How to Pick a Good Family VPN
VPNs have become essential tools for any family. They help you unblock entertainment, they keep your kids’ torrenting activities on the down-low, and using a VPN will keep your family secure against hackers, government surveillance, and ISPs.
There’s just one problem – there are hundreds of VPNs on the market right now. How do you know which one is right for your family? Sure, some VPNs advertise themselves as “family-friendly VPNs,” but that’s not saying much since it’s still vague copywriting.
To make it easy for families to find good VPNs, we put together this guide. It goes over the must-have features of any good family VPN.
So, here’s what to check when browsing for VPNs:
The Sites It Can Unblock
Most of you probably want to use a family VPN to bypass geo-blocks so that you can enjoy more TV shows and movies with your loved ones.
Well, you need to check if the VPN can unblock the sites you want. Most VPN providers mention in their support articles if they can unblock popular sites like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.
We also recommend googling “[VPN provider name] review” and checking out the first links. Most top VPN review sites test if a VPN can unblock popular streaming sites.
You can also contact the VPN provider’s support team to ask them if they’re able to unblock the sites you want to use.
VPNs get a bad rep because people often assume they’re difficult to use. When you consider their definition (virtual private networks that hide IPs and encrypt Internet connections), it’s no wonder people think it’s too complicated to use a VPN.
But it really isn’t! It’s as simple as downloading and installing an app and using it to connect to a VPN server. Still, the app needs to be well designed. Check screenshots and video reviews to see how the apps look like. They should have an intuitive design that both you and your kids can get used to.
What’s more, the VPN provider should have cross-platform compatible apps. The industry standard is to have VPN apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. Some providers even have full GUI apps for Linux (most of them only have command line-based apps, though).
The Simultaneous Connections
VPN providers let you use their services on a specific number of devices at the same time. The industry average is anywhere between five and seven simultaneous connections.
That might be enough for a small family, but we recommend going the extra mile. Some VPNs support up to ten parallel connections.
And if you have a huge family, you should consider getting a VPN that allows unlimited parallel connections. That way, everyone can use the VPN on as many devices as they want. No need to pester your kids to log out of the VPN app on their smartphone because you want to watch Netflix!
Best of all – a VPN with unlimited connections helps you save money. If you plan to share the subscription with your in-laws or siblings, you can share the subscription costs too. For a long-term plan, they’re usually pretty cheap.
You could also get unlimited connections by setting up the VPN on a router. However, doing that is complicated. Plus, the speeds will be slower.
VPNs need to keep your family safe from cyber threats. And to do that, they need to offer top-notch security and privacy.
Here’s what a secure VPN should offer:
- Powerful end-to-end encryption – 256-bit AES encryption is the standard, but the ChaCha20 cipher is also secure. This prevents anyone from spying on your traffic.
- A no-logs policy – This ensures the VPN doesn’t log your traffic. They won’t know what sites you browse or what files you download.
- A kill switch – This is a feature that stops all Internet access when the VPN connection drops. It’s essential for protecting your family’s online privacy from traffic leaks.
The P2P Support
Everyone loves to torrent – especially kids. Sure, you can tell them it’s wrong, but that won’t stop them from doing it. And if you live in a country where torrenting isn’t legal, you can get in serious trouble if your ISP sees that someone in your family is downloading torrents (they could even terminate your account if torrenting is against the TOS).
So, it’s better to just use a VPN to hide the torrent traffic. But a VPN has to allow P2P traffic on its servers – so make sure you check that it does! And while you’re at it, see which torrent clients the VPN works with (most top VPNs work with all torrent clients).
Besides that, you should also check if the VPN offers good leak protection (IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC) and a kill switch. Those features are essential to make torrenting leak-proof.
The Server Network
You will want to use a VPN with a large server network – ideally over 1,000 servers in 50+ countries. That’s the best way to ensure you get good speeds. It will be easy to find a server that’s close to your family’s location. It’ll also be easy to find a server that’s not overcrowded.
What’s more, a large server network that’s evenly spread across the globe helps your family unblock any content they want.
Most VPNs offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. But make sure to read the TOS to see if you can get a refund for something as simple as not liking the VPN.
After all, maybe not everyone in your family will like the service. Maybe your kids won’t be able to unblock the sites they want, or maybe the VPN doesn’t have good P2P support (and someone in your family downloads torrents a lot).
The Bottom Line
Finding a good family VPN can be tough, so we hope we made it a little bit easier with this guide. We’d also like to hear what features you check when looking for reliable family VPNs. Please let us know in the comments.