Anyone who surfs the Internet leaves traces - and often much more than is right for you. However, many people do not even know this. Would you like to be on the Internet surf anonymously, so a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service is absolutely essential.
But what exactly is VPN software? How does this work? How can it protect anonymity and prevent data loss? What criteria do you have to look out for when choosing a VPN provider? Question after question - we will answer them individually and in detail in this post. We also have the best VPN providers in the test - the big one VPN software comparison 2020.
|Best VPN provider|
What is a VPN?
What a Anti-Virus Software is smell most of us know. With another important security tool, the VPN, things often look a little different.
The term VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, a virtual private network. As the name suggests, a VPN offers a user a virtual network that is so private and anonymous that he can connect to the Internet safely and securely.
A VPN works in such a way that it routes your device's Internet connection through a VPN server of your choice, instead of directly through your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The advantage is this: when data is forwarded to a visited website or online server, it comes from the VPN server and not from your computer. At least that is how it looks for the website and its analysis software, in other words your identity obscured or protected.
Every Internet user is assigned an IP address via his ISP, at which he can normally be identified and recognized. The VPN server acts as it were as a middleman between your PC and the internet, your IP address will be hidden. In addition, data that may be intercepted in the transmission process becomes illegible and uncontrollable until it has found its destination.
A VPN creates a type of private tunnel between your device and the internet. Be there all your transmitted data is encrypted. How does the encryption work? Well, basically all of your transmitted data is converted from existing characters (one speaks of "plain text") into incomprehensible strings of no meaning. A key that resembles a strong password is used for this, with which your encrypted text can also be deciphered again. Because only your computer and your VPN server know this key, it can be transmitted in encrypted form or, if necessary, decrypted again.
Example: If you enter your credit card details in a purchase form online, this data is encrypted and made illegible. As long as this data has been transmitted to its destination.
How can I install a VPN service?
A VPN service can be used in several ways, but the simplest and most common is to use VPN software or a VPN browser plug-in:
1. Standalone VPN software
By far the most common and also the simplest solution - which we will primarily focus on in this article - is the VPN software. An application from the VPN provider's website is used downloaded and installed on the PC or mobile device. After the installation you can log in with your user data and select one of the numerous servers and connect to this VPN server. From this point on, the entire Internet connection on the device is routed via the VPN server, regardless of which browser or other application the Internet is used in.
2. Browser plug-in
Another very common solution is to use a VPN service via your own browser plug-in, mostly in Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. These plugins can also be installed via the VPN provider's website; once you have to log in with your personal user data. However, the disadvantage of this solution is that the connection only encrypted in the browser is. We rather advise against using the browser plug-ins because they are less secure and you might forget to activate them, which increases the security risk when surfing the Internet.
Criteria for choosing the VPN software and VPN provider
The procedure is therefore similar for VPN services, and the selection of VPN providers on the market is very large. In order to find the best VPN provider, it is important to be guided by a few criteria and functions of such a provider. The most important here are the following factors:
There is probably no factor that influences your own surfing experience on the Internet more than the speed at which websites and images or other things are loaded. Because the entire Internet connection is rerouted by the VPN server ("routing"), the dominant factor is no longer the bandwidth of your ISP or its Internet connection, but that of the VPN server. A VPN server can be older or more modern, used by a few or many users at the same time.
The best VPN providers have many modern VPN servers with them High speed connectionsso that streaming content can also be consumed smoothly. Some VPN providers have the cheapest prices, save on the infrastructure, use old servers, and the result is a slow loading speed. You can check the speed with a speed test such as Speedcheck.org . perform
The top priority for any VPN service is of course absolute security. So the encryption that we looked at above has to work. All VPN providers have encryption of transmitted data, but there is a difference in the protocols used. The best protocols are PPTP, Open VPN (TCP / UDP), L2TP / IPSec, SSTP. A detailed description of the differences would be beyond the scope of this article, but you should know the following about the VPN protocols: there is one Compromise between speed and safety to find, so at least limited.
- PPTP is the oldest of the protocols and is very fast, but relatively insecure.
- IKev2 / IPSec however, it is newer and mostly fast.
- OpenVPN is best with TCP and UDP, as this is constantly being further developed (open source) and offers the highest level of security at the best speed.
- L2TP however, is also older and less secure.
- SSTP especially for Microsoft devices and useful for remote access to a company network.
The best VPN software definitely should SSTP and OpenVPN support.
Number of servers
When you start the VPN software, you can select the VPN server you want to connect to. First, you can scroll through a list sorted by country to work on servers for which the longer the list applies the more VPN servers there are, the better. Why? On the one hand, because you will always find a little-used, i.e. faster VPN server, and because you can then switch once if you want.
In addition, the probability is higher that in certain countries such as Dubai, Turkey or China these VPN servers have not yet been blocked and so you can bypass the state censorship. Sometimes the importance of the number has a lot to do with the subject of the location of the VPN servers.
Having a large number of VPN servers is great, these servers should also have as many countries in the world as possible be distributed. For example, if you want to get price discounts on online bookings, a VPN server in the destination country of your trip can be very useful. If you want to access geoblocking limited content, then a VPN server has to be in this country in order to watch certain videos. A common example here are certain series that are only available to Netflix customers in certain countries.
The more diverse the locations, the more flexible you are and you have more options in using your VPN service. This can also be very practical on Android devices for apps that read the location via the VPN server (with deactivated GPS tracking). So take a good look on the provider's website to see whether the countries or cities that are relevant for you are represented as the location of VPN servers.
Anyone using VPN software wants absolute data protection in addition to anonymity. This not only applies to the encrypted transmission of files to the destination, but also to the data at the VPN provider itself. It would be possible for the VPN provider, who knows your identity, to record the websites you have visited and the duration of use, etc. and stores it in order to pass it on in the event of criminal activities or in anonymized form for marketing / behavioral analysis. That bothers you more as a VPN user and also when using such a service.
That is why the reputable providers also have a clear one No log policy anchored in their terms and conditions, which states that no records of user activities are stored and / or passed on. Nobody else knows when you were on which website. So make sure on the websites of the VPN providers that there is an explicit reference to a no-log policy.
Many users want to get VPN software to have unlimited access to streaming content. In addition to Netflix, Apple and Disney have also entered this growing market, which, however, brings with it a major problem: Streaming consumes vast amounts of data. Netflix alone is said to be responsible for more than 10% of the total data volume worldwide.
Some VPN providers have it Streaming services excluded from their serversto avoid high data traffic and to keep the speed of the servers as high as possible. However, excellent VPN providers have super-fast VPN servers that also support streaming. Check that a VPN provider supports streaming, otherwise you could get a nasty surprise.
The abbreviation P2P stands for Peer-to-Peer and denotes File sharing protocols like bit torrent or tor. In addition to streaming, a lot of data volume on the Internet is used for P2P transmissions, e.g. via BitTorrent clients or Tor clients. Because of this, some VPN providers have moved on to blocking these protocols in their VPN software.
So if you often use P2P transmissions and want to protect your identity by means of a VPN service, you should make sure when choosing the provider that they explicitly have P2P capability
Supported devices / OS
We are in an always-on / mobile-first age, that is to say: many of us are frequently on the Internet throughout the day. And especially on mobile devices, not just on the desktop PC. It is all the more important that you have a VPN service Protect traffic on all devices and operating systems can. A good VPN provider can only be one who also offers a VPN program for smartphones, tablets and Macs. That is why the operating systems Windows, Mac, Linus, Android and iOS should also be supported.
While you have VPN software on Windows and Mac, you should be able to download and install a VPN app from the provider in the respective app store. This connects you to the VPN server, then the data traffic, regardless of which app it is running, is constantly protected.
Supported number of devices
Another restriction imposed by the VPN services is a restriction on the number of devices that can be used with a paid client from a VPN provider. It is important for you that you have all your devices, so Desktop, tablet and a smartphone (or multiple and different devices) can be protected with a single user account.
So should at least 3, but better 5 devices or more are supported. Be careful when deciding on the best VPN provider for you.
If you ever have questions about using a VPN program or the advanced settings or if you have other problems, a professional VPN provider has customer service ready. Many VPN providers are from the USA, but there are also German VPN providers. Regardless, you should check out one too German customer service is available, which is of course a great benefit for most of us. It is also important that you find comfortable contact channels. Help files and FAQs are useful, but email support or live chat or telephone hotline are better.
Automatic kill switch
Unfortunately, the connection to a VPN server can sometimes be lost. If you then continue to surf the Internet, you are no longer protected, your real IP address will be revealed and your identity could be determined. It is therefore of great importance that the VPN software becomes a so-called automatic kill switch if the connection is lost automatically cut the entire Internet connection and made sure that your identity is not revealed to anyone. Not every VPN program has this feature, so double-check the information on the website for it.
Free trial period
The best VPN providers know that they have to give any customers the chance to see the VPN software for themselves. We have also tested the programs for you beforehand, but you may also want to check a few programs yourself. Some VPN providers offer one 14-day or even 30-day money-back guarantee, where you can connect to all VPN servers and put the VPN service through its paces. Above all, you should check the speed of the servers and the locations, or whether you can use this VPN program easily and intuitively.
Perhaps the most important and summarizing factor that can still convince a VPN provider is the overall price-performance ratio. The performance is the question of how many of the criteria already explained and to what extent they are met. However, it is also the case with VPN providers: Quality has its price, which is why you also have to look at the prices and different offerings of a VPN service. A VPN service is usually available for a subscription period of 6 months, 1 or 2 year (s) paid, the modalities usually provide for a monthly or, alternatively, a mostly heavily discounted option for prepayment for 1 or 2 years.
So don't let the displayed price mislead you and first check the price conditions mentioned. Ultimately, of course, you have to Note the overall price-performance ratio. We definitely do not recommend choosing the cheapest, but the best VPN provider, because: the security of your data and the protection of your privacy are absolutely worth it, just as the many additional advantages justify a certain surcharge.
Why should you use a VPN provider?
Anyone who surfs the Internet leaves a lot of traces, from which one can find out interesting and exciting details: Your Internet service provider (ISP) and in some cases also the websites you visit can see which websites you viewed how often and for how long. Is that okay for you?
In addition, your data is at risk with a conventional Internet connection because it is transmitted simply and unencrypted. So could be
- Login data,
- Passwords or
- the private and public keys of your crypto wallet can be stolen and money stolen.
Incidentally, this risk is particularly high in the public WiFi networks, i.e. those in cafés, restaurants, train stations, airports or similar locations.
The best way to explain the reasons for using a VPN service is based on the advantages:
Absolute anonymity and protection of your privacy
What your license plate number is in traffic, this is your IP address on the Internet, which is assigned to each device via your ISP when it connects to the Internet. You get one unique IP address with which you can be identified. In addition, your ISP can track which websites you have visited; some web services can also partially read this out via cookies.
A VPN service brings you anonymity because other services only receive the IP address of the VPN server used, but your IP address remains secret. Your privacy is also protected because nobody can read your surfing behavior - unless you have a VPN provider strict no-log policy using. A no-log policy means that no recordings of your surfing behavior are saved by the VPN service.
Protection of sensitive data through encryption
You are constantly revealing important and sensitive data on the Internet. For example, when you enter your login data, do your online banking, in Payment forms your credit card data is recorded, etc. Without a VPN, your Internet application is unencrypted. If someone hacks into your network, this data can be intercepted in unchanged form and stolen.
It is particularly dangerous with Private keys of a blockchain wallet, where a lot of money can be stolen. All data is illegally encrypted via a VPN service until it has arrived at the destination. Especially in public networks you always have to use a VPN server without exception!
Bypass geoblocking settings
Many streaming or media content providers restrict access to this content to users in certain countries. This setting is implemented so that only IP addresses from these countries can access. If you now use a VPN server from this respective country, you can access this content because the provider only sees the IP address of your VPN server.
So you can Geoblocking restrictions elegantly circumnavigated. This is of course particularly popular with favorite series on Netflix or special YouTube content, the prerequisite is that the VPN service has a VPN server in the respective target country.
Avoiding state blockades and censorship
In some countries in the world, Dictators or authoritarian governments access to certain news websites, Wikipedia and social networks such as Facebook, YouTube etc. or adult content is prohibited or blocked. This is the case in China, Russia, Dubai and Turkey, for example. If you are in these countries, using a foreign VPN server is your only way to access these websites. Because by redirecting your internet traffic via this VPN server you can bypass the national blockade.
But because some countries block individual VPN servers themselves, you should play it safe and choose a VPN provider with the largest possible range of servers. Also Voice over IP services Incidentally, like Skype or WhatsApp, this can affect if you are in Dubai and want to talk to friends back home.
Save on online bookings and shopping
Using a VPN server in another country can also save you money when booking online. Many online booking providers, such as airlines or hotel booking websites, run a different pricing policy depending on the country a. This tends to have something to do with the income level and standard of living in the respective countries, but this is not necessarily the case.
In any case, it makes sense to look around for the best countries for the respective purchase, because you know each other in many cases Save 30% to 40%. Simply choose VPN servers from different countries and compare prices, in between it is best to delete all cookies and try again. Investing in a VPN service will soon pay off again.
Why VPN speed is so important!
No matter how you twist and turn it, when using a VPN, speed is just as important as ensuring anonymity and privacy. Thanks to encryption and IP obfuscation, a VPN guarantees that you can move freely on the Internet. So you can bypass country blocks, access blocked pages and download files. And that's precisely why speed is so important.
During normal activities, such as writing e-mails or reading messages, you often don't notice any loss of speed at all. At the stream, Download of files or Torre Ting however, speed is crucial. And that's why a VPN provider has to offer an appropriate speed so that these things are possible.
How do you measure VPN speeds?
With or without a VPN, if you want to measure your speed, you need to know these things:
This indicates how fast the data transfer from the server to you is. Most activities on the Internet consist of downloads. Whether that is visiting websites, downloading files or streaming. Speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps / s) and the higher this number, the faster the internet.
This shows how quickly you transfer data to others. The upload speed is always slower than the download speed, as you need it less. However, it is just as important, especially if you want to send files or make calls via Skype & Co. Youtubers, Twitch streamers, gamers and all those who do live broadcasts also need a good upload speed. This is also measured in Mbps / s.
The ping measures the time it takes your computer to send a data packet to a server and receive the response. The lower this number is, the better. This time is measured in milliseconds (ms). The ping, technically correct also called latency, is especially important for gamers.
What affects the speed of a VPN?
There are several factors that can affect the speed of your internet when using a VPN. Your traffic will eventually be encrypted by a VPN tunnel to a server until it arrives at the destination. And the more functions the VPN provider has, such as Double VPN or multihopthe more your traffic will be redirected. This can affect the speed. The more "obstacles" there are for your data traffic, the longer it will take. For many users, however, it is important to choose the fastest VPN provider and, accordingly, to be the fastest VPN provider for the other side.
By and large, these play factors matters a lot when it comes to the speed of a VPN:
As a rule, the faster your internet is, the better it is for VPN. Typically, the speeds range between 8 Mbps and 1 Gbps. The faster the speed the better - a very slow speed from your ISP will only slow it down.
If you already have a very good internet speed through your ISP, which is more of a bad connection, this will affect a VPN connection.
When using a VPN, location plays a big role. If you are using a location in the same country, this will have little effect on the speed, as the ping is also significantly lower. However, if you choose a location from overseas, the ping will be higher and the data traffic will last longer. With a good VPN provider, however, the speed should be excellent so that you don't notice any losses even in distant locations.
Best VPN provider in comparison
We looked at the leading VPN providers on the market, including German VPN providers, and tested them for you. Below are the best VPN providers and how they perform on the individual criteria.
If you want to surf the Internet anonymously and safely, that's for you a VPN service is an absolute must-have. Whether absolute anonymity, bypassing filters and blockages or shopping for less, the advantages are diverse.
The functions of most providers are very similar, but the essential differences can be found in the speed, number and variety of locations of the VPN servers. Prices can fluctuate, so get one exact comparison pays.
We can do the providers NordVPN, PrivateVPN and CyberGhost particularly recommend. VPN software should be used consistently on all devices.
|Number of servers||5.800||about 100||5.700|
|Number of devices||6||6||7|
|No log policy||Ja||Ja||Ja|
|Kill switch function||Ja||Ja||Ja|
|Prices||1 month for € 10,63|
1 year for € 6,22 / month
2 years for € 4,44 / month
3 years for € 3,10 / month
|1 month for $ 7,67 / month|
3 months for $ 4,88 / month
1 year for $ 3,82 / month
|1 month for € 11,99
1 year for € 5,29 / month
2 years for € 3,29 / month
3 years for € 2,45 / month