Virtual Private Networks 101 – What a VPN Can Do For You?
VPN usage is on the rise. Almost 1/4 of all internet users access a VPN. VPNs not only unlock massive privacy and security benefits but have a wide range of other applications as well.
This guide explains what VPNs are, how they work, and the top uses of them. By the time you’re finished reading this, you’ll be an expert on all things VPN.
Let’s jump right in and explore VPNs.
What is a VPN?
A VPN or virtual private network is a service that allows you to access the internet in a safe and private manner. It routes your internet connection through a third-server, hiding your IP address and encrypting traffic in the process.
Most VPNs come in the form of desktop clients. But you can also find them as mobile apps and browser extensions. When choosing which VPN download you want, make sure the service offers a wide variety of different options that match your needs.
How Do VPNs Work?
VPN work through a series of complicated technical processes. It creates a tunnel of encryption between your device and the target web server you want to visit.
VPN software encrypts the data sent from your computer before your Internet Service Provider or local network sees it. Only after passing the VPN server your data travels onward to your online destination.
Then, your online destination (websites you visit) sees that your data originates from the VPN server and its location. They don’t know the IP address of your computer or your real location. It solves a massive number of security and privacy problems because:
- The destination sees the VPN servers as the traffic origin. These websites are then no longer able to collect data on your internet activities.
- ISPs, advertisers, companies, cybercriminals, and other parties can’t identify your device as the source of data. They also can’t see what you are doing.
- Even if somebody intercepts what you’re sending, they won’t be able to understand the data because the VPN encrypts it.
Altogether, it creates a much safer online environment.
What Are The Top Uses of VPNs?
Now that you know what virtual private networks are and how they work, let’s take a look at some of the top uses of VPNs.
Improve Your Internet Security
The vast majority of hacks occur over the internet. Using a VPN partly removes the access point to your devices. It makes it much more difficult for cybercriminals to target you.
Safely Use Public Networks
Public networks are everywhere. Most cafes, restaurants, airports, and other places offer their customers free WiFi hotspots. But these often feature all types of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Man-in-the-middle attacks and fake hotspots are the main threats. VPNs prevent such attacks, safeguarding your connection in the process.
Bypass Network Restrictions and Government Restrictions
Everybody should have free and open access to the internet. But many countries censor websites. Combined with local network restrictions, it can limit your internet browsing options. VPNs bypass these restrictions to give you the access you need.
When most people hear the word “surveillance,” government is what they first think of. Government surveillance is an issue in many countries. But monitoring goes far beyond that. Advertisers, big companies, internet service providers, cybercriminals, and other parties can track what you do online too.
Their reasons usually differ. Hackers may want to steal your identity while marketers want to adapt their ads or analyzing your behavior. VPNs ensure that nobody accesses your browsing data for any reason.
Change Server Locations/Bypass Geo-Restrictions
Have you ever tried to access Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, or other streaming platforms from another country? Then you’ve probably encountered an error message saying “content can’t be viewed.” Even Netflix, which is now a global player, has different content available depending on the country you are in. It’s due to geo-restrictions placed on content.
Geo-restrictions can occur for copyright, legal, or other reasons. Whatever it is, it means you can’t access your favorite media while abroad. VPN users usually don’t have this problem. You can select a server located in a target country, and the services will consider your browsing coming from there.
Many take advantage of this same feature to unlock all kinds of extra benefits. For example, you can buy airline tickets, book hotels, and download software at discounted prices offered for different locations.
Choosing the Right VPN
More people are conscious about cybersecurity and perks of using a VPN. But cyber threats are not stopping either. From a security perspective alone, it’s worth it to invest in a quality VPN (for example, this one). They’re one of the best and simplest ways to increase your security.
You can also use a VPN to unlock countless other advantages. From increased privacy to bypassing restrictions and accessing your favorite content. And that’s only the beginning.
To find the best VPN for you, take advantage of free trials for VPN downloads. Don’t use a free VPN. To make money in other ways, they often log and steal users’ data. Make sure the service uses robust security protocols, has a no-log policy, works with streaming, and has servers in many locations. Finally, choose annual or more extended subscription plans to get the best deals available