Thinking of investing in a VPN? You’re making a wise choice if you spend a significant amount of your time browsing, gaming or working online. VPNs have a number of uses, from online security to unrestricted access to online content, and are certainly a worthwhile tool.

While making the decision to get a VPN is easy, it’s choosing which one to get that gets tricky. There are thousands available, and they offer various features at various costs, while the technical lingo can get a bit confusing. 

The main thing is that you need a reliable VPN that protects your data, doesn’t slow down your internet connection, and is available in the locations you require. 

So if you’re in the market for a VPN, we’ve got your research covered. Read on for the top features to look out for when choosing a reliable VPN in 2021:

Secure protocols

VPN software uses a number of security protocols to encrypt and safeguard your data. Ideally look for a VPN that makes use of OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, or IKEv2/IPSec. These protocols are among the most up-to-date and high-speed security protocols available and will keep your data as safe as possible.

Available across different platforms

Not all VPNs are available across the most common platforms in South Africa. Whether you use Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, or a combination — say you use a Mac but have an Android-powered mobile phone — make sure the VPN you choose supports the platform/s you’re working on. You don’t want your browsing to be safe on your laptop, but not on your phone.

A variety of server locations

A VPN that offers multiple server locations is going to give you the most freedom on the web, and wider access to global content. Choose a VPN that offers at least 50 locations across the world, and you’ll be able to view content not only from other parts of Africa but from Europe as well as North America. 

Multiple connections under one account

A VPN that doesn’t allow you to connect more than one device per account isn’t worth your while. We live in a world where day-to-day connectivity occurs via numerous devices, from our phones and tablets to laptops. Take the hassle out of multiple accounts and find a provider that allows you to connect at least five to ten devices on one account at the same time. 

Unlimited bandwidth

In the era of streaming and online gaming, bandwidth restrictions are pretty annoying. If you know you stream a large volume of series or music, or spend a large amount of time gaming, choose a VPN that doesn’t have a bandwidth limit and you won’t chew up all your data in a few days.

A no data storage policy

One of the main reasons you choose a VPN is to keep your data secure. Some VPNs (most often free VPNs) unfortunately keep logs of your browsing sessions that may be sold to third parties. A strict no-data storage policy is a vital feature of a trusted VPN provider. 

How to set up a virtual private network

Once you’ve chosen your provider, a VPN setup is in fact pretty simple:

  1. Choose your provider and VPN package
  2. Log in to your client zone and install the VPN software that you’ve been given access to
  3. Log in to the downloaded software
  4. Choose the server locations you wish to connect to
  5. Connect and start browsing as normal

Choosing a trusted VPN should now be a little easier. Keep these features in mind during your research and you’ll be able to weed out the less trusted providers.