Having antivirus software and setting strong passwords are no longer considered the bare minimum in cybersecurity. In a world of hackers, third parties, and ISPs constantly monitoring networks and your online habits, utilizing a virtual private network (VPN) is crucial for keeping your surfing habits private.
What is a VPN?
The best way to explain what a VPN is a secure tunnel between your device and the destinations you visit on the internet. Once you’ve made your PC’s connection as the VPN server, your computer operates as if it’s on the same local connection as the VPN. This makes your connection seem like you moved to a different location. Then, as far as websites go, you’re browsing from that server geographical location, not your actual computer location. When you’re searching on the web through a VPN, all the data transmitted and received is also encrypted. VPNs prevent anyone from hackers to government agencies from monitoring your online activities.
Why Should You Have One?
Naturally, security and privacy will be the primary reasons why you want a VPN. For instance, if you’re connected on a public Wi-Fi network at a cafe or coffee shop. Using VPN encrypts the information you’re sending or accessing online. This means a third party can’t intercept your credit card details, login credentials, private conversations, or other sensitive documents. VPNs are also beneficial for accessing geo-restricted websites. If you’re traveling to another country and specific US websites are blocked, you can connect to a VPN located in the US to access the sites you require.
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Which VPN Should You Choose?
Given the increasing demand for secure online privacy, VPNs are surging in popularity. The following consideration can help you find the right one.
Cost – Although free VPNs are available, it’s strongly recommended that you avoid them since they could keep records of your internet activity. In some situations, your internet activity could be sold to data brokers or cybercriminals. Maintaining a VPN service is also expensive, which means the free ones will likely plaster ads on your browser to make some quick money.
Paid VPNs like SurfEasy and StrongVPN often come with more robust features and configurations that keep your connection secure. Prices depend on a VPN’s features and subscription length and keep in mind that how you pay is also essential. Other VPNs offer anonymous payment systems like bitcoin, and others will use gift cards to avoid giving out your personal information.
Location – The physical location of VPN servers is essential if you need to access region-blocked websites. Therefore, if you’re planning on accessing a different country based service, your VPN provider must have serves installed in that country.
Capacity – Remember to read through a VPN provider’s terms of service to determine how much data you’re allowed to use. If it’s possible, figure out how many servers a VPN provider has. If they have plenty of servers online, you can rest assured that they can support your internet browsing.
Device compatibility – Another critical component to consider is whether the VPN can be used across various devices. Nowadays, employees work on laptops, tablets, and smartphones, so you’ll want a VPN that’s compatible with all these.
IP Leaking – Beyond the fundamental nuts and bolts of the VPN protocol, there are other challenges like dealing with leaky tunnels. This means your IP address could be tracked. A great way to evaluate a VPN service is to sign up for a free trial. This will allow you to check whether your real IP address is being leaked. If it tracks your physical location, you should opt for a more reliable VPN service.
If you’re concerned about privacy for any reason, using a VPN is a great option. Just make sure you read the fine print of the VPN provider you go with. Don’t always take their word for it. Some VPN providers claim they don’t keep logs on user data, but third parties have discovered evidence that they do. Therefore, if you have any questions about VPN networks, contact NetComplete for all your IT support and services.