Guide to selecting the best VPN server location

in Tech on 1st March 2020

When you are on the lookout for a good VPN service provider, you will need to consider many factors on the list of requirements. Among these is choosing a VPN with a good country selection.

Seems simple enough, right?

Well, it can be quite overwhelming if you are new to the world of VPNs. However, do not worry – we will discuss all that in this article, and give you some useful pointers to think about when choosing a provider.

What are VPN servers anyway?

Before answering the question of server locations, it is important to know what VPNs are in the first place.

They are standard servers that you can use when surfing the internet, with the only exception being that they use special VPN software. Because of this, they will have more physical and logical communication ports compared to a normal server.

As a user, you can connect to the server, then have your IP address replaced by the server’s address during authentication. This will allow you to access content while pretending to surf in another location. The server can either belong to the service provider, or can be rented from a third-party service like a data center. They can also use a physical machine to act as the server (also known as dedicated servers), or use VPS (Virtual Private Networks).

Dedicated servers are the most ideal option because it is only the VPN provider that has access to them. VPS will require the service provider to share the hosting machine with other clients.

VPN server location vs. VPN location

These may seem like they are the same thing, but they are not.

VPN server is the physical location of the server itself, for instance, the country. However, a VPN location is the country where the provider is located in.

The best VPN locations are usually countries that do not require providers to hand over data by law, such as Switzerland, Moldova, or Gibraltar.

Why select a different VPN server location?

When you are using a VPN, you are basically using the connection from and to a VPN server. The process will give you a layer of encryption, and makes you appear to be in a different location than where you are physically at that moment.

There are several reasons you will need to change your perceived location, which are:

  • Increase of security – if the sites you are visiting or using will track your location, then you will need to change to a different city
  • Testing – if you are a developer and want to test the Dev. version of your sites, or you just want to check whether your software works in different places, you will need a VPN
  • Bypassing restrictions – you might want to access media that is geographically or region-restricted, so using the VPN will help you change your location and access this content

How essential is it to choose the right location?

It is very important to do a background comparison of VPNs when selecting a service, and part of this involves choosing one that has multiple servers.

This will ultimately influence your experiences online, and you will probably want to get the most from your VPN server and the money you pay for it. For instance, you might note that choosing the wrong server will lead to privacy invasions or slower speeds.

How to choose the best server locations

The usual case is that any VPN server will guarantee you a nice experience. However, you will need to take some time deciding the right one if you have a more specified goal.

Here are some of those factors:

The distance between the server and you

If you are connecting to servers that are far from your geographical location, the connections will be slower. This is because the data packets that travel between the services or websites you are using, the server itself, and your device will take a longer time to move.

If the speeds of the server are important to you, then you are better off connecting to servers that are geographically close to where you are.

Consider if the server allows P2P

If your purpose of using the VPN is allowing you to share files, then you need a server that allows for decent levels of internet speed, as well as whether it allows P2P.

What does this even mean, though?

Keep in mind that not all countries will allow P2P, and it is even illegal in some instances. Therefore, you will not always see servers on the network allowing users to torrent data. A good VPN provider will make this clear if they offer users P2P support.

If the provider does not allow this, though, you can connect to servers in countries that have lax P2P laws, such as Mexico, Spain, Romania, Switzerland, or the Netherlands.

The region-blocked content you want to see

If your interest is accessing specific services or websites that are region- or country-restricted, then you will need to choose server locations where the service or website works.

Many region-restricted websites and services will work in the US, so choose an American server if that is your main goal; for instance, services like Pandora.

The importance you place on privacy

VPN service providers are more than capable of ensuring your online privacy – or at least most of them. The exception is when you are dealing with a free VPN.

However, you might want to have the VPN and use it along with Tor to give you some additional privacy, boost your anonymity levels, and prevent any ISP to track your activities. In this instance, it is great to use servers that support Tor traffic.

In addition to that, you can connect to VPN servers that combine strong encryption along with VPN protocols.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article gives you some ideas on what VPN server locations to select, depending on your specific needs and the speeds you want – especially if you want to download or stream content. Many VPN services will cover you adequately and connect you to nearby servers to ensure the best experience.

Categories: Tech

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