Best VPN Client
VPN technology is now more widely available than a few years ago, thanks to advanced VPN client software and the numerous providers out there. Previously, VPN technology was a reserve for companies to allow employees access corporate networks remotely. However, VPN providers have developed more sophisticated VPN client software that makes setting up and using a VPN less of a hassle.
Today, VPN client software ranges from enterprise suites with integrated management features to simple, on-the-fly clients built for desktops and mobile devices to enable personal computing. Moreover, it’s not just the VPN technology that has become more ubiquitous, the price of VPN services too is right for every end user.
Like service providers, VPN client software comes in many flavors. Some are freely available while others are premium services. Undoubtedly, premium VPN client software offers a lot more value in terms of features, flexibility, and stability. However, free services exist too for times when a paid service is out of reach, but you must exercise caution if you’re using a free client as there is usually a risk of data theft. Free services typically earn money by selling user data to online marketers.
That said, the best VPN client is almost always a paid service. Some services rely on built-in VPN support in the operating system for L2TP, PPTP, and sometimes SSTP in Windows operating systems.
A dedicated VPN client removes the inconvenience of having to manually configure a VPN connection. As mentioned earlier, each VPN client comes with a unique set of features to make user experience as smooth as possible. However, the majority of clients usually come with the following features as standard:
Internet Block Switch – This feature might come with a different name on different clients – such as Internet kill switch, IP Bind, or Connection Block Switch – but the important thing is that it performs a very significant function of disconnecting the Internet connection once connection to the VPN server is lost. If you lose connection to the VPN server and you continue using the Internet, your identity will be compromised especially if you’re using a peer-to-peer BitTorrent client.
Port Forwarding – Some ports are blocked on certain firewalls, but the port forwarding feature helps connect through such firewalls in case of blockage. For instance, this feature’s most important settings are those for the TCP port 443 on which OpenVPN listens for http traffic. Blocking this port would almost entirely cripple the Internet connection and services such as email and other websites will not be accessible.
DNS Leak Protection – DNS leaking occurs when your DNS requests are routed directly to your ISP rather than through the VPN server to which you are connected. When this happens, your online identity will be compromised. A good VPN client must have built-in DNS leak protection capabilities to prevent incidences that might compromise your privacy and anonymity.
Auto login and connect – This is not a very significant feature but nonetheless very convenient if you don’t want to be logging in each time you power on your computer. It basically logs you in and automatically establishes the VPN connection every time you power on your computer.
Server Stats – Server statistics show the loads that a particular server is carrying at a given time. They also reveal the signal latency (or ping times) of a server so that users can choose which server to connect to. Remember, server loads and signal latency may affect connection speed and overall quality of service. While some providers display these statistics on their websites, it is not as convenient as when they are displayed within the VPN client.
Account Details – Account details include things such as the remaining time on a subscription plan, bandwidth usage, and the like. While they are not crucial, a VPN client that displays them increases convenience for the user.
Protocol Switching – Many operating systems now come with built-in support for VPN protocols especially PPTP and L2TP. In that case, no dedicated VPN client is necessary. That being said, some VPN clients are built with support for multiple protocols. In theory, this sounds remarkable, but in practice, the need to hop between multiple protocols is rare.
If you have a dedicated VPN client supporting s standard protocol such as OpenVPN, you will rarely find any need to use another protocol. Nonetheless, if you think that you will be using multiple protocols at any one time, find a VPN client that supports seamless protocol switching.
Mobile device support – The majority of top service providers now offer VPN client extensions for mobile devices. These are basically mobile app versions of their desktop VPN client offerings customized for the different mobile device platforms, especially Android.
Is the HideMyAss Pro VPN the Best VPN Client?
HideMyAss is among the top VPN providers on the market and has constantly been at the forefront of innovation in VPN technology. Thus, it comes as no surprise that their HMA Pro VPN software is regarded as one of the most advanced out there. The VPN client comes free with every subscription and, according to the HMA website, the VPN client is designed to make VPN connections a breeze.
The HideMyAss Pro VPN software is packed with a host of innovative features that come as standard, including many discussed in the first section. The software comes with an intuitive dashboard where you enter your login details and select a VPN server before you’re connected.
The VPN client also supports multiple protocols including PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN. The load balancer advises you on the suitable server to connect to based on server loads. The client software also allows for random server selection, offers geographic recommendations, and displays a server map of the company’s global server network.
The HMA Pro VPN Software also comes with an elaborate IP address settings feature that allows for scheduled IP changes, IP checker websites to prove that your original IP is masked, and a history feature that tracks all IPs you have used previously.
Other features worth mentioning include Secure IP Bind, disconnection features, speed boost features, proxy support, a billing feature, and a debugging feature.
If you had to choose a service provider based on VPN client software, HideMyAss would definitely be your first (if not only) choice.