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How to Choose a Good VPN

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    Simon Kim
Table of Contents

What is a VPN?

Meaning of VPN

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Originally, VPN was a communication system developed for security purposes. Companies and institutions that require security typically build their security systems based on an intranet that cannot be accessed by computers that are not physically connected via cable. This makes it impossible for an external computer without an Intranet cable plugged in to see the data within that network.

However, as the Internet evolved and the global era arrived, there arose occasions when access to the intranet was required even outside the office. For example, when you go on an overseas business trip, or set up an overseas office. So a way to securely access the intranet created over the Internet was developed, which is VPN. VPN is currently used for various purposes such as hiding encrypted communication contents and access records to ensure strong anonymity on the Internet world.

How VPN Works

The working principle of VPN is quite complex. Connecting to a server on the Internet means that the signal I sent from my computer is received by the server, and the server sends a response signal back to me, thereby establishing a connection. Simply put, if I ask the Google server "Is the server active?" to connect to, the Google server will respond "200 OK" to say that the server is active. From then on, I can send other questions to the Google server. For example, questions like "weather today", "BTS music video" by entering them in the search bar.

These common questions are transmitted to Google through the internet service provider that installed the internet cable to provide internet service. However, when using a VPN, the question we sent is first transmitted to the VPN service, encrypted, and routed through a server owned by the VPN. Therefore, even if you ask Google through a VPN, Google will think the question came from the VPN company, not directly from us.

Pros and Cons of VPN

pros and cons

Pros of VPN

The advantages of VPN are numerous. Currently, governments around the world are monitoring internet traffic and making lists of inaccessible sites and blocking access, so my anonymity on the internet world is not fully guaranteed. In summary,

  • The government and internet companies can know when I accessed which sites.
  • They can also block access to specific sites.

However, by using a VPN, I can hide my internet access records and freely access sites blocked by the government. In addition to this, the various advantages can be listed as follows:

  • Strong anonymity is guaranteed by encrypting communication content and hiding access records.
  • Services unavailable in Korea such as Spotify and international Google Play and Apple App Store can be used freely.
  • Online games abroad like Roblox that cannot be accessed with Korean IP can be used.
  • Sites blocked by the Korea Communications Standards Commission can be accessed.
  • (For foreign users) YouTube Music, which has been fully paid in Korea since September 2, 2020, can be used.

Cons of VPN

Because VPN takes an additional hop to the final destination compared to normal internet use, some problems may occur:

Internet speed may slow down a bit.

Sites like Netflix and Namuwiki block access from VPN users.

There is a possibility that the providing company collects usage records.

In some countries including China, using a VPN can result in punishment according to related laws.

VPN Selection Criteria

There are VPN companies in Korea, but I recommend using globally proven foreign VPN companies. This is because some VPN companies have been caught providing or selling customer personal information to entities like the US NSA or other companies without consent.

Then what criteria should we use to evaluate and select a VPN? I think the answer lies in why people look for VPNs. As explained above, a proper VPN service should be able to securely hide my identity and ensure security, and allow me to freely access sites I want by circumventing censorship.

Anonymity and Security

This feature is especially important when using the internet, especially Wi-Fi, in public PCs or places like companies and schools. Of course, companies, schools, institutions that provide the internet network can monitor which sites users are using. To prevent this, the VPN service must provide:

  • Military-grade encryption: 256-bit AES encryption
  • Secure protocols: OpenVPN or IKEv2
  • Leak protection: Without this, the internet service provider can check my access records.
  • No log storage: Some VPN companies provide customer personal information to entities like the US NSA or sell them to other companies.

If you frequently use torrents, the following features may be necessary:

  • Support for private P2P servers: With some VPN companies, when connecting to P2P servers, throttling does not occur and fast upload and download speeds are possible.
  • Kill switch feature: If the server connection fails, it immediately cuts off the internet connection to safely respond to possible government censorship.
  • Automatic malware detection when torrenting

Censorship Circumvention

In Korea, sites on the harmful site list designated by the Korea Communications Standards Commission are blocked by HTTPS blocking. To be free from legal issues that may arise from traffic occurring on such sites, it is absolutely necessary to use a VPN that stably supports censorship circumvention.

Access to Overseas Sites and Services

VPN is sometimes used to access games or sites that are only serviced in certain countries. Major overseas services unavailable in Korea include:

  • Spotify
  • Hulu
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Netflix content of specific countries like Japan

In addition, it will be a great tool for those who want to use apps and programs that can only be downloaded in specific countries, or want to enjoy online games like Roblox on servers in specific countries.

However, the most important thing to use these services is that the VPN company you use must have sufficient data centers in each country. If there is no data center in the country I want, or if the number of servers is too small, internet speed may be significantly slower. Therefore, when choosing a VPN company, please be sure to check if they support the region I want to connect to, and have a sufficient number of servers.

I will introduce 5 best VPNs that I personally used and then wrote about. I carefully selected companies that had satisfying anonymity/security and bypass performance, connection speeds.

1. NordVPN

  • Security
  • Provides military-grade encryption
  • OpenVPN + AES-256-CBC encryption
  • IKEv2/IPSec + AES-256-CGM encryption for macOS / iOS
  • Smoothness
  • Owns over 5,400 data centers/servers worldwide
  • Suitable for video streaming and torrent downloads

NordVPN is acknowledged as providing the largest and best VPN service. It has the world's largest data centers so you can connect quickly wherever you want, and it uses the highest grade protocols for security so you can trust and use it.

It can be used on Windows, Mac, and mobile devices, and Chrome browser extensions are also available, so it can be used in virtually any environment. If you want to safely hide your data and don't want to give up fast speeds, use NordVPN.

It currently has a 30-day free trial promotion and up to 70% discount. Click the banner below for more information!


2. ExpressVPN

  • Streaming: Bypasses Netflix, Amazon Prime
  • Speed: Provides fast, uninterrupted speed with 94 country data centers worldwide
  • Unlimited bandwidth: Optimized for torrent downloads without speed limits
  • Security
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Can be used in China

It is one of the most popular VPNs in Korea. It is a VPN that is very famous for its fast speed and ability to use video/game/web surfing seamlessly without interruption. With up to 35% discount for annual plans, ExpressVPN is optimized for those who want speed + unlimited bandwidth.

By subscribing to ExpressVPN through VPNMALL, you can get a link to receive up to 35% discount. Click the banner below to get 35% off by subscribing to the 1-year plan!

3. Surfshark

Surfshark is a VPN service whose popularity has skyrocketed recently. It gained a lot of popularity for being able to watch Netflix foreign content seamlessly. It is suitable for those who mainly use streaming services or web surfing rather than strong security.

It can be said to be a VPN that is used a lot when enjoying games like Roblox or Minecraft. Above all, it is inexpensive and provides a 30-day free trial, so it is used by many students.

Click the banner below to get the service for 2,992 won per month and get 3 months free!


4. Ultra VPN (Hotspot Shield)


The Hotspot Shield VPN Chrome extension was once a very famous service. It now provides service under the name Ultra VPN.

It features very strong security by default while being very inexpensive. The speed is also fast, so streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime can be watched smoothly in HD quality, and games can also be comfortably used when connecting to overseas servers. Above all, you can try it for free for 30 days and get a refund for free. You just have to cancel after the free trial, so it is widely used by students.

By clicking the banner below, you can receive up to 81% discount, available only on VPNMALL.


5. ProtonVPN

  • Security
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Zero log policy and no ads
  • Smoothness
  • Provides US, France, Japan servers
  • Allows unlimited free data
  • Cons
  • Netflix not available on free plan

ProtonVPN is a VPN extension that you can use unlimitedly without data limits. However, communication may be slow and connection may not be smooth. Of course, if you don't care about speed, you can safely use Chrome without worrying about data thanks to its security.

However, Netflix cannot be connected on the free plan, so please check before using ProtonVPN if you want to use the overseas Netflix service.

Try ProtonVPN free data


  • Security
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Smoothness
  • Provides Canada, Netherlands, Germany servers
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 2GB data limit per month
  • Other features
  • 30-day premium service trial available allows the use of three servers worldwide, but 2GB of data is given per month so it is quite generous. However, when actually using the program, you must activate SOCKS (Socket Secure) so that data is encrypted, so please be aware of this. Of course, IP bypass is possible even if SOCKS is not activated.

A 30-day premium service trial is available for free users, so you can try the premium service for free while using it for free, and proceed with premium payment if you like the service. 30-day premium service trial

VPN Terms Summary

  • VPN Client: A program that can be installed on the user's device to connect to the VPN server.
  • VPN Protocol: A set of processes VPN clients and servers use to communicate securely with each other. Some protocols are safer than others.
  • VPN Server: A computer managed by the VPN company that VPN clients can connect to using the VPN. Routing data through the server hides real location and IP address.
  • VPN Service: A service that enhances security by encrypting internet traffic and masking IP address. Also makes it appear to be in a different location to bypass censorship.
  • Encryption: Scrambling data into code so it can be transmitted securely.
  • Global Content: Content that is blocked in some countries but can be accessed via VPN.
  • IP Leak: When a VPN fails to mask the user's IP address.
  • ISP: Stands for Internet Service Provider. An ISP is a company you pay to provide internet access.
  • Kill Switch: A VPN feature that automatically disconnects internet if disconnected. This keeps data always encrypted and prevents IP leaks.
  • Logs: Data a VPN company keeps on users and their online activity.
  • Proxy Server: A server that acts as middleman between user's device and the internet. Privacy is enhanced because it doesn't communicate directly with other servers so IP address is hidden.
  • Router: A device that transmits data between computer networks. An ISP typically provides a router for internet access.
  • TOR: Software that allows communicating online anonymously. Data is routed through a worldwide network of volunteer-run servers making it very difficult to trace where it came from.
  • International Security Alliance: An international security alliance that cooperates to collect and share huge surveillance data. Any provider located in one of these alliance countries can log and hand over online activity.
    • Five Eyes
    • Nine Eyes
    • Fourteen Eyes

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