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What Is a VPN?

A virtual private network (VPN) connects to the internet anonymously by disguising your real IP address and routing your internet traffic and data through a private and securely encrypted tunnel over rather than over open networks.

VPNs are popular because they provide a way to browse the internet without giving away your identity, location, or data. When data is encrypted inside the VPN tunnel, ISPs, search engines, marketers, and others can’t see or track your activities on the web.

How a VPN Network Protects You

You are protected by VPNs primarily in three ways:

  • Hides your true IP address and location: You access the internet through a new gateway server when connecting to a VPN service. This gives the impression that you are in a different city or nation than where you actually are.
  • Encrypts your internet data using an own VPN tunnel: On the internet, data is transported in packets. Your data packets are all contained inside other data packets while using a VPN. Within open networks, this encapsulation establishes a private tunnel.
  • Encryption that scrambles your private data: Your internet traffic and private information are encrypted inside the tunnel while utilizing a VPN service. This makes it practically impossible for outside parties to eavesdrop on a VPN connection.

Some of the most secure types of VPN encryption include:

  • OpenVPN
  • L2TP/IPSec (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)
  • IKEv2/IPSec (Internet Key Exchange version 2)
  • SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol)
  • SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

When to Use a VPN Network

Use a VPN when using mobile devices, public networks, at home, the office, when traveling, or if you reside in a nation with geo-restrictions. Use a VPN whenever you wish to browse anonymously.

Over public networks, use a VPN

Even with a password when utilizing public Wi-Fi, it’s simple for hostile actors to monitor and steal private data. When using public Wi-Fi, it’s crucial to utilize a VPN to secure sensitive data like logins and passwords. This includes Wi-Fi hotspots at hotels, cafes, schools, and libraries as well as those at airports.

Utilize a VPN at home

Home networks are typically private with strict access restrictions. But everything you do online, including your search engine queries, website visits, and purchases, can be traced back to your IP address. For marketing purposes, this information is frequently collated, given an ID, and is frequently permanent and cannot be removed.

Use a VPN to thwart attempts to spy on your online activities if you don’t like the thought of search engines and advertising following your every move. Anyone trying to monitor your actions, including ISPs, search engines, marketers, and governments, will only be able to see your VPN tunnel and not what is inside of it. This ensures that, even at home, your web browsing is private.

Use a VPN while at office

The usage of the internet at work is frequently permitted by employers. On the other hand, you might not want your employer monitoring the websites you frequent. This includes accessing the workplace network to access the internet on your mobile device. Your work-related browsing can be made anonymous with a VPN on your PC or mobile device.
Bypass geographic restrictions using a VPN.

You can use a VPN to access geo-restricted content, blacklisted websites, and illegal VOIP services when you’re in a nation with geo-blocking in place because a VPN masks your IP address. Access your preferred websites, TV shows, and free communication services wherever you are by using a VPN.

Utilize a VPN on mobile devices

When using a mobile device when away from home or traveling, you should download a VPN app in addition to utilizing a VPN on your laptop or desktop to safeguard your data and identity.

How to Sign Up for a VPN Service

A VPN service is easy to set up and use. Users at home and on the go can pay a monthly or annual fee to use a VPN provider’s service. Additionally, you can make advantage of free VPN services (although these may come with advertising or in-app purchases).