When it comes to security, the internet can be an unpredictable and sometimes scary place. We often browse with the idea in mind that we are safe. But, as technology advances, there are more opportunities for web users to have their private data compromised. Thankfully, VPNs are here to make the web world a little safer, and easier to navigate. But, what is a VPN? How can it help me? This beginner’s guide to VPN services is here to help you answer some of those questions.
What is a VPN?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a tool used to secure your computer’s internet connection and data. A VPN encrypts your data to ensure that anything you send or receive stays safe and secure from anyone trying to eavesdrop or hack. VPNs are typically thought of as being used for large corporations to secure sensitive information regardless of the location of their employees, but, in actuality, the use of VPNs goes far beyond that.
Why You Should Use a VPN?
1. Public Wi-Fi Safety
Particularly when traveling, you may not have access to your own personal private network. Today, it is easy to find free Wi-Fi at cafes and hotels. However, as convenient as a public Wi-Fi network may seem, your safety is not guaranteed on a public network. If anyone desires to, they could access your network, and invade your privacy. Without a VPN to keep your connection secure, if you are shopping online on public Wi-Fi, you could have your payment information stolen or abusers could steal confidential work related data.
2. Web Censorship and Privacy
When traveling to certain countries, you may have to deal with internet censorship. In countries like North Korea, Burma or China, you will find that important websites such as Google or Facebook may be blocked. A VPN will make it appear as if you are browsing from a different country by assigning you a new IP address, and help you access the websites you need.
Aside from censorship, some governments also practice extreme surveillance, continually looking at what you are doing online. To avoid an invasion of privacy, a VPN could also be used to hide what you do online from the government.
3. Protection when Downloading Torrents
Downloading torrents proposes many dangers. Certain torrents are illegal to download. If someone is not taking measures to stay safe, a downloader could potentially face legal repercussions. A VPN will help torrent downloaders stay unseen and safe from unwanted eyes.
Additionally, some torrents, whether legal or not, could have viruses or malware attached to them. A VPN’s encryption can help protect your device from being encrypted.
4. Corporations and Working Remotely
More and more corporations have multiple company offices, as well as many employees working remotely. Corporations need a way for every employee and office to be able to access the main office’s network, and other offices without having any potential problems with security and/or tampering with crucial and confidential information. A VPN allows these corporations to access information from anywhere while also encrypting all information sent back and forth through unsafe public networks. Unfortunately, virtual private networks are not always enough to keep companies and small businesses safe. Find out more Tips On Tricks for business security solutions.
5. Access Geo-Blocked sites like Netflix
Sites like Netflix, Hulu, or HBO GO may be geo-blocked depending on your location due to copyright agreements. If you are living abroad, and missing out on your favorite TV shows like Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black may not be an option. You can use a VPN to make it appear as if your IP address is from another location where these sites are available
Picking a VPN to Use
When picking a VPN you have many options. Some are free, and some may cost a fee. However, to decide on which VPN will work for you, you first need to decide what you will most likely need the VPN for. While VPNs have many uses, certain VPNs are more adequate for certain tasks and provide different levels of security. Also, not all VPNs work on all devices or operating systems. To get started on the decision making process, check out this article on the Best VPN for 2015. You will learn what various VPN providers offer to help you make the best decision possible.