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What is a Virtual Private Network or VPN?

Virtual Private Network or VPN is a program which allows users to create a secure connection to another network over the internet. It creates a safe connection over a less secure network, such as the public internet. It works by utilizing security procedures and tunneling protocols.

Simply put, a VPN creates a virtual encrypted tunnel between the user and a remote server operated by a VPN service. In thus creating, all internet traffic is routed through this tunnel, so the data being transmitted is secure from prying eyes. To better understand, all you need to know about VPN is here.

When you connect a device such as a smartphone, computer or tablet to a VPN, the device acts as if it’s on the same local network as the VPN. Accordingly, VPN allows you to securely access local network resources even when you’re on the other side of the world.

You’ll also be able to use the Internet as if you were present at the VPN’s location, which is beneficial especially when you are using public Wi-Fi or want to access geo-blocked websites.

Basically, VPNs can be used to access region-restricted websites, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi and more.

Other Uses for VPNs

VPNs are fairly simple tools, but they can be used to do a wide variety of things.

For one, they are used to access a business network while travelling. Another is that they allow access to your home network while travelling. In such case, you can set up your own VPN to access your own network while travelling. This will allow you to use local file shares and play games over the Internet as if you were on the same local area network (LAN).

Also, VPNs are used to hide your browsing activity from your local network and ISP. If you are using a public Wi-Fi, your browsing activity on non-HTTPS websites is visible to every nearby, if they know how to look. Thus, if you want to hide your browsing activity for a bit more privacy, you can connect to a VPN.

The local network will only see a single, secure VPN connection. All the other traffic will travel over the VPN connection. While this can be used to bypass connection-monitoring by your Internet service provider, bear in mind that VPN providers may opt to log the traffic on their ends.

VPNs allow access to Geo-blocked websites. Since using VPNs allow you to adopt the location of the VPNs, then it is beneficial when you need or want to access websites which are location restricted. Thus, whether you are an American trying to access your Netflix account while travelling out of the country or you wish you could use American media sites like Netflix, Pandora and Hulu, you will be able to do so and access these region-restricted services if you connect to a VPN located in the USA.

Since privacy is the main concern in VPNs, the use of VPNs allows users to bypass internet censorship. Many Chinese people use VPNs to get around the Great Firewall of China and gain access to the entire Internet. However, it can be noted that the Great Firewall has apparently started interfering with VPNs recently.

Finally, VPNs help in downloading files. Many people use VPN connections to download files via torrent applications. This can actually be useful even if you’re downloading completely legal torrents.

You can use a torrent application such as BitTorrent on a VPN and the download speed will, in effect get faster. The same is true for other types of traffic your ISP might interfere with (unless they interfere with VPN traffic itself), you get faster speeds.

VPNs at Home

The need for VPNs at home would depend on the consumer using the internet. For one, if the router at home is secured and the Wi-Fi is using a WPA or WPA2 password, you probably do not need a VPN at home. VPN services are usually tailored for travelers who regularly use open and untrustworthy hotspots and other internet connections on the road.

Protection by VPN

A VPN service is capable of keeping your private data safe from hackers and third party users. It will hide your IP (Internet Protocol) address and make sure your online traffic is encrypted. It is one and the primary benefit of using VPN servers: PRIVACY. If you value your online privacy very much, then VPNs are the perfect tools for you.

However, it is to be noted that VPN servers do not make one immune from viruses and malwares. There is still that possibility that you may be affected by viruses and malwares while using the internet.

In addition, the use of VPN does not guarantee that one cannot be tracked. Adversaries may use other methods to trace you. Just because the IP address is different and the online traffic is encrypted in a tunnel does not mean you can not be tracked. Other methods may still allow anonymous adversaries track you despite the use of VPN servers.