A Virtual Private Network, also known as VPN, is a technology that creates an encrypted connection to another computer/server. The end-user can work securely and share files with the other connected computer without exposing their Internet Protocol address. In other words, the two computers are able to create a private network over the public Internet. The applications for VPN present numerous benefits – from securing your personal information from hackers and surveillance agencies to encrypting your data in order not to be spied on by third parties on public WiFi networks.
In this article we give you an in-depth overview of what a VPN is and how you can use them for better privacy protection and data security when surfing online.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network, also known as VPN, is a technology that creates an encrypted connection to another computer/server. The end-user can work securely and share files with the other connected computer without exposing their Internet Protocol address. In other words, the two computers are able to create a private network over the public Internet.
The applications for VPN present numerous benefits – from securing your personal information from hackers and surveillance agencies to encrypting your data in order not to be spied on by third parties on public Wi-Fi networks. A VPN service can also unblock websites or allow you to work through a secure channel when travelling in locations where Internet censorship is prevalent.
Below, we will mention 7 major benefits of using VPN:
1. Surf the Internet Anonymously
When you connect to a VPN server, all your traffic is routed through a secure encrypted tunnel between your computer and the remote VPN server. Your real IP address is replaced with the IP address of the VPN server which keeps your data secure while simultaneously concealing your real location.
2. Hide Your IP Address and Location
With a VPN you can access websites that are restricted in certain countries like streaming services, YouTube content or certain news portals. Also, it can help you get around copyright-related issues when downloading torrents or P2P files. Want to watch your favourite TV show but it is blocked in your country? Connect to a VPN server in a different country and access that channel.
3. Protect Your Privacy From Hackers and Surveillance Agencies
Connecting to public unsecured Wi-Fi networks puts your security and privacy at risk – anyone using the same network can easily see, steal or modify your data. A VPN service can secure unsecured wireless networks, such as public Wi-Fi hotspots and help protect against snooping of online activities without compromising on speed. Also, some ISPs log all traffic data – fortunately, with a VPN service you don’t have to worry about that anymore.
4. Unblock Websites and Apps
Choose any website to connect to its VPN server and enjoy internet freedom. Choose any location in the world, connect to a VPN server there and you can watch content from that country. For example if you are on holiday abroad you can gain access to your favourite US shows by connecting to a US-based server from anywhere you go. Note that this is only useful for online streaming services (e.g., Netflix, Hulu…) – if your intention is to visit websites which are blocked in certain countries then a VPN service may help you bypass local restrictions, but it will not unblock any geo-restricted website applications (e.g., Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc.)
5. Enhance Privacy on Public Wi-Fi Networks
Public Wi-Fi networks, such as those at airports, hotels, coffee shops and restaurants, are a potential threat to your data security and privacy. However, by connecting to a VPN server you can protect yourself from various kinds of attacks (e.g., Man-in-the-Middle attacks) and increase your privacy while surfing the internet.
6. Unlock Content That’s Restricted in Your Country
A VPN service also allows you to unlock content that is usually restricted in your country. For instance, content from Hulu, Netflix or HBO may be blocked in your country because of licensing restrictions. It is easy to get around these restrictions if you use a VPN service to unlock those regions.
7. Access Blocked Websites and Apps
Stay connected with the websites that matter to you and only pay for the bandwidth you need. A good price VPN provider can help you to unlock a lot of benefits. You can unblock sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram if they are blocked in your organisation or ISP. You can even unblock titles on YouTube that have been removed by the copyright holder.
Upgrading your internet security and privacy is not an easy task for ordinary people. Fortunately, there are services available online (such as NordVPN) that offer both these services at very affordable prices.