What is a VPN?
When you enable it, a VPN service creates an encrypted tunnel between you and a remote server managed by a VPN service. All your internet traffic is routed through this tunnel, so your data is protected from prying eyes. As your traffic leaves the VPN server, your real IP address is hidden, masking your identity and location. In essence, your VPN service acts as an anonymous “middleman” that does the browsing for you, preventing providers from tracking the sites you visit. This means that your internet provider cannot see what you are doing on the Internet. It also means that you seem to access the Internet from your VPN server’s IP address (rather than your own IP address), so a website monitoring your activity won’t know where you’re browsing from and what exactly you are doing.
Why should you use VPN?
If you are using a public WiFi
If you are using a public Wi-Fi network, even one that is password protected, a VPN can be your best friend. If a hacker is on the same Wi-Fi network, it is actually quite easy for them to look at your data. The basic security your average coffee shop uses, is a WPA2 password, which doesn’t really strongly protect you from others on the network. Using a VPN adds an extra layer of security to your data, allowing you to bypass the coffee shop’s internet provider and encrypt all of your communications. Therefore, hackers will have to find an easier prey.
If you are traveling
If you’re traveling abroad (China, for example, has sites like Facebook blocked), a VPN can help you access services that may not be available in that country. The VPN often allows you to use streaming services that you have paid for and have access for at your home country, but because of international rights issues, they are probably not available in other countries. Using a VPN service can make it seem like you are enjoying the service just like being at home. Travelers may also be able to find cheaper airline tickets when using a VPN, because prices can vary a lot from region to region.
If you are an outside worker or a student
Many employers require the use of a VPN to access remotely to corporate services for security reasons. A VPN connected to your office server can give you access to internal corporate networks and resources when you are out of the office. It can do the same for your home network while you are outside.
If you just want some privacy
Even in the comfort of your own home, using a VPN isn’t a bad idea whenever you are doing your regular internet stuff. Generally, it prevents you from leaving footprints on the Internet for your internet provider to brag.
Which are the best VPN services?
Of course, selecting the best VPN service is actually a personal choice, however by looking and comparing objectively we can determine some important matters.
Best VPN Overall – ExpressVPN
With more than 2,000 servers in 148 locations around the world, ExpressVPN’s large network ensures fast speeds wherever you are. They don’t keep track on what users do online or on their private IP addresses.
Best Encryption – NordVPN
Eight million people use NordVPN to encrypt their web activity on up to six devices at the same time. It is also a great option for entertainment and streaming due to its fast speeds.