’t travel out of your home country. I can understand that, but really a VPN adds an extra layer of security for personal or sensitive information. Once I started using a VPN, about 10 years ago, I have never stopped. The costs of them is nominal, some you can even get for free. That being said the free services have their limitations and tend to really slow your connection down.
What to look for in a VPN Service
Glad to see you are still reading. There are so many services out there that claim to be the best and the cheapest. The first thing you want to look for is multiple connection points. By this I mean servers located in different cities across the country you want to log into. For example if you want to log into the US, you would like to see servers in most of the major cities in different parts of the country. (LA, NY, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago…) This along with the ability to change your access point is important. If there is an issue in one part of the country due to weather you won’t lose access to the VPN.
Another good thing to look for is multiple countries, especially if you are a globetrotter. Since I have lived in 4 countries I have grown fond of local shows from those countries. With a VPN I can log into the country and still watch those shows I have grown to enjoy.
You need reliability and a good responsive customer service. I think this makes perfect sense and I will not insult your intelligence by writing too much more on that.
There are several different kinds of protocol that VPNs utilize. That being said the most common one is “open VPN” this does not mean it is open to anyone. It is just a name. You will also see PPTP, L2TP, SSTP and even IKEv2. These all have different strengths and weaknesses. Each one has a purpose it is best suited to, however, they are all reliable and none is really better than the other. I think the best VPN services have multiple types of protocols that you can change to free of charge.
Just about every one of them has free VPN software. I know you are thinking of course the software is free you are paying for the service. Actually you don’t need the software to use the service. You can just set up a network on your computer then you never need to use the software. The free VPN software downloads just make it easier than setting the network up by yourself if you’re not tech savvy. It also makes it much easier to change the settings than if you set up a network.
The Best VPN Services
Okay, Marc, you have rambled on enough, just tell the people what they want to know. What are the best VPN services? I think even the best free VPN Services lack the ability to give you a quality service. Therefore, here are what I believe are the best VPN services out there.
This has quickly turned into my favorite VPN out there. You can easily change server locations. Quickly seeing the fastest connection out there and being able to use multiple devices at that same time is GREAT! They have a monthly plan for $12.95 per month, a 6 month plan for $9.99 per month, and a 12 month plan for $8.32 per month. You can give them a try here. If you want to read my full review on them you can do so here.
Overplay VPN service
This is a great service, they have two separate services. One is for unblocking content which is a smart DNS. They have packages from 1 month to a year. The one month simple VPN starts at $4.95 per month, $13.95 for the three month service, $26.95 for 6 months of service, or $49.95 for 12 months of service.
Their premium package includes security for those that want a fully capable encrypted connection. The different tiers are $9.95 for one month, $27.95 for 3 months, $52.95 for 6 months, or $99.95 for 12 months. You can give them a try here.
Pure VPN Service
This service is a great reliable service. It allows you to log onto up to 5 different devices at the same time. Most services make you pay extra money for each additional device at the same time. The VPN is encrypted for that extra protection. Prices start at $9.95 for a monthly plan, $44.95 for a 6 month plan and $49.95 for an annual plan. You can give them a try here.
IPVanish VPN Service
This is another of my favorite. It has over 165 servers locate in over 60 countries and has over 25,000 IPs. Remember when I said multiple servers in each county. Well this one has just that. The prices start at $10.00 for a monthly subscription, $26.99 for a three month subscription, and $77.99 for a one year subscription. You can give them a try here.
Strong VPN Service
This was my mainstay VPN for the majority of the years. update: Recently they changed their system and the customer service is email service only. I had a small issue and the instantly went to sales tactic saying I should upgrade the package. This turned me off and I actually canceled my service. Furthermore their previous exceptional customer service you may still get but it is at an additional cost now. It had exceptional service, unlimited speed, PPTP and OpenVPN protocols. Even the basic package has over 262 servers. The middle package has up to 313 servers and the biggest package has over 390 servers. Packages start at $6.25/mo for the lite service, $4.58 for their middle tier service (Current Special), and $12.95 for their deluxe service. All services include full encryption and 24/7 help. You can give them a try here.
There are so many VPN services out there. They are very useful in protecting your private information and accessing things you may not have access to while traveling. Keeping you and your computer safe from outside intrusions is just one of the functions of a VPN. That does not mean you are 100% safe from hackers or viruses, you still need your antivirus and firewalls, but it is just another measure to ensure your security. Thank you for listening to my rant about VPNs. I will get back to the basics on building an online business and scams to avoid in the next topics.
Please let me know your experiences with VPNs, or feel free to ask questions and add comments below.