Do you need a VPN?
Have you been hearing the term VPN a lot more lately after the Facebook and Cambridge thing? Or for that matter these days everyone is talking more about how to secure our privacy while we work and play on the internet.
But, just what is a VPN, how does it work, and do you really need one? These are great questions that everyone that interacts on the internet should be asking themselves. So let’s take a look at what all the hype is about a VPN.
What is a VPN?
A VPN (virtual private network) is where a private network is extended across a public network so that when you connect to a public network it will be as though your device was directly connected to the private network.
So any application running across the VPN will benefit from any security, functionality, and management of the private network. What is considered a private network, well this would be your network at home (your router) or one that is set up in an office where you work.
Now what you have here is that when using a VPN service all of your data that is being sent across the internet will be encrypted and secure, giving you more privacy of your activities while you’re online.
How does a VPN work?
First off, what happens when you normally connect to the internet is that you first connect to your ISP (internet service provider) such as Century Link, Comcast, Verison, or anyone else. They then connect you to whatever website you’re after.
This is where the VPN comes into play when you sign up for a VPN service you will now be connected to them first, and then they will direct your traffic while they encrypt your data. So what is happening is that your VPN server acts as a middleman that will do your browsing for you, this way your ISP will not be able to see or record your activity online. Giving you that added extra privacy.
Why might you want to use a VPN?
You want some Privacy:
Maybe your just someone that even when your home on your own network you want more privacy. And you would like to keep as much about your browsing history from the eyes of your ISP. Also, you may wish to hide your location from sites that you use to shop at.
Keep in mind that Google and other search engines use your location to find the closest shops to your location. With a VPN it will be a location of the server you are connected to.
When using a Public Wi-Fi:
If a hacker is on the same public Wi-Fi as you, they can easily see your data even if the shop is password protected. So using a VPN will give you extra security by bypassing the shops ISP and encrypting your connections. This will leave any hacker there to find an easier target.
When you travel outside of the USA:
If you travel to another country where they may have restrictions on access to your favorite social media site or streaming service a VPN will come in handy by making it look like your accessing from home.
And there are other reasons you may wish to use a VPN provider, it is all up to how much you personally want to protect your privacy. Each individual has their own unique reason for using a VPN, and with the examples above you can decide for yourself if this is something for you.
Things to take into consideration in using a VPN:
While using a VPN will help to mask your browsing behavior from your ISP, but you have to keep in mind that now your VPN provider will have access to it. Some of them actually sell your data to third parties, especially the free ones, after all, they have to make money somehow.
So if you are considering using one it would be beneficial to use a paid VPN provider and read their privacy rules to make sure they are not selling your data, or keeping a log of it. Some do even when they state they don’t. Read the reviews if there are any and see what other users have to say about them.
In other words, be cautious!
Here is a short list of the more popular VPN Providers:
And if you would like further information on each of these, you can visit techradarpro.com where Desire Athow gives a great review of them.
My final thoughts about VPN’s:
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what a VPN is, how it works, and whether or not you need to use one. If you ever use a public Wi-Fi I highly recommend using one, even if it is a free service, you can never be too cautious.
What are your thoughts about using a VPN?
Do you use a VPN, do you think you will use one in the future? I love hearing from my readers so if you would like to leave a comment or even a question, you can do so in the comment box below.