Is there a limit to bypassing internet restrictions when using a VPN? Are there VPN providers that offer more anonymity than others? What makes a VPN connection fast? Here are 5 things VPN providers don’t really talk about or maybe don’t want you to know.
- Anonymity levels may vary – once you connect to a VPN it doesn’t mean you are completely anonymous. Some providers log some of their user’s data, for example. Having your own IP address may sound amazing, but open your eyes and do the math. If your VPN Provider assigns you your unique IP address per session, he will be able to track down your VPN ID with your accounting information to the IP given at the moment of the usage. This will make you easier to spot. If you want a better identity protection, sign up for a VPN service that has multiple users on the same IP, like tigerVPN or Hide.me. This way, they could never tell who is responsible for a certain activity as the exit IP is shared by multiple users at the same time. Make sure you carefully read your VPN provider’s anonymity policy.
- Connection speed may also vary – saying that a VPN service is faster than another is not necessarily correct. It depends on how the connection is made between the customer’s ISP and the node of choice. For example, if you are in New York and you want to connect to Madrid, it depends on the routing of the traffic. Let’s say your ISP is Verizon and has peering with your VPN Provider in proximity, from now on, you will be on a relatively direct connection to the Madrid VPN node. However, if Verizon does not interconnect directly or in close proximity, they may hand over the traffic first in New York, move it to another network, where they send it to let’s say Frankfurt, from there it goes to Berlin and god knows where else, until it finally reaches the VPN Provider… well, you get the point. This is done by the principles of the internet routing and can vary a lot.
- There are some restrictions even a VPN can’t bypass – in some cases, for example university networks permit the use of a VPN. They do this by filtering the network on a protocol level not allowing any connections using L2TP; PPTP or OpenVPN, while this is very rare, it has happened before.
- Variety of locations is (at least) as important as number of locations – a VPN provider can have 100 locations in 10 countries. Other might have 100 locations in 100 countries. Make sure you check if your provider has nodes in your preferred locations. It’s always better to choose a VPN provider with more diverse locations, on more continents, with connections even in more exotic locations. Who knows when you might need a secure connection via Dubai? If you want fast connections through exotic should check if your VPN provider has servers in more parts of the world.
- Multi device experience is essential – your VPN provider should have functional mobile apps and allow you to experience the service on various devices. Before you sign up for a VPN subscription that you’ll use on your PC, make sure you don’t need a second subscription for your Android device or iPhone (for example).
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