VPN Services Software – an introduction
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a private network that uses a public network (usually the Internet) to connect remote sites or users together. The VPN uses “virtual” connections routed through the Internet from a company’s private network to the remote site or employee. By using VPN businesses ensure security – data is encrypted so it cannot be read.
VPN Services use different types of protocol to encrypt and transfer data securely, and protects data on public Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as from internet service providers, social sites, search engines and hackers.
Most VPNs provide security, but privacy is more of an issue. VPN logging systems will normally collect a user’s IP address, username, operating system, and times of connection and disconnection from a system as a minimum in nearly every case. That information can be sold to third parties, used for marketing, disclosed to legal authorities or just kept on file for ever.
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|Pure VPN||$10.95/mo||Visit website|
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|Avira VPN||$28.65/yr||Visit website|
The 10 most popular VPN Services Software platforms
1.NordVPN combines powerful features into an intuitive and easy-to-use package. The provider does not only let users choose a location when connecting to a VPN, but also allows them to select a VPN, depending on how they use it, be it streaming TV, ultra-secure privacy, anti-DDos (denial-of-service), or anonymity.
NordVPN allows up to six simultaneous connections of user devices at the same time, the only caveat being that each must use either different servers or be on different VPN protocols.
Users can either choose a server by country or by the type of server. They can also choose servers optimised for anti-DDos, video streaming, double VPN, Tor over VPN, and dedicated IP.
DNS leak protection and an internet kill switch are both included in the app. DNS leak protection prevents DNS requests going to a user’s ISP instead of NordVPN’s own DNS servers, improving privacy. A kill switch halts internet traffic in the event that the server connection drops, so nothing gets leaked on an ISP network unencrypted.
The software application also offers CyberSec which, when enabled, blocks add, malware and phishing attacks. It also offers encrypted proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers.
2. ZenMate is one of the few VPNs in the world that caters to those who do not speak English. The application can be customised to show text in German, Turkish, Korean, Russian or Spanish, as well as English. The website is available in a wide range of languages.
There is free version of the service offered which offers basic features with no data limits, although users are continually pestered to upgrade to the Premium service.
The free plan gives users access to servers in the US, Hong Kong, Germany and Romania, extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers, unlimited data throughput, and access to various security protocols and firewalls. Premium users get added features including the use of 30 servers in 29 countries, the allowance of five simultaneous connections, apps for Windows, Mac OS X, Android and iOS, a malware and tracker blocker and higher speeds.
3. ExpressVPN is an all-round VPN solution with an emphasis on high performance which makes it appealing for those who stream and are looking for privacy and security. It is not cheap but offers users high-end encryption, high speeds, and reliable access to the most popular sites. Server locations span the globe with a range of options in popular locations, particularly the US. The apps are very easy-to-use and are downloaded, installed and connected in minutes.
ExpressVPN offers encryption strength, security protocols and other features – including a kill switch – to appeal to users who prioritise privacy and security both on public Wi-Fi networks and at home.
4. Perimeter 81 offers 256-bit bank-level encryption, automatic Wi-Fi security, and single-click applications for every device to protect businesses from cyber threats and attacks. Perimeter 81 keeps team’s communications and online activities secure and private, even when employees are working remotely. The solution’s complete cloud management portal allows business owners and IT managers to easily monitor network access and proactively identify any suspicious activity.
The system is flexible and caters to an organisation’s needs no matter its size, with solutions available for small to medium-sized businesses, and enterprises.
5. Cisco AnyConnect is not limited to providing VPN access, but has a number of other capabilities that enable an organisation to secure the endpoint. It offers premium protection to users wherever they are located, ensuring that non-compliant or unregistered devices cannot gain access to an enterprise network.
All devices that a company provides to its employees are covered, regardless of type or operating system. The VPN has enhanced security and encryption features in place to guard against viruses, malware and other byte-sized threats.
6. Hide.me is a VPN provider with a reputation for security, anonymity and transparency. They are certified log-free and regularly publish a transparency report declaring any requests for user information from authorities. Hide.me offers, hosts and manages more than 100 servers in 28 countries, including the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany and France.
The solution uses a wide range of security protocols and offers a high level of encryption. The service can be used with Windows and Android-supported devices. There is also an app for OS X and iOS. Hide.me also offers a free anonymous proxy browser, which allows users to access blocked websites and use the internet anonymously. The application is very easy to install, configure and use.
7. Norton WiFi Privacy offers its users anonymity and online privacy by creating a private network from a public Internet connection, including unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. It encrypts sensitive data, like passwords and credit cards, before converting them into an unreadable, untraceable form until it gets to its final destination.
The Norton Wi-Fi Privacy application comes loaded with a range of security features that allow users to access their online content from anywhere in the world, even in restricted areas. Internet traffic and online activities are routed through a secure and encrypted funnel to the VPN service’s server, before getting to the Internet. This effectively prevents anyone on a local network from monitoring a user’s connection, and protects internet data and activities from cyber criminals.
The platform offers 25 server locations with at least two different servers in each location. This gives users the benefit of switching between multiple servers from different locations.
The application is compatible with all Windows operating systems, Android, Mac OS and Linux.
8. PureVPN has a wide network with more than 750 servers in over 140 countries. It simple app offers six security protocols and allows the user to change them easily. It also offers 256-bit encryption. There is also a kill switch that instantly disconnects a user from the Internet whenever the connection drops.
PureVPN offers a unique feature called split tunnelling. This means that some of a user’s traffic will pass through a VPN while other traffic can connect directly to the Internet. This way users can access some websites with the VPN while maintaining contact with other LAN devices. The platform offers unlimited bandwidth and leak protection.
PureVPN has limited streaming capability – it can access Hulu and BBC iPlayer, but not Netflix. It does allow, however, up to five simultaneous connections, and Android, iOS, Windows and Mac apps.
9. Avast SecureLine is an ultra-secure, all-round virtual private network client. The application encrypts a user’s connection with just one click to provide them with all-around privacy in their Mac and Windows machines, and Android and iOS devices. Currently the company has servers in 27 locations in 19 countries.
SecureLine is a good option for beginners and those who do not have the time to set-up more complicated services, and it takes only several minutes to install the application. If used on mobile devices, it has no impact on the speed of the device itself.
Other features include anonymous browsing, an instant access widget, and automatic reconnection when a user switches from data to Wi-Fi.
10. Avira Phantom VPN Pro is aimed at the home user. There is no complexity, limited choice and there are only 13 servers from which to choose.
There is a free account but it comes with a 500 MB/month data cap. It does not require registration or an email address; users can just download, install and connect. Users will not be able to streamline anything with this service, but for occasional low-bandwidth use, perhaps while travelling, it might be enough. Paying users, on the other hand, get unlimited data.
Phantom VPN does not log or track user activities and secures untrusted networks automatically. The VPN uses AES-256 encryption which is the industry standard and very difficult to break. It ensures that the ISP is not able to see users’ online activities and prevents the IP addresses from leaking.
Choosing the best VPN Software Services Provider
In terms of paid VPN services, while some users can expect both security and privacy to be provided, there is no such thing anymore as complete anonymity. Using a VPN provider outside their home country for privacy will not guarantee that law enforcement and private industry groups cannot access your data if they want to badly enough. Using a paid VPN service should offer a reasonable expectation of privacy, but it cannot be guaranteed.
Technology is also important when choosing a service provider. It does not take much to set up a VPN concentrator anymore, and there have arisen a number of fly-by-night VPN providers offering security and privacy policies without the technology to back them up. If a company does not have the right technology they could be putting both your privacy and security at risk. Therefore, when researching VPN providers, check that they are transparent with the level of encryption they offer, the security features they provide, and the reviews and press they have received. Then double-check those reviews and look for independent opinions of their services, to be sure.
Types of VPN Services
There are two main types of VPN services.
Remote Access VPN – allows users to remotely access the resources and services of a private network through the internet. This technology is useful for both home and business users.
Site-to-Site VPN – also known as Router-to-Router VPN. Useful for businesses that have offices in different places, as they can use this technology to link the networks in the different office locations.
A VPN extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Applications running across the VPN benefit from the functionality, security and management of the private network. VPN services offer security and privacy, but complete anonymity can never be guaranteed, and should not be expected.