Intro: What Is a VPN and Why Do I Need One?
With VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) becoming more popular, people should know what they are and how they operate, as well as some of the benefits to using one. That is the purpose of this article, and I hope it answers any basic questions you may have.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network is a service that allows you to connect to an offsite secure server over any internet connection. After you subscribe to a service and then connect to it, you will have the opportunity to pick which server you want it to appear you are browsing from. This will give you a great deal more privacy in your internet life as the server you are connecting to will mask your IP address.
In addition, any communication that happens between you and the secure server is done over an encrypted connection, meaning that, regardless of the network you are using, it will be nearly impossible for anyone to tell what is going on. This allows you to safely make any transactions or do any downloading you need to without worrying about your personal or financial information.
While they were originally designed for businesses so that employees could reach work files and data from home, they are becoming more common in the consumer market and have reached a whole new wave of users in recent years. They are becoming a security requirement as well as a strong internet security program.
What Benefits Can I Get from a VPN?
The obvious and most important benefits that anyone will receive from a VPN are the privacy and security that it provides. Whenever you use a public network (normally very dangerous and teeming with threats), you will be able to use the internet in peace, knowing that your information is safe over an encrypted connection. The only thing potential onlookers, including large organizations, will be able to know (at best) is that you are using a VPN, a service that there is nothing inherently wrong with.
The other great uses of a VPN that will probably benefit travelers the most is the fact that a VPN masks your IP address. This means that you will not be all that affected by geographical restrictions or blocked websites. You just need to appear, via the VPN, as if you are in a country that is not restricting the website, and the server will take care of the rest for you and send you the “restricted” content over your secure connection.
What Makes a Good VPN?
Before you get around to using a VPN, you probably should figure out which one is right for you, because there are a lot of different options for you to pick from. There are a lot of competing products on the market. While almost any VPN is better than none, there are clear winners.
Of course, the security protocols and options are the most important things when trying to find a good VPN, so you will want to make sure that you are getting the highest levels of protection and encryption possible. As a general rule, you will want to go with the military-grade 256-bit encryption to make sure everything you deal with is extremely safe. Another thing that you should consider is whether the VPN has a lower security option to turn on and off if you still want some security when downloading but don’t want the occasional slowdown that a high-level encryption can create.
Additionally, you will want to look at the number of servers available and how many countries the servers base themselves in. This allows you to be more versatile when trying to get around government censorship or regional restrictions. It also allows you to have a greater selection if you are trying to manipulate regional pricing to your favor. There is every advantage to a service with a lot of servers.
Finally, you’ll want to verify if there are any limits being placed on your use of the VPN. It is worth researching whether there is a bandwidth limit or if any sites or torrents are not allowed before you decide on a service so you buy the right one.
How Do I Get It to Work?
All VPN services will be slightly different in their connection methods and how they set up your account. Most do use an account system of some variety; others will send you a software client to use while having the VPN active. There are too many small variations to go over in detail, but connecting is not a daunting task. Many VPNs have a searchable manual for further instructions.
In short, it isn’t any more complicated than connecting to Facebook. Many smartphones and operating systems have an option within the internet settings that allow for the use of a VPN with great ease. This is something to investigate if you want to make your life easier.
You’ll need to sign up or subscribe to a VPN service, the details of which differ from website to website. Once connected, you may be prompted to choose an offsite server that you want to connect to. All you do is pick one, and you’ll be all set. As far as you’re concerned, nothing will really be different as you browse the internet.
Thank you for reading, and I hope that you have a much better working knowledge of what a VPN does and how it can help you.