A VPN (Virtual Private Network) uses encryption to protect online activities and maintain the user’s confidentiality as they browse the internet, as well as helping them access content that is restricted by location.
If you’ve never heard of a VPN, but you’re interested in protecting your information and internet browsing, this article is a good place to start.
One of the main advantages of using a VPN is that it uses encryption and changes your IP address to let you browse the web more anonymously, helping to keep your identity, activity, and geographical location private.
VPNs can be especially helpful if you sometimes use unsecured networks and you want to keep your activities and important data private. If you log into to your VPN at the beginning of every online session, you are in effect creating an encrypted “tunnel” between you and the remote server of your VPN provider. This “tunnel” protects your privacy from other network users.
Even when you use your home network, you need to take your privacy into account. Otherwise your internet service provider (ISP) can still collect data on your online activity and share that data with other companies for profit. Unfortunately, private browsing modes offered by internet browsers such as Chrome’s Incognito are not enough to protect your data from ISPs.
Unblock Websites And Bypass Filters
Sometimes VPNs are used for reasons other than privacy. They can also help you access content that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see because it is restricted by country, such as a Youtube video.
Additionally, VPNs are regularly used in countries that try to block access to certain websites. For example, certain countries may have blanket bans on Facebook and Youtube. In these cases, having VPN might allow you to bypass these restrictions, because you are logging into a foreign server and effectively browsing the internet from a different country than the one that you are physically in.
Increased Bandwidth And Efficiency Of A Network
Once a VPN is installed, users can enjoy increased bandwidth and efficiency of the network they’re using, especially if they are trying to access content that is far away from their physical location. For example, if you are in Europe and want to access content from the United States Library of Congress or even if you are on the opposite side of the country, it would be more efficient to use a VPN located closer to Washington D.C. or at least in the Eastern United States. A VPN in closer proximity to the Library of Congress will allow for a more direct connection and will require less “hops” onto other networks to reach the Library of Congress website server.
More Secure and Efficient Remote Access
Using a VPN for companies also has several advantages. One of them being that the internet browsing data of a company’s employees such as their locations and work activities can be kept private from ISPs and other network users.
Secondly, employees having to work on-the-go sometimes rely on unsecured networks to access the internet. In these situations having a VPN will protect their data from other users of that network. Moreover, if employers require their employees to use a VPN at all times, the fact that some of their employees might not always follow the best network security standards will be less of a worry, because the use of a VPN automatically adds additional layers of security.
As mentioned above in the Library of Congress example, VPNs can allow more direct and efficient access to materials whose server location is far away. This makes file and data sharing between employees in different locations much more efficient.
Finally, there may be reasons why a company might want to use a VPN to mask the physical location of its office or its employees, especially if it wants to remain anonymous while conducting surveillance on competitor websites.
In today’s world, public networks can pose a real threat to your private data, while private networks still allow your internet service provider to keep tabs on everything you do online. Therefore, if you value your privacy, installing and using a proper VPN is very important.
Now that you know all of the advantages of using a VPN, you can start researching which one to use. Make sure to choose one that offers you a free trial period, so that you can test its speed, capacity for simultaneous connections (so you can use it on more than one device at a time in your household), quality of customer support, and compatibility with various operating systems.