A VPN makes any internet connection a lot safer and secure and is a favorite of a majority of people who desire a decent amount of privacy while surfing the internet. Internet newbies often ask, “What is a VPN and why do I need it?” They also ask, “What is a VPN, and how does it work?” This article answers these questions and more while also covering the topic of user privacy and security on the internet in general.
What is a VPN, and why do I need it?
This is an excellent question. A VPN, short for Virtual Private Network, is software that allows users to create a secure connection to another network over the internet. An advantage of using a VPN is that it allows users to mask their IP address, which makes it hard for other network users to collect private information like the location and network characteristics of VPN users. At the same time, a VPN gives users greater control over the network that they are part of. They can, for instance, access content that they would otherwise have no chance of interacting with by masking their geographical location. Users of VPN software can also choose between different server locations depending on what sites they are trying to gain access to. This is important considering that websites such as Netflix and ESPN offer different shows depending on a user’s location. An Australian Netflix subscriber, for instance, receives TV programming that is different from that delivered to an American subscriber, and they may want to get the same content as Americans. The way to achieve this is through a VPN that “fools” Netflix into believing that an Australian IP address originates somewhere in North America.
The main reason that people use VPN services is for security and privacy. When surfing the internet, a lot of people expect a decent amount of privacy, something that the average browser fails to provide. A VPN solves this problem by hiding or masking the IP address of a user so that they leave a “false” digital signature any time they visit a site.
Do you require a VPN? As long as you don’t want your personal information falling into the wrong hands, you definitely do. Consider that most public networks, such as freely available Wi-Fi, are unsecured and can be accessed by hackers and other malicious actors. Information obtained this way is then used to perpetrate financial and identity fraud, all of which can be very costly. A VPN provides security against such situations by making it hard for hackers to guess your IP address.
Saving Money with the Help of a VPN
A VPN is not only a tool for securing your internet connections and communications, but it can also save you a lot of money, especially if you shop online regularly. Here are some of the ways to achieve that:
1. Clearing Cookies
With a VPN, you can clear cookies on a site so that you can take advantage of an offer or a discount more than one time. This way, you can bypass price hikes that apply to return customers.
2. Moving Across the Map
With the help of a VPN, users can change their geographical location to mirror that of another country where cheaper rates apply. National tourist organizations, for instance, seek to attract visitors from specific countries by offering them discounts, and to take advantage of such, one must have an IP address from a particular geographical region.
3. Unblock Streaming Services
Some streaming services are only available in specific geographical locations. ESPN, for instance, only broadcasts live NBA games and highlights to North Americans, and they are able to do this by looking at the IP addresses of users and confirming their geographical locations. With a VPN, however, anyone can access the same services as long as they set their IP address to look like its originating in the USA. Hopefully, this answers the question of “What can I watch with a VPN?”
4. Regional Pricing for Software Subscription
Software vendors such as Adobe price their products differently based on the geographical location of the user. Europeans and much of the world for that matter, for instance, pay a higher subscription fee than Americans. A VPN can help reduce the difference in price if it is set to mirror North America IP addresses.
How to Choose the Best VPN
Choosing the best VPN is not an easy task, especially considering that there are so many VPNs out there, all of which promise the “best user experience.” If you are unsure about the different VPN app choices available on the market, then you should definitely check out vpnreviewpro.com, a resource that lists the top ten VPN services according to user reviews. Either way, the following are some of the things to look out for when choosing a VPN:
1. User Reviews
Trust in the wisdom of the crowd. The more people use a product, the more likely it is good, and this is no different when it comes to VPNs.
2. Technical Support
While most VPN software requires some level of technical knowledge on the part of the user, the load is lessened by an excellent customer support system. Some VPN software vendors offer such support, and some don’t.
3. Simultaneous Connections
You want a VPN that can extend its protection to as many devices in your network as possible. This will not only save you money but also add an extra layer of security to your network.
4. Server locations
A good VPN offers a wide variety of server locations. The more premium locations such as North America and Europe are available, the better.
You might be wondering, “Does a VPN slow down the internet?” The simple answer is no. In fact, a VPN can help boost your internet in cases where the internet service provider (ISP) chooses to limit data usage based on the sites that you are visiting. ISPs try to discourage video streaming and gaming as a way to ensure enough bandwidth is available to everyone, and a VPN helps to bypass this by hiding the sites that you are visiting from your ISP.