A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a service that safely connects you to Internet via a server run by the VPN service provider. All information traveling between the device (PC, tablet, or phone) and this VPN server is securely encrypted, thus providing the user with anonymity and privacy.
In recent times, VPNs have gained immense popularity because everyone wants to protect their online privacy and security. When you subscribe to a VPN service, you can securely connect to the internet and browse the Web without anyone snooping or stealing your personal data.
How to Get Started with VPN?
You need to subscribe to a VPN service in order to get started. With the rise in privacy concerns, there has also been a spurt in the number of VPN providers. Beginners must be aware that not all VPNs are equal. Some cheap or free VPNs might also be fake and full of loopholes that endanger your online security. Here is a list of the most reliable and secure VPN service providers at the moment.
|Provider||Price (Annual Plan)||Free Trial||Refund Option (Days)||# of Countries||Immediate Support (chat, toll-free)||Own DNS Servers||Simultaneous Connections||Website|
How to Choose Your VPN Provider?
Before picking a VPN, take the advice of other VPN users, and make sure to read reviews about the most popular VPN services. The best ones won’t be cheap, least of all free, but will give you a wide array of features and options.
A few of the things to keep in mind when choosing a VPN service are:
- Price: While you don’t have to choose the most expensive option on the market, don’t pick something ridiculously cheap either. Look for a VPN that offers the maximum security, privacy functionality, and configuration options at a reasonable price.
- Speed: Using a VPN automatically eats into your connection speed because of the processing time required by encryption. This means you need to choose a VPN that offers fast and stable speed that does not get affected by demands of encryption.
- Privacy: All VPNs claim to provide privacy, but some free or cheap VPNs are notorious for keeping logs of user activity. In this regard it is always wise to choose a reputed VPN provider that is known for respecting the privacy of users.
- Ease of use: A VPN should be easy to set up and use for even the most nontechnical user – even if your name is Harry Solomon or Napoleon Dynamite!
- Security: How good is the VPN provider at preventing hackers and cybercriminals from accessing your data? This is a major question that needs to be answered to determine the worth of a VPN.
- Number of servers/ countries: if you need to connect to servers all over the world, the more number of countries the VPN has servers in, the better.
Number of simultaneous connections: While some VPNs allow you to connect only one device to the service at a time, more expensive services allow multiple simultaneous connections. The more, the better.
Advantages of a VPN
There are several benefits of using a VPN. Some of these are:
- Automatic encryption: With a VPN, all information transferred online is kept private and encrypted. When you connect via a VPN, your data is passed through a secure tunnel. Even if someone tries to intercept your data, it won’t mean anything because your information is encrypted and unreadable to everyone else.
- Secure public WiFi: Several people use open or public WiFi to access the internet. But free WiFi is also vulnerable to hackers and malware because the connection is open and unencrypted. Anyone can read your private information or use it for unethical purposes. A VPN keeps you safe on public Wifi by encrypting your connections and hiding your personal data.
- Bypass Internet censorship: People living in an oppressive regime are unable to access the internet freely. Internet censorship makes it impossible to access important information. In these cases, a VPN is immensely helpful in bypassing internet censorship. A VPN encrypts connections, hides your actual IP address, and lets you securely and anonymously browse the Web by getting past censorship.
- Secure online conversations: A lot of people use VoIP services like Skype and Google Voice to communicate with others. These services don’t come with encryption, which means all your messages and conversations can be intercepted by outsiders. A VPN is beneficial in encrypting all your calls and messages and keeping them private, even helping you bypass tracking and censorship by keeping you anonymous.
- Stop Google tracking: Everyone knows how Google collects personal data by tracking user activity. Using a VPN is a brilliant solution to this annoying breach of privacy. A VPN keeps you safe and anonymous online, so Google or any other search engine cannot track your activities on the Web.
- Bypass geo-specific blocks: Ever wanted to access Netflix USA shows while sitting in India? A VPN is the answer. Since a VPN has servers all over the world, it lets you easily bypass geo-specific blocks and access Netflix from any region by connecting via servers in that country.
- Safe downloads: Even though songs and movies are freely available on download sites, most of these sites are illegal and infringe upon copyright. The government keeps track of such sites, often making them a little risky to use. A VPN encrypts your connection, keeps you anonymous, and makes your downloads safe without the danger of being tracked.
How Safe is a VPN?
A good VPN service will provide you with the maximum online privacy and security. You will be protected against cybercriminals, malware, spyware, government surveillance, prevents tracking, and keeps you anonymous from your Internet service provider.
A VPN works on all devices—PC, laptop, smartphone, tablets, and even devices like smart TVs. There are VPNs that allow you to use multiple devices on the same subscription, and other VPNs require a separate service for each device. Given the wide range of choices available in VPNs it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that suits your needs, whether you are an advanced user or just do some basic browsing.
However, be aware that a VPN cannot protect you if you are indulging in illegal activities. For every other harmless purpose, a VPN is a wise choice at a time when Internet privacy and security is under serious threat.