If you have spent a significant amount of time on the Internet, you must have heard about VPN. Now, you want to know what is a VPN. You can think of a VPN as a security guard for your network. VPN or Virtual Private Network allows you to be anonymous on the Internet as it creates a private network for you. It secures your connection and provides online privacy to you by hiding your IP address.
As a result of this, your online actions cannot be traced. As compared to your Wi-Fi connection, a VPN gives you a higher degree of privacy as it encrypts the messages that are sent over the network. This makes your online actions not only private but also secure from hackers or your Internet Service Provider.
Why do I need it?
Prevention from Cyber attack
Since everyone talks so highly of VPN, you might be wondering why do I need it or do I really need it in the first place? Let us tell you one thing: when you are browsing the web over your connection, your information is out in the open.
It is exposed to hackers and other problem-creators online. If you are worried that your information is confidential and it must not fall in the wrong hands, then having a VPN is the best solution for you. When you go out to an eatery or your dentist’s clinic, you connect to their free Wi-Fi and search on the browser or read your emails.
Everyone has connected a Wi-Fi hotspot at some point in their life, right? Now, this information is vulnerable as strangers are also using this network. If a mischief-creator is using this connection, they could track down your information or even use it to their own advantage.
A VPN encrypts all this information. Think of a mask that hides your face. A VPN does something similar to your information. Anything that you do online, from sending emails to online banking is secured through a private network.
Anonymity online is very important. Popular people needs this the most. A VPN helps you with this by hiding your location. This will also help you against traffic surveillance as well.
Browsing the Internet
If you are living in a location where certain apps and websites are banned by the local authorities and you need to use these services then you have got the VPN to the rescue here as well.
Sometimes certain websites ban traffic from other countries. There could be many reasons for this but if you are one of the users being blocked by these websites then VPN is the answer to this situation as well.
How does a VPN work?
Let’s say that you have VPN on your Windows or Mac computer. Now, how exactly does it work? VPN creates a tunnel that has nodes on either end. These nodes are placed in such a way that it seems like you are accessing the web from a different place that might be thousands of miles away from where you live.
Whenever we talk about VPNs, we also talk about ‘encryption’. Let us explain what this is. Encryption makes it difficult or almost impossible for anyone to read the data. So, when you are sending any information over a Wi-Fi network, it cannot be traced or read by someone else on the same network.
VPN also keeps you hidden from your ISP. Normally, your ISP knows what you are searching for. They can access your entire search history. However, when you are using a VPN, this search history is hidden. This is because your VPN provider will give you a separate IP address.
You will no longer be using the IP address given to you by your ISP so your ISP will not be able to track it. Just like this, even search engines will not be able to track your search history. Google and other search engines actually look at what you are searching and they show you information according to your previous searches.
The ads that you see on the Internet are somehow associated with your previous searched. Suppose, you have VPN for your Ubuntu and you are searching for anything on Google. You will no longer be traceable by Google bots.
What does a VPN hide?
For instance, if you have gotten VPN for Ubuntu or for Mac, what do you think it will hide? We will mention the things that a VPN hides from online scammers and hackers.
First of all, a VPN hides your browsing history. Search engines and your ISP can keep track of what you are searching for online. For example, if you search for ‘cheap flight tickets to Istanbul’, your search engine will keep track of your previous searches. Consequently, when you are on the airline websites, they might not show you tickets that are cheaper. If you keep your browsing history secure, no one will be able to see what you are searching for.
Secondly, a VPN hides your actual location and IP address. With VPN activated, you will get an IP address from your VPN provider. Also, your location will be changed to somewhere far away.
Thirdly, a VPN hides all your device such as your computer or phones. By hacking your laptop or iPad, a hacker can know everything from bank account details to your social security number. VPN protects from devices from prying eyes.
Fourthly, a VPN also hides your location. Sometimes, you are not able to see something as the website might give a message that a certain service ‘is not available in your region’. VPN masks your location so you are able to access this content.
Lastly, VPN gives you the freedom to do anything you want on the Internet. Your ISP or country might have blocked some websites but with a VPN, you can access all these sites.
What is VPN on my Phone?
VPN on your phone works just like VPN on Windows or Mac computers. It creates a secure and private network for you to browse the web safely. VPN is available for Android phones and iPhones. Depending on which provider you are getting VPN from, you will have similar features on any mobile phone.
What does VPN do on Android?
Just like your home network, a VPN provides security to the Wi-Fi you might be using on your phone. Since phones are easily portable, we tend to keep them with us no matter where we go. Whether you are sitting at a coffee shop or at the airport, you make sure that you are connected to the free Wi-Fi so that you can scroll through Instagram or reply to important emails.
At times like this, VPN provides security to you so that no one else using the same network can access your login information or search history. Also, if you are living abroad, you will not be able to see some content or videos on Hulu, BBC, Netflix and such sites. When you are using a VPN for Android, you will have access to this content.
This is because the VPN makes it seem like you are using the service from a distant place. So, if your VPN is based somewhere in the US or regions supported by these services, you will be able to access the content that is restricted in your region.
What does VPN do on iPhone?
You can also get a VPN for iPhone and it would do the same things that it does on your Windows or Android device. VPN does not only provide security as there are some VPN that might even allow a greater speed. When you are using mobile VPNs, you have the ability to use a number of Internet connections together.
As a result of that, the bandwidth is increased and latency rates are lowered. So, you will be able to stream content faster, without any buffering. You will be able to hold online chats much clearly and without any breakage in connection. It is important to know that this is not the case with all VPNs though.
How do I get a VPN?
If you believe that you need the added security on your connection, you can get a VPN for your mobile or computer. We will mention a few ways in which you can get VPN and these are compatible with Ubuntu, Mac and Windows devices. You can avail VPN using these services for mobile devices too.
If you do not want to pay for a VPN, you can get free service. Of course, these will not be as good as the paid ones. However, you will get some degree of privacy. There are some VPN that has a free and paid version both. You can get the free version and if you feel the need to upgrade to the paid version, you can then do that by paying the subscription fees.
The second option is to get paid VPN services for Windows or Mac. When you search online, you will find a list of the best VPN for iPhone and the best VPN for Android, both. In the paid version, you have to pay a subscription fee to the VPN provider. The prices differ from provider to provider, based on the features they are offering.
This option is for those who are tech-savvy and are ready to follow some instructions. You can set up your own VPN too. This will obviously save you money and will give you a much greater degree of control over the connection.
Keep in mind that if you are using a VPN on an organization’s computer, such as your school, office or company, your information can still be traced as you are not the admin. However, if you set up your own VPN, you will not be watched by anyone.
Hopefully, you would have an idea of what is a VPN and you will have figured out by now whether you need it or not. In today’s time, a large number of users believe that they do not have any control over the information that they want companies and search engines to see. Therefore, using a VPN has become the only resort in many cases.