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What is VPN Software? Analysis of Features, Types, Benefits and Pricing

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What is VPN software?

VPN software is a tool that allows users to create a secure, encrypted connection over a computer network such as the Internet. The platform was developed to allow for secure access to business applications and other resources.

Who doesn’t love the Internet? Everyone has grown heavily dependent on the World Wide Web that it has become a bare necessity for almost everyone on the planet. However, the Internet has become a dangerous place for many users. For this reason, many have become wary of the threats that unscrupulous individuals pose on personal and financial information.

In this article, we will seek to answer the question, what is VPN? We’ll discuss the relevant information about this platform and provide guidance on how to properly choose one.

vpn software

As technology evolved, so have the capabilities of hackers, agencies, and companies seeking to capitalize on personal information, which can be collected online. Today, many have become unwilling victims of identity theft and credit card fraud, the two worse things that could happen to an Internet user. This is also the very reason why new technologies have been developed to provide protection to counter these threats.

So what is VPN? To provide a short definition of  VPN (virtual private network) software, one must know about its origins. The solution was developed with the goal of providing protection against online threats by giving Internet users the gift of anonymity. This new breed of software has become the most effective deterrent to cybercrime, which seems to be the primary purpose of VPN.

Currently, a great number of individuals and companies have been using such a platform to safeguard their online activities. In fact, the global VPN market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 13% by the end of 2022 and reach a stunning $106 billion. This growth is seen to be fueled by the growth of the cyber security sector, an increase in the number of security proliferation, the growth of industries and the increase in the use of mobile devices. However, the high cost of deployment and lack of technical skills could hamper this growth.

How does VPN Software Work?

So what does VPN do? Basically, a VPN is a group of computers or networks, which are connected over the Internet. For businesses, VPN services serve as avenues for getting access to networks when they are not physically on the same network. Such a service can also be used to encrypt communications over public networks.

VPNs are usually deployed through local installation or by logging on to a service’s website. To give you an idea as to how VPN works, the software allows your computer to basically exchange keys with a remote server, through which all data traffic is encrypted and kept secure, safe from prying eyes. It lets you browse the Internet without the worry of being tracked, monitored and identified without permission. A VPN also helps in accessing blocked sites and in circumventing censorship. 

So why use VPN? Online privacy and security is the most sensible reason for one to adopt a VPN software. A key feature of a VPN is its ability to hide your real IP address by providing you with a temporary one. This makes all your online activities a secret, making it impossible to trace your location. This essentially answers the question, what is VPN?.

What are the Benefits of VPN Software?

VPN software has a lot to offer in terms of online privacy and security. The following are among the most common benefits of VPN:

  1. Privacy. Using a VPN, user connections cannot be linked to their computers. You can freely visit any site or browse the web without your ISP knowing about it.
  2. Security. VPN networks cannot be hacked and all user activity is encrypted and can’t be read while in transit. This makes VPN connections very secure.
  3. Access to Websites. As a VPN can go around censorship, agencies cannot prevent users from accessing websites anywhere in the world.
  4. Anonymity. Users’ IP addresses are hidden while using a VPN, making them unidentifiable. This is due to the fact that the IP address they are using is constantly replaced. It makes it seem that you are somewhere else in the world.
  5. Does Not Affect the Internet Experience. There are no changes to how you use the internet when using a VPN. Hence, you can browse the internet normally.

These benefits outline the multiple advantages of VPN in providing Internet security. It may not come as cheap as we’d like it to be but it’s definitely worth every penny.

nordvpn dashboard example

What are the Features of VPN Software?

How to choose a VPN software? This is the question that keeps popping up in the minds of those thinking about using such a solution. There are a variety of ways by which you can determine what VPN suits you. Here are some features of VPN and buying factors that you should consider:

  1. Privacy: You should know what kind of privacy you really need. Is it for surfing, downloading, going past the Great Firewall of China or simply accessing blocked sites? Many VPN services offer one or more of these capabilities.
  2. Software/features: Platforms should not be limited to ease of use, they should include features such as kill switches and DNS leak prevention tools which provide a further layer of protection.
  3. Support: Customer support must be reliable, fast and easy to access. The customer service should also be able to answer questions in the least amount of time.
  4. Free trials/money-back guarantee: These two ensure that users get to evaluate a service first before committing to one.
  5. Security: One should consider the level of security that a service offers. This can prevent hackers and agencies from accessing your data.
  6. Cross-platform support: A VPN solution should be able to run on any device. To do this, setup guides for different platforms should be provided by the vendor.
  7. Price: Make sure that the price you pay should be would be equivalent to the service you get. You can do this by comparing the features and prices of different services.
  8. The number of servers/countries: For VPN services, the more servers there are, the better the service. This allows users to connect from virtually all over the world. It will also enable them to change their locations at will.
  9. Speed: It’s common knowledge that using VPN comes with reduction in Internet speed. This is due to the fact that signals need to travel long distances and the demands of the encryption and decryption processes. Choose a service that has minimal impact on Internet speed.
  10. Simultaneous connections: Many services allow users to use only one device at a time. However, many providers allow customers to connect multiple devices all at the same time.

How Much Does VPN Software Cost?

Although many vendors offer free options for VPNs, these most often than not tend to be ridden with ads and fall short of the privacy requirements that users require compared to paid services. Also, free versions, in most cases, do not accommodate the number of users most prospects require. Hence, the cost of VPN depends on the capabilities that you need.

Paid VPN options nowadays come in flexible and affordable paying methods. In fact, they are generally available on a monthly subscription basis. To give you an overview, here’s the cost of some of the leading products in the category:

  1. NordVPN – If you pay on a monthly basis, it costs $11.95/month. Meanwhile, you can choose an annual billing at $6.99/month for 1 year. The longer your subscription’s term, the lower the monthly cost. For instance, the 2-year plan costs 3.99/month while the 3-year plan is at $2.99/month.
  2. ZenMate – It’s affordable with lower monthly payments the longer you subscribe to the service. It costs $11.99 per month while subscribing to the software for 2 years brings down the cost at $2.05 per month billed for 2 years ($49.20).
  3. ExpressVPN – It has three options: $12.95/month billed monthly, $9.99/month billed every 6 months, and $8.32/month billed yearly.
  4. Perimeter 81 – For SMBs, it costs $10/month/member plus $50/month for every dedicated gateway. Enterprise pricing is available on a by-quote basis.
  5. Cisco AnyConnect – Since the plan is customized, you have to request a quote from the vendor.
  6. FastestVPN – It features a standard $10/month pricing, but going for the one year, three year, or five year plan provides substantial discounts. Their enterprise pricing plans support up to 10 devices.
  7. KeepSolid VPN Lite– It features a $2.08/month for the Turbo plan, which is billed yearly. Meanwhile, the Turbo Stream option costs $6.99/month.
  8. Trunkspace PrivateVPN – This platform is available at $9.95/month. You can also get it at a discounted price of $6.66/month if you opt for their annual subscription plan.

There are as many VPN options as there are pricing models and not all VPN software solutions are created equal. This is why choosing a VPN involves balancing between price and functionality. If you know you’ll be using the tool long-term, you can save a huge amount by availing year-long contracts.

Examples of VPN Software

1. NordVPN

One of the most popular VPN solutions around the world, NordVPN boasts more than 550 servers in 49 different countries. These servers help users in a variety of needs, such as encryption of incoming and outgoing data, directing of data traffic to a Tor network to provide user anonymity and protection against DoS attacks.

Another notable feature is security, NordVPN has a kill switch feature that constantly monitors traffic between devices and servers. In the event that the data traffic is interrupted, the system will cut off the connection automatically, this prevents any data leakage that may occur. A DNS leak prevention feature, on the other hand, changes your DNS so that it points to a VPN server, preventing data theft from your true DNS.

The software can be downloaded and platforms such as OS X, Windus and Linux are supported, along with Android and iOS devices. This enables users to run the software on desktops, laptops, smartphones or tablets. NordVPN can also be downloaded to routers so that devices connected to such routers can also enjoy VPN protection.

2. ZenMate

ZenMate is an easy-to-use VPN tool that specializes in protecting your privacy online and overcoming geographic restrictions. It uses encryption to protect your data and passwords when using public Wi-Fi networks. You can also use it to watch and download films and tv shows restricted in your country smoothly with minimum lags.

This VPN tool has servers in more than 30 countries around the globe. Furthermore, it supports various devices so you can download and enable the app on your laptop (Mac and Windows), mobile phone (iOS and Android), and web browser (Chrome, Firefox, and Opera).

It also effectively hides your IP address and encrypts your traffic to prevent advertisers, ISPs, and even the government from spying on you online and tracking the websites you visit. Changing your virtual location is also available so you can bypass internet censorship on gaming sites, news sources and social media.

3. ExpressVPN

A lightweight, easy to use and powerful VPN software, ExpressVPN offers users 256-bit encryption and standard OpenVPN. The solution has a myriad of functionalities for those who want a reliable VPN service. Aside from traditional payment methods, the service accepts bitcoins.

Anonymity is assured as ExpressVPN does not log user data, making it ideal for those who enjoy torrenting, but the service has a policy against downloading copyrighted material. Those who engage in such activity can have their accounts canceled. In such situations, the service could opt to provide information about an account if compelled by law.

ExpressVPN has around 100 servers all over the world, spanning every continent. One can switch servers on the line from virtually any location, very useful for users who want to be in different locations or those in far away places. Internet speed is fast as the service provides unlimited bandwidth. During connection, lag can be experienced, but quickly resolves itself in a matter of moments. The service supports PC, Mac, iOS and Android, while customer support in the form of a remote desktop, Skype, live chat and email is available 24/7.

4. Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81 is built for businesses of any size and industry to secure their network and remote access. With a simplified approach, the software doesn’t require tedious hardware installation and manual configuration. It scales with your network, gives you complete network visibility, and deploys private servers automatically.

Small and medium-sized businesses can use the tool’s automatic Wi-Fi security, single-click cloud VPN apps, and cloud management portal for their employees both on the go or abroad. Meanwhile, it has a Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) architecture for enterprises to have a quick and simple setup process. Organizations can confidently access the internet, SaaS apps, data centers and private cloud networks with peace of mind.

5. Cisco AnyConnect

Cisco AnyConnect is a tool you can use to provide secure endpoint access to your organization. Employees can work anywhere using any device like personal mobile devices or a company laptop. It gives you full visibility of the user and endpoint behavior with its Network Visibility Module.

The tool is packed with features for stopping noncompliant devices from getting into the network, securing remote access, and streamlining management with a single agent. Its deployment tailored based on your needs – you can choose your own use case, subscription term, number of users, and deployment services. You can easily contact the vendor’s salesperson to guide you during the process.

6. FastestVPN 

FastestVPN focuses on delivering blazing fast speeds alongside an ultra secure experience for browsing on the web and downloading or uploading files. This VPN provider delivers a perfect solution for businesses that desire ultra fast connectivity on any device without interruptions. Switching servers can also be done whenever you want without any downsides to your connectivity.

FastestVPN places an emphasis on security. Coming equipped with 256-bit encryption, you can be safe from the prying eyes of malicious individuals. It also features an integrated adblocker for ad-free browsing, integrated NAT firewall for automated traffic filtering, and multi-platform protection.

7. KeepSolid VPN Lite

KeepSolid VPN Lite delivers straightforward, fuss-free VPN services for mobile users. It provides military-grade encryption to ensure utmost security while browsing any online content anonymously. With this service provider, you have access to over 400 servers alongside IKEv2 protocol so that you can enjoy a delightful browsing experience and access any geo-blocked content.

The free version of KeepSolid VPN Lite is ideal for businesses that want to try an entry-level VPN service as a test run, as it comes with unlimited free bandwidth as well as 125-bit encryption. While this costless option only limits users to a single server, you can freely enjoy casual browsing and streaming without going through any registration hurdles.

8. Trunkspace PrivateVPN

Trunkspace PrivateVPN offers a fast and secure VPN service for all sorts of platforms and devices. Equipped with servers in over 48 countries, this solution can help you improve your internet experience without falter. Whether you simply want to enhance your online shopping process or are looking to access information that is not available in your region, this can provide you with the tools you require.

What’s more is it prides itself on providing you with the security and protection you require as you browse. For starters, it supports anonymous browsing options and IP address masking so that you can keep yourself safe from online threats. The platform also comes with advanced data encryption technologies.

expressvpn dashboard example

Issues with VPN Software

Despite all the features and benefits of VPN software, it does come with problems that can negatively impact user experience. Here are some of them:

  1. Unable to Establish a Tunnel: A problem that could persist despite the absence of obvious causes, this issue may be caused by IP packet filtering or the presence of a proxy server between the client and the VPN server. Tweaking the configurations setting can resolve this issue.
  2. Rejected VPN connection: Rejection of VPN connection is one of the most common problems associated with the solution’s use. There are a lot of factors that can cause this problem, among them is the failure of the Routing and Remote Access service, DNS problems, issues with the authentication process and lack of dial-in privileges.
  3. Unable to Reach Locations Beyond VPN Servers: Also a common problem, this issue is caused by lack of permission to access the entire VPN network or a number of routing factors. This can be resolved by tweaking the settings.
  4. Acceptance of Unauthorized Connections: Although an uncommon problem, this situation does occur and could cause far more serious security issues. This problem could be caused by bugs in operating systems.

The problem with the Internet nowadays is that governments, Internet Service Providers, advertisers, and hackers have been increasingly getting better at invading user privacy. Even online sellers now monitor activity based on IP addresses.

As Internet security has become paramount in today’s world, more and more companies have been adopting VPN software mainly to protect privacy, block ads and access blocked websites. As a matter of fact, the global VPN market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13% by the end of 2022 and reach $106 billion. This growth is seen to be driven by the growth of the cyber security sector, the increase in the number of security proliferation, the growth of industries and the increase in the use of mobile devices. However, this projections could be hampered by high deployment cost and lack of technical skills.


In this article, we discussed what a VPN software is – from its purpose and how it works to some examples of the leading products in the category. You can use this tool to access your business network from home, protect your device from unsafe Wi-Fi hotspots, and bypass geographic restrictions.

There are various VPN tools available depending on your needs. You may want to host a VPN software, use VPN from your workplace, or set up a server. We recommend you to start your search by evaluating your needs and looking for the right products that match your requirements. To determine which one suits your needs best, you can sign up for free trials to test the software firsthand without spending any amount.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

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