Using a VPN is easy. Anyone can do it and get the hang of it. You just have to subscribe to a VPN plan, download the VPN client on your device and you’re gold.
However, an average VPN user will just connect to a default server by using the quick-connect button provided by the VPN app.
Although it works great, you might not have the smoothest experience if you’re using a VPN for a dedicated task.
Like unlocking an international library of a streaming platform, trying to achieve better speed, or maximizing your online security to the highest level.
And this is what makes choosing the right VPN server a big deal.
A VPN server works normally like a regular server. Which runs the protocols and software. And the VPN providers offer their services by efficiently running those servers for the users.
VPN providers can have their own physical servers but mostly they rent the servers from third-party data centers. And reliable VPN providers are on-point with their research and investigation to make sure the servers don’t log any user activity.
Now if you don’t know what a VPN does, it forms a secure virtual bridge between the user and the VPN server.
The traffic is encrypted and passed through the server, which eventually geo-spoofs the location, enhances data protection, and eliminates the chances of your sensitive information being compromised.
This means that if you’re in Australia, with a VPN you can change it to Thailand or the USA, or in fact, anywhere. But the catch is that you sign up for a reliable VPN provider that offers a good pool of server locations.
But if you plan on setting up a VPN server on your router then you might not be able to change server locations frequently.
And for that, you need to set up a new profile manually on your router every time you want to try another region. So it is better to stick to the VPN app so you can hop around different servers easily and also take advantage of useful features that VPN providers offer.
Now there is no universal answer for choosing the right VPN server. It depends on the context, or reason for using a VPN in the first place.
So let’s see what are the key factors you should consider before choosing a VPN server.
Do You Want to Enjoy High Speed?
VPNs can slow down your internet connection. So if high speed is something you require for your activities then the factor of location matters the most.
When you connect to a VPN, your data hops through the VPN server and then reaches the destination page. And the farther the VPN server is from your location, the more time it will take to reach the destination.
So in order to achieve high speed, you have to connect to a VPN server that’s physically closer to your location.
For example, if you’re in the United States, you can connect to a Canadian server to have a smooth workflow. And you can even connect to the same server location if you just want to change your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic.
Do You Want Access To A Specific Geo-Blocked Website?
There can be certain websites that are geo-restricted to your location. For that, you need to connect to a server location where there are no bans on those websites.
So just find a country where the website you’re looking to access is available and connect to a server of that region.
But there’s something more you can do to enhance your experience.
Try finding a server that is near to your location which also unblocks the website you’re trying to access. This way, you maintain the speed factor and also have access to the geo-restricted content you want.
Do You Want Maximum Privacy & Security?
Achieving a higher level of security and anonymity on the web requires a strong protocol and encryption method.
The encryption method is what encodes your traffic and protocols are a set of rules that routes your traffic.
Now older encryption methods and protocols like PPTP or L2TP/IPsec can still encrypt your traffic but they’re not the highest bidders when it comes to maximum security.
Instead, choose a VPN provider that offers military-grade encryption which is the AES-256 encryption method and protocols like OpenVPN or WireGuard.
Also, if you’re in a profession that requires extra anonymity on the web then go for a VPN that offers features like Onion over VPN or Multi-Hop.
Some VPN providers even offer their own protocols by amalgamating two or more protocols to provide a better solution. Like ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol or NordVPN’s NordLynx.
Do You Want Access To Different Libraries Of Streaming Platforms?
Finally yet importantly, if your primary purpose of getting a VPN is to stream different libraries of streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, or BBC IPlayer then choose a VPN provider that offers a large pool of servers.
Not only this, you have to make sure first that the servers work fine in unblocking streaming services. Because streaming giants like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video work tirelessly to enhance their algorithms for detecting VPN-generated IP addresses.
And it takes a lot of effort and resources for the VPN services to offer servers that can unblock these platforms.
So do your research first by reading reviews or trying out the VPN service yourself by taking advantage of their 30-day money-back guarantee offers.
Some VPN providers like NordVPN also offer dedicated servers for an additional charge if you don’t let your favorite server get banned because of somebody else using it recklessly.
Choosing the best VPN server depends on why you need a VPN in the first place. There is no one universal server that’ll magically make your every operation smooth. If you need speed, choose the nearest location. If you want maximum security, choose a secure protocol. And if you want to bypass geo-restrictions, choose a server location where the content you’re looking for is available.