These days, VPNs are getting more and more popular. But, what is VPN? Do you really need it? Well, in case you didn’t know, here is everything a VPN can do and the reason why you should have one.
Why Do you Need a VPN Service?
Surfing webs or connecting to an unsecured Wi-Fi network could make your private info and browsing habits exposed. That’s why a VPN is must-have security measure for anyone who is concerned about their online privacy.
Think about all the times you read emails or check your bank account while waiting in public areas. Unless you are using a private Wi-Fi network that requires passwords, any of your data online is vulnerable to strangers who use the same network. That is when a VPN comes in handy. From sending emails, shopping online to paying bills, the VPN’s encryption and anonymity help protect your online activities.
What is a VPN?
Basically, a VPN connects your device to another computer (called a server) somewhere on the internet and uses that computer’s internet connection. Moreover, if that server is in a different country, then it will change your location too. Therefore, you can potentially access things that you couldn’t normally by using VPNs.
To be more specific, here are a few things you can use a VPN to:
- Bypass geographic restrictions on websites.
- Access new content on streaming media like Netflix and Hulu.
- Protect yourself from snooping on untrustworthy Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Have more anonymity online by hiding your real location.
- Protect yourself from being logged while torrenting.
Nowadays, many people are using VPNs for torrenting or bypassing geographic restrictions to watch blocked content. Although VPNs are still very useful for protecting yourself online, that’s hardly the main use anymore.
How to Set Up a VPN and Which One Should You Choose?
Depending on your needs, you can either use a VPN from your workplace or create your own VPN server. But, in reality, the vast majority of people are just looking for something to protect them while torrenting or help them access region-restricted websites. The easiest thing to do now is simply head to one of the VPN sites. Then, sign up and download the VPN client to your PC, tablet, or smartphone. It’s as easy as that!
Our Recommendations for The Best VPN
If you’re just getting started with VPNs and want a basic service for accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots or region-restricted websites safely, here are some great VPN options for you:
- ExpressVPN: This VPN server has the best combination of speed and great customer support, all for a very reasonable price. Plus, it has great speeds and a lot more features than other rivals out there.
- Tunnelbear: It is not only really easy to use but the Tunnelbear is also great for accessing the internet at public Wi-FI spots. Sadly, it’s not the best choice for torrenting or streaming media.
- StrongVPN: One of the first commercial VPN services to offer WireGuard, a virtual private network, across all of your apps and platforms. StrongVPN also provides different configuration options to choose from.
Note: All of the above VPNs have free trials. So, you can easily get your money back in case you change your mind.
How Does a VPN Work?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, lets you create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. And, all of your network traffic is sent via this secure connection to the VPN. Because your device will behave as if it’s on the network, this allows you to securely access limited resources even when you’re on the other side of the world.
Besides, VPNs also create an encrypted VPN connection to protect your personal info when you access a website. For example, if you’re using a USA-based VPN to access Netflix, then Netflix will see your connection as it’s actually coming from the United States.
Other Example Uses for VPNs
Originally, VPNs were just a way to connect business networks together securely over the internet or allow users to access their business network from home. Now, a VPN is still a fairly simple tool, but you can use it to do much more than that.
Access a Business Network While Traveling
VPNs are frequently used by business travelers to access their business’ network. This includes all local network resources, too. Therefore, it is not exposed directly to the Internet and hackers, which increases the security.
Protect Your Home Network
You can also set up your own VPN to access your own network at home. This will allow you to access a Windows Remote Desktop over the Internet. Then, you can use local file shares or play games over the Internet as if you were on the same LAN (local area network).
Hide Your Browsing Activity from Local Network and ISP
If you’re using a public Wi-Fi hotspot, your browsing activity on non-HTTPS websites is visible to everyone nearby. So, if you want a bit more privacy, try connecting to a VPN. Then, the local network will only see your device as a single secure VPN connection. While this can be used to bypass connection-monitoring by your Internet service provider, bear in mind that VPN providers might choose to log the traffic on their ends.
Access Geo-Blocked Websites
Whether you’re an American trying to access your Netflix account while traveling or wishing you could access geo-blocked websites like Pandora and Hulu, a VPN will help you do the trick. Simply access these region-restricted services by connecting to a VPN, which is located in that area.
Bypass Internet Censorship
In fact, many Chinese use VPNs to bypass the Great Firewall of China and gain access to the entire Internet. However, the Great Firewall has apparently started interfering with VPNs recently. So, make sure to check if your VPN has the ability to do that before downloading it.
Let’s be honest! Many people use VPN connections to download files via BitTorrent. And, some ISPs are restricting BitTorrent or making it extremely slow to use. So, if that’s your case, try using it on a VPN to get faster speeds. Also, this method works with other types of traffic too, unless your ISP interferes with the VPN itself.
For instance, a VPN provider might charge you as low as $4.99/month for VPN protection on one device. And, it can be charged up to $12.95/month to provide the same service for 10 devices. However, you can reduce your monthly rate by signing up for a longer term. Most VPN services offer a year-long VPN plan so their users don’t have to spend too much every month. Here are the prices of the most popular VPNs:
- PureVPN – $10.95/moth
- CyberGhost – $12.99/moth
- Hotspot Shield – $12.99/moth
- VyprVPN – $12.95/moth
- Private Internet Access – $9.95/moth
- StrongVPN – $10/moth
- Surfshark – $12.95/moth
- NordVPN – $11.95/moth
- ExpressVPN – $12.95/moth
- TorGuard – $9.99/moth
- Encrypt.me – $12.99/moth
- Safer VPN – $12.95/moth
- HMA – $59.88/year (only annual plans available)
- Tunnel Bear – $9.99/moth
Did you ever use VPNs before? Which one is your favorite? Let us know about it in the comments!