Hundreds of millions of people now use VPNs or Virtual Private Networks. The most important thing to remember is that a recognized premium VPN is something you should always use for maximizing your cybersecurity and data privacy gains. Why is this the case? In fact, you may be shocked to know that there are only a handful of VPNs out there right now that you should use while avoiding the rest of the heap. This is not to bash VPN companies, it is just that top-tier premium VPNs are considered top-tier for a reason and have proven their worth in gold.
With the amount of cybercrime, surveillance, and dangerous apps (and websites) in existence, not to mention harmful online individuals, criminals, and aggressive web publishers (marketers), running your internet connection through a VPN should be a no-brainer at this point. Remember, again, this means a premium VPN.
In case you are confused or curious, there are several aspects we need to deconstruct in order to appreciate why anything other than a premium VPN may spell serious danger (a headache at the very least that is not necessarily harmful) for you and your devices.
First off, what even is a VPN? Good question!
What are VPNs?
A VPN stems from tunneling software. A tunnel would be the simplest way to describe it. It operates at the OS level of a computer or device and has no impact on system performance in any significant way. Any system, from Linux, Windows to Mac, or Android can be secured with a VPN. Think of it as the third step which comes after where we get the internet from i.e., underground cabling and switches under our streets.
The cabling that ends up in our home or business wireless or wired routers needs to go to our router. Therefore, we can access the internet with an internet browser. So, the steps are as follows; internet source under the street/switching box > internet router > VPN > culminating at the point where we access the internet via a browser.
Today’s VPNs, particularly premium VPNs, utilize highly sophisticated features like practically uncrackable 256-bit encryption, advanced kill switches, and specialized connection options for individual purposes.
Solid VPNs also connect to several specialized proprietary servers all over the world. This then allows the user’s internet connection to be placed in that country/city. VPN technology is offered by dozens (perhaps hundreds) of VPN providers. These products are offered across app stores and websites.
VPNs are also extremely practical for marketing and research. Their ability to switch a user’s current IP address (physical numerical location) with another something indicated as being somewhere else in a completely different country, is uncanny.
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Why Are Premium VPNs The Optimal Choice?
We can best describe this with real-world metaphorical examples. One of these examples can be from an everyday scenario, while the other can be something more specific like IT security.
Let’s say that you are purchasing a motorcycle helmet, how much money would you invest in this helmet that is critical for your survival and protection, and would you research the company and technology behind it? Surely the answer is a resounding yes.
Secondly, would you be more comfortable with a pirated rogue operating system that cannot receive updates, for example, and puts all of your data into question or would you pay upfront for the foundation of your entire PC to be solid? The answer to this is also probably affirmative. Why these two examples? Well, this is the same process of logic and common sense that should go into your selection of a VPN.
Since a VPN functions at the core level of your internet connection (so before everything else) and it processes the raw data at the foundational level, you would not want to compromise something like that. Picking the wrong VPN is much, much worse than picking the wrong anti-malware or antivirus program because these are supplementary components that can only do so much damage. On the other hand, handing over your internet connection to an untrustworthy or illegitimate VPN vendor can have terrible consequences.
What are these consequences? You can be spied on, your data can be stolen, your system can be hacked, and your data can be sold. Why would you do that, right?
Hold on, that is not to say that free VPNs are always bad, but common sense tells you always to be cautious when it comes to free things!
What are VPNs?
When it comes to choosing VPNs, there are free VPNs, low-tier VPNs, medium-tier VPNs, and those that are higher up known as the gods of VPN. Low-tier VPNs and free VPNs, in general, should be avoided, with some exceptions. Top industry cybersecurity and privacy overview portals have done the hard work and found some good free VPNs such as; Privado, Proton, TunnelBear, and Windscribe. What does a ‘good’ free VPN mean? This means that you will not be hacked if you install these VPNs, and your data will not be compromised.
However, with free VPNs your speeds will be limited, your server choices will be unsatisfactory, your encryption will not be top-notch and your internet connection may droop from time to time. You also probably won’t get someone nice and professional responding to your customer support requests. You asked for free, right? These are the best of the best for the distinguished freeloaders out there.
Now, let’s say you are serious about your cybersecurity and the safety of your data (which, of course, you are) then you should always go for a quality VPN provider. Let’s call these the Mercedes of the VPN world. Some of these cool players are NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and Cyberghost.