Have you seen the increasing popularity of VPNs in recent years? Maybe you’ve seen them advertised but aren’t really sure what they do. If that’s the case, then you’ve found the right article for you. In this article, we’re going to show you how VPNs really work, and what you can use them for.
VPNs have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to let people browse anonymously. This makes them great for security purposes, like if you’re using public wifi or don’t want your ISP to know what you’re up to. VPNs have become increasingly popular as a way to avoid geo-restrictions for certain websites and content. That means you can “spoof” your location and access restricted content no matter where you are. We’re going to look at all these aspects and more in this article. So let’s get started, what is a VPN—and how does it work?
What is a VPN?
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. it allows you to connect to a server and act as if you are using that as your ISP. Communication and data sent and received from the VPN is encrypted and secure from external viewing, like via Governments or even your actual ISP. When you browse on a VPN, you will look like you are logged in to them as your ISP and location, no matter where this is.
How does a VPN work?
To start with, you’ll need to sign up to a VPN service before you can start using it. These have a range of different features—we’ll look at them a bit more closely in a bit so you can have a better idea of what you want and need from your VPN. Most of the better VPNs might require a monthly fee, although there are some good free ones available. Even for the paid services, you might be able to take advantage of a free trial period to see if it works for you.
When you’ve signed up to your VPN provider, you might then need to install some software. While there are various VPN protocols for different Operating Systems, these days you don’t really have to worry about all of that and can simply install the right app for your computer. Your VPN might offer access from smartphones and other devices so make sure you install the app on all the different systems you want to use it on.
At this point you can log in to the app and start selecting a server. This is the location of the network you’ll be connected to, and where it’ll seem like you’re accessing the internet from. Different VPN providers will have different server options, but some of the top ones have servers across the globe in many different countries.
If you want to make it seem like you’re accessing the internet in a particular country, either to use a particular web page or view specific content, you’ll be able to select it at this point.
At that point, your VPN will then connect to the server and both spoof your location as well as encrypt all your data. That means all your activity while connected to the VPN including browsing and downloading will not be visible by anyone else, whether your ISP, local authorities or someone on your local Wifi network. VPNs are therefore a secure and anonymous way to browse.
Many VPNs offer strict no-logging policies which mean that any records of your usage or data pertaining to it are not stored on their servers. That means they’ll never be able to hand over information to do with your activity whilst on the VPN to any other authorities. That’s why more and more people are using VPNs to access the internet as they are a more anonymous and secure option.
What can you do with a VPN?
One of the most popular and mainstream reasons people choose VPNs is so that they can watch video content from different counties. For example, you can log in to NetFlix or iPlayer even if you aren’t in the right country to be able to access them. You can set your VPN to the correct server location to make those services think that you’re actually in the right country, and are therefore able to watch the content. While the legality of this is still somewhat uncertain, it’s one reason many people choose to use VPNs these days.
Another reason is anonymity. ISPs and Governments are getting more and more particular about what you’re doing online. Even if you aren’t doing anything illegal, you might not want anyone else knowing about it, and that’s where a good no-logging VPN can really help.
VPNs are therefore good for downloading Torrents and other files anonymously. not only that, but they’re a secure way to browse and use e-commerce sites when you’re in public areas.
What features should you look for when trying to find a VPN?
Firstly, you’ll want to find a VPN that comes with good reviews and that you can afford. It’s normally a good idea to try a free trial period beforehand to make sure they offer what you want. Make sure there are the right server locations and options, as well as the right software for your devices and computers.
Some VPNs offer a range of different encryption and security protocols so have a good look around for ones that work for you. Make sure they offer no-logging policies and don’t record your data if that’s important to you. Check for how good their customer service options are as well. If you want to access content that’s only allowed in specific countries, then check to see if those servers are available. Make sure you’ve checked the speeds and download rates as this can be important too.