What is a VPN and Why You Should Use One?
VPN is also known as a Virtual Private Number. Are you looking to know much about what is VPN and why you should start using VPN from today since this world is becoming more concerned about privacy?
Most of you might have connected to the wireless networks available in cafes, McDonald’s, Walmart, and airports. Since all the places are having a public wireless network, it is very easy to get all the activities you made on that public.
Rather It is a transaction or you logged into any of the websites. All the data can easily be tracked by hackers and your identity can be easily tracked.
In these situations having a VPN (Virtual Private Network) installed on your phone and laptop can easily help you secure your identity and it helps you protect all the information over any public wireless network.
What is a VPN and Why to Use it?
Virtual Private network when installed on a device such as a laptop or mobile device, it creates an encrypted tunnel between the user and a remote server at some different location provided by the VPN company of use.
Once you are connected with the remote server, all your activity is routed in encrypted form from your location to the remote server location. And this allows the user to be secure from wireless network snoopers.
Let me take you to a scenario. Once I was trying to connect to McDonald’s wifi network to place an order from their mobile application. Since most of the McDonalds wifi is a public network it allows anyone to connect to their wireless network.
Since it is quite easy to hack into public networks and snoop into all the users who are getting connected to them. This can allow the hacker to get about all my activity on my device.
They can even install or push malware or virus in your device which can track all the sensitive information which is pushed to hackers from your device. You read here why you should not try to connect to a public network if possible.
Now, here if you have a VPN installed on your device. Since all the channels on the VPN are encrypted hackers will not be able to track any information related to you including the IP address and device information.
VPN allows you to connect to a remote server which will be mostly in a different country with different IP addresses and device information. Hence all your activity from your actual device is hidden and only the remote server activity in form of encryption goes out.
But what if you are at your home wireless network. Since most of the home wireless networks are secured by WPA2 passwords which are almost impossible to hack and snoop upon.
Though most probably you will be secured on a home wireless network from snooping or hacking. But still, VPN is quite useful for the home wireless networks as well.
Since your WiFi has an ISP (Internet Service Provider). Now an ISP for your WiFi also tracks all the data which are happening on a home wireless network. Each and everything is tracked by ISP and hence it leads to privacy concerns.
And as per the latest laws in the country (US), ISPs are allowed to sell the data related to your online activity. So, whatever you are doing on the internet from watching online movies to buying a brand new laptop or phone.
Your ISP has all the information about your likes and dislikes, the product you like, products you browse. And these data are really useful to the advertising agencies. And ISP sells these data in millions of dollars.
So, if you are thinking that only Google or Facebook, or any other social media platforms are tracking your online activity then you are wrong. Though in the case of social media once you stop using these apps or websites they will be in no longer have access to your online activity data.
But this does not happen with your ISP. Even when you change your ISP they will still track each and every piece of information on all your devices. Which leaves you no choices except to leak your online privacy. VPN helps here to not allow ISP to track any of the online activity.
Another example can be, suppose you have a particular country subscription for any website, let’s take an example of Prime Video. Now if you have a subscription for PrimeVideo in the USA, then you cannot access the Prime Video site of the USA from different countries such as India or Europe.
Here a VPN allows you to connect to the specific country server which allows or unlocks access to those websites which are country-specific such as PrimeVideo in our case.
VPN also allows access to blocked websites. If you are leaving in a country where any of the websites are blocked. Then having a VPN installed can easily and immediately allow you access to those websites.
VPN tunnels to a different country with no or less oppressive policies, and allows you access to the blocked sites. Also, since VPNs encrypt all the information hence you using the block sites are completely safe and anonymous. A VPN is also no guarantee of total protection, particularly against a well-funded and capable adversary.
Where Can you Use VPN?
To summarize everything told above in what is VPN. Let me list you where you can use the VPN for.
- To hide your IP Address and Current Geographic location.
- Bypass geographic restrictions made by video and audio streaming websites such as Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, and HBO.
- To protect yourself from snoopers and hackers when connected to public WiFi Networks.
- To gain online anonymity of some level by hiding your location.
- Protect yourself from being logged while torrenting.
Are VPNs 100% Safe?
The short answer to this is nope. Though the virtual private network is a powerful tool and allows you to provide anonymity and security for your online activity.
But it fails in some of the cases. VPNs can be easily defeated by malware and viruses present on the devices.
If you have a device on which someone just pushed the malware or virus and even though you have a VPN installed hackers can track all the information on your device.
Some hackers or snoopers can also get the data by analyzing the traffic patterns to correlate activity on your computer to the activity of your connected VPN server.
You can also use tracker blockers to block the advertisers from recording your activity on web browsers. To do that we recommend you install a duckduckgo privacy extension or privacy badger.
Also, VPNs do not provide you 100% anonymity. Since it is always connected to a specific remote server. If you really which to access websites which full anonymity then you need to install browsers like TorBrowser or Tor VPN.
Tor is a free tool that allows you to connect to different serves and it keeps jumping your connection after some time not allowing you to track any information related to the particular server.
Even though with still some lags VPN usage is still recommended. And most people should use VPN to protect themselves to a certain level.
Which VPN to Get and Should You Install on All Devices?
Currently, you can find a lot of VPNs in the market. But you should always look for the features which are present in the VPNs and then only buy them. So, I am going to list down the features of VPNs you should look for before buying.
1. Fast and Reliable Speed
If you are going to select any random VPNs, let me warn you that generally, VPNs can slow down your connection speed. This is because of the data encryption and routing which is provided by the VPN. Since a Good VPN service provides faster encryptions and routing, you may hardly notice any difference. Hence you should always go with the VPN service which is providing unlimited bandwidth with fast servers.
2. Multiple Device Support and Cross-Platform Compatibility.
You’ll want all your devices to be protected, so look for a provider that allows several simultaneous connections. You should look for a VPN service that provides support across all the platforms, including mobile and tablets. Since there may be a VPN service that does not provide compatibility support on different mobile devices, you should always check that before buying it.
3. Value for Money
I know in this world most of the people go with the cheapest service available for such services. But I would recommend you to see the pricing as the least buying factor unless it is exorbitantly high. Always look for the services at the price which will provide you complete service and satisfaction.
4. Customer Support
The last most important feature you should look into the VPN is the Customer Support service. Reliable customer support always is a great thing for buyers. And if you get into trouble and there is no customer support to help, in that case, there is no need to invest in such a VPN.
5. High Grade Encryption and No Log Policy
You should look for 256-bit encryption for any VPN which you are going to purchase. It is always important to have 256-bit encryption as these are almost impossible to crack. And this will help you safe gaurd your information and browser activity. You should also look for a No log policy. This policy is provided by VPN telling they are not going to log any activity of yours.
6. Large Pool of Fast servers and User Friendly Application
Another most important feature to look at is a large pool of fast servers since VPN degrades the connection speed if they provide a large pool of fast servers you can always choose which is the best server that works for you with the highest speed. You should also look for the applications provided by VPN companies that are very user-friendly and easy to use.
You should check our round of best VPN and best Cheap VPN from which you can choose. If you want to quickly buy a VPN right now then below are our three recommendations which you can look into right now.
- Nord VPN
- CyberGhost VPN