Since we’re living in a connected world, security and privacy are critical to ensure our personal safety from nefarious hacks. From online banking to communicating with coworkers on a daily basis, we’re now frequently transferring data on our computers and smartphones. It’s extremely important to find ways of securing our digital life and for this reason, VPNs have become increasingly common. A virtual private network lets you send and receive data while remaining anonymous and secure online.
What Is VPN (Virtual Private Network)?
A virtual private network is a technology that allows you to create a secure connection over a less-secure network between your computer and the internet. It protects your privacy by allowing you to anonymously appear to be anywhere you choose.
A VPN is beneficial because it guarantees an appropriate level of security and privacy to the connected systems. This is extremely useful when the existing network infrastructure alone cannot support it.
When your computer is connected to a VPN, the computer acts as if it’s also on the same network as the VPN. All of your online traffic is transferred over a secure connection to the VPN. The computer will then behave as if it’s on that network, allowing you to securely gain access to local network resources. Regardless of your location, you’ll be given permission to use the internet as if you were present at the VPN’s location. This can be extremely beneficial for individuals using a public Wi-Fi network or public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Therefore, when you browse the internet while on a VPN, your computer will contact the website through an encrypted connection. The VPN will then forward the request for you and forward the response from the website back through a secure connection.
How VPN Works (Virtual Private Network)?
A VPN connection usually works like this. Data is transmitted from your client machine to a point in your VPN network. The VPN point encrypts your data and sends it through the internet. Another point in your VPN network decrypts your data and sends it to the appropriate internet resource, such as a web server, an email server, or your company’s intranet. Then the internet resource sends data back to a point in your VPN network, where it gets encrypted. That encrypted data is sent through the internet to another point in your VPN network, which decrypts the data and sends it back to your client machine. Easy peasy!
Types of VPN (Virtual Private Network)
VPNs are really easy to use, and they’re considered to be highly effective tools. They can be used to do a wide range of things. The most popular types of VPNs are remote-access VPNs and site-to-site VPNs.
What is a remote-access VPN?
A remote-access VPN uses public infrastructure like the internet to provide remote users secure access to their network. This is particularly important for organizations and their corporate networks. It’s crucial when employees connect to a public hotspot and use the internet for sending work-related emails. A VPN client, on the user’s computer or mobile device connects to a VPN gateway on the company’s network. This gateway will typically require the device to authenticate its identity. It will then create a network link back to the device that allows it to reach internal network resources such as file servers, printers and intranets, as if it were on the same local network.
It usually relies on either Internet Protocol Security or Secure Sockets Layer to secure the connection. However, SSL VPNs can also be used to supply secure access to a single application, rather than an entire internal network. Some VPNs also provide Layer 2 access to the target network; these will require a tunneling protocol like Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol or Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol running across the base IPsec connection.
What is a site-to-site VPN?
This is when the VPN technology uses a gateway device to connect to the entire network in one location to a network in another location. The majority of site-to-site VPNs that connect over the internet use IPsec. Rather than using the public internet, it is also normal to use career multiprotocol label switching clouds as the main transport for site-to-site VPNs.
VPNs are often defined between specific computers, and in most cases, they are servers in separate data centers. However, new hybrid-access situations have now transformed the VPN gateway in the cloud, typically with a secure link from the cloud service provider into the internal network.
What is a mobile VPN?
A traditional VPN can affect the user experience when applied to wireless devices. It’s best to use a mobile VPN to avoid slower speeds and data loss. A mobile VPN offers you a high level of security for the challenges of wireless communication. It can provide mobile devices with secure access to network resources and software applications on their wireless networks. It’s good to use when you’re facing coverage gaps, internetwork roaming, bandwidth issues or limited battery life, memory or processing power.
Mobile VPNs are designed and optimized to ensure a seamless user experience when devices are switching networks or moving out of coverage. It generally has a smaller memory footprint, and because of that, it also requires less processing power than a traditional VPN. Therefore, it enables your applications to run faster while the battery pack is able to last longer.
A Mobile VPN is a worthwhile tool to have since it increases privacy, user satisfaction and productivity, while also reducing unforeseen support issues caused by wireless connectivity problems. The increasing usage of mobile devices and wireless connectivity make it more important to ensure that your data is being transferred through a secure network. It will allow you to access the internet, while staying safe behind a firewall that protects your privileged information.
Who needs a VPN?
People who access the internet from a computer, tablet or smartphone will benefit from using a VPN. A VPN service will always boost your security by encrypting and anonymizing all of your online activity. Communications that happen between the VPN server and your device are encrypted, so a hacker or website spying on you wouldn’t know which web pages you access. They also won’t be able to see private information like passwords, usernames and bank or shopping details and so on. Anyone who wants to protect their privacy and security online should use a VPN.
Using a VPN for Netflix and other online services
Online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have been making it difficult for foreign users to access their content in other countries. Many people can get around region restrictions by using a VPN service to route your traffic through another country.
It can be quite simple to watch Netflix and other restricted goodies. You’ll have to use a VPN service that allows you to get a unique IP address. This can often be available for an additional fee. Look for VPN services that offer a “dedicated IP address,” “dedicated IP” or “static IP.” Additional features like these will always allow you to access content from Netflix through a VPN service.
This is by far the easiest way to access your forbidden apps since there’s no specific way to block VPN traffic.
Many people started using a VPN to evade geo-restrictions. But despite its forbidden benefits to users outside the US, a VPN is a great tool that can protect you and enhance your online experience over the internet by providing you with sufficient security and privacy. When it comes to selecting the best VPN, you have plenty of choices. There are many cost-effective VPN options, and all of them will vary in monthly offerings. Choosing the best VPN is easier once you narrow down the competition. The best indication of a good VPN service provider is that it has the right security and the right support in place for you.
How to choose a VPN service?
There’s a vast range of VPN services on the internet. Some are free VPN services, but the best ones require a monthly subscription. Before you decide to download a VPN, make sure you consider these factors for understanding a VPN.
- Cost: VPNs aren’t too pricey, but they vary from vendor to vendor. If your main concern is price, then go with something inexpensive, or a free VPN service. Free servers are often slower, and since most are ad-supported, they place adverts on the online pages you access. Others can even limit the speed of your connection, as well as your online time or amount of data transferred. It’s also important to note that leading VPN providers offer stronger security features to ensure you’re digitally safe. When selecting a paid VPN service, always be sure to check which countries it operates servers in.
- Reliability: Select a VPN that is reliable and read the reviews to make sure that it’s capable of protecting you by providing you with sufficient online privacy.
- High security: An effective VPN will have the following security features: 128-bit encryption, anonymous DNS servers and an absence of connection logs.
- Are there any bandwidth limits? This can often be linked to price; paying more will generally provide more bandwidth with faster internet access.
- Are VPN apps for Android, iOS phones and tablets available? Apps for Android and iOS devices are also vulnerable, so make sure your VPN server can support a VPN app.
FAQ about VPN
What is a VPN used for?
Using a VPN to connect to the internet allows you to surf websites privately and securely as well as gain access to restricted websites and overcome censorship blocks. VPNs aren’t just for desktops or laptops — you can set up a VPN on your iPhone, iPad or Android phone, too.
Is VPN safe for online banking?
In terms of banking, without a VPN, your transactions, along with information such as your name and bank details, can potentially be accessed by hackers and used to steal your money or identity. However, if you use a VPN, your data traffic is additionally encrypted, so that your transactions are safe from prying eyes.
Does a VPN hide your IP?
A VPN essentially provides you with a connection to a separate server network and guides all your traffic through that network. This masks your actual IP address with one of their server IP addresses, making it virtually impossible for anyone to identify your true IP address.
Is it illegal to have a VPN?
Using a VPN in the U.S. is currently legal. However, if you use a VPN to commit an act that is illegal without a VPN, it is still illegal when using one. That may include downloading and selling copyrighted information, hacking into computers or networks without authorization, and cyberstalking.
Should I use a VPN?
VPNs are great for when you’re out and about, using Wi-Fi networks that aren’t your own. But at home, a VPN can help protect your privacy and may let you access streaming content that would be otherwise unavailable.
What are the disadvantages of VPN?
Some common disadvantages of VPN services
- A slower internet connection.
- Specific blockades of VPN services (for example by Netflix)
- Illegal use of VPNs themselves.
- Not knowing how strong the encryption provided by your VPN is.
- The logging and potential reselling of your internet habits to third parties.
- Connection breaks.
Can VPN steal your data?
When it comes to protecting your privacy, most VPNs fail. Many popular, highly-rated VPN services will leak your IP address, infect your computer with malware, install hidden tracking on your devices, steal your private information, leave your data exposed to third parties, and even steal your bandwidth.