Do you really know what an Elite VPN service is all about? Even if you were aware of the technical details, do you know why people use it and for what? Using a VPN and indeed understanding what one is about is increasingly important.
Most of the VPN providers compete on the same markets and each one of them tries to be the best. The technical details of VPN services can be rather confusing, even so, that an individual user might not be able to decide on which one to choose.
Virtual Private Networking may scary on the first sight, yet it is used daily by commercial and governmental organisations. VPN’s come in all the shapes and colours, and if you want one, it may feel like a form of art to pick up the best match.
101 of Virtual Private Networking
The name of VPN tries to be self-explanatory. It is networking, yes, and it is private, even more cool. The real core of the issue is that a VPN is virtual.
Anyone with cables and cutter can build up private physical networks, but VPN’s are networks built without cables on top of physical networks. In this way an existing public network can be used to expand existing physical network to have virtual enclaves elsewhere. To put it short, as example, it is like having the U.S. territory declared to an embassy overseas.
For businesses, using VPN’s has been daily routine for years. Businesses might access IT resources on-site, consumers and private individuals might use VPN’s to secure their network traffic.
Connecting into a VPN network requires a specific VPN Client application. That application will log the user in, set up the virtual interface and encryption protocols to route traffic between the host and guest networks. Once the encrypted tunnel over public internet between these two networks has been opened, all the communications between the network are immune for wiretapping.
This is the essential feature of VPN network. When having a properly running VPN connection set up, all the network traffic from that client will be sent over the public Internet as encrypted to the VPN server. This guarantees no-one could exploit the network traffic en-route.
You may have already used a VPN to connect to the network of your school or company. Or perhaps you have used one to watch a movie which was not available in your country yet. Both the use case scenarios are essentially the same.
Motivation and benefits
Virtual Private Network is about routing private traffic securely over the untrusted public network. Some categories of common motives and benefits of using a VPN connection can be laid out:
Institutional associate – Most companies want to enable their employees to access company resources remotely. Whether in the home office, customer site or holiday, most employees need to be online all the time. Similarly, less and less of the teaching in universities and schools is done on site. Instead students are expected to move around and collaborate with people. Still they need to have access to the resources of the institute, access library and course management systems. Business and education sectors are increasingly dependent on remote networking.
Content enthusiast – Local governments and company IT management are sometimes even required by law to inspect what traffic goes around within their cyberspace. Using a fire sharing application like BitTorrent can be a good way to access a lot of public and private content, yet that can lead red flags rising on the border zone of the network.
Political activist and security promotor – Staying under the global intelligence radar of the network may be a way of life for some. Defending rights for privacy in the political level or just being an enthusiast about security matters, both of them may become persons of interest and benefit of VPN technologies.
Global Citizens – Some globalists there are not many justifications left to let local TV broadcasters to monopolise the media access. They want to see and explore things as those happen. Accessing online sport, movies, serials or distant radio channels can be a human right, not something in competence of local broadcasting company.
Most of us can actually benefit of using an encrypted VPN connection. Airports, coffee shops, libraries, you name it! All of them are networks you could not trust. A simple thing as logging in to a social media may expose a lot of your private information for other users of that network.
How to pick up the best and get rid of the rest?
An Elite VPN service provider needs a lot of network bandwidth – a lot. Many of them also need quite many servers around the world. Then there are the various clients connecting using old and strange client applications, so many connection protocols need to be supported. Finally there is the question of money.
These things are what you should consider when choosing a VPN provider:
Connection protocols – While the details of the connection may not be visible for end-user, it may be good to be aware of what protocols one is using. Some of them are older than others, some more weak than others. Coming up with terms like SSL/TLS, PPTP, IPSec and L2TP is common and not all service vendors are able or willing to explain further. Currently, IPSec is perhaps the way to go, at least many businesses are running that already.
Entry and exit points – If you use VPN to watch a movie available only in one specific country, then for you it is essential to ensure that your VPN provider does have an exit point in that country. Setting up a comprehensive exit point coverage can cost a lot for the VPN provider, thus they typically provide just a couple of countries. Furthermore, another thing to consider is the law enforced at the exit point. In the cyberspace there are no visas or passports, falling under a foreign legislature might happen silently!
Logging – You won’t hand over your home keys for local mailman, for sure. Would you grant similar level access to your information for your VPN provider? Some operators may even be associates of global intelligence operators, and all of your stuff suddenly ends in the hands of them you wanted to hide from! Things like logging policy may or may not reveal you the fact they are spying on their customers. Local regulations on data retention (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_data_retention#United_States) and logging may also be enforced for the VPN operator.
Additional application level protection features – VPN infrastructure provides means to implement additional measures to protect you from malware, viruses and spyware. Like corporate networks, VPN operator could enforce policies to try to keep you off from malicious sites as well.
While there are increasing numbers of VPN providers on the market, there are also quite a lot of ranking lists and indeed confusion on how to rank them. Evaluating them from the point of view of the above criteria may be helpful in deciding on which one to choose. Or better, ask someone who already does use one for their experience. Trying out a couple of them can also be a lot of fun. Just don’t pay them before you get what you want.