Does VPN server location matter: how to choose the best one

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With hundreds of locations and thousands of servers that many VPN services offer, it might be hard to choose the best one to connect to. Choosing the right location to connect influences your browsing experience, but how much does a VPN server location really matter or is it safe to connect to a VPN server in your own country? This might depend on what actually you are looking for – either it is streaming a video, unblocked content or safe and fast connection. Let’s see which country it is best to connect to when using a VPN.

Connecting to a specific VPN server location matters depending on your needs. The selected location can make a difference when trying to unblock content, circumvent censorship, browse securely and privately as well as experience good internet speeds. Choosing the right VPN server matters for your browsing experience.

The best VPN server location really depends on what you want to do: unblock content, have more privacy or good internet speeds. The best VPN server might be different for unblocking content or when you want to get fast download speeds. Let’s explore in more detail how location influences all of those aspects.

Circumventing censorship and unblocking content with VPN is directly related to the location you connect to. Let’s take for example streaming the newest Netflix video that is available only in the US – to reach that new content you must connect to the US server since this will make you appear that you actually are in the US and allow you to watch the video. The same principle applies to circumvent censorship and reaching blocked websites when traveling abroad. Let’s say you are in a location where Facebook or Instagram is blocked (ex. China) – this way you would need to connect to the VPN server in a country that does not block such websites this way allowing you to reach the wanted content or services. From these scenarios we can see that to unblock websites and content you must choose the VPN server in the location where this particular content is reachable.

When on VPN, the Internet speed is influenced by two main factors – the distance from your exact location to the VPN server and that server’s load. The bigger the distance the bigger roundtrip internet packets have to make, meaning, the longer it will take to load the websites and download files. This is especially noticeable where the internet connection is not very good.

VPN server’s load usually means how much internet traffic is traveling via that server at a given time. The bigger the load the more it is expected that this server will slow down your internet speed. It is best to connect to the server that has the least load.

The internet speed is also influenced by many factors unrelated to a VPN, such as the whole internet infrastructure in the country. Connecting to a VPN server that is in a country where internet infrastructure is limited might slow down your internet speeds. For the best internet speeds, it is best to choose the VPN server that is closest to you – and this might be in your own country.

Connecting to a VPN server that is in your own country might sound that you do not get any privacy from that, but that is not true. When you connect to a VPN server that is in your own country that is as safe and secure as connecting to any other VPN country. VPN still encrypts your traffic the same way and hides from your ISP the websites you visit. A factor that still plays a role in your privacy is VPN logs and data retention law of the country you connect to.

Privacy and security of a VPN connection is technically the same no matter where you connect, but as said, the data retention law that is in that country plays a role here. In countries where user data is allowed to collect and might be shared with intelligence agencies, VPN companies themselves face a legal challenge of truly keeping no logs. The best VPN companies are based in countries where it is not obliged to keep any information on the users or cooperate with intelligence agencies if they are asked. For increased security and privacy, it is not that important where you connect, it is more important where the VPN service provider is based in and know what law it has to obey. 

The best VPN companies choose countries to run their services where sharing personal data, logging or cooperating with intelligence is in favor of the internet user and not the government. These countries do not require to keep any information for any period of time making it easy for VPN companies to truly keep no-logs. And here are the best countries for a VPN:

1. The British Virgin Islands – currently there is no data protection law enacted in the British Virgin Islands allowing VPN companies to keep no logs. Well known and established VPN company ExpressVPN is based in this country.

2. Switzerland – One of the countries that protect personal data, does not allow any collection without the knowledge or informing the person. A well known VyprVPN service is based in this country.

3. Hong Kong – unlike China, Hong Kong has put its data protection law in place that requires to specifically and clearly inform the user of any data logging, collecting and use for marketing. A cheap and audited no-log PureVPN is based there.

Other countries worth mentioning that are not in the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances and has great data protection laws that allow VPN companies not to keep any logs:

4. Romania based: CyberGhost

5. Malaysia based:

6 . Panama based: NordVPN

Final thoughts

To choose the best VPN server location is most important if you want to unblock content that is only allowed in that country. But if you’re just browsing regularly you should always choose the VPN server that is closest to you – it will be as safe as connecting anywhere else and also you will experience better internet speeds. The safety and security of a VPN in regards to a location are dependent not on where you connect, but where VPN company itself is based. It is the best choice to pick a VPN that is in a country where the law does not require to collect any internet user data.

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