It is well known that the internet is not a safe place to be due to the number of different hackers and troublemakers who are ready to capitalise on errors in your system and hack your PC and steal your identity while you are streaming that free video online. Not only this, but the government agencies are also very keen to track your online activities and your personal information. This puts you in a situation where the “bad” and “good” guys are also monitoring you and are curious in your online behaviour.
For many years now your privacy is at risk, and if you are following the news, you probably heard about CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA case, which is a great example of “good” guys selling your data. Between all this, you all are well aware that the public internet is very much prone to get your identities and data stolen. This is the case with cafe’s, public libraries and sometimes even public transport.
We live in a world where everyone is willing to know what you are doing online and is trying to breach your privacy all the time, and this is where and when the time to think about VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) come in to play. Once you start using them, you are taking a first step of minimizing the risk of your identity and data being tracked and using the internet becomes safer and allows you to sleep at night.
So what does VPN mean and how does VPN work?
What does VPN stand for?
VPN – a Virtual Private Network, is a protected and secure tunnel between two or more devices.
You are accessing the internet via your system that connects you to a server (it is usually a website). So, when you are connected to that server (aka website), at that point your internet activity is accessible to hackers and the agencies.
On the other hand, when you use a VPN, it establishes another connection (a middleman) that involves a private server (VPN). In this case, your connection is routed through the private server which keeps your online activity and personal information hidden. In simple terms, you have got yourself a new server by using a VPN which is a buffer between you and the website.
So now, all you do on the internet passes through that server which is a powerful gateway that opens a new path to access the public internet. So if anyone is looking forward to recording what is being done by you, they will trace you to an anonymous server, not your original location. Which of course means that your identity is now protected.
VPN is NOT a PROXY
A very important thing to understand is that a VPN is not a proxy. Getting this out of the way is very important, so no mistakes are done. A proxy is similar to a VPN but it is not a VPN. It also hides behind a server when you are using internet through a proxy, nevertheless, usually, the quality of the paid private proxies does not devote resources to encrypting all traffic that passes through them, and therefore can accept simultaneous connections from many more users. See a simple explanation below:
The functioning of VPN: How VPN works?
As previously mentioned, VPNs offer you a very safe and encrypted gateway to access the internet without revealing your true identity. So when you are assessing internet from just anywhere in the world, any person who would be willing to track your activities will find nothing. So the answer to the question: What does a VPN do? Is:
VPNs are all about encryption where P2P (peer to peer) connections safeguards your data and connections. Just in case the snooper gets his hands on some of the data, he would not be able to access the servers due to secure encryption at both ends.
It is not the only protection of your identity; it is also allowing you to have a whole new location and a new IP address for yourself where you can access the internet without any content filters and intermediation by any of the government agencies. Even your internet service provider will have no clue about what is going on at your end. This allows you to watch Canadian Netflix, or access Linked in if you are in Russia (yes, it is banned in Russia), or use google in China.
Why VPNs are effective?
However, keeping into consideration the utility and effectiveness, VPNs are a high tech product for the people that are looking to keep their private data safe and secure. It is also well known to the people who like their online privacy to be visible only to them.
Which VPNs to use for better safety?
So now since you are aware of why a VPN is extremely necessary and how it works, it is time to introduce you to some of the famous and easy to use VPN services.
Some of these services are free while some are paid. But the one thing that is common in both of them is the quality! They both work fine. It only depends on what you are planning to use the VPN for. I will start with my favourite ones:
It is one of the VPNs that serve from a lesser number of locations and just around 5000 servers. However, they make sure that their servers are not flooded while they maintain the privacy to hold their brand name and reputation strong as they position themselves as the most secure service you would ever find. Its connections are an end to end encrypted and can be used on as many as six devices in a single time. As far as the prices are concerned, its longer duration plan is very economical while the short-term ones are equally ridiculous in my opinion.
- Express VPN:
It is one of the most reliable VPNs with over 2000 servers in 148 locations that are supported on three device types. It is well known among the users for its fast speed and efficient customer support. However, it is a paid service and comes in various packages. Each of the packages has certain perks that come with it for you to choose from. You can even opt for its free trial in the start which is something I like that companies do.
- IPVanish VPN:
It is known for its superb speed although it has about 1000 servers in 60 countries only and does not offer a trial (which is a pitty from my point of view). Still, it is widely known across the world for its connectivity and a well-built client support. The only drawback it has is that it is much more expensive than the other VPNs, but the point here is; here, you get what you pay for! Seriously!
It is the VPN service we would recommend you if you want to remove the data limits while streaming from your VPN clients. They offer unlimited data usage and are supported by 700+ servers. Not only this, VyprVPN has about 200,000+ IP addresses for its users which means you can do just about anything you wish! It even supports above 3-5 devices which is another plus in comparison with other competitors. The only issue you might have is, its monthly plan is a bit expensive especially in the case when your usage is not that big.
This one is one of the trending VPNs. Its 1000 servers are located around 20 countries while they are proliferating. TunnelBear is the easiest VPN to use with a free VPN as a free trial backed by 500 MB data limit tool! Regarding pricing, they offer a competitive price on all kinds of packages.
The company has servers in 50+ countries, with 1000+ servers in 100+ locations. They have a variety of uses they supports which in my understanding other companies should build their content around. I had a chance to use their VPN across my devices, and most of the time the connections was stable, nevertheless, some applications refused to connect through the recommended servers. They are a competitor in their market and can be considered as an option.
- NameCheap VPN
This service provider I am using for many years to host my websites, buying domains, using website builders and other services they provide. Everything is working great on their end, except a little bit uneducated service support. The pricing is very competitive on the market, and the quality represents and over delivers with the prices they have.
In short, if you want to stay safe while browsing online, do use a VPN to make sure your privacy and security are both upheld.