VPNs popularity is growing because the concern for privacy and security among internet users is also increasing. But if you look back for the reason of creating VPN, it was entirely for business. It provided the opportunity to connect business networks securely across the internet so that it remained accessible from homes. As technology progressed and made the internet more accessible to all, along with it came a lot of threats to privacy. Hacking and other means of stealing information have now become rampant. No one is safe on the internet. There is growing concern about protecting personal data and sensitive information from the prying eyes of interested parties who want to misuse personal data for various reasons. Governments that adopt iron-fisted tactics are keen to track the online behavior of people to restrict their access to information.
Public networks are highly unsafe because ISPs or internet service providers have complete access to personal data and monitor user behavior. There are numerous instances when ISPs sell personal data without the knowledge of users for making commercial gains. Businesses or individuals, all users remain highly exposed to data compromise. The growing concern for protecting privacy and security when using the internet has led to the increasing demand for VPN. More and more people are avoiding the use of public networks to ensure that they can browse the internet privately. Companies have been patronizing the use of VPNs that provide adequate protection to sensitive data when connecting with remote data centers.
The biggest attraction of VPN for individuals is that it allows them to access network resources remotely when they are physically away from the local area (LAN) network. At the same time, it provides additional security in data exchange by protecting data through complete encryption when they are using any public network. When using VPN, you stay assured that no one can see what you are doing. It conceals your online identity, and you can surf the internet anonymously.
What you can achieve by using VPN
Knowing how VPN works should help in setting the right expectations from it. When using a VPN, your device, whether it is a PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, connects to a private server. It allows you to surf the web by using the internet connection of that server. It creates a tunnel between your computer and the server through which data exchange takes place in a secure environment so that no one can trespass into it.
- It helps to access your network, whether as an individual or for business when you stay away from the LAN like when you are traveling.
- You can by-pass geographic restrictions to gain access to websites or streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, etc. and even download legal files via Bit Torrent that many ISPs tend to block.
- It conceals your IP so that you can remain anonymous when surfing the web. It protects your data from the reach of ISPs and other local networks who might be interested in keeping a watch on your online activities.
- If you want to watch content of a different country that normally does not give access to content by imposing censorship, VPN is the only means of overcoming the obstacle. For example, the Chinese government prevents people from accessing all kinds of content freely and to get around it people are using VPN.
What type of VPN you need
Before you set out to choose a VPN service, you must first decide what you need from it. VPNs come with different features, and the nature of use determines which type of VPN would suit you. If you want to use a VPN for your household, then you would need a VPN that allows for multiple connections simultaneously or a router-based VPN. A high-speed VPN with unlimited bandwidth and reliable connections is what you need for streaming movies online. Do you use the internet on the go because you travel a lot and rely on public networks? Then you need a VPN that has servers across the world and offers excellent security.
By knowing the manner of use of the VPN, you can determine the features that you need most and those that you can do without.
Look for a good VPN
If not the best, you must at least have a good VPN that balances its features with server location and connectivity protocols and offers a good price. It needs doing some research and here are some salient features of a good VPN that you must look for.
Protocol – When you are researching VPNs, you will come across several terms like SSL, IPSec, PPTP, L2TP, etc. which can appear a bit confusing. These terms denote various protocols adapted by VPNs that define its type. All these protocols relate to the level of security like SSL or Secured Socket Layer, which is the most commonly used protocol. The protocols define the specialty of VPN because each of it emphasizes various features like encryption, speed, anonymity, etc. But one thing is common to all – it provides a secure connection. Each protocol has its pros and cons, and you must judge it in relation to the way you want to utilize the VPN. The protocols are more relevant to corporate users who depend on SSL and IPSec protocols, while individual users need not think much about it except for data security.
Logging – Going for VPN means that you are reposing your trust in the service provider about complete data security, assuming that they would protect it from eavesdropping. But there might be a possibility that the operator could log your activity. The system does not have any protection against it except that you must be careful enough to scrutinize the privacy and logging policies of the service provider before signing up with them. A lot depends on the country where you avail the services. Even though US-based service providers do not have any legal obligation to log users, in case some of them do it, then they may have part with whatever data they have in case the government requests for it. For a list of reliable VPN service providers log on to https://www.fastestvpnguide.com/ where you can look for guides and comparisons to help you in choosing an appropriate service provider.
Corporate and Exit locations – You have the option of choosing your service’s location and the exit locations, depending on the way you want to use VPN, and these are very important. For example, if you want to circumvent the geographic restriction imposed by a country in viewing its content live, then you must ensure that the VPN you select has a server in that country. Again, if your concern is snooping and privacy, then you must look for service outside your home country. Services are subject to the laws of the land, and it can compromise on your objectives of security and privacy about which you must be very careful. The VPN service you choose must have a server in your preferred country and if possible multiple servers across many countries that broaden your outreach when using the services.
Mobile apps – When choosing a service provider, you must ensure that the service is available across all devices because mobile accessibility is essential. Look for this option even if you are using free VPN because it is your right to get a consistent experience across all kinds of devices. Moreover, the service must be compatible across all platforms like Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS. VPN accessibility should never become a constraint for which you must keep in mind and checking the aspect of the user-friendly interface is also very important. It should be easy to configure the VPN by following simple procedures so that you can be on your own and enjoy uninterrupted services. Using the same VPN service for your computer and mobile device will save the cost and hassles of dealing with separate service providers.
Anti-Malware features – VPN greatly reduces the chances of data breaches and infringement into your privacy. But it will be a mistake to consider it completely safe because vulnerabilities can exist in varying degrees. It is better to be safe than sorry by ensuring that you protect your website by using HTTPS whenever possible and carefully consider what you download. It is especially important to ensure that you do not download anything malicious like viruses and trojans even inadvertently. Many VPN service providers, especially those offering mobile services, include malware scanners within the package and you must check this feature when you are shopping around. Remaining as much protected as possible should be your goal in choosing a VPN. If you are comfortable even without this feature, it is your personal choice depending on how much risk you are willing to take.