Protecting Your Online Privacy: What is VPN?
If you’re looking into protecting your online privacy, using a VPN or a proxy to hide your Internet traffic and your location is one way to do so. However, it is important that you know how VPNs and proxies work, so that you know which to choose, and how each affects your Internet usage. In this article, we’ll go over the basics, so that you can make the best decision for your online privacy.
What is VPN?
A VPN or Virtual Private Network allows you to create a secure private network that can access the world wide web. This affords you additional protection and can add network security, protection against malware through the network, and can hide your IP address so that no one but the network holder knows who you really are.
What is a Private Network? – A Private Network is a network set up between specific computers, which enables them to access each other. For example, if you were to set up a network between each of the computers in your home, they could access each other over the Internet, without connecting with outside servers.
A Virtual private server acts in much the same way, by routing your Internet usage through their private servers to give you additional protection, security, and privacy.
Are VPNs Legit? – Most are. VPN technology is used by corporations, government, and even schools to enable private access to their data and files. Some also use them to connect websites together, so that site owners can easily access data across each site.
What Makes a VPN Secure? – Most VPN use a authentication including identification and passwords or pins. These must be used in order to gain access to the network. Most VPN also use security protocols such as IPSec, SSL, TLS, PPTP, L2TP, and others to encrypt and secure data from when it leaves your computer to when it arrives at your destination. In most cases, all VPN traffic is encrypted and secure, which makes it more difficult for others to see what you are doing.
Pros of VPN
- Easy, fast, and relatively simple to set up
- Hides your IP address
- Adds additional network security
Cons of VPN
- Will cost you a monthly fee of $10 or more
- Your Internet will be slower
- Your IP address is only protected by one layer of servers.
- Some websites (especially Netflix) may block you from using their services while using a VPN. This is especially true of any VPN that changes the location of your computer to another country. Because any website with geo functionality will block you for using a VPN, you will have to turn it off in order to use these websites appropriately.
VPN is one of the simplest ways to get started with protecting your online privacy, but it isn’t perfect. However, you can use it to add network security, protect your data, and ensure that you are hiding your IP address from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and the government so that they cannot see or use your data.
Click through to the next page to learn more about Internet Proxies and how they compare to VPN.