What Is A Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
The internet is a public place, anything you do online is public. Which means, anybody with tech skills can know and intercept your activities on the internet.
Knowing that the internet is a public place, you would want to make your activities private and anonymous, which is the best thing to do.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can make your connection and activities on the internet private and secured.
What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?
Simply put, a VPN is a tool that offers a private and anonymous connection to the internet.
It creates a private tunnel between your device and the internet.
A VPN will secure your internet activities by encrypting your internet traffic and making it difficult for hackers, Internet Service Providers (ISP) or government from understanding your activities on the internet.
Using a VPN hides your real IP address and assign a new IP address to your device. This way, you can change your location to any country you want and access any geo-restricted content securely.
What is a VPN used for?
A VPN is a privacy and security must-have tool you need to surf the internet anonymously and at the same time securing your browsing activities from prying eyes.
With a VPN you can do the following:
Encrypt Your Connection and Browsing Activities.
VPN offers strong encryption to your connection and browsing activities. This way, no prying eyes can understand your activities on the internet.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are now allowed to monitor your browsing activities and sell such data in the market. This implies that all activities in your device are tracked.
With a VPN, you can encrypt your internet connection and browsing activities from the prying eyes of your ISP, government or hackers.
You can browse on a Public Wi-Fi with full confidence that your data is secured.
Hide your IP address and Location
Your device’s IP address is what represents your device in the internet. With your IP address your device location can be known and tracked down.
Using a VPN offers a solution to IP address tracking because it will mask your real IP address and change your device location.
VPN providers offer different servers location in different countries. You can appear to be browsing from the location you choose.
Unblock Censored contents and websites
With a VPN you can easily unblock censored contents and websites. If it appears that the content or website you are looking for is not available in your country, you can just turn on your VPN and select any location that is allowed and boom, you are in.
Get what you want and leave in peace.
Geo-restricted contents can be bypassed using a VPN. A good example is the geo-restriction in streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora etc. Although most streaming services have banned all VPN providers, there are still some VPN that can bypass their security.
Avoid spying and Throttling
A VPN will create a secured tunnel between your device and your internet connection. So any time you connect using a VPN you are travelling (browsing) in your private secured tunnel.
This way you have avoided Network Administrators, government or hackers from snooping, interfering and tracking your activities on the internet.
Some websites track their visitors and collect data about users device type, ISP, IP address, browsing history etc and then increase or decrease the check-out price based on the data collected from the user.
So if you are using an iPhone or a Mac, you may pay higher than the person using an Android or Windows Operating system.
By simply using a VPN, you can shop fairly.
Read also: How To Secure Your Facebook From Hackers
Things to Look out for in a VPN Provider.
When looking for a VPN Provider, you need to be aware that you are trusting a third-party with the security of your internet connection. In other words, your VPN Provider is the only one who knows your activities on the web.
So it is important to understand how VPN work and look out for the following features in any VPN Provider:
Servers and Location
A good VPN Provider should have many servers located in different countries. So make sure the VPN Provider you are about considering has many servers and you can connect from any location of your choice.
Also make sure your VPN Provider assures their servers are always available so you can connect anytime you want.
Number of devices allowed to be connected simultaneously
VPN Providers limit the number of devices that can be connected simultaneously. So look out for the number of devices allowed by the VPN Provider.
If you want to connect more than one device, you can find good VPN Providers that can offer simultaneous connection up to 6 devices.
OpenVPN is a strong encryption option available in the most secured Virtual Private Networks. It makes your traffic appear as standard HTTPS traffic which is very secured.
Always look out for this feature in any VPN Providers.
Please note that OpenVPN feature is only available in the desktop version of most VPN applications. Mobile version of VPN Application make use of L2TP/IPsec protocol which are less secured compared to the desktop version of the application. Reason simply because OpenVPN, which is the strongest encryption option for VPNs, is only included in the desktop version of VPN applications.
No Activities log
As mentioned above, using a VPN means you are trusting a third-party with your entire internet activities.
A privacy-minded VPN Provider will not keep your activity log. So watch out for this feature in any VPN Provider.
If your VPN Provider keeps your activity log, the government can force the company to provide your activity log and you can be prosecuted if anything illegal is discovered after your activity log is analysed.
So to be on the safer side, make sure your VPN Provider do not keep your activity log.
Another key feature to look for is a Kill Switch. A Kill switch is a feature that automatically block internet connection anytime your VPN connection fails.
The benefit of having a Kill Switch feature is the that it covers your tracks anytime you lose connection with your VPN
No Bandwidth Throttling
Bandwidth throttling may slow down your internet speed and limit your downloads. I know you don’t want something like this.
Go for VPNs with unlimited bandwidth and no throttling so you enjoy the full privileges of using a VPN.
Anonymous Payment Method
Almost every type of payment method is accepted by VPN Providers. Through your purchase history you can be tracked and identified.
VPN Providers that offer anonymous payment option through cryptocurrency (e.g bitcoin) are more privacy-minded than the ones that offer Credit Card/PayPal payment option.
VPN Provider’s Jurisdiction
2 Most Secured VPN
The VPN business is a very lucrative one, almost every Investor is interested so the market is crowded with VPN Providers.
Many of the VPN Providers are just after data collection which is the reason they store your activity log and track your device.
Whatever your reason may be for using a VPN, I highly recommend you choose from the ones listed below, as they provide industry standard security and are more privacy-minded.
NordVPN is a leading VPN Provider who can boast of their security as the ‘Most Advanced VPN’. This claim is big and it really seem so because NordPVN is a top choice by top Security Researchers.
This VPN offers double data protection by using OpenVPN and AES 256-bit encryption protocols to secure your internet connection.
NordVPN has over 5800+ servers with location in 62 countries. Their connection is strong and very fast.
Their service is great for streaming. Despite the ban on all VPN providers by Netflix, NordVPN is still able to bypass their security and allowing their users to access geo-restricted contents.
They also allow torrenting and P2P.
Finally, NordVPN is very affordable and it offers anonymous payment method. So you can buy the service through bitcoin (highly recommended).
NordVPN has application for both desktop and mobile users.
ExpressVPN is a tested and guaranteed VPN service that offers industry standard security to their users.
With over 3,000+ servers running in 94 countries, ExpressVPN creates a secure and complete anonymous connection to the internet.
Unlike some VPN that slows down your internet speed, ExpressVPN provides a very fast and reliable internet speed. The connection speed offered by ExpressVPN is almost the fastest among all VPN providers.
ExpressVPN keeps no record of your activities on the internet while connected through any of their servers. They have a strict “no logging” policy that prevent them from keeping your activity log and no government can ask them to provide your activity log.
This VPN provider is located in British Virgin Island (BVI). BVI’s jurisdiction is renowned for Privacy protection, with no data retention laws. So ExpressVPN is operated from a privacy friendly region.
ExpressVPN allows P2P and torrenting. Since they have a very fast connection speed, streaming can be very enjoyable. Their service allows you to unlock geo-restricted contents by Netflix and other streaming services.
This VPN can work on multiple devices including Android, iPhones, Windows, Mac, Linux, routers and SmartTVs. They also support different web browsers
Finally, this VPN provider has all the privacy features that will allow you surf the Internet securely and anonymously. They also offer anonymous payment option so you can buy the service without revealing your identity.
I highly recommend ExpressVPN.
Security Action Steps
Now that you know what a VPN is and why you need one, you are to take the following security action steps:
- Buy any of the VPN mentioned above
- Connect to your VPN anytime you want to access any geo-restricted website or content e.g Netflix
- Connect to your VPN when making use of public Wi-Fi
- Connect to your VPN if you want your online activities to be hidden from prying eyes
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