Surfing online is no longer as safe as it once used to be. When major corporations realized that the biggest demand in the market is for personal data of users, they started to exploit them. To all our readers, we recommend heavy use of VPNs for security online. There are more reasons to use a VPN than there are to not. A VPN allows you to fly under the radar undetected from corporations that sell your data to government agencies for profit without your consent.

Factors That Make For a Bad VPN

However, it is also worth keeping in mind that not all VPNs deserve your attention. Some VPNs in the market are so bad at providing security that it is best to avoid them altogether. Here, we have compiled a list of things to keep an eye out for when you are searching for a good VPN out there. If a VPN doesn’t deliver on all of these, consider them a deal breaker. It is better to use no VPN than to use a bad VPN.

Does The VPN Provide You OpenVPN Protocol?

A VPN uses several types of encryptions which you know that we have analyzed for you in the past. The most popular protocols happen to be L2TP and PPTP but it is true that even these are vulnerable to some point. If you want fool-proof online protection, we recommend you look for a VPN that provides you not only L2TP and PPTP but also OpenVPN protocol for added security. If the VPN you are looking into doesn’t provide OpenVPN then it is not as secure as you thought it was.

Did The VPN Pass The Leak Test Failure?

Often it happens that your VPN connection gets disconnected from your internet without you knowing. Suppose you went to make tea and your laptop went to sleep. When you wake your laptop up, your VPN may get disconnected from your device and the internet. This would leave your data traveling through your internet connection instead of through a secure tunnel, this beats the point of having a VPN altogether. We recommend that you read all about a VPN and see if it passes online leak tests to see if it is worth your dime. If there are no DNS leak tests stated about a VPN, it is a good sign that the VPN isn’t secure for use.

If you would like to conduct your own test, you can use the following services.

  • WebRTC Leak Test
  • IPLeak
  • DNS Leak Test
  • TorGuard’s DNS Leak Test

Should You Consider Using a Free VPN?

The most common VPN myth out there is that a free VPN is as good as a paid one. That is all this is, a myth because there is no truth to this statement. A free VPN brings more threats to your device than not using a VPN altogether would. The main threat is that a free VPN needs to figure out how to pay for its servers and bandwidth the same way a paid VPN does, but it doesn’t charge its users. How it makes that money is by selling the user information it collects from those who use this service. This doesn’t apply to free trials of a paid VPN because you give those VPNs your credit information as a security for using that service, whether or not you decide to stay long term. This is why we recommend that if you are considering using a free VPV, instead choose to spend some money on a cheap VPN.

Does The VPN Offer You Anonymous Payment Options?

Another thing you need to keep in mind if you are looking for an additional layer of protection online is a VPN that offers you the option to pay through modes that keep your identity a secret, such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Using a credit card or PayPal can easily give away your identity and leave a breadcrumb trail for authorities to follow back to you.

What is The Country of Origin of the VPN?

You should never go for a VPN that has servers located in many countries associated;

  • Within the Five Eyes program, this includes Canada, New Zealand, Australia, U.K and U.S.A
  • Within the Nine Eyes program, which includes France, Norway, The Netherlands and Denmark
  • Within the Fourteen Eyes program, which includes Italy, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Sweden

The governments belonging to these countries legally spy on not only their own citizens but of the citizens of other countries under the same program. They use this information for their own benefit. These governments also pressurize VPN companies located in their countries to give up user information. This, of course, puts you at risk.

Does The VPN Log Your Activity?

When you use a VPN, it reroutes your data through one of its servers. While doing so, some VPN servers keep data logs that include your real IP address and the time of your connection to the VPN. This information is mostly harmless but the real threat to you is from VPNs that keep all of your online activity logs such as the websites you visit, apps you use, and what you search for online. These logs can be used against you very easily.

Every free VPN out there will offer you the zero logging policy, we urge you to not fall for this tactic. The sole monetary gain that comes to free VPNs is through selling those logs that the VPNs supposedly don’t keep.

Have You Read the Terms and Conditions of the VPN?

The most important details are often hidden in the terms and conditions of any company. The worst habit we have is agreeing to those terms without reading them. That part of a company contains information regarding online activity logs, tacking logs and more of the same. If you are doubtful about a VPN you are looking into, it is best to check the terms and conditions first.

Keep the following factors in mind:

  • If the VPN logs anything about your device such as your IP address, it can be traced back to you
  • If the VPN doesn’t block off abusive accounts using its service, that is a good sign of the VPN keeping zero logs

Which VPNs to Avoid

We can sit and talk all we want about what kind of VPNs you should avoid but at the end of the day, we know you want names. We have compiled a list of highly unsafe VPNs that you should steer clear of at all costs due to them keeping logging activity and selling confidential data.

If your privacy is your biggest concern, then you might want to avoid the following VPNs.

Hola

In 2015, it was discovered that Hola VPN turns user devices into exit nodes which allow other user data to be rerouted through those nodes. This feature was then sold by Hola VPN to a third-party service. A violation of this sort shows how vulnerable users of this service really are. And that is why it is on our list of top VPNs you need to stay away from.

Hotspot Shield

A privacy claim was made against hotspot Shield in early 2017 for redirecting user traffic through its partner websites, which conveniently included ad companies too. In this claim, it was said that this VPN logs user data which it does against its own policies. Another research conducted in 2016 confirmed this claim.

HideMyAss

FBI tracked the activities of a HideMyAss VPN user in 2011 proving that this VPN keeps logs and can easily hand them over to authorities. Though this was highly illegal, it was allowed for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unless you want that happening to you, you might want to forget about subscribing to this VPN.

Facebook Onavo VPN

In 2018, Facebook’s built-in VPN came under much scrutiny as it became clear that it was only using the Onavo VPN which it bought in 2013. Onavo is known for collecting mobile traffic data to improve user experience on Facebook and we all know what that means: directed advertisements.

Opera Free VPN

Opera Browser introduced its very own free unlimited VPN feature which was available for all of its users in 2016. Despite what it is called, Opera Free VPN is anything but secure or free. It works as any web proxy would but while doing so, it also collects your data which it then sells to third-parties or even government agencies.

Which VPN Can You Trust?

The best Android VPNs keep your data and online activities under wraps. A paid VPN can cost you anywhere between $3 to $40 a month but only a few of them can be trusted to truly keep you safe online. Would you like to know which ones we recommend? Keep on reading!

Top 5 VPNs of 2018

We have compiled a short list of trustworthy VPNs that are more than capable of providing you with perfect anonymity online but are also easy on your pocket. Isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Conclusion

We know how tough it is out there in the market. Your personal information is the highest selling thing in the market so how do you avoid that? All you need is a secure VPN in your life which offers you an ample amount of encryption and enough simultaneous device connections so that you can share it with your friends and family too.

Hudson

Hudson is currently an editor at Hudson Rhine. She also holds a degree in Computer Science from Bridgewater College. She loves to write about software and tech shaping the future. She lives in Virginia with her parents.

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