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What’s a VPN and Why Would Anyone Need it? Everything You Need to Know and More
Table of Content
- What is a VPN
- Why Use a VPN
- Security & privacy
- Streaming and Geo-locked content
- Our Top Recommended VPNs
In recent years it has become harder and harder to surf the web without coming across the term VPN. But what even is that, what can I do with it and why would this be such a necessity? If these are the questions on your mind then this article is exactly what you need. I will do my best to explain everything you need to know about VPNs in a short and understandable tone. All this so even a complete beginner would understand the concept.
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Network or VPN is a service designed specifically to make sure that your internet traffic and everything you do online is safe and secure. Normally, your computer or any other device using the internet will directly reach your desired website such as YouTube or Facebook. This lets your Internet Service Provider and the website itself see who is coming to them. Basically, like showing up at someone’s home – everyone knows who you are. But VPNs secure you by creating a secure tunnel from your computer to the desired website changing your IP address and by encrypting all of your internet traffic. This way your connection first travels to the VPN server and only then to the website or service that you wish to visit.
Why Should you Use a VPN?
It is a general rule of thumb, not a single person likes to be tracked, watched over, or have their privacy shattered. Sadly, in most cases, this is exactly what happens online. Websites know who, when, and even at what intervals people visit them. They know what products or type of content you search for. By selling this data to advertisers, such websites and sometimes even ISPs make money, all from your natural behavior.
Using the power of VPN, anyone can mask their online activity.
- First of all, if you change your IP address, websites get lost and no longer have the key that allows them to see your actions.
- After your physical location is masked, websites believe that you are in a completely different place on the planet.
- Lastly, by encrypting your browsing data, not even your own ISP knows what exactly you do online. Making it impossible even for someone with bad intentions to show up and steal your data or personal information.
Security & Privacy
For the vast majority of people, a VPN is a tool to ensure their safety online. If you are constantly traveling and using the airport or other public WiFi then you are highly susceptible to have your personal information stolen. Public connections either have very little or no security in place, meaning almost anyone could take what they need from you.
By using state-of-the-art software and hardware on the server-side VPNs are able to encrypt the entire connection with a theoretically unbreakable cipher. In most cases, this would be the current favorite AES-256, but this varies from provider to provider.
If you’re conscious of privacy and feel like the VPN may be snooping on what you do, we suggest using ones that have a proven no-logs policy such as NordVPN, which has the support of many YouTubers and reputable websites like CNET. For example, you may take a look at this article we have of Phillip DeFranco who recommended using a VPN on his channel.
Streaming and Geo-locked Content
Most services in one way or the other limit the availability of content for some regions of the world. At times it is due to political, religious, or simply profitability reasons. However, a VPN can let you reach almost any content that you may need simply by making you appear as if you are in a different country. For example, certain shows like The Office are not available on all Netflix regions, but it is in others.
In other cases, governments in restricted countries like China or the UAE forbid the use of websites like Google or any type of social media platform that is not approved.
Keeping up with the same theme, you may be on vacation in Europe or somewhere else, but desperately need to reach your bank which usually would not be easy. A VPN will let you connect to a US server and open it with little or no effort needed.
Most high-quality VPN providers offer additional services, such as PING stabilization and DDOS protection. The way PING stabilization works is quite simple. If you live in a place where the internet connection is rather unstable or simply slow and you wish to play an online game, connecting to a VPN server usually resolves the issue or at least lowers the impact. This is due to the fact that the server will be located somewhere where the connection is more robust. However, in some cases where the nearest servers are far away, this may not always work simply due to the distance your connection will need to travel.
Another option I mentioned is DDOS protection. In some rare cases, people playing online games may become excessively angry due to loss or have other reasons to ruin the day of others. Those that are tech-savvy can perform a DDOS attack that would knock out your internet connection, effectively preventing you from playing. The way a VPN can save you is simple. Since you are connected to a VPN server, the needed thing for the person is invisible, they only see the server IP address and not your true IP address. This means, that the attack will land on the server and not you. A simple switch in servers and you are back on track.
Our Top Recommended VPNs
Over the years there have been many great VPN services. Each one excelling at security, streaming access, and general usage. The TipsFromGeeks editorial team has compiled a list of a few our favorite providers that offer all of these in combination.
- NordVPN – The best and well known VPN provider with over 5400 servers worldwide, offering fantastic connection speeds, access to all of the most popular streaming platforms, a variaty of specialty servers and even a built in adblocker.
- Surfshark – One of our personal, all time favourites. Surfshark rivals and beats most other competitors ir terms of price, availablity and reliability. A great, well rounded option.
- ExpressVPN – A great option for those who look for high quality services and security, but at a higher price.
Table of Content Introduction What is a VPN Why Use a VPN Security & privacy Streaming and Geo-locked content Gaming Our Top Recommended VPNs Introduction In recent years it has become harder and harder to surf the web without coming across the term VPN. But what even is that, what can I do with it…