The Key Security Features To Look Out For In VPNs

When you’re searching for a VPN, what are the essential features you should be looking for? With so many VPNs out there, how can you be sure you’re choosing the right one? People use VPNs for a variety of reasons, whether that’s bypassing geoblocks to access TV shows and films in other countries; adding an extra layer of protection when they’re using the internet; or connecting to private servers to increase the speed of their connection, ultimately creating a more enjoyable online experience whether they’re gaming or shopping online.

Whatever your reason is for using a VPN, you should always make sure you’re choosing a VPN service that has the privacy of its users at the very top of its concerns. There are thousands of VPNs to choose from, all of which have their own unique security features, primarily depending on where they’re located and which protocol they use (the protocol being a set of rules that’s used to establish a connection between the VPN client and the VPN server). There are VPNs out there that offer their servers for free, too. Be warned: this often comes at the hidden cost of them selling your personal information to third parties. 

Why Is Security So Important? 

Every time you connect to the internet, your journey from website to website is being documented by your ISP. You’re leaving virtual footprints, and as well as your ISP seeing these, others can see what you’re up to if you let your guard down. If your internet connection is ever intercepted, perhaps through a malware attack, hackers will be able to gain valuable information such as your usernames, passwords and even banking information to scam you. Enhanced security is one of the main reasons people choose to start using a VPN, so it’s important to know what you should be looking for. 

To help make sure your VPN decision is the right decision, we’ve listed out the key security features you should be looking for and why they’re so important. 

A Clear No-Logging Policy 

In some countries, authorities are allowed to make requests to companies to obtain information about their users. These requests may be made when illegal activity is presumed, or to aid with an investigation. If a VPN has a no-logging or zero log policy, it means that if such a request was made, they won’t be able to supply any information that could be used to identify you. 

While most VPNs will claim to have a no-logging policy, it’s important to read through their privacy policy carefully to see what information they actually keep. It’s not unusual for a VPN to keep session logs, as they help keep track of how much bandwidth individual sessions are using. You don’t want your VPN to be keeping IP logs, as these can be traced to certain periods of activity and ultimately be used to identify you. 

When you’re choosing a VPN, make sure you choose one which clearly outlines how it registers and stores your information in its privacy policy. 

A Kill Switch 

Kill switches are an incredibly important feature for a VPN to have. The kill switch ensures that if you’re suddenly disconnected from your VPN, you’ll also be disconnected from your internet connection and any apps that are using it will be closed. This means you should never have to worry about your information and IP address being exposed – even for a brief second – if you ever get disconnected from your VPN. 

Double VPN Protection 

What’s better than one VPN? Two. Double VPN protection works by routing your internet traffic through two private VPN servers, rather than just one, essentially encrypting your information twice. 

DNS Leak Protection 

Every time you connect to a domain, whether that’s Google, Facebook, or Fox News, a DNS request is generated. This request essentially exposes your identity to the online world as it reveals your IP address, which can be used to trace you. Some ISPs are even able to work out which domains you normally search for even while you use a VPN. Well, at least if you’re connected to a VPN without DNS leak protection. 

DNS leak protection stops DNS requests from reaching your ISP by handling it within its own VPN DNS network. This process means that all of the information you’re transferring stays between you and your VPN provider, rather than your ISP, helping to protect your anonymity. 

IPv6 Leak Protection 

Whenever you connect to the internet, an IP address is generated which lets other devices on the internet know which computers are sending which requests for information. The IP addresses that were generated until now followed a certain format known as IPv4, which is four different numbers that can be any value from 0 to 255 (104.203.23.102). 

Due to the number of devices that are now using the internet, the number of IPv4 addresses is starting to run out, which means a new addressing format had to be created: IPv6. 

Unfortunately, as this is all relatively new, it means there are still some VPN providers out there that don’t support IPv6 and aren’t able to block IPv6 requests. This means that if you’re using a VPN without IPv6 Leak Protection, your ISP will still be able to see your IP address and potentially identify you. 

You should always look for a VPN that offers this sort of protection as it ensures your web traffic remains private and secure when you’re browsing the web. 

TrustedServer Technology (ExpressVPN only

Most VPN servers depend on hard drives to operate, which means if those hard drives are ever compromised in a data breach, your personal information could be exposed. ExpressVPN has protected against this risk by introducing what they call TrustedServer technology, which is run entirely from Random Access Memory (RAM) instead of a hard drive. 

This means all of the information that’s stored on ExpressVPN’s servers is wiped each time the servers are restarted. This process ensures that no data is ever carried over from previous sessions and also means that if a hacker were ever able to access the servers and hack them through the installation of a backdoor, a piece of code that can be installed onto a server to allow remote hacking, this code would be wiped too, rendering it useless. 

Which VPN Offers The Best Security Features? 

Many of the larger VPN providers, such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and IPVanish, have their own unique security features, so we’d always suggest making a list of VPNs to choose from so you can compare their individual benefits. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend hours doing this yourself, because we’ve done it for you. Once you’ve made your VPN decision, you can learn more about how you can get the most out of it by maximizing your anonymity online by clicking here.

Adam Stevenson
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