Consumer security and privacy comparison and advice website, Comparitech.com, is calling for Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers to resist touting themselves as the “fastest” because, in essence, there is no such thing and these claims can be misleading for consumers.
It says continuing to advertise with such ambiguity will erode consumer trust over time in the private VPN market. However, with no governing body to help regulate VPN advertising, some self-regulation would do the industry good.
Typically used to provide personal users with a secure encrypted tunnel to access the internet in an uncensored way to protect identity and data theft, private VPNs have become a popular mechanism to protect online activity. And with the rise of consumers wanting to view geo-restricted content from the likes of Netflix and BBC iPlayer from abroad, the market is becoming flooded with private VPN providers, with at least 6 of the top private VPN providers claiming to be the fastest. However, Comparitech.com said that VPN speeds are notoriously hard to measure as there are so many variables involved, from location of the user, location of the servers, amount of network traffic, and level of encryption they use (to name a few).
“When a company is claiming to be the fastest, it’s naturally assumed there can be only one, but with so many factors involved with the speed of VPNs – the assertion is actually meaningless and only serves to mislead consumers,” said Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate and researcher for Comparitech.com. “Broadband providers were picked up over speed claims earlier this year with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK that found them to be duping customers.
“With VPN providers, understandably due to their nature, it will be harder to control this dubious advertising, but if they don’t start now to self-regulate, it could lead to mass mistrust in the industry,” he continued.
Comparitech.com’s Bischoff goes on to attest in his latest blog on the issue that overall speed should not be the main consideration when looking for a VPN provider. He said:
“Instead of asking which VPN is the fastest overall, a better question is to ask which VPN is fastest for you. This mainly depends on your location and the location of the content you're trying to access. If you want to watch TV shows from the US, for example, look for VPNs with a lot of servers there. If the VPN provider shows live server statuses on its website, check to see if they are at or near capacity during the hours when you stream or download the most.
“Indeed, if privacy is your main concern, then you should consider a service with a high level of encryption from a VPN provider that doesn't keep log files of your activity - this should be higher on your list of criteria than speed,” Bischoff concluded.
You can read Comparitech.com’s full blog post on why there is no such thing as the fastest VPN here:
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