VPNs are indispensable, period! However, the Virtual Private Network you choose should adhere to your personal and professional requirements. As every VPN is created differently, it often becomes difficult to zero in on the client that offers features as per your expectations. Therefore, it is advisable to understand more about the critical features instead of wasting time checking each VPN at length.
In the subsequent sections, we shall take a closer look at the critical yet underrated VPN feature that more or less comprises the entire functional module. However, you will hardly find a VPN with every enlisted feature in place, and even if you do, pricing will be a cause for concern.
So, let’s cut the gibberish and get the ball rolling by taking a closer look at the relevant feature sets:
1. Mobile Support
Understandably, you might want to use the VPN with the MacBook, Mac, or even the Windows PC. Moreover, once you purchase a VPN, getting PC-relevant client software is certainly on the expected lines. However, it is the mobile support that judges the true character of the concerned VPN, as its first line of defense between your device and the public wireless connections that you log into while casually sitting in a café.
Therefore, it is advisable to opt for a VPN that is compatible with multiple mobile operating systems. Not just that, setting up the same on your smartphone and iOS must be a cakewalk.
2. Server Spread
A VPN is probably the best way to surf the internet anonymously. But have you ever pondered upon the fact that how exactly VPN achieves such insane levels of privacy and anonymity?
The answer is the server spread that allows the VPN to mask your existing server and replace the same with a temporary one, located at a distant location. This is why it is advisable to invest in a VPN that has an extensive server spread.
However, the server spread doesn’t always mean the number of servers that a VPN can churn out. Instead, it also concerns the number of server locations that a VPN can operate from. In case the VPN has a pretty well-segregated server setup, it becomes easier to access region-specific content without breaking a sweat.
3. Protocol Selections
We all know that a VPN works by tunneling your data packets via a secured pathway, which connects any public or unsecured private network to the source. However, things aren’t that easy as they sound, especially if you are looking to purchase an enterprise VPN.
In this case, you need to emphasize the type of VPN protocol, which also determines the way your data is being routed by the concerned client. However, the protocol selection depends on the type of VPN you are aiming to get. For instance, you can either select a VPN client that works has two protocols in play i.e. one for tunneling the data and the other for securing the traffic, or one that has a single protocol for every task at hand.
Not just that, there are 5 important VPN protocols to consider, including PTPP, L2TP, SSTP, VPN, and IKEv2. Then again, the preferred protocol and the corresponding choice of VPN remain discussions for another day.
4. Anonymous DNS
DNS concerns your online identity, where the domain name is converted into an IP address that the internet understands. However, for the sake of anonymity, you would want to invest in a VPN that has quite a few anonymous servers to secure your traffic and the identity pertaining to the same.
Every DNS goes through a specific translation process. If you are accessing your website in a foreign country or over a public network, it is advisable to invest in a reliable VPN that has several anonymous servers to work with.
5. Kill Switch
Are you an avid movie buff who prefers downloading content via torrents? If the answer is in the affirmative, the VPN kill switch becomes all the more important. Moreover, you need to realize that only a handful VPN providers support torrent downloads and the ones that are compatible with torrent clients have the dedicated kill switch to rely on.
As far as the concept is concerned, the Kill Switch is a feature that terminates the internet connection or the downloading process, if and when the VPN fails. Therefore, you need not worry about the ISP identifying your activities and throttling speeds in the process.
However, the kill switch doesn’t impact other processes but only the ones that are being initiated via the virtual private network.
6. Log Policy
VPNs have specific logging policies that they must adhere to. However, the concept of logging the usage and traffic history of the clients is the prerogative of the country that the VPN is originally associated with.
That said, not every VPN has stringent logging policies where they end up keeping a close eye on the browsing habits and activities of the clients, which can then be shared with the authorities if required.
The best-case scenario is to opt for a VPN that has a ‘No Log’ policy. While certain VPN providers might claim the same, you must cross-check every aspect in detail to catch the hidden norms and monitoring possibilities.
7. Router Compatibility
Have you ever considered the possibility of installing the VPN on the router so that the entire network gets encrypted at once? While every VPN doesn’t offer this flexibility, it is always a nice feature to have.
That said, in addition to a compatible VPN, a relevant and supportive router is also necessary for the same.
8. Split Tunnelling
Every Internet Service Provider keeps track of at least the bandwidth usage. Therefore, it is ill-advised to route every bit of traffic through the VPN as then the ISP will realize the workaround and will still throttle your speeds.
This is where Split Tunnelling comes forth as one of the more reliable features. Split tunneling, if and when activated, routes specific activities like torrenting and streaming via the VPN whereas the usual internet traffic takes the conventional route and doesn’t raise eyebrows.
9. Channel Bonding Support
Do you even realize that VPNs have the ability to speed up the internet connections and cumulative speeds in addition to providing anonymity? With channel bonding technology, you can, as this selective feature allows you to make the most of two broadband or internet connections emanating out of different networks whilst combining them for achieving insane speeds.
Not to mention the increased reliance on the VPN bonding technology in 2021 as most users are still busy streaming frantically or binging TV shows while at home.
While cost-effectiveness isn’t actually a feature, it can be highlighted as an important parameter for selecting the perfect VPN. Although it is advisable to look for affordable options, a free VPN isn’t the way to go as these options have limited security safeguards and bandwidth restrictions. Besides, if you seriously want to invest in a VPN that attracts a sizable price tag, consider billing the same as a yearly plan to get significant waivers.
VPN, as a resource, has never been this popular before. With work from home becoming a sustained reality and streaming wars at the peak physical form, it is appropriate to find ways to mask your identity while surfing the web. Besides, 2020 has been the worst year in terms of cyber-attacks which further vindicates the role of VPNs.
However, before selecting the desired VPN client, it is necessary to evaluate the available options as per the aforementioned features and parameters. The Virtual Private Network client that houses all or most of the attributes should cut as it has the ability to safeguard your professional and even personal data as and when required.