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VPN for WordPress: Is it Necessary in 2020?

By Ellie Richards

Did you know that approximately 30% of the websites on the Internet are running on WordPress? That’s right, and while it’s excellent news for the people that created it, if you own a site powered by WordPress, you need to think about security. And no, we’re not talking about antivirus software.

Even though modern-day security solutions are pretty great, they won’t help you in this situation.

What is McAfee antivirus software, for instance, going to do to keep your privacy? Much, to be honest. However, a VPN, on the other hand, can be as capable of encrypting vulnerable data and making sure cybercriminals never get their hands on it.

This post will talk about the concept of a Virtual Private Network, how it operates, and what benefits it will bring for a WordPress user.

What is a VPN?

VPN for WordPress

VPN is a relatively new technology, but it’s already proven to be trustworthy. Essentially, it provides an encrypted server (a “tunnel”) that hides your traffic from prying eyes. If you access your website through a regular home network or a public Wi-Fi, hackers will likely try to steal your credentials. With a VPN, you can choose one of the many available servers and thus secure your data.

This will trick all third parties into believing that your traffic is being generated by that server, while, in reality, you can be on the other side of the planet. Even the ISP won’t be able to figure this out. On top of that, as mentioned, Virtual Private Networks are highly secure, making it impossible to track your online activity.

Here’s another thing: in some countries, certain websites are banned, which can be quite frustrating if you travel a lot. With a VPN, all those restrictions can be easily bypassed. Just choose a server that’s located in the country/area that doesn’t have any strict limits, and that’s it!

What can a VPN do for WordPress?

VPN for WordPress

As mentioned, more than 1/3rd of all the websites on the planet are powered by WordPress. According to several research centers, it’s also the most targeted and the most infected website Content Management System(CMS). In 2016, the percentage of infections was 74%; in 2017, it reached 83%. By 2018, it was getting dangerously close to 90%. The numbers for 2019-2020 aren’t officially in yet, but the situation hasn’t changed much.

The first thing most users do is install and run an SSL certificate. Or, they download a security plugin that was specifically designed for WordPress protection. While they do, indeed, boost security, they can’t be the ultimate solution to this problem. With a VPN, you’ll be much more secure, and it will actually cost you less.

Even if the criminals manage to get access to your traffic, all they’re going to see is zeroes and ones. This is achieved thanks to the incredible encryption protocols that modern-day Virtual Private Networks implement.

How do you find the Perfect VPN?

With the basics out of the way, let us talk a bit about the most defining factors of a VPN. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of providers on the market. Some of them are available for free, while others will cost you money. Don’t worry: we won’t get into much techy detail but rather explain everything in plain and simple English.

The following list includes the key aspects that can make it or break it for a VPN. You can check it and then choose the most suitable one.

  • Connection speed and stability. The #1 concern of most modern-day users is the connection stability. The reason – with a slow VPN, websites take forever to load, which is quite annoying. The lack of a stable connection can also lead to constant pop-up messages (“your Internet is too slow, try switching to Ethernet,” and such). It’s important to say that no matter how great the Virtual Private Network is, it will still have a negative effect on the speed.

    On average, if you see a 20-25% decrease in the connection speed, that means the VPN is quite good. And make sure that the company provides unlimited bandwidth. With it, you won’t have to worry about the traffic (or, instead, running out of it).

  • The number of servers. It’s simple, really: the more servers the VPN has, the better. If the network is modest, and there are many users connecting to them, you won’t be able to get a stable connection. Besides, some companies have a minimal line-up of servers, and they’re mostly located in Europe and the US. So, if you need an Asian or, say, African server, this won’t be a good deal for you.

    The leading VPN servers have up to five thousand (!) servers at their disposal and will always have a couple of spare ones for you. Again: it’s the number of servers and their destination that make all the difference.

  • The number of simultaneous connections. This isn’t the most defining factor when choosing a VPN for WordPress, but still, keep it in mind. Because you never know how many devices you’re going to use, and how many connections will require a VPN’s protection. The average number is three; more advanced providers cover up to five devices, and more.
  • The encryption protocols. Right now, there are four leading encryption protocols, and they handle the data transfer (from the user’s device to the VPN’s servers). The most popular protocol is OpenVPN. It’s a 100% open-source project, making it very easy for third-party developers to access it, report any flaws, and even fix them. It’s also very easy to use and intuitive, thanks to SSL/TLS.

    IKEv2, in turn, is the most secure protocol. It is being used by big corporations and even some government facilities around the world. It was developed by Microsoft’s engineers a while ago and is still the #1 choice for protection and privacy. The only downside – it’s not available on many platforms.

    The third protocol is SSTP – it’s almost as good as OpenVPN, but not nearly there. PPTP is rather old and is mostly used in Win XP and server hardware.

  • The privacy policy. Most Virtual Private Networks follow the zero-logs policy, which means they don’t keep any “tabs” on the users. However, some of them do keep logs but prefer not to talk about that out loud. You might think that this isn’t a big deal, but it actually is. The Five Eyes alliance members can request these logs from the VPN providers, and they’ll have to comply.

    You don’t want your private/sensitive data to end up in the government’s hands, do you? So, make sure to check the privacy policy before committing to any company. Here’s a quick tip: if the HQ is located outside of any alliances, the strict US/UK legislation won’t work there. The Virgin British Islands are an excellent example of that.

  • The price/discounts. True, the most expensive VPNs are also the best ones, but you won’t need all the extras in many cases. Try to find the golden middle between price and quality. Most users are ok with single-device subscriptions and don’t necessarily want to have all four protocols available (OpenVPN will do just fine). Also, look for a provider with discounts on long-term subscriptions – that will allow you to save some money.
  • MBG, free trials. Finally, it’s always nice to know that you can get your investments back if you don’t like the app. That can be done through the MBG (Money-Back Guarantee). You’ll have 30 days to get a complete refund; the most generous companies offer up to 60 days. As for the free trials, the one NordVPN has, they give access to the full version of the software (the VPN) for 3, 7, or 14 days, and don’t charge you a single penny.

    But, once the trial is over, you’ll be asked to pay for a monthly/yearly subscription to continue using it. This is important: it’s not rare for automatic subscription/renewal to be activated. That means you’ll be charged without your knowledge. Get in contact with the support agents and ask them to cancel auto-renewal unless you’re planning on paying for the service.

Ellie Richards

Ellie-Richards: “I am a tech blogger, and I’m surfing the internet every single day, looking for better solutions for online privacy and security. I base my reviews on meticulous, in-depth analysis and real-world trials.”
Education: Marquette University, Communication studies.
Working experience: 2 years as a freelance writer for IndyStar.
Hobbies: tech blogging, vintage books, baseball matches.

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