Everything You Need to Know about VPN – A Beginner’s Guide
Everywhere on the web, you can find people talking about privacy and security online. This has become an important topic due to all the news about how our information is used and abused online. In the context of this conversation of privacy, you can often see people mentioning VPNs – virtual private networks.
To help you understand what a VPN is, we decided to create this beginner-friendly guide that will give you the straightforward information that you need to know. This guide will help you understand what a VPN is, why you should be using it and how you can use it. It might sound “too techy” and complicated but it really isn’t and after reading our guide, you will know everything you need to.
Let’s start with the name first. It shows that a VPN is a private network which cannot be accessed by anyone else except the person that is intended to. At the same time, this network is accessed virtually via computer or mobile device.
Simply put, a virtual private network consists of a group of servers on which users connect through their internet providers. When a user connects to a VPN in a single session, they don’t need to do it again until a new session is started. When you connect to a VPN, it starts a process called “tunneling”, where the servers of the VPN act as your home in the virtual world.
You create for yourself a secure space on the internet from which you can perform all actions online as you usually do. When browsing the web through this secure location, all the information that you send out or receive is secured through encryption, ensuring a greater level of privacy.
When you are tunneling, your internet service provider and even other stronger agencies are unable to see the information you are using, receiving or sending. You can anonymously use the internet without anyone tracking your actions and seeing what you are up to.
Why should you get a VPN?
The primary goal of a VPN is to boost one’s security when going online. Since all the data that you send and receive is encrypted, it makes it much more difficult for cyber-criminals to intercept it and abuse it. For example, if you are logging into your bank account and entering your credentials, it would be impossible for a hacker to intercept what you are typing and steal your account.
Due to these kinds of situations, it is especially good to use a VPN when connecting to public and unsafe networks such as airport WI-FI. These networks are usually unprotected, meaning that it’s a walk in the park for a hacker to intercept your information.
The second important reason as to why it’s good to use a VPN is that it protects your privacy online. What you watch, download, read or write online is nobody’s business and nobody should keep track of your activity. Still, even though the data traffic running from your computer is encrypted with a VPN, it can be tracked with web trackers such as cookies.
In a nutshell, a VPN protects your network traffic and it prevents others from seeing your communication. However, it doesn’t prevent web applications such as cookies from communicating with you.
3. Location change
This is also one of the important considerations for getting a VPN. You can also use it to change your virtual location. A VPN can be used to change the IP address and people online won’t be able to find your physical location through it.
If you like playing online slots and they aren’t allowed in your country, you can also use VPN to appear as if you are from a country where this is legal and play freely.
You can also watch movies that are banned in your country or use services that some other countries have. You can even use a VPN to appear like you are connecting from your own country if you are traveling somewhere and you are using services that are limited to your country.
Does a VPN reduce internet speed?
A VPN does slow down internet but not in great measure. The reason why a VPN slows down internet is because that data has to route through a VPN server which takes additional time. Additionally, encrypting data also requires time and power. Still, if you get a good VPN service and you have a stable internet connection, there will only be a minor difference that won’t ruin your experience.
The important thing is that the VPN provider doesn’t have slow servers – if they do, you will notice a big difference. On the other hand, also make sure that their servers are located near your location. If they are not, your data will have to travel much longer and due to simple physics, your connection will work slower.
Can a VPN be used on multiple devices?
It usually depends on the provider. However, all professional VPN providers today provide accounts that can be accessed through multiple devices including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The whole connection works on the same principle on all devices and gives all of the benefits that you would expect.
Additionally, quality VPN providers such as ExpressVPN will also give you multiple VPN connections that you can run simultaneously. For example, one person can connect on a desktop PC while another can use the same account to connect via smartphone. In most cases, VPN service providers offer from 3 to 5 simultaneous connections.
Are there free VPN services?
Yes, there are free options available. However, bear in mind that a proper VPN requires companies to set up proper servers, infrastructure, and constant maintenance. Running a proper VPN service is a serious job that involves people, and none of them are willing to work for free. This is why some good free VPN providers such as TunnelBear usually give you a very limited service that only let you taste the true powers of VPN.
Their goal is to convince you to get a premium offer from them once you see how good a VPN can be and that it’s worth the money. Simply put, they are giving you a free trial, which is completely fair on their part.
However, you should be aware of those VPN providers that say that they don’t want anything in return as they might be spying on your data for the purpose of selling it for advertisements or in some cases, they are using you to steal bandwidth from your connection.
Summing it up
A VPN is a very beneficial tool that can give many benefits in the online world. Of course, there are people who use it for the wrong purposes but the internet was meant only for good things and some people are just abusing it. With a VPN, you can protect your privacy and enhance security online which is essential today.