These days most of your favourite YouTube channels and podcasts are being sponsored by VPN companies. They claim that you can surf online without giving away your identity and access content that’s not available in your area. It’s true, but VPN is more than that.
VPN or Virtual Private networks can benefit anyone, from large corporations to ordinary individuals. It provides the user with an encrypted connection and safe online browsing.
While VPNs can be valuable for preserving your privacy, it’s crucial to understand how they function before deciding whether or not they’ll be of value to you. We explain what VPNs do to help you understand how to choose the right one for you.
What is a VPN?
Virtual private networks (VPNs) encrypt your data and hide your online activities from prying eyes. When you visit a website, your device connects to the server that hosts the site and depending on the site, that website can view a certain amount of data. You connect to a private server first with a VPN, which scrambles your data and makes it much more difficult for third parties to track your online activities.
Consumer VPNs are mostly used for secure browsing. As a small company owner, you can use a VPN to enable remote access to your network, and you can even set up a VPN at home.
A VPN redirects your internet traffic to a private network, regardless of its purpose. For personal use, this means being able to access files without putting them in danger on the internet.
How do VPNs Work?
VPN protects users from corporations, government agencies, and hackers. It keeps the identity of the individual safe once they connect to a public Wi-Fi.
It keeps a person’s ISP safe by sending their connection to another hosted server. There are plenty of servers where users can relocate their connection. These will then encrypt all the data being transferred and so on. For businesses, remote access is a common practice, so VPN can be helpful for employees to manage data away from the office without exposing it to possible threats.
Why Does Everyone Need to Use VPN Services?
Keeps Communication Safe
Messenger and other communication tools don’t offer end-to-end encryption that can protect the privacy of individuals. But some communication tools like WhatsApp or Signal are popular apps with an encryption option.
Since not all communication tools have an encryption feature, anyone can read your messages.
Using a VPN can add security by encrypting the conversation.
Safe Online Browsing
Wherever you go there are free Wi-Fi connections; in a coffee shop, library, hotel etc. The first thing you’ll do is connect to the network. However, not knowing these practices can be more harmful than you thought.
- Anyone can see your browsing activity
- Malware can get into your laptop
- It can be a fake network that steals data.
Using a VPN can solve all the risks or issues mentioned above.
Hide Data from Internet Service Providers
Home Wi-Fi connection is safer than connecting using public or free Wi-Fi. But that doesn’t mean your data is safe.
Internet service providers can see and collect your data. They can note all your activities and location. This data is sold to advertisers or companies. If the data falls in the wrong hands it can be dangerous, causing identity theft and more.
Stray Off Government Censorship
Governments have the authority to block you from visiting websites that you may require. Perhaps you live in a repressive state where some items or services are unavailable.
A VPN can gain access to the content you require without alerting any security systems. Every online activity is confidential since the data is encrypted.
Businesses modify their prices as well as their advertising to target customers. We can agree that a supermarket chain may change the price of a particular item in different places due to ‘local rivalry.’ However, when this happens on the internet, it’s distressing, because it’s supposed to be a level playing field.
A VPN significantly improve your chances of buying cheaply. You can modify where the online shopping site thinks you are by changing the VPN server’s location, and so benefit from the best pricing instead of the one you would have gotten from your real-world location.
Increase Gaming Speed
ISPs throttle online gaming data. They do this to inform users about services and products to offer. You can stop them by using a VPN.
However, you have to be close to the VPN server and it is capable of handling a large amount of data, or else it will affect the speed.
Get Affordable Plane Tickets
VPN can save you money for accommodations and airfares. You can select a country that offers cheaper flight prices.
You can get the same destination location only at a more affordable price by using another country’s server. However, there are some company websites that you cannot bypass using a VPN.
Secure Voice Call and Chat
As mentioned previously, some communication tools provide message encryption. However, the voice-over-IP generally doesn’t benefit from the app’s encryption feature. So, someone can listen or watch your call (video).
When you enable your VPN services, it can secure your online conversation however, speed can be slow during calls.
Maintains Privacy for Sensitive Research
Searching for sensitive topics online without a VPN can attract the attention of the government. It can also hinder you from expressing yourself, particularly if you are a whistleblower.
VPN can keep your identity to express yourself and research private data safely. In addition, you can hide your activities from competitors so they will not catch on to your strategies.
Bypass Country Restriction
Some countries restrict content and websites to visit. This can be frustrating if you want to read or watch content not available in your country.
VPN can get rid of these hindrances so you can fully access the internet. You can search for content that your country perceives as an illegal or censored topic.
Protects Business Data by Allowing Secure Remote Work
A VPN’s data encryption features are one of its advantages. Encryption, or converting data into a coded format that obscures its meaning, allows you to protect sensitive information.
If you run a business with remote workers, the best way is to provide them with a VPN to keep your company data safe.
VPN is a great tool to keep your identity secure and access the data you need. It allows you to freely explore content without leaving a trace. However, VPN alone is not enough.
While a VPN is an excellent tool for separating your physical location, VPNs aren’t flawless tools; they, like any other computer program, are vulnerable to malware and online attacks, and their security benefits are neutralized if infected.
Using a free VPN increases the risk of assaults and security breaches. To recoup their operating costs, “free” VPN services may sell your data or display malware-infected advertisements. Investing in a paid VPN is the best choice if you want to increase your data and online privacy.
A VPN alone will not hide all of your info. For complete security, combining VPN protection with Tor, an open-source application that allows you to access the web anonymously, and additional security measures are required.
Most VPN services are affordable. You don’t have to break your bank when you want to secure your data. Here is a list of affordable VPNs you can use (note: most of these VPNs are for home or individual use, for business VPNs, you can check our list of the Best VPN for Small Businesses).
- Surfshark: as low as $2.49 a month (billed yearly) for unlimited devices.
- Private Internet Access: $2.19 a month (billed for two years) + free 2 months
- CyberGhost: $2.29 a month (billed for 3 years)
These are just some samples of VPNs you can use to safeguard your identity and access restricted content.
It is also crucial to check or review the quality of the VPN service. Some VPNs can cause the leaking of DNS and more. You can test your VPN to see if they are working properly.
- DNS Leak Test
- WebRTC Leak Test
- Streaming Test
- Malware Test
You should perform the DNS leak test and WebRTC leak test every time before surfing online. As for the malware test, you leave it running in the background. The streaming test is done if you are planning to stream online using your VPN.
Testing your VPN will help you make sure that they are working appropriately. Since not all VPN services are created equally.
If you like to stream content not available in your country or research sensitive topics that are restricted, you can use a VPN service to help you. You can browse through different websites without leaving a trace and enjoy the freedom of your privacy.
Need an affordable VPN service? Softvire NZ offers two VPN services that can provide you with the security you need. Visit our online shop to learn more.