In today’s digital age, the digital world is an integral part of our day-to-day existence. With online shopping, digital banking, streaming services, and WFH arrangements becoming the norm, almost every facet of our lives is connected to the Internet.
While being constantly connected is beneficial to us in a multitude of ways, it brings a number of significant challenges with it nowadays. The rise of data-driven business has given further incentives to companies who would seek to monitor our online activities, and this puts our privacy under increased threat. Simultaneously, the continued proliferation of cybercrime means that the risk of experiencing a security breach is at an all-time high.
In the face of such challenges, the VPN industry is flourishing, and there are now a wide array of free VPN solutions to help preserve the safety and security of your online experience at no cost. While choice is always welcome, however, it can also cause a dilemma for the inexperienced when it comes to choosing the best free VPN solution. Thankfully, making the right choice is not as difficult as it might seem at first, and you can quickly narrow down your options by assessing them according to a few simple criteria.
What is a VPN and how does it work?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a software solution designed to help users browse the Internet in safety and privacy. Via a secure tunnel, a VPN redirects user traffic to a proxy server in another geographic location.
Through this process, a VPN masks the IP address of the user, making it impossible for third parties to track their online activities or see which sites they browse. Moreover, a VPN encrypts a user’s traffic. This means that should their data be intercepted, it will be impossible to decipher. As such, a VPN helps to protect your private data, especially when using unsecured public networks.
How to choose a good VPN for free?
As has been mentioned above, there are many different free VPN options available to you today. Of course, not all VPNs are equal in every respect, so the choice you make will depend on your specific priorities.
When making your choice, the following should be your primary considerations:
- Server selection
One of the most important factors to consider is the server selection that a VPN provider offers. Since virtual private networks function by directing traffic through remote servers, the location of those servers is highly important.
The best VPN providers will offer servers in various geographical regions. This will enable you to always have access to a server in your preferred region so that you can use the privacy afforded you by your VPN to circumvent geo-blocking and other kinds of restrictions, regardless of where you’re browsing from.
- Connection speeds
Similarly, connection speeds are important. After all, having a secure and private connection is little consolation if your browsing activity is being hampered by poor performance.
When choosing a VPN, take the provider’s server count into consideration, as this can be a good indicator of performance. Providers with high server counts can generally offer more bandwidth to users, which corresponds to higher connection speeds and a better all-around experience.
It is important to note that all VPNs are inclined to reduce connection speed to some degree due to their innate workings. However, the extensive bandwidth that high-quality VPN providers offer will largely offset this, making any drop in speed almost imperceptible.
- Encryption technology
Lastly, the most important consideration of all should be the encryption technology on offer. Since the encryption process is what allows VPNs to provide you with increased privacy and security, you will naturally want to benefit from the best encryption available.
There is a range of different encryption protocols in use by popular VPN providers, however, some protocols are less secure than others. AES (Advanced Encryption System) is considered the industry standard but there are other options such as Triple DES, RSA, and more, which could equally suit your needs.
The rise of cybercrime and the increasingly data-dependent economy of our times have created a greater need for solutions that galvanize our personal privacy and security, and VPNs are filling that niche. There are a plethora of free VPN solutions on offer nowadays, but by prioritizing security, speed, and server selection, you can quickly narrow down the options and find a free VPN solution that meets your most critical needs.