Everything You Need to Know About VPNs
If you haven’t heard by now, VPN services are now one of the hottest internet security products in the world. Their rise has been meteoric, owing largely to the fact that users around the world have taken to using them to solve a variety of issues that have sprung up on the modern internet. There are so many benefits to using a VPN service, in fact, that you may not even realize what many of them are. To help, here’s a look at all of the reasons that VPNs can be an indispensable tool in your internet arsenal, and why you need a VPN in 2021.
The ABCs of VPN
Before you can understand all of the various uses for a VPN, you must first have an understanding of what a VPN is and how it functions. Put simply, a VPN, or virtual private network, is a technology that creates an encrypted data connection between two points over the otherwise open internet. In that way, it creates the rough equivalent of a private network, which is commonly referred to as a tunnel, where outsiders cannot peer into what data is transmitted back and forth.
In the beginning, VPN technology was invented as a way for businesses and other private network operators to provide remote access to internal network resources (servers, printers, etc.) for authorized users. In recent years, however, consumer VPNs have started to come to market that use the technology in a different way. They allow individual internet users to route their traffic through their choice of endpoint servers located in data centers around the world.
The Benefits of Using a VPN
Now that you’re aware of what a consumer VPN does, you may be wondering what the advantage of using one might be. There are more than you might imagine. For example, although you might not know it, your ISP may be keeping careful track of everything you do on your internet connection. They do so because your internet habits make for valuable data that advertisers will pay handsomely for. With a VPN in use, your ISP becomes blind to your activities – they can see that you’ve made a single connection to the internet (to the VPN server itself) but not what you’re using it for. For the privacy-conscious, that makes using a VPN an absolute necessity. That’s not all they can do, though.
Your World, Unblocked
Another excellent benefit of using a VPN is the fact that it allows you to access a whole world of entertainment content that would be otherwise out of your reach. That’s because today’s most popular streaming media platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and others maintain different media libraries for different regions in the world, and use geoblocking to govern who can see what content. VPN users gain the ability to access these regionalized collections by connecting through a VPN server in the area they’re trying to access. Since the streaming service can only see the VPN server as the connection’s origin, it will deliver the content that’s appropriate to the server’s – not the user’s – location.
That same concept applies to accessing media that isn’t available outside of a specific country at all, as is the case with popular services like the BBC’s iPlayer, ITV Player, and HBO Go. In those cases, even people that live within the right area lose access to the content they love when traveling, even if they’re paying for that access in the first place. The same thing goes for a wide variety of banking and financial services sites, who reject connections from foreign countries in the name of security. A high-quality VPN service can help you bypass all of these needless and sometimes unfair restrictions and use the sites and services you need from anywhere you happen to be. It will also help you keep yourself safe online throughout your travels.
Security on Unknown Networks
These days, internet access is ubiquitous. It’s offered in coffee shops, on airplanes, and even at the summit of Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji. While all that free WiFi is convenient, most people don’t consider what a tremendous security risk they’re taking when connecting to such unknown networks. To give you an idea of how risky it is, consider that banking giant Santander ran an experiment where an 86 year old with almost no computer knowledge was coached to execute a successful public hotspot hack in just under 17 minutes flat. With that in mind, it’s fair to say that the practice of using public WiFi hotspots borders on insanity – unless you’re also using a VPN.
Using a VPN over a public WiFi hotspot takes your security out of the hands of the hotspot’s operators (and anyone else who’s listening), and makes sure your data gets where it’s supposed to go without any intrusion. That’s because the best VPN services offer state of the art encryption, which protects your data no matter who has access to the underlying network you’re using. Without one, there’s no telling who you’re actually trusting with your browsing history, personal information, and anything else that you send over an unknown network.
What to Look For in a VPN
By now, it should be obvious why so many people buy VPN services these days. That doesn’t mean that they’re all created equal, though. The best VPN services set themselves apart from the competition by offering benefits and features that customers won’t find elsewhere, such as:
- A large number of available endpoint servers spread all around the world
- Reliable high-speed connections
- No-logging policies
- Support for torrents and other P2P technologies
- Multi-device and multi-platform support
- Kill switch functionality
- Anonymous, provider-operated DNS servers
- State of the art encryption
In general, before you opt to buy VPN services, you’ll want to make sure that the ones you’re considering offer as many of the above benefits and features as possible. You’ll also want a provider that will offer excellent customer service, including offering help on how to set up a VPN on your specific device or devices. You will also want to scout around for a VPN coupon that applies to whichever provider you choose, so you’ll get the best possible deal.
A VPN is a Must-Have
As you can see, there’s no shortage of reasons why you need a VPN in 2021. They provide you with security, privacy, and flexibility in how you use the internet, no matter where you go. Their popularity is also growing at such a rate that it’s getting easier than ever to find a high-quality VPN service that meets your needs without busting your budget, especially if you locate the right VPN coupon before you buy.
There’s just no excuse not to at least explore your options. If you don’t know how to set up a VPN, you’ll find plenty of help both online and from your chosen provider. If you’re not sure if the provider you’re considering will make a good fit, there’s a good chance they offer a money-back guarantee. There’s also no shortage of provider reviews available to help you make an informed choice. The bottom line here is that there are so many reasons to use a VPN, that you should no longer be asking why you should use one – you should be asking yourself why you’ve waited so long to get one in the first place.