VPN – Virtual Private Networks
Almost everyone has heard of a VPN, but what they are and why they are used is not as commonly known.
VPN – Virtual Private Networks
Almost everyone has heard of a VPN, but what they are and why they are used is not as commonly known. This article will explain VPN’s in more detail to help you understand whether you should consider setting one up.
Virtual Private Networks or VPN’s as they are commonly referred to are used for a number of different purposes but their primary use is security. A VPN provides online privacy and anonymity by creating a private connection from a public internet connection such as your home internet connection. A VPN masks your computer’s IP address (this is what identifies your computer on the internet) which makes your online actions virtually untraceable. The connection created is more secure that a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.
Why do you need a VPN service?
The encryption and anonymity provided by a VPN help protect online activities including shopping, banking, paying bills and sending emails. They also keep your web browsing anonymous.
How often have you been checking emails or doing online banking whilst waiting in line? Any data being transmitted during these times is potentially vulnerable to eavesdropping. A VPN protects this information.
How does a VPN Protect You?
VPN’s create a direct private link (think of it like a driveway or private road) between your computer and the VPN providers entrance onto the public internet. That entrance could be in another country, which makes it seem like you are in a different location. This provides online freedom and anonymity to keep you secure.
VPN’s also encrypt the data sent from your computer over the internet. Encryption makes data unreadable, which means your data is protected even when using the Wi-Fi network at your local café or the airport.
Another additional benefit is privacy. Without a VPN your internet provider can know your browsing history. A VPN hides this as your activity is associated with their IP address which could originate from one of many servers in a number of different countries.
A VPN can be configured on almost any device to ensure you are always protected.
What can a VPN Keep Private?
A VPN can keep private a number of things. Most importantly it can hide information that could put your privacy at risk, including:
- Browsing history
- IP address and location
- Location for streaming
- Your devices
- Your web activity
What should you look for in a VPN provider?
- Ensure they have a no-log policy so you know they’re not tracking your online activities.
- Data limits. Make sure it’s unmetered bandwidth and no data limits.
- Server locations. If you require something specific make sure they meet the requirement. For most people, make sure there are a number of servers in different countries.
- Make sure they’re running the most current.
- Make sure you can set it up on the devices you need to as most people have more than one device.
VPN’s are becoming more commonly used as a means of providing online privacy and security.
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