Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have grown sporadically in the past few years. People are embracing these security tools because they provide anonymity and security for free or for a small fee. Some VPN providers can also help bypass geo restrictions, beat censorship and speed up streaming.
VPNs weren’t always so sophisticated and helpful. In the 1990s and early 2000s, VPNs were focused on security Internet connections alone. And not many of them were good at it. Over time, things changed:
Advanced Security Protocols
VPN providers have been working on improving security protocols for decades. The explanation is straightforward: many security techniques have drawbacks. OpenVPN is the most common security protocol on modern VPNs.
It’s an open-source protocol that combines cipher with has authentication to connect your Internet connection. Another popular security protocol is IKEv2/IPsec. And although popular and secure for regular Internet connections, it’s not entirely hack-proof.
L2TP/IPsec is yet another data tunneling protocol advertised by leading VPN networks. It’s one of the oldest security protocols in the world, created by Microsoft. Unfortunately, some hackers have ways of breaking this protocol.
As mentioned, OpenVPN is the most popular security protocol used by VPNs in 2021. This could soon change, though. That’s because developers have come up with a new faster, more reliable security protocol in WireGuard.
Personalization is a business practice that involves tailoring a customer’s experience based on their demographic, likes, and dislikes. For example, someone in Japan does not necessarily need to use a VPN in English.
Instead, you get a chance to use a VPN pay using Japanese yen, local banks, and surf the web securely through Japan-based servers. The benefit is that personalization improves the user experience.
Personalization happens in many ways, beyond common options like domestic payments and language support. It includes your app preferences, more so, how you use your VPN. Precisely, you can receive a dedicated VPN server to increase speed and convenience.
In the last few years, there’s been a trend urging VPNs to provide more information about how they work. The core reason for the trend is that governments around the world have become increasingly intrusive.
There are the Five-Eyes countries—The US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Then there’s the nine eyes: This list adds Denmark, Norway, France and the Netherlands. Finally, there’s the 14-eyes, which adds Belgium, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Sweden to the mix.
These countries work together to force companies to reveal people’s private information on request. As such, a VPN associated with any of the nation isn’t entirely secure, especially if there’s a record of cooperation with a government.
That said, the most transparent VPNs provide information about their locations and ownership. They also reveal details about their servers, whether they keep logs and if yes, which logs and for how long.
If you’ve been using a VPN for years, you probably remember the days when VPNs provide security support on desktop computers only. This changed over time, though. Nowadays, you can install your VPN on just about any device and platform:
- Desktop and Laptop PCs
- Windows and Mac Computers
- Android and iOS devices
- Raspberry PI and WiFi Routers
- Browser Extensions
To be clear, VPN providers come with a list of supported platforms. Not every company supports Raspberry Pi. Not every network offers support for Firefox or Google Chrome. All the same, there’s a VPN company with support for your preferred network.
In many cases, you need one account and one subscription for some or all of your devices. Some companies even allow you to log into different accounts simultaneously, thereby improving your security significantly.
Faster Uploads and Downloads
VPNs have a reputation of slowing down Internet connections. There’s some truth in the statement. And a decade ago, speed was certainly a major issue. But when it comes to VPNs in 2021, speed is hardly an issue.
The best VPN providers support maximum speeds of 480Mbps and average speeds of 200Mbps. This means you don’t ever need to worry about a VPN slowing your Internet connection unless you’re downloading very large files urgently.
With that in mind, VPN speeds can vary significantly. If you want a fast provider, take time compare multiple VPNs for speed. Look at both the downloads and uploads. What’s more, check the ping time.
VPNs in the early 2000s had a few capabilities only. A few of them could help you bypass geo-restrictions. But depending on their security protocols at the time, it was easy for a website or government to figure out you had a VPN.
Bypassing geo-restrictions is one of the many benefits of advanced security protocols. Of course, we’re talking about the OpenVPN protocol and how it it’s more secure and harder to hack than other data tunneling techniques.
More than half of VPN users utilize their security tools to bypass restrictions on entertainment websites. That means accessing Netflix, Hulu, Disney, BBC iPlayer and YouTube in places where these networks are restricted.
Some people use VPNs to beat tougher restrictions, say the great firewall of China. Regardless, VPNs have improved so much that you can overcome just about any geo-restriction with no risk of exposing your identity.
Servers Around the World
Lately, VPN companies have become obsessed with having servers in as many countries as possible. It’s probably a race to become the most available VPN provider in the world. It also helps improve a VPN’s speed in different countries.
And sure enough, it’s much easier to find a fast VPN nowadays than ever. Additionally, it’s easy to find a company with a VPN in a city or country near you. The best providers have servers in over 50 countries, and a total of over 2000 servers.
Virtual Private Networks are constantly changing. They invest in the good kind of change—change meant to improve privacy, access, convenience and speed. The modern VPN provider treats your data privately and won’t share it with anyone. More importantly, it provides outstanding services, whether you want to watch Netflix, surf privately or download torrent files.