A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a service that allows you to access blocked sites and protect your privacy. VPNs can be used to browse securely and privately by routing traffic through distant servers. In this article, we will explain why you should use a VPN and how to access a VPN.
- 1 Why Use a VPN?
- 2 How To Use A VPN?
- 3 Are VPNs Really Safe?
- 4 Where Can I Access A VPN?
- 5 How Does a VPN Work?
- 6 Pros and Cons of a VPN
- 7 Features of a VPN
- 8 Why do you need a VPN?
- 9 What’s the difference between a VPN and Tor?
- 10 VPN protocols
- 11 VPN Privacy: What does a VPN hide?
- 12 How to choose a VPN?
- 13 Top 7 VPN Services
- 14 Conclusion
Why Use a VPN?
With the recent issues with censorship, it is natural to want to use a VPN from a country that censors information. For example, living in China and needing to download software for your Mac that can be installed on your computer or even on a different computer because China has blocked certain types of software. A VPN would allow you to connect to a server in another country and download that software.
You could also use a VPN to access websites that have been blocked by your Internet Service Provider, school, or workplace. A VPN allows you to browse and download content anonymously. Since a VPN encrypts all of your Internet traffic, not even your ISP can see what you’re accessing.
How To Use A VPN?
As stated before, a VPN is basically software that allows you to access blocked sites or browse privately online. However, VPNs are not always easy to use. The most popular VPN providers often require a subscription, usually monthly or annual, and they can be expensive. But these are small prices to pay for the extra privacy and security that your VPN provides. What is good about using a VPN is you’re able to connect your devices wirelessly and quickly.
Are VPNs Really Safe?
VPNs can be safe if they are used correctly. Some of the best VPN providers, such as HideMyAss, come with a kill switch and DNS leak protection to ensure you’re not leaking your IP information to untrusted sources. Also, a VPN cannot be guaranteed to be 100% safe. There are always trade-offs, but with good service and a little knowledge about VPN use, you can get almost everything that a normal internet connection can offer.
Where Can I Access A VPN?
The easiest way to access a VPN is via a browser extension. Internet Explorer and Firefox both have their own built-in VPN support. Also, if you’re on a mobile device like an iPhone or Android, you can download the app from Google Play or the App Store (free). The best thing to do is research before downloading a new application that claims to include a VPN service because many require you to pay in order to use their service.
Also, if your device doesn’t have built-in VPN support but you still want to use one, you can download the OpenVPN client application and connect that way. So long as you can access the internet through a VPN connection, it will be easy to set up.
The other way you can access a VPN is on your computer. You can download an application called OpenVPN and connect to it directly. This method will require you to have a full understanding of how to navigate the command line in your OSX or Windows software.
How Does a VPN Work?
A VPN encrypts all of your Internet traffic, not just the data sent to/from the VPN server. So, as long as you’re connected to a VPN server, your ISP will not be able to see or know what you do online. If your ISP does try and block certain sites or any websites at all, they will only see connections from certain IP addresses.
With a VPN, it’s possible to access services and websites that are blocked in your country. You are now free to browse the web without a trace of where you’re coming from or the sites you’re visiting. A VPN also allows you to access websites without being tracked by advertisers and ISPs. If you use public Wi-Fi, like at an airport or in a café, there is a good chance that the network is being shared with other people and not just yours.
Pros and Cons of a VPN
In order to decide if a VPN is right for you, it’s important to know the pros and cons of using one. It is important that you weigh both sides before you make your decision.
- A VPN is an excellent way to protect your privacy when online or just browsing from home. A VPN also allows you to access blocked content, such as adult websites, videos, and music downloads.
- You can protect your identity and keep your online activity private with a VPN. This means that your ISP, employer, or government cannot see what you’re doing online or even who you are.
- A VPN also allows you to protect yourself from hackers and online attackers by encrypting all of your traffic and protecting it with military-grade encryption methods.
- You can also get a VPN to watch illegally downloaded movies, TV shows, and sports without the fear of being suspended or blocked from services.
- You can keep government snooping at bay by using a VPN to anonymize your online activity.
- A VPN can also provide security against advanced threats by encrypting your traffic and routing it through a remote location before sending it on its way. This provides another layer of protection for your data.
- A VPN can also be used to mask your IP address and location in order to bypass geographical restrictions and access content that is only available in certain countries.
- A VPN will also allow you to download torrents freely without the fear of receiving a warning or having your IP address blocked by your ISP.
- A VPN masks your identity but more importantly, it conceals your real location when online.
- A VPN is perfect for people who want to access blocked websites and content, while also keeping their online activity private.
- A VPN also provides an extra layer of security by encrypting your data and routing it through a remote location first. This protects you from outside threats like hackers and Wi-Fi attacks.
- A VPN is the best way to protect yourself when using public Wi-Fi because it will hide your real IP address from the network you’re on.
- There are many VPNs out there that offer a free service and then start charging you if you want to sign up for a paid plan. It is also important to know how much data you’re using when using a VPN. Some VPNs will start throttling your connection after a period of time.
- A VPN is not a magic bullet or some kind of tool that will allow you to access all of the content you want without restrictions. It’s important to be aware that certain services and websites have a firm stance against VPNs and will refuse to allow them.
- It can sometimes take a little bit of time for your Internet service provider and other websites to catch on and block connections from VPNs. This could mean that your access could be blocked for a period of time.
- Depending on the VPN provider you choose, you could end up paying more than you were spending before on data roaming fees or downloading pirated material. Always check which country you are connecting to and see if they block access to certain websites and services.
- You will need a higher download speed from your Internet service provider than normal if you plan on using a VPN because all of your traffic will be encrypted.
Features of a VPN
- A VPN is a type of software that encrypts all of your data and then passes it on to a secure server before sending it on its way. They can be installed on your computer, phone, or tablet. Some even offer buffered servers, which means that you can stream videos or download torrents without any interference from the VPN company.
- Many VPNs will also allow you to change your virtual location in order to bypass geographic restrictions. This is an excellent way for getting around censorship and accessing content not available in your home country.
- The VPN will disguise your IP address and provide you with a new one. This new IP address is located outside the country that you’re currently in. It is important to know that some services, such as Netflix, have cracked down on VPNs and are now blocking connections from them.
- A VPN also has encryption software running in the background. This is what encrypts all of your data and makes sure that it’s safe.
- You will be given a VPN server to connect to. This server will then hide your IP address and provide you with a different IP address than the one you were previously using.
- Some VPNs are also open source, which means that all of their encryption codes and security protocols are made available online for anyone to check out.
- It is also important to remember that just because a VPN has its own app, doesn’t mean that it’s the best option. Many VPNs are also available as desktop software.
- For people who are unsure about what a VPN is, it’s important to know which services and apps to trust. The most reputable VPN providers have been around for many years and have proven that they have nothing to hide.
- A lot of VPN providers also offer additional military-grade encryption software with their service plans.
- It’s also good to know that there are some free VPN services and apps out there, but they can often be filled with add-ons or spammy offers. These can slow your connection down and seriously affect your Internet speed.
Why do you need a VPN?
VPNs are notoriously popular in regions that censor or limit internet access- in countries like Ukraine, China, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia. They are also relied on by people who work remotely and want to access data from their home computers while they travel. And for many of us who value privacy online, a VPN is an important tool in fighting back against mass surveillance programs conducted by intelligence agencies like the NSA. In short: If you care about your digital rights anywhere at all- which I hope you do- it’s probably time to get on board with a VPN provider.
VPNs can help you access content like streaming sites and social media platforms that are blocked or censored due to your geographical location. This is also useful if you live in an area where the internet connection is censored because of your country’s politics or policies. VPNs can also be used to access region-locked content, which is just a fancy way of saying “content that isn’t available in your country.” For example, many video streaming services like Hulu and Netflix only show programs available in certain countries. If you wanted to watch a show or movie not available in your region, using a VPN to connect to a server outside of the area will make these blockades go away.
And of course, no discussion of VPNs would be complete without mentioning the topic of privacy. Many people use VPNs to protect their privacy and can choose to route their traffic through a VPN server in a different country. This makes it much harder for your internet service provider (ISP) or any other third parties to track your movements across the web.
Even if you don’t live in a country with strict censorship policies, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. But the most important benefit of using a VPN should be pretty clear from this list: security . When you connect your computer (or another device, like a phone or tablet) to a VPN server, it creates a secure connection .
What’s the difference between a VPN and Tor?
A VPN and Tor are both tools that help you keep your identity hidden online, but they each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Tor is an encrypted tool that anonymizes web traffic by sending it through a series of relays. A relay is just a computer connecting to another computer, so it’s basically like a person connecting to another person. Since Tor uses encrypted connections between relays, it’s much more difficult to trace the path between the sender and receiver.
Tor also offers hidden services, which are websites hosted on the Tor network. These websites can only be accessed by using Tor- simply put, it’s like having a website inside another website. This is useful for people who want to protect themselves against network surveillance and avoid being tracked online.
Tor is a very powerful tool for anonymity online because of its strong encryption (though not enough to protect against highly trained and funded actors). However, Tor has limitations- it’s not great for unblocking popular streaming sites or video sharing platforms.
VPNs generally work by encrypting all your traffic before it goes out to the public internet (or whatever network you’re connected to). This is useful because it prevents people on your network, like hackers or snoops on your local network, from intercepting and seeing your unencrypted data. What’s more- VPNs can also be used to spoof your geographic location. So even if someone were to look at what you’re downloading or browsing online, they would see the IP address of the VPN server- not yours.
Another important difference between Tor and a VPN is that VPNs don’t offer end-to-end encryption. That means that you will need to use an additional layer of protection (like HTTPS Everywhere ) if you are trying to browse anonymously (which is why we encourage all our users to use an encrypted messaging app with all of our VPNs).
Tor is also a lot slower than most VPNs. While a normal connection might take 10 or 20 milliseconds to load, Tor can take anywhere from 3-5 minutes to load a single web page. This is because every relay in the chain has to decrypt and process the request before passing it along to the next relay.
The best option for privacy and security is usually to combine Tor and a VPN. That way you can encrypt your data (like your browsing) as it travels through an unsafe network like WiFi, then send it through an even more secure encrypted tunnel (the VPN) to its final destination on the internet.
The VPN protocols you’ll find on most consumer VPNs are as follows:
OpenVPN: A secure protocol that uses a custom security scheme. It tends to offer the best speeds and is generally considered the safest option for privacy-conscious users. OpenVPN is also supported by multiple operating systems and routers.
IKEv2: An IPSec-based protocol that’s a bit newer than OpenVPN, but has fewer security features. It’s also only supported by Android and MacOS devices, so it’s not available on Windows or Linux computers.
PPTP: A dated protocol that uses weak encryption (128 bit) to provide security. We do not recommend using this protocol due to its lack of stability and security.
SSTP: A variation on the SSL protocol, SSTP offers a mix of good performance and strong encryption. However, it doesn’t work with most recent browsers, so we don’t recommend it for most people.
L2TP: An IPSec-based protocol similar to IKEv2. It has no security features built-in. We do not recommend using this protocol due to its lack of stability and security.
TCP: A fast connection type that is mostly used on mobile devices. It doesn’t have all the security features like encryption that you’ll find in OpenVPN or other protocols. We do not recommend using this protocol due to its lack of stability and security.
If you’re looking for the best VPN protocol option for your Windows computer, you’ll want to use OpenVPN. If you opt for a router, don’t worry about choosing between IKEv2 and OpenVPN . Just make sure that the router has either OpenVPN or IKEv2 installed. Remember, these protocols aren’t exclusive- a VPN provider may offer both options.
VPN Privacy: What does a VPN hide?
These are the things that a VPN hide to protect your privacy online.
1. Your browsing history
When you browse the internet, your web browser sends a request for a page to the website you’re trying to visit. This data includes your IP address and other information about your activity on that site.
There are a few things that can be done with this information. For example, advertisers can track what you’re looking at online and then target ads based on your browsing habits. Websites can also share this data with third-parties (like advertisers or law enforcement) if they want to see what you’re doing online or sell it to other companies.
Not all VPNs let people spy on their users. Most reputable VPN providers will not do this. The best VPNs have strict privacy policies and take great steps to protect their users’ data.
2. Your online purchases
Most VPNs use a payment system to accept money from customers. This is usually done through a virtual wallet provided by the provider- they’ll take your payment and then store it in a separate wallet that can’t be accessed by third-parties like advertisers, law enforcement, or analytics companies.
Unfortunately, some VPN services do not use these safe payment systems for their users’ data. Instead, they make money by sharing your browsing and purchasing history with third-parties . These are called “data mining” services- they make money by gathering personal information about users and selling it off to other companies.
The best VPNs have strict policies against selling or sharing your data. We recommend looking up any privacy policies a provider has to make sure that’s the case.
3. Your location and online activity
The third thing that’s visible when you browse on the internet is your location and online activities (like browsing history). This information can be used for all sorts of things (like law enforcement investigations) if someone knows what IP address you’re using- even when you’re using a VPN to conceal private information.
The best VPNs will have a no-logging policy to ensure that they aren’t keeping any of your personally identifiable information. Some VPNs (like NordVPN) even have thousands of fake IP addresses that they use to help protect their users’ anonymity.
There are two ways you can check to see if a VPN provider keeps logs: official sources and biometrics. The first way is usually done by contacting customer support and asking about their logging policies. That’s why we recommend reaching out to your VPN’s customer service team directly if you want to know more about their logging policies. Also- don’t forget to look up the answer on the brand’s website (if they have one).
The second way to check a VPN provider’s logging policies is using biometrics. You can’t use contact info like an email address to do this- you’ll need to check on the VPN company’s website for any info they may have about their policies.
The best VPNs are transparent about their data privacy policies, so companies that don’t share this information are usually doing something wrong. If you’re unsure whether or not your VPN provider collects logs at all, we recommend trying a different service.
4. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) knows what sites you visit
The last major thing that’s visible when browsing online is your internet service provider (ISP). These companies can see everything you do online, even when you’re using a VPN that hides your activity from other people.
When you connect to the internet using your ISP, they can actually see everything you do online. Your ISP will collect information about your browser and device, and then record it to their servers.
The best way to bypass this is by using a VPN. When you use a VPN, the connection between your computer and the VPN provider is encrypted. This means that anyone (including police or hackers) that want to spy on you will only be able to see meaningless data instead of your actual browsing activity.
5. Government surveillance
Despite what you may see in the media, the U.S. government does not have a “list” of all the websites its citizens visit online. However, there are NSA reports on Americans’ online activity (even when they aren’t associated with a crime), and that data is collected and stored in multiple places.
If you’re worried about police or other representatives from your country spying on your browsing habits (and possibly arresting you for it), using a VPN can help protect you from this kind of surveillance. When your VPN is turned on, anyone watching will only see encrypted data instead of what sites you visit or what you do while online.
6. Hackers and cybercriminals
Another thing that a VPN helps protect you from is hackers and cybercriminals. If someone tries to steal your personal data while you’re browsing the internet, they won’t be able to get it if the connection between your computer and the server is encrypted with a VPN.
If you’re worried about someone stealing your credit card info, passwords, or other sensitive information while you’re online, using a VPN can help keep that information safe and secure. Taking this one step further- there are even some VPNs (like Private Internet Access) that go as far as to filter out ads and malicious software that can compromise your system’s security.
How to choose a VPN?
The following things should be kept in mind while choosing a VPN service.
1. How many servers does a VPN have?
A large VPN provider like ExpressVPN has hundreds of servers located all around the world. That means that you’ll be able to connect to your desired server at the highest speed and get one of the fastest connections possible (called “server load”).
On the other hand, a small service provider might only have a couple of servers available. This is usually fine, but if there’s something you really need and can’t find – then this might be an issue for you. You’ll want to pay attention to this when making your choice .
2. Does a VPN provider keep logs and IP addresses?
This is probably the most important question to answer when choosing your VPN service. After all, you don’t want to be caught up in a scandal like the one that happened with PureVPN, do you?
The best way to find this out is by asking your VPN provider directly. If they aren’t able to give you a clear answer or won’t tell you, then we recommend going with another provider (preferably, one that doesn’t log).
3. How many simultaneous connections can I use?
You may want to sign in on your laptop at home, and then connect on your phone when you’re out of the house. Or you might want to share your account with your family and let them use it whenever they need it.
Whatever the case, you’ll need a VPN service that’s compatible with multiple devices . You can usually look this up on the brand’s description page or by reaching out to customer support.
4. Mobile Device Compatibility
Since more people than ever are using their mobile devices to browse online , we suggest choosing a VPN service that has apps available for mobile devices . That way, you’ll be able to connect using your phone or tablet instead of just using a laptop when connecting to public WiFi networks.
5. Speed and Performance!
When choosing between VPN providers, you should also consider some features like speed and performance . This is important, because if you want to be able to do more while online (like watch Netflix ), then you’ll need a fast and reliable connection.
All of these things should be kept in mind, but if you can’t find anything relevant about your situation when looking at a VPN provider’s website or customer support – then it’s probably not a good idea to sign up with that service. If they won’t disclose when they’ll store data or what they’re logging, then steer clear.
Top 7 VPN Services
This is one of the most popular VPNs out there and has become hugely popular throughout the world.ExpressVPN is very easy to use, offers a wide range of servers around the world right from your browser, and can be used on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux devices. This means that anyone can use it regardless of their operating system or preferred device.
It also offers fast speeds whether you’re downloading or streaming content because it’s one of the fastest VPNs available. It uses 256-bit encryption and AES 256-bit encryption, which is the latest and fastest encryption that you can find on the market. Most importantly, ExpressVPN is completely unlimited. You can use their services for as long as you want without any limits.
With over 2,000 servers in 94 countries, you’ll be able to connect to the best server right around you in no time at all this means that you’ll be able to download torrents and file-sharing programs without any interruption.
Another important thing to note is that ExpressVPN will unblock Skype, allowing you to use it anywhere, including countries where there are censorship or censorship laws.
With over 150 server locations around the world, users can choose to connect from as little as one location. This means that if your VPN is blocked, you’ll always have a fast connection with at least one server in your country.
NordVPN is perhaps one of the newest VPNs out there and although it has only been in business for a year now, it’s already made quite an impression on the VPN market. If you need more than just a VPN, Nord offers a range of other useful services such as an automatic torrent downloader, a smart DNS service, and ad-blocking software.It also provides double encryption with two layers of encryption: an obstacle to any type of hacking or unauthorized access. It’s also worth noting that it offers simultaneous connections on up to six devices at once! NordVPN uses 2048-bit encryption and provides users with 86 servers in 57 countries.
NordVPN also has over 5,000 servers available, meaning that you’ll never have any problem finding a fast connection to your country of choice.
HideMyAss is a well-known VPN provider that has been around for over a decade. With over 350 server locations around the world and 3,700 servers, HideMyAss is one of the largest VPN providers available. Many people who live in countries with censorship restrictions use this VPN because it offers encrypted traffic so they can safely browse the Internet without being monitored by their ISP or government.
It also offers a wide range of servers that are located in different places around the world. This means that you can use the fastest server to access content from as little as one server. Another thing that is great about HideMyAss is that it won’t slow down your connection or block websites.
The company has been around for a long time and has a lot of reliability and trust, which means that you can be sure that your data will be safe and secure with them.
SurfsShark is a VPN that was formerly called Windscribe. It has recently changed its name but the services have not changed. This is because they still use the same encryption and security protocols.
SurfsShark has over 1,000 servers in 57 countries and allows users to choose from 10 different locations around the world so that they are able to unblock popular content no matter where they’re located. It also offers VPN browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers.
The company has added an ad-blocker and malware alerts to their browser extension that will not only help you block unwanted ads but also keep your device safe from harmful threats.
SurfsShark also offers a free plan which allows users to test out the service and see if it’s a good fit for them.
Users are able to download torrents and file-sharing programs without any restrictions because SurfsShark is one of the few VPN providers that doesn’t restrict legal copyright. As such, you can use it in countries where there are censorship laws or government censorship of the Internet.
CyberGhost is a free VPN that has the lowest monthly cost of all of the options above. It offers up to seven simultaneous connections and has a massive number of servers in 62 countries around the world. The company is based in Romania and it’s also known for being fast. This means that you can unblock any content from around the world with this VPN, even in countries with censorship laws or government restrictions on the Internet.
It uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect your data and OpenVPN protocol with 2048-bit RSA keys. This ensures that no one can hack into your account or steal your login information.
Because it’s completely free, users are able to connect up to six devices at once. This is a good option for people who want to protect their entire household.
CyberGhost is also an option for those who want to pay a little bit for added features such as anonymously purchasing things online or streaming. No matter what you’re looking for, CyberGhost should be one of the best VPNs available to you.
CyberGhost is also worth considering because it’s extremely easy to use and can be used on various devices including Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux devices. This means that anyone can use it regardless of their preferred operating system.
The company has been around since 2011 and more importantly, it’s based in Romania, which doesn’t have any mandatory data retention laws.
IPVanish is one of the most popular VPNs that are available today. It has servers in over 60 countries and with over 1,000 secure servers, you can unblock content from around the world. You can also choose to connect up to five devices at once. This ensures that everyone in the house has access to fast, secure connections.
IPVanish will also help you protect your data by blocking ads. There’s no need to worry about unwanted advertising pop-ups or annoying banners when using this service.
It also has a detailed guide on how to unblock Netflix and other content providers.
With the free version of IPVanish, you’ll get access to up to five devices that you can connect at once.
The company is based in the US and it uses 256-bit encryption to protect your data. They have been around since 2011 and have a solid reputation with many people who use their service.
Hotspot Shield is a free VPN that can be used on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. It has over 500 servers in 45 countries to choose from. This ensures that you can unblock content in countries that block access to certain websites or have other censorship laws.
Hotspot Shield also protects your data by blocking ad-coukking and malware while offering a reliable connection.
The company is based in Israel and it uses OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, and L2TP/IPsec protocols for encryption. This ensures that your data is safe from hackers or other unauthorized users who try to view or steal your information.
You can choose which protocol to use based on your needs.
Hotspot Shield also boasts of being a good choice for those who want to pay a little bit extra.
Hotspot Shield is a good option for those who want to be anonymous online because it uses 128-bit AES encryption that keeps your data protected and private. It’s also worth noting that it has a zero logs policy, which means that they don’t keep any records of user activity or IP addresses .
VPNs are useful tools that allow you to bypass censorship and maintain privacy online. They are not always easy to use, but they are worth the money if privacy matters to you.