Online privacy is a very hot topic these days, and we are all starting to realize just how important it is. A VPN is an essential tool that can help you combat the intrusions on personal privacy. They can also help you bypass any geo-restrictions and censorship that may be in place.
VPNs were once considered to be a niche tool used by some political activists and some small, tech-savvy companies. However, the recent legislation and controversies around online privacy and security have caused a massive surge in popularity for VPN services. Today, they are used by people all over the world to increase their online activism, amplify their message, and build an audience. VPN services are also used to protect their information from their ISP’s (Internet Service Providers), government bodies, and other entities that might want to spy on their online activities.
The future of VPNs is very bright. It's becoming clearer to people just how good VPNs are at protecting privacy and security, and more and more users are using VPN services. More and more companies are using VPNs to protect their data and their employees.
The main types of VPN services
There are many ways to categorize VPN services. You can do it by the price, their level of security, or through a comparison list. We will choose to go a different route and focus on the way we acquire them.
Free VPN services
As the name implies, one can start using these VPN services for free. They are supported by ads and offer limited protection. Some of them will claim to be good enough for protecting your privacy, but the truth is that they are not safe at all. You can get viruses or malware through them without even knowing it, so you need to keep in mind that when free VPN services are involved, you take a risk.
On the flip side, there are also paid variants of free VPN services that offer the same level of protection but don’t have ads or malware risks. They will usually be limited in bandwidth and in server access, which could lead to slow speeds when using them for streaming or downloading torrents.
Freemium VPN services (VPN services that also offer a paid version)
There are some VPN services out there that you can use for free, and if you want to enjoy their full benefits and security options, you will need to purchase a premium subscription. This subscription isn’t expensive and gives you access to all the features that the VPN service has to offer.
Paid VPN services
With a paid VPN service, one typically has access to a trial period or a money-back guarantee. That’s because the companies who make these VPN services know that if they were expensive, people wouldn’t buy them enough times to generate a profit from them.
In general, paid VPN services have more features, support larger networks of servers, and offer faster speeds than free counterparts. In addition, there is more of a focus on security and online anonymity with paid VPN services than their free counterparts. It’s safe to say that the extra money spent on the premium subscription is well worth it.
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Private VPN services
The private VPN service is also called a personal VPN. You cannot buy this type of service, as you will have to configure it on your own. This isn’t hard though, and many providers have tutorials on how to do it, although some people might not be tech-savvy enough to handle the configuration.
Private VPN services are usually configured for ease of use when streaming videos or downloading torrents. They offer a high level of speed and security, but they require the user to have an intermediate level of technical knowledge. You will need to spend some time and also invest some money into it, but the result will be worth the effort.
Advantages of a private VPN Service
A private VPN service that you set up on your own will give you the ultimate level of privacy and security. Since you will be the only user using the VPN service, you will probably see no captcha warnings when visiting popular websites and various web services.
Another big advantage is that your IP will not be flagged and banned from accessing sites. Most of the paid and free VPN services are known to internet providers, and the potential to be banned or stopped from using their services is very high.
Concerning privacy and security, a private VPN will also give you more peace of mind. Since you are the one configuring it, it is much easier to protect online activity through this type of VPN service. This will also make it easier for you to avoid censorship as well as geo-restrictions that may be in place from your internet service provider.
The security of a private VPN service is also very beneficial for those who want to use a free VPN service because it is usually much safer than using a random free provider's service if you have no idea which one to go with.
Lastly, you can choose the physical location of your private VPN service based on your needs, rather than what your other VPN service provider is offering. This is very helpful if you want to use a certain service that isn't available in your country or region.
Disadvantages of a private VPN Service
The biggest disadvantage is that you have to be tech-savvy enough to set up your VPN. The vast majority of people won’t have the time, patience, or even the knowledge to be able to configure it.
Another big drawback is maintaining your VPN service running smoothly and securely. With a paid or a free VPN service, you don't have to worry about security updates, patches, and maintaining VPN protocols – you just need to pick a good company and let them do the work.
One other disadvantage is the inability to change your server's location easily. With a premium and even a free VPN, you can choose servers from various locations around the world. If you configure your server, that usually sits in one location only.
Lastly, you will end up paying a bit more for having a private VPN service than for some premium VPN services, and you will also have to invest time into maintaining your service.
Overall, it is evident that there are both pros and cons to using a private VPN service. However, the benefits of privacy and security outweigh the disadvantages for most users. If you are tech-savvy enough to set up your own VPN service, then the advantages mentioned above will be available to you. Otherwise, you can choose a premium provider who will offer these features as well as ease of use.