After getting some expertise on VPNs, here I write an easy-to-understand VPN guide. VPN – short for Virtual Private Network – is an easy way to get access to remote resources. The system was designed to let people access files on their office’s secure server while travelling.
You connect to the Internet, launch VPN software on your device, connect to the office server via the World Wide Web and voila! All the project files are available right there on your laptop’s screen. And it also secures the data transfer. You can make confidential communications without a fear.
Not only for professionals, but a VPN also has many benefits for you. How?
Benefits of VPN
While I told you why VPN was invented, it’s not the VPN’s only use. There are many commercial VPN service providers, happy to provide their service to you. And the benefits of VPN lie within the name –
– Virtual –
A VPN server makes your presence virtual. Wow!
You can be in any part of the world but connect to the server, and you now have a virtual presence at the location of the server. You can get all the resources the server as access too. And how does a VPN location change takes place? I will talk about it later.
– Private –
A VPN server keeps your Internet activity hidden. What!
The server encrypts the connection and any data you send to the server or receive from it is safe from interception. Not even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can see what you are doing over the Internet.
– Network –
And you are on a network – a secured one – which can be anywhere in the world.
Uses of VPN
A VPN protects your right to privacy.
A VPN gets you access to blocked content.
A VPN keeps the torrent downloads safe.
A VPN gets you past geo-restrictions.
Interesting? Let’s see them one-by-one. When you connect to a VPN server, the server ‘creates’ a secure data tunnel for you. Whatever activity you do online, passes through this secured channel. Your ISP and other regulatory authorities can see the data transfer between you and the VPN server but can’t see the information passing. So, you can browse whatever you want, gather information on ammunitions, find about different poisons and none would ring a bell at the security agencies. I only gave examples, don’t start planning anything dangerous, OK? 😛
Next use of VPN comes when you have to access blocked services. Workplaces and educational institutions block access to Facebook and YouTube, for example. When the connection from your device is encrypted via VPN, the administrator can no longer know you are trying to watch videos on YouTube and thus, YouTube, Facebook and whatever blocked services you try, are now accessible. Very handy, isn’t it?
And then, not all but many VPN service providers allow secure torrent downloads. Your torrenting activity is hidden from the outer world. So, you need not worry about getting a legal notice for downloading pirated videos. *evil*
At last, VPN comes to use when you want to use geo-restricted services such as the US version of Netflix or download games (or apps) not available here. You have seen “This content is not available in your region” (or something like that), no? Well, you can bypass this region-restriction with a VPN software running on your device.
Yes, a VPN connection is helpful for anyone who is an Internet user. So, let me give you a brief idea of how this ‘magic’ works.
How does VPN work?
When you fire up your VPN client, you get a list of server to connect to. Let’s assume, you find connecting to a US server fascinating. When the connection is useful, you are now virtually in the US. Don’t you believe me? Okay, go to www.whatismyip.com and check what it says. Now, disconnect from the VPN server and check your IP address again. You will see your original IP address now, the one allotted by your ISP.
When you are connected to a US VPN server, the server allocates one of the local IP addresses. Any connection request you make to a website, passes through that VPN server and the website sees an US IP address accessing its service and not yours. Thus, if any of the services is available only in the US, you can use it now without any region restriction.
Apart from bypassing geo-blocks, the encryption system of VPNs ensure that none of your browsing activity gets linked to you. So, you get the benefit of privacy with VPN. It keeps you safe from the marketers who trace online activities of users to know about them (and show ads). If you use a VPN always, no marketing bots can learn about the original you.
But remember to use a paid VPN for better security.
Paid VPN vs. Free VPN
While free VPN service providers are tempting, you should think why someone offers a service for free when others charge a premium. Paid VPN providers have a strong encryption system and protects you from any data leaks, free VPNs are not that reliable. Another feature protecting your privacy is the “no logs” promise by the paid service providers.
They don’t keep any records of the online activity of their users. Not the same can be true for the free ones. They may provide the record or your profile details to third parties in exchange for money. Everyone needs profit, right?
Another advantage of paid VPNs over the free ones is the network speed they provide. Because of the encryption algorithms and passage of all your network data through a distant server, you may get a reduced speed. But paid VPN providers have a better infrastructure and doesn’t affect your data transfer speed a lot. And they have a large number of servers around the world. It will help you switch from America to France or Russia or Britain easily, whenever you want.
If you plan to use a VPN for confidential tasks, do invest in a good VPN software like ExpressVPN or NordVPN. They also provide good network speeds for your download or video streaming needs. Moreover, they have easy to use (and install) software for many devices.
But if you want to use VPN only for casual browsing, you can use a free VPN service like CyberGhost. It provides decent speed and does not keep any logs. And what more, it doesn’t require you to create an account. Check my CyberGhost review to know why I prefer it.
Comment, if you have a query.
Submitted by : Abhijeet Kumar
Although I completed my post-graduation in Computer Applications, I started looking for a career in content writing. Apart from posting guides and reviews on blogs, I work as a part-time freelancer at Upwork. Connect with me on LinkedIn. Always available if not asleep. 😉