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What Is a VPN?
VPN stands for the virtual private network and is often used by larger companies and organizations that need a secure connection that cannot be monitored. Private VPN vendors have been around for many years, and there are currently many individual users who use VPN services. The advantages are many; not only can you surf entirely anonymously, but you can also access legal streaming services that are reserved for the foreign market. By using a VPN provider to create a secure “tunnel” between you and the provider, your ISP cannot monitor your Internet traffic.
History of VPN
We can trace the origins of the VPN to the effect of several factors. First, many business organizations saw the need to develop a form of communication that they could use securely without worrying about hackers accessing their sensitive data. Large corporations needed a very secure form of communication that they could avail to their employees to facilitate communication among the employees located in remote locations.
Therefore, the need for a safe and reliable form of communication among remotely-located employees was one of the factors that contributed to the development of the VPN.
In addition to this, as more and more people adopted the internet for their daily use, governments started developing special laws to help them access and maintain control over the information that people are sharing online.
The desire of governments to snoop on internet users and find out what people and organizations do when using the internet is another factor that prompted the development of a very secure and private form of a network which later on came to be known as the VPN.
Why do people use VPNs?
There are three basic reasons as to why people use VPN. We outline these fundamental reasons here as follows.
- First, people use VPNs as a way of accessing video content that the producing companies may block their access in specific areas. In practice, many companies that stream media content online impose restrictions on the content. The limits are usually geographical-based, with users who are in specific regions not being able to access the music, videos, and other forms of media content. A problem arises when you travel to a region in which the company that streams your media has already imposed restrictions. For example, if you are in Europe, and you can comfortably access your content, you may not be able to do so when you travel to a different continent. The good news is that you can overcome these restrictions by merely switching your internet access mode to using a good VPN. When you use a VPN service, you will access all your content at any given time, and regardless of your location. How you overcome geo-restrictions when you use a VPN is based on the ability of the VPN servers to keep your location completely anonymous. When the servers of the company that streams your content to detect your requests, they are not able to tell your exact location.
- Second, people use VPNs because they want to improve their security. Online security is one of the most critical things in this world nowadays. You do not want anyone to access your data and use it for their purposes. Furthermore, many hackers are interested in sniffing out internet users, hacking into their communication systems, and stealing sensitive data. One of the best ways in which you can ensure that you are completely secure when using the internet is by using a VPN. When you use a VPN, you remain completely anonymous. Your anonymity means that hackers will find it difficult to detect you in the first place. More importantly, you improve your security considerably when you use a VPN because the VPN encrypts your data. This form of encryption that VPN companies use is called end-to-end encryption. This process is how encryption works. The server of the VPN service provider receives the information that you send using your computer when you are using a secure VPN service. The data is then changed to a form that makes it impossible for anyone who accidentally accesses it to understand its content. The encrypted information is then sent across the network to the recipient. The server of the recipient then decrypts the data, and the receiver gets the message in the original form in which you would have sent it.
- Third, people use VPN services as a way of securing the overall manner in which they use the internet. When you choose to use any VPN service, you will realize that you will be required to select the protocol that you want. A protocol is an advanced system of security that VPN service providers use to authenticate your information and ensure that no one else can find out what you are doing online. Our research indicates that in the current times, many VPN service providers use a form of protocol that is called SSL for their services. However, there are a couple of other different protocols that VPN service providers can use to authenticate your information and secure your internet activities.
How You Can Access a VPN Service
There is nothing complicated about gaining access to a VPN service. If you are a worker and your company already has its VPN service in operation, then you only need to use it. However, the company VPN may not give you all the freedom that you may require.
The need for personal liberty and control means that you may have to use the services of any of the top 5 VPN providers. There are very many companies that offer you VPN services. These companies have dedicated their resources to building very complicated infrastructures to enable them to provide you with paid VPN services.
They have large numbers of servers that they strategically position in specific countries around the world. They then use these servers to help their clients bypass geographical restrictions on online content, access the web anonymously, and securely browse the internet.
When you choose a service provider, you only have to log on to the website of the provider and purchase a specific plan. We have found out that many service providers offer users a free trial period of seven days. We do not recommend that you make it a habit of using the free trial offers of these companies. To save time, you only have to identify a specific service provider that you have to use, choose a purchase plan, and make the actual purchase.
Once you have your plan in place, your service provider will give you all the details that you need on how to set up your different devices on the VPN. Once you follow the instructions carefully, all your devices will then be configured in such a manner that you can use them on the virtual private network with relative ease. Since you are not downloading or using any software, you will find that it is relatively easy to set up your secure connection using any VPN service provider.
How to choose the best VPN Service
We have written extensively on how you should go about the business of selecting the right VPN service provider. Suffice to say that you need to keep these factors in mind when you are choosing the right VPN service provider. First, you need to consider the overall performance of the VPN in question. A good VPN needs to have very high speeds and very secure connections. When you get a service provider offering a balance between speed and security, then you need to consider choosing the provider.
Another factor that you need to take into consideration is the extent to which your VPN service provider can share your log details with authorities. Although many VPN service companies claim that they have a zero-log policy in place, some of them end up giving your information to law enforcement authorities in their countries when they are prevailed upon to do so.
Lastly, we do not consider pricing as a significant factor that you ought to take into consideration when choosing a VPN service provider. However, we believe that you should check the pricing plan of the service provider you intend to work with and select a plan that best suits your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this legal?
Yes, this is entirely legal. Some countries, however, can have their own rules regarding VPN services, so always check the laws and regulations before using such facilities abroad.
Can my ISP monitor my Internet traffic?
No, no one can monitor your Internet traffic. The only thing your ISP can see is that you are connected to a VPN vendor, nothing else.
Which applications get anonymized?
All of them! Your Internet browser, MSN, Torrent Clients, and any other application that connects to the Internet.
Is my connection to the VPN provider encrypted?
Yes, almost all VPN providers offer encryption. Search the VPN providers’ websites for further information – the degree of encryption can vary.
Does this work on all operating systems?
Yes, most vendors offer solutions for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux.
Does this work on my smartphone or tablet?
Yes, many vendors offer solutions for smartphones and tablets.
Why use a VPN service?
• Surf 100% anonymously
• Access to foreign legal streaming services (free TV shows, movies, etc.)
• Increased safety when using public wi-fi zones
• Surf freely anywhere in the world
Will I leave traces on the Internet?
Yes, you will leave traces but only back to your VPN provider. Some VPN providers save logs but have stringent rules for when to release this information and how long the records are kept. And there are VPN providers that do not save logs at all. Check this before choosing your provider.
See the VPN providers’ websites for more information. The products can vary widely, and there is money to save in choosing the right VPN provider. Therefore, read carefully through the user reviews before you decide.
How to Hide My IP Address
People want to hide their IP addresses for a range of different reasons. Some may want to hide where they are geographical because they may want to access sites not allowed in their country. Others might want to prevent people from tracking them and their activities on the web. Still, others do not like the idea of leaving any digital footprints. For most, it is a combination of these reasons. Fortunately, it is easy to find methods of hiding their IP address.
The best and most reliable method is to utilize a VPN or virtual private network service, which will encrypt your information. You have a range of different companies today offering this type of service. When you sign up for a VPN, you will connect to the web through their servers, which are located around the world. It then hides your true location. These are popular options for individuals as well as those who have businesses and who often work from out of the office.