A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a tool used to increase online privacy and security. It does this by changing the user’s IP address and encrypting all of their internet traffic so that third parties cannot detect it. By doing this, it makes it much harder for malicious actors to track an individual’s online activity, as well as their physical location.
1. Who is VPN Meant For?
VPNs are meant for individuals who value their privacy and/or online security but do not want to invest in expensive VPN hardware or software. VPNs can be used on any device (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) that has an internet connection.
While they are crucial for individuals who engage in P2P file-sharing through torrenting, you might also want to use this to ensure your online security if you are concerned about protecting your data from nation-state actors or other malicious parties.
2. How to Choose a VPN?
Several factors are more important than others that you should consider when selecting a provider.
Server Location — where might you be most likely to use this VPN? It is best to select one that has servers in your primary geographic region. Because of their increasing popularity, it should be pretty easy to find the best VPN for Germany, France, or any other country you could think of. Using a local VPN provider may provide a better user experience than using one that is based in another country.
Number of Servers — generally speaking: the more servers there are to choose from, the better. However, sometimes that can mean that you’ll have to sift through less established companies to find one you trust. It’s important to be patient to ensure that you choose a legitimate company that will protect your privacy effectively.
Speed — Since VPN encrypts your traffic, it can reduce the speed of your connection. It is best to select one that has numerous high bandwidth servers available for the best speeds.
3. VPNs and Price
The price of a VPN service is not as important as the security it provides. While some services may be more affordable than others, you should consider how secure they can vary widely from company to company. And a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a better service.
Keep in mind that VPN companies sometimes provide discounts if you pay for a longer period of time upfront. If you plan to use a VPN for an extended period of time, you might want to try and find one with low monthly fees.
4. How Do They Work?
VPNs work by giving you a new IP address. In a way, this is similar to how changing your physical location allows you to unlock content from other regions on your Netflix account. When you connect to a VPN server, all of your internet traffic is routed through it so that the IP address appears to be coming from that server’s location.
VPNs also encrypt your data with a special protocol that changes how it looks while being transferred through the web. This makes it harder for other people to be able to see what data is being sent. Sometimes it encrypts all of your data so that no one can read it, even if they do get a hold of it.
5. Data Encryption
Since encrypting data is a big part of VPNs, it’s a good idea to get more familiar with what it actually is. Simply put, data encryption is the translation of data into a code to prevent unauthorized access while being transferred between computers. This happens on an individual level, so only you can see your information, not other people who might be trying to get access to it.
VPNs will also hide your IP address and replace it with the one that belongs to the company so that third parties cannot track down where you’re located physically in the world.
While it will encrypt your online activity, not all services will go through it. Some websites and applications do not support their use. When you log onto a website that doesn’t support them, the data is sent unencrypted so that it can be routed through the web normally. This means that anyone who can monitor your activity (such as a hacker on the same network) will be able to see what you are doing.
Each VPN provider has its own advantages and disadvantages to consider when selecting one for your needs because some of them are far better than others. For example, some services will collect logs of your data while others will not.
It would be best if you also considered whether or not they support the devices that you use. If you want to connect all of your devices (such as your phone and computer), you’ll want to make sure that the VPN supports them. Now that you have a better understanding of how VPN privacy and security work, it is time to find the one that will be best suited for your needs!