What is a VPN or Virtual Private Network?
This question is asked dozens of times per day on the TROYPOINT website. The following guide is the best available today to help understand this question and term better.
What is a VPN?
In short terms – A VPN is a service that allows users to privately and securely browse the internet.
With vast information being transmitted online, hackers and online predators have become more and more ingenious when it comes to invading your privacy. By securing your connection to another network, you can safeguard your data, hide all your online activities, and protect your private information from anyone attempting to intrude in your network.
For years, companies have taken advantage of VPNs as a way for their employees to work remotely without exposing their information to the open internet. If you use public Wi-Fi networks, travel, or tend to work away from the office, the use of a VPN is crucial. Tons of high level companies use these to protect their data and information and you can as well.
A Virtual Private Network has become more popular today but not just solely for its original purpose of preventing others from unauthorized access. VPNs give access to all content on the web while hiding your activity from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), government, and, of course, potential hackers.
So How Does a VPN Work?
Before discussing how a VPN works, it is necessary to realize how not having a VPN can ruin your privacy.
If you’re stuck at the airport waiting for your flight, chances are that you’ll be connecting using the public Wi-Fi to save on your data plan.
When accessing hot-spots, you allow all your data to pass through un-encrypted network (data that is unconverted to a form of “secret code” to prevent unauthorized access). Everything that you’re doing from typing passwords to interacting on social media becomes vulnerable to prying by hackers who can get in between data transmissions.
This is a threat called man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack, which is very rampant nowadays. The attacker alters your communication with the website or app in order to either pry on your activity or impersonate you or the website to obtain private information.
You are also exposed to malware distribution, Wi-Fi snooping and sniffling and connections to rogue hotspots by cybercriminals. That’s why experts warn of the risks involved in connecting to unsecured networks and logging credentials to websites, sending personal communications and images, typing in passwords and sharing other confidential information.
By not using a VPN, you are compromising your Wi-Fi network, becoming vulnerable to DDoS and web application attacks.
But with a VPN, you’re completely reducing these risks.
First, your internet connection is encrypted on your device. All searches and activity on your computer, tablet, mobile device, etc., are done through the VPN where it is encrypted and hidden from any onlookers.
Next, your IP address changes once connected to the VPN server. The VPN will mask your IP address to websites you visit which makes it impossible to know the “geo-location” of your computer or device.
Finally, once you’ve accessed the Internet anonymously and securely, VPNs will tunnel your information through a separate network, securing your data and hiding it completely. This provides encrypted online traffic, prevents bandwidth throttling, allows online anonymity, and unblocks geo-restrictions.
What You Should Use a VPN – Video
Why Should I Use A VPN?
Here are 10 reasons why you need a VPN.
Hide your IP address
One great aspect that a VPN provides is to hide or disguise your computers IP address. This means that the site of your computer or device can be manipulated so that your location is incorrect or unknown. It can move your IP address to a designated location of your choice, which allows for complete freedom from any restrictions that your current location may provide.
Many find this valuable when they are trying to access content that is restricted to where they are located. So if you’re on a business trip in the United Arab Emirates but it has restricted access to certain websites, you can connect to a VPN server in Canada to pretend that you’re surfing in Toronto, for example, even though you’re in Abu Dhabi.
While using an incognito browser to surf the web seems completely safe, this is not always the case.
The last thing that you’d want to share is any information related to your passwords, bank savings, credit card numbers and any personal data with your IP address being easily traced.
A VPN will make your original IP vanish in the prying eyes of the public. And remember, even if your connection gets intercepted, it will be very hard to trace your activities and data since you are protected by the VPN server you are connected to.
Use streaming services
For those interested in using Kodi, Cinema APK, IPTV or other free media streaming services, many of these are now blocked in various countries. With a VPN in place, you will be able to use such apps and services freely by disguising or changing your computer’s IP address.
Some paid streaming services are now starting to block those who are using VPNs. A solution that works with many providers is connecting from a different location until you establish a successful connection.
VPNs provide a few extra benefits as well to go along with the added security. Some VPN services can block unwanted ads, trackers, and even targeted ads. With the proper network, you will be able to browse freely without being sold on previous search items.
Most ISPs control your bandwidth speed. This means any streaming devices you may be using could take longer to load which means more buffering and less enjoyment. With a VPN in place, your activity is hidden from the ISP so your bandwidth will not be throttled down while streaming.
Prevent ISPs from keeping logs
Many service providers will not keep logs or data on your user and browser history. Without this type of information, it is nearly impossible for somebody to recover exactly what you have been doing on the internet. When searching for a provider, be sure to research which ones do keep logs and which ones do not.
Torrenting is one of the most used purposes of a VPN. With a VPN running on your torrent device, the traffic will appear to be located in another location keeping you anonymous. However, not all VPN services allow torrenting so you should find one that is specifically designed for such activity. If you are new to torrenting, TROYPOINT has created a list of Best Torrent Sites to get you started.
See Also: Best VPN For Torrenting
Legal Copyright Disclaimer: This technology shall only be used to stream movies or TV shows that fall under the public domain. TROYPOINT does not endorse or promote illegal activity tied to streaming or downloading copyrighted works. The end-user shall be solely responsible for media accessed through any service or app referenced on this Website. Referenced applications/addons are not hosted by TROYPOINT and this guide is for educational purposes only.
Use public Wi-Fi confidently
Do you have a habit of using Wi-Fi at the airport or in cafes? Think about the other users connected to the same network that are ready to lurk into your system.
The last thing you’d want to do is to compromise all your private information on social media, online banking and the like. A concealed IP address through a VPN server is what you need so that you can still use public Wi-Fi.
Secure VoIP calls
Voice-over-IP or VoIP calls have become popular due to their low costs, accessibility flexible network layout and improved audio quality over the years. The most common type is a software-based VOIP service such as Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts and Teamspeak. You can secure your voice calls with a VPN, which guarantees you the utmost privacy.
Prevent Google tracking
Google’s free services logs your search, movement and online activities. If you want to prevent it from tracking you, hide your IP address by using a VPN.
Other Uses Of A VPN
Along with using a VPN for your personal computer, you can also install one on your many other applications. Doing this will block all unknown parties from accessing what you are streaming or downloading. Listed below are a few programs that can also benefit from a Virtual Private Network with step-by-step guides on setting them up.
IMPORTANT: Many people think that you must install something onto your router to use a VPN, this is not true. It is possible to install a VPN on your router and you will find the tutorial below for that. But, you may also install the VPN directly on the actual device which I suggest by using one of the links below.
Are VPNs Legal?
There are a few countries that have deemed VPNs to be illegal. Most TROYPOINT visitors originate from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of this writing, a VPN is legal in each of these three countries.
Some notable countries where a VPN is considered illegal include China, Russia, Belarus, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Iraq.
Should I Use Free Or Paid VPN?
There are many different VPN service providers available today. When selecting which service is best for you, there will be two options. Free versions and paid versions. Most paid versions require a monthly fee for their service. While both do work well, there are some drawbacks of using a free VPN provider.
When examining the free VPN services available, always remember that these providers are making money somewhere. Whether it is through selling your data or installing malware on your device, these free VPNs are profiting from your use of their service.
The free option obviously has the distinct advantage of not having an initial or monthly cost associated with the service. But when you are in the market for a Virtual Private Network, make sure you know exactly what you are getting.
Most free versions will have slower speeds and connections than a paid service would. Another problem people run into with a free VPN service is the ads and pop-ups that may be associated with it. The reason this occurs is that when you use a free service provider, they might sell your data to ad companies to pay for their overhead costs.
In summary, almost all free VPN services:
- are very limited in terms of security protocols
- do not offer stable connections
- can only offer slow speeds
- disconnects your network regularly
- provides no customer support
- have very few servers available
While this may seem like a reasonable route to take, you will definitely be getting what you pay for. With a paid service, connection speed, customer service, and your privacy will all be of better value. I’ve thoroughly discussed the downside of using a free VPN service in the article below:
What Should I Look For In A VPN?
Given all these valuable reasons why you need a VPN, the next question is how to choose a reliable VPN service provider. Below are some of the criteria on what you should look for in a VPN.
- Reliable connection
- Compatible apps for various operating systems
- Offers faster speed
- Thousands of servers in global locations
- No traffic logs
- Unlimited peer-to-peer traffic
- Unlimited server switching
- Many simultaneous connections
- 24/7 customer support
- Money-back guarantee
- Has a lot of recommendations from independent reviewers
The most important features to consider with any VPN are download speed and ease of use. When a VPN connection is established, the download speed will be decreased for two reasons.
First, the processing power required to run a VPN application in the background of your device will decrease download speeds. Second, when a VPN connection is made, traffic is being sent through a secure server which also decreases speed.
Another important feature is how friendly the user interface is on the device that you are using. It is important to find a service that provides applications for a range of different devices such as Windows, iOS, Linux, Android, Apple, Fire TV/Stick, etc. You want to be able to use the VPN on every device you own that connects to the Internet.
The recommended VPN outlined below serves up blazing fast download speeds along with a friendly user interface on all of its applications. You can also use the service on up to ten different devices simultaneously.
Other Questions About VPN
1. Does a VPN cause a slowdown in internet connection?
Connecting to a VPN naturally decreases the the speed of the internet connection because of the encryption process of your internet data that is implemented by a VPN. However, with a reliable and stable VPN service provider, this wouldn’t be an issue at all. Furthermore, when your ISP is throttling certain traffic, using a VPN can improve the speed significantly.
In addition, it is important to choose a provider that offers unlimited P2P traffic and bandwidth to maintain fast connection speed and avoid throttling your network connection.
I have also prepared a comprehensive guide on How To Improve VPN Speed complete with a video tutorial.
2. How many devices can a VPN support?
This depends on your VPN service provider. While you may think you’ve saved enough money paying $7 a month for a VPN service, this would only provide you up to 3 simultaneous connections. A good service provider lets you connect 10 multiple devices simultaneously.
3. How safe is using a VPN?
This depends on the kind of VPN service that you have subscribed to. It should offer anonymous torrenting, at least 256-bit AES encryption and won’t record traffic logs. In addition, it should have future-proofed privacy and IP-masking on many server locations worldwide.
4. How many connection types should a VPN use?
Multiple connection types must be offered by your VPN service provider to provide better security association, various types of authentication and faster access speeds.
5. Why should a VPN service provider need to have many servers?
If a VPN service provider has only a few servers available, this would result inovercrowding and could drastically reduce speeds. If you happen to live in a location far away from the few servers being offered, it could also result to the same issue. A global presence of servers should be available for more options.
6. Is YouTube blocked or restricted because of a user’s location?
Depending on your location, YouTube can be blocked (such as in China) or have some videos disallowed for streaming when it displays the message, “This video is not available in your country.”.
You can unblock YouTube with a VPN and alter your geo-location. This is the best way to avert any restrictions you encounter including other blocked sites. I’ve written an article on how to unblock YouTube including configuring it on a Firestick or Fire TV.
7. Why do you need a VPN when torrenting?
A VPN masks your IP address and protects your identity when downloading torrents. It prevents you from publicly broadcasting your IP address so you will remain anonymous.
8. How can you bypass restrictions on the Amazon App Store?
Some of the apps that you would want to download are restricted by the Amazon App Store since they are unverified. However, you can side-load them into your device without using the official app-distribution method with the help of a VPN.
9. Is a VPN expensive?
Some VPN service providers offer cheap rates but come with poor service quality, limited simultaneous connections, slow speeds and some activity logging. Choose a VPN such as IPVanish that offers 10 simultaneous connections on multiple devices, unlimited server switching, anonymous torrenting, zero traffic logs, and unlimited bandwidth for a very affordable price.
Which VPN Service Should I Use?
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