What is a VPN?
By Johan Curtis 10 minutes
The advancement in technology has brought about the era of the World Wide Web; almost everyone in the world uses the internet in their daily lives for social media, research, gaming, etc. However, with the increasing internet traffic, come higher risks, including government surveillance, censorship, and hacking. The best countermeasure for these problems is using a Virtual Privat Network or VPN, which ensures that your data is protected and allows you access to data that may be restricted by location. In this blog, we will breakdown how a VPN works and why you should consider using it.
How Does A VPN Work?
A VPN is a personal private network that encrypts/hides your online activity, making your personal information inaccessible no matter what kind of Wi-Fi you use. It does this by directing your traffic through the VPN server, instead of your Internet Service Provider (ISP) who may throttle data or restrict access as they see fit. But by putting the VPN server in charge, you handover the responsibility of fulfilling your requests to them.
The Benefits of Using a VPN
A VPN will ensure that your network is secured. Unsecured or public Wi-Fi connection puts you at risk of being hacked or tracked online. Through a VPN like FastestVPN, your link is safeguarded by the server, so that your activity and personal data cannot be accessed by others using the same network.
While it is unfair that all people do not get access to specific data/content online, websites and servers usually do this because licensing to that data is limited based on location. For example, a tv show may be viewed in the USA, but not in certain regions due to the license provided by the creators of the show or censorship. A VPN gives you the ability to mask and change your IP address (which gives away your location) tricking the online servers into thinking you are in a supported country. So, if an online vendor is pricing their product based on your country, you can change your address to a region where they offer the lowest price.
Securing Your Work
If you work from home or while you’re traveling, and are sending or receiving sensitive data that you want to protect, a VPN can take care of those worries. Not only does a VPN hide your IP address (as mentioned above), it also encrypts data transactions done online making it unreadable by any outsiders. VPNs are a cost-effective and efficient method of way of protecting your transactions.
Digital Thieves and Malware
As the world has become increasingly digitized, the Internet has become a source of income and a hub for money transactions. While online jobs, banking, and marketing are more convenient now, it also leaves us vulnerable to theft. Cybercrimes of identity theft and bank fraud are rampant due to a majority of the monetary transaction handled online. Expert hackers can access your data and steal all of this information without you even knowing. Using public Wi-Fi will only increase this problem. A VPN can prevent these issues by securing your connection through encryption.
Additionally, VPNs can also help in blocking malware that is trying to breach your system. Malware is usually a hacker’s playground, allowing them to wreak havoc on your device; they typically embed malicious software such as this in harmless-looking files which, if downloaded, would corrupt your system with viruses. Therefore, a VPNs Malware protection software like FastestVPN’s Malware Protection can ensure that all files get scanned before they start to download. If a virus pops-up, the VPN will alert you and immediately stop the download.
The act of torrenting is generally viewed quite negatively by ISP, and some may even block data, especially when downloading copyrighted material. Additionally, hackers can easily access your data and IP address while you torrent. A VPN’s feature of masking your IP address and encrypting your internet activity, allows you to torrent anonymously.
FastestVPN has P2P-optimized servers that prevent the throttling of P2P traffic.
As is the case with many streaming platforms like Netflix or Hulu, your IP address decides what content you can view. Your IP address indicates your location to these servers, which can block access to specific movies and television shows through location filters if they don’t have the appropriate license for your country.
As a VPN can get past these geo-restrictions by changing to an IP address of your choice, the hosting server registers you as being in that different country.
But be warned, not all VPNs are suited for streaming. Slow speeds and a lack of platforms available in the VPN server may prevent you from gaining access to the content you want.
Don’t let hidden tabs fool you into thinking that you are untraceable. All private browsers promise are a clear search history and blocking cookies from being downloaded. VPNs like FastestVPN ensure true anonymity because a VPN stops your ISP from monitoring your footprints and diverts all traffic through the VPN server. As established before, by hiding your IP address, the VPN also hinders others from viewing your private browsing.
Is Using A VPN Legal
The legality of using a VPN is a bit blurry. Because VPN technology is still being explored governments that do not know how to place restrictions on it. Thus, regulations for using a VPN vary from country to country.
In most countries, using a VPN is entirely legal. Typically, VPN services are not authorized to use in countries that already have strict censorship laws. For example, countries like China and North Korea are severe in their policies for accessing content from outside their country, and often crackdown on VPN usage. Many middle-eastern countries and Russia also restrict the use of VPNs.
Do VPNs Have Different Types?
There are two primary types of VPNs; there are Remote Access VPNs and Site-to-Site VPNs. Here’s what makes them different:
Remote Access VPN
A Remote Access VPN gives you access to any server anywhere. This access means if you are using a server in a different place, city or country, the VPN will fortify your pathway and protect regardless of network connection. Commercial VPNs like FastestVPN is a type of Remote Access VPN.
Site-to-Site VPNs further divide into intranet-based and extranet based networks. An intranet network type which focuses on sharing corporate information within an organization through their safe portal and with the exclusion of outsiders. Hence this type of VPN is referred to as a closed network that restricts access only to certain people. For example, a company might use a site-to-site VPN to connect with one of their outlets in another country. An extranet-based network involves the collaboration of several parties sharing information, rather than within themselves. However, the expense of this type of Site-to-Site VPN renders its implementation and maintenance very difficult.
Tor and VPNs
A Tor, much like VPNs, is an anonymity network that provides unrestricted access to the Internet. These two servers may work toward the same purpose but go about achieving the goal in different ways. A VPN, for example, protects your privacy, but ultimately, they have access to your information, and you must trust that they won’t mishandle it. Tor is a decentralized network which uses multiple peers on the network to relay traffic encrypted to the destination. It is designed to make you anonymous when you are online, so no one has access to your data. Thus, connecting to a VPN and using a Tor as a browser can double the security. However, this means all your data is processed and encrypted twice over, causing your internet speed to crawl.
Is Accessing a VPN Complicated?
Due to the advancement in technology, the processes of a VPN have become easier to understand. Good quality VPNs will ensure that the activation procedure is easy to follow, thereby making it accessible to all users. Most VPN servers have an app that allows people to access them from any device after downloading the VPN of your choice, into your account and get started. Depending on the server, you may be able to customize the VPN settings to match your needs.
Can Free VPNs Be Trusted?
Although free VPNs are very tempting, do not fall into their trap, because the cons of using a free service are much higher than the pros.
Choosing the Right VPN
The amount of VPN servers is now overwhelming. And with such a large variety it is not very easy to know which VPN is best suited for you. Continue reading for a list of things you should look for when choosing a VPN:
A VPN service with a vast network of servers is a sign of a good quality VPN that will give you unlimited access to the internet. FastestVPN has more than 250+ servers globally in major countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and more.
An optimized server refers to VPNs that specialize in a particular purpose such as fast torrenting. Having an optimized server is not necessary but is useful if you are using a VPN for one main activity, like streaming online and torrenting.
VPNs like FastestVPN that have built-in security features are the best for additional protection from malware. They have an auto-scan function that checks all websites and downloads files before opening them. The VPN will block you from accessing blacklisted sites, stop cookies from downloading on your browser and much more. These servers are especially useful when you set them up on your router, as a malware scanner on your computer/device can is easy to bypass.
Unlimited bandwidth means access to unlimited data; bandwidth limits can substantially hinder your streaming experience. ISP tends to control your bandwidth, especially if there are a lot of users on the same network, to avoid congestion.
Good quality customer support is an essential function to look for in any software before you invest in it. If you happen to come to any bumps in the road or are unsure of how to proceed in fixing a problem, you will need the company support team’s help. So always look for providers that have multiple support platforms or that have 24/7 support where you can ask questions at any time and get immediate answers. FastestVPN offers unparalleled customer support in the form of website live chats, email and written troubleshooting guides.
Now that you have reached the end of this article, you should have a good idea of what a VPN is, how to measure its worth and how to choose the best one. It may seem intricate at first but all you have to do is remember that the right service provider offers the best in protection in terms of both security and privacy. Take advantage of FastestVPN’s Christmas deal to avail up to 95% discount on all subscription plans.