A decade ago, a VPN would springiness you encrypted entree to nan internet, but it would beryllium plagued pinch problems. It would astir apt beryllium beautiful expensive, too.
Things person changed considerably successful nan past decade. VPNs are much secure, easier to access, and person much uses than ever before.
Here are 10 ways VPN providers person improved complete nan years pinch caller features and services.
1. Logless Servers Anonymize Activity
The astir important point astir VPNs is that they support your net activity private. That’s why they’re called VPNs: “virtual backstage networks.”
A modular server will grounds everything successful logs. Connection activity, personification logons, net logs of sites visited, etc. Your ain machine does it, too.
Clearly this is simply a problem for VPNs which is why they declare to beryllium logless. In astir cases, these claims tin beryllium backed up by independent audits.
A fewer years ago, logless VPN claims wherever either ethereal aliases plain inaccurate. Fast-forward to 2023 and astir VPNs are either logless, aren’t registered successful countries wherever nan logs are taxable to subpoena, aliases both.
2. Improved Encryption Avoids Observation
When third-party VPNs first launched, encryption was not arsenic precocious arsenic it is now.
Go backmost 10 years, and a emblematic VPN would connection 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption. This is virtually intolerable to hack pinch existent technology. However, pinch nan anticipation that quantum computers and different techniques mightiness beryllium capable to undo 128-bit encryption, VPNs person ramped things up.
These days, 256-bit AES encryption is utilized arsenic standard. Our guide to 256-bit encryption explains conscionable really unafraid this is.
3. Diskless Servers Make VPNs Secure
Servers routing VPN entree person been made faster and much unafraid by removing nan disk drive. With nary difficult disk thrust aliases solid-state drive, nan servers are little prone to capacity issues.
More importantly successful nan lawsuit of privacy, diskless VPN servers don’t clasp logs. Where an HDD aliases SSD could beryllium checked for records of net access, a diskless server doesn’t clasp immoderate accusation beyond a reboot.
In a accepted server, nan operating strategy is loaded from a section retention device, nan HDD aliases SSD. With diskless servers, nan OS loads from a cardinal server consecutive into RAM.
As pinch your computer, immoderate accusation stored successful RAM is gone erstwhile nan server is restarted. NordVPN was nan first VPN to adopt diskless servers, pinch different large names soon pursuing suit.
4. DNS Leak Protection Enhances Privacy
Various VPN leaks tin effect your online privateness erstwhile utilizing encryption. This was erstwhile a monolithic problem for VPN services, pinch IP reside and DNS server accusation flowing done nan net without encryption.
In theory, your location could beryllium matched to nan websites you visited.
With things for illustration net kill-switches and afloat information encryption via nan VPN client, DNS leak and IP reside leak are nary longer a interest for VPN users.
5. Private DNS Enhances VPN Privacy
Expanding connected nan erstwhile point, DNS (a benignant of website look-up system) remains a weakness to online privacy. Our guide to Domain Name Servers explains really they work.
In short, your machine connects to websites via a DNS. Some online providers connection accelerated DNS—Google, for example—but these aren’t private.
Some VPN providers now connection “private DNS” which will apt go nan norm for DNS. Rather than your hunt data, IP address, destination website data, etc., being openly recorded, your activity via nan backstage DNS is encrypted.
6. VPNs Are More Affordable
You tin motion up to a VPN for a very debased value if you’re consenting to salary an yearly subscription. For example, a $10 monthly subscription tin beryllium arsenic debased arsenic $3 if you’re capable to salary up-front.
Just a fewer years ago, this was unheard of, pinch VPN services charging acold higher subscriptions pinch nary immense discounts aliases free months. At this stage, a VPN is truthful affordable—literally arsenic debased arsenic a cup of coffee—that it makes consciousness to person one
And if you can’t spend a VPN, you tin astir apt motion up to a free VPN. It will person less features, but will still springiness you encrypted net access.
ExpressVPN offers 3 months free to MakeUseOf readers erstwhile signing up pinch this link.
7. Split Tunneling Lets You Choose What Is Encrypted
Not everything needs to beryllium encrypted, moreover erstwhile you’re utilizing a VPN.
Previously, you would request to disconnect your VPN to entree a peculiar website (perhaps an online bank, aliases immoderate region-locked content), past reconnect erstwhile that task was completed.
With split-tunneling, location is nary request for manual disconnection and reconnection. You tin simply specify what apps link to nan net via nan VPN, and which ones do not.
Here’s really to understand when to usage divided tunneling.
8. VPNs Allow Access to Overseas Netflix Libraries
Before nan push for WFH (work from home) nan main usage group had for VPNs beyond online privateness was for video streaming.
Initially, overseas Netflix libraries were desirable, but this soon dispersed to Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and others.
Because these services are region-locked, it isn’t straightforward to entree them from a different country. For example, US-based users cannot watch BBC TV via iPlayer, and UK residents can’t entree nan Netflix US library.
Not nether normal circumstances, astatine least.
But by connecting to a VPN server successful nan due state earlier accessing your streaming account, you tin position overseas libraries and moreover watercourse them.
Note that immoderate VPNs are amended astatine this than others. A cat-and-mouse crippled betwixt VPN providers and streaming services has been ongoing for immoderate years. However, this is simply a resource-intensive practice, truthful if you’re willing successful watching Netflix successful this way, usage a VPN that specifically offers access.
9. Ramp Up nan Privacy With a Double VPN
Once upon a time, your information was only encrypted once. More recently, VPN services person begun double-encrypting your data.
This useful by routing your information done 2 linked servers, fundamentally creating a concatenation of encryption.
In astir cases, this is overkill. You wouldn’t usage double VPN for online shopping, and it mightiness beryllium impractical for Netflix. However, if you’re conducting delicate investigation aliases want to debar authorities surveillance, enabling double VPN is simply a bully idea.
Learn much successful our guide to double VPNs.
10. A VPN connected Every Device
When VPNs first became prominent, you were restricted to utilizing a Windows (or if you were lucky, Mac) client. Over time, this has changed, pinch Android and iPhone clients for astir VPN services.
In fact, that's conscionable nan beginning. Many VPNs besides support TV boxes, smart TVs, Linux, and routers. Meanwhile, for crippled consoles that typically don't support nan usage of VPN clients, location is smart DNS.
In short, if you return a subscription pinch a VPN provider, you tin usage it connected almost immoderate connected instrumentality you own. In galore cases, you tin usage aggregate devices astatine once.
VPNs Are Always Evolving to Enhance Your Privacy
They’ve been astir a fewer years now, and it seems VPNs are present to stay. The scope of privateness and encryption features continues to grow, from doubling encryption to termination switches, Netflix access, backstage DNS, and overmuch more.
If you’re concerned astir online privacy, and aren’t already utilizing a VPN, now is nan clip to motion up. Just beryllium judge to clasp nan encryption features, and usage your VPN safely.