A VPN is a method used to connect to the internet privately. By hiding your real IP address and routing your internet traffic and data through a private and securely encrypted tunnel over public networks.
VPNs are popular because they provide a way to browse the internet without giving away your personal identity, location, or data. When data is encrypted inside the VPN tunnel, ISPs, search engines, marketers, hackers and others can’t see or track your activities on the web.
It’s perfectly legal to use a VPN in most countries, including the U.S. This comes with a few important caveats, however: You can use VPNs in the U.S., Running a VPN in the U.S. is legal, but anything that’s illegal without a VPN remains illegal when using one (eg: torrenting copyrighted material).
VPNs protect you in three main ways:
Disguise your real IP address and location:
After connecting to a VPN service, you’re sent to the internet from a new gateway server. This spoofs your IP address and makes it appear as if you’re in a different city or country than the one you’re actually in.
Encapsulate your internet traffic through a private VPN tunnel:
Data on the internet moves in packets. With a VPN, all your data packets are encapsulated inside additional data packets. This encapsulation creates a private tunnel inside public networks.
Scramble your private data with encryption:
When using a VPN service, your internet traffic and personal information inside the tunnel are scrambled using encryption. This makes a VPN connection virtually impossible to hack by outside forces.
Disadvantages of VPN Services:
1. VPNs Get Rid of Geo-Restrictions
2. With a VPN, Your Online Privacy Is No Longer at Risk
3. VPNs Protect You from Cybercriminals
4. VPNs Keep You Safe from Online Censorship
5. A VPN Service Is Perfect for Work
6. With a VPN, Your ISP Can’t Throttle Your Bandwidth
7. VPNs Might help You Save Money Online
8. Downloading Torrents Is No Longer Risky With a VPN
9. A VPN Enhances Your Gaming Experience
Disadvantages of VPN Services:
1. The Best VPNs Aren’t Free
2. VPNs Don’t Natively Work on All Platforms
3. Using a VPN Might Lower Your Connection Speeds
4. Some VPNs Log User Data
When Should You Use a VPN Network?
Use a VPN over Public Networks:
When using public Wi-Fi, it’s easy for hackers and other entities to view and steal private data over public networks, even with a password. At the very least, it’s important to use a VPN to protect sensitive information, such as logins and passwords, when you’re on public Wi-Fi.
Use a VPN at Home:
Home networks are generally private with tightly controlled access. However, everything you do online from your Google searches to the websites you visit and the things you buy can be linked to your IP address. In many cases, this information is compiled and assigned an ID for marketing purposes, and is often permanent and can’t be erased.
Use a VPN at the Office:
Many companies allow employees to use the internet at work. However, you may not want your employer keeping tabs on the websites you visit. This includes browsing the internet on your mobile phone while using the company network. If this is the case for you, a VPN on your computer or mobile device can be used to anonymize your browsing activities while on the job.
Use a VPN to Bypass Geo-Restrictions:
Because a VPN spoofs your IP address, you can use a VPN to access geo-restricted content, blacklisted websites and prohibited VOIP services when you’re in a country that has geo-blocking in place. This allows you to access your favourite websites, TV shows and free communication services wherever you happen to be.
Use a VPN on Mobile Devices:
In addition to using a VPN on your laptop or desktop, there are many VPN apps available to protect your data and identity when using mobile devices. This is handy when you’re away from home or traveling.