If you use or plan to use a VPN service, it’s crucial to understand the specific features that will maximize its benefits. Some of these features are merely marketing ploys, renamed by VPN providers to sound more appealing. However, other features constitute the core of a VPN, and it’s important to ensure their optimal functionality. Here are the main VPN features and how they work.
Any VPN service worth considering must include powerful encryption. Otherwise, your Internet activities could be monitored by your ISP or anyone else, and hackers could potentially steal sensitive data.
Remember, reliable encryption algorithms like AES (both AES-128 and AES-256) are always an excellent choice. This advanced encryption standard is trusted by the likes of the NSA, Microsoft, and Apple, and as far as we know, it remains uncrackable. To put it into perspective, even a supercomputer would take a mind-boggling 1 billion years to crack AES-128. For the utmost security, prioritize encryption in your VPN service selection.
#2 Logging Policy
This specific VPN feature, marketed as a “zero-log” or “no-logging” policy, is incredibly perplexing. Why do I say that? Because I know how most VPN services deceive us (or at least knowingly mislead us).
When I mention a transparent logging policy, I’m not talking about a headline on the company’s homepage saying “We Don’t Log ANY Information…We Promise!” A blanket statement of “We Don’t Log” doesn’t constitute a clear logging policy.
#3 Kill Switch
What is a VPN kill switch? A VPN Kill Switch serves as a tool that cuts off all Internet access on your device if you lose connection to a VPN server. Despite its seemingly strict function, it stands as one of the most valuable features offered by VPN services as it shields you from accidental exposure online. The kill switch is a valuable VPN feature that means you won’t accidentally connect to a site if your VPN connection is lost. You can read more about VPN kill switch here. If we get personal, VeePN has such a function. Whatever VPN purpose you are pursuing, this technology must be implemented in your service.
#4 VPN Protocols
Any reputable VPN provider will grant you the ability to connect to a server using OpenVPN – the most secure VPN protocol available. However, it is not the only protocol considered safe. Here are other examples of dependable VPN protocols:
Of course, it won’t hurt if the VPN provider allows you to use less secure VPN protocols (like PPTP) as well. Maybe you sometimes need to quickly unblock geo-restricted content on the go without worrying about online security. Remember, the stronger the encryption, the more likely your connections may experience some slowdown (although this isn’t always guaranteed, it’s worth noting).
#5 DNS Leak Protection
If you don’t know anything about DNS leaks, it means that your browser’s DNS requests are sent directly to your ISP’s DNS server, without being routed through the VPN. DNS, which stands for Domain Name System, is responsible for translating IP addresses into website names and vice versa.
As a consequence, a DNS leak can expose the websites you visit to your ISP and other potential eavesdroppers, even if you’re using a VPN.
#6 Split Tunneling
Split tunneling represents a popular VPN feature that empowers you to choose the apps you wish to secure with the VPN while enabling other apps to function normally. This feature effectively allows you to maintain privacy for some of your internet traffic while routing the remaining traffic through the local network.
Utilizing split tunneling serves as a valuable technique to conserve bandwidth by selectively sending only a portion of your internet traffic through the tunnel. By doing so, you can safeguard sensitive data transfers without encountering the typical lags in other online activities caused by the VPN.
#7 Cross-Platform Compatible
If you own at least 3-4 devices for accessing the web (such as laptops, smart TVs, PCs/Macs, iOS/Android devices, etc.), using a VPN service limited to only 1-2 devices might pose flexibility issues. That’s why reliable VPN providers offer applications compatible across platforms, ensuring their service works on various devices and operating systems. More advanced VPN service providers even offer a free extension for most browsers. Even if a specific device/OS (like Linux) isn’t covered by an application, they will still provide configuration files and tutorials, enabling users to set up everything themselves.
#8 IP Shuffle
A VPN privacy feature called IP shuffling randomizes your IP address. A VPN reconnects you to a different VPN server at regular intervals to achieve this. You can set the shuffling frequency in most VPNs, ranging from every 10 minutes to once an hour or a day.
To ensure protection in the face of increasing security threats, you need an indispensable tool like VPNs. When selecting a VPN, prioritize services that have a strict no-logs policy, as well as security features like a VPN kill switch and leak protection. By comprehending VPN jargon and understanding how different features function, you can select a VPN service tailored to your requirements.