What is VPN, and Why You Should Use it?.
VPNs are growing day by day and there are reasons to use them. In fact, because VPNs are easy to use, even for the average home user, they are no longer just for computer geeks or security experts. If you’re wondering, here are some of the reasons why and when you should use a VPN to secure your online communications.
What is a VPN service and how does it work?
A virtual private network, or VPN for short, is a simple service that encrypts your connections to and from the Internet. Along with encrypting your internet connection, a VPN can also mask your current location with the location of the VPN service provider. A VPN can do this by acting as an intermediary between you and the actual destination.
For example, if you are trying to access google.com, the request is first encrypted on your computer and sent to the provided VPN service. Here, the request is decrypted and forwarded to the real Google servers. As you can imagine, Google does not see that the request was made by you, but sees the VPN. When Google answers you, the VPN will encrypt the connection again and forward it to you.
How to use a VPN?
There are several ways to use a VPN. For instance –
1. You can download VPN software, available for both desktop and Chrome browser (we recommend TunnelBear) and then install it on your system like any other software. After that launch the software, you should see a connect button, click on it and all your connection traffic will now go through the encrypted tunnel.
2. If your company provides you with a VPN to connect to their private network outside the office; then you can create a new VPN connection in your device’s Wi-Fi settings. On Windows 10, type VPN in the Start menu and press Enter. A new window will open, here enter the server IP, username and password provided by your company. You can find similar settings in all other OSes.
3. You can also add VPN at the router level by entering the server IP and login credentials. This way, all devices connected to this router will have VPN enabled.
Why use a VPN service?
1. Hide your location and increase internet anonymity
The first and most obvious reason to use a VPN is to hide your current location and increase your online anonymity. As I said before, a VPN acts as an intermediary between you and the destination. This way, your location is effectively disguised and the websites you access cannot see who you are or where you are from. On the subject: 12 Effective Ways to Stay Anonymous Online
There can be any number of reasons why you might want to hide your whereabouts, for example – to avoid censorship, to exercise your freedom of speech without showing yourself, to stay out of prying eyes, or you are an informant, etc. The reason is that a good A VPN can offer all the anonymity you need.
2. To access geographically restricted sites and services
Besides masking your current location, you can also easily access geo-restricted websites and services using a VPN. For example, there are several services like Hulu, Netflix, HBO GO, Pandora, etc., or even some individual portions of those services that are only available to US customers. These restrictions can be due to several reasons, such as government laws, copyright issues, distribution rights, etc.
So, in situations like this, you can use a VPN to access these services or shows anywhere in the world. This feature is especially useful when you are traveling and want to access your favorite shows on Netflix. Of course, if streaming content is your primary purpose for using a VPN, make sure your VPN is optimized for that.
3. To encrypt internet access when using public WiFi
More often than not, most of us are unaware or ignore the fact that when using a public Wi-Fi hotspot or any other publicly available network (like hotels or restaurants), your data is at risk due to the terrible security they offer. In fact, using several high-tech yet easy-to-use free tools available on the Internet, anyone with a little tech-savvy can easily eavesdrop on your connection and steal your data or identity.
However, because the VPN encrypts all of your inbound and outbound connections, your communication remains secure. What’s more, a VPN makes it nearly impossible for a cracker to hack into your connection.
Note. Since most VPNs change your geographic location, some banking transactions may fail if they detect a large transaction from another country. Plus, since most financial services use 128-bit https encryption, you won’t need a VPN for this, even on a public network.
Related: Protect Your Wi-Fi Network From Hackers With These 10 Steps
4. To access home (or office) network resources via the Internet
This is one of the most overlooked reasons, but you can actually use a VPN to access your home network over the Internet. Since the connection is encrypted by default, you can securely access all your shared files, stream videos, or even play games as if you were on your local network. You will need a good and stable connection, of course. Not only your home network, but you can also set up a VPN to access your work or business network. In fact, most businesses and businesses use their own VPNs to give employees access to the corporate network.
For example, a friend of mine works for Uber. And they can only access the Uber server from their office LAN. Now, when he wants to work from home, he first connects his computer to the VPN provided by Uber, and only then can he access their network and do any work.
On the subject: 7Access files on your computer from anywhere in the world
5. To protect your privacy and avoid being tracked
Every time you visit a website, you are likely to share a lot of information like your IP address, browser signature, operating system, current location, etc. Even your ISP tracks and stores all of your usage. Of the Internet and which websites you visited. … Plus, big guys like Google and Facebook can keep track of a lot of things down to your habits, requirements, and preferences.
So, if you don’t like this type of tracking and value your privacy, you should use a VPN. This avoids the tracking and transmission of some personally identifiable information. That being said, using a VPN is not a reliable way, but it certainly makes things a little more bearable.
RELATED: 5 Best Private Search Engines That Don’t Track You Like Google
6. To bypass network restrictions at work or school
Typically, the internet connection at your workplace or school is severely restricted through various types of monitoring and firewalls. It just means that you cannot access all the websites you want. Since VPN encrypts all of your inbound and outbound connections, you can use it to bypass these restrictions. However, keep in mind that you may face repercussions depending on the rules and regulations of your school or company.
Related: How to Access Blocked Websites (Video)
7. To share and download files privately
It is well known that most ISPs, companies and even governments do not want people to download content via torrents. In fact, in some places, torrenting is completely prohibited and may even cause you problems with the law. Moreover, some ISPs even limit the speed of torrenting and P2P sharing.
To avoid these legal issues and awful download speeds, it’s best to use a VPN that’s located somewhere where the rules aren’t as strict. However, not all VPNs support torrenting and P2P sharing. So, before signing up, make sure your favorite VPN service supports what you need.
Related: How to Bypass Torrent Blocking by Your ISP
Hope this helps, and leave a comment below to share your thoughts and experiences on using the VPN service and how useful it is in your daily life.